Three Important Business Skills They Don’t Teach You In School

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

This short article explores three areas in which any business owner or entrepreneur can improve to make a positive impact on daily management tasks and operations.

Three Important Business Skills They Don’t Teach You In School:
Communicating, Multitasking and Paying Attention to Small Details.

Originally posted on March 3, 2016
Written by guest writer:
Ken Dunn, CEO and Founder of, Author, Speaker and Publishing Industry Advocate

How REI’s Co-op Retail Model Helps Its Bottom Line

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

Managing a cooperative is different. In the co-op model, managers work with a board elected from and by the membership and they manage a business for the benefit of their members, among other unique characteristics. Check out the article linked here from The Atlantic to learn about how the co-op model makes REI different.

How REI’s Co-op Retail Model Helps Its Bottom Line
An interview with the company’s CEO, Jerry Stritzke
David McNew / Reuters
March 21, 2017

FREE Webinar for SBDCs & SBDC Clients

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

FREE Webinar for SBDCs and SBDC Clients
– Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017 2- 3pm EDT –

If you aren’t using email marketing to grow your business, you are missing out on sales. Email Marketing is the easiest, most cost-effective way to generate sales for your business.

The ROI on Email Marketing is 40:1, meaning, for every $1 dollar spent on email marketing, businesses average $40 in return.

In this FREE webinar, you will learn:
• How to determine the dollar value of your current contact list (even if your list is small)
• Easy ways to grow your list
• How to create great content (it is easier than you think)
• How to create beautiful, mobile-responsive emails that match your brand
• How to track your results

From revealing why regular email doesn’t work, to insider tips and techniques like automated list building tools and the design elements that work (and those that don’t!), this seminar will give you the keys to the most effective marketing you can do: email marketing.

Join Constant Contact on Wednesday, March 29th at 2-3 pm. There will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions! All attendees in the free webinar will receive a special gift of unique savings on a new Constant Contact account. You will be able to start growing your business right away.


Mobile Friendly Websites

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

Is your website mobile friendly? What does she even mean, of course it pops up on my phone? The difference is, when a website pops up that is not mobile friendly, it’s not easy to read, you’ll have to zoom in a good bit to read or navigate the page.

Like this example, a mobile friendly website fits on your screen with good size font and easy access to the information on the site. The little lines at the top? That’s the menu.

But why is that important? Well, for starters, 80% of internet users have a smart phone. And the average time spent browsing on a smart phone was 87 hours per month! 67% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a website that is mobile compatible. (Smart Insights).

Google has prioritized mobile-friendly websites in their algorithm, which helps your business tremendously in search rankings. Having a mobile friendly website also helps builds your brand’s credibility that you are a current and relevant business.

So what’s your next steps? Grab your smartphone and pull up your website, how does it look? Log onto: and run a test on your site. Google will then email you a detailed report of how to fix the problems you have on the site. If it’s not mobile responsive, then it’s time to update your website!

Muddy boots and big dreams: Students at Ohio Valley work cooperatively

(Submitted by Ivory Harlow, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Before the bell rings, students at the Ohio Valley Career and Technical Center in Adams County, Ohio check the aquaculture tanks, unload greenhouse bedding plants and discuss a recent livestock trailer purchase they will use to haul cattle, goats and hogs to market.

The hardworking high school juniors and seniors operate eight farm enterprises: cattle, hogs, small ruminants, aquaculture, soybeans, corn, tobacco, and greenhouse production. The students are involved in every aspect of farm operation: business planning, financials, production, decision-making and day-to-day management, all of which is carried out with guidance from agriculture business instructor Mr. Luke Rhonemus.

Mr. Rhonemus has more than 15 years of experience teaching agriculture. He believes cultivating real-world Ag skills in young people will benefit them outside the classroom, as they continue their education and start careers.

Staff from the Ohio Cooperative Development Center visited Ohio Valley to share the cooperative business model with students. Students learned how member-ownership and control makes co-ops different from other business structures. They studied current agricultural cooperatives, and identified agricultural co-op products and services they use on the farm; products like Purina feed and services like Farm Credit Mid-America.

Students learned about the benefits of cooperation: increased volume, reduced costs, spread risk, market access and greater bargaining power. They appreciated how working together helps individual farms achieve big goals, but also debated how to ensure that everyone benefits equitably.

The students were asked to consider how organizing their school farm enterprises as an agricultural cooperative(s) could expand business, create opportunities and increase farm income. FFA groups in other parts of the state have leveraged the co-op model to boost student engagement and agricultural education. “These kids work hard during the school year and summer months. I think a cooperative could offer them a chance to see the pay-off of their hard work,” Mr. Rhonemus said.
Learn more at

First Ever #SBDCDay Wednesday, March 22!

(Shared by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers on behalf of the Ohio Small Business Development Center at OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio)

Wednesday March 22, 2017 is the first ever #SBDCDay! This is a national, collective proclamation of the success and impact that America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have across the nation in economic development and the small businesses community. On the 22nd SBDCs across the country we will be taking to social media, holding events and launching local PR campaigns to share our impact on the small business community.

Don’t miss this blitz as this week we are highlighting our team and our client’s success stories in honor of #SBDCDay. If you have testimonials about working with the SBDC at the OSU South Centers in Piketon, drop us a message or comment on social media post throughout the week.

Follow, like, and/or subscribe to see the campaign activities:

Facebook: OSUBusinessDevelopmentNetwork
Twitter: OSUBizNetwork
Instagram: osubiznetwork

Managing Daily Activities as a Small Business Owner

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

Small business owners invest massive amounts of time into their business. Managing the daily activities of dealing with customers and employees is more than enough in most cases to fulfill the workload for a business day. As we transition into the world of the internet; social media marketing, online banking, and email can add much more responsibility to a plate for business owners that is already full. The following article provides some time management tips that may help small business owners deal with the daily demands of owning/operating a business.

4 Ways to Practice Work-Life Balance in Your Small Business

By bridgetwpollack, Guest Blogger
Published: February 7, 2017 on
U.S. Small Business Administration Blogs – Industry Word

Many small business owners will tell you the rise of the internet has changed how they work. Newer entrepreneurs may not even be able to imagine moving about their day without email, social media or mobile banking.

But while these tools make it easier to do business in many ways, the pressure of always being “on” can amplify stress for small business owners. Time management can be particularly challenging for entrepreneurs who may be building a business while keeping another job, raising a family or pursuing education, just to name a few examples. Read more

Cooperative Models for Meat Marketing

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

According to recent research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over 165,000 farms in the U.S. sold food by direct marketing in 2015. These efforts resulted in approximately $8.7 billion in sales of various products, including beef, poultry, pork, and more. Direct sales of meat represented a large number of farms – in fact, more farms sold beef than any other single product reported.

Direct marketing of meat, through outlets like farm markets, restaurants, and institutions, include a number of challenges for producers. According to focus groups with beef producers in Tennessee, these challenges include large investments of time building clientele and relationships with buyers, issues with logistics like freezer space and delivering product, seasonality or unpredictability of sales volumes, obtaining correct licensing and certifications, and challenges selling the ‘whole hog’ rather than only a few premium cuts, among others.

Cooperatives, which are owned and controlled by user-members who split benefits amongst themselves equitably, may offer some unique ways of facing the challenges with directly marketing meat.

The Buckeye Valley Beef Cooperative was formed in southern Ohio as a marketing cooperative for beef producers in a rural area. The individual members of the co-op came together to work with small grocery stores – a market that presented a challenge for individual producers to service. By coordinating and aggregating supply, the producers were able to create a larger and more consistent volume of product for the grocery store shelves.

In New York state, the Adirondack Grazers Cooperative and the Side Hill Farmers Co-op took two different approaches to developing markets for meat producers. The Adirondack Grazers Cooperative was formed for small beef producer members to market meat in nearby urban centers, including through an online grocer. The co-op aggregates member products to meet the needs of these existing markets while also allowing members to share transportation. The co-op has also increased access to a meat processing and reduced processing expenses for members. The Side Hill Farmers Co-op created their own market to sell locally produced meats with a focus on whole animal utilization in a small retail store. The craft butcher shop sells beef, pork, lamb and poultry, including aged, cured, and prepared foods.

In some instances, access to processing is a major hurdle for meat producers. The Island Grown Farmers Co-op in the Pacific Northwest came together in the early 2000’s to address just that problem. The group, along with help from a local development organization, started a mobile processing unit that travels to members’ farms to slaughter their cattle, hogs, lambs, bison, and goats. The co-op further processes the meat while the producers are responsible for marketing. The 50-mile radius covered by the co-op included about 60 members in 2015 who work together to schedule the unit in a way that ensures it is adequately utilized.