April 1, 2012

Cover Story

Student 25

The Rules To be eligible for Student 25 consideration, a company must:...Read More

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Article

Student 25

Utah’s Next Generation of Leaders

Heather Stewart

April 1, 2012

“Don’t give in to burn out! When you are working 60 hours a week, it is important to take time to refill your tanks,” he recommends. “Figure out which things you can’t stand to do and delegate them. Conversely, find those aspects of the business that make you excited and focus on those.”

3. Epic Profit Group, LLC
Founders: Zach Smith, Josh Nyland

Epic Profit Group has two focuses: it provides investment and software solutions to an international audience, and it offers consulting and web integration services to small businesses.

“[If] you have an idea that you’d like to implement online, Epic Profit Group can make your idea come to fruition. We provide consultation and have the means to rapidly integrate your company/idea to a diverse, international, online marketplace,” says Managing Partner Zach Smith.

As a student entrepreneur, Smith says he had excellent opportunities to network with established business leaders. “I have been able meet with many influential decision-makers and business owners that I never thought I’d have the chance to meet, let alone do business with,” he says. “Now, I’m actually able to offer advice and provide consulting to them and their businesses. It’s been very humbling and exciting at the same time.”

Smith graduated from Weber State University in 2011 with an Accounting degree. He changed his major three times while exploring various career paths. “At that point, I decided to take a big risk and try to make money doing something I loved,” he says, adding that the decision proved to be personally and financially rewarding.

“Never give up,” Smith advises would-be entrepreneurs. “I worked for very little money, putting in very long hours for nearly two years. There were days and sometimes even months when it seemed like what I was doing was not going to work.”  But his persistence is paying off, and Smith says his biggest challenge now is managing the company’s strong growth.

4. Uptown Cheapskate
Founders: Chelsea Sloan, Scott Romney Sloan

Uptown Cheapskate is a clothing resale concept that founders Chelsea Sloan and Scott Sloan patterned after their parents’ successful resale franchise, Kid to Kid.

“Our stores are meant to mimic the mall, and our clothing is hand selected, so people can get a premium experience at a really low price,” says Chelsea Sloan, who serves as COO of the company. “Uptown Cheapskate is a franchise company, so in a sense we’re also a service company. I do most of my work helping grow and develop systems that will provide value to our growing family of franchise locations nationwide.”

The company has opened 14 Uptown Cheapskate locations nationally, and its goal is to reach 100 stores within 10 years.

Sloan is currently a business major at the University of Utah, and she says her business classes, although challenging, have definitely aided the growth and success of Uptown Cheapskate. “I’m traveling a lot with work in supporting these stores, and so time and deadlines fly by. It’s been a challenge getting the grades I want with some unavoidable conflicts,” she says.

Eventually, Sloan would like to earn an MBA from Stanford University. But for the immediate future, she is focused on the success of Uptown Cheapskate and the success of its franchise owners. “We want to be the market leader in the resale clothing industry with training, systems and customer service that is best in class. We also want to help our owners achieve high levels of profitability so they can get their long-term career goals met.”

5. DaKine Auto
Founder: R. Lance Wakefield

Lance Wakefield has always been enthusiastic about cars, and he felt sure he could make a living buying and selling used cars.

“I started with my life savings of $600, a book with all the laws for the state of Utah regarding owning a dealership, a lot of uninhibited ambition, and an incredibly supportive wife,” he says. He started out with six cars on his lawn, but was soon able to upgrade to a full-blown lot.

“Make sure whatever business you decide to start is ignited by a true passion. If you start a company simply to make money, you’ll find it’s easy for that initial flame to be blown out,” says Wakefield.

His business model is to focus on high volume and low prices, rather than high prices and low volume. He also focuses on helping his employees reach their full potential. “It’s important to me that anyone who works for DaKine, from the lot boy to the mechanics to the salesmen, feels equally important and valued and that their voice is always heard.”

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