Michael Partee recently had one of those experiences that lend credence to the thought that it is often the journey – rather than the destination – that yields the most reward.
Partee, the owner of M.B. Partee's Gourmet Pecans, recently emerged the winner of the best business plan grant competition sponsored by Deidre Malone and The Carter Malone Group LLC. After a thorough review by a panel of professionals, Partee came out on top of the grading process. He netted money to invest into his business and a new perspective on what it takes to run one.
"I'd like to think that I learned more about my business through the process of writing this business plan than I they learned from reviewing it," said Partee. "Through their symposium, I was able to truly look at my business and identify strengths and weaknesses that will affect its success long-term. ...This was a great learning experience."
A life-long Memphian, Partee is a well-recognized artist with work displayed across the country. In the early 1980's, he was artist-in-residence at two Memphis art galleries before transitioning into corporate art with Federal Express Corporation in 1986. Seven years later, he resigned his senior illustrator position to pursue his art full-time. Thus the birth of Art by Michael B. Partee.
Partee says his creative background helped him create attractive packaging for his new product and to develop a strong branding strategy. With that strategy in mind, Partee was among those who sought out the opportunities built into the 2014 version of the Controlling How the Cookie Crumbles: Educating and Empowering Entrepreneurs symposiums offered by The Carter Malone Group.
The annual event is designed to target women and minorities who are interested in starting a business or are new business owners. Attendees are exposed to information about the staples any business needs to get off the ground, including a strong business plan, industry benchmarking, using resources within the community, marketing and financing. All of that is followed by an extensive Q&A session.
At the end of the symposiums, participants were asked to submit their own business plans using the information learned. The incentive included a chance to be awarded a $1,500 grant to help get their business started or to help them grow their business.
"We want people to walk away feeling empowered," said Malone. "I truly believe in giving back to the community and helping others as much as possible. If we are going to thrive as a county, then we must help create new business opportunities on every level. These symposiums are designed to inform aspiring and new women and minority entrepreneurs how to be successful from the beginning."
Seasoned industry leaders served as speakers for the symposium each year. The headliners were Dr. Floyd Tyler, founder/president of Preserver Partners, and Fred Jones, founder/president of SMC Entertainment/the Southern Heritage Classic. Sessions were conducted by Nita Black – MAP Momentum, Alandas Dobbins – Memphis Office of Resource Enterprise, Natasha Donerson – Success Unlimited, and Cynthia Norwood with alt.Consulting.
(For more information on Controlling How the Cookie Crumbles annual symposiums, visit www.cmgpr.com.)