Having failed at my first venture, I knew I needed the right learning environment and mentor. I was fortunate to meet Bruce Gjovig, the founder of the Center for Innovation at the University of North Dakota. Pi Kappa Phi had sent me to UND to see about starting a chapter. Bruce and I hit it off and he offered me a position. It was the perfect place to learn from other entrepreneurs and hone my venture-creation skills. Bruce also allowed me to incubate Ask-Me Multimedia, which was spun-out as its own company in 1987.
The Business Plan Workbook | The Marketing Plan Workbook
I had gained some experience helping to write the business plan for the Electronic Publishing Center, so Bruce asked me to author a few workbooks that could be used by the Center’s clients. Both books became best-sellers, selling more than 25,000 copies and being adopted by college classrooms around the country. Both books were licensed by third-party publishers, renamed and sold in multiple editions over the years. As business planning and marketing planning software became more popular, the books lost their appeal. Bruce and I tried to develop software products, but were unable to obtain the funding.
While at the Center I chaired the National Innovation Workshop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. I was able to recruit an all-star cast, including the Governor of North Dakota, the head of the SBA, the Publisher of Venture Magazine, and the Founders/CEO’s of several successful companies. The DOE named it the “best workshop” of any region that year.