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NACCE - SAM'S CLUB SHARED VISION: When Shared Vision= Shared Success

Posted By Amy M. Pietsch, Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shared Vision =  Shared Success

Amy Pietsch, Director

FVTC Venture Center


Fox Valley Technical College’s (FVTC) Venture Center unveiled its newest business training to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, Marketing Made Lean, in March. The Venture Center is a leading entrepreneurship and small business center helping people to launch and grow their small businesses and entrepreneurial firms via targeted business training. The new series, Marketing Made Lean, has been designed to create results-driven marketing for micro and small businesses and enables us to increase entrepreneurs’ engagement with FVTC and the Venture Center. This series is an example of the Venture Center’s work in continuing to engage in the development and expansion of micro and small businesses in our region and beyond.

FVTC received funding as a participant in the 2014 NACCE-Sam’s Club Shared Vision for Small Business cohort. This funding enabled us to create and deliver a training solution to solve a problem area for small businesses: marketing. According to a recent Sam’s Club survey, marketing was one of the key challenges inhibiting greater small business success nationwide. As part of the commitment to the Shared Vision cohort, FVTC’s goal is to serve small businesses with knowledge about and participation in Marketing Made Lean through 2014.

The series pairs solid marketing fundamentals with the latest in tools, resources and professional insight in four workshops, each lasting four hours. Sessions are offered at FVTC campuses in Appleton, Oshkosh, Waupaca and in Green Bay through E-Hub. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Gateway Technical College are also partnering with FVTC and offering Marketing Made Lean in their service areas. Additional partners include Small Business Development Centers located at University of Wisconsin campuses in Oshkosh, Green Bay and Stevens Point. So often marketing programs are theoretical in nature. Our experience indicates that sustainable business success happens when training is concentrated on local markets and consists of real-life strategies that are possible to implement. Partnerships that allow us to share our wins and meet challenges helps all of us reach and serve more businesses.

Marketing Made Lean is challenging and it’s different, due to its pragmatic design incorporating marketing fundamentals with the latest in marketing insight and tools from today’s business thought leaders such as Alex Osterwalder, David Madie and Barry Moltz. Additionally, nine marketing experts from throughout Wisconsin and beyond, are featured during the monthly, marketing call-in session. These speakers represent marketing disciplines including branding, strategy, design, advertising, digital media and public relations. Our experts provide cutting-edge advice that works for people who are challenged with working on the day-to-day needs of their business, most of them are also entrepreneurs and have an affinity for understanding challenges faced by small businesses who may not have any marketing background.


Elements of the series include facilitation in key areas of marketing:

·         Linking business purpose with a strategic vision

·         Positioning your product/service within targeted marketing channels

·         Creating  customer relationships through service and feedback

·         Creating a budget that is can be implemented and is measurable


The series is priced at $249.00 and if participants are willing to complete a full grant application they can participate for $199.00 per person. Marketing Made Lean is an entry-level product for us at the FVTC Venture Center. The affordable price point, depth of interaction and application of marketing concepts during the sessions, combined with the tools and resources provided, make it an easy “yes” for business owners. Once we are able to engage and assist them during Marketing Made Lean, they are eager to learn about our other products, services and coaching that can help them.

From the beginning of this process at the NACCE 2013 Annual Conference through today, one of our biggest resources and supporters who is helping provide insight and ideas to ensure our success with this grant is NACCE Fellow Tim Putnam. Tim is patiently guiding us as we navigate and deliver on this opportunity. He is a passionate and talented economic development practitioner who understands the reality of having to operate an entrepreneurship center that drives economic development in its service area while also driving revenue to the college.

As with any new product launch, driving awareness and purchase of the workshop is our biggest challenge. Our extensive partnerships, executing our own marketing plan and mining community connections is helping us meet those challenges. To date, hundreds of people have learned about Marketing Made Lean, 40+ micro and small business owners have enrolled and participated in the offering, with momentum growing and results starting to emerge. Based on comments like these from participants, we’re excited to have an offering that will be in our repertoire for a while:

· “Great tools, I can’t wait to use them and make marketing something that is an integral part of our business.” –Seminar Participant April 2014

· “Very good. Really got me thinking about our current marketing and sparked ideas.” –Seminar Participant April 2014

·  “Very impressed with the quality of the program. Every small business owner should take it to get a better understanding of marketing.” –Seminar Participant April 2014


If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact me at I’d enjoy sharing our process and steps to creating non-credit, professional development training that drive business launches/expansions in the communities you serve and revenue for your College. Are you offering non-credit training for businesses in your area? I’d love to connect and learn what’s working for you!



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