The ISBDC EDGE Awards celebrate Economic Development & Growth through Entrepreneurship. EDGE Award recipients fall into one of two categories: Emerging or Established businesses. Eligibility is limited to clients of the ISBDC who in the past year have received one-on-one confidential counseling with a trained ISBDC Business Advisor, participated in ISBDC programs, or used ISBDC tools and business resources. EDGE Award recipients have been selected locally by the regional ISBDC staff who work directly with the business. Congratulations to the 2011 Class of Established Business EDGE Awards Winners.
What started as a way for the family of 10 to connect by milking goats and making soap, became a full-time business in 2008. Two years after opening, the business had become profitable and more than doubled in sales. They came to the Southeast ISBDC to get strategic planning advice and started working on a strategically focused version of the business plan. After several meetings with the ISBDC, the Jonas family decided to expand the business.
The Southeast ISBDC provided market research, business planning guidance, financial analysis, loan assistance and even assisted the clients through some planning and zoning problems they had in mid-2011. Now, Goat Milk Stuff has been featured on the Today Show on NBC and in the January O Magazine for the Oprah network and is expanding into a new facility in Southern Indiana. With a new building expansion, they will move into a wholesale sales relationship with some existing customers worldwide. They also moved to exporting (less than 1% of sales) in 2011 to 10 different companies.
Tracy Freeze came to the Northwest ISBDC in August 2009 for strategic assistance with her 14 year old medical practice management consulting business. The NW ISBDC effectively led HMS Midwest through the process of achieving two major goals. The first was the successful integration of Tracy’s husband, Jeff, into the business. The second was the process of directing their first ever strategic planning process and, as an outcome of that, the reorganization of their business model. HMS Midwest has been able to make the leap from working out of a 650 sq ft home office to a 2500 sq ft commercial office filled with technological tools that will enable further development of service lines for their clients as well as the addition of two employees. Their focus now is on helping the providers to navigate the choppy waters that lay ahead for the healthcare industry and with their recent growth they have the space and staff to make this happen.
Dr. Neuhoff engaged the North Central ISBDC in December 2010 after hearing a presentation to a local association of women business owners. She explained the challenges her veterinary practice faced in growing revenues in a crowded market during a time that expenditures on veterinary services had contracted. The NC ISBDC completed a review of the business’ web site and requested an ESRI study to provide better insight into the local market. The practice was then referred to a local branding specialist that completed additional research and recommended a variety of positioning statements and tag lines. With a differentiation strategy in place, additional counseling focused upon evaluation of promotional options and assistance in developing the script of a television advertisement.
During the course of ISBDC engagement Dr. Neuhoff received an opportunity to acquire another practice that operated in a different geographic area of the regional market. Data from the ESRI study helped assess the potential for additional growth through that second location, which is expected to increase annual revenues by $300,000.
Columbia City, IN
Jeff Johnson was introduced to the NE ISBDC through Alan Tio and the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation in 2009. At the time, Mr. Johnson was interested in establishing a formal plan to take his CNC machine shop business to the next level. Mr. Johnson requested SBDC support in developing a structured marketing plan, establishing a training program for his employees, and coaching in how to improve cash flow within the business.
As a result of ongoing counseling/coaching, the business has completed and begun implementation of a strategic plan that provides a source of direction and focus for the owner. The owners have continued to work on strategies and tactics to continuously improve their business performance, Consequently, the business has increased production capacity, increased revenues 43% in a challenging economy, developed a formal training program for employees, hired 11 new employees, and is in the process of obtaining its QS 13485/ISO 9001 certification. Ongoing SBDC coaching will be provided to the client to continue refinement and implementation of the strategic plan.
Gary Rhum was teaching music lessons from his home, but felt like he could do much more. Gary’s dream was to have a music school with a holistic approach to teaching music; offering not only private and group lessons, but also a performance hall and music store dedicated to helping in the success of local musicians. With the encouragement of some of his student’s parents and the mayor of Kokomo, he rented a large historic space in downtown Kokomo’s beautiful “Old City Building.” Gary was an artist, not a businessman, and he needed some guidance in how to develop his business, write a business plan, and to obtain funding. He first met with the Hoosier Heartland ISBDC in January of 2009.
The HH ISBDC provided Gary with some fundamental business practices and tips to help him organize and prioritize and helped him enroll in the HH ISBDC Collegiate Management program (available via a partnership between HHISBDC and IUK). Through this, IU Kokomo master’s students assisted Gary in the development of his business plan which helped the Rhum Academy of Music to obtain the necessary funding through Community First Bank in Kokomo to develop his business in the large new location. The academy now has 17 employees and hundreds of students of all ages. A line of musical instruments has been added to provide retail sales revenue and current 2011 sales are already 2.25 times higher than the 2009 annual sales. Gary is not yet done growing, and he has again turned the HH ISBDC (and their partner, the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance) to help him consider a number of options to expand the Rhum Academy of Music.
Cindy Dunston Quirk’s dogs, Scout and Zoe, were allergic to any bovine product. Cindy set out on a ten year quest for non-bovine items for them to chew on to exercise their chew drive and help with cleaning their teeth. She finally discovered antlers which are rugged, hard, solid and won’t splinter like bones.
Cindy came to the East Central ISBDC in August 2010 for assistance in business planning, bookkeeping practices and marketing. The EC ISBDC helped Cindy focus on her market using marketing research tools such as ESRI and Hillsearch. This led Cindy to focus on internet sales and exporting.
When Cindy started exporting to China, the ISBDC export advisors helped her make sure she was following the right procedures as well as help Cindy look into different foreign markets such as Brazil.
Cindy currently has three retail outlets in China, has just recently gotten her product into a major US chain store, delivering her product to 40 of the chain’s market area stores, and is projecting 2011 sales to be $86,000 over prior year sales.
Solid Surfaces of Indiana, LLC
Joe Papp contacted the Central Indiana SBDC in August 2005 to review his business plan which outlined the proposed launch of a solid surface fabrication and installation company. The Central Indiana SBDC provided guidance in working through the details of the plan and used ProfitCents to analyze the financials. Joe located and leased a facility and started operating in July 2006, self-financing the purchase of the initial CNC equipment and supplies/material using an operational activity checklist provided by the CISBDC. The CISBDC later introduced him to National City Bank in Indianapolis, who reviewed their plan and approved an initial $20,000 line of credit.
Solid Surfaces of Indiana has steadily grown their business over the last 5 years, providing solid surface countertops and vanity tops to a number of local Lowe’s stores and area kitchen/bath dealers. In addition, they have completed commercial work for several major Indiana companies, such as Eli Lilly, Sallie Mae and the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA). Throughout the business expansion, the CISBDC assisted with the update of the business plan, and introduced Joe to Huntington National Bank, who approved a $90,000 SBA business loan for the purchase of new CNC equipment for the granite and quartz production line, as well as an expanded $50,000 line of credit. In October 2011, they moved to a new larger facility to accommodate this growth.
Faced with a temporary decline in sales in 2010 due to the recession, the Solid Surfaces team maintained their full commitment in providing top quality products and great customer service to their customers, which directly led to the opportunity of a significant increase in business with Lowe’s, and the strategic addition of the granite and quartz product lines in 2011. This expansion is based on a major purchasing commitment from Lowe’s, and will double Solid Surfaces’ total sales in 2012 as well as add two employees.
Mike came to the Southwest ISBDC in the fall of 2009 when a banker asked about the company’s profitability and his breakeven point. The company’s accountant lacked the technical experience to provide accurate accounting records and a meaningful set of financial statements. The SW ISBDC worked with his bookkeeper/accountant in improving his QuickBooks records so that meaningful financials could be produced. They also provided guidance in the area of internal controls needed in a small business with a one person accounting staff. The company eventually received the financing needed to maintain an adequate working capital level.
Mike provides his full-time employees, professional staff and unskilled production workers, benefits not typical in the industries he services. Employees earn two weeks vacation, company 401K contributions, and the company pays the majority of their medical and dental insurance coverage. With this great service and motivated employees, in less than five years he has gone from zero to 75 employees.
West Terre Haute, IN
Robert Garzolini came to the West Central ISBDC in 2008 to request assistance in developing a business proposal for submission to Riddell National Bank as well as implementation assistance. The proposal was to gain funding to purchase equipment to outfit his helicopter so that he would be able to crop dust and provide agricultural services using his helicopter. In addition, he also discussed various marketing strategies with the WC office.
Today, Terre Haute Helicopters employs not only Mr. Garzolini, but provides employment to two others during peak planting and growing times. During the off season the company provides flight services at festivals, such as the Covered Bridge Festival. Through his updated business plan, the company received approximately $2 million in financing from Riddell National Bank and 2011 sales were around $500,000. Terre Haute Helicopters ended 2011 and began 2012 by expanding its services in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which is just north of the Equator.