Entrepreneurial Profile: The Central Firm – M2

The Central Firm, led by M2 (pronounced “Em-Squared”), evaluates and analyzes a company’s current operating expenses and recommends ways to reduce costs.

M2 is a native Delawarean. She graduated from the University of Delaware and Delaware State College. She is retired military and served in the Middle East for 20 years.

Upon her return to the US, M2 noticed discrepancies in the fine print in service contracts and agreements that didn’t align with the original sales promises. She saw the need for expense analysis for businesses and The Central Firm was created. The Central Firm is a boutique concierge consulting firm which offers tools and services to assist and support businesses by offering evaluative and metric driven advice. The Central Firm uses proprietary methodology that reviews, evaluates, and advises systematic strategies to improve operational effectiveness like cloud hosting, VoIP, water/sewer, managed services, etc.

M2 does acknowledge that her greatest challenge is getting past gatekeepers to the decision-makers in order to begin the process of presenting her success rates as a newly created, female, small technology business. The Central Firm has already proven a success rate for a current client by reducing their operating expenses by 27%.

The Central Firm aims to work with the State Department in the near future and when current projects can support it, she also plans to work with University interns to support clients. M2 says, “The EEC has provided us with invaluable advice and mentoring to help solidify our value proposition which has helped increase business opportunities. Since joining the EEC, we have made some great contacts that are sure to be rewarding in the near future.”

Calling all Nominations and Applications!

The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and the Emerging Enterprise Center are looking for nominations for the David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This award along with the Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year Award and the NCC Innovates Sponsorship Award will be presented at the 1st Annual Delaware Entrepreneurial Summit on July 12, 2018. Please refer to the website for eligibility criteria and nominate a winner.
David J. Freschman
ENTREPRENEUR 
OF THE YEAR
The newly launched New Castle County Innovates Sponsorship Award is developed by the New Castle County Department of Economic Development. NCC Innovates is a program that identifies opportunities to specifically support economic development through entrepreneurship.
Through NCC Innovates, New Castle County will sponsor a 1 year membership to the Resident Incubator a the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Emerging Enterprise Center.

Supporting local entrepreneurship and attracting new companies to New Castle County are key elements in the development of a strong innovation ecosystem. The Emerging Enterprise Center provides direct mentoring and
support for local startup companies.

The application review process and selection of a winner will be managed by the Emerging Enterprise Center Advisory Board. 

Specifically, the award covers, Office space (single office) at the Emerging
Enterprise Center, Wi-fi & telephone service (one VoIP per
employee-unlimited minutes), Mail service, Fax/photocopier, Beverage station/kitchen access, 24/7 access to facilities, Access to meeting and conference rooms, Business idea execution guidance & coaching with
one-on-one mentoring via the Growth Wheel®, Platform, Business Growth Workshops and Training, Business networking and connectivity, and a one year membership in the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce

 

The last award, the Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year, will be chosen by an appointed New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Committee and the Emerging Enterprise Center Advisory Board. The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize a member of the Chamber that have exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit and supported the efforts of the NCC Chamber. This award is presented to someone that has participated in programs and activities that support early stage business, been active in supporting entrepreneurial activity for at least three years, demonstrated an active level of participation in the local  community, and is an active supporter/participant of the NCC Chamber.

The purpose of these awards is to not only recognize businesses and advocates successes right here in New Castle County but to pause for a moment and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit.

Entrepreneur Profile – Trevor Brown, DEact Medical Solutions

Trevor Brown founded DEact Medical Solutions in 2016 after completing his phD   thesis on  “The Development of a Chemical Reaction Packet to Destroy/Denature Pharmaceutical Waste.”

Trevor developed a proprietary, patent-pending technology that permanently renders medications ineffective and safe for disposal. The material, when combined with medications and water, forms a solidified gel-like substance that cannot be easily tampered with or leach into the environment.

Opioid abuse is sadly all too commonplace in the US.  Today, nearly 7 out of 10 prescription opioid abusers obtain their supply directly from a friend or family member. Proper disposal of unused or expired medications can prevent the onset of substance abuse y limiting the ease of availability. This patent pending drug disposal pouch neutralizes unused pharmaceuticals, including opioids. Currently, this is DEact’s only product offering which is being made available to a variety of markets including hospitals,  retail pharmacies, drug manufacturers, and many more.

Trevor acknowledges that being a young entrepreneur teaches him valuable lessons. Each failure has led to an incredible opportunity for an early stage of my company. “Every entrepreneur has to be able to accept failure to truly succeed,” says Trevor. DEact Medical Solutions has immediate plans for growth to forge partnerships across the many segments to immerse their flagship product into the market. From there, they plan to expand on their current offerings to penetrate institutional drug disposal.

Trevor says, “The EEC has provided a wide variety of support services that have continually helped push DEact forward. In addition, to the office space, the EEC has provided business coaching and unparalleled access to their community and members.”

4 Key Steps to Entering New Markets

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

 

As we move closer and closer to 2016, everyone’s checking budget numbers and beginning to think about growth for the new year. Your boss just walked into your office and told you the company wants to take your top products into a new market. Somewhere along the line, someone had the idea that your heavy duty industrial cleaners can be sold into the retail consumer market; or your jan san disinfectants should be extended to the aviation industry (planes are dirty, right?)  How hard can it be?

The truth is, preparing to enter a new market does not need to be a tough process, but it does need to be thorough, and expectations need to be set at realistic levels before even beginning to look at the 4Ps (or 5Ps depending on your approach).

Here are 4 key considerations you should take into account as you look to taking your products into a new market.

Size of the market vs market potential – in order to assess the size of the market you need to have a thorough understanding of the specific application of your product. A product that is used several times a day in one type of market, may only be used once a day in a different market, which radically changes the size of the market. In addition, if the market leader holds 20% market share in the new market, then your total potential in the early stages of commercialization is likely to be just a small portion of that 20% share. Be realistic in your expectations.

Product attributes – Attributes and benefits of a product that are valued by one market are not necessarily valued in a different market. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what your new target market values as well as their specific needs, and ensure that the products you are offering are designed – and positioned – to meet those specific needs. In many cases, relabeling or repackaging a product may not be enough. The product itself may need to be re-engineered to accommodate the needs of your new market.

Regulatory environment – Different markets have different regulatory requirements – for example, a product that can be used to clean your kitchen or bathroom cannot be used to clean surfaces in an aircraft without meeting stringent aviation material safety requirements. Make sure you are fully aware of any industry, state and federal requirements necessary to market your product in an alternative market. Use a consultant if you have to. It’s cheaper than the alternative.

Sales cycle – make sure you understand the sales cycle and method of the market or industry you intend to enter and not just the sales channels. In some cases, the sales cycle can be relatively brief and straightforward, in other cases, the sales cycle could be long and require a consultative approach. This will greatly impact your marketing plan and materials.

Once you have a clear understanding of the market size and potential you can then start thinking about potential strategies. Here are just some alternatives used by different companies:

  • Focus on targeting non-users of the product rather than trying to switch customers from using an existing competitive product.
  • Focus on offering additional attributes not offered by any competitive products
  • Focus on attacking competitive products by offering superior products OR lower pricing.
  • If marketing dollars are available, focus on outspending competition in advertising and promotion, although according to literature, this approach only makes sense if the market leader is in a seriously weaker position and you can outspend the leader at 3:1.
  • Target efforts in a specific geographic area or an area not currently served by current competitors.

Then and only then should you start putting together your Marketing Mix or 5Ps. These are the decisions that surround the Product (performance, features, design, presentations, name, etc), Pricing (direct, distributor, geographical, etc), Promotion (PR, marketing collateral, advertising), Place (distribution channels), and People (tasks, sales, support). In other words, you have gained an understanding of the new market and its customers, you now need to ensure that you have the right products, that they are correctly positioned for that market and that your communications correctly reflect that positioning.

General Eisenhower once said “Plans are nothing, planning is everything.”The purpose of planning is to ensure that all the right questions are asked. Too often we “make it up as we go along” which may yield short term benefits, but more often than not can be harmful in the longer term, often resulting in unintended consequences and incurring unexpected costs. While planning does not necessarily eliminate all of these, it does provide a sense of direction and empowerment that permits effectiveness at all levels of the organization and optimizes strategy execution. In brief, planning x strategy x execution = success.

 

Boost Your Spirit!

Nonprofit organizations are all around you. Each nonprofit has a specific cause that they are working to better. Today, there is a nonprofit for almost any possible cause you can imagine. These nonprofits function on your donations. Without your donations of money or time, some of these causes will never be confronted. Although it is hard to part with our hard, earned money, there are a number of benefits of donating to a nonprofit organization. There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with that money you earned but it might feel more satisfying to reward someone else with it. It’s about that proud feeling you get knowing that you have done something that may help others and support a cause you care abouboostt it.

A recent study by Harvard Business School faculty and graduate students titled “Feeling Good about Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior,” explores the ways in which charity donations can benefit your psychological, spiritual and emotional well-being. So do yourself a favor, boost your spirits, help a cause, give yourself a tax deduction, and donate.

Did you know that the Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) is a nonprofit? We are looking for donors like you to help us support our local entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs in New Castle County will help our local economy grow and bring more business and jobs to the area.
The EEC is designed to provide business support services to entrepreneurs and associated companies in New Castle County, Delaware. The incubator is not merely about a physical building offering lower rental rates, but rather is a profishbowlmoneygram intended to help new businesses succeed to the point of “graduating” from the program within a defined time period. The EEC provides mentoring, educational opportunities, networking events, shared office equipment, receptionist services, and other amenities that are vital to the success of a new business.

Participants have access to customized business and technical assistance geared toward the specialized needs of individual companies. The EEC provides an environment in which like-minded businesses accelerate their potential through interaction, partnerships, joint ventures, and other mutually beneficial collaborations.

Don’t you want to be a part of something that helps New Castle County and Delaware grow?
Donate to the EEC to keep the doors open, lights on, and programs going. Boost your spirit now by donating today.

BUTTON-DONATE-NOW-sm

Investing in the Future: How an Incubator Helps Start-up Businesses?

Over the holidays, my mom asked me the same question that you may have gotten, “What exactly is it that you do?” I often get the question from some in the business community, “What is a business incubator?” And while I can glibly reply that the Emerging Enterprise Center provides Support, Access to Resources and Advice, so that start-up businesses can focus on Growing their business, Developing business skills, and Graduating with a sustainable and scalable business model, I’m not sure that I’ve really enlightened anyone about what an incubator is and what we do.

First of all, why would a start-up business need an incubator program? Starting up your own business can be exciting, frustrating, overwhelming and all-consuming, all at once. Not every entrepreneur is the same. All have different levels of experience. What they share is their passion for their grand idea. Most also share initially the fear about when they are going to get the next sale! This is part of the validation of their business. Does it solve a problem, and is someone willing to pay you for it? Each time you make a sale, you worry about the next one. As a result, many entrepreneurs find themselves in a vicious cycle. They are so busy marketing, networking, making sales calls….. then going back to “create or produce” the product or service that they are selling…. then handling the invoicing, paperwork, accounting etc. Being by yourself, in a home office or garage, or even in a rented space in some office building, it is easy to dive deeper into a hole, feeling alone, overworked and beginning to get burned out. At the Emerging Enterprise Center, you are not only surrounded by other entrepreneurs facing similar challenges or have survived those challenges, but you have our support in helping you navigate through these issues.

One of the things we talk about first is the sales process…… understanding the target customer, the pipeline and the time line from contact to contract. We talk about documenting the process so it can be replicated, consistently. This is hugely important when you begin hiring others to sell and represent your business. Your Brand is dependent on the consistency of the message and the experience. Once you have confidence that there is value in what you are selling and that there is a demand, you can shift from “where will the next sale come from” to “when!” That confidence moves you into a more operational mode of planning “how” you are going to achieve your goals!

In some shape or form, that is what we are doing throughout the entire two to three years of the incubation program. We help the entrepreneur develop a thought process that goes something like this…. What do I want to be when I grow up? (Long-term Vision and Goals) and What will it take to achieve that? (Operational, Tactical, Practical steps). With that context in mind, our quarterly meetings follow the same format: Which of your commitments did you accomplish or not? What did you learn from that? What are you committing to accomplish in the next quarter? What resources do you need to be successful? How can we help?

This isn’t a cookie-cutter approach because each business’ needs and issues are different. There are some businesses that are fortunate to have customers knocking down their door from day 1, but struggle with the capacity to deliver on the promise. Others underestimate the time it makes to close a sale, and the impact that has on cash flow. And others struggle with understanding when to hire someone to free themselves up to do something that is more important to the business. Sales is only one part of running a business. Add to that, pricing human resources, production, financial and funding issues, and much more. You can only ignore them for so long, but sooner or later you need to address all of them. It takes time, and you can see that skill levels grow day by day. But Ican tell you , when you see the light bulb go on, and it all comes together, you  can almost see the entrepreneur’s confidence in themselves and in their business bursting through.

So what is an incubator? It is a program that combines a nurturing environment, with a supporting entrepreneurial eco-system, and assistance in developing the requisite skills that helps start-up businesses enhance their chance of success. Come check out the Emerging Enterprise Center at www.EECincubator.com.