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Key to Success

Empower Employees By Mary Minor Davis The number one reason businesses fail? They run out of cash. The number one reason employees leave their jobs? Their boss. These were two of the key takeaways shared at the second annual Energize Your Enterprise, an entrepreneurial forum presented this fall by BeachFleischman and The University of Arizona’s Eller Executive Education. The event aims to bolster regional job growth by providing a forum for entrepreneurs and growth-minded business leaders to share their challenges and find solutions to operate and grow their businesses successfully. This year’s event featured three diverse business leaders focusing on topics ranging from capital risk to finding the right talent – Kerstin Block, president and co-founder of Buffalo Exchange, Harry George of Solstice Capital and Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns and Western Alliance Bancorporation. They shared personal stories behind their successful enterprises and provided insight into the common challenges entrepreneurs and successful CEOs face. The event was moderated by Stephen W. Gilliland, Eller’s associate dean for executive education. George shared insight from the investors’ point of view on why businesses

fail, citing the No. 1 reason – “it runs out of cash.” He said cash flow and preparing for response to change are critical to understanding business opportunities and cycles. Buffalo Exchange grew from an idea Block and her late husband had in the 1970s. Buffalo Exchange – with nearly 50 stores from California to New York, Washington State to New Orleans – changed the perception of resale. She told how she took that idea to a multi-state level. Key components include passion for what you do, persever-

If you have employees who really love your company and love what they’re doing, then you’re going to have a real successful business. –

Robert Sarver, Chairman & CEO Western Alliance Bancorporation

ance to learn from your mistakes, knowing your customers and the need to have a connection with employees – which in the end, is the most important element for her company. Employees are at the center of Buffalo Exchange’s success. “The main thing we do is work with our employees and keep them engaged in our business. This is a must if you want to grow your business.” At Buffalo Exchange, every employee knows how the company is doing financially. They are taught to read financial statements and understand profit margins. She also promotes “employee empowerment” – which consists of focusing on company culture all the time. “In order to grow you have to keep it alive and vibrant.” Block offered this advice to become a successful entrepreneur: “Go into a business that you love, that you can be passionate about and that fits a need in today’s society.” Sarver agreed employees are the key to any company’s success. “If there’s one takeaway for the day’s event it’s this – if you have employees who really love your company and love what they’re doing, then you’re going to have a real successful business.”


ENERGIZE YOUR ENTERPRISE WORKSHOPS UA ELLER COLLEGE OF MANAGEMENT 1130 E. Helen Street, Room 208 Sponsored by BeachFleischman & UA Eller College Executive Education Social Media Marketing Friday, January 17, 8 a.m. to noon Presented by Hope Jensen Schau Associate Dean, Eller MBA Programs Gary Munsinger Chair in Entrepreneurship & Innovation

IT Security Friday, March 2, 8 a.m. to noon Presented by Lance Hoopes Director of Information Security & Technology UA Eller College of Management

Doing Business in Mexico Friday, May 16, 8 a.m. to noon Presented by David E. Lopez-Monroy CPA, Shareholder and International Tax Practice Leader, BeachFleischman




230 BizTucson


Winter 2014

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