Rural Entrepreneurs

Steve Strauss looks at the trend that is dominating the world, Entrepreneurship.

Faithful readers of this column (thank you very much!) know that every year I post a two-part Top Trends in Small Business piece. It is always interesting to see what is coming down the pike, and it is equally interesting to notice how much, and how little, the list changes every year.

       I started my refrigeration repair business six months ago and am now at the point of 
needing to interview candidates for my first employee. I’ve never done this before. What tips can 
you offer?

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.
       Have a question you’d like answered in this column? E-mail it to info@score-manchester.org, with “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.

SCORE ExpertAnswers

No matter the small business, each entrepreneur faces one similar issue: Pricing. Are you out pricing your customers? Are you under pricing yourself? Is the difference between a year in the red or the black as simple as your price tag? This month SCORE helps you find the answers to these questions.

Few people are better qualified to discuss this issue than Ann Logue, who spent 12 years as a financial market analyst before turning her talents to writing. She also shares her expertise as a lecturer in finance at the University of Illinois at Chicago, teaching both undergraduate and MBA students about corporation finance and international financial markets. Ann will go over the finer points of pricing to help you maximize your pricing for profitability. 

Q:

Pricing is something that all small businesses wrestle with, particularly those just getting started. What are the fundamentals for determining the ideal price for a product or service?

About the Author

Ann Logue - Author and Business Analyst

Ann Logue is a freelance writer and consulting analyst who is fascinated by business and technology. She has a particular interest in regulatory issues and corporate governance. She is the author of Emerging Markets for Dummies, Socially Responsible Investing for Dummies, Day Trading for Dummies, and Hedge Funds for Dummies, and has written for Barron’s, InvestHedge, Newsweek Japan, and BusinessWeek Chicago, among other publications. As an editor and ghostwriter, she worked on a book published by the International Monetary Fund and another by a Wall Street currency strategist. She is a lecturer in finance at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her current career follows 12 years of experience as an investment analyst. She holds a B.A. from Northwestern University, an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, and the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

 

Ask SCORE
 
       I’ve never been the most organized person, but it’s reached the point where the clutter in 
my office is starting to hinder my productivity. How can I get a handle on the paper monster 
that’s threatening to consume me?
 
 

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.
       Have a question you’d like answered in this column? E-mail it to info@score-manchester.org, with “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.

Rustic Rarities LLC DBA Crank it Up! Antique Tractor Show

     The Crank It Up! Antique Tractor and Engine Show was started 6 years ago because there was  no place locally for people to show their antique tractors and engines. This is a very depressed area. For people to attend any type of show or event they have to travel at least an hour or more.  To participate in an event, requires a truck and trailer to transport their "stuff".  Many people in this area can't afford such equipment.

     At first we were all about tractors and engines, but it was clear from the beginning that people of all ages enjoyed coming and participating.  Every year we kept adding to and reshaping our show to fit the needs and wants of the show participants and attendees. We added children's games such as, tug of war, sack races, relay races and bean bag toss. The kids loved it! We did demonstrations of old equipment for people to watch and some of it was hands on for the kids to do, like shelling corn.  Our show was becoming so popular, we kept growing and had to move to our present location at the Oswego County Fair Grounds which has excellent parking and is very handicap accessible.

     In 2009 I went to the office of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and showed pictures of our event.  They were excited about it and gave me information about applying for a mini grant.  The first year I was awarded $1,000.00 which is used for grounds rent and tents.

With donations from local businesses we were able to add a transfer sled for a tractor pull.  We continued to add more attractions like the CNY Radio Controlled Truck Pullers and some people asked if they could bring their classic cars. Our show continued to grow and now, we were pulling in people from other states and across New York!

     With the mini grant, came the requirement to make a report about our show.  Which was fine.  Then, our Legislator also wanted me to make a report to the Oswego County Tourism Department.  That's when I decided it was time to call SCORE.  I had read an article about SCORE in the Sunday paper years before and took a chance they might be able to help.

Please check out our show for this year @ http://crankituptractorshow.com/home/

Owner/Founder
Doreen Macklen
My Location
1116 County Route 50
Lacona NY 13083
United States
Employees
1
Year Company Formed
2005
My Successes

       This year was our 6th year.  It was with dread I faced the first day of our show.  Due to the flooding from the hurricane and medical issues several vendors and attractions had to cancel at the last minute.  I posted that information on our web site and hoped for the best.  Then I received a phone call from a lady in Hornell.  "I'm calling to make sure we are coming to the right show.  Is this the Crank It Up Show we hear so much about?"  I told her it was and verified her directions.  "We'll see you this weekend".  Several other people called with similar questions and asked about accommodations.

     With information gathered at the front gate, people came from 14 different counties, 3 states and Canada.  Our attendance was over

1,000 and everyone said what a great show it was. Imagine, people from big cities and towns traveling miles to a poor community to see our show!

     This year, WOLF Radio contacted me after finding us on the internet and offered a special deal for sponsorship.  They walked around our show before the broadcast and remarked about the wide range in ages represented at our show.  Usually, the teenagers are off in one place and old people in another corner and kids some where else.  But here, all of these ages were interacting together! They had never seen anything like it.  They were also surprised that one age group didn't  dominate.  It was all evenly divided.

     With confidence, I'll go to the County Tourism Department and give my report.  Then I'll meet with Michael and we'll talk about the future of the show.  More of his ideas will be implemented as we move forward to our 7th year.

 

What's Great About My Mentor?

   I met with Michael Gilman and told him about our show and the reports I need to make.  He told me specific information to include in my report like where people were coming from and the approximate attendance of the show.  I had some of this information from addresses I had gathered from people over the years.  Thanks to his insight, my first report to the County Tourism Department turned out to be great.  Then he proceed to tell me other things I should incorporate such as a person at the gate taking zip codes, going through Manpower to hire helpers, etc.  He kept running ideas by me and I wrote them down. He even took the time to attend our show.

How SCORE Helped

 I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with me to help me sort through what I thought was a plan and make it more organized.

It's difficult for some one like me to know what to do when this whole Tractor Show idea took off better than I imagined and has left me thrashing around in the dark trying to figure out what to do.

Somehow, I jumped in the middle and missed the whole beginning!

Thanks to you, when I did my FIRST presentation to the Oswego County Tourism Advisory Committee they almost fainted when I told them some of the statistics you told me they would want to hear. Usually any programs in this area end up being more like family reunions and the County doesn't pay much attention. I had been gathering addresses from participants to send them postcards about our show, plus I had even more from this year.  I didn't realize I had people from 12 different counties, 5 different states and Canada. Like you said, they would wanted to know about new money coming in to the County and between that and my pictures, they were blown away. Next week I have an appointment to go back to meet with one of the heads of the department to talk about the things they can do for me because they want to help ME with advertising and any thing else they can.

I'm glad I finally gave in and left a message at SCORE asking for help.  I had called several times and lost my nerve because I wasn't sure I knew what type of help to ask for and I felt like I wouldn't understand any information presented to me since we are certainly on different levels.  I didn't understand every thing you said, but I got enough out of what I did to get me further along.  I'm making a list of ideas and questions and would like to meet with you again now that I have a better understanding of how to approach this.

Thanks again for everything!  You have helped me more that you know!

 

Ask SCORE
 
       I’m currently in the planning stage for a new retail bakery. I’m going to need some funding for equipment, but my personal credit history is a bit spotty. How much is that going to hurt me, and how can I combat it?

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.
       Have a question you’d like answered in this column? E-mail it to info@score-manchester.org, with “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.

The smartphone is changing how consumers make buying decisions. With just a few taps, you can find a contractor, schedule an appointment, or make a purchase and have it shipped to your house. Mobile commerce is so quick and easy that eMarketer™ predicts that more than 77 percent of all U.S. online shoppers will use a smartphone or tablet to buy at least one item by 2017.
 
This dramatic growth presents a big opportunity for small businesses that can use this sales and marketing channel to their advantage. Many have already realized the potential: Nearly three-quarters of the businesses surveyed in the 2013 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll are increasing their mobile marketing budgets this year. Mobile is not just for retail shops and restaurants. Professional services firms, medical practices, and other businesses also need to master how to use it.

Becoming a Mobile Marketing Master

Sometimes the best new business ideas are right under your nose. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, once you’ve got your current business at a comfortable (and profitable) level, you’ll be itching to start something new. If you’ve already added a product or service to your existing business and its popularity has taken off, it may be time to start a spinoff business.

By Rieva Lesonsky

Sometimes the best new business ideas are right under your nose. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, once you’ve got your current business at a comfortable (and profitable) level, you’ll be itching to start something new. If you’ve already added a product or service to your existing business and its popularity has taken off, it may be time to start a spinoff business.

Before you embark on a whole new adventure:

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at twitter.com/rieva and visit her blog at SmallBizDaily.com.

Visit her website SmallBizTrendCast to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

The power of word of mouth in marketing a small business has been well-known for decades. In today’s online age, entrepreneurs are looking for ways to harness the power of connectivity across the Internet and social media to increase both the reach and frequency of word of mouth marketing. Whitney Lemon, host of  Friday 15: Small Business Tips, part of Google’s Get Your Business Online series, offers some ideas on how small businesses can use social media to get more word of mouth occurring about their brands.

Q:

Studies show that approximately 70% of people trust opinions of friends when making buying decisions, and 40% trust the opinions of someone trustworthy whom they don’t personally know. What are some obvious truths about word of mouth that small businesses may overlook?

About the Author

Whitney Lemon

Whitney Lemon- Friday 15 Host, Google Small Business Engagement

Whitney hosts Friday 15: Small Business Tips, Google's series to help small businesses succeed online, in 15 minutes or less.  Friday 15 is  part of Google's Get Your Business Online program providing small businesses with a custom domain name and web hosting-- free for one year. 

It Takes a Family Effort to Launch Energy Drinks and More - Tom Eblen

Date
Mon, 2013-07-15 10:22

Wayne and Sandra Marlowe of Nicholasville and their five grown children share many active pursuits: biking, hiking, swimming, running — and entrepreneurship.

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