An MSU graduate returned to campus Wednesday night to share his entrepreneurial experiences with MSU students at a speaking event.
Bob Fish, or “Biggby Bob,” the CEO of East Lansing-based Biggby Coffee, spoke to MSU students Wednesday night at Case Hall at an event organized by the James Madison College Student Senate. Fish touched on the history of his company before offering tips, tricks and advice to students interested in starting their own business. He also discussed his personal history, including spending eight years earning his bachelor’s, working to pay his way through the whole time.
“My real premise (in talking at these events) speaks to one of my core values, which is, ‘Giving is getting,’” Fish said. “It’s one of the ways I can invest in the community and state I live in.”
The decision to speak at MSU was a relatively easy one, said Nicole Maison, the director of marketing with Biggby Coffee.
“He’s always trying to speak at events that talk to entrepreneurs,” she said. “He was more than happy to talk at the event.”
Some members of the Student Senate said Fish’s work with Biggby made him an ideal choice for the event.
“I think he has a lot of innovative ideas that he’s been able to spread not only through Michigan, but into the Midwest and the U.S.,” said Alyssa Kluge, the social programming chairwoman with the Student Senate and an international relations sophomore. “He’s a leader in our community. … He’s a great guy (and) we’re really honored that he was willing to come to speak to our event.”
Fish’s ideas and advice on business could be useful to students within the college itself, she said.
“You notice he targets a wide variety of age groups,” she said. “I think it speaks to James Madison students in particular to go out of the ordinary and make something exceptional.”
Some students think the event also could help provide more in-depth knowledge about starting an organization.
“I think a lot of people have good ideas, but a lot of people don’t know a lot of the channels to go to,” event attendee and international relations senior Ray Freund said. “I always hear about the idea, and then they fast-forward to their first attempt — how did you get from the idea to your first attempt, that’s the big thing.”
Along with offering advice to young people, the ideals Fish stresses at events like these reflect the work of his company, Maison said.
“We have a lot of core values we use,” she said. “Obviously, you want (the customer) to have a good experience customer service-wise. … We’re about having fun and being happy.”
Some local Biggby franchise owners think Fish’s vision for the company has lent itself to the success of the organization.
“He’s the type of guy who’s extremely (in touch) with customers,” said Mohamed Shetiah, a Biggby Coffee franchisee who owns 20 locations across Michigan and Ohio. “He’s done really well, he’s extremely focused and he knows what it takes to get to where you need to be.”
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