Know your Audience

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

Whenever I speak to a class about digital marketing, the first thing we talk about is your audience. Who is it that you are trying to reach when you are using social media? Knowing your audience really helps decide what platform(s) are best.

marketing-954674_1920 (2)First, create your “target” customer. Most businesses can narrow down their audience through a series of demographic and psychographic questions: How old are they? Are they married? Where do they live? What brands do they like? What influences buying behavior? These questions can be answered through anonymous surveys, casual questioning, or, if you already use Facebook, the insights tab.

While determining your audience, also understand why they should buy your product or service. Are they buying it to inspire them? Does it solve a need, simplify their life, or improve an opportunity? This will help with content down the road but also helps define your audience.

Once you have answered these questions, determine what platform(s) your audience is utilizing in terms of social media and how your audience shares news/information. If your business sells clothes/accessories for teenage girls, utilizing Instagram and Snapchat would be the best avenue for the audience. While Facebook is the most popular and widely used social media platform, many teens are not utilizing it, at least not regularly.

Lastly, follow your competitors and see how they are attracting your similar audience. What do you see them doing well and how can you position your business to attract and retain your audience.

It’s always a good idea to evaluate your audience annually and make any necessary changes to the customer profile.

SBDC Success Story Video: Silver Bridge Coffee

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

Published on March 11, 2016

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio assisted a family-owned business, Silver Bridge Coffee, in expanding their business and adding jobs to the local community.

Ohio & West Virginia Food Hub Network Learns from Central Ohio Produce Companies

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

Food Hub Network Field Trip 5.18.16 (3)Seventeen participants in the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network learned first-hand the ins and outs of aggregating, distributing and even processing fresh produce when they toured multiple central Ohio produce companies in May. Food hub stakeholders and support organizations from across the region were welcomed at Sanfillipo Produce Co., DNO Produce, LLC and DNO, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio to learn about their organizations, which have roots in produce wholesale and distribution spanning 100 years.

Not only did participants observe working facilities, they learned from employees about how these operations source product from growers, their processes for aggregating and then distributing product to restaurants, grocers, institutions and other customers, as well as protocols the companies use to ensure the quality and safety of produce throughout aggregation, processing and distribution.

IMG_8643 (3)The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at The Ohio State University South Centers leads the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network, a peer exchange network of new and emerging food hubs, incubator training farms, and technical assistance providers. The regional effort was formed in early 2014 and participants now come together four times a year. Meetings focus on assessing the needs of food hub and training farm efforts, organizing programming to meet those needs, and creating a space for stakeholders to learn from one another. Past programming has focused on financial planning and finance resources, examining successful models, and quality and safety assurance programs. The network also incorporates activities such as resource sharing through an email listserv and educational webinars throughout the year.

Food Hub Network Field Trip 5.18.16(3)The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines regional food hubs as, “a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.” The concept, and efforts to create food hubs in local communities, has gained a lot of interest in Ohio and West Virginia in the past few years as hubs can create a variety of benefits within their communities, including increasing market access for local and regional producers, particularly small producers.

If you are interested in learning more about cooperative food hubs or the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network, please contact Hannah Scott, or 740-289-2071 x227.

Barham, James, Debra Tropp, Kathleen Enterline, Jeff Farbman, John Fisk, and Stacia Kiraly. Regional Food Hub Resource Guide. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. Washington, DC. April 2012.

Patter Fam Sauces manufacturing process trial

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

Sam Stirring (3)On May 18, the Ohio State University South Centers Small Business Development Center (SBDC) was present for the first day of bottling production at Patter Fam Sauces in Wheelersburg, Ohio.

The day began with a homemade style breakfast, including biscuits, eggs, and bacon, prepared by owner Sam Peters. What a wonderful way to start any work day!

Chris Stirring (3)After receiving final inspection and approval from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Sam invited members of the SBDC business team to act as the production crew for the day. Team members Ryan Mapes, Chris Smalley, and Mick Whitt were involved with the entire process that all employees will perform, such as, calibrating equipment, cleaning and sterilization, preparing ingredients, stirring (a lot of stirring), and filling, capping, sealing, and boxing the finished product.

Ryan Stirring (3)The benefit of the SBDC team taking part in this day was helping Sam better evaluate exactly how many employees it will take to complete the needed tasks in the allowable time, as well as, going through all the process and work instructions step-by-step to ensure they are clear, easily followed, and include all necessary duties. These precise and detailed work instructions will help reduce new employee training time and uninformed mistakes, thus increasing production and quality.

Owner Sam Peters  pouring (3)Patter Fam Sauces is now bottling for a variety of companies as well as maintaining production supplies for their own line of products.

One last detail…
The team was also treated to a delicious meal from Patter Fam’s kitchen for lunch. Sam apparently has not yet learned that if you keep feeding the OSU Business Team…they will keep coming back.

Sam and Chris filling bottles and Mick sealing bottles (3)To find out more about information about Patter Fam Sauces or their bottling capabilities, please visit:

SBDC Success Story Video: Saucy Sows

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

Published on Jun 6, 2016

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio assisted Saucy Sows in expanding their product into new markets throughout Ohio.

6-29-2016 Social Media Time

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

2016 6-29 Social Media Time Flyer6-29-2016 1-4 pm
Social Media Time
Southern Ohio Procurement Outreach Center
South Point, Ohio

This is a free session! To register, go to or call 740-377-4550.

It’s your time! So what’s on your mind? What social media questions do you have? Email your questions/ topics of interest to and this class will be built around your needs.

A matter of trust

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

Posted to the Ohio State University Extension-Community Development Blog
on June 9, 2016 at 10:42 am
by author Becky Nesbitt, OSU Extension CD, Assistant Professor & Extension Educator (Ohio Valley EERA)

What would you say is the most important element of any relationship? Good communication? Accountability? Honesty? Or are these characteristics and behaviors part of something larger, something much more fundamental? Perhaps, the most important thing, the bedrock that supports the foundation of all relationships, is trust.

Trust-2016-06-09-10bp6dcTrust 2016-06-09Countless scholars, experts and ordinary folks throughout history have touted the importance of building and maintaining trust. Noted educator and author, the late Dr. Stephen R. Covey, often wrote about its importance to relationship building. “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Covey continues, “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.” When individuals trust each other, they have empathy for one another, forgive easily, and give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Unfortunately, trust is one of those gifts that can be easily taken for granted. Trust is built over time, when intentions, words and actions align. Yet like a dry forest in the path of a raging wildfire, it can be destroyed in just a moment, damaging relationships, undermining teams, and negatively affecting performance and satisfaction. Read More

NEW NAME! Ohio SBDC: Export Assistance Network

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Director, SBDC Export Assistance Network, OSU South Centers)

New Export name 1

ScreenHunter_755 Jun. 01 14.44

SBDC Export Assistance Network

The Ohio Development Services Agency’s Export Assistance Office has a new name for its specialized export service centers, called the Ohio SBDC Export Assistance Network. These services are available at seven regional Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) located across the state.

Formerly known as International Trade Assistance Centers (ITACs), the Ohio SBDC Export Assistance Network will continue to offer the same great service to help grow your business internationally.

New Export name 3

Export services include no-cost, confidential counseling from Export Assistance Network Directors; in-depth market research in more than 40 countries to help small businesses build local relationships and identify quality distributors; international marketing grants to encourage more investment into market development; and export-trained internships to support export growth.

If you are interested in exporting your goods and services into international markets, contact your local Ohio SBDC Export Assistance Director, by clicking here (PDF).

For more information about exporting services available for Ohio small businesses, visit:

Click here for more information.