ON CAMPUS Did the greatest idea for a new business since Blockbuster Video blow up in your hands, but still leave you with the entrepreneurial urge? Call the doctor.
In this case, the man with the plan is JERRY WHITE, director of entrepreneurship of SMU’s Caruth Institute of Owner-Managed Business. On eight consecutive Wednesday nights starting this month, you’ll have a chance to figure out what went wrong while you get some common-sense advice from “Starting and Building a Business.”
The class, a condensed version of a semester-long course, draws people who tried to run a business and feiled, those with an idea and the desire to be their own boss, and some who just want to find out if they’ve got the right stuff for self-management.
White’s goal is for each student to come away with a solid business plan for his or her venture, as well as “the knowledge that there’s a hard, tangible body of information out there if they try to make it happen.” His fact-laced delivery is both diverting and sobering, as on the realities of securities law: “The exemptions are written in gray. The laws are written in black and white. That’s why entrepreneurs are careful.”
White says there is no formal tracking procedure to see how graduates have done, but he notes: “You bump into somebody in an airport six years later, and he says the business is doing great. A few we know about. I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt started as an undergraduate business plan 12 years ago.”
Interestingly, one outcome of each class is the decision by some students not to pursue self-employment any further. In which case. White believes, “We still win. We reduce the mortality rate, and they spare themselves five years of ruin.”