Want to learn how to run a more successful business? The Alverno College School of Business will be sharing the three keys to business success in a free business development forum on January 29, 2014.

Passion, Planning and Persistence: Three Keys to Small Business Success will be the third Alverno Forum of the 2013-2014 academic year. Like all Alverno Forums, it is free and open to the public.

“This Forum will be like a mini-retreat,” says Carol Vollmer Pope, Forum organizer and associate professor of Business. “It will be a working session. You won’t just sit and listen to a panel. You’ll be involved and working on your business idea or plan.”

The Forum will feature three successful local business people: Mara Henningsen, vice president of Client Programs and Services at Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC); Citlali Mendieta-Ramos, an Alverno alum and owner of Antigua Latin Restaurant; and Ann Nimke, CEO of The Good Jobs, Inc. and co-founder of HRfirst and Pinstripe.

Each will talk a bit about her business, focusing on the role of passion, planning or persistence in business development. The bulk of the Forum, though, will consist of brainstorming and business planning exercises conducted in small groups.

“We’re going to break the large group into smaller groups, and the small groups will rotate through three stations. Each station will be manned by a panelist. One will focus on passion, one on planning, and one on persistence,” Pope says.

At each station, participants will discuss and work through a series of questions designed to help them take their business to the next level.

“I’ll ask people to think about, ‘What does your business look like three years from now? What will your lifestyle look like? How many hours per week do you work? How many employees do you have? How much revenue do you bring in, and how much money is in your savings account?’” Pope says. “It’s okay if you can’t answer the questions straight off. You’ll deal with them in your groups.”

Henningsen, Mendieta-Ramos and Nimke will provide guidance to participants and facilitate small group discussions. The entire group will then reconvene to share information and insights learned in the small group sessions.

Each participant will go home with a three-year timeline of action steps, courtesy of the work they’ve done during the Forum, as well as a bibliography of business books recommended by WWBIC.

“We want people to go home knowing what they can do on Monday morning to make their business a success,” Pope says.

Pope encourages attendees to bring business cards, as there will be plenty of opportunities to network and mingle. Passion, Planning and Persistence is co-sponsored by Temple, Professional Dimensions and the Milwaukee Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.

The Forum will run from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 in the Alverno College Conference Center. Visit www.alverno.edu/forum for details and to register.