Week 20 Business Beginnings


Anna-Jonesboro National Bank, Nina Lofton and Melanie Lasley

In addition to talking about business loans and community banking, it was very helpful to have Mrs. Lofton discuss the "SMART" approach to writing goals. That will happen for these young entrepreneurs this week!


Tech Guy Consulting, Josh Ditto


Facilitator Footnote

Most of this week was out of control for the Baileys. Bill had unexpected surgery which turned out to be less invasive than originally thought, thank goodness, but still required a few days in the hospital. And this all happened while I was sick with bronchitis, diagnosed while he was in pre-op.

Many thanks to those who stepped up and made the week so productive: Stephanie Rhodes, Natalie McLean Miller, Josh Ditto, Darren Bailey, community members sharing time and talents like Rollie Hawk, Susan Whitemountain, and Lee Hackney, and, of course, these great young people!!


Student Journal Highlights for this week

We met with two loan officers from A-J National Bank, Melanie Lasley and Nina Lofton, on Monday. We learned a lot about the process of getting loans and about your credit. They told us that when you are presenting your reason for the loan, as we will with our businesses, that we need to know what we are talking about. We should know all the little details because we will be asked all the questions and we should have the answers. Also in this visit a lot of the focus was on being involved in your community. Melanie Lasley said that being involved in your community is a priority. Nina Lofton says “Being active in your community gives you a voice.” They told us how the bank supports our community in many different areas and is a community bank which is focused on a personal connection with its clients.

Jessa Bond

Jessa Bond
Monday, January 9, 2017Learn More About Jessa

I really appreciate that Mrs. Lasley gave us advice on our business plans. Now that I've heard about 4 speakers say, “Don’t have too much fluff in your business plan”, I think that I should really listen to that. I thought it was quite interesting that A-J National Bank has so many loan officers and could even do a $4 million loan! Practically everyone on the second floor was a loan officer of some sort. Having a lot of loan officers makes me think that people come in all the time for loans.   I think that it is a good thing that Mrs. Lofton and Mrs. Lasley when approving loans don’t look at the person but rather their plan. I feel like because of CEO I can come to Mrs. Lofton or Mrs. Lasley for anything concerning my business plan or my finances.

Josh Ditto is not only a great tech guy but also a wonderful photographer. The biggest thing I took out of the visit, was how he preached about networking with other businesses. It seems that it is something he does a lot.

Aaron Lence

Aaron Lence
Wednesday, January 11, 2017Learn More About Aaron

Tech Guy Consulting opened in October of 2012 and Mr. Ditto was able to open his doors without having to take a loan. This ‘wowed’ me because it is nearly impossible to start a business without help. Mr. Ditto spoke about this saying, “You never know when you unlock your door on the first day if any customer is going to walk through. On the first day, the first week, the first month.” Mr. Ditto was explaining perfectly in those two sentences that business is risky, that there isn’t always a guarantee of success, and that there is no promise of a customer on that first day, or any day. While I’m on the topic of customers, Mr. Ditto also expressed that, “Customer retention is more important than customer expansion, customer expansion always comes second.” and “The main thing you want to have is a high level of customer satisfaction. So offer a quality service or product, and focus on that customer’s happiness.” When asked about competition, Mr. Ditto replied, “Competition keeps you on your toes,” and “Be friendly, be helpful, and be sociable; even if they’re your competitors.”

Erin Dillow

Erin Dillow
Wednesday, January 11, 2017Learn More About Erin

On Wednesday, we met Josh Ditto, owner of Tech Guy Consulting. He started just fixing small problems from the back of his band's van. What does his business actually do, you ask? Well, they do a variety of things, like set up in-building wiring for your business’s internet network. Monitoring your systems and servers is another key feature. They can cover all of your needs as if they're your personal IT guy. Later that day he also took professional photos for our class through the Dittos’ second business, Angelic Images.

Dillon Harris

Dillon Harris
Wednesday, January 11, 2017Learn More About Dillon

During our class meeting on Tuesday, I came up with a possible name for my business. I was researching a type of blacksmithing technique known as Damascus. It's when a smith takes one high carbon steel and kind of mixes it with a low carbon steel, and then when the metal is put into an acid the acid etches the low carbon steel leaving a pattern in the steel. While researching it I saw the metal get twisted together which formed a beautiful pattern, so since I already planned on doing mostly Damascus I could do the twisting pattern on each piece I do. When I decided that, it popped into my head that i should call my business Twisted Metals because of the twist in the steel. I really enjoy the idea, but it's still a work in process.

Shad Turner

Shad Turner
Thursday, January 12, 2017Learn More About Shad

Details omitted to protect the generous.

I think the most exciting things about CEO this week for me happened outside of class. To start the week I spoke with Mrs. Littleton about making my logo for my business. Then after school met with (future clients) to discuss work in exchange for office space. While talking with them they liked what I said so they thought it would be nice if I create another website as well. After meeting with them I spoke with Mr. Rollie Hawk about what I want to do for my business and (he was very, very helpful!).  After this meeting I had to come up with a better way to host websites, so I spoke to (_____ and I now have a plan). So I have spent the last few weeks setting up my website and planning and I have lots of assets now with little cost. I owe a lot to Rollie and all his help. I'm also proud to announce my site is up but nowhere near complete.

Julian Smith

Julian Smith
Thursday, January 12, 2017Learn More About Julian


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