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Moore School launched inaugural Minority Business Forum
June 12, 2012
The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina launched its first forum in late spring of 2012 to help small- to medium-sized businesses grow to the next level.
The forum, “Driving Growth in Challenging Times,” featured USC faculty and South Carolina business leaders who shared growth strategies with business owners whose companies have made it through the start-up period and are poised to grow.
Sessions covered topics including marketing and promotion; human resources, taxation, legal and banking considerations; and government contract bidding.
Participants learned how to develop branding and communication strategies and create low-cost campaigns for converting prospects into customers using social media platforms as well as through traditional advertising. They gained insights about strategies for making wise return-on-investment decisions, were presented with guidance about the steps to take to scale the growth of a business, approaches for infrastructure decisions, human resource issues, information technology, “cloud computing,” and organizational and structural considerations for small businesses.
One segment provided participants the opportunity to pose questions about their challenges to three panelists, each offering different views and support.
Jerry Ellison, owner of JBE, one of the largest minority-owned businesses in the region, answered questions about the need for regular audits by suggesting that audits do not imply mistrust, but assure healthy financial habits.
Ellison said he got his start long ago by reading an article in “Awake” magazine that advised thosewho were under- or unemployed to find a company that was doing strong business and offer to subcontract for them to fill a need. “I began my business doing sub-assembly work,” Ellison said. “I put together three things to make a part that another company needed.” JBE now does much the same thing, but on a much bigger level, providing subassembly parts to multinational corporations, such as BMW.
Garry Davis, of the Small Business Development Center (see State Newspaper article) offered guidance and assistance to owners who are planning their next steps to growth. Greg Davis, of S.C. Department of Commerce provided a comprehensive guide to becoming – and staying – a vendor in good standing with state contracts.
Terris Riley, whose company raised its revenues from approximately half a million to nearly five million dollars a year by bidding on and winning government contracts emphasized that businesses must have the reach to fulfill the contract and that how you respond makes a difference in the perception of those choosing the contractor.
“Operate in excellence,” Riley advised. “Submit your bids with excellence, and fulfill them to the letter of the contract on a timely basis.”
Written by Clair Boatwright
David Crockett, Ph.D., Moore School associate professor of marketing;
John Stern, Moore School adjunct professor of management;
Greg Davis, S.C. Department of Commerce;
Garry James, Small Business Development Center;
Kiosha Gregg, Kiosha Gregg Digital Media Consultancy;
Jerry Ellison, JBE Inc.;
Julian “Jay” Hennig III, Nexsen Pruet;
Ike McLeese, president and CEO, Columbia Chamber of Commerce;
Mark Newsome, Chernoff Newman;
Terris Riley, New Venue Technologies; and
Delbert H. Singleton Jr., board secretary, S.C. Budget and Control Board.
Corporate Solutions at the Darla Moore School of Businesses offers an array of executive education programs, events and conferences. Details about upcoming conferences are available online at: www.moore.sc.edu/execed/publicprograms/workshopsconferences.aspx
For more information, contact:
Philip D. Truesdale
Director Business Development
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