Don Matheson, CEO of Matheson Marketing and Consulting, is a proponent of small business. He has been an entrepreneur since the early eighties, owning several successful businesses both local and international. He is also a member of the Harrison Elite Coaching Group and President of Business Builders Network (BBN), a local group of business owners and managers who share current marketing strategies and help member businesses find solutions to universal challenges.
Matheson’s philosophy is that small businesses are the backbone of the free market economy. He suggests that the business environment is a fluid, perpetual learning experience. His goal and that of the BBN group, is to promote and support new and existing businesses in order to increase their chances of success. Toward that end they have advocated local business initiatives developed by Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC). Matheson refers to it as a “gem in the community college system.” He gives credit to the faculty and staff of the Small Business Center, which work to hold programs and offer public events, share resources and unite the business community. Matheson says, “FTCC is creating an atmosphere for the local business community which will enhance its productivity.”
One of the more recent events was held Friday of the national Small Business Week of May 1-7, 2016. The first annual event of its kind, the FTCC Small Business Summit was offered to equip, empower and encourage entrepreneurship, as stated on the cover of the event brochure. The two principal organizers of the FTCC event are Cindy Burns, Dean of Business Programs and Tamara Bryant, Director of the Small Business Center. They were aided by their administrative staff, Marietta Overton and Sarah Camacho, along with a host of volunteers and staff too numerous to mention. The free program was ambitious and made possible by the major sponsor, Wells Fargo. Beginning with an early five-star networking breakfast prepared by the FTCC Culinary Arts Department, the outline was as follows:
Welcome by President Larry Keen and Jan Spell, Hope Mills Chamber President
Entrepreneur Speaker Series: Local Entrepreneurs Panel
Access To Capital Panel Discussion
Lunch Session Featuring Acclaimed Keynote Speaker Denise Ryan
10 Breakout Sessions
The Business Builders Network group gathered its resources to support this venue. Matheson moderated the Entrepreneurs Panel by posing questions to the four panelists, whose expertise ranged from recently opened to over thirty five years of business experience. BBN member Brenda Howell, lead medical massage therapist and owner of the recently opened Healing Hands Body Therapy, was one of those panelists. Howell admitted, “I was a little nervous about participating but as it developed I found that the panelists shared many common principles and challenges. We had a very constructive discussion.”
Deanne Robinson-Blue, Wells Fargo Retail District Manager, moderated the Access to Capital panel discussion. This panel featured four local financial experts including Cape Fear Market President Greg Reames, also with Wells Fargo. Robinson-Blue and Reames were instrumental in securing Wells Fargo participation.
In addition to the financial giant, several other sponsors contributed to the festivities with door prizes. Geary Chlebus, concealed carry instructor and owner of Make Your Shot Count, provided a huge gift basket with a firearms theme and several smaller door prizes. Chlebus is also an active BBN member.
The working lunch keynote speaker, Denise Ryan of Fire Star Speaking was very well received, as she presented actionable business tips motivated by her desire to promote entrepreneurial success.
Natalie Young, Marketing Director for McFadyen and Sumner CPAs, was enthusiastic about the session offering, “I loved her presentation. I could have listened to her much longer.” Asked for a memorable moment, Young said that the caveat to “be careful whom you invite to your party,” an admonition from Ryan to avoid toxic people and surround yourself with sharing and successful people, stayed with her.
Following the Power Branding Elements breakout session, BBN member and Independent Mary Kay Sales Director Karen Link, shared her observations, “Great presentation! Branding and marketing today require us to be tech savvy for maximum exposure. Chisa Pennix-Brown really pushed the concept to the next level. I appreciate the FTCC Small Business Center and Wells Fargo holding this Summit.”
That sentiment was echoed by BBN member Keith Collins, Managing Partner of SpeedWaiter, a local delivery service for restaurants, “This event was much needed in Fayetteville and plenty of information was provided, not just for aspiring entrepreneurs, but also those that have been in business for several years. I will definitely attend next year’s event!”
Matheson summed it up this way, “All indications are there for another Business Summit in 2017, and Robinson-Blue has confirmed that Wells Fargo will be on board again next year. When you think about it, facilitating the sharing of real, useful content to help businesses of all kinds experience more success, is the definition of win-win. You can be sure Business Builders Network will be there again as well.”