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Helping guide entrepreneurial spirit

The Kansas Small Business Development Center’s newest consultant, Stephanie Landis, knows a thing or two about starting and running a successful small business, in that she has done it – twice.

Stephanie Landis

“Stephanie has already hit the ground running, assisting both existing and aspiring small business owners,” said Malinda Bryan-Smith, regional director of the Kansas SBDC.

“Malinda was my consultant when I purchased my first business – AlphaGraphics, a printing franchise,” Landis recalled. “I sold that to another franchisee in the area and went back into sales as a vice president of sales and marketing, but, again, got the call to work for myself and bought a hair salon.”

When approached by the initial owner to buy it back, Landis couldn’t say no. “So I was again struggling with ‘what do I want to be when I grow up.’ I took an inventory and realized my love and passion for business, especially the entrepreneurial process, really stems from teaching and helping people to be successful – whether it was my customers, my sales team or the people I help through job-coach volunteering at my church.”

The Shawnee native and avid Jayhawks fan's knack for helping people be successful applies to her personal life as well.

“As for the teaching/instructing side of things, apparently it has always been in me. I knew I enjoyed coaching sports – I did coach both my daughters in softball – and it applied to mentoring my sales team as well,” she said.

Then Landis began adjunct teaching at various institutions around the city such as Baker University and ITT.

“I had been looking for an opportunity to break into both the teaching and the entrepreneurial areas after having completed Kauffman’s FastTrac training. I had also been ‘bugging’ Malinda to let me possibly instruct some of her classes,” Landis said. “Luckily this position opened up, and I started in July – which gives me the best of all worlds!"

The mission of the Kansas SBDC is to increase economic prosperity in Kansas by helping entrepreneurs and small business owners start and grow their businesses through professional counseling, training and resources. The Kansas SBDC at JCCC is one of eight regional centers in the state of Kansas and approximately 1,000 centers throughout the United States.

“We have all kinds of clients – start-up individuals to very large organizations,” Landis said. “We work with them on writing business plans, finding money as they need it, plotting marketing and sales strategies and providing continued financial evaluation to help them keep their businesses in check.”