Good Salesmanship – How to raise prices

Entrepreneurs often set their prices too low, and it can take years to get them to the right level. So how do we increase our prices without losing customers?

By David Madié, founder and CEO of GrowthWheel International Inc.

When we as entrepreneurs are not making enough money it may be because we are not setting the right prices. Generally, we are good at producing and delivering products. However, it is just as important to be good at running a business and
getting properly paid for our work. So to run a sustainable business and get the most from it, somewhere along the way we need to learn how to become a good salesman or saleswoman. How do we go about this?


Why are our prices too low?

There are various reasons why we set our prices too low. A frequent “beginners mistake” is that we think we make enough money. We often forget about all the less predictable expenses in the budget or we underestimate how much time we spend on each task. Perhaps we forget that it is not enough to get a decent salary. The company needs to make its “own” money to be able to invest in product development, marketing etc. To tell the company’s earnings from our personal income may be the first step towards setting the right prices.

Want to learn more? Register for our upcoming workshop on pricing and use the code “blog” to receive a $5 discount when registering. The rest of this article will be sent to you for reading when you register. Click here.

Do You Need Space? – We Have It!

When it comes to starting a new business, it takes more than just a good idea – look for help to get you through the bumps. The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC), a 501(c)3 nonprofit, co-located with the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce provides reduced cost office space, but that’s not the only thing it offers. It also offers educational programs for business owners and regular check-ups to assess progress and set goals for success.

According to the SBA, 66% of businesses will survive their first two years, and only 50% of companies will survive their first five years.

A start-up business needs a lot of support in those early stages, and it is not just financial support. The EEC is one of several “incubators” for startup businesses in Delaware. However, the EEC is a bit different than most in the country. It’s not unusual for a Chamber to offer support to business incubator programs, but it is less common for a Chamber to embed its own home-grown program inside the existing chamber. The proximity to a knowledgeable Chamber staff, and over 900 member businesses, and over 150 Chamber events per year provides EEC’s startups with ample access to invaluable resources and real examples of successful business owners.

The EEC’s incubator program provides a combination of affordable space and support resources, along with one-on-one business and entrepreneurial mentoring, education, networking, and other amenities that are vital to the success of new companies.

EEC’s business growth workshops and seminars are designed to help build the critical business skills necessary for any business to grow and flourish. These interactive workshops incorporate a decision-making tool kit that helps start-up and growing companies to gain focus, set agendas, make decisions, and take appropriate action. Each workshop is complemented by a series of talks and seminars from industry and subject matter experts.

EEC has a network of strategic partners, business relationships, and contacts who serve as valuable resources to incubator members. EEC provides daily access to members of the NCCCC who mentor, teach seminars, and provide access to the banking and other vital industries.

The EEC accepts everything from main street mom and pop to new tech companies. Companies are expected to graduate from the program in two to three years and move on to a more traditional lease office space. For those that don’t need office space, like a retailer, online seller, or distributor, but want to take advantage of all of the other features of the EEC’s Incubation Program, including connection to resources, advice and mentoring, access to business education and networking events, and especially the business skills development, the EEC has a virtual and coworking program. Companies and contractors, can pay monthly and sometimes daily fees, share meeting rooms and certain services, such as wi-fi and a kitchen.

Since the EEC’s opening in 2008, it has generated $69 million in revenue, created more than 231 jobs while they were in the program. For more information on the Emerging Enterprise Center, check it out on www.EECincubator.com, or contact us at info@EECincubator.com or 302-737-4343.

Knowledge Does Not Eliminate Skill: Knowledge without skill is unproductive

exerpt from The Daily Drucker written by Peter F. Drucker

At present, the term “knowledge worker” is widely used to describe people with considerable theoretical knowledge and learning: doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, chemical engineers. But, the most striking growth will be in “knowledge technologists”: computer technicians, software designers, analysts in clinical labs, manufacturing technologists, paralegals. These people are as much manual workers as they are knowledge workers; in fact, they usually spend far more time working with their hands than with their brains.

So, knowledge does not eliminate skill. On the contrary, knowledge is fast becoming the foundation for skill. We are using knowledge more and more to enable people to acquire skills of a very advanced kind fast and successfully. Only when knowledge is used as a foundation for skill does it become productive. For example, surgeons preparing for an operation to correct a brain aneurysm before it produces a lethal brain hemorrhage spend hours in diagnosis before they cut – and that requires specialized knowledge in the highest order. The surgery itself, however, is manual work – and manual work consisting of repetitive manual operations in which the emphasis is on speed, accuracy, uniformity. And these operations are studied, organized, learned, and practiced exactly like any other manual work.

Action Point: Outline the skills required in your work. Analyze and refine these skills for optimum quality and productivity.

Innovations for Maximum Opportunities: What is lacking to make effective what is already possible?

Excerpt from The Daily Drucker written by Peter F. Drucker

The characteristic of the innovator is the ability to envisage as a system what to others are unrelated, separate elements. It is the successful attempt to find and to provide the smallest missing part that will convert already existing elements. To find areas where innovations would create maximum opportunities, one asks: “What is lacking to make effective what is already possible? What one small step would transform our economic results? What small change would alter the capacity of the whole of our resources?”

To describe the need is not to satisfy it. But describing the need gives a specification for the desirable results. Whether they are likely to be obtained can be decided. Innovation is applicable to finding business potential and to making the future.

Action Point: Ask yourself the three questions above.

Jump-Start Your Start-up. Strapped for cash? Consider these approaches.

written by Rich Sloan of StartupNation.com and highlighted in Costco Connection Magazine June 2018

For all the talk of tech-savvy, independent-minded millennials embracing entrepreneurship, statistics show that many of them aren’t. The US Small Business Administration (sba.gov) reported that in 2014 fewer than 2 percent of millennials were self-employed, compared with 7.6 percent of Generation X and 8.3 percent for the baby boomer generation.

High student loan debt and other economic issues may be contributing factors, making it challenging for many 20 and 30-somethings to start companies.

If you are among the cash-strapped millennials who could use use some street smarts and jolt of inspiration, here are a few options to get you going.

Bootstrap your idea

If your’re low on cash, consider pursuing a business idea that doesn’t require a large amount of upfront capital.

Plenty of successful startups get off the ground without big infusions of cash. For example, Hannah Lavon, the 33-year-old co-founder of Hooray Hoopla, which sells and manufacturers quirky mismatched socks, called Pals Socks (palssocks.com), started up at the end of 2015 with just $600 for prototypes. Now, Hooray Hoopla‘s Pals Socks product line is sold in over 300 stores nationally. That’s a full-fledged business started with less than $1,000.

Start a side hustle

Working on your startup while still employed is a great way to advance your business idea, giving you firm footing while you confirm some key assumptions and generally de-risk the opportunity.

Let’s say you’re planning to create an ACT counseling business. You could start as a part-time tutor for kids in their early teens. This ideally would not only generate incremental income, but would help you build your brand in our community, give you experience and insights, and, most importantly, develop a prospective client list, all of which you could parlay into momentum for your startup.

Consider crowdfunding

If you have an idea for a product and a knack for getting people excited about it, crowdfunding through a site like Indiegogo or Kickstarter could be another viable way to solve your capital needs. Crowdfunding can come in the form of actual investment and ownership in your company or – amazingly – in the form of prepayment by customers who want first dibs on your cool product. Yes, people will park their money with you even though you’re not even in production yet.

Article notes:

Crowdfunding:

To be a successful crowdfunding campaigner, you’ll have to demonstrate your marketing savvy and know-how.

Online marketing plays to millennials’ strengths as, relatively speaking, they tend to be well connected on social media, which is ground zero for crowdfunding campaigns.

The challenge in the crowd-funding landscape is to break through the noise by telling a compelling story and demonstrating the irresistible nature of your product-to-be.

You need great images and video, as well as editorial content that showcases the product and your know-how, so people will naturally want to pass them along to their own networks.

Wilminvest Swims to the Top and Wins Over Sharks

Sometimes the idea is the easy part for entrepreneurs. And for the competitors of the Emerging Enterprise Center’s (EEC) Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition, the idea is just the beginning of a very long road. We’ve all heard the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child.” This is similarly true for the entrepreneurs that competed last Friday, November 1st for the EEC’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch competition.  All of the finalists represent the successful summation of the village of a positive economic ecosystem represented by local universities, other mentor entrepreneurs, a cooperative local government, investment companies and of course the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (NCCCC).   And of all of the entrepreneurs it is especially true for this year’s winner, Wilminvest, LLC.

Over more than 10 years, the EEC has worked with 44 companies, generating $68.8 Million in revenues and employing 231 people. These results don’t happen alone. Both the NCCCC and the EEC have actively reached out to the entrepreneurial community to partner on efforts to create awareness among small businesses and budding entrepreneurs to let them know that they are not alone; there are resources available to help them. Competitions like the EEC’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition not only provide seed money for young entrepreneurs, the help to raise visibility in the marketplace, build investor and advisor networks, and uncovers new ways to cut business costs. Our four competitors have seen just that happen due to their exposure at the competition. In fact, two of our finalists have already been approached by potential investors and partners just days following the competition.

For the third year, the EEC, Delaware’s first small business incubator located at the NCCCC, partnered with the New Castle County Government, NCC Innovates Program, as well as multiple sponsors, to offer the prize package which included:

Each applicant was judged based on a combined score of both their written application and oral pitch. Judging criteria included business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and soft skills. Four finalists were then selected to pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Annual EEC Luncheon, which was held at the Harry’s Savoy Grill and Ballroom in Wilmington. The four finalists included 2M LLC, AnCatt Company, Lignolix, Inc, and Wilminvest, LLC.

The Grand Prize winner was selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (75%/25%). The judges included Keith Ellison (Urban League of Philadelphia Entrepreneurial Center), Holly Flanagan (Gabriel Investments), Mark Olazagasti (InfoSolutions, LLC), and former Swim with the Sharks winner Dr. Sumedh Surwade (SAS Nanotechnologies).

Bryce Fender and Joel Amin, Jr from Wilminvest, LLC win the 7th Annual Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition. Pictured left to right: Matt Meyer (New Castle County Executive), Bryce Fender, Joel Amin, Jr, and Bob Chadwick (President of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce & Emerging Enterprise Center).

Wilminvest, LLC beat out 25 other applicants and despite a very tough competition, narrowly winning first place for the EEC’s Swim with the Shark Pitch Competition – now in its 7th year with a Grand Prize totaling over $14,000 in cash and services.

Wilminvest, LLC pulls together family and resources to buy and restore houses in the city of Wilmington. The company then provides these homes in rent free short-term leases with the assistance of Delaware State Housing Authority to consumers experiencing substance abuse recovery, mental illness, and chronic veteran homelessness. By pulling together community resources, Wilminvest is investing directly back into our community to help better the economy by getting ‘hard luck’ folks off the streets and into a bed. Two young men, saw a problem, had an idea, and pulled the community together to help solve that problem. With this pitch competition grand prize, Wilminvest plans to reinvest it back into the community by purchasing two additional houses putting them ahead of their projections for the year and helping two more families off the streets and into a home. What a great example of an entrepreneurial ecosystem and “it take a village.”

And the Finalists Are…

An impressive group of entrepreneurs presented to a team of judges this past few weeks in the preliminary pitches for the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Annual Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition.

A total of 18 companies pitched before the finalist were chosen. For the first time ever in the history of the pitch competition, we had a tie in our judges scoring. Since there has never been a residence for this, the judges felt the need to include the third place winner in the competition as well since the scores so close. We are happy to announce that this year there will be four companies pitching in the finals.

These four companies will compete for more than $14,000 in cash and services in front of a live audience on November 1st to be held at Harry’s Savoy on Naamans Road in Wilmington. The Grand Prize represents a combination of partnerships with New Castle County Government and the NCC Innovates Program, as well as entrepreneurial service providers and sponsors, including Harvard Business Services Inc., The Williams Law Firm, Small Business Administration, and World Trade Center Delaware.

The finalists are (in alpha order):

2M, LLC is an advanced battery technology company, commiteed to providing superior, reliable and afford energy storage products including lithium ion battery materials and battery cells through innovation and cutting edge technology.

AnCatt is the first successful high-performance, environmentally-friendly, anti-corrosion paint coating that does not use any toxic heavy-metals such as chromates, lead, or zinc.

Lignolix, Inc. is a technology company that sustainably makes synthetic materials from renewable biomass wast streams. Currently, it has a process that selectively breaks down lignin to make synthetic materials.

Wilminvest, LLC is a company that combats the vacant and abandoned housing plague afflicting Wilmington, DE. The company acquires, renovates, and rents out vacant and distressed resident real estate as permanent supportive housing. The company uses federal and state funds to support displaced individuals and families who are experiencing unstable housing situations.

All 18 applicants submitted a 5 page business canvas and were invited to present a preliminary pitch before a panel of judges.  Each applicant was judged based on a combined score of both their written application and verbal pitch.  Judging criteria included business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and soft skills.  The finalists will pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Swim with the Sharks Luncheon to be at Harry’s Savoy Ballroom, 2020 Naamans Road, Wilmington, DE 19810.  The winner will be selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (75%/25%).

All of the applicants did a wonderful job. They are as follows:

  • 360VR Technology
  • Addi Naturals
  • As Told by Women
  • Children’s Place Child Development Center
  • Circus Monkeys
  • DX Technology Group
  • Fur Baby Tracker
  • Lunch Karma
  • PS3G, Inc (DocVilla)
  • RiKarbon, Inc.
  • Second Chances Farm
  • Street Xpressions Auto
  • Twisted Theatre
  • YaYa Podcasting

The Emerging Enterprise Center is an initiative of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and New Castle County Economic Development Council.  The Emerging Enterprise Center is a business incubator that helps start-up businesses develop a long- term sustainable model, grow their business, and learn essential entrepreneurial skills.

Since its inception in 2008, the Emerging Enterprise Center has assisted 44 businesses.  These businesses have generated over $69 million in revenue and employed 231 people while in the program.

Swim with the Sharks Luncheon to have Keynote

For the first time ever, the Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition Luncheon will feature a keynote speaker. This speaker is Iola Harper, Deputy Commerce Director for the Office of Economic Opportunity of Philadelphia.

Iola Harper is a nationally-recognized, award-winning advocate for small businesses and urban neighborhoods. She has spent well over two decades working diligently with minority and women-owned firms and economic development agencies across the Delaware Valley, helping them gain access to needed financial, technical, and contract opportunity. The small business and economic development agencies that she has worked with are too numerous to name, but her work and efforts have benefited thousands of small business locally and regionally.  In 2016 she began work as the Deputy Director of Commerce for the city of Philadelphia. In this role she runs the Office of Economic Opportunity. This job involves ensuring that people of color, women and disabled-owned firms have equal access to city, quasi-city and some private sector contracts. Iola looks at this as an opportunity to open the door for businesses that she helped prepare to walk through.  Her success working with not only small businesses but in urban neighborhoods garnered the attention of former Governor of PA when she was named one of Pennsylvania’s top 50 Women in Business. Her work drew a national spotlight several years ago when she was honored by the Small Business Administration as one of the Nation’s top small business advocates and when she was named one of Philadelphia’s most influential women by the NAACP.

Come and hear from Iola and get inspired by our three finalist entrepreneurs on November 1 . Click here to register.