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Small Business Leadership Academy, Brandon Taylor - AZ Business Magazine November-December 2011

Small Business Leadership Academy Helps Boost Knowledge Base For Executives

Small Business Leadership Academy Helps Boost Knowledge Base For Executives

Like most small business owners, Brandon Taylor is always looking for ways to boost business.

“I wanted to learn how to be a better manager and entrepreneur,” says Taylor, president and co-founder of Scottsdale-based Small Business Leadership Academy - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011. “I eventually want to get an MBA and I thought the Small Business Leadership Academy program was a great step in that direction.”

Jointly developed by the W.P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business insight, skills and knowledge of small business executives. The 10-week program is now in its fourth year.

“The curriculum is based primarily on courses taught in our MBA programs,” says Trevis Certo, an associate professor at Arizona State University who taught an SBLA module called Strategy for Competitive Advantage. “At the same time, we focus our discussions on  concepts and topics that are most relevant to small companies.”

Gaining a better understanding of those concepts that can impact a small business owner’s bottom line is what benefits participants the most.

“The SBLA program touches on strategy, marketing, procurement, negotiation,” Taylor says. “I have learned some important principles like Porter’s Five Forces (a framework for industry analysis and business strategy development formed by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School), services blueprinting, and procurement techniques that have helped me think about ways to improve our business efficiency and day-to-day operations.”

Certo says increasing a business owner’s knowledge base is particularly important in a turbulent economic environment.

“Business owners are always looking for new ideas, and these searches are amplified during economic downturns,“ Certo says. “Several participants have discussed how competitors have ‘disappeared’ during the downturn. These disappearances provide opportunities for those who remain in the marketplace.”

Taylor is one small business owner who sees education as a way to grow his business and make it stronger

“The more I learn, the better businessman, leader and manager I become,” Taylor says. “Everyone gets caught up in day-to-day operations and your business becomes a job.  Taking the SBLA program has forced me to spend time improving the business operations and growing the company.”

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Learn more about the Small Business Leadership Academy

What it is: Small Business Leadership Academy
Who does it: W.P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor.
What it entails: A mandatory orientation followed by five modules – each consisting of two class periods — taught over a 10-week period. Classes consist of lectures, case discussions, group exercises and simulations, all geared to provide participants with key takeaways to strengthen and grow their businesses.
Requirements: To qualify, you must have a minimum business tenure of three years; have annual revenues between $1 million and $10 million; have fewer than 100 employees; be able and willing to attend all scheduled classes and related activities.
Tuition: $4,000, which includes all instruction, books and materials, parking, and graduation. A limited number of scholarships will be made available.
Web: wpcarey.asu.edu

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Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011