Increasing Your Bottom Line: Where And How Your Business Can Save Money

 

There are two ways for a business to increase their bottom line, increase revenues or reduce costs. A simplified bottom line follow this basic equation: Revenues – Expenses = Profit. Most articles out there will attempt to tackle different strategies to increase revenues.  It’s much more popular to offer a ton of subjects. However, I decided to look at the other element in the equation and attempt to create real value for your startup.

So let’s talk costs and how to cut them. Most entrepreneurs quickly learn that their major expenses typically fall into one of these three categories: Staff, Office Space and Marketing & Advertising. This presents the business owner with a significant challenge. Cutting two of these three can seriously harm the moral and the revenues of his or her business venture.

Layoffs get major media exposure when large corporations take the route of slimming down their teams. After years of bad hiring practices and ineffective task assignments, ill managed organizations are often left with no other alternatives. Becoming more efficient and killing job duplicity is one of the first steps towards working smart. In most cases, small companies and start-ups usually don’t have the burden of redundancy in their teams so it rarely applies.

Cutting marketing and advertising spend can severely cripple your growth potential. Cutting on marketing to reduce costs may start you on a downward spiral that quickly gets out of control. That being said, I will venture to say that if some advertising avenues aren’t producing a good ROI, the solution should always be to get your campaigns up to speed and choose wisely between the different options to get the biggest bang out of your advertising dollars. There is a cost of opportunity between choosing one media outlet over another.  So do your math and invest in marketing you can track and that generates profits.  The Marketo blog has an article that will help you measure your marketing ROI.

This brings us to the expenditure that can really make an impact on your bottom line, and where most entrepreneurs fail to act. Your workplace should help your company thrive instead of sucking you dry. Small companies between one and twenty-five employees can greatly reduce their set up and monthly costs by choosing flexible full service office space. Executive Office Suites and Coworking spaces, also known as shared offices, business centers and flexible workplaces, provide very low entry fees, flexible service agreements and fully furnished, full service, ready to go office environments at a price several times lower than having your own space. You choose from private or shared space configurations and business essentials like Internet, phones, meeting rooms, and office support staff are included. One free resource that’s proven helpful to thousands of entrepreneurs in the US and Canada is www.officelist.com. Explore reducing your expenses in this area. You may be surprised at the savings, and your team will greatly appreciate working from a modern space with a prestigious address.  Not to mention the networking possibilities these types of spaces have to offer.

“As the CEO & co-founder of Officelist.com, Uddy Carmi has spent much of the last decade as an entrepreneur focused on the growth, success, and services that his company offers.”

GearBrake takes home top prize in KY Angels Pitch Competition in Louisville

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Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Economic Development
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601
Contact
Joe Hall
502.564.4886
 

Rick Johnson
Kentucky Innovation Network
859.246.3231

 

 

 

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GearBrake Wins Entrepreneur Pitch Competition in Louisville

Brake light company receives prize to grow business

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 24, 2014) – A potentially life-saving startup company has received a significant boost in accelerating its business.

Chris Bailey presented his company, GearBrake, to a panel of local judges during the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s entrepreneur pitch competition in Louisville Wednesday. For the award-winning idea, GearBrake received a cash prize and the opportunity to present to the Kentucky Angel Investors Network in Frankfort later this year.

GearBrake has developed a specialized brake light system to better protect and alert motorcyclists.

“We are honored to accept first place and represent the Louisville region in the competition finals,” Bailey said. “These prize winnings will go a long way by helping us further market and sell our product and ultimately save more lives. I was really proud of all the other teams presenting [in the competition]. Louisville has some great ideas sprouting.”

Motorcycles are able to rapidly slow down without using brakes by downshifting and engine braking, but other drivers are left in the dark because downshifting doesn’t light up a bike’s brake lights. GearBrake’s patent-pending module can sense deceleration and will automatically flash the brake lights.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, one extra second of warning time can prevent up to 90 percent of rear-end collisions. GearBrake provides up to three to five seconds of extra warning.

“The Louisville regional pitch competition gave four great startups the opportunity to get their ideas in front of our panel of experts to test their wings and their business plans as they continue to make progress,” said Lisa Bajorinas, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Office in Louisville. “We are very excited for GearBrake to represent us in the statewide competition in November.”

The event is sponsored by the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, along with the Kentucky Angels Network and the Kentucky Innovation Network. For more information on the competition, visit kyinnovation.com

Last year, the Cabinet successfully launched the Kentucky Angel Investors Network. Kentucky Angels brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to form deals and partnerships with entrepreneurs statewide. Membership is open to those accredited investors in and outside the state who are passionate about investing in Kentucky companies. To learn more about Kentucky Angels, visit www.kyangels.net

Learn more about GearBrake at https://gearbrake.com

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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2013 totaled more than $3.3 billion, spurring more than 14,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.

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Governor Ceremonially Signs Bill to Encourage Angel Investing

StateSeal_1Color
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Economic Development
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601
Contact

Terry Sebastian
502.564.2611
502.229.6130

Jennifer Brislin
502.564.2611
502.753.9766

Joe Hall
502.564.4886

Governor Ceremonially Signs Bill to Encourage Angel Investing

Bill encourages more individuals to invest in small businesses

COVINGTON, Ky. (July 23, 2014) – Angel investors now have another reason to invest in Kentucky’s small and startup companies – tax credits.

Gov. Steve Beshear joined state lawmakers, community leaders and angel investors today to ceremonially sign House Bill 445. The legislation expands the Kentucky Investment Fund Act (KIFA) so that individual angel investors – people who provide capital for startup companies – can receive tax credits. Currently, only groups of angel investors (with fund managers) can take advantage of the credits. The signing took place at UpTech, a small business incubator in Covington.

The expansion is designed to encourage more investment in Kentucky’s small businesses. The expanded credit, in turn, is expected to spark more innovation, business creation and jobs.

“Private investment is a critical component of a thriving innovation ecosystem,” said Gov. Beshear. “This legislation will provide great incentive for angel investors to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across the Commonwealth and to invest in Kentucky’s future.”

Starting next year, individual angel investors can receive a tax credit of up to 50 percent of their investment in counties with high unemployment rates, or enhanced counties, and 40 percent in all other counties.

Out-of-state investors can take advantage of the credit too. Though out-of-state investors may not have any Kentucky tax liability, they can transfer that tax credit to someone else within the Commonwealth. If a Kentucky taxpayer is willing to purchase the credit, the investor will recover some portion of the investment.

Rep. Arnold Simpson, of Covington, and Rep. Rick Rand, of Bedford, sponsored the bill. The Kentucky Innovation Network office in Covington, in conjunction with network offices across the state, also worked diligently to support the legislation.

“There are so many talented and hardworking Kentuckians who have the skill and know-how to start their own businesses who are just waiting for someone to provide that initial financial support,” said Rep. Simpson. “By making Kentucky a more appealing place to provide angel investments we’re going to see real results in the number of people who are able to take their ideas and turn them into reality, providing new jobs for Kentuckians along the way. I’m glad to see this bill signed into law and thank Gov. Beshear for helping make it happen.”

“I hope this legislation encourages investors to take notice that our Commonwealth is serious about helping new businesses grow,” said Rep. Rand. “But even more importantly, I hope this encourages some Kentuckians who may have been on the fence about striking out on their own to get out there, find an investor and realize their dreams of starting their own business.”

This legislation is Gov. Beshear’s latest step to encourage angel investing in the Commonwealth. Last year, he successfully launched the Kentucky Angels Network (Kentucky Angels). Kentucky Angels brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to deals and partnerships with entrepreneurs statewide. Membership is open to those accredited investors in and outside the state who are passionate about investing in Kentucky companies. To learn more about Kentucky Angels, visit www.kyangels.net.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, along with the Kentucky Innovation Network, also is hosting a series of entrepreneur pitch competitions throughout the state. Similar to the hit television show “Shark Tank,” these competitions feature Kentucky entrepreneurs presenting their business ideas to a group of local angel investors. Winners receive cash prizes and the opportunity to present their businesses to the Kentucky Angels in Frankfort this fall.

The angel tax credit is operated through the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

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Space Tango Business Accelerator Launched This Week


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
22 July 2014

Space Tango Business Accelerator Launched This Week

Space Tango Inc., of Lexington Kentucky, has just kicked-off the nation’s first business accelerator specifically for space enterprises and entrepreneurs. The accelerator is designed for space-driven startups with a goal of helping new and growing businesses innovate and develop novel applications for diverse markets.

The three companies below are in the Lexington, Kentucky region for a five-week session that started last week and will return in the fall for a final session. The fall session will include a pitch presentation during the IdeaFestival, where some of the world’s leading creative thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators join curious minds from around the globe in Louisville, Kentucky for four-days.

The companies participating in the 2014 program are:

Aeolus AeroTech Pvt Ltd (AAT), based in Bangalore, India, is a research-to-product company that provides turnkey technical solutions and products in the field of advanced laboratory equipment, avionics and space sectors. It is the first Indian private company to develop COTS products for CubeSat and related microsatellite missions.

ConsiNet, headquartered in Morehead, Kentucky, is a ground station service provider for the rapidly growing global small satellite marketplace. ConsiNet is developing a novel network of ground stations to assist missions in achieving robust space to ground communications.

Vinveli, based out of Austin, Texas, is an international technology development and services company specializing in the space industry. The company’s work includes developing the next generation STEM based educational material for colleges, high schools and middle schools utilizing space and space experimentation as the basis for advanced project design and access to space for their customers.

About Space Tango Inc.
Space Tango is a for-profit enterprise headquartered in Kentucky, focused primarily on the entrepreneurial space marketplace. The company’s capabilities include CubeSat class and other micro-satellite and subsystems, satellite ground operations, spacecraft design and testing and the development of novel technology and experiments for the International Space Station (ISS). It is also the commercialization partner for Kentucky Space.

Committed to a highly collaborative business strategy, Space Tango works closely with a number of other dynamic companies, universities and organizations. These collaborators include the Office of Entrepreneurship at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Morehead State University and the University of Kentucky.

For additional information contact Kris W. Kimel at kkimel@spacetango.com or 859-229-6161.

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PIKEVILLE – Innovation Network & UPIKE College of Business hold Social Media Workshop

Social media Press release (2)

Entrepreneurs participate in free workshop

The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office and The University of Pikeville Coleman College of Business conducted their first of nine Social Media Workshops for Beginners. The purpose of this training is to assist small businesses in enhancing their marketing efforts. The workshop was held in UPIKE’s Community Technology Center and was free to the public. The workshop demonstrated the basics of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Google. The workshop covered different approaches to marketing, gaining followers, and how to drive engagement.

Assistant Director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office, Justin Prater, led the workshop and was excited about the turnout at the event. “It was great to see so many entrepreneurs and every-day citizens come out and allow me to demonstrate a side of social media they may not have known existed. The Kentucky Innovation Network and the University of Pikeville look forward to serving our community.” said Prater.

An impressive turnout of thirty attendees demonstrated the need and desire of small business owners to improve their marketing skills with this technology.

“As a small home-based business I was very excited to see (on Facebook) the “free” workshop that was being offered to the public on social media,” said Diana Sykes, owner of Sew Cute LLC.
The workshop included usage statistics for different social media platforms, the “do’s and don’ts”, and even how to structure targeted ads.

“I found this workshop very helpful as it gave me the opportunity to explore various social media options with a thorough explanation of each type,” said Dorian Moe of Mountain Comprehensive Care Center. “I especially appreciated the statistical data that was presented so we could see the effectiveness and appeal of each media type to specific age groups as well as lots of tips to save money on advertising,” she said.

Entrepreneurs are already utilizing the skills demonstrated during the workshop to drive engagement on their social media platforms.
“It was worth the time and effort it took to attend the workshop, with the things I learned I was able to increase my embroidery business likes on Facebook alone by 577 % in one day alone.” said Sykes.

The social media workshops will continue throughout the nine-county region the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office serves. The next workshop will be on July 29th at the Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg, KY. The workshop will begin at 5:30 PM and will complete at 7:00 PM. For more information, contact Justin Prater at justinprater@upike.edu or call 606-218-5053.

About The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office
The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office was established in April of 2014 to serve the needs of Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Perry, and Pike Counties. The office was established to assist entrepreneurs (both new and existing) with starting their own business or help with their existing business. The office offers free business model coaching, strategic planning, and professional networking. For free assistance with your idea or business, please contact us at 606-218-5053 or email justinprater@upike.edu

 

Entrepreneur Pitch Competition Coming to Louisville

StateSeal_1Color
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Economic Development
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601
Contact
Joe Hall
502.564.4886

Rick Johnson
Kentucky Innovation Network
859.246.3231

 Entrepreneur Pitch Competition Coming to Louisville

Winners will receive cash prizes to start their businesses; gain access to angel investors

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 16, 2014) – Aspiring entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to make their dreams of starting a business come true.

Entrepreneurs will participate in a business pitch competition in Louisville. Similar to the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” participants will have minutes to present their business idea to a group of potential angel investors, individuals who provide capital for startup companies. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to present their plans to the entire Kentucky Angel Investors Network (Kentucky Angels) in Frankfort.

“This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to network with potential investors,” said Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “Kentucky has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and we want to expose more people to investment opportunities throughout the state.”

The competition is Wednesday, July 23, at Greater Louisville Inc. at 614 West Main Street, Suite 600, from 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Four teams have been selected to pitch their businesses.

The event is one of eight statewide pitch competitions hosted by the Cabinet, the Kentucky Innovation Network and Kentucky Angels. Competitions have already taken place in Murray, Elizabethtown, Pikeville, Richmond and Ashland with additional events scheduled for later this year in Lexington and Covington.

“These pitch competitions are drivers of innovation within the local entrepreneurial community,” said Lisa Bajorinas, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Office in Louisville. “They have helped some of our region’s most forward-thinking startups take their products to the next level which, in turn, has fueled regional growth. We are excited to host the competition here in Louisville.”

Winners of the previous competitions are singing the praises of the events. “This [the competition] isn’t a publicity stunt, like others we’ve been to in other states” said Lula Luu, owner of Fin Gourmet in Paducah and winner of the pitch competition in Murray. “Kentucky cares about promoting entrepreneurship. All this was very impressive because Kentucky is not just talking about supporting small startups, they’re doing it.”

Register to attend the competition here or learn more at kyinnovation.com.

Last year, the Cabinet successfully launched the Kentucky Angels Network. Kentucky Angels brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to form deals and partnerships with entrepreneurs statewide. Membership is open to those accredited investors in and outside the state who are passionate about investing in Kentucky companies. To learn more about Kentucky Angels, visit www.kyangels.net.

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Kentucky gets “A+” from KY Angels Pitch Competition Winner

 

Entrepreneurs in Kentucky have already seen benefits from participating in the The Kentucky Angels Pitch Competition series. Winning companies from Murray, Elizabethtown, Ashland, Pikeville and Richmond are now preparing to present their plans to the entire Kentucky Angel Investor Network in Frankfort this fall.  Three more competitions will be held in Louisville, Covington and Lexington this summer.

During a short interview, Murray winner Lula Luu, from Fin Gourmet had this say about the competition and gives Kentucky an “A+” when it comes to supporting entrepreneurs:

1.      Why did you feel it was important to participate in the competition?

We’ve been in business since 2010. We started our business in the most cut-throat environment for a fish business:  New Orleans, LA. There are no tangible resources to help small businesses like ours there.  We’ve been through the mill with federal, state, and municipal organizations designed to help entrepreneurs but nothing ever materialized. When I saw the newsflash about what Governor Beshear and the KY Angel Network was trying to do to help start-ups, we were thrilled. It was more real than anything we’ve seen. Kentucky was willing to put not only money toward assistance but also enormous resources behind that.  After I called and spoke with Loretta Daniel, we could hardly believe that there were no crazy hoops to jump through.  She just stated matter-of-factly that we just need to call Mr. Jim Pape to apply.  We followed up and Mr. Pape was very proactive and supportive.  We never experience this in Louisiana.

2.      What was your overall impression of the event?

This wasn’t a publicity stunt, like others we’ve been to in other states.  Kentucky cares about promoting entrepreneurship. It was a great turnout. There were people from the economic development side, students, budding entrepreneurs who wanted to learned, and private businesses looking to invest.  Dean Harvey, The Executive Director of KY Angel Network was there in person to make introductions and to show support.  All this was very impressive because Kentucky is not just talking about supporting small start-ups, they’re doing it!

3.      What was the most valuable part of the experience?

As nerve-wracking as it was to present to an expert panel of judges, the most valuable part of the experience was the feedback I received during the Q&A from the judges.   That exchange really allowed us to affirm what we knew but showed us different ways the public and investors may be thinking about our business.  It certainly offered us opportunities to improve on our sales pitch and marketing plans.

4.      Would you encourage other entrepreneurs to participate in pitch competitions? Why?

Definitely! As a professor, one of the goals I try to impart to my students is how to handle critiques. Any critique whether negative or positive is an opportunity to grow and to strengthen. This competition offers so many opportunities for start-ups to grow, internally and externally. Getting valuable feedback from other successful entrepreneurs is always priceless.

5.      How well do you believe Kentucky is doing to support entrepreneurs and small business owners?

I would give Kentucky an A+.  Our participation in the competition has already opened many doors for us.  We found that the infrastructure here in Kentucky has been really supportive to us and to our business.  We feel nurtured and that our success is very important to Kentucky. That means so much to us!

The next Pitch Competition will be held in Louisville on July 23rd at Greater Louisville Inc. You can register to attend here.

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Lula Luu, pictured above, received first place in the KY Angels Pitch Competition in Murray, June 17, 2014.

 

Kentucky’s Office of Entrepreneurship Helps Small Businesses

Seen on Business Lexington
Posted June, 27 2014

BY KATHIE STAMPS

In its first year, the Office of Entrepreneurship has supported more than 2,000 small businesses across the state. Created in July 2013 by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Office of Entrepreneurship is rolling out program after program for current and future owners of small businesses.

“If anyone in Kentucky is looking to start or grow a business, we can help,” said Mandy Lambert, the office’s interim executive director. “The goals of the Office of Entrepreneurship are to develop an entrepreneurial climate in Kentucky, provide guidance and support to startups, and to assist existing small businesses with growth opportunities.”

According to Lambert, Kentucky has 350,000 small businesses employing almost three quarters of a million people.

“Entrepreneurship is at an all-time high in the state, and we recognize the need to develop innovative programs and offer dynamic services to help these growing companies every step of the way,” she said.

The Office of Entrepreneurship is a central point of contact for a small-business owner who wants to find out about advocacy and resource referrals, funding opportunities, marketing and sales assistance, and incentive programs that encourage investment and job growth. The services throughout the office are provided free of charge.

“Not only are we seeing more and more startup companies getting off the ground and small businesses growing, we’re also helping more young people gain exposure to the possibilities of becoming an entrepreneur,” Lambert said. “We feel this is an important part of future economic development and will pay dividends over the long term.”

Idea State U is a competition for college students who create business plans and compete for a share of $100,000 in prizes.

“Many entrepreneurs have great ideas, but don’t know what to do next,” Lambert said. “That’s where the Kentucky Innovation Network [KIN] comes in.” The Cabinet for Economic Development started the KIN program in 2001; now it falls under the auspices of the Office of Entrepreneurship. There are 13 KIN offices across the commonwealth, funded half by the state and half by strategic partners at each location. Warren Nash is director of the Lexington office.

“For Lexington, it’s funded by the University of Kentucky,” he said. Nash, whose operates out of the Commerce Lexington building, is actually an employee of UK, specifically the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship through the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

“One of the things really growing in Lexington is the independent gaming development community,” Nash said. Games for Xbox and smart devices are coming from a handful of such companies in the Bluegrass, and they’re using artists and music composers in addition to programmers.

Four months after the Office of Entrepreneurship was created last summer, the Cabinet for Economic Development established the Kentucky Angel Investors Network, coordinating the effort with the existing Kentucky Innovation Network. “Angel investors, individuals who provide capital for business startups, put an average of $20 billion into new companies each year,” Lambert said. “Kentucky Angels brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to early-stage deal flow on a statewide basis.”

There are other opportunities for funding, such as the Kentucky Small Business Credit Initiative. Created by Gov. Steve Beshear in 2011, KSBCI has generated $30 million in private-sector lending and has created or kept almost 500 jobs. Most small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees that create a position and hire someone for it, and invest at least $5,000 in qualifying technology or equipment, are eligible for the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit program, implemented in 2009.

Entrepreneurs interested in doing business overseas should be interested in the Office of Entrepreneurship, as the office oversees the Kentucky Export Initiative. In May, Beshear and almost a dozen small-business owners went on a trade mission to the United Kingdom. “The feedback from the participants has been extremely positive,” Lambert said, “as the trade mission opened up a brand new market for their products.”

In 2013 Kentucky businesses shipped more than $25 billion in products to nearly 200 countries.

“So far this year, Kentucky’s exports are up almost 10 percent from this time last year,” Lambert said. “The U.S. average is up less than two percent.”

As the Office of Entrepreneurship enters its second year, Lambert is pleased with the early success and foresees the office’s programs getting stronger.

“We’re always looking for new ways to support entrepreneurs and small businesses,” she said. “We’re still shaping the vision of the Office of Entrepreneurship to provide the best possible service to all of Kentucky’s visionaries and growing companies.”

For more information about the Office of Entrepreneurship, visit www.ThinkKentucky.com.

– See more at: http://bizlex.com