Student Business Association Hosts Roundtable

Local Small Business Owners Participate with OCU Students in Community Roundtabl

Small businesses are not difficult to launch even in today's economy, business students at Ohio Christian University learned at the school's first annual Small Business Association roundtable meeting with small business owners from the area.

"The hard part is keeping the business going,' said John Goode, owner of J.S. Goode Landscaping and Ohio Valley Landscape Equipment.

Goode and the five other small business owners/managers all agreed: Today's small business owners need a workable business plan and sufficient capital to "get through" the lean times. He recommended sufficient capital reserve to fund the company for at least a year. The panel was composed of Larry Schieber, owner/operator of Schieber's Family Pharmacy; Carly Neff, general manager of Rhoades Garden Center and a member of the OCU Business Advisory Council; Dick Patrick, owner of Mason's Furniture; Carl Hostettler, owner of ACT Inc.; and Daniel Davitz, owner of Magic Rack/Production Plus Corp.

"By participating in discussions with our students, they provided answers to insightful questions concerning business," said Dr. David Garrison, chairman of the OCU Business Department. "This event benefits business students by helping them prepare for their future careers."

"We simply don't have enough business currently to justify hiring more employees," said Davitz in response to a question about the 9.6 percent unemployment rate in an area where more than 80 percent of employed citizens work for small businesses.

"The economy is better than it was last year at this time, but our gains are not being sustained," he said. "It's up one minute and down the next."

The panel members all agree they would offer the same services if they could start over, even though Neff admits she would be "scared" to start. "We are a family business, and luckily my mom and dad still make the hard decisions."

"The fate of Mason's Furniture probably would have been considered by the flip of a coin after our fire several years ago," said Patrick, whose grandfather began the business in 1899. "But we were blessed to have a second location (Main Street) to move to, and most of the loss was covered by insurance."

Schieber recommended franchising to the students as a possible entry to the world of business, noting that was the way in which his business began.

None of the panelists said they had staff accountants, although all admitted to using tax services each year and relying on accounting software on a daily basis.

"I'm sure all of us look at payables and receivables every day," said Hostettler. "The hard part is understanding them."

The Student Business Association of Ohio Christian University hosted the roundtable. Germaine Wilson is president, Jenna Wood and Ben Ballein are vice presidents, Jenni Lloyd and Tamara Holder are secretaries, DeLorean Glanton and Mike Farrell are treasurers, and Tim Baker and Nonna Melnik are in charge of public relations.

Published in the Circleville Herald Friday, November 19, 2010 by David Amey, Editor.