Springfield center brings small biz owners together to share, learn

Springfield’s Small Business Development Council hopes to expand a program designed to allow business owners to periodically network and share resources.

“Picture a group of between six and eight small business owners who get together every week or every two weeks and talk about what their challenges and goals are for the week,” said Rob Alexander, executive director of the SBDC.

READ MORE: Defense bill to benefit Springfield airport, drone research

The program is called Masterminds. In most meetings, one of the business owners is on the “hot seat” allowing time to talk about any topic and solicit advice and thoughts from other business owners.

The meetings and their direction is driven by the business owners, not the SBDC, Alexander said. The idea is to give local businesses an outlet they might not otherwise have to discuss the positive side and the challenges of their work, he said.

MORE BUSINESS NEWS: Boomers working longer than ever, expert tells Springfield leaders

Masterminds groups initially became popular in other cities, he said, but have spread as businesses have seen their value.

“Owning a business honestly can be quite isolating,” Alexander said. “Who do you talk to when you’re worried about your business? You can’t talk to your employees about that. It’s a chance to drop your guard and be real with other people who understand those same issues.”

RELATED: What’s next for downtown Springfield? Nonprofit weighs options

The program started with one group that’s been active for a couple of months. But it’s fared well enough the SBDC now wants to expand the program. Ideally the groups would be organized by local business owners rather than the SBDC, Alexander said, which would act more as a facilitator.

“I’d love to have a dozen groups going in Springfield,” he said. “They can organize around themes or they can be kind of a hodgepodge mix of entrepreneurs.”

DETAILS: Meet the Urbana business that has 1 family, 4 cows and new ideas on milk

Dana Akers, co-owner of Launch Runner, has been part of the initial group. The company started in 2010 and has offices in Springfield and Minneapolis, specializing in digital marketing and web development for small businesses. Members of the group keep the discussions confidential, he said, and the talk goes beyond just networking, allowing local business owners to share advice and bounce ideas off each other.

MORE: Could driverless tech mean thousands of Ohio trucking jobs lost?

“We want these to grow organically,” Alexander said. “We don’t want to play a heavy hand in putting these things together. We want people who are motivated to start them to simply have a platform. We’ll give them a few tools and some advice but these things will be self-managed for the most part. They’ll have a space they can use here at the SBDC if they want to.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Silfex begins hiring for up to 400 jobs in Springfield
Silfex begins hiring for up to 400 jobs in Springfield

A firm that has pledged to invest more than $220 million into Clark County has started hiring and will host a job fair next month. Silfex, based in Eaton, will host a job fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the OhioMeansJobs-Clark County office at 1345 Lagonda Ave. in Springfield. The company has pledged to create more than 400 jobs...
Portman challenges businesses to ‘step up’ as part of opioid fight
Portman challenges businesses to ‘step up’ as part of opioid fight

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman met with business leaders in Dayton Friday and challenged them to “step up even more” in the fight against opioids. ”I’m deeply concerned about where are our country is heading in terms of the opioid crisis, and all of the consequences,” Portman said in an appearance before the Dayton Area Chamber...
St. Patrick’s Day: Don’t drink and drive. Uber, AAA offer special deals
St. Patrick’s Day: Don’t drink and drive. Uber, AAA offer special deals

Thousands of Ohioans will head to their favorites pubs this weekend in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, but officials have a warning for residents: “Don’t drink and drive.” From 2012 to 2016, 269 people were killed in drunk driving crashes during this holiday period, accounting for 38 percent of all crashes, according to the...
Jewelry store company expects to close 200 stores
Jewelry store company expects to close 200 stores

Signet Jewelers, parent of Zales, Kay Jewelers, Jared and other jewelry brands, expects to close more than 200 stores by the end of fiscal 2019. Signet will undertake a real estate review as part of a new three-year strategy plan to drive change and profitability within the company. The plan will save $85 million — $100 million is fiscal 2019...
Lima mulch company building Moraine location
Lima mulch company building Moraine location

A Lima, Ohio-based mulch company is building a retail and distribution site in Moraine. Wright Mulch has already laid the foundation for its new building just east of Dryden Road, near Heidelberg Distributing’s Moraine distribution center and south of the DMAX truck engine plant. MORE: Speedway parent CEO makes 935 times as much as his employees...
More Stories