Metro State professor Dr. Lynn Hoffman has been teaching for the Small Business Institute – a national organization that allows business students and community entrepreneurs to collaborate- for over 25 years, but this is the first year he has partnered with Mi Casa’s Women’s Business Center.
Partnering with Hoffman’s Organizational Management Consulting class provided a unique opportunity for several of Mi Casa’s Business Success graduates to access free business counseling and technical assistance, and gain a deeper understanding of their business and industry.
Four teams of business students were each paired with one of Mi Casa’s Business Success graduates. Teams were cross-disciplinary, consisting of students concentrating on accounting, management, marketing and more.
“This is a win-win program,” said Hoffman, explaining the team structure allows students to discover how different business disciplines tie together in a real world setting, and also provides small business owners with a more extensive consulting experience.
Hoffman’s students and Mi Casa business participants met once a week, allowing the students to gain a deep understanding of their client’s business and goals.
Throughout the semester, Hoffman’s students worked with Mi Casa business participants to create a comprehensive report, including a company overview, industry analysis, and competitive analysis. Armed with this knowledge, the class culminated with students sharing recommendations with their client through a presentation and final report.
“Students give their clients a number of options for recommendations, putting the ball in their court,” Hoffman said.
This semester long partnership between the consulting team and their client resulted in high-quality counseling, worth an estimated $6,000 to $10,000.
“Students worked to understand both their client’s business goals and their personal goals, to see if there was an opportunity to merge both,” said Hoffman, noting that one business owner’s individual goals led her consulting team to suggest she consider turning her business into a non-profit.
“The consulting teams each put in 70 to 90 hours of work and research, giving our graduates fresh perspectives, new strategies and a broad view of their business,” said Mi Casa’s Women’s Business Center staff. “It opened their minds to a new way of thinking, and really reinvigorated and encouraged them in their entrepreneurial endeavors.”