The Herald-Times
It’s your business

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 2:00 am

By Steven Bryant A Bloomington voice

There is nothing more satisfying for an entrepreneur than to take an idea and make it reality. It takes planning, execution and some luck, but when it happens, it is magical.

Our team at the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech-Bloomington has been conducting client follow ups for the past few weeks and exciting progress is being made.

We have many clients who are students at Ivy Tech working on their business idea and trying to move it from the drawing board to the real world. They are also doing this while working on a degree or certificate and many are also working, raising a family and planning for the future. One such student is about to launch his retail business after reworking his business plan through many versions, securing his startup financing, crafting a real budget forecast and performing market research by visiting likeminded businesses in other communities.

The business has been in the planning stage for over a year and now it is time to “launch the ship,” so to speak. We congratulate him on his perseverance and drive to make it happen!

We also have students who come to us with existing businesses that want to learn more about how to grow the business further. A recent student with a business in the service sector has six employees and is dealing with issues of growth: how to better manage his employees, improve his financial operations and focus on the bigger picture of where he wants the business to be in five years. We are so pleased to see him soak in the advice of our adjunct faculty and subject matter experts in our classes this past semester. He really has learned some simple and practical tips to add value to his business. Great job!

We recently hosted one of our CEO Roundtables and one of our rising stars has grown her business leaps and bounds by expanding into a new property to increase her retail and service operations, growing her customer base greatly and using social media and other low cost marketing techniques to reach her audience “where they communicate.” There were some major capital investments that caused significant stress, but it seems to be working out as expected. Sometimes you just gotta take the “leap of faith” guided by some real numbers and expectations. We know she will prevail. We all have things to learn from her.

These are just a few examples of why we are so excited that people still want to work for themselves. Often, they just don’t know what questions to ask and where to find information.

We are fortunate that we have many organizations in our region to help guide them and we are working collaboratively with many local agencies to create a better way for people to access information to start their business.

A big thanks to the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County and the Duke Energy Foundation for generous grants to enable us to do so. We will update you on the details in the near future. In the meantime, please visit our website at for more information about our programs or to become a client of the Cook Center.

Steve Bryant is executive director of the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College. Next week’s column will be from Danise Alano-Martin.


About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.