The Mayo Business Plan Competition is designed to increase student appreciation for the challenge of developing a viable business. Through an iterative process the MBPC recognizes those students best able to articulate a plan that addresses these challenges. In recognition of both the time involved and difficulty of the task, the competition provides a substantial reward for the successful teams.
This year’s Total Prize $$ = $50,000! A top prize of $30,000 will be awarded to the winning team with prizes of $14,000 and $6,000 for second and third place teams respectively. Read more about the 2016 Mayo Business Plan Competition here.
Alumni Entrepreneur Panel
The 2016 Mayo Business Plan Competition Information Session took place on Oct. 15, with the 3rd Thursday Alumni Discussion Panel on Entrepreneurship. sponsored by the Dean’s Advisory Council. The program was co-sponsored by the TCNJ Entrepreneur Club and Beta Alpha Psi. Duck Donuts were provided by Matt Erickson ’14!
Moderator: Peter Simons ’98 – US Securities and Exchange Commission
Matthew Erickson ’14 – franchise owner Duck Donuts
Amanda Fuchs ’07 – Co-Founder, InteractWith
Kerri Martin ’94, Executive Director, Second Life Bikes
Chris Hindley ’04 – Founder, HoodiePillow, Inc.
Pete Simons – a 1998 Finance graduate – served as moderator for this inspirational and diverse panel of alumni business owners, showing us a window into each of their personal journeys. Panelists discussed their driving force behind their business launch; start-up and growth management; successes and obstacles; regrets and advice; and much more. Here are some excerpts:
- Early lesson: “I had to do it all: Accounting, management, personnel. If I can’t make the product, I can’t train my staff to.”
- Challenges: “Develop self-regulation, stay grounded”
- Goals 5 Years Out: “Our long-term plan is to have multiple locations throughout NJ. Develop the brand and master the in-store operations.”
- Regrets/Do Over?: “I waited too long for my first location choice.”
- Mayo Business Plan Competition Advice: “Seek out a mentor… a family member, professor, someone you trust who has done it [started a business], and listen to their horror stories.”
- Early lesson: “Social Media isn’t everything; it’s great but not enough on it’s own.”
- Challenges: “Get up and do it the next day, stay motivated.”
- Goals 5 Years Out: “Acquire more schools using Uber’s model. Not marketing nationwide – starting selectively in NJ and learn the school board regulations.”
- Regrets/Do Over?: “I started out trying to sell to service businesses [before focusing on schools]; I spent 3 months trying to sell something that wasn’t sellable. I wish I had not quit my job yet at that point.”
- Mayo Business Plan Competition Advice: “Do your research before you jump in. Know your marketing plan and be sure you can sell it. And develop a relationship with your clients as a way to get ahead of competitors!”
- Early lesson: “It’s a lot of work; I cried a lot in the beginning. You have to figure it all out: what taxes have to be paid, township regulations, zoning permits, insurance policies.”
- Challenges: “Being the boss. I never realized it was so hard. There are a lot of factors involved.”
- Goals 5 Years Out: “Establish a permanent home in Asbury Park; right now we’re renting. It’s a bit of a reach, but there’s a co-working model which is a great plan to create a hub of activity sharing space with other entrepreneurs.”
- Regrets/Do Over?: “Moving into a temporary location without taking it seriously as a real home. I should have treated it like a permanent location.”
- Mayo Business Plan Competition Advice: “Get it out of your head. Go out and talk about it, make it real!”
- Early lesson: “You have to wear a lot of hats. All of a sudden, I was figuring out how to source things in China; the logistics of filling orders. Done is better than perfect!”
- Challenges: “Sourcing is our challenge. Counterfeiting is a struggle for us.”
- Goals 5 Years Out: “Product growth and expansion. We started 3 years ago with 5 SKUs and now we have 50. The biggest leap has been the Blankie Tails line that was started 3-4 months ago and is moving above and beyond.”
- Regrets/Do Over?: “We learned from our mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes launching the first product but we did NOT make them on the next product. I had another business where the shipping weight killed the business.”
- Mayo Business Plan Competition Advice: “If you really believe in what you are doing, then do it. Ideas are worthless, it’s the execution!”