8(A) and HubZone Eligibility Training

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

The U.S. Small Business Administration

SBA LogoGet introduced to the history of the SBA 8(a) Business Development and HUBZone Programs and discover if your business is qualified. Learn the purpose of 8(a) and HUBZone Certifications and explore whether or not federal government contracting is a fit for your business. Eligibility and application process will be discussed as well as any program questions.

Please join us at one of the following training locations:

February 16th
SBA District Office, 401 N. Front Street, Suite 200, Columbus, Ohio 43215

Looking ahead!

March 15th
PTAC, 1570 Granville Pike, Suite 314, Lancaster, Ohio 43130

July 19th
SBA Cincinnati Branch office, 525 Vine Street, Suite 1030, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

April 19th
The Hamilton Mill, 20 High Street, Hamilton, Ohio 45011

August 16th
SBDC Chamber of Commerce, 216 Collins Ave, South Point, Ohio 45680

May 17th
Mercer County Library, 303 N. Main Street, Celina, Ohio 45822 (11:00 to 1:00)

September 20th
Fayette Co. Chamber of Commerce, 101 E. East Street, Washington CH, Ohio 43160

June 21st
Vanguard Tech. Center, Lecture Lab, 1306 Cedar Street, Fremont, Ohio 43420

All trainings will be from 10:00am to 12:00pm (TIMES MAY VARY DUE TO LOCATION)

For more information contact:
Gwendolyn C. List
U.S. Small Business Administration
525 Vine Street
Suite 1030
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
513-684-2814 ext. 200

All Eyes on Safety!

(Submitted by Mick Whitt, Manufacturing Business Development Specialist, Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

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While OSHA requires certain reporting and retention of all recordable accidents, injuries, and lost time incidents, if your company only focuses on safety after injuries you are missing out on great opportunities to help avoid these hazardous situations and engaging your workforce in the safety process.

Often you may ask another person to read something that you wrote, or typed, and said to them, “Two eyes are better than one.” The same principle applies to recognizing opportunities to improve safety, eliminating safety hazards, and reducing recordable accidents.

Go to the article from Safetytopics.com, “Is Your Safety Engine Making Power?” to learn more about safety.

How to Use a Business Credit Card to Manage Cash Flow

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Whether you run a small business, lead a large corporation, or work as a self-employed freelancer, you will probably experience cash flow issues from time to time. Sometimes this can happen when you’re waiting on various payments from your customers, and other times it is simply the result of having to purchase equipment or supplies when money is tight.
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This is where business cards can really come in handy. Here are a few examples of when having a business card could solve a cash flow problem instantly:

Real Life Example #1
A self-employed freelancer is waiting on several large payments from various clients, but they don’t expect to receive those funds until the end of the month. In the meantime, they need to purchase essential office and computer equipment from an office supply store. A business credit card would allow them to charge their equipment purchases temporarily until they received payment from their customers later in the month. Further, a card like the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card would even reward them with 5% cash back on their purchases.

Real Life Example #2

A small business owner with ten employees just finished a huge project for a client that they have yet to be paid for. Unfortunately, payroll is coming up, and they don’t have enough funds to keep operations running and pay their employees. If necessary, they could cover many of their business-related expenses with a business card for a limited time so they could pay their employees. Once they received payment from their client, they could pay their balance in full and “catch up.”

Real Life Example #3
A large business needs to purchase $50,000 worth of equipment that they will need to pay off over several months. Instead of taking out a loan, the business could leverage the credit line on their business credit card instead. While they would need to pay interest in this case, they could write it off as a business expense.

Source: Simple Dollar Website Excerpt taken from the updated on 1-19-2016 The Best Business Credit Cards of 2016 article by Michael Gardon.

The word leak has a negative connotation

(Submitted by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

TeachU Article:

The word leak has a negative connotation. A leak in a tire isn’t a good thing. A leak in your water heater isn’t good. A leak in your business could drain away the last of your reserves.

We work with small businesses that want to improve. When we get the call, we almost always talk about something management wants to make ‘better’. That’s smart and I support that thinking but before things can get better it is necessary to stop the leaks.

Going back to my leaky tire example, you can make the air pressure ‘better’ by adding air but unless you fix the leak, you will end up back where you started. Time and resources are wasted when we try to make things ‘better’ before we fix the leaks.

puzzleOne way to help a client is to look for leaks. If a client says, “we need to improve margins,” we should look for what is draining margins before we look for ways to increase margins. For example, raising prices should immediately increase margins. But if shrinking margins are a result of sales inefficiencies, price rises will be consumed by those same inefficiencies. We have to repair the leak first.

Let’s look at something specific. Let’s say there is product price timidity at your company. That’s when management and sales people fear competition. More than necessary is spent on advertising that doesn’t produce measurable sales gains. Big money is spent on trade-shows more because of a feeling of obligation, “we have to be there”, rather than to build the brand in a measurable way. Samples are generously distributed to sustain sales rather than build measurable loyalty and increase market share.

What do all these have in common? They can be measured. Leaks are detected by measuring. Leaks continue from a lack of taking measurements. If giving away samples doesn’t lead to increased sales, those free samples are hurting margins.

This same thinking applies to every aspect of a business. Manufacturing costs too high? Start by looking for waste and then go to cost control. Employee retention lousy? Before implementing costly incentives, look for the leak first. Where are your people going and why are they going there? I know of at least one case where the people feel their career is at a dead end. It’s not a lack of money as much as a lack of opportunity that causes employees to leave. (Are promotions based on relationships rather than performance?)

Before starting a big sexy program to improve business, fix the leaks first. You’ll see results quicker. Your betterment program will produce better results after the leaks are plugged.

Let me leave you with a tip. To determine if you have a leak, ask yourself if everything you try seems to fall flat without making things ‘better’. You’ve got a leak. Fix it. Leaks waste time, energy and resources.

Chris Reich, TeachU.com

Business Talk – Dan Mooney-3 C’s of Lending

(Submitted by Patrick Dengel, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center and Adjunct Instructor, University of Rio Grande MBA Program/OSU South Centers Collaboration, OSU South Centers)

Published on YouTube
November 6, 2015

Patrick and Dan discuss small business planning for loans in meeting financial needs now and the future with a common sense approach. The conversation centers around 3 C’s of Lending – Character, Capacity, and Collateral.

Guest: Dan Mooney, WesBanco Regional Vice-President and Senior Commercial Lender for Scioto and Lawrence Counties.

Host: Patrick Dengel, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center and Adjunct Instructor, University of Rio Grande MBA Program/OSU South Centers Collaboration, OSU South Centers.

Client Spotlight: Brad Elmore-Hot Head Burritos (2015)

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Successful entrepreneur, Brad Elmore in Hillsboro, Ohio, knows the importance of keeping up with the ever evolving business environment. Brad gained extensive experience in the restaurant industry over many years. He worked in his mother’s small restaurant in his youth. He even paid his way through college working in restaurants and later gained extensive management experience in numerous well-known restaurants.

Brad ElmoreWhen Brad decided to open his own restaurant in 1992, The Wooden Spoon, he sought assistance from The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension with setting up a business plan. Due to his prior success in working with OSU when Brad made the decision to sell the business and invest in franchise ownership, he called the OSU South Centers Small Business Development Center for assistance once again.

Business Development Specialist, Chris Smalley, helped Brad develop a business plan with financial projections to present to lending organizations. Brad said, “People don’t realize that this great resource is out there. Chris also serves as a resource for the Grow Highland County, which helps entrepreneurs’ grow businesses.”

Currently, Brad owns two Subway Restaurants (one inside Walmart in Hillsboro, Ohio, and one inside Walmart in West Union, Ohio). Franchise ownership has been such a success for Brad that he added Hot Head Burritos in Mainville, Ohio, to his business portfolio.

According to Brad, “Running The Wooden Spoon was very different from a franchise. At The Wooden Spoon, we created the menu, cooked everything from scratch, and delivered as part of the catering service. However, with a franchise model, it is all about managing the people. The product procedures are structured for uniformity.”

Brad continues to develop and assess opportunities for expanding into additional locations.

OSU-RIO Collaboration broadcasts on Wednesday

(Submitted by Patrick Dengel, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center and Adjunct Instructor, University of Rio Grande MBA Program/OSU South Centers Collaboration, OSU South Centers)

We have been having a lot of success with our different OSU-RIO Collaboration broadcasts that we have decided to do a LIVE STREAMING TV SHOW on GOOGLE starting in April that will be aired each Thursday morning from 9:00 t0o 11:30. We will be rebroadcasting our Wednesday programs during each THURSDAY’S LIVE-STREAMING on INTERNET TV CHANNEL. This will allow an expansion of our viewer and listening audience.

Currently, our OSU-RIO Collaboration broadcasts on Wednesday include:

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HOSTS will be Mike Thompson, Patrick Dengel, Jason Winters
and/or students from 9:00 to 11:30 weekly.

Tentative schedule includes:
• 900-915 Introductions from Mike, Patrick, Jason and/or students
• 915-945 Re-showing Wednesday 1:00 broadcast
• 945-1000 Discussion with Mike, Patrick, Jason and/or students
• 1000-1030 Re-showing Wednesday’s 2:00 broadcast
• 1030-1045 Discussion with Mike, Patrick, Jason and/or students
• 1045-1115 Re-showing Wednesday’s 3:00 broadcast
• 1115-1130 Upcoming Schedules with Mike, Patrick, Jason and/or students

Our Web Page: http://southcenters.osu.edu/small-business/business-talk
OSU-RIO Collaboration Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/theosurio
Rio Grande Cable Access Facebook Page: http://www.facebook/riograndecableaccess
Rio Grande Cable Access YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrv0SYonHCbXs1WgoOHa6mw

South Centers Chat – Dr. Michael V. Drake, President, The Ohio State University

(Submitted by Patrick Dengel, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center and Adjunct Instructor, University of Rio Grande MBA Program/OSU South Centers Collaboration, OSU South Centers)

Published on YouTube
on December 23, 2015

Dr. Tom Worley and Dr. Michael Drake discuss The Ohio State University’s Land Grant Mission, OSU Extension, and OARDC Programs promoting collaboration in agriculture and business.

Dr. Michael V. Drake, President, The Ohio State University.

Dr. Tom Worley, Director, Ohio State University South Centers.

Marketing tips for the new year

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

ornate-1045572_1920 (2)With a new year, brings a time to start fresh or revamp your business marketing. Take time this month to review your current marketing strategies and determine what is working, what may need to be added, and what you could get rid of for 2016. Here are a few online marketing tips to get your business energized for the new year.

1. Engage with your customers – Whether it is through face-to-face interactions or through social media, talk to your customers. Learn what they like or dislike about your products/services and ask them to leave feedback.

2. Incorporate brand ambassadors – I’ve seen many Etsy shop owners doing this for the New Year. Get a handful of customers who will showcase your product for you. They would either get the product for free or a reduced rate and they would be featured in your marketing campaigns and they would market your product on their sites as well.

3. Think mobile – If you aren’t incorporating the majority of your marketing into mobile friendly options, you are missing out. Nearly 75% of Americans own at least one smart phone and it’s their main entry to the Internet (Source: U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015) Make sure your website is mobile friendly and your emails are optimized for multiple devices.

4. Go live – Periscope and other livestream services are very popular. Does it fit your business to livestream with your customers? Maybe have a weekly stream on your industry, your products/services, or some fun facts about your business.

5. Simplicity is best – With social media platforms, it’s better to do one or two really well then trying to be mediocre on multiple platforms. Choose what your customers are mostly using and invest in it.

If you have any questions about marketing, feel free to contact any of the Small Business Counselors at the OSU South Centers.

Members are the foundation of a cooperative

(Submitted by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Cooperative businesses are organized to provide a benefit to their members. Because of their unique characteristics, member-owners are vital to the success of co-ops, which rely on their members for leadership and direction, start-up financing, and continued business, among other contributions.

cooperation-140366_1920 (2)Leadership. Cooperatives are governed by a board of directors elected from their membership. So, members who are running for the board of directors must be willing to commit their time and expertise to leading and providing direction to the cooperative. At the same time, all members should commit to staying informed of co-op issues, volunteering for board and special positions, and voting on important issues as necessary.

Financing. As the major beneficiaries and owners of the business, members often must provide some or all of the start-up capital for a co-op. This often requires paying a membership fee or purchasing common stock in the business. Members should understand the role of the capital they contribute in the early financing of the business.

Patronizing the Co-op. Members are the major users of a cooperative, so they often are expected to commit to patronizing the business rather than using the cooperative only when it is convenient for them.

To learn more about the responsibilities and roles of members in a cooperative, explore “Understanding Cooperatives: Who Runs the Cooperative Business? Members,” by USDA Rural Development Rural Business and Cooperative Service.