Inaugural Student Entrepreneur Holiday Showcase

Fall 2020 held a lot of challenges for Harding University. One of those challenges was how to engage students in a time where gathering in small groups was considered a no-no, and students had to adopt a more distant lifestyle at school. A normally bustling Waldron Center was empty and quiet.

Rochelle Waddill, new to the Waldron Center, and director Jon Wood, were determined to get students involved and began concentrating on awareness and name recognition. Regan Campbell, student worker at the Waldron Center, partnered with Rochelle to head up the social media this semester. The two decided to focus on student entrepreneurs here on campus, and began a weekly highlight of a student business that was featured on instagram (check out @huwaldroncenter). More and more businesses began to roll in, and it was quickly evident that there was a large amount of talent and initiative in this group of students. Waddill had the idea to form an event at the end of the semester to bring them together and give them a chance to truly showcase their work on campus. Given the COVID guidelines, that was easier said than done. Working with the Provost office and Dean Frazier, they were able to get a plan that worked, and the Student Entrepreneur Holiday Showcase was born!

The Holiday Showcase, themed “Hu-Ville” (pronounced hoo-ville), was met with eager excitement and rave reviews. Each student entrepreneur that participated (18 of them!) was able to set up a table, showcase their work, sell their wares, and support one another.

Below are some of our entrepreneurs and their contact information. Check out what these students have accomplished and consider supporting them on this Cyber Monday! Christmas shopping awaits!

Alaina Abbott Photography

Alaina Abbott

insta: @alainaabbottphotography

abbottalaina27@gmail.com


AMT Fitness

Toni Montez

insta: @toni.montez

http://amtfit.com


Bloom Clay Co.

Rachel Williams

insta:  @bloom.clayco

FB: Bloom Clay Co.


Byrd Jewelry

Maddy Byrd

insta: @shopbyrd

byrdjewelry10@gmail.com


Candace Grace Arts

Candace Crawford

insta: @candacegrace.arts


HaMi Boutique

Hallie Smith

insta: Shophamiboutique

www.Shophamiboutique.com


Kendra Neill Design

Kendra Neill

insta: @kendra.neill

kendraneilldesign.com


On Me Clothing

Colt Williams

insta: @on.me.clothing

www.coltgraphics.com/on-me


Ramen Doodles

John David Stewart

insta: @ramen.doodles_

http://www.johndavidstew.art/doodles


Spooning with Carol

Caroline Palmer

insta: @spooningwithcarol


Start Her Running Co.

Layne Pace

insta: @startherrunningco

www.startherrunning.com


Suitcase Studio

Megan Benz

insta: @suitcase__studio

www.suitcase-studio.square.site/


Wicker & Wood Vintage

Megan Sides

insta: @wickerandwoodvintage


Wir’d By Sal

Sally Roach

insta: @ponygalsal

sallyyyroach@yahoo.com

Dalton Drye Combines Academics with Practical Operations Experience at Searcy’s Oasis

The Waldron Center is fascinated by entrepreneurial journeys. Some people are gifted with a clear vision from the very beginning—a business idea that animates everything they do—but that’s rare.  It’s interesting to hear how the interplay of personality and circumstance drives entrepreneurship. Our previous student entrepreneurs have all been from places far removed from Arkansas. This week, we continue our series by talking with a hometown boy. 

Oasis Wash and Drye is a state-of-the-art car wash located at 700 E. Beebe Capps Expressway

Accounting major Dalton Drye is rooted in Searcy. He’s familiar with the business landscape here, easily identifying who owns various businesses and commenting on where there might be opportunity. And he knows a lot of people. He comes from an entrepreneurial family, and has the enviable advantage of some excellent personal mentoring. One thing is apparent from talking with him: Drye lays it all on the table. There is no hint of pretension; no attempt to artificially impress. He’s getting his education, and he’s got some goals, and he’s working hard and moving forward. 

img_4406-1After graduating from Harding Academy, Drye enrolled in the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. He did Greek life with enthusiasm, but academics a little less so. He joined a fraternity and learned some useful lessons about poise and self-assurance and meeting people, but eventually decided to return to Searcy and enroll at Harding. 

Although he wants to gain broader experience in business, Drye has never envisioned being completely dependent on the corporate world for his future economic security. He once had a dream of opening a quality gun shop and shooting range in Conway. His grandfather, Charlie Adcock, offered an alternative: Adcock was considering opening a new car wash and was agreeable to let Drye help run it to get some experience in business operations. The result was Oasis Car Wash and Drye.

Adcock, a serial entrepreneur, was orphaned at an early age. He joined the Air Force. After retirement, he assembled a commercial career by starting a series of local businesses, building on skills he developed in the military. “He’s just business savvy,” Drye said, with obvious admiration. Adcock saw some of himself in his grandson, and was willing to work with him on the new venture.

Oasis opened last April on a parcel of high-traffic real estate on Beebe-Capps Expressway, a stone’s throw from the Harding Campus. It’s hardly the small town single-bay self wash you might imagine. The new owners did their research. Adcock and Drye were impressed with the Oasis car wash technology they saw on a site visit to the manufacturing plant in Galena, Kansas. They ordered premier touchless equipment for their future location, which also features multiple self-wash stalls and vacuums, as well as a dog wash. Heated bays allow it to remain “open 24/7/365.” They arranged to use the Oasis name and logo for the new facility.

 Drye covers almost full-time hours at Oasis most weeks; combined with his classes, it’s not unusual for him to work 80 hours in a single week. Right now, the staff consists of Adcock; another manager, who has mechanical and maintenance expertise; and Drye, who performs general operations functions and is the technology guy. “If it has electronics, that’s me. The kiosks or the bays go down because of electrical issues and so forth — that’s mine to solve.” He takes all the after-hours calls when something goes wrong. Drye is building equity in the business with every hour he puts in, whether in classes or at Oasis. His current situation is demanding and challenging, but he’s learning important lessons.

Drye always has his eye open for future opportunity. He’s engaged to Kelly Gordon, a student in Harding’s graduate Professional Counseling program. “She wants to eventually have a private practice in mental health. We’ll eventually do that. We’ll have the car wash.  I might be interested in real estate. We’ll see.” He’s always considering  ventures that might someday create a revenue stream. 

How does he evaluate himself these days?  “Well, I can handle myself better in time crunches now, and I know I have to prioritize. I’m not a 4.0 student, but if you have been involved in a number of other valuable things, that gives balance to your GPA on a resume.” He believes his practical experience in problem-solving in a business environment is something that can’t easily be duplicated in a classroom, and we agree. One of his teachers remarked that it was apparent Drye sometimes processed classroom content in a way that would be impossible for a student who hadn’t worked so closely in a business.

He’s also learning some valuable things about himself. “I used be a little hot-tempered, maybe quick to pop off.” He smiles. “But when you own a business, you have to learn to control that. I think I’ve improved. My grandfather once told me, ‘That’s one of those things you are going to have to learn.’ The other day he said, ‘You’ve changed. You’ve handled some situations that I could not have handled as well.’ ” Drye is satisfied that his early experience in small business is shaping him in ways that will make him a better employee and manager in the future, regardless of the venue. “When customers show up, you have to be ready to put a smile on your face and be professional.” 

He can be a self-described stressmonger; he’s taken very few days off since the car wash opened. And he acknowledges that working nonstop can have unintended consequences, a common concern among entrepreneurs. He’s mulling over the realities of the entrepreneurial path and what will be required of him someday as a husband and father.

One thing he knows: He wants to pass along the most valuable part of what he is learning to his children someday. “I want my kids to be able to do cheer, football, whatever activities they want. But regardless of what I may have financially someday, I will want my kids to learn to have a good work ethic. They need to learn to work hard — even when it’s no longer fun — and not to quit when the going gets tough.” Good advice. 

For now, Drye’s working 24/7/365. We wish him luck. 

You can meet Dalton Drye and get a an excellent car wash at Oasis Car Wash and Drye, 700 E. Beebe Capps Expressway.  Follow them on Facebook @oasiscarwashanddrye and on Instagram @oasis_carwash_and_drye.

If you are a Harding student running a business, the Waldron Center would like to hear from you, too.  Email Patti Summers  psummers@harding.edu. 

Entrepreneur spotlight: Tracy Simpson’s Clinicpass app manages Sunshine Law red tape

simpson headshotFayetteville native Tracy Simpson started her journey in founding Clinicpass in 2014, after 16 years in the pharmaceutical industry. The Affordable Care Act included the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which went into effect in 2013. It was designed to disclose any financial relationship a doctor had with a manufacturer. It required medical product manufacturers to disclose to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “transfers of value” made to physicians. Such gifts would have occurred frequently and invisibly in the past. Now payments or transfers of value have to be reported to the CMS by the giver, and are available and searchable in the Open Payments database. The American Medical Association now recommends that providers keep their own records of money spent on them to comply with the Sunshine Act.

Such reporting generates bothersome red tape for manufacturers, and Simpson thought there was a solution for the problem that could benefit both manufacturers and physicians. Clinicpass not only facilitates pharmaceutical rep reporting, but also allows medical providers to verify the accuracy of the records and to prepare to respond to possible questions from the public.

clinicpass logo

The Clinicpass platform also functions as a scheduling tool for physician meetings with product reps, who in times past simply waited in medical offices until a doctor could make time to see them.  During Simpson’s career, she observed as regulation and reporting requirements for doctors drastically eroded the amount of time physicians had to interact with reps. Clinicpass provides structure and a record of who has called on a practice and when. Simpson believes the platform will ultimately accrue benefit to the patient, as easier scheduling keeps clinic doors open to insure that reliable information and patient assistance programs are conveniently moved into the hands of doctors.

Simpson and business partner Padgett Mangan beta-tested the tool for a year and a half in a Memphis-based medical management group, while four hundred pharmaceutical representatives used the site. Clinicpass was one of five finalists for the Delta Regional Authority Delta Challenge Sept. 13. Simpson will be traveling to New Orleans in November for Entrepreneur Week 2017.

Simpson was the Harding chapter of the Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society’s 2016 distinguished honoree. Her best advice for entrepreneurs looking to solve problems with an app-based solution? “The best advice I can give is to test your idea,” Simpson said, “and surround yourself with positive people. My biggest hurdles turned out to be my biggest blessings.”

 

Entrepreneur spotlight: Ice Cube Putters Matt McJunkins and Josh Turner, owners

FullSizeRender (7)Matt McJunkins and Josh Turner are golfers and entrepreneurs. Their lunch info-session sponsored by the COBA Center for Professional Excellence was an ideal case study for entrepreneurship students. The bearded pair were entertaining and engaging as they explained their journey as new owners of what began as a garage-workshop product, and the challenges before them in scaling the company up. By the end of the hour, students were pulling for their success.

The Ice Cube Putter is a 400-gram, clear acrylic putter head with a stepped shaft and Karma Jumbo grips. It was first manufactured in singles out of inventor Wes Mickle’s workshop in Texas. The elderly hobbyist had managed to get five different patents — four for design and one for utility — on the putter head, and had persevered seven long years to obtain USGA approval for it. But he was in his seventies now, and needed a buyer who could take his project to the next level.

Turner, who was already using the putter himself, got a call from someone who thought he might be interested in buying the rights to it. He and McJunkins were interested, and Mickle was willing to provide the structured buyout on which the purchase depended. They did the deal. Mickle and his wife drove from Texas, set up the shop in Searcy, and trained McJunkins and Turner in their production process. Now it was up to them to make it successful.

Now that they owned the product, the critical issue became how to mass-produce it. Turner had an acquaintance traveling to China for personal business, so he sent a putter with him. Two weeks later they had a manufacturer that would reduce their per-item manufacturing costs considerably. The components are still assembled locally. Sales are increasing, but the next big step is how to expand into overseas markets. “Shipping is a big hurdle,” Turner said. “I sold one putter to a buyer in South Korea. I explained that the shipping would make the $149 item cost $400, and it was fine with him.” But they know they still need to find the right channel to facilitate overseas sales in larger numbers. Canada and the UK are the priorities right now.

IMG_9826

Turner owns an oil field company, Environmental Resources, which remediates saltwater and hydrocarbon spills on site. He is also on the Physical Resources staff at Harding University. He is more oriented to the production arm of the company. Turner passed a prototype around the room for students to examine as he spoke. He displayed the original lackluster packaging and poor quality head cover that had been sold with early iterations of the putter, and explained their process for revising the branding. The new logo design includes a stylized polar bear. Turner demonstrated how it was interpreted on shipping boxes, a slick black head cover, and golf bag. “Ice the competition” is the new tagline on the website.

Serial entrepreneur McJunkins in the sales side of the pair. He owns a trucking company and does oil and gas consulting through his company Legacy 7 Surfsol. His relationships in different markets allow him to identify future partnerships that might benefit Ice Cube Putters. The company has been approached by those who want to affiliate, but he and Turner enter those relationships with caution. “We want partners, of course. But from experience I can say that you need to be careful who you choose for those business relationships.”

 They are working to affiliate with businesses interested in promotional items, since the putter head can be customized with laser-engraved logos or other art. Their website features clubs engraved with the autographs of pro golfer John Daly and entertainer Toby Keith. “Licensing is a big deal,” Turner said. They are pursuing sports licensing relationships that ultimately will benefit sales.

One new component of their marketing strategy is the decision to sell through Amazon. The process of being accepted at Amazon took two months. “You have to send all kinds of information to prove you are a legitimate company. We had to provide patent information and so forth,” Turner recalled. Eventually, they partnered with Domazon, a marketing firm providing consulting for sellers who want search optimization for their products on the Amazon platform.

Other challenges? McJunkins said they recently became aware of someone overseas who was knocking off their product. “Patent infringement lawsuits are expensive,” and “you have to decide how important pursuing a particular case is to you.” Ice Cube now manufactures a second USGA-approved putter, the Face-On putter, and sells logo golf hats and head covers as well. In the meanwhile, they are pursuing their expansion strategy while balancing other jobs and projects.

McJunkins had some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs in his audience, “If you have a dream to start a business, don’t be afraid to do it. Get some experience in the corporate world if you need to, but go ahead and do it. You’ll probably make mistakes, but if you have a family later on, it gets much harder. I’m most proud of taking the risks I’ve taken and not just taking that corporate salary.”

 

Entrepreneur spotlight: Nick Kennedy and Surf Air

IMG_9696

Nick Kennedy knows time is money, and air travel is stressful. And he’s a problem solver. If you consistently spend unproductive time in airport traffic and waiting to check in at busy terminals for the same short commercial hops, might an all-you-can-fly subscription membership interest you? What if it provided a private terminal where you could check in as little as 15 minutes before your flight on well-appointed, custom-designed executive aircraft? What if employees knew you by name, and concierge services were available? And what if all this were available at a fraction of the cost of flying private? Pure fantasy? Not anymore.

California disruptor Surf Air, sometimes called the “Netflix of private airlines,” provides unlimited flights between a menu of U.S. destinations for one monthly price, and Harding alumnus and Surf Air president Nick Kennedy was on campus this week to discuss life, his journey in business, and how their business model is helping customers reclaim hundreds of hours of wasted time.

Surf Air was founded in 2012.  Its genesis was in MuckerLab, a Los Angeles-based business incubator. Surf Air announced the sale of its 3,000th membership in June 2016. In June, Surf Air acquired RISE airlines, a Texas subscription service founded by serial entrepreneur Kennedy, increasing Surf Air’s subscriptions by about 25 percent and adding flights to and from six Texas destinations. This summer, the company expanded operations to Europe.

The energetic Kennedy (‘99) spoke at a lunch-and-learn info-session for a packed crowd of COBA students. He recalled his journey from San Diego to Searcy, “a foreign place,” on a last-minute baseball scholarship. His early time at Harding was not smooth sailing. There was a period of adjustment, “students here had gun racks in the backs of their trucks and I looked like a surfer,” during which he considered not returning. He met his future wife during his second semester, however, and stayed for the long haul. “My wife was a Zeta Rho president and Sprint Sing hostess for two years. I worked at Regions Bank in Walmart. She worked at the Dixie Cafe. Weekends were a 99 cent movie from Hastings and a $5.99 pizza special.”

Kennedy competed on the COBA business team. Accounting professor Dr. Phil Brown recalls those years, “Often students want to discuss their entrepreneurial ideas about how business processes could be done better. I tell them if they are serious enough to put their thoughts in writing, I’ll devote the time to help evaluate them. Nick was one of only a handful who would actually do that.”  

His career began at EDS, after which he helped found Galvanon, a startup that developed software for kiosks to expedite patient check in at hospitals–an early approach to what patient portals now accomplish. The venture later sold to NCR. A later innovation in healthcare informatics was startup eviti, an evidence-based, web-based oncology platform, recently named #1 Clinical Decision Support solution for 2016 by Black Book Market Research. eviti was later acquired by NantHealth.

Kennedy explained that being a little naive can actually benefit an entrepreneur with a novel idea, because “you don’t know what you can’t do.” He counseled future entrepreneurs to focus on ways to solve problems for people, and to always start with ‘why?’  His next venture was in another area in which he had no business familiarity, but much end-user experience. Kennedy was traveling thousands of miles per year, burning time in airports away from his family. “I was an American Airlines Platinum member with all the upgrades.” The “why” for his idea was to create a less frustrating, more efficient venue for frequent flyers.

IMG_9694 (1)

He did the research, and set out to solve the problem. The average private plane flies 300 hours per year. Buyers purchase planes for personal convenience, and often assume they will be able to recover part of the cost through charter fees. They rarely do. So Kennedy and some colleagues founded RISE, which employed unused capacity from private planes to create a subscription air travel service. RISE later sold to Surf Air.

Regarding integrating faith and business, Kennedy advised students not to attempt to hide their spirituality. Business is about solving problems, and “meeting the needs of people is an inherently spiritual process,” he told students, and works best when you love people and have their interests at heart.

 

Younger generations in family business

grantgoodvin

Grant Goodvin, Guest writer

Families who run a business, a foundation or are in a transition stage hesitate sometimes to talk about the future. Non-family businesses struggle with the same dynamic. However, families will have multi-generational questions that impact each generation differently. For younger generations whose families own businesses, there are decisions to be made about pursuing careers.

The first question for this younger generation is: If the family business did not exist, how would you choose a career trajectory? This is a critical question because it forces each individual to think beyond the boundaries of a family business. One of the worst scenarios I’ve encountered is a family member imprisoned in a family business because he has severe doubts that he could succeed in the outside business world. Also the younger generation family member may feel she deserves a position in the family business simply by being a member of the family.

In exploring this question, we are not minimizing or dismissing the family business. We want to explore how the younger generation member strengthens his capabilities for two reasons: 1) In answering the question of capabilities and preparation, the younger generation may discover a passion outside the family business or a passion inside the family business, thereby introducing the context of what makes the family member marketable in the general business world and/or how the family member gains skills that strengthen the family business. 2) Problems arise for the younger generation if the family business is viewed as the sole source of making a living because the family member lacks the confidence to work outside the family business.


How does the younger generation decide whether his plan for the future aligns with the future of the family business? An optimized plan for younger generations is for the senior generations to outline specific skill sets and educational objectives for positions within the family business.


The second reason can be and often is the source of severe family conflicts because if the older generation fails to plan or doesn’t disclose succession plans, the younger member will fight intensely, demanding that the family business meets his/her needs. This approach serves neither the family member nor the business. The family business must be designed to strengthen the family members and the business in a variety of ways.

The other issue for families in business is how the senior generation is handling transition and succession. Many times the plan is either non-existent or hidden because of a reluctance to bring the discussion into full view of the entire family. This reluctance may result from the fact that not all family members are involved in the family business. It may be due to the senior generation’s struggle with how to treat family members fairly. Many times the senior generation does not want to start a discussion that can result in conflict in the family. The flaw in that thinking is that there is a high likelihood of conflict if the senior generation does not take the lead in proactively mentoring the younger generations through the transition process.

However, the issue is: How does the younger generation decide whether his plan for the future aligns with the future of the family business? An optimized plan for younger generations is for the senior generations to outline specific skill sets and educational objectives for positions within the family business. This could be the discussion that allows subsequent conversations about what the senior generation is thinking about succession.

The younger generation should always remember to honor parents, founders or senior generations. Younger generations do not always appreciate how deeply ingrained the family business is in the senior generation, especially if the senior generation is the founding generation. Christian teaching on honoring parents is not a frivolous statement; it is foundational in wholesome family testimony to the world. The Christian distinctive provides avenues to honor family and maintain a business that perpetuates values that are everlasting.

One of the ways the younger generation honors the senior generation is to remove demands about planning for the future, replacing them with an open discussion of what is in the best interest of each family member and the family business. As children become adults, honoring is not defined as absolute obedience to the senior generation in all matters, because if adult children marry they must also honor their spouses. Also, I tell families in business it is useless to prevent spouses from being involved in the family business discussion table. The spouses are involved by virtue of the definition of marriage, which is one flesh. Boundaries may be set on what is discussed based on age and successful operation of the business but as the younger generation matures, the discussions become more comprehensive.

To summarize, if you are a college student considering entering the family business, here are some suggestions:

  • Work for a summer somewhere other than at your family business.  Discover what it is like to work for someone outside your family.
  • Tell the senior generation your ideas about a career and ask to be mentored in your planning.  Ask if there are specific educational objectives which will strengthen the family business.
  • Talk to the Harding Waldron Center for Entrepreneurship and Family Business about resources and advisors that can assist you and your family in this critical discussion.

One of the greatest things about working in a family business is working with family. One of the most challenging things about working in a family business is working with family.

Grant Goodvin is an attorney and friend of the Waldron Center in Wichita, Kansas, where he operates Family Legacy Consultant Group.

Senior generations in family businesses

grantgoodvin

Grant Goodvin,  Guest writer

Who will lead your family? The dynamics of a family in business and/or with a foundation or wealth transition take this question to a deeper level. On a family level, the senior generation occupies the natural position of leaders and mentors. However, add a business, foundation or wealth transition element to the equation and the relationships are subject to forces that seem insurmountable. While I’m focusing on families in business, the same advice may be employed for families with foundations and those considering wealth transition.

Are you as a senior family member hesitant to talk about the future of family and business for fear of conflict? You are not alone. You can benefit from knowing that other families have encountered the same fear and mentored younger generations with the result of a stronger family and business.


On a family level, the senior generation occupies a natural position of leaders and mentors. However, add a business, foundation, or wealth transition element to the equation and the relationships are subject to forces that seem insurmountable.


The culture today speaks to individual fulfillment. Such statements as “You can be anything you want to be,” or “Your individual happiness is the most important element in your life” ignore an obvious question that must be answered: What is your purpose in life? Failing to define purpose results in a discussion of individual success or happiness in a vacuum, producing little value.

Have you, as the senior generation, documented your purpose in life? Have you had family discussions about what really matters in life? A Christian approach deals with what values and purposes truly matter. Scriptures talk about glory. Glory is a term that defines what matters. Non-Christians talk about glory without understanding its true meaning. Everyone makes decisions every day about what matters, what purpose or value is applied in a variety of situations.

A family business that has a murky view of the purpose of wealth, business and family will struggle in planning for the future. My first advice to senior generations is to go through the challenging process of documenting what matters to them. This process can serve as a basis for a family mission statement.  Non-family businesses deal with this issue also. In my experience as an attorney helping establish new corporations, there was a line on every state corporation filing asking for the corporation’s purpose. I have never seen, in all of the filings I participated in or viewed, the purpose statement of “making as much money as possible.” Making money is part of what a corporation does, but that production flows from the corporation’s meeting some need — by producing products or providing services that customers view as valuable and needed. That is the corporate purpose.

Families in business weave into the business values the family desires to perpetuate. The values need to last forever to really matter. A belief in the God of Scripture inherently places values in the realm of lasting beyond death, especially death of the senior generation. It is not the value that is important; it is the source of the value.

Bringing a third party in to help with these family discussions is usually invaluable. I always challenge families in business that are reluctant to hire an adviser for family meetings to try it once. They will immediately see the dynamics of the meeting change. This mediation is often very positive if the family has had difficulty moving beyond the emotional baggage of family into concrete, substantive discussions about issues that can strengthen the family and business.

The senior generation can strengthen the family and family business by outlining for younger generations skill sets and educational objectives for specific positions in the business. This process prevents younger generations from thinking that, having made no preparations, they automatically have a job in the family business. Another benefit is that the process allows the senior generation to start meaningful conversations with the younger generations about the future. The goal is to direct the conversation toward specific educational needs and preparation. If the younger generation is not willing or able to meet the requirements of work in the family business, the situation should be addressed sooner rather than later. The worst scenario is for the younger generations to think they deserve positions in the family business by simply being family. The ramifications of such a scenario negatively impact all members of the family and the success of the business.

In summary, here are some important steps for you as the senior generation to take:

  • What is your purpose? What is the mission of the family? What is the purpose of wealth? What is the purpose of the family business?
  • Establish educational objectives for positions in the family business.
  • Begin thinking about transition, succession of the business and how it will be developed and communicated. A closed plan that is not communicated allowing time for you to mentor the younger generation has a high likelihood of causing irreparable fracturing of your family.

Grant Goodvin is a friend of the Waldron Center who founded Family Legacy Consultant Group in Wichita, KS.

Waldron Q & A

Name: Slader Marshall (BBA Finance, ’14)

Type of business: Restaurant

Business name: Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Co. (SADCo.)

Year started: 2014

Locations:  Searcy/Little Rock, Arkansas

sladerfoodtruck

It all started as a dream. “Not a lofty one, but one of those that you can’t really get out of your head,” according to Slader Marshall. Since the Alaskan entrepreneur was able to return home only once or twice a year after coming to study at Harding, he was determined to bring his home to college by sharing pel’meni, the Alaskan soul food dumplings from his childhood, with his adopted community.

sladers-graphic

From their first dumpling in 2014 to today, the startup has expanded from a single restaurant in a modest building on East Center Avenue to a successful food truck business, operating in Searcy and Little Rock.

This week’s Q&A digs a little deeper into Marshall’s thoughts about being a young, hungry, scrappy entrepreneur.

What personality traits do you think served you best as you started your business, and which traits might have been a disadvantage?

Confidence could be answer to both. You have to have unwavering confidence to start a business because, without it, you can’t project to your employees and your customers why they should believe in your product. On the flip side, confidence can humble you quicker than most personality traits. I have said to anyone who asks what it’s like to start a business that you should go into the process like you know nothing at all. Finding a good balance between confidence and humility is a great place to start your business planning.

What advice would you give a college student who wants to become an entrepreneur?

First, ask questions: stupid questions, smart questions — it doesn’t matter. Pick people’s brains who have been there before, and admit you don’t have all the answers. Second, start small, build big. It’s a lot easier to start with a little idea and grow along with your customer base than it is to have all the nicest things and the best space and have nowhere to grow. Finally, find your niche. Whether it is the target market you cater to or the type product you sell, finding your niche is the single biggest predictor of business success or failure. We serve a non-traditional food, so I knew right off the bat that not everyone would like it. I knew in Searcy there was a void of local restaurants and also a void of places that were catering to college students, who I thought would be more willing to try eclectic foods compared to a family of four on a fixed budget. So I found my niche.

Name a company or person in business whom you admire and explain what appeals to you about them.

My two biggest inspirations have been Walt Disney and Elon Musk, men from two different generations and from two different fields, who tried to make the impossible a reality. For Disney, it was not the cartoons or the live-action films or theme parks, but the feeling you had when experiencing all those things; it was the “magic” Disney created out of nothing that no one will ever be able to replicate. Musk inspires the passion to dream. Whether it is electric cars or privatized flights to Mars, he set his sights on the stars and encouraged anyone in this field that you should never let anyone tell you no. Entrepreneurs are dreamers, and those are two of the biggest.

For updates, follow Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Co. on Facebook.

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