The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Local Businesses Help IUSB Students Succeed

Posted by iusbvision on September 25, 2007

Have you ever considered the possibility that you may be an entrepreneur? Over the past four weeks and over the next two months, Indiana University South Bend has the privilege to have local entrepreneurs come in and speak of their experiences in the process of their business development. The second seminar included Mark Turner himself, the president of South Bend Chocolate.  On top of the fantastic lecture, he actually brought everyone in the room chocolate. Even though some of these highly successful entrepreneurs did not require a graduate degree, they have contributed thousands of dollars to the local community, created jobs and now are driven to inspire local students to do the same.

The series, presented by Lake City Bank, is held every Thursday at 7:00 PM in room 1001 of Weikamp Hall. It is open to the public and the series will continue all the way through November 11th. Each speaker is specially chosen to illustrate a different aspect of the growth, plans, organization, daily struggles, personal life and contributions to the development of their business and to the development of themselves and entrepreneurs. The IUSB website describes the series as follows: “Get tips on setting up a business plan, finances or a business strategy at an Entrepreneurship Lecture Series sponsored by Indiana University South Bend’s School of Business and Economics.”

I’ve personally had the opportunity to attend the first four seminars of this series, and have found the information presented within it is priceless to any student considering an involvement in the business environment. Even if one has no interest in creating a business, they can get a better understanding of how the decision making process is done from the presidential and managerial level.   The series also allows a significant opportunity for students considering startups to learn local networking skills from people who have done it themselves for years.

In the first week of the series the topic of systems re-engineering was discussed. The entrepreneur brought the students through his experience of restructuring an inefficient inventory based system within his company as well as implementing a micro-managing strategy for his workers on the factory floor. The inefficient system was made efficient by the use of a scanning technology which would track all parts that were used and checked out from stock and re-ordering parts once they have reached a certain level. The micro-managing strategy was giving his workers on the factory floor more autonomy to work as a team and manage their particular quotas for the day together instead of through the use of a manager. Both systems turned out to be highly successful after overcoming several expected setbacks.

In week two, Mark Turner from South Bend Chocolate discussed the importance of an entrepreneur’s ability to network. He had not realized early on in his career how much he networked with his clients and how this had affected his business. Mark is a very personal networker, and writes hand written letters to his clients thanking them for their patronage. These are just a few of the many unique business practices students can pick up by attending this fantastic series.

A person interested in the creation of their own business needs to anticipate all of the possible setbacks within their control they may experience during the process of development and growth.  There is no better way to learn than to learn from the mistakes of those who have been through it themselves. If one goes through the same struggles and must attempt to discover their own way out, it is no different than re-inventing the wheel. If you are remotely interested, this is a must see.

All lectures are followed by a question and answer session. Students are more than encouraged by guest speakers to participate in the discussion as much as possible. They sometimes are so excited about the subject that they will go on for a long time giving the student the answer they may have been looking for. Afterwards, they are very receptive to students giving their thoughts and opinions on the information presented within the lecture.

There are some things that can be learned out of a book, and there are some things that cannot.  Learning how to juggle personal life, family, friends and loved ones is one of those things. Many involved in the series are happily married with children while maintaining a business with accumulated worth of up to millions of dollars. They serve as an example to students who are getting involved in the world of business that it is possible through hard work and dedication. I hope to see you all there!

For more information contact Christine Pochert by e-mail at cpochert@iusb.edu, Linda Shedd at (574)237-4133 or by fax at (574) 237-4866 or Staci Brettin at brettin3@comcast.net.

Craig Chamberlin

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