Last Thursday was scheduled as an “open/review” day to compare and contrast the past several speakers and to otherwise “catch up” on class matters.
But early in the week it dawned on me that we should look for an opportunity to have someone from the Board of Trustees–or another Distinguished Visitor–on campus for President Clarence Wyatt’s Inauguration come share their wisdom with the class.
With the assistance of Gena Alcorn ’88 and Steve Bloomer ’83 in the Development Office, that opportunity was quickly and fully realized.
Bill Trubeck, a 1968 graduate of Monmouth College and a former Trustee elected to the Monmouth College Hall of Achievement in 2005, graciously agreed to be our guest speaker. Although Mr. Trubeck is not formally an entrepreneur, he was able to share with the class a wealth of knowledge about entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurial spirit, and the role of entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy stemming from both his several decades of executive-level experience in major corporate finance, as well as his personal business dealings and friendships with T. Boone Pickens and other well-known entrepreneurs.
Today’s class blogger is Celina Gonzalez. Below, she nicely recounts the wonderful stories and advice shared by Mr. Trubeck.
Thanks to Gena Alcorn ’88, Steve Bloomer ‘83 and Bill Trubeck ‘68 for making last Thursday’s class one not to be soon forgotten!
On April 16, 2015, we gladly welcomed our special guest speaker in our Midwest Entrepreneurs class former corporate CFO and Monmouth College Trustee—and major benefactor—William Trubeck ’68.
After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Monmouth College, Mr. Trubeck served as a U.S. Army Captain in Vietnam and Cambodia from 1968 to 1970. He then earned a master’s degree in business from the University of Connecticut. With more than 30 years of experience in executive leadership positions, chief financial officer, and corporate director positions for Fortune 500 companies, including specific experience as the CFO at H&R Block, Waste Management and International Multi-Foods, he has led a variety of major corporate restructuring efforts during his career. In addition, Trubeck served on MC’s Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2014.
Mr. Trubeck spoke to the class about his extensive knowledge of doing business as a consultant, with many entrepreneurs by helping corporations make major strategic decisions.
With executive-level, and other, corporate experience, Trubeck informed the class on how he helped facilitate his entrepreneurial work as a consultant by helping corporations make major strategic decisions. He explained: “The body of information you accumulate over time will be used for future situations.” He then shared four main stories on highly successful entrepreneurs he has known and worked with over the years. He connected his dealings with T. Boone Pickens back to one concept: “Find where the opportunity lies and take advantage of it.”
Mr. Trubeck also informed the class that in today’s world, there are many successful entrepreneurs, many of whom took what they learned in the corporate world, built on it, and found a way to do something better than anyone else for certain customer segments. Executives, such as Trubeck, see the role of entrepreneurship in the national or global economy as being the most likely developers of the most impactful of all future innovations. They will do this, he said, driven both by the “entrepreneurial spirit” and their ability to “think outside the box.” Here, Trubeck urged students to “think outside the box, make a product unique, have the gist to do it, and be prepared to fail.”
Mr. Trubeck also discussed the importance of hiring people to gather and analyze information that can greatly benefit a business to help expand or start a new market. Yet, focusing on what will expand, with providing a unique essential service, or product, will change the world. Here, Mr. Trubeck again spoke of T. Boone Pickens’ long-term thinking about economic sustainability and water as a resource that is presently being underutilized. He explained the ideas Pickens has about innovative services that will allow the average homeowner to have a unit for their home that will effectively process saltwater into drinking water. Similarly, Trubeck’s other stories focused on stressing that there are markets that are in particular need of entrepreneurial attention that ultimately represent major opportunities for entrepreneurs. So, one has to find where the opportunity lies and take advantage of it.
We, as business students, frequently hear “strong work ethic and extraordinarily hard work is necessary for entrepreneurial success.” This, in fact, is true. However, the insight to be gained, as Mr. Trubeck jokingly mentioned, has never been mentioned before: “Marry rich.” So, it stuck.
Mr. Trubeck also discussed the largest “keys to success” and “hurdles to overcome” for entrepreneurs. The bottom line, as he told the class, is knowing that the brand building process requires capital and a strategy. The success starts from actually being able to have the funds to efficiently start the business. Furthermore, one of the largest obstacles faced is commonly financially being able to support and maintain the business. It starts with an understanding that one will have to invest a great amount while being at a high risk of losing it all. However, although it is easy to understand, not many are able to risk so much. Those few entrepreneurs with a vision and strong, motivated characteristics realize the full potential of great entrepreneurial visions and seek to make it happen. Mr. Trubeck added: “Those with drive and enthusiasm are those who get up and take initiative. They go out and gather money from here and there to make their idea happen”.
He went on to tell us that the right idea will ultimately help you gain capital in the long run. Moreover, it is important to remember that you can always make use of more than one funding source. Personal savings, borrowing money from friends and family, or getting a loan from the bank are the most commonly used methods to start the funding of your business. Trubeck also explained that venture capitalism is an option; however, the investor usually wants a larger portion of the company’s equity stake than the entrepreneur might be comfortable with.
Mr. Trubeck also discussed how if the entrepreneur realizes the full potential of their venture, with the understanding that the brand is both intellectual property and how an individual makes their living, he or she will understand that difficult decisions are absolutely necessary for the long-term good of the business. For example, being in debt. Further, Trubeck noted: “You can’t be afraid of debt.” However, he explained that one of the main reasons many well thought-out businesses fail is because they simply run out of money. So: Realistically estimate your financial needs beforehand and leave room for the unexpected future, then seek to gain information on your market to analyze so that you will see the change and the hard times coming.
Mr. Trubeck also told the class that businesses must remain worthwhile. In a world that is constantly changing, one must learn to think or adapt differently by thinking creatively to set themselves apart from competitors. It is necessary to survive, but it requires a lot of thinking and good ideas. Analyzing markets and gathering information, however, can speed up the process. Moreover, the goal of every organization is to strategically use its assets to achieve a greater amount of success to generate revenue and pay off previous debt. But, where and from who will I gather the assets from to start the business is the main question one should ask themselves. A great plan is simply just a great plan. The entrepreneur has to have the drive, dedication, and strongly believe that they will succeed–but might fail–to gather up the needed money to properly execute the plan.
In conclusion, William Trubeck ‘68 mentioned that it was important to “get a business going, get it started, become successful, think for the future, and contribute by giving back to the community” With all the success that one encounters, I appreciated how Trubeck constantly feels obligated to “give back” to the community. We enjoyed hearing everything Mr. Trubeck had to say. Thank you Mr. Trubeck!