School of Business

School of Business
Phillip S Bessler
Business Clinic Director
Kamm Hall

The Business Clinic

What is the Business Clinic?

The Baldwin Wallace University Business Clinic (BC) is a community outreach program for small business owners, new business entrepreneurs and not for profit boards and/or executive directors.  The Clinic's primary goal is to coach our clients through the development of their business strategy. We utilize a number of different tools including a feasibility analysis to determine if a venture or new product is worthwhile, The Business Model Canvas to determine the value proposition and customer acceptance and the detailed Business Plan.   We also offer other services for clients which include an in depth review of their existing business plan.

Who works with the clients?

Student consultants are fully trained in all aspects of the feasibility analysis, the Business Model Canvas and business plan development.  Students are selected based on their academic accomplishments, prior business experiences, their communication skills, and their internship experience. They are teamed with our Executive Volunteers (EV).  These executives have run small and large organizations, have a passion for helping other business owners, and for economic development in Northern Ohio.  While the business owner is expected to fully develop his or her plan, the EV  and student consultant offer significant  information and experience to help the business owner throughout the planning processes.

What is the Business Clinic Process?

A client contacts the BC to discuss their specific business needs.  Services in the Clinic are customized and personal to each business owner's needs.  Once the need has been assessed, a student consultant and EV are assigned to the client.  The student consultant will then set up an initial meeting with the client and EV.  At the initial meeting, the full agenda and expected outcomes will be reviewed and agreed to by all parties.  During each working session, the mentoring team discusses, in detail, the content to be discussed that day.  Generally, one or more topics can be completed in each session. The client develops drafts of the agreed to content and emails it to the student consultant in advance of the next meeting.  The student consultant and EV will review what has been written and give feedback during the beginning of the next session. The Clinic goes at a pace that is comfortable for the client, while making progress at each meeting.  There are no limits to the number of meetings as long as progress is being made.

For the in depth reviews of complete business plans, a one time meeting is set up.  Prior to the meeting the client submits their business plan to be reviewed by a student consultant and EV.  During the meeting the student consultant and EV will give detailed feedback on the business plan, focusing on the completeness and clarity of the plan.

The feasibility study is a one time meeting, in which a student consultant guides the client through the assessment of the potential for their business idea.

What happens after the business owner assembles his or her plan?

After the completion of the business plan, our Executive Volunteers will carefully review it for completeness and clarity.  The client, consultant and EV will then discuss the plan and provide the client with further materials, if required, to complete the business plan.  Additionally, if a client needs to prepare an oral presentation of their plan for others, BW students and faculty can assist in a trial presentation.

What other resources are part of the Clinic?

As a client of the BC, you have full access to the Ritter Library business reference material, including printed and electronic information and databases. Some of the on-line services are subscriptions based and not publicly available.  In addition, the research librarians are available to assist you. You also have the potential to connect with other EV's and faculty.

What have our clients said about the BC?

Chuck Debelak, Head of School, Birchwood School

"Transitioning from a founders' run, non-profit institution to a formal board-run institution was a significant undertaking for Birchwood School and the BW Business Clinic was able to provide a framework for our thinking and professional feedback for our planning. My year at the clinic was well spent."

Bubba's Q

"I'm really excited to get to this point with the business clinic, I'm seeing a vision on a larger scale than the restaurant. The Business Clinics Team of the trained student consultant and volunteer executive are taking my thoughts to the next level.   This was one of the first and wisest investments made in the new venture.

Thank you for being there.

Al & Sabrina Baker
Bubba's Q
820 Center Rd
Avon, OH 44011
440-937-7859 Ext. 1

Jamie O'Brien
Mercury Networks, Inc. 

"I think this was a great tool to help us move in the right direction regarding our business plan...  You and your group have exceeded my expectations. I was thoroughly impressed with the process and the individuals involved.  Thank you very much for you help. It is much appreciated."

Bruce A. Sherman, Ph.D.,  President, B & D Specialty Concepts, Inc.

As an exercise physiologist with minimal business experience I found writing a business plan to be more challenging than writing a doctoral dissertation.  I truly appreciated how my Business Clinic team challenged me to think out of the box and out of my comfort zone and, in the process, gave me an MBA-like business education.  Now I have a far-reaching, yet focused and directed, roadmap to success for my product and my company.  "Thank you - Team."  I could not have done this without your help!"

Mr. Claude Kennard, President, Metaloy 

"Working with the Business Clinic stimulated my thinking, caused me to devote the resources and time and provided me the motivation to get it done.  I'm very task oriented and without the BC, I never would have devoted the time to it."

A second quote reads, " In fact, you've got us this far, so I might as well let you take us over the top! I don't know if I stated this before, but we took the initial BP and built a formal funding solicitation document around it using the funding source (names deleted for confidentiality). We plan to break escrow this month and begin building the plant within the next few months. We will raise between $(confidential).   This is an exciting time for Metaloy, but it all started at BW and your Business Clinic."

Mr. Ron Makovich, President of Makovich & Pusti Architects, Inc.

The Baldwin Wallace University Business Clinic provoked a new thought process, depth, and clarity of the business we had not thought about before. The Business Plan Clinic provided vision for the future, and "that's what business is all about".

Dr. Willie S. Williams, President, Willie S. Williams, Inc.

"The sessions allow me to focus on the specific details of the business plan and how they relate to my future business.  The discussions are providing me with information that will allow me to move from my current situation to my future vision."

Ms. Ferne Zigler, President, Ferneway Company

"The structure and content of the BC has enabled me to think more clearly about how Ferneway Company will operate and grow for the future.  The access to the Ritter Library is helping both my business plan development and my clients."

Mr. Ike Brooks, Managing Director, The PARTNERSHIP

"The value I received from the Business Clinic was in the detailed discussions held that challenged my thinking,  more then just the business plan outline, format  and content."

Ms. Erin Hantek, CFO, Paragon Data Systems

"My experience with the Business Clinic was quite educational and helpful.  I believe it to be an excellent resource for those embarking on a new business venture....."

What does the service cost for a business plan and how many consulting sessions are included?

There is a nominal charge for the clinic and there is no set limit on the number of sessions a business owner can have.  Our experience suggests that six to eight sessions are required to complete their plans.

Who do I call for more information?

To find out how the BW Business Clinic can put you on the path to small business success, fill out the information below or contact Professor Phil Bessler at 440-826-2083.  An informal, no obligation consultation with him can determine if the Clinic is right for you.

The Business Clinic at Baldwin Wallace University: Practical. Principled. Powerful.


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