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Bears Business Brief: The makings of an entrepreneur

Rayanna Anderson
Rayanna Anderson

Bears Business Brief: The makings of an entrepreneur

By Rayanna Anderson, MBA

There are almost 28 million entrepreneurs and small business owners in the United States, according to Forbes.com. Over 22,000 small businesses exist in Springfield and the surrounding area, most started by someone with a dream and the fortitude to take a leap and kiss the act of working for someone else goodbye. While there are myriad definitions of entrepreneurship, the definition I like is “taking on the risk and accountability of creating and implementing a business strategy or starting a business.” In that regard, Springfield is a great place to start a business! According to WalletHub, a small business and personal finance website, Springfield ranked as the 24th best city in the nation to start a business. The unmatched attendance in any market, besides Kansas City, of 1 Million Cups at The eFactory puts an exclamation point on this ranking.

What does it really take to use your entrepreneurship contemplations to start a successful business of your own? The following are four commonalities that these folks share. Some might surprise you.

They have passion. They are passionate about their business, and most of them are passionate about business in general. This helps when they might not get paid what they could make working for someone else and when they have to endure the long hours of the startup phase. While ostensibly simple, creating a business about something you enjoy, instead of the latest start-up trend or prepackaged franchise operation, could make all the difference in your success.

Financial statements are a big part of their tool set. They may not have a degree in accounting, but they can tell you the gross margin on their product or service. They also know what their breakeven point is, or how much they have to sell to enable them to pay all the bills and take home a paycheck. Even with the onset of paperless money, cash is still king. Knowing how cash flows into your business and how it exists is a must. More businesses fail for lack of capital management than for any other reason.

They focus on their customers. Every decision they make, from organizational policies to promotional campaigns, prioritizes the customer or client. It is really all about what customers think or how they are served. I am always amazed when retail companies choose to close at 5 p.m. or are open additional hours by appointment. How many customers want to make an appointment to shop? Successful entrepreneurs know their customers, inside and out, and are always looking for new ones. Irrefutably, the customer, not the banker, will ultimately be the true decision maker of whether you make it or fail.

Being flexible and resilient are crucial characteristics. I have never heard a small business client say their business plan worked as it was originally written. The vision that the entrepreneur had in the original plan is usually swept away with changes in the market and business environment. Not only are they able to react to changes in their business plan, but they are determined and willing to learn from their mistakes early on and move forward.

In summary, these are the common traits I have found in successful entrepreneurs.

If you would like to hear their stories first hand, please join me on Wednesday mornings at 9 a.m. for 1 Million Cups at The eFactory.

This article appeared in the September 6, 2014 issue of the Springfield News-Leader.  It is available online here.


Rayanna Anderson, MBA, is director of the Small Business Technology Development Center and the Management Development Institute at Missouri State University’s E-Factory. Anderson writes about issues she sees regularly in her consulting with small businesses in Springfield and the state of Missouri. Email: randerson@missouristate.edu.

1 Million Cups Springfield

This public program meets 9-10 a.m. every Wednesday at the eFactory downtown, 405 N. Jefferson Ave. For more information, visit http://springfield.sites.1millioncups.com/

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2014 COB Career Fair Wrap-up

Career Fair 20142014 COB Career Fair Wrap-up

COB Career Fair 2014 – The Largest Yet

Get a Job! was the theme of this year’s College of Business and School of Accountancy Career Fairs. The School of Accountancy Career Fair was held September 10, 2014 at University Plaza Hotel and featured 22 employers.

The College of Business Career Fair was held on September 30, 2014. Students filled the University Plaza Convention Center to visit with the 130 employers ready to talk about internships and full-time opportunities. University President Cliff Smart even took some time out of his busy schedule to stop by and interact with students, alumni and recruiters.

career fair 3Employers were pleased with the location, timing and color coding that was used to differentiate majors. Kathy Scharr, alumni recruiter with American Family Insurance in St. Louis said, “I am impressed with how MSU organizes the event and prepares their students – TOP NOTCH! By far it exceeds some of the other career events in which I have participated.”

Prior to attending either fair, all COB students were required to attend a 50-minute workshop that outlined how to prepare for the fair, what to wear to the fair, what happens during the fair and how to follow-up after the event.   Corporate Relations Specialist, Vickie Hicks conducted the workshops throughout August and September. This year over 1400 students attended the workshops.

In addition to the workshops, students picked up the Career Fair Guide, a special publication of the MSU student newspaper The Standard. The guide provided an overview of each employer, positions available, majors desired and citizenship requirements.

career fair 4A special thanks to those employers who participated at each fair this year. If you are interested in being involved in the future, contact Vickie Hicks, at vickiehicks@missouristate.edu or 417-836-5636.






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Experience the College of Business

Experience the College of Business

When you’re in a place that’s right for you, you just know it. The Missouri State College of Business wants to help current and future students find that feeling on our campus. With 7 academic departments to explore and supportive faculty focused on student success, we hope COB can help students find their place at Missouri State!


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Homecoming 2014: Let the Good Times Roar

Bearfest Village
Bearfest Village

Homecoming 2014: Let the Good Times Roar

Join us for MSU Homecoming 2014, Let the Good Times Roar!

COB will host a tent in BearFest Village from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Oct. 18.  As you may already be aware, there have been some changes to BearFest Village this year (including location). The new BearFest Village area is located north of Plaster Stadium in the grass plaza in front of McDonald Arena, extending to Carrington Hall to the east and the Hammons Fountains to the west. Our COB tent will be in this area.

Courtesy of Qdoba and Coke, we will provide free food and Coke products to the first 600 individuals who meet us at the tent! Stop by and socialize with current and retired faculty, as well as staff and students.

Activities for the entire family at BearFest Village will include games, inflatables and face painting. The football Bears will enter the stadium with a new pregame “Bear Walk” through BearFest Village about 75 minutes before kickoff. A pregame pep rally featuring the Pride Band, Sugar Bears, MSU Cheerleaders, Boomer and Growl on the steps of McDonald Arena will get under way approximately 30 minutes before kickoff! Guests are invited to bring their own food or purchase food from one of the many vendors in the Village. Alcohol is permitted for all fans 21 and older (Alcohol Policy).

Homecoming-picBe sure to stay to cheer on the Bears in the 2 p.m. football game against the South Dakota Coyotes! Tickets may be purchased in advance online or by calling 888-476-7849.

Stay up to date, on all of the homecoming weekend events, on Facebook, or visit the Homecoming website!

We hope to see you at our tent and at many of the other enjoyable events!  Go Bears!

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TCM faculty and students make an IMPACT with Merit Badge University

Merit Badge U
Merit Badge U

TCM faculty and students make an IMPACT with Merit Badge University

On Saturday, September 6, the Technology and Construction Management (TCM) Department, in coordination with the Ozark Trails Council of Boy Scouts of America, hosted the second annual Merit Badge University. There were just over 300 scouts in attendance, working on 18 different badges.

One special moment occurred at the closing ceremony, when Baron Ryan (a Scout from Troop 200), completed his very last merit badge—Surveying. This was his 139th badge.

The event was organized by TCM faculty members David Joswick and Dianne Slattery. Twenty-seven TCM students volunteered throughout the day and many COB faculty members from various departments assisted in badge areas including:

  • Jerry Chin—Computers
  • Courtney Pham and Marty Jones— Personal Management
  • Neal Callahan, Kevin Hubbard, and Mohammed Mehaney— Robotics
  • Rita Hawkins— Environmental Science
  • Kerry Slattery—Energy
  • Richard Gebken—Electricity

merit badge u2Assistance for the event was also provided by:

  • City of Springfield’s Fire Department and Public Works Department
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • GHN Architects
  • MSU College of Arts and Letters
  • MSU College of Health and Human Services
  • MSU College of Natural and Applied Sciences
  • MSU Dining Services

merit badge u3Congratulations to all of the scouts who attended and earned badges! Thanks are also in order to all faculty members, students and community partners who made this event possible.




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