On November 15, Scott D. Miller, an experienced accountant and entrepreneur who founded Enterprise Services, Inc. (ESI), spoke about entrepreneurship and the success of employee-owned companies at an MBU business breakfast.
Miller began his talk with a brief introduction and an honest look at the reality of entrepreneurship. He refuted the common assumption that entrepreneurship is an easy, profitable task that anyone can do. He backed up his argument with his own experiences, recalling the 80-hour weeks he endured when starting ESI in his basement.
Miller shared inherent qualities that every entrepreneur needs. His list included taking risks, facing uncertainty, maintaining control, having passion, and setting goals. If would-be entrepreneurs possess these qualities, they have what it takes.
“An entrepreneur is wired differently,” Miller said. “They are strategic thinkers, and are always weighing the consequences of their actions.”
Miller used his meeting with a Harley Davidson store owner to illustrate his point. The man, dressed in his best leathers, met Miller and asked to be called by his nickname, “Snake.” “But his leathers and nickname were a thin veneer over his ability to run a business and think strategically,” said Miller.
After defining and explaining entrepreneurship, Miller shared how business start-ups change once they pass the point of mere survival. Miller focused on Employee Stock Ownership Plan & Trust businesses, or ESOPs, as a potential goal for entrepreneurs.
ESI, Miller’s company, provides consultation for employee-owned businesses, so Miller has years of expertise on the subject. Miller demonstrated the functions of an ESOP with a graph and a chart. These images illustrated how money flows in an ESOP and how this style of business benefits employees and the economy.
Miller finished his presentation with the factors that make an ESOP business successful.
- Well-established business with predictable cash flows
- Open and communicative company culture
- Educated employees
- Experienced and tenured management
- Lower turnover
- At least 20 employees (more is better)
The breakfast concluded with a question and answer time.