January 26, 2021 | By JP Bertinet
That the Wisconsin School of Business has a storied history of producing accomplished alumni is no secret. What may be less understood though is the role the school plays in offering direct support to early entrepreneurs and founders by way of complimentary, public-access services like the Business and Entrepreneurship Clinic (B&E Clinic). The B&E Clinic, run by Director Mike Williams, provides free business advice and assistance to Wisconsin entrepreneurs. One such entrepreneur is Chris Wysong, who has been working with the B&E Clinic on a go-to-market roadmap for his fresh-baked idea to make a high-end versatile dough mix that brings bakery-quality fresh goods to consumers in their own kitchen. His doughs can be turned into pizzas, cinnamon rolls, naan, calzones, and even loaves of bread; it just depends on the baker’s imagination.
Chris may not come from a business background, but it would seem he has managed to pack his life with every other experience imaginable; his resume includes serving as a financial associate, retired Army officer, business owner, President of his church council, landlord, and father. Chris had a previous foray into entrepreneurship that ended only because he found running a business too time consuming to balance familial and military commitments but wishes to return to it now that his child is older and he’s more established. A late-night revelation he floated by his partner for affirmation prompted him to register for an LLC and put into motion his direct-to-consumer (D2C) venture and “Bucket of Bread” began to materialize. Rather than sell ready-to-eat bread, Chris will sell customers kits with everything they need to bake a multitude of recipes from scratch.
Chris was ultimately led to UW-Madison’s B&E Clinic through a series of references, and is in fact working concurrently with the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic (L&E Clinic) and Small Business Development Center as well to properly trademark his business and develop his business plan, respectively. Through the B&E Clinic, Chris enjoys direct support from Director Mike Williams and two MBA candidates, who are supporting him by working on a growth plan, pricing strategy, marketing strategy, and his overall communications approach.
In keeping with a theme of public service that’s been woven throughout his life, Chris already has visions for how he sees Bucket of Bread giving back to the community: “My plan is to take 10 percent of the previous year’s profits and push that towards organizations combatting hunger. I’d also like to allow customers to donate buckets to benefit the homeless and those who are less fortunate, or turn those into a monetary donation [if that’s more feasible].” Chris added that the L&E Clinic is even helping him develop a plan to properly sponsor the benefit.
Beyond Chris’ own satisfaction with the comprehensive support offered by the B&E Clinic, he endorses it to other aspiring entrepreneurs — from those who are overwhelmed and unsure where to begin and to others who have some professional business experience but could benefit from a specialist’s input. He encourages those who have an idea they care about to pilot it and not submit to the fear of failure. “People have amazing ideas all the time. They just have to take that step forward and execute. If they fail, they fail — at least they learned from it!” Chris shares.
Those interested in the Wisconsin School of Business’ Free Small Business Consulting service can find detailed information at the following link: Free Small Business Consulting – Small Business Development Center – UW–Madison. If you’d like to see how Chris’s idea is coming along, feel free to peek in on his website at www.bucketofbread.com.