Helping Millennials Start Businesses

RestaurantCrewHalf of all millennials want to start their own business within the next several years, according to a study conducted by the Center for Generational Kinetics in conjunction with America’s SBDC – and we love to help!

Millennials cited two main areas in which they want help in order to achieve their goals of business ownership: assistance with business planning and accessing capital for start-up funds. At the WU KSBDC, these are two of the areas of advising in which we work with clients! We offer workshops on how to start a business and business planning for start-ups – along with workshops on a wide variety of other specific, important topics for small business owners ranging from sales tax to export assistance. Moreover, we provide one-on-one consultations to help business owners write business plans and engage in the on-going process of business planning. Amongst other things, this includes help analyzing financial needs, identifying potential sources of capital, and applying for funding.

Our mission does not end with helping people start new businesses, however; and, of course, we don’t only work with millennials. We’re here to help small businesses be successful by providing small business owners with the tools that they need for understanding how to run their businesses, mitigate risks, see and pursue opportunities, and transition well when the time comes for it – and hopefully, in the meantime, achieve the goals they set for themselves in business ownership.


Related links:

Getting Off the Ground with Little Apple Pilates

Congratulations, Flint Hills Enduro!

Access to Capital for Small Businesses – on September 26th

More info about us

Schedule of upcoming events


Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.

Business Advisor

Washburn University

Kansas SBDC

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Congratulations, Flint Hills Enduro!


Over the summer, Matt Ransom came to the WU KSBDC because he was thinking about taking over a neglected off-road motorcycle track that was overgrown with brush and hadn’t been groomed regularly in a long time. Matt, who has been competing in hare scrambles for four years, had done his homework on the property and knew what he needed to do to get the track in attractive condition for riders, but still had questions about taking on the business.


Matt had general questions associated with buying or starting a new business: What is the best legal structure? Is this particular business one that should be a for-profit or a not-for profit business? What are the liability issues? What do I do about sales tax? What paperwork do I need to fill out? Who do I go see to answer the questions that I need answered?


After putting hard work into clearing brush, reshaping the jumps, bringing in logs and obstacles to create the EnduroCross Track, Matt and friends opened the Flint Hills Enduro Motorcycle Club in July. In addition to the EnduroCross Track, the club has an outdoor MX track and a cornering track. Riders can utilize the facility by purchasing memberships or day passes. It is open to riders of all ages and skill-levels.


Congratulations, Matt, on making Flint Hills Enduro Motorcycle Club happen. We wish you the best of luck!

Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.

Business Advisor

Washburn University

Kansas SBDC

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National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month 2017 Logo [JPG]

September is National Preparedness Month, and with the lower half of the country still recovering from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, a lot of businesses that were devastated by the storms are looking ahead to a long road of rebuilding. While we don’t have to worry about hurricanes here in the Great Plains region, we do have other disasters that can affect us, including tornadoes, sickness, and flooding, not to mention other disasters that can ruin a business such as a fire, robbery, accidents, or acts of terrorism.

According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, roughly 25 percent of small businesses do not reopen after a disaster. It is imperative that owners take the steps necessary to identify any risks that may affect their business, including any natural or man-made disasters.

Below are some useful links you can visit that will provide resources and checklists to help you protect your business: Preparedness Planning for Your Business
FEMA Preparedness Checklists and Toolkits
Small Business Administration – Prepare for Emergencies

Mindy Lee
Advisor/Marketing Coordinator
Washburn University
America’s SBDC

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Learning About Resources for Capital

Ball of Money

We at the Washburn University KSBDC are very excited about our upcoming event,  Access to Capital for Small Businesses, which will be taking place September 26th in Manhattan.

Access to Capital is a half-day educational and networking event for the following:

  • anyone who might open a small business within the next few years
  • current small business owners who need to work with a bank to manage cash flow cycles
  • current small business owners who are thinking about remodeling, relocating, expanding, or entering new markets
  • current small business owners who need money for new product development
  • small business manufacturers
  • small businesses involved in technology or innovation
  • rural small businesses
  • business owners interested in learning about working with investors
  • business and entrepreneurship students
  • anyone who advises small business owners formally or informally

With presenters from several regional banks, the SBA, NetWork Kansas, USDA, Washburn University KSBDC, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, MidAmerica Angels, KS Securities Commissioners’ Office, and local Economic Development offices, this is a unique opportunity to find out about – and to connect with – these important resources for small businesses.

Presentation topics include what small businesses need to know about working with banks, SBA and E-Community loan programs, using different types of capital for different purposes, grants for rural development, grants for technology development, grants for manufacturers, working with investors, tips about pitch competitions, and working with local resources such as the Kansas SBDC and economic development programs.

Access to Capital for Small Businesses is sponsored by the Washburn University KSDBC, the Kansas State University College of Business, Central National Bank, Kaw Valley State Bank and Sunflower Bank.

Register here or by calling (785) 234-3235

Date: September 26, 2017

Location: Kansas State University College of Business, Room 1092 (Manhattan)

: 7:30 – 8:00 a.m.

Presentations: 8:00 – noon

Networking: Noon – 1:00

Related post: Access to Capital for Small Businesses: Looking for Loans, Grants or Investors

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5 Tips To Reduce Your Fear of Public Speaking

According to the The Chapman University Survey of American Fears, Americans are more afraid of public speaking than being murdered by a stranger. The study also revealed that Americans are more afraid of public speaking than they are of needles, dying, or being trapped in small, enclosed spaces.

I was always fortunate to feel comfortable speaking in front of crowds. Spending several years in theatre and speech classes, it never really occurred to me that public speaking was something so many people feared. Not that I don’t get nervous before speaking in front of a group, but I’ve never been absolutely stricken with fear. That fear is entirely understandable, however. Speaking in front of people can make you feel vulnerable. We as people have an innate, natural feeling that everyone in the room will criticize and scrutinize everything we say and do.

During my time here at the Washburn University SBDC, I’ve noticed a lot of small business owners who seemingly still maintain this fear of public speaking, whether they’re giving a short presentation on their business or going around the room and introducing themselves at a seminar. If you feel like breaking out in a cold sweat at the thought of speaking in front of everyone in the room, you’re not alone. The good news is that there is hope! In the list below, I’ve outlined five tips to reduce your fear of public speaking.

This may seem obvious, but it is the most important tip to follow. Even a skilled speaker like Steve Jobs spent days on end preparing for his presentations. He wasn’t a natural speaker, he worked really hard at it. If you know you will be giving a presentation, no matter how big or small, you need to prepare. Take some time to know who your audience will be, write your material, and rehearse your speech in front of trusted friends or family and be open to their feedback. Most importantly, practice, practice, practice.

pexels-photo-262103Don’t Expect Perfection
None of us are perfect. Even the most skilled, practiced, and experienced speakers make mistakes. The difference between them and the rest of us in that they move on from those mistakes. The rest of us, myself included, tend to magnify our mistakes and imperfections. While we may feel like everyone in the room is harshly judging us, we have to remember that we are our own worst critic. Most of the time if you slip up while speaking, no one will notice if you just keep going and remain calm, poised, and confident. Our mistakes become known to the audience when we break down, apologize, and publicly acknowledge those mistakes. Give yourself a break and don’t expect perfection from yourself. We all make mistakes!

Get in the Zone
Before your presentation, take some time to loosen up and get your adrenaline going. Listen to a song that will get you pumped up and feeling good. Studies have shown that music has an overpowering physiological effect on us. Listening to some great music can get you amped up and motivated.

Don’t Be Nervous About Being Nervous
Being nervous before a speech is completely natural, but a lot of people who have low confidence about public speaking can sometimes compound their anxiety by over thinking about how nervous they are. Everyone gets nervous before a presentation, but this is just adrenaline, that’s all. It’s energy that you can channel in two ways: Use it to your detriment and make yourself more stressed out than you were before, or you can turn your nervousness into positive energy, motivation, and enthusiasm. It’s perfectly normal and okay to feel nervous, just make that feeling work for you, not against you.

Don’t Be Afraid of Your Audience
This is obviously easier said than done, but the best way to think about your presentation is to think of it as a conversation, but with several people. The audience you’re speaking to is there for a reason, and that reason is to support you, so you’re in good company!

Mindy Lee
Advisor/Marketing Coordinator
Washburn University
America’s SBDC

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Access to Capital for Small Businesses: Looking for Loans, Grants or Investors


Access to capital is vital to the health of small businesses for many reasons including to help with start-up costs, to manage cash flow cycles, for renovation or relocation expenses, to fund expansion into new markets, and to support research and development costs. Without adequate capital, a small business can fail to get off the ground, make it through seasonal downturns, be sufficiently profitable to stay open, have a strong enough presence to take on competitors or  grow to reach its potential.  The good news is that there are resources available to small businesses!

To help small businesses and the people who advise them understand options and to connect with resources, the WU KSBDC has put together a mini-conference on Access to Capital for Small Businesses. In this half-day event speakers will present practical advice and valuable information about topics such as when to use what type of financing, grants available to small businesses, and whether and how to bring in investors.

We are very excited about the presenters who are going to be participating in this event and about bringing this educational and networking opportunity to the small business community!

Presentations include:

• panel discussion: Things that Small Businesses Need to Know about Working With Banks 

• SBA Loan Programs, Janelle Jones, SBA Lender Relations Specialist

E-Community Loans and Programs Through NetWork Kansas, Shelly Paasch, Senior Product Manager & Erik Pederson, Vice President of Entrepreneurship

Funding Opportunities for Women and Minorities, Wayne Bell, SBA Regional Director

Microloans, Brande Stitt, Program Director, Kansas Womens Business Center

USDA Programs, Karissa Stiers, Acting State Director, USDA Rural Development

Applying for SBIR/STTR Grants, Karl Klein, WU KSBDC, Regional Director

Grants for Manufacturers, Jeannine Goodrich, Project Manager Mid-America Trade Adjustment Assistance Center

• IKE/Kansas SEC Exemptions, Lynn Hammes, Office of Kansas Securities Commissioner

Working with Angel Investors, Robert Happeny, MidAmerica Angels

StartUp MHK Pitch Competition, Chloe Austin, StartUp MHK/JNT Company

Working with Local Resources, Local Economic Development Directors and the Kansas SBDC

Access to Capital for Small Businesses is sponsored by Washburn University School of Business, Kansas State University College of Business, Central National Bank (Manhattan), Kaw Valley State Bank (Wamego), Sunflower Bank (Junction City) and the SBA.

Register to attend Access to Capital for Small Businesses.

Date: September 26, 2107

Location: K-State College of Business, Rm. 1092

Cost: $5

: 7:30 – 8:00 a.m.

Presentations: 8:00 p.m. – Noon

Networking: Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Tours of the Business College 12:45 – 1:05

Parking: Available on-campus, $5

Registration Deadline: September 22, 2017

For questions, contact (785) 234-3235.

Related post: Learning about Resources for Capital

Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.

Business Advisor

Washburn University

Kansas SBDC

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Who Needs an Exit Strategy? The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Business Transitioning


On August 24th, Karl Klein, Certified Exit Planning Advisor and Regional Director of the Washburn KSBDC was joined by Andrew Ellis (of Arthur-Green, LLP), Seth Gordon (of Sink, Gordon & Associates, LLP) and Dustin Taylor (of Kaninsurance) for a panel discussion on “Who Needs an Exit Strategy?” at the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to all four of the panelists for sharing your valuable expertise!

Karl Klein started the discussion by answering the question at hand. Every business owner needs an exit strategy. Every business owner, by plan or by surprise, at some point separates from his or her business. Good transition planning, done sufficiently far in advance, can pave the path for favorable outcomes for the parties affected by the loss of an owner, change in ownership or closing of the business. These  parties potentially include not just the exiting business owner, but also any business partners, employees, heirs, stakeholders and/or the new owner.

Though the issue of transition planning is topical given the vast number of small businesses owned by baby boomers approaching retirement, it is in fact an important subject for business owners of any age. Key components are anticipating personal goals, assessing how those relate to future financial needs, building the value of the business to meet those needs, figuring out how to capture that value, and having knowledgeable advisors in place. These advisors might include an exit planning specialist, a financial planner, an attorney, a certified public accountant, a banker and an insurance agent.


Here are some of the important tips offered by the panelists:

• It is never too early to think about an exit strategy. (That is, how will you leave your business?)

• Ideally, allow at least several years to create and execute a transition plan. (In some cases, it may take even longer.)

• It is important to know the value of your business and to be prepared for the fact that it may not be worth as much as you expect.

• Be aware of how maximizing legitimate tax deductions might negatively affect the perceived value of your business.

• If you plan to sell your business, pay attention to value drivers and try to cultivate a buyer.

• If your business has co-owners, make sure that you have a buy-sell agreement (or transition agreement) in place as early as possible.

• Make sure that you have a signed confidentiality agreement before disclosing your financials to a potential buyer.

• Pay attention to who is the named insured on any insurance policy that attaches to the business.

• Carry disability and life insurance on owners and key persons in your business.

• Confer with your advisors to minimize tax consequences and legal risks that can accompany changes of ownership or the death of an owner.

• Have a plan – and not just a financial plan – for life after business so that you can enjoy it!

For many small business owners, the bulk of their net worth is tied up in their businesses; and so the ability to maximize and capture that value is critical to their long term financial health. At the WU KSBDC, one of the advising areas in which we work with clients is transition planning (also called “exit planning” or “succession planning”). This typically involves a business valuation, an assessment of readiness to exit or transition, an evaluation of the potential for value acceleration, a strategy for capturing value, a plan for a smooth transition and on-going advising as needed.  


Related Posts:

What’s Your Exit Strategy?

Thinking About Closing Your Business?

Do You Know the Real Value of Your Business?

Selling or Buying a Business?

Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.

Business Advisor

Washburn University

Kansas SBDC

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