Crafting a New Venture

Karen Diebolt

Wake Tech Class of: 2010


“I figured if I’m going to do this in earnest, I needed a plan.”

    — Karen Diebolt

As a commercial loan officer in a declining economy, Karen Diebolt saw the handwriting on the wall. “I knew I’d eventually lose my job,” she says, “so I thought I’d start my own business – before I became unemployed.”
Karen had an idea that she thought just might be a hit: a craft she had originally planned for her family. After all, she reasoned, who could resist a colorful ball of fluff with a silly face and floppy feet?! Karen knew she would need more than a clever idea to be successful – she would need know-how about the world of business ownership. As soon as she was notified of her impending layoff, she called Wake Tech’s Business and Industry Center and enrolled in a course called Planning the Entrepreneurial Venture. “I figured if I’m going to do this in earnest,” Karen says, “I needed a plan.”

The course helped Karen develop a business plan as well as marketing and financing strategies for her company, “Softedz.” She has secured parts suppliers and business partners, and sells her products online, at craft shows, and through local retailers. “I tell friends who’re thinking of starting a business or opening a franchise: You have to take this class!”