In 2006, shortly after beginning his BS in Business Administration program at Walden University, Willie Jones founded Systems Solutions LLC., a company that provides in-house and mail-order computer hardware and software repair as well as subcontracting services for companies across the United States.
For Willie, a 26-year Army veteran, education has always been important. After he retired, Willie went to work for a bank as a senior systems administrator, but he soon felt the time was right to become an entrepreneur.
“Starting my own business and being enrolled at Walden at the same time was a great fit,” says Willie. “I could apply what I was learning in my marketing and business concepts courses while building my business.”
After earning his undergraduate degree from Walden, Willie became a lifelong learner and went on to pursue his Master of Information Systems Management (MISM) and is now enrolled in the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program. His doctoral research is on enterprise resource planning systems.
Willie says that his DBA program is helping him to develop his entrepreneurial spirit and become a better business owner. “The program has provided me with a lot of insight concerning leadership and management. I now have an enhanced awareness of the role others play in my business and realize that my employees can also play a greater role in the success of my business as opposed to me having to do it all. Sharing our ideas and implementing them together makes for better business.”
For aspiring entrepreneurs or those who have just started a business, Willie offers these words of advice:
Take a course in entrepreneurship. “The first five years of starting a business are the most challenging for an entrepreneur. You can start a business without a degree, but if you don’t have the organization and business sense needed to succeed, you risk failing early on. Taking the entrepreneurship course at Walden really opened my eyes and helped me to push my company forward.”
Find a mentor. “Finding someone who you can confide in, who has already started a business and been through this process, is extremely beneficial during the difficult and uncertain times.”
Ensure you have the financial backing needed to get the business off the ground. “Thinking about the building or space you will need to rent, equipment, supplies, and any personnel are all part of the equation and should be considered when determining the financial backing needed for a new business venture.”