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Focus on the Entrepreneur

Focus on the Entrepreneur

Fall 2009

Smart Medicine

The FVTC Venture Center’s new Pro-Seed training program gave Dr. Pat Mahoney the insight and skills to take his veterinary practice to the next level. 

Many small business owners are saddled with the same dilemma: As the primary providers of the technical expertise and services for their companies, they have little or no time to run—let alone, grow—their businesses. Like Dr. Pat Mahoney, veterinarian and owner of American Animal Hospital (AAH) in Neenah, business owners come to work early, skip lunch, and stay late to try to make things work.

“It’s really hard to find the time to pull your head out of the soup and look over the top of the bowl,” says Mahoney, who started AAH in 1979. “Although we’re not yet where we want to be financially, since the training we’ve managed to help our business grow—even in the midst of these difficult financial times.”

Fox Valley Technical College’s Venture Center launched the new program in September 2008, partnering with California-based training firm E-Myth™ Worldwide. The program, Pro-Seed powered by E-Myth™, combines an online curriculum with one-to-one business coaching by Venture Center faculty. Participants study self-paced online training modules in leadership, marketing, finances, and more.

“Having my own coach work one-on-one with me was a powerful experience,” says Mahoney. “She had experience in accounting and in retail business, and she was very familiar with helping professional offices deal with management issues.”

Although the program targets small business owners, Mahoney was serious enough about making some improvements in his business that he wanted his office manager, Sara Holtz, to participate in the program, too.

Holtz worked with Al Lautenslager, an adjunct instructor with The Venture Center, who also is a consultant, author, and marketing and public relations specialist, as her personal coach. “As the company’s office manager, Sara was the perfect person to work with,” says Lautenslager. “She’s second in command at the animal hospital and really understands what makes that business go on a daily basis.”

Mahoney and Holtz note that AAH made several key changes since beginning the program, including:
  • refining the company vision statement
  • redirecting marketing efforts to focus on customer retention and referrals
  • developing a training manual that provides step-by-step instructions on how to perform all tasks, ranging from cleaning floors to performing exams.

In addition to these significant achievements, Holtz noticed another change. “It sounds so simple,” she says. “But Dr. Mahoney is actually eating lunch every day now. And he takes some time for himself once in a while. That is bettering our business.”

He plans to continue on the path that the Pro-Seed program has started. “I plan to continue working with my personal coach by phone,” he says. “And I sure hope Fox Valley Tech continues this program.”

Growing Today’s Workforce… The First Completers of Pro-Seed

The following individuals completed the first-ever Pro-Seed powered by E-Myth™ training session through the FVTC Venture Center:

Jon Bartz, Martenson & Eisele, Inc.
Carol Brauer, BrightStar Healthcare
Gene Dorn, D & D Excavating & Landscape Service, Inc.
Don Goggin, Pinnacle Photo & Portraits
Janet Golla, Janet’s Custom Design
Sara Holtz, American Animal Hospital
David Kozlowski, Kwik Investments, Inc.
David Lindenstruth, HuHot Mongolian Grill
Dr. Patrick Mahoney, American Animal Hospital
Aaron Matuszewski, Prefinished Staining Products, Inc.
Jerry Oberstadt, Oberstadt Landscapes & Nursery
Annilee Pietsch, The Pietsch Team
Diane Pruchnofski, P & D Metal Works, Inc.
Kim Pruchnofski, P & D Metal Works, Inc.
Andy Reuland, The Credit Coach
Jeff Schultz, Martenson & Eisele, Inc.

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