A key to maintaining a successful small business in the Northwoods is to have a strong sense of the needs and expectations of the community. Aaron Kapellusch is the business development director at Northern Lake Service Inc. in Crandon and recently became the president of the Northwoods Entrepreneurs Network organization. Aaron spoke with us about his vision for the organization as well as the importance of community involvement to the success of small businesses in northern Wisconsin.
Star Journal: How were you chosen for this position?
Aaron Kapellusch: Our former president, Michelle Madl-Soehren, had become involved in a variety of other organizations, including a strong leadership role in the Northwoods Women in Business Club. She was looking for someone to lead the organization in her absence and I volunteered for the position.
SJ: What were you first involved in that made you want to pursue a career as an entrepreneur?
AK: I created my own landscape design and management business at age 19, while attending UW-Parkside in Kenosha as a full-time student. I managed the business throughout college before eventually selling it to a larger company in Milwaukee.
SJ: Why did you want to join the Northwoods Entrepreneur Network?
AK: I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, and I’ve always had a true love for the Northwoods area and the people that live here. I became interested in this particular organization because I wanted to see more involvement with small business owners and the community in which they work.
SJ: What made you feel that you were qualified for this presidential position?
AK: Having started my own company at a young age, I’ve always been passionate about small businesses and entrepreneurship. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and have always been involved in business development with the positions that I have held throughout my career. I think as a local business owner, it’s essential to find ways that you can connect with the customer, community and other small business owners. As president of the organization, I’m hoping to see a stronger partnership with Nicolet College and the classes they offer to those interested in business. Nicolet College is such a strong organization for so many people in the community that I feel it’s important to tie what our group does together with local business training they offer.
SJ: What changes do you foresee happening within the club under your direction?
AK: One of my primary goals as president is to have more guest speakers at our meetings. Our members come from numerous backgrounds, so integrating topics of interest among our members will help spark conversations that may be beneficial for making positive changes in our community. We are working on a new website (www.northwoodsen.com) that will feature members and their respective businesses. It should be up and running by the end of the week.
SJ: What do you think the Northwoods Entrepreneurs Network has to offer its members that other local organizations do not?
AK: Our organization fills a need in the community. So much of our focus is on bringing people together in order to solve problems effectively and efficiently. By collaborating as a group, we’re able to overcome obstacles that many small businesses in our area deal with on a frequent basis and our group is really able to create solutions collectively.
The Northwoods Entrepreneurs Network meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Northwoods Center at Nicolet College from 6-8 p.m. For more information, call (715) 365-4492.