March 20th Newsletter

Kyle Jones with “Jones Designz”

Since Kyle was eight years old he has had a great love for art. As we frequently find to be the case with most of the entrepreneurs we have had the pleasure to speak to this year, turning a passion into a career makes for a very satisfied life! “Jones Designz” was started by Kyle in 2012. He currently offers screen printing, heat transfer, promotional items, spirit wear, graphic design, and signs and banners. Another added bonus to Kyle’s visit is the extensive work he does with trade shows. As we prepare for our first trade show to be held April 29th at the Newton KC Hall, CEO’s have many questions in regards to logistics, layouts, inventory, etc. Kyle expressed to the CEO’s that the most important aspect of the trade show booth is YOU, the student working the booth! In Kyle’s words, “It’s all about you!” He encouraged them to be confident, always standing, and eager to talk to everyone who passes by. To find out more about this local business visit his website at

Jasper County Board

Linda Huth, Jim Weber, Everett Miller, and Joe Bierman joined Jasper CEO in the county’s board room on Tuesday morning to discuss the inner workings of our county’s business. The county board members work with a $4 million dollar budget derived mainly from property taxes. Our county is the 3rd largest employer in the county with 76 full-time employees and 20 part-time employees. Four board members are elected to a 4 year term from 3 districts in a staggered fashion. These board members are divided into 12 different committees: Road & Bridge, Solid Waste, Sheriff, Finance, Building, Ambulance, Insurance, EMA, Animal Control, JEDI, JCHD, and Personnel. In regards to the budget and incoming funds we discussed the EAV, reassessment, tax sales and the fact that our treasurer’s office sends out tax notices for approximately 15,000 parcels in Jasper County! It was a great discussion and very eye opening for CEO students!

Business Plan Activity

An integral part of CEO is students planning and executing their own individual business. As with the class business students are challenged to create a business plan for each of the businesses. This is no small feat. To build a business plan it is required that students think the entire way through the business beginning with the end in mind. Plans need to be thorough, specific, and include information such as demographics, industry trends, management and marketing theories and practices, as well as financial plans. In order for students to create their own thorough plan they have met with bankers, SBDC employees, and numerous business owners who have started several companies.

In a critical thinking exercise on Wednesday, we divided into 3 groups, each with a different “mock” business plan. Leading the groups were Barney Brumfiel with SBDC in Olney, Scott Bierman with PS Realty/JEDI/JJI, and Amy Tarr with Jasper CEO. Students were given the plans on Monday for review and the first step Wednesday was for them to explain to the group leader the basic idea of the business while highlighting both the good and the needed areas of improvement from the plan. Eventually the students were forced to decide after researching the plan as a group whether or not they would give the business their requested funds based upon the quality of the plan. At the end of class, each of the groups explained their assigned plan and reported as to whether they would give the funds. One of the greatest aspects of this activity was the interaction during group work and during the reporting out from our guests, Barney, Scott, and Wes Pitcher. They were able to offer clarification and focus to the 20-40 page plans while also prompting leading questions. Overall, it was a magnificent learning experience that will serve to be very beneficial in our individual class businesses! The students have gained much from this type of experiential learning where there are no right or wrong answers, but instead they research the facts, draw an opinion from them and defend them with evidence. Wow! That is a great way to learn!

One on one selling and the sales pitch

Another great day in Jasper CEO as we welcomed Kelly Hemrich with Mary Kay Cosmetics and Chad Farley with Farley Insurance. Our topic of discussion covered one on one selling and giving a sales pitch. Kelly talked with us about choosing our words wisely, being enthusiastic, loving what we are selling, and believing in ourselves. She reiterated how much people are attracted to nice! Chad discussed with us how important it is to learn your product, be yourself, and how to handle criticism. He offered that with experience, some of which will be failure, you get a “thicker skin” for criticism. Students had great questions and conversations in regards to their fears about selling their individual business and even practiced how they would handle confronting sales as well as confronting their critics. We encourage visitors everyday to experience conversations that high school students are having just like these in CEO. They are not your typical 17 & 18 year old conversations. It’s amazing!

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The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the Jasper County CEO program. To participate, a 3-year $1000 per year commitment is required. Business Partner Investors commitments of time and energy are also critical to the program's success. Contributions may be tax deductible, as our organization is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

When we are not touring local businesses, we need a place to host the class. During that time, the 0 CEO students and their Facilitator would meet at your site where they would also have guest speakers and guests from the community attend. Hosting requires a facility with internet access and adequately accommodates up to 5 people.

We are looking for people to share real-life stories about the concepts of running a business, from strategic thinking, product development to marketing, and cash flow management. Also, sharing your personal successes and failures are what recent classes have enjoyed the most.

If you are interested in participating in any of the above programs, use our contact form to send us a message

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