Organizational Inertia

All organizations need a discipline that makes them face up to reality.

All organizations need to know that virtually no program or activity will perform effectively for a long time without modification and redesign. Eventually every activity becomes obsolete. Among organizations that ignore this fact, the worst offender is government. Indeed, the inability to stop doing anything is the central disease of government and a major reason why government today is sick. Hospitals and universities are only a little better than government in getting rid of yesterday.

Businessmen are jest as sentimental about yesterday as bureaucrats. They are just as likely to respond to the failure of a product or program by doubling the effort invest in it. But they are, fortunately, unable to indulge freely in their predilections. They stand under an objective discipline, the discipline of the market. They have an objective outside measurement, profitability. And so they are forced to slough off the unsuccessful and unproductive sooner or later. In other organizations – government, hospitals, the military, and so on-economics is only a restraint.

All organizations must be capable of change. We need concepts and measurements that give to other kinds of organizations what the market test and profitability yardstick give to business. Those tests and yardsticks will be quite different.

Action Point: Make sure your nonprofit organization has rigorous tests and yardsticks to measure performance.

Identifying the Future

(excerpt from The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation by Peter Drucker)

The important thing is to identify the “future that has already happened.”

Futurists always measure their batting average by counting how many things they have predicted that have come true. They never count how many important things come true that they did not predict. Everything a forecaster predicts may come to pass. Yet, he may not have seen the most meaningful of the emergent realities or, worse still, may not have paid attention to them. There is no way to avoid this irrelevancy in forecasting, for the important and distinctive are always the result of changes in values, perception, and goals, that is, in things that one can divine but not forecast.

But the most important work of the executive is to identify the changes that have already happened. The important challenge in society, economics, politics, is to exploit the changes that have already occurred and to use them as opportunities. The important thing is to identify the “future that has already happened” – and to develop a methodology for perceiving and analyzing these changes. A good deal of this methodology is incorporated in my 1985 book Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which shows how one systematically looks to the changes in society, in demographics, in meaning, in science and technology, as opportunities to make the future.

Action Point: Identify the major trends in your market that have already appeared. Write a page on their likely longevity and impact on your life and organization.

Are You Making the Most of Your Social Media Platforms?

Did you know that almost 90% of marketers say their social media marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business? In case that is not powerful enough for you to want to learn more and achieve increased traffic, 48% of Americans have interacted with companies on at least one social media network. But to be a part of these statistics, you need to keep these factors in mind:

  • Which channels you use depending on your target audience as well as how well you have identified their patterns and behaviors.
  • The voice of your brand should be consistent and friendly and represent what suits the business
  • The content should be visual, relevant, and engaging.  

The main goal is to get the fans to interact and not just follow. You should use your social media presence as a place to connect and produce engaging content with clear and consistent messages. If you don’t have a clear message to convey to your fans, the engagement will be limited and you have a 51% chance of having them unfollow you.

There are many social media platforms out there for you to connect with your fans. One of those platforms you use needs to be Facebook. Although, most think Facebook is dying, stats don’t lie. Facebook is still king of the social media platforms right now. Seventy nine percent of internet users in the US log into Facebook. Facebook continues to command the largest audience and the time users spend on the site is still growing. However, due to the recent algorithm updates, organic reach for brands is lower than ever. So you have to get a little creative to best reach your target audience.

However, nearly a fourth of social media influencers believe Instagram is the top avenue for marketing strategies. As Instagram emerges as a top platform, more and more brands will be focusing heavily on marketing strategies for Instagram. Instagram drives the most engagement per post compared to any social media platform. 84 times more than Twitter and 10 times more than Facebook.

Twitter ranked last as platform to use for ads but 47% of marketers agreed Twitter was the best social media channel for customer engagement. Due to its real-time feed and updates, Twitter has proven to be top channel for customer service, allowing customers to easily and quickly contact brands.

For LinkedIn, you do have to focus on making sure each post contains highly relevant and targeted information but you don’t’ have to produce the volume of posts required for a successful Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter campaign. The typical LinkedIn user only uses the network for an average of 17 minutes per month. Users come to LinkedIn for information and expertise, so it’s an ideal platform to establish yourself as an expert in the industry.

It also drive more than half of all social traffic to business to business blogs and sites. Of the 2 billion Millennials globally, 87 million of them are on LinkedIn. Of those 87 million Millennial users, 11 million are in decision-making positions.

If you take anything away from this, it is that social media is more important than ever for marketing. The platforms you use and the content you produce for each are just as important to your campaign to get engagement and fan investment.

If you want to learn more about maximizing your social media platforms and using social media to promote your brand, you need to attend our Business Growth Training workshops for 2019.

Register for our workshops: http://www.eecincubator.com/business-growth-workshops.html

See this site for more stats on social media: https://ignitevisibility.com/social-media-statistics/

Social Enterprises – An EEC Soft Landings Company is on the Rise!

Social Enterprises was founded in the US in 2015. It is a company to give consultancy to entrepreneurs and investors who want to invest in the US.  People know that in 2016 world trade amounted to 16 billion dollars. The US has 3.9 billion dollars and 24 percent of world trade. Thanks to Social Enterprises, more than 250 companies were established in the USA since 2015 to take advantage of the opportunities the US offers. These small-scale companies are entering the world market by opening up to the US market. More than 300 hundred entrepreneurs and investors came to the US to found their companies. Social Enterprises, in other words, is a bridging company that open the US’ doors to Europe.

Having considered that there are many companies in the world, it is a fact that business consultant firms are needed to make them more successful. According to official records, there are about 200 million companies in the world. 80 percent of them are local, and 70 percent of them want to open up to the world. Social Enterprises takes part here. It is serving its customers in many ways to transfer their companies from being local to global, from opening a bank account to accountant services and any other operations without any intermediary to customers who want to establish a business. It does not only set up a company in the US, but it also provides services to legal counselling by delivering institutionalisation of companies.

On the other hand, the institutionalisation of the companies is impossible before understanding the US system well. The founders of Social Enterprises, Samet Oynamış and Fatih Pekar, are aware that consulting firms that have not been integrated into the US market cannot solve the US system by watching from the outside, and they experienced themselves firstly by entering into the US business system itself and giving information to entrepreneurs. The founders are now encouraging and consulting many enterprises from all around the world to convey their experiences. Moreover, Social Enterprises is trying to be integrated to e-world. The founders are focusing on e-government systems, services and e-government solution systems.

Furthermore, Social Enterprises directs software and technology companies to “International Soft Landing Program” focused on providing companies from the tech and innovative space the opportunity to learn about doing business instead of Silicon Valley of San Francisco. Participants in the program will receive exposure to key areas including marketing, sales and so on. These courses the ones which entrepreneurs have to know about.  For example, for “must-known” issues, Social Enterprises highly recommends the Delaware Emerging Enterprise Center to entrepreneurs. This centre is a professional business incubator that helps start-up businesses learn entrepreneurial skills. Its business growth workshops are designed to improve critical business skills necessary for start-up and growing companies.

Finally, Social Enterprises provides consultancy services to all business people from Europe to the US through their partnerships in America, their own experiences and business visions. Social Enterprises invites from Europe to the US.

Come Join Our Entrepreneurial Village

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) was born because of the belief by the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (NCCCC) that the same philosophy applies to the success of new businesses. Creating a nurturing environment in which early stage businesses could grow, develop and succeed was part of the vision in establishing the EEC. But the NCCCC also recognized the need to nurture the entrepreneurial eco-system by engaging and leveraging the great work done by a variety of organizations in place to support small businesses.

The EEC has grown from a NCCCC Venture, a key initiative of the Economic Development Council (EDC), to one that has continued to produce solid results. The EDC is a partnership between the New Castle County Government, Private Businesses and the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. In a little over 10 years, the EEC has worked with 34 companies, generated $61.4 Million in Revenues and employed 201 people. These results don’t happen alone. Both the Chamber and the EEC has actively reached out to the entrepreneurial community to partner on efforts to create awareness among small businesses and budding entrepreneurs and let them know that they are not alone; there are resources available to help them.

One of those resources is the New Castle County’s Open for Business. This is a monthly Open House event, where start-ups, small, and mid-size businesses can come and get their questions answered. Organizations, including the Small Business Administration, New Castle County Purchasing, Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and other small business organizations come together to be available to businesses and to share information amongst themselves. Entrepreneurs, innovators, and interested community members from New Castle County and the surrounding region meet with over 16 resources to learn who can help them.

Join us on the fourth Thursday of each month from 9:00 am – 11:00 am for our Open for Business sessions held at 920 Justison Street and meet with representatives from our partner organizations. Collectively, these organizations provide a range of services that help start-ups advance their business model, reach potential customers, land government contracts, secure loans, meet state regulatory requirements and generally mentor entrepreneurs striking out on their own for the first time. Come join our entrepreneurial village, the fourth Thursday of every month to network and to learn from resources in Delaware that are here to help you.

Hear a testimonial:

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart…but help is at hand!

Sometimes the idea is the easy part.  And for scientists and technologists it’s just the beginning of a very long road.

For 2018 Swim with the Sharks winner Sumedh Surwade of SAS Nanotechnologies it began with PhD research which led to a proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the cause of surface scratches or damage.  Next came an NSF SBIR grant for further development, and conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing. Today, Dr. Surwade is evaluating additional applications and routes to market, including manufacturing in Delaware.  That’s the short version.

Sharron Cirillo of SC Associates presents Sumedh Surwade with an SC Associates Business Starter Backpack as they discuss his short- and long-term accounting needs.

You would think it ends once the technology is developed, proven and accepted.  Not quite.  Then comes the day to day blocking and tackling of running a business which requires just as critical a foundation.  Fortunately, the EEC and its partners are here to help.  Having won the EEC’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition, Dr. Surwade will be receiving a New Castle County Government NCC Innovates $10,000 award that he will be using to purchase vital testing equipment.  This equipment will speed up product commercialization by reducing the time (and associated cost) of testing from 10 days to 3 hours.  And last week, Dr. Surwade met with Rich Roux of Info Solutions, LLC and Sharron Cirillo of SC Associates, SWTS sponsors, and both of whom donated services to the winning company.  Info Solutions, LLC have discussed what Dr. Surwade’s IT needs will look like as he seeks to scale SAS Nanotechnologies, and SC Associates will be working with him to ensure that the financial processes he has in place can adapt and grow as his business grows.   As for the Emerging Enterprise Center…. Dr. Surwade is all set to hold his first Advisory Board meeting at his new Riverfront Conference Room!

Richard Roux of Info Solutions talks to Dr. Surwade about IT considerations as his business grows.

Congratulations To Our EEC Client, Drone Workforce Solutions, For Winning Their Third Grant

The Emerging Enterprise Center is excited to announce that Drone Workforce Solutions has received its third grant from the Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Employment and Training and Delaware Workforce Development Board. This is the third such drone grant awarded by the state of Delaware in its history. DWS is honored to be the recipient of this and all grants for drone training.

In January 2017, DWS Drones was awarded a planning grant to create a Strategic Workforce Training Plan for drone technology that met Delaware employer’s workforce needs, advance the skills of Delaware workers, grow the state’s economy and increase sustainable employment for working families.

In September 2017 DWS Drones was awarded a training grant to teach 10 Delaware citizens how  to  become a highly skilled and paid commercial drone operator. Students graduated in December 2017.

With this award under the “Adult Occupational Skills Training Programs” unemployed students in selected zip codes will participate in a 10-week, 70-hour course which includes topics such as: the anatomy of drones (building their own), aerodynamics and principles of flight, weather, reading sectional charts, flight planning & air space, aerial photography, videography/editing, drone entrepreneurship and many hours of flying drones. They also receive skills training. Additionally, each student will be given the most advanced drone manufactured by DJI, the leader in drone technology, (Phantom 4 Pro v.2).

Drone Workforce Solutions has started a pipeline of talented commercial FAA certified drone operators through its employment company to expand the state’s technology sector and increase sustainable employment for men and women from diverse backgrounds of today’s working families.

DWS graduates will receive a “Certificate of Completion” from Drone Workforce Solutions; the only drone training and employment company that is approved by the Delaware Department of Education, the New Jersey Department of Education, and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Said President Theo Nix, Jr., Esq., “The expansion of commercial drones could add $82 billion in economic value over the next ten years and by 2025 employ an additional 100,000 Americans. Delawareans in particular and Americans in general can be at the forefront globally in this technology”.

DWS also offers employment opportunities for FAA certified drone pilots through its drone staffing and employment part of the company. Pilots are encouraged to contact DWS through its website.

Drone Workforce Solutions was formed by visionary and company President, Theophilus R. Nix, Jr., Esq. and his wife Suzanne Nix, COO. Their goal is to be recognized as “THE” premier global staffing and placement company for DWS validated drone operators, with the “Best in Class” standards for providing service and solutions  to organizations interested in incorporating drones into their operations.

SAS Nanotechnologies Wins This Year’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

Beating out eleven other startup companies, and despite tough competition, SAS Nanotechnologies cruised into the no. 1 position to win the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition—now in its 6th year and with a Grand Prize totaling over $16,000 in cash and services.

Dr. Sumedh Surwade from SAS Nanotechnologies responds to questions from the judges following his pitch. Photos courtesy of Bob Horton, Creative Image Associates

SAS Nanotechnologies won this year’s award with their proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the case of surface scratch or damage. Founded by Sumedh Surwade, and growing out of his PhD research, the technology was recently awarded an NSF  SBIR  grant to further develop the technology. Dr. Surwade is already in conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing and is considering additional routes to market, including manufacturing in Delaware.  Dr. Surwade plans on using his winnings to purchase testing equipment that will speed up product commercialization by reducing the time and cost of testing from 10 days to 3 hours.

For the second time this year, the Emerging Enterprise Center, Delaware’s first small business incubator located at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, partnered with New Castle County Government, as well as multiple sponsors, to offer the prize package which included:

  • Cash prize of $10,000 from the New Castle County NCC Innovates Program
  • $2,000 business startup and bookkeeping package from SC Associates
  • $1,400 in IT services from Info Solutions
  • 6 month membership in the Emerging Enterprise Center Virtual Incubation Program (valued at $1,800)
  • New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Package (valued at $1,400)
  • One year membership in World Trade Center Delaware (valued at $395)
  • One year membership in New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (valued at $350)

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.  Three finalists were then selected to pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Emerging Enterprise Center Luncheon which was held at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington.  The three finalists included SAS Nanotechnologies, D150 Fueling and Smart Kidz Club.

The Grand Prize winner was selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (85%/15%).  The judges included former Swim with the Sharks winner Amira Idris (Thera-V), Dr. Daniel Young (Goldey Beacom College), Sam Waltz (Strategic Capital & Business Counsel) and Dr. Janet Reed (Potter Anderson Corroon, LLP).

Above: Dr. Sumedh Surwade from SAS Nanotechnologies accepts his award from New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer
Back left to right: Dr. Daniel Young (Goldey-Beacom College), Bob Chadwick (New Castle County Chamber of Commerce), Sam Waltz (Strategic Capital & Counsel), Dr. Janet Reed (Potter Anderson Corroon, LLP).
Front left to right: Amira Idris (Thera-V), Dora Cheatham (Emerging Enterprise Center), Matt Meyer (New Castle County Executive), Dr. Sumedh Surwade (SAS Nanotechnologies), Tamarra Morris (New Castle County Government).
Photos courtesy of Bob Horton, Creative Image Associates

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Brand?

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

While a rose by any other name would smell as sweet in the world of Shakespeare, that’s not necessarily the case in the world of marketing. As a friend profoundly stated recently “standing in a garage doesn’t make me a car.”

Whether you’re a multi-national firm or a one-man band, B2C or B2B, your brand is your calling card and in a world where we are inundated with choice, your brand becomes increasingly important. Why? When a customer wishes to make a purchase, once the objective decisions of specifications, price, and quality are made, what’s left is the subjective confidence that a reputable brand name brings with it.

While consumer marketers focus heavily on branding, B2B marketers still have a way to go. A 2007 study by James Gregory and Donald Sexton showed just how much wealth is locked up – both in terms of revenue and market capitalization – in B2B brand equity, and how failing to build on that can be costly. Eccles et al in an article on companies and their reputations also state that 70% – 80% of market value comes from “hard-to-assess intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill”. So it is important that companies nurture not only their reputations but also their brand.

So how do you build a brand?

Building a brand takes time, patience and, most importantly, consistency. The 4 steps of a reputable brand are quality, differentiation, added value, and full potential. As you climb each step, you gain market share, brand recognition, product loyalty and profit margins.

Step 1: Quality – The foundation and starting point of a reputable brand is a product or service that is consistent in quality and delivery. However, given the number and frequency of imitators that inundate the market, a quality product alone will barely allow you to sustain a business long term, let alone build a brand! Ideally, you should also build in superior performance and barriers to competitive entry, as well as continuous innovation.

Step 2: Differentiation – The “personality” of your product line(s) and business. This should be incorporated in the essential marketing elements: your marketing communications, packaging, brand names and logos. These should work in concert to support not only the performance and delivery of your products but also the personality of your business.

Step 3: Added Value – Also known as the “augmented brand”, you add value by meeting expectations beyond what is required: exceptional customer service, guarantees, terms or credit, consultative guidance are all ways that businesses offer added value. These are benefits to the customer that have the additional advantage of being harder to imitate by existing or potential competitors.

Step 4: Full Potential – The hardest to achieve, a brand reaches its full potential when“its added values are so great that the customers will not willingly accept substitutes even when the alternatives are substantially cheaper or more readily available.” (Doyle & Stern). Ferraris and Rolexes aside, the ability to reach full potential is based on often psychological intangibles – why is Coca-Cola the leading brand over Pepsi despite the fact that Pepsi wins the taste test? In an article on adapting branding to social media, Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan identify 4 basics when developing a brand’s full potential: a clear customer promise, building trust by delivering on it, continually improving on the promise, innovating beyond the familiar. I would add Simon Mainwaring’s characteristics of self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability. Ultimately, it is the customer’s complete satisfaction and confidence in the company and its products.

A Final Word

Never forget your customers. The brand is important, but the goal of marketing is to get – and keep – customers. So while you are creating brand awareness, make sure you are connecting with your customers in the way they want you to. Listen to both current and potential customers for insight; tap into their creativity for new product development; respond to their reactions – both positive and negative – to your products and services. Remember that ultimately you are selling to them, not to yourself, and responding to them is one more step in reaching your full brand potential.

Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition Finalists Announced

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

A total of 12 companies pitched before the final three were chosen.  These three companies will compete for more than $16,000 in cash and services in front of a live audience on 28th September, to be held at the Grand Opera House on Market Street 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 SC Associates, Info Solutions and World Trade Center Delaware. The finalists include:

D150 Fueling, LLC is an on-site fueling and fuel marketing company for commercial fleets that offers Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel, Biodiesel and Off-Road Diesel.  Coupled with FuelCloud software, D150 Fueling offers a fueling program tailored to an individual fleet’s need that saves time, money and emissions.  With contracts in hand, D150 Fueling is in full launch mode and ready to expand its market.

SAS Nanotechnologies, LLC has developed a proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the case of surface scratch/damage. Growing out of PhD research, the technology was recently awarded an NSF SBIR grant to further develop the technology and is already in conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing.

SmartKidzClub, Inc. is an innovative, affordable EdTech platform that creates original, currently relevant and unique educational content that is designed to interact and engage with the large and growing majority of the new generation of children ages 1-11 that is using, and has access to mobile devices.

All 12 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 3 finalists will pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Swim with the Sharks Luncheon to be at the  Grand Opera House (Studio 1) in Market Street, Wilmington.  The winner will be selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (85%/15%).

All of the applicants – who have been invited to showcase their business at the event with a small table – included:

  • 360VR Technology
  • Body Wisdom Wellness
  • Craft Beverage Services
  • Culture Crush
  • Elev8 My Life
  • Mail Express Services
  • Mamaste Doula & Birth Services
  • My MedChoices
  • Vegan Healthy

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 42 businesses.  These businesses have generated over $62 million in revenue and employed 200 people while in the program.