Small Business

Service an edge for small firms: Make most of 'moments of truth':Restricted Content

September 25, 2006
Roger Schmenner
"If we don't take care of our customers, someone else will." This unattributed quote sums up the challenge facing every business, and especially small companies in the service and retail sectors. It's difficult for them to compete with their large counterparts on price-the neighborhood hardware store simply can't sell as cheaply as Wal-Mart. But they can win on customer service by seizing critical moments where customers can walk away delighted or disappointed. Successful service encounters, where these "moments of truth"...
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Experts: Plan for the worst: Anticipate succession before death, illnessRestricted Content

September 25, 2006
Tracy Donhardt
When Beth Dzuba's husband Mark died suddenly 18 months ago, running the leak-detection business he owned was the furthest thing from her mind. A marketing professional at Eli Lilly and Co., she knew nothing about the leak business, let alone how to run a company. The couple-married less than three years-had never even imagined such a tragedy, let alone discussed what to do with the business if the unthinkable happened. Nevertheless, Dzuba found herself dealing with her husband's business even...
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DIFFERENT TAKES: IS IT IMPORTANT FOR COMPANIES TO STAY LOCAL?Restricted Content

September 18, 2006
Mergers not only good for investors Keeping local roots is high priority DIFFERENT TAKES IS IT IMPORTANT FOR COMPANIES TO STAY LOCAL? When entrepreneurs or investors start companies, they do so with a goal in mind. That goal might be to create jobs, create value for investors or shareholders, develop local talent, build long-term capabilities for the company and the state's economy, produce a profit, or all of these. Chances of success rise as we embrace the idea of an...
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Small biz struggles in big-biz computer world RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY Tim Altom:Restricted Content

September 18, 2006
It's true that the rich get richer, although the rich have often learned to portray the burden on the little guy as inevitable and desirable progress. For evidence, look no further than Microsoft Office. It's written for the Fortune 500, not for microbusinesses. Office has long been criticized as a bloated monstrosity, full of obscure features that only big corporations with time on their hands ever figure out how to use. Office products have their own programming language you can...
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Here's a bright idea: Focused marketing:Restricted Content

August 28, 2006
Lorraine Ball
Even companies as large as Coca-Cola know that effective marketing begins with a clear definition of their target customer. Ask yourself this: When was the last time you had a Coke? Not the caffeinefree, diet, cherry, vanilla or whatever variety, but Coke-real, regular Coke. For some, the answer is today; for others, it might be last week, a few months ago, or so long ago they don't remember. I know I have not had a Coke since 1982, and more...
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25A-32A All in the family: Good relationships key to living and working togetherRestricted Content

August 28, 2006
Tammy Lieber
25A-32A All in the family Good relationships key to living and working together The family that plays together stays together, as the old adage goes. But what about the family that works together? Many-if not most-of the estimated 450,000 small businesses in Indiana employ more than one family member, local smallbusiness experts say. In some cases, family involvement might be limited to a spouse who helps out with the books part-time or a child who comes into the office occasionally...
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Get a handle on customers, competition:Restricted Content

August 28, 2006
Jerry Clifford
To succeed, small businesses must attract and retain a growing base of satisfied customers. This activity is called marketing. There are two overriding principles: Company policies should be directed toward satisfying customer needs. And profitable sales volume is more important than maximum sales volume. To best use these principles, smallbusiness owners should: Determine the needs of their customers through market research. Analyze the company's competitive advantages to develop a market strategy. Select specific markets to serve by targeted marketing. Determine...
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IEDC shelves proposal to copy Ohio initiative: Program matches promising startups with capitalRestricted Content

August 28, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
An Ohio program launched in 2003 to urge development of extremely earlystage companies has already spurred investments worth $239 million in 68 Buckeye startups. Venture capitalists would like to duplicate the program here. But their proposal has been languishing at the Indiana Economic Development Corp. for a month. "We have the application. We haven't done anything with it," said IEDC Director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Bruce Kidd. "This is a classic steeple chase. You've got lots of hurdles to...
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Woman sets sights on freedom: Disability isn't keeping shop owner from goalRestricted Content

August 28, 2006
Candace Beaty
Two doors opened for Pam Evans on Aug. 5-one to her own clothing store and the other to her independence. The Cherry Shop represents both to Evans, who lost most of her sight over the course of a weekend in 1998 to a genetic eye disease called angioid streaks. Left with only her peripheral vision, she also lost her career in real estate and corporate sales. After a period of depression, Evans decided she wouldn't lose it all. "I felt...
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Workers can help lower health costs:Restricted Content

July 31, 2006
Philip T.
Health care costs keep small-business owners up at night. According to Forbes magazine, the cost of health care is rising at three times the rate of inflation. Because demand for medical treatment will continue to grow as Americans age, insurance premiums will continue to increase. Some small-business owners' first reaction is to shift rising costs to employees. Others simply eliminate health insurance benefits altogether. While this reduces expenses and raises profit in the short term, it ruins a company's ability...
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Venture Center's Beck plans seed capital fund: Former Rose-Hulman Ventures prez returns to townRestricted Content

July 31, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
Over the last three years at the helm of Indiana Venture Center Inc., one thing became all too clear to Steve Beck: Not much money is available locally for early-stage companies. So he's going to raise some himself. Last week, Beck, 59, announced he's stepping down as Indiana Venture Center president to become co-managing director of IVC Equity Partners, a new local seed capital fund. His IVC Equity cofounder is Scott Prince, 38, a Columbus native and Indiana University graduate...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Impact from small biz smaller than we think?Restricted Content

July 31, 2006
Patrick Barkey
The images are out there, reinforced almost every day. Big business is bad, led by overpaid executives who are out of touch and hire lobbyists to get laws changed in their favor. Or, worse yet, they drive smaller companies out of business. Small business, in contrast, is noble, led by energetic people following their dream, facing special challenges and deserving of our support. Nobody, it seems, is rooting for Wal-Mart to get bigger, and no one ever made a movie...
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SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE: JP PARKER CO.: Business blooming for specialty florist Flower farm, retail shop feed green thumb's growthRestricted Content

July 31, 2006
Jo Ellen
SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE JP PARKER CO. Business blooming for specialty florist Flower farm, retail shop feed green thumb's growth More than 300,000 sunflowers are in various stages of growth on Needham, Ind., farmland, where a third generation carries on the family tradition with a modern twist. These tall summer annuals follow a spring where 1,000 blooming peony plants yielded at least 11,000 stems for a Chicago broker. Smaller plots of delphiniums, larkspur, zinnias, coneflowers, mints, herbs and other greenery also...
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State awarenesss initiative targeting investment fraud: Program touts knowledge to prevent financial scamsRestricted Content

July 24, 2006
Tracy Donhardt
Conservative estimates put the amount of money Hoosiers are bilked by investment fraud scammers at $100 million a year. The high-end estimate for victims of pyramid scams, bogus gas and oil ventures and unscrupulous mortgage practices is closer to $800 million. Those involved in catching and prosecuting the scammers say proactively educating people about investments in general and scams in particular would go a long way toward helping the problem. "Our financial illiteracy is high," said Mark Maddox, managing partner...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Consumers rarely raise banks above commodity statusRestricted Content

July 24, 2006
Jeffrey A.
Toothpaste. Laundry bleach. Cat food. Banking services. Despite the hopes of many bank executives, vast numbers of consumers rarely elevate their banks beyond everyday commodity status. Through traditional advertising and marketing, many banks attempt to differenti ate themselves as the bank of choice or the bank that makes a difference. Repeat the tag line often enough and hopefully potential customers will start to believe it. One fact underscores this unfortunate commodity service status: According to recent market research, the No....
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New business incubator is made for minoritiesRestricted Content

July 17, 2006
Scott Olson
Black business owner Bob Logan is one of four entrepreneurs chosen by the Indiana Business Diversity Council as inaugural tenants of its unusual new incubator, which caters solely to minority-owned businesses.
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FINANCE: How will higher interest rates affect my loan?Restricted Content

June 26, 2006
Jean Wojtowicz
Every time the Q: Fe d e ra l Reserve raises rates, I expect to pay my bank more for financing. I guess I understand the reason for this-the government says it wants to guard against inflation-but the Fed's actions still make it hard for the small-business owner who needs to borrow money. How can I get the lowest possible rates? And what will my bank require of me that they don't now? Or is there any way around this...
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Builder targets entire block: Centex in talks to buy land from Shapiro's Deli, others for downtown developmentRestricted Content

June 26, 2006
Jennifer Whitson
A national home builder is negotiating to purchase an entire downtown block for a retailand-residential development-a project that could temporarily displace the landmark Shapiro's Deli. Dallas-based Centex Corp. says the block southeast of the planned Lucas Oil Stadium is among several downtown-area locations it is reviewing for its first local foray into urban residential development. Brian Shapiro, owner of Shapiro's Deli, 808 S. Meridian St., said he has not reached a final agreement to sell his property. But he hinted...
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SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE: A-1 VACUUM CLEANERS AND JANITORIAL SUPPLIES: Vacuum dealer on his own Franchise dissolution gave owner freedom and more responsibilityRestricted Content

June 26, 2006
Jo Ellen
SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE A-1 VACUUM CLEANERS AND JANITORIAL SUPPLIES Vacuum dealer on his own Franchise dissolution gave owner freedom and more responsibility For his entire adult life, Tony Stahl has been helping other people clean up their messes. From the time he graduated from John Marshall High School, Stahl has had A-1 Vacuum Cleaners as part of his work life, first as an employee and, most recently, as an owner. In fact, Stahl's work with vacuums and customers was so...
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Scrapping it: Flurry of area shops close the books on once-hot business

June 26, 2006
Matthew Kish
Forget-Me-Not in Greenwood will soon be forgotten. The store, which sold scrapbook albums and supplies, closed last month. It was the latest of at least seven scrapbook stores to close in the past few months in central Indiana. Business analysts are calling the rash of out-of-business signs a cautionary tale for proprietors who invest in "silo businesses" that base their bottom line on a trend or product that may soon be out of style. "A lot of the mom-and-pop [scrapbook]...
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BIZ BASICS: Legal help doesn't have to cost a fortuneRestricted Content

June 26, 2006
Daniel Kehrer
We're a start-Q: up and constantly need answers to basic legal questions about business structures, the hiring process, contracts, wages, safety, trademarks and more, but can't afford expensive lawyers. What are some options? Legal issues often present a dilem-A:ma for cost-conscious small businesses, especially startups. You want the best information but paying legal professionals for every little thing gets expensive. The range of legal issues facing entrepreneurs is immense, from naming a business and obtaining licenses to complying with tax...
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Driving through adversity: First-time team owner uses business fundamentals to help reach the finish lineRestricted Content

June 26, 2006
Matthew Kish
It's been a bumpy ride for Michael Crawford this year. Scratch that-it's been like driving into a concrete wall at 190 miles per hour. Repeatedly. The rookie race team owner put his financial livelihood on the line this year to buy two cars and run them in the Indy Pro Series, the open-wheel racing equivalent of AAA baseball, one step below the major leagues. IBJ is following Crawford's progress in hopes of shedding light on the challenges startups face when...
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Ex-Chamber chief buys Daleville testing firm: Deal gives LaMothe one-third ownership, CEO post

June 19, 2006
Matthew Kish
Now, he's an owner himself. This month, he teamed with two prominent executives to buy Dalevillebased Sherry Laboratories, a 180-employee company that does product testing for firms in such fields as aerospace and automotive. "I've been interested in Sherry for about 10 years," LaMothe said. "I had approached them two or three different times ... . I was intrigued with the company because I believed it was needed and necessary and adds value to society." LaMothe will serve as chairman...
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FINDING the RIGHT FIT: Program to put execs in board seats, but will firms be willing to pay for it?Restricted Content

June 19, 2006
Andrea Muirragui
Ruth Purcell Jones knows the statistics well. Nearly 1.8 million board seats at not-forprofit organizations turn over every year, presenting a challenge for charities already trying to fill the 1.2 million positions open at any given time. And anecdotal evidence backs up the national research. "If there's one thing I hear over and over, it's, 'We can't find board members,'" said Jones, president of Indianapolis-based governance consultant Trustee Leadership Development. "It's really a 'Who do you know?' kind of thing....
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Site gets people involved: Institute uses Web to link volunteers with opportunitiesRestricted Content

June 19, 2006
Scott Olson
When Roger Williams began approaching local not-for-profits early this year about his idea to post their volunteer opportunities for teen-agers on his Web site, many were skeptical. "What's this guy trying to sell me?" they wondered. But six months after launching www.helpindyonline.com, part of his larger Emergent Leadership Institute, Williams has more than 80 charities promoting nearly 300 positions on his site for high school and college students interested in volunteering. The 36-year-old Carmel native and former youth pastor founded...
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  1. Yes sir keep cashing those 300K a year checks direct to IMS, while millions disappear from the teams like Rahal's. Guess there wasn't enough ka- ching going around to keep Sarah Fisher in business without their "merger". LOL._____.Meanwhile back in Realville the series with the "best racing in the world" drew what appeared to be about 5000 live spectators ( and probably 1500 of those Target "freebies", and was beaten in the ratings by a series that reportedly consists of "parades" and aired while most people are still sleeping. That will generate those big ka-chings for sure. :-). But, hey, as long as the Speedway gets the cash who gives a damn about the teams?

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  3. If I could actually get the prices...I would do this on my own. We need laws that force provides to publish the costs they will charge. Everyone else gives you the price in advance...except hospitals.

  4. I was under the impression that fencing is not allowed on a front yard and that on a corner, both sides are considered "front" yards, therefore can't be fenced without a variance. Also impedes the visibility for drivers at the intersection. Am I understanding this correctly? Might be why a fence was not included in the plans and a request for a variance will have to be made?.

  5. I was a big fan of Cowards and Carrots, which I got a chance to see at the show. It's currently on Kickstarter, but the designer also put out What's He Building in There last year, which got a fair amount of buzz.

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