Fayetteville Technical Community College hosted the 3rd Annual FTCC Small Business Summit, sponsored by Wells Fargo, on Friday, May 4th. The event was the local apex of the 2018 National Small Business Week featuring business panels, breakout sessions, breakfast and a lunch buffet all for free.
Early in the day before the Summit officially started, attendees were treated to coffee, lattes and blueberry scones provided by Authentique Café, a mobile café, literally built and operated by creative local entrepreneur Ambery Edge.
The Summit formally began with a warm welcome from FTCC President, Dr. J. Larry Keen, Deanne Robinson-Blue, Wells Fargo District Manager and Kent Hill, Director of the FTCC Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Small Business.
The trio of dignitaries also provided an overview of the day’s activities which would feature two highly successful speakers, panels of experienced business owners, marketing specialists, financial specialists and technicians who demonstrated the latest online tools for growing and managing a business.
Question. So what do local business owners, budding entrepreneurs, business school students, faculty and guests do when presented with the opportunity to hear a multi-million dollar hometown success story, specialists providing business information and advice, principles of business success from a former Coca-Cola executive and business owner? What they did was eagerly deploy their mobile devices and notepads and try to capture every word from beginning to end.
The hometown success story was one lived by Randy L. Moore CEO and President of RLM Communications INC., headquartered in Spring Lake NC. Moore traced the journey from his childhood in South Central Los Angeles, raised by his mother and grandmother, through a distinguished military career preparing him to lead, and using that experience to help him succeed in business as he went from nothing to a multimillion dollar business owner. He offered his outline of long term strategies and short term tactics in the hopes of helping listeners avoid the fiscal mistakes that he made, power through adversity, keep their faith, achieve success and learn to give back.
Next was an informative and useful session on business funding presented by SBA Regional Director Don Spry II, President of LandArt Solutions LLC and Forever Lawn LLC, Michele Horn, Wells Fargo Small Business Coach, Lori St. James and Wells Fargo Business Advisory Specialist Keldrick Trapp.
Directly following the many sources of funding for business growth, a buffet lunch was prepared and served by a distinguished graduate of FTCC Culinary Program, Chef Louis Irizarry (Chef Lou) and his Elite Catering staff.
During the well prepared meal the attendees were treated to an interesting and useful presentation by Hutch Hodgson, former executive with Coca-Cola and serial entrepreneur entitled, “Some Things I’ve Learned Along The Way.” His path stretched from the United States to the United Kingdom and twelve other countries with Coca-Cola, then back to the United States as a successful businessman, eventually selling one of his ventures with 216 locations to his primary competitor.
Along the way he learned crucial things including how to recognize opportunities, set and achieve goals, do the research, listen to customers, always market and sell, be solid in the basics, learn from failure and realize that education, both formal and from life experience, remains “uniquely your own”.
Afternoon breakout sessions began shortly after lunch. Topics included how to sell your business and retire, how to set up and run business payroll, how to set up merchant services and how to use free online tools for small business.
Plans are already under way for next year’s event during National Small Business Week.
Fayetteville Technical Community College supports the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses using confidential brainstorming sessions, training, and resource information. FTCC staff helps with finding answers to business questions, developing a business plan and more. No project is too big or too small. Whether starting a business, growing a business, or taking professional development courses, the Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Small Business has something for everyone.