Fall business forums kicking off at WSU

Wichita State University's Forum Series for Business Ownership kicks off Sept. 30 with presentations from three finalists for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Award.

Paul Farmer of Famhost, Scott Pitman of Suzuki of Wichita and Bill Ramsey, founder of the Bill Guy Technology Solutions, are the featured speakers for the 3 p.m. presentation in 107 Devlin Hall at the school's Center for Entrepreneurship.

Tim Pett, director of the entrepreneurship center, said the fall series ties together some of the themes developed in the series' first four years.

"We began the series looking at how one owns a business from an entrepreneurship perspective — buy, start, inherit or franchise," Pett said.

"This fall's series expands on that. It's a perfect opportunity to highlight the chamber's program on what successful businesses do to grow their business."

Pitman's recipe is built on customer input and innovation.

"We ask a lot of questions of our clients about what they want from a dealership, a salesperson, a service department, etc.," Pitman said, "and we attempt to build our process around the customer, continually asking and challenging our systems with, 'Is this good for the customer?' "

Pitman said that kind of innovation is essential to succeed in a highly competitive Wichita car market.

"Some of the best dealers in the country are in Wichita or they are from Wichita," Pitman said. "Since we are the new kids on the block, we have to out-create, out-work and out-hustle our competitors to stay one step ahead."

The Sept. 30 forum is the first of three fall semester sessions at the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Others are:

* 3 p.m. Oct. 21: Maxine Clark, founder and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop.

* 3 p.m. Nov. 18: Emerging and Innovative Entrepreneurs.

The forums are free and open to the public. The presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer session. For information, call 316-978-3000.