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‘Leveling the Playing Field’ for Small Businesses. CAMEO Annual Member Meeting 2012 Michael Gurton , MarketLink Program Director, OMEN. Today’s Topics. In-depth look at a non-profit market research program that provides customized market research to Oregon businesses

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Leveling the playing field for small businesses

‘Leveling the Playing Field’ for Small Businesses

CAMEO Annual Member Meeting 2012

Michael Gurton,

MarketLink Program Director, OMEN


Today s topics
Today’s Topics

  • In-depth look at a non-profit market research program that provides customized market research to Oregon businesses

  • Real world example + client testimonial

  • Overview of Grow Oregon from idea to funded program


Overview
Overview

  • What we do (and how we’re different!)

    Adapted framework and techniques used by Fortune 500 companies to deliver no-cost market research and analysis to Oregon small businesses


Marketlink for micro businesses
MarketLink for Micro Businesses

  • Clients – approx. 120 per year

  • Demographics – Low-income, rural, women or minority owned

  • Referral sources – MDOs, SBDCs

  • Biz types – Alpaca farmers to Zipline manufacturers

  • Client contact – by phone


Marketlink for micro businesses continued
MarketLink for Micro Businesses continued

  • Engagement length – 6 to 8 hours over 2 to 3 weeks

  • Needs/Issues – information, access

  • Rate – no cost to clients

  • Funding stream – SBA, private foundations, local governments


Overview continued
Overview continued

  • Philosophies

    • “Level the playing field”

    • 3 C’s (customer, competition, community)

    • Join your community

    • “Coopetition” - Learn from your competition

    • Infused with Michael Porter’s competitive intelligence framework


Overview continued1
Overview continued

  • Expertise

    • Interviewing thought leaders/experts

    • Competitive intelligence

    • Industry and trend analysis

    • GIS

    • Sales lead generation


Overview continued2
Overview continued

  • Work/Strategies

    • Centered around expanding client base

    • Target customers differently

    • Expand geographically

    • Use different sales channels


Example horse stables in southern oregon
Example – Horse stables in Southern Oregon

  • Client needs

    • Clientele was only competitive equestrians (teen girls and women 40+ y.o.)

    • Wanted a steady and diversified stream of clients


Example continued
Example continued

  • Research

    • Assessment of her competitors

    • Assessment of larger equestrian demographic

    • Sensitivity to community

    • Developed analysis to help her pinpoint marketing strategies


Example continued1
Example continued

  • Impact of Research

    • Client performed marketing outreach that we outlined

    • Client honed social media marketing

    • Client started getting 10 – 12 year old demo, both boys and girls

    • Anecdotal – looking to hire additional staff


Program measures
Program Measures

  • Client Demographics

    • 57% female

    • 21% minority

    • 76% either HUD very low or low income

    • 67% first time business owners


Program measures continued
Program Measures continued

  • Micro Outcome Measures

    • Change in income

    • Business stage progression

    • Change in markets (new, geo. expansion)

    • Hiring


Client feedback
Client Feedback

  • Survey Results(n=57)

    • 100% satisfaction, 97% would use again

    • 60% exhibited forward business stage progression

    • 88% saw increase in sales

    • 60% increased geographic reach


Client feedback continued
Client Feedback continued

  • Criticisms

    • We take too long

    • “I already knew this.”

    • “It’s still in my inbox.”

    • Survey process (“what is MarketLink?”)

    • Does research create jobs?

    • Quantity over quality of engagement


Marketlink for second stage businesses
MarketLink for Second Stage Businesses

  • Clients – 30 to 40 per year

  • Demographics – Under 100 employees

  • Referral sources – Econ. devel. Partners

  • Business type – Traded-sector

  • Client contact – In-person meetings


Marketlink for second stage businesses cont
MarketLink for Second Stage Businesses cont.

  • Engagement length – 20 hours over one month +

  • Needs/Issues – Issues surrounding growth, lack of time/expertise

  • Rate – no cost

  • Funding streams – EDA, regional econ. development partners, state


Program measures continued1
Program Measures continued

  • Second Stage Outcome Measures

    • Change in geographic range

    • Increased revenues

    • Increased capital expenditures

    • Increase in hiring

    • Attribute growth to MarketLink work?


How the grow oregon bill was funded
How the Grow Oregon Bill was Funded

  • The Cast of “Characters”

    • Early Mover – Greater Portland, Inc. (GPI)

    • Experienced Hand – consulted with Growing Local Economies

    • Pilot – GPI funded

    • Success Story – Keyscaper

    • Champion – Rep. Jefferson Smith and Grow Oregon Council




Inside grow oregon
Inside Grow Oregon

  • Funding

    • $280k awarded to OSBDCN for 18 month program

    • $20K put aside by state for 3rd party eval

  • Leverage

    • ~$200K leveraged

    • Primarily SBA Small Business Jobs Act awards


Grow oregon feedback continued
Grow Oregon Feedback continued

  • Implementation

    • OSBDCN created three regional hubs: Portland metro, Southern and Central Oregon

    • 15 firms served at each hub + 15 from rural areas (18 month program)

    • All referrals run through hubs

    • Client contact is in-person (rural: by webcam)

    • Outsource to consultants for SEO, GIS and market research


Contact me
Contact Me

  • Michael Gurton

    • MarketLink Program Director

    • Oregon Microenterprise Network (OMEN)

    • 503.546.9913

    • [email protected]

    • www.LinkedIn.com/in/mgurton


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