The latest graduating class of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit program let out recently, and among them is a Royal Oak hot sauce maker that is ready to take their business to the next level.
Don Button is the founder of the Royal Oak-based Smashing Empire, LLC, and its flagship brand, Hell Fire Detroit.
The line of fire-roasted artisan hot sauces won multiple Best of Show awards upon its launch at the Making it in Michigan food show and conference in November 2015, taking home the top prize in categories for flavor, quality, branding, and ability to go to market.
Now, with roughly 100 hours of 10,000 Small Businesses classes under his belt, Button is ready to take Hell Fire to the next ring.
"My background is on the creative side of business, so I’ve always made decisions based on theory and trends. While this approach has worked for me, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program gave me the tools to analyze my business ideas in methodical ways," said Button. "In addition to identifying my leadership style, their process forced me to focus on my next logical step for growth, conduct the research, and apply forecasting models to help determine return on investment.
"The results gave me the confidence to move forward with my next phase of growth."
This is the twelfth graduating cohort of 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit, a program that features experts from several colleges and universities, as well as Goldman Sachs professionals themselves. The Babson College-designed curriculum is taught by Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College faculty on the campus of Wayne State University.
Hell Fire’s Button is one of 30 entrepreneurs to graduate from this most recent cohort.
"Even if I only apply five percent of what I learned in the GS10KSB program, my business is going to be much better for it."
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