Entrepreneur Fund announces 'Be Strategic' grads
May 1, 2012
“Be Strategic: Grow Your Business,” a series offered by the Entrepreneur Fund that assists business owners in creating strategies for growing their businesses, recently graduated entrepreneurs in International Falls, Aitkin, Grand Rapids and Cloquet.
The series offered local entrepreneurs the opportunity to gather over the course of six months to build their advanced business skills, form an entrepreneurial network and develop a strategic business plan to meet their business growth goals and improve sales revenues. The sessions included hands-on coursework and peer-to-peer discussions to help business owners maximize profitability, improve management skills and prepare for continued growth.
The “Be Strategic” series was designed for entrepreneurs who are committed to growth and have been in business for at least two years. Typically, participants begin to see results before the end of the eight sessions, Shawn Wellnitz, executive director, said in a news release.
“The organic growth of local entrepreneurship is contagious” Wellnitz said. “It is always exciting when the strategy groups begin, yet the long-term growth of the participating businesses is what drives us to continue this work in communities. Our goal is to foster the talent we have in these communities, then focus on growth through sales and profitability.”
In International Falls, graduates included: Sherie Wright of Wright Interiors, Duane and Tammy Sjoblom of Sjoblom Landscape and Nursery, Brenda Jones and Colleen Fletcher of Lakeside Gourmet and Stephanie Heinle of Coffee Landing Café.
“Before I had big dreams of what I could do with my business, but instead of doing that I would fill sugars and pour coffee – I was a worker instead of the owner,” said Stephanie Heinle of the Coffee Landing Café. “It has transformed the way I think about my business. Now I make a plan and work that plan into action.”
The Grand Rapids graduates included Dan Brown of Itasca County Farm Service, Laurie Howard of Laurie’s Automotive Service, Bonnie Henriksen of Life Song Coaching and Ryan Davis of Davis Chiropractic Health
“My business was at the point it needed a strategic plan, especially in this economic environment,” Howard said. “Now we’re making some big changes and ramping things up. A business can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. Now that I have this growth mindset, we’re moving forward.”
The Aitkin grads were Amanda MacDonald and Lynne Jacobs from The Beanery – An Internet Café, Jeff Tidholm of Tidholm Productions, David Schaefer of Aitkin Hardwoods, Joe Emery of Emery Hydroseeding and Erosion Control, and Kirk Peysar of Rialto Theater.
“I’ve been in the movie business for a long time and what this series did is help me step back and ask why I do things in such a way and how could I do them better,” Peysar said. “I now clearly see I need to work on my business and not just in it.”
Graduates from the Cloquet class included Wendy Bakke of Sewing Unlimited , Cindy Peterson, ofTrapper Pete’s Steakhouse and Saloon in Scanlon, Laurie Taft and Linda Erickson of Erickson Hardware in Cloquet, Sarah Diepolder of Prdseed.com in Moose Lake and Kyle Anderson and Ann McGinnis of Northern Wholesale Millwork in Hermantown.
“We’re more aware on a day-to-day basis where we want the business to go and see it more like entrepreneurs,” Taft said. “Now we have a better handle on our big picture and topics like social media and marketing.”
# # #
© 2012 BusinessNorth - Access more business news from BusinessNorth.