Advice from EAC’s Established Business Finalists

The Entrepreneurship Advancement Center held its 2nd Annual Entrepreneurship Celebration Awards  on February 28. Finalists in each three categories participated in interviews with separate judging panels. These awards celebrate the achievements of innovative business owners who conveyed an entrepreneurial spirit as they have grown their businesses. Nick Carter of AddressTwo was the winner in the Established Business category.

Hear the established business finalists share their advice. They include tips on starting and growing their own businesses for other entrepreneurs and small business owners who are on their entrepreneurial journey. The established businesses are past early hurdles of starting their business, have few employees, yet are increasing annual revenues.

Finalists

 

Celebrating Entrepreneurship

 We believe Hamilton County is a great place to start a business. As a matter of fact, many entrepreneurs have. We hope you will join us as we celebreate the accomplishments of several of these companies at our first Entrepreneurship Celebration on October 27th from 7:30-9:00 am at the Monon Center East in Carmel.

At this community event we will recognize the achievements of innovative business owners and the positive impacts they have in our communities We will also announce the winner of the 2nd Annual Community Business Plan Competition at the event.

John Wechsler is the featured speaker for the Entrepreneurship Celebration breakfast. John is a Partner at DeveloperTown, an Indianapolis-baed venture development firm. He works with high-potential ventures on business strategy issues, early customer development, sales, marketing, business development and fundraising.

You are invited to show your support by becoming an awards breakfast sponsor. This is an excellent opportunity to not only show your support of the finalist but also to gain recognition for your role in the success of the finalist.

 We hope you will support your friends and associates at our awards breakfast. 

Click here to learn more and to register.

Define your Market and Your Competitive Advantage

By John Marske, M&I Bank
EAC Board Member

The most challenging aspect of any business plan consists of convincing investors of your company’s competitive advantage. The first step is defining your target market. Are you targeting the mass market or are you targeting a specific niche market with unique, specialized needs? Once you define the market (in terms of total dollars), you must state a percentage of that market that you reasonably believe you can capture. Is the market growing, or is it a stagnate market?

The second step is defining your competitive advantage to capture that market.

If you are a start-up, it will be extremely difficult to convince investors that you can compete on price, unless you have some innovative, patented technology that makes you more efficient. After all, what will prevent larger firms, with a lower cost of funding, from duplicating your strategy?  Few investors will believe that price-conscious customers will be loyal customers. 

If you’re not competing on price, how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

Do you have an existing customer base that will follow you in your new business? You need to communicate the size of that customer base, and communicate why they will remain loyal to your business.

Do you have an in-house knowledge base superior to your competition? Prove it. If you can’t prove superior knowledge to investors, how will you be able to prove superior knowledge to potential customers?

Do you have a specific branding strategy that will promote customer loyalty? Outline a financial plan for promoting that brand.

Do you have a unique product or service that is creating a whole new market that doesn’t currently exist? How do you define that market? Is your product a compelling substitute product for an existing market?

If you can answer the above questions with factual research, you are well on your way to completing a solid business plan. All that remains is inputting the numbers to convince yourself, as well as potential investors, that you have a sustainable business.

Join the Entrepreneurs’ Movement

Entrepreneurial businesses are the economic engine of America’s future. In fact, the Kauffman Foundation has found that 80 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy has been, and will continue to be, built by entrepreneurs.

Help the Kauffman Foundation spread the word about the importance of entrepreneurship. Join the movement and add your voice to the others who are supporting entrepreneurs!