Small Business

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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Kroger shops for land: Grocer gathering property for full-size downtown storeRestricted Content

June 12, 2006
Matthew Kish
Downtown residents might finally get their second full-service grocery store. Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. has purchased an acre of land immediately west of its store near the intersection of 16th Street and Central Avenue in hopes of razing the existing store and replacing it with a new, and much larger, grocery. "We would like to build a brand new store that incorporates all of the amenities that [we] have at our newer stores," said Jeff Golc, a Kroger spokesman. Neighbors are...
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Plug in professionals when tasks seem overwhelming:Restricted Content

May 29, 2006
Sharon O\'donoghue
Running a small business is daunting, to say the least. Small-business owners wear many hats and are expected to be a master of everything: from hiring workers to coordinating group health coverage, from developing marketing materials to hitting sales goals, from assessing technology needs to making tax and insurance payments, from issuing invoices to paying vendors-all while keeping an eye on cash flow. Whew. Larger businesses may rely on individuals or entire departments responsible for each task. For small-business owners,...
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Entrepreneurs keep day jobs: Moonlighting helps owners mitigate startup risksRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Tracy Donhardt
Inventions at various stages of development are scattered around Qamar Shafeek's ranch-style home on Indianapolis' east side. An unnamed doohickey attached to a curtain rod pulls drapes open and shut along with the sliding glass door. A voice box gadget tells the single father when the garage or side doors open, alerting him to his children's comings and goings. And a plastic pinwheel with tennis balls attached to the ends is making its way from a napkin-sketch idea to a...
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Good banking relationship can help business:Restricted Content

May 29, 2006
Ken Carow
Capital is the lifeblood of any business. But fresh infusions of money are particularly important for startup and small businesses, since they often can't fund new equipment, employees or facilities out of their cash reserves or profits. The top three sources of new capital for small business are owner's equity (33 percent) bank loans (20 percent) and trade credit (15 percent). Let's focus on bank loans and simple ways that small-business owners can improve their chances of getting a loan...
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SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE: EXPRESSIONS SOFA STUDIO: Following her heart CPA-turned-retailer trying out a new way to sell furnitureRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Della Pacheco
SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE EXPRESSIONS SOFA STUDIO Following her heart CPA-turned-retailer trying out a new way to sell furniture When Jennifer O'Connor graduated from the University of Dayton in 1990 with an accounting degree, the Fort Wayne native began navigating the fast track toward partnership at a public accounting firm. But O'Connor's plans to marry and have children didn't mesh with her 70-hour work weeks, so she quit her position with Ernst & Young and settled into decorating the Meridian-Kessler home...
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Part-time manager experiment working: Pilot program could be expanded beyond IndianapolisRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Michael Dabney
The bell outside Michael Goldberg's office rang, and the OmniSource Marketing executive exchanged a knowing glance with part-timer Rob MacDonald. One of the company's 17 sales representatives had just closed a deal. And MacDonald deserved some of the credit, since he has managed OmniSource's sales force for about a year-working four hours a day twice a week. It's a concept MacDonald developed as part of his full-time job at Sales Team, an Indianapolis-based consulting firm. The aptly named Part-Time Sales...
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WEB REVIEW: Is e-mail marketing the answer for you?

May 22, 2006
Jim Cota
If you're running a business, there's a good chance you've been frustrated with marketing. You've spent time and money on ads here and there, but the results were unpredictable-or worse-questionable. You're in the phone book because you feel you have to be, but the cost goes up year after year. Word of mouth works, but it's too slow. Direct mail works, but it's too expensive. Radio and TV are difficult to do well and nearly impossible to track for results....
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PROFILE: Complexions Day Spa: Downtown day spa has glowing business Irvington native focuses on organic products, attracts clients from entertainment, sports scenesRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Jo Ellen
Complexions Day Spa Downtown day spa has glowing business Irvington native focuses on organic products, attracts clients from entertainment, sports scenes Trinia Cox's venture builds on a 10-year career in skin care and makeup artistry with stints in Chicago and Los Angeles. And the location of Complexions Day Spa on Massachusetts Avenue was a good fit with her background in the arts, including gigs as a singer with Dr. Bop and the Headliners and her own group, Trinia and the...
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Smaller banks seeking relief: Legislation takes on costly regulatory costsRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Scott Olson
German American Bancorp in Jasper has spent more than $1 million the past two years complying with the stringent accounting provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The cost alone is reason enough for the community bank's president and CEO, Mark Schroeder, to support a measure exempting smaller public companies such as his from Section 404 of the act. He even traveled to Washington, D.C., May 3 to testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee. "Ultimately, this...
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Right decision crucial for small firms:Restricted Content

April 24, 2006
Barbara Hassell
Of course, trying to be less subjective does not mean you shouldn't consider "fit" with the organization's culture. In a small company, fit can be critical. One way to attempt to reduce early turnover is to use the "realistic job preview," in which prospective employees are given both the positive and negative aspects of the job, as opposed to the traditional approach of "selling" the firm. If individuals aren't going to enjoy the job, it's better to know it before...
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SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE WTH: Firm mapping out its own success Owner shifts focus from old-school engineering to GISRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Marc D.
SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE WTH Firm mapping out its own success Owner shifts focus from old-school engineering to GIS Rex Jones wants to show off his company's work, so the lights go down, a computer comes on and a map of Starke County appears on a screen. The map is a maze of green lines representing county and local roads, red for state/interstate highways, blue for water. Jones zooms in further, picking a random street in the rural county. Up pops...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: As construction costs rise, older buildings gain appealRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Brian Mann
Construction costs continue to rise in the wake of hurricanes, tornadoes, the war in Iraq, the building boom in China and general inflation. The trickle-down effect often lands at the feet of small business owners. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Producer Price Index, prices for materials and construction components increased 0.3 percent in February, following a 1-percent hike in January and continuing a threeyear upswing. The average building cost index has increased about 45 percent since 1995,...
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Indiana to alter Web site: Small IT firms aren't thrilled with contract requirementsRestricted Content

March 27, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
For the first time in more than a decade, Indiana is shopping for a Web portal manager. Indiana Office of Technology CIO Karl Browning is attempting to make the state's award-winning Internet gateway even better. The hunt will also test Gov. Mitch Daniels' "Buy Indiana" initiative, which aims to give local companies a leg up in competition for state contracts. The larger players in Indiana's IT community say they're pleased with the new process. But some smaller firms complain it's...
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E-commerce can level the playing field:Restricted Content

March 27, 2006
Nolan Taylor
The same point can be made for small businesses, which can reach wider audiences through electronic commerce-purchasing, selling and exchanging goods and services over the Internet. So how can small-business owners take advantage of the e-commerce phenomenon? First, it's important to understand that ecommerce isn't an end unto itself, but a tool to grow your business-as such, it should be used only if it serves your business strategy. Ask yourself a few questions: Can you effectively promote your product or...
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Federal farm lending could shrivel under latest budget: Banking associations oppose proposed fee increasesRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
Scott Olson
Brent Kerns likes to compare the U.S. Department of Agriculture's lending program to that of the Small Business Administration's. In short, the USDA helps farmers the way the SBA assists small-business owners. But if a proposal to cut the budget of the farm loan program is approved, it could become as expensive to use as the SBA's offering. Supporters fear a hike in user fees would hurt those who need the money the most. "That cost goes straight to the...
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You can take it to the bank: Financial experts say state's economy is rising, merger mania isn't over and regulatory laws could take a tollRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
On Feb. 24, IBJ Publisher Chris Katterjohn, Managing Editor Greg Andrews and banking reporter Matt Kish sat down with four leaders from Indianapolis' banking and finance sector: Judith Ripley, director of the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions; Kit Stolen, CEO of Union Federal Bank of Indianapolis; Steve Beck, president and CEO of the Indiana Venture Center; and Keith Slifer, senior vice president of LaSalle Bank. Among the topics of conversation: How's the state's economy doing? Are more bank mergers on...
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IT firm bought again: New York company acquires Core Business Technology but will move HQ to IndyRestricted Content

March 6, 2006
Chris O\'malley
Now, Core Business Technology Solutions has gone down the aisle again, tying the knot last month with White Plains, N.Y.-based Convergence Technologies Inc.-a deal that makes Indianapolis headquarters for a company with 270 employees and $105 million in revenue. But, with apologies to Wynette, nobody at this wedding sang, "Stand by your LAN." The good ol' local area network is now just a slice of the increasingly diverse information-technology products and services Core offers small and midsize companies these days....
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Six firms land $6.1M from state tech fund: 21st Century program issues its first grants since 2004; local companies Semafore, Cadent among recipientsRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Scott Olson
The state launched the fund in 1999 to invest in new technologies and appropriated $137 million during the first five years of the program. The state awarded no money in 2005, partly because none was available the first half of the year. The administration took the second six months to get acquainted with the fund. Kidd left his job as vice president of the Indiana Venture Center in October to join IEDC. The veteran small-business consultant since has helped reshape...
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New support group aids entrepreneurs: Growing network quick to attract diverse membershipRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Matthew Kish
But it's not because Roots doesn't know how to write HTML code. Rather, he's got so much business coming in the doors he doesn't have any free time for turning wrenches on his own site-www.squishdesigns.com. That's a good problem to have for an entrepreneur who's still dotting the "i"s on his LLC application. He credits the influx of business to a new networking group for entrepreneurs that is attracting a sizeable contingent of women and minority business owners. The group-which...
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Banning 'McLawsuits': State bill outlawing fast-food litigation nears passageRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Matthew Kish
A bill nearing the governor's desk would make it illegal to sue Indiana restaurants-including the state's ubiquitous fast-food joints-for those extra notches in the belt. Commonly referred to as the "cheeseburger bill," the measure is part of a national effort by restaurants and small-business owners to protect themselves from enormous class-action lawsuits that have been filed against some national chains. House Bill 1113 passed out of the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters on Feb. 14 by a...
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