Nov 2 • 5 min read

Kiki Leavy joined the Temple University Small Business Development Center team in May 2019, as the Administrative Specialist. Kiki has an astonishing background in customer service, banking, and higher education administration. In her free time, Kiki enjoys reading books, hiking, tending to her plants, being a dog-mom, and exploring the city!

What is your role at the Temple SBDC?

I am an administrative specialist. My role consists of making sure information is accurately inputted in our client management systems. I offer comprehensive customer service to clientele that call and inquire about our services. I ensure that the entire Small Business Development Center team at Temple University has the resources they need to effectively do their job. I work in concert with our incubator clients to ensure they’re getting the most value out of their experience with us.

What is your favorite aspect of working as an Administrative Specialist?

I really enjoy the ability to multitask, not only excelling at what I’m good at, but also the experience of working with the wonderful staff at Temple’s SBDC as well as the incredible clients I get to interact with. This job also really helps me add to my skill set, as there is constantly room to grow and people to learn from.

What did you study in college? Do I need a college degree to start a business?

I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Educational Ministry from Malone University, located in Canton, Ohio. I am currently working to obtain my Master’s in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship here at the Fox School of Business.

A college degree is certainly not required to start a business or achieve success in an entrepreneurial world. The most important ingredients in success in the business world are grit, skill and strategic thinking.

How has Covid-19 changed the needs of clients?

There has been a huge increase in demand for our services as people seek help in adapting their businesses to survive and thrive today. Not only that, the demand for help for new entrepreneurs has grown just as much as people try to innovate and create something new during a time where their financial options are limited. From a financial aspect, such a large number of businesses are closing due to a lack of financial stability that would enable them to adapt their business to new market conditions that resulted from COVID-19. The biggest increase in demand has probably been the increased need for businesses to strengthen their online presence to allow businesses to compensate for slowing foot traffic. When social distancing guidelines began, it required businesses to change their business model to being more adaptive to the online marketplace.

How do you feel COVID-19 has impacted the role of the SBDC?

There has been a definite increase in publicity for Temple’s SBDC as our resources have grown and our ability to help small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive in our community has grown by leaps and bounds. The strength of our team has also grown significantly as we have added several incredible staff members that add to our broad range of expertise, and allow us to help more people than ever. When the social distancing guidelines were implemented, the team had to adapt quickly to new conditions. I’m really proud of the way we have been able to work together as a team to adapt to changing circumstances and ultimately emerge to help more clients than ever before.

What challenges do you think the SBDC is best able to help aspiring entrepreneurs solve?

The incredible staff at Temple’s SBDC can offer help in so many key areas of starting and growing a business. In particular, though, the SBDC has an incredible ability to help clients put together a solid business plan—one that outlines the steps necessary to get started. Our support goes above and beyond to give entrepreneurs the confidence they need to succeed. With the knowledge of our consultants, we are able to set entrepreneurs up for success. Based upon the experiences of our consultants our clients are well served in a broad array of industries, and much of the advice goes beyond any particular industry, covering knowledge that is fundamental to any business.

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

I recently read an article about what kind of entrepreneurs investors look to invest in. Most investors choose to invest their money with missionaries, as opposed to mercenaries who only look for financial reward.

Mercenaries are opportunistic, whereas missionaries are strategic. Missionaries think about long-term achievements, whereas mercenaries are focused on short-term gains. Missionaries obsess over satisfying their customers and staying true to their value statements. Mercenaries fret over their financial statements and making the next dollar.

Missionaries are those entrepreneurs who do the most with limited resources, relying on hard work and determination. Missionaries are focused on making a difference, and providing value for their customers. They have a purpose beyond just making money. Missionaries are considered “company builders.” If I had to describe the difference between missionaries and mercenaries, it would be the simple fact that one seeks to make a difference in the world through entrepreneurship, and the other only cares about money.

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