Tag Archives: Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy Introductory Course

Small Business Leadership Academy: Strategy for Competitive Advantage

Small Business Leadership Academy: Introductory Course

The introductory course for the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) focuses on concepts of strategy and competitive advantage and how to achieve them. Through readings and discussion, students focus on the subtleties of strategy and organizational effectiveness. Also, they’ll learn the importance of fit among a company’s activities to realizing an advantage over rivals.

The cornerstone of the strategy course is analysis. Students learned frameworks to analyze not only their industry but their organization’s value proposition. Students will need to determine whether their current organizational strategy is a good fit with their resources. To bring these concepts to life, students engaged in an interactive case discussion regarding an entrepreneurial venture trying to grow to the next level.

Professor Trevis Certo stresses the need for students to be honest about their organization, its resources, and whether their current strategy is in need of updating. “A common strategic mistake that many small businesses make is not understanding how common their product or service is, and how easy it would be for another company to imitate,” Certo says.

Many companies try to be all things to all clients, rather than focusing on their core competitive advantage. Some students in the class had personal experience with the lesson of the evening.

Alex Zuran, president and CEO of Phoenix National Laboratories, says “We didn’t start (seeing an improvement) until we started cutting certain programs. We were trying to do too much.”

Students will spend the next week determining their company’s value proposition. Each student will present their value proposition to the class, and field questions about it. For a small business owner, taking the time to occasionally review their organization’s strategy, and make necessary changes, can be the difference between staying in business and closing their doors.

The framework of this first course on strategy and competitive advantage sets the foundation for the remaining courses. Participants should be able to see how each component fits back into the organization’s strategy.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank.

Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

Small Business Leadership Academy, W.P. Carey School of Business

Small Business Leadership Academy Impacts Business Growth

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank.

The 2011 SBLA program kicked off on Wednesday (August 31) night with an opening reception at the University Club on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. More than four dozen people, including several of the programs professors and administrators, sponsors and alumni celebrated the incoming class.

The alumni present spoke overwhelmingly about the benefits of going through SBLA. Many felt that SBLA had had a direct impact on the growth of their business. The alumni community continues to meet every two months, focusing on solving issues that many small businesses in the Valley face. The network is an on-going benefit to participation in SBLA.

Now entering its fourth year, the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy program covers topics as varied as:

Business Strategy:

This course focuses on concepts of strategy and competitive advantage and how to achieve them.

Competing through Services:

This course asks students to examine the factors necessary for innovation and competitive success.

Procurement:

This course seeks to help students understand the principles, philosophies and value of an effective purchasing management process.

Negotiations:

This course teaches skills and tactics to add value to business relationships.

Building High-Performance Teams:

The capstone course of SBLA focuses on techniques for building a high-performing team of people in an organization.

Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

Steve Lanini, McDonald's, SBLA

Steve Lanini: Small Business Leadership Academy

Steve Lanini discusses how his participation in the Small Business Leadership Academy has benefited his McDonald’s franchises.


Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participant:

Steve Lanini
McDonald’s

Steve Lanini, McDonald's, Phoenix

 

Tell us about your business: Restaurant operations: we operate all aspects of our operations including legal, insurance, payroll, hiring, maintenance, training, marketing, customer service, energy management, recycling, public relations, site remodeling, preventative maintenance, borrowing money, overseeing contractors, pricing, and so on.

Year of participation in SBLA: 2010

What was the most important thing you learned from SBLA? Personal interaction was on the top of my list as a new way to engage our employees. The hardest part is implementing and changing the mind set. We drew from our past experiences and didn’t look outside the box. The group I was in had a very diverse background and that alone lent itself to a barrage of solutions to a particular problem. The professors also are on the cutting edge of their fields. It was a very humbling experience.

How has the SBLA alumni community been helpful to you since you went through the program? I try to keep in contact with the members of my class to draw from their expertise. Their value is incomprehensible. Knowing them and the professors gives me some tools of great value that can assist my daily operations and long-term planning. It was a great experience and long overdue for me.

Steve Lanini owns several McDonald’s franchises in the Phoenix area.

[stextbox id="grey"]The next Small Business Leadership Academy program will begin Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

For more information about the program, including admission requirements, please visit SBLA’s website. [/stextbox]

Virginia Zuber, SBLA Past Participant

Virginia Zuber: Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy, Virginia Zuber


Virginia Zuber discusses how her participation in the Small Business Leadership Academy has benefited her business, Diamond Underground Construction Corp.


Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participant:

Virginia Zuber
Diamond Underground Construction Corp.

Tell us about your business: Diamond Underground is a dry utility contractor that specializes in trenchless methods, or directional drilling, to place conduit underground for the purpose of housing wire or cable for power and communications use. The intent of directional drilling is to install the conduit in a less intrusive manner and to leave the majority of the property undisturbed.

Year of participation in SBLA: 2008

What was the most important thing you learned from SBLA? The most important idea that I learned from SBLA is that I am not an island. There are so many of my colleagues that face the same decisions that I do and sharing them with other entrepreneurs was a wonderful outreach. Also, the formal instruction offered at ASU opened my eyes to looking at things differently, to check out how largely successful companies keep their employees loyal, for example. Another benefit was that I was reminded to identify what my bottom line is, my ‘walk away’ point, before I walk into a negotiation. 

How have you changed the way you do business based on what you learned during SBLA? I would say informally that I have changed the way I do business. I cannot pinpoint one specific topic that is obvious from the class, but I think the way I approach everyday life as an entrepreneur has definitely been positively affected through my involvement with SBLA, the formal instruction, and the continual re-enforcement that I get from the monthly (alumni) meetings.

How has the SBLA alumni community been helpful to you since you went through the program? I look forward to their continuous support and insightfulness. Just recently, I was having a moment, peeling off another layer of struggle that I was experiencing, and just sharing it with the group, and absorbing their feedback was priceless.

What aspects of SBLA do you consider most valuable for other small business owners in Phoenix? Networking with similar businesses has been invaluable. It has allowed us to focus on real problems and come up with solutions to move our business forward. The training we received in class has allowed us to minimize mistakes and maximize our opportunities.

Virginia Zuber is the President of Diamond Underground Construction Corp.

[stextbox id="grey"]The next Small Business Leadership Academy program will begin Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

For more information about the program, including admission requirements, please visit SBLA’s website. [/stextbox]

David Scott, Dave Scott & Associates, SBLA

David Scott, Dave Scott & Associates: Small Business Leadership Academy

David Scott discusses how his participation in the Small Business Leadership Academy has benefited his business, Dave Scott & Associates.


Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participant:

David Scott
Dave Scott & Associates, Inc.

Tell us about your business: We are an office furniture and site furnishings company offering product sales and services throughout the Southwest, including contracts with the state of Arizona. The business started in March of 1999.

David Scott, Dave Scott & Associates

Year of participation in SBLA: 2009

What was the most important thing you learned from SBLA? I learned to how to negotiate contracts and also organizing skills.

How have you changed the way you do business based on what you learned during SBLA? We have learned to be more thorough and concentrate on maintaining good customer service relationships. “It is easier to keep a customer, rather than find a new one.”

How has the SBLA alumni community been helpful to you since you went through the program? Meeting on a regular basis and having speakers present at our meetings have been very resourceful. We have utilized some of the speaker’s services in our business.

What aspects of SBLA do you consider most valuable for other small business owners in Phoenix? Networking with similar businesses has been invaluable. It has allowed us to focus on real problems and come up with solutions to move our business forward. The training we received in class has allowed us to minimize mistakes and maximize our opportunities.

David Scott is the owner of Dave Scott & Associates.

[stextbox id="grey"]The next Small Business Leadership Academy program will begin Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

For more information about the program, including admission requirements,
please visit SBLA’s website. [/stextbox]

Small Business Leadership Academy Five-Part Series

 

Small Business Leadership Academy, Donna Stewart

Donna Stewart: Small Business Leadership Academy

Donna Stewart discusses how her participation in the Small Business Leadership Academy has benefited her business, Stewart Electric & Communications.


Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participant:

Donna Stewart
Stewart Electric & Communications

Donna Stewart, Stewart Electric & CommunicationsTell us about your business: I am a General, Electrical and Communications Contractor, and the majority of my business deals with anything that makes your cell phone work, i.e. installation of towers, faux palm trees, cactus, pine trees, etc. that are stealth antenna concealments.

Year of participation in SBLA: 2008

What was the most important thing you learned from SBLA? Running a business requires a full-time mindset and an entourage of people to from which to pull insight, knowledge and information; and it is a constant learning process.

How have you changed the way you do business based on what you learned during SBLA? My confidence in decision-making has skyrocketed because I know others now who have come across the same obstacles.

How has the SBLA alumni community been helpful to you since you went through the program? The constant interaction among my peers has brought so much insight into running my business because they are always there to bounce things off without being my direct competition.

What aspects of SBLA do you consider most valuable for other small business owners in Phoenix? How it teaches us things about ourselves that we might not have known otherwise, from the way we interact with others to how we handle situations which directly affect our business.

Donna is the president and CEO of Stewart Electric & Communications.

[stextbox id="grey"]The next Small Business Leadership Academy program will begin Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

For more information about the program, including admission requirements, please visit SBLA’s website. [/stextbox]

Small Business Leadership Academy: Lauri Leadley

Lauri Leadley: Small Business Leadership Academy

Lauri Leadley discusses how her participation in the Small Business Leadership Academy has benefitted her business, Valley Sleep Center.


Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participant:

Lauri Leadley
Valley Oximetry, Inc dba Valley Sleep Center

Lauri Leadley, Valley Sleep Center, Small Business Leadership Academy

Tell us about your business: We diagnose and treat sleep disorders. We have five locations serving 6,000 patients a year, making us the leading independent sleep center in the Greater Phoenix area.

Year of participation in SBLA: 2008

What was the most important thing you learned from SBLA? To have frequent meaningful interaction with my employees.

How have you changed the way you do business based on what you learned during SBLA? A lot of ways; we expanded to three additional locations in 2010. I learned many things that impacted my business which launched us into the leading position in our industry.

How has the SBLA alumni community been helpful to you since you went through the program? Our particular group continues to meet quarterly and supports me personally and professionally. Recently one of my employees nominated me for the GPCC IMPACT Award and some of the SBLA Alumni were there to support me as I was awarded the 2011 IMPACT Business of the year honor.

What aspects of SBLA do you consider most valuable for other small business owners in Phoenix? The aspect of education was very valuable to me, and I believe there are many other businesses like mine where education is needed and would be highly valued. I use the SBLA lessons daily. I would love to go back or nominate a leader in my organization if possible.

Lauri is the owner of Valley Sleep Center, which currently has five locations around the Valley.

 

[stextbox id="grey"]The next Small Business Leadership Academy program will begin Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

For more information about the program, including admission requirements, please visit SBLA’s website. [/stextbox]

Small Business Leadership Academy, ASU

Small Business Leadership Academy Five-Part Series

The W.P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP) have joined forces to provide an intensive executive program for small business leaders in Arizona — the Small Business Leadership Academy.

This program is designed to strengthen these leaders’ acuity and is now in its fourth year.

The Small Business Leadership Academy consists of mandatory orientation followed by 10 weeks of classes, taught by W.P. Carey faculty, who have the expertise to help participants “connect theory and research to practical business problems” in order to help strengthen and grow their businesses.

The participants of the program had a minimum business tenure of three years, had annual revenues between $1 million and $10 million, had fewer than 100 employees, and were able and willing to attend all scheduled classes and related activities.

Arizona Business Magazine is showcasing a series of past participants in the Small Business Leadership Academy in a five-part series, posted every Thursday.

Lauri Leadley, Small Business Leadership AcademyWeek One: Lauri Leadley, Valley Sleep Center
Donna Stewart, Stewart Electric & Communications

Week Two:

Donna Stewart, Stewart Electric & Communications

David Scott, Dave Scott & Associates

Week Three:

David Scott, Dave Scott & Associates

Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participants, ASU

Week Four:

Virginia Zuber, Diamond Underground Construction Corp.

Small Business Leadership Academy, Steve Lanini

Week Five:

Steve Lanini, McDonald’s