Business Lecture Goes Beyond Dollar Signs

Troy Cornell

In today’s business world, where the stakes are high and decisions have to be made, knowledge about how to successfully run and manage a business is vital to building a foundation for growth and sustainability.

On Thursday afternoon, a former aerospace engineer turned childcare enthusiast described what prospective entrepreneurs must endure in order to make the long and rugged journey to the top of today’s congested profit-seeking world.

Michael Wojeciechowski, who earned a master’s degree in business administration from Pepperdine University, spoke for an hour in front of a packed auditorium about the various aspects of running a small business, from acquiring capital to establishing continuity and commitment to your cause.

Wojeciechowski began his lecture with two slideshow presentations about both of his Kids Klub Child Development Centers locations in Pasadena and the newest in San Gabriel. The slideshows demonstrated that patience can transform a dream into a tangible, real-life achievement.

Wojeciechowski became interested in opening a child care center when his wife came up with the idea while he was earning his MBA.

“My wife had come up with an idea for a childcare center that was different than the other ones out there,” Wojeciechowski said.

“We wrote up the business plan and called it Kids Klub, and we turned it into a reality after I graduated.”

“My wife was pregnant at the time with our first child and that was also part of the reason; we were looking for childcare and we were displeased with the centers we found out there.That’s how Kids Klub came into existence.”

Wojeciechowski used his Kids Klub business as a model for how to start a successful business, and most importantly, keep it that way.

Diversifying the services Kids Klub offers was essential to Wojeciechowski, and by offering lessons in Chinese as well as providing karate classes, Wojeciechowski was able to see his business flourish.

“Those are some of the things that set us apart,” said Wojeciechowski.

“You have to identify what is important to you and what type of service or product you’d like to offer.”

However, some goods and services may not be feasible and alternative routes will have to be navigated. Taking into consideration barriers to entry is vital to one’s entrepreneurship endeavors.

“Opening up a new car company may not be a wise move because there are huge barriers to entry. The cost of establishing a new car company would be huge,” Wojeciechowski said.

“You could do something in the car or automotive field like opening up a magazine, or sell after-market parts for cars,” he said.

For all small business owners, it is a road that can easily lead to prosperity, or right back to humble beginnings. More often than not, small businesses owners become part of the “failing small business statistics,” which by themselves can be barriers to entry.

Researchers have found that nearly 50
percent of all small businesses fail in the first five years. There are, however, plenty of ways to avoid being a part of the scrap heap.

“Having a passion for your concept is critical for your success in establishing a company that’s driven by your success, and not just to make money,” Wojeciechowski said.

“The good news is that 30 percent survive after 10 years. So if you have a good concept, there’s a likelihood of doing well if you can stick it out.”

The number one reason businesses fail?
Simply a lack of passion, according to Wojeciechowski.

“People go into it for the wrong reasons. Why would you do something that you’re not interested in?”

Kids Klub underwent major constructions and costs were huge. Financing those costs weren’t easy for Wojeciechowski because he could not qualify for a loan. Instead he risked his business on credit cards which, luckily for him, did not cripple Kids Klub and his dreams.

The business plan Wojeciechowski created with his wife back at Pepperdine proved useful. Not only did it provide the structure and organization he needed, it solidified his pursuit in opening up a child care center.

“The number one reason why you should do a business plan is for yourself.

“It’s a planning tool you do to solidify your concept, your market, your customers and how you’re going to appeal to them,” said Wojeciechowski.

“So many times I meet people who want to open a business but don’t have a business plan. To me it’s like ‘how can you do the most important thing you’re ever going to do in your life without a plan?'”

Wojeciechowski’s economics professor at Pepperdine once asked the class: “What is the number one trait in a C.E.O., president and a leader?”

His professor’s answer: the ability to make critical decisions with imperfect information on a regular basis.

“As a business owner that’s what it comes down to,” Wojeciechowski said “You’re going to have to make a decision and move forward with it and hope you made the right one.”