In 2010, CBET created a “virtual incubator” pilot program which assisted several businesses who agreed to join the incubator during a trial period through 2011. During this phase, CBET worked with member businesses to learn and apply the assistance they needed most. We wanted to learn what is NOT helpful, as well as how the university can leverage its faculty and intern resources to mentor and work with the business to achieve their goals. These businesses graduated from the program and comments on their results are found in their stories below:
Quik Signs creates signs, banners, business cards, car decals, window decals, and more and can assist you in creating logos and advertising.
Year 1: Kelsie successfully orchestrated a 60% growth for her business, partially due to increased investment in advertising and promotion, assisted by a senior marketing intern from the BHSU virtual incubator pilot program.
Services provided to Quik Signs included help with production, front desk, market research, ad development, and updating of social media sites. Kelsie had this to say about the program: “It is nice to have the flexibility with the incubator since at Quik Signs you don’t know what you are doing from day to day. It was nice that my wonderful intern was able to accommodate the different needs I had within my company.”
Year 2: Quik Signs continued to show growth. In her second year, Quik Signs reduced its advertising expenses by 6% and still demonstrated a 23% growth in sales. Quik Signs has also moved to a new, larger, location at 2925 E. Colorado Boulevard, almost doubling their space to accommodate automotive wraps (vehicle graphics). Quik Signs has added staff.
The virtual incubator has provided Quik Signs with assistance with production, customer database maintenance, and social media site updates.
2925 E. Colorado Blvd.
Spearfish, SD 57783
We are the newest coffee shop in Spearfish, roasting our own coffee and offering the newest Bubble Tea. We have an extensive drink menu, along with homemade soups, sandwiches, paninis, wraps, and lots of baked goods. Stop in at our cozy shop or use the Drive Thru.
Goal: Grow the business. Especially the sales of our coffee beans, roasted on site!
Results per Dr. Scott Finkbeiner:
"We have been in the BHSU virtual incubator since June of 2010. The guidance and assistance we have received has allowed us to move our business ahead much faster than we would have been able to do on our own. We have benefitted the most from the market research and marketing strategies provided through the program. It has been valuable to have a "team" of consultants available to us as we look to grow our business and control our costs. The marketing plans have been valuable in helping us find an identity and brand our products. The market research is also helping us position ourselves in a very competitive market. The best part for us is that there has been no pressure to incorporate any of the ideas. The virtual incubator has truly functioned in a supportive role. This has given us the freedom to process the information, adjust our direction and improve our business over a very short time."
Four Seasons Coffee & Roasting Co.
Scott Finkbeiner & Jerry Robinson
3025 First Ave Ste 6
Spearfish, SD 57783
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Tru-Catch is the industry leader in creating quality live animal traps and carriers. Animal control officer, humane societies and volunteer relief groups across the country recognize their long-standing reputation for building traps that last and have a 98% catch rate. All TruCatch Traps are made in America by the parent company, Manufacturing Systems, Inc., and have a 5 year guarantee.
Based in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, Manufacturing Systems, Inc. encompasses several divisions, including Agricultural Products, the Automotive and Industrial Equipment Division, and Animal Care and Control. Each division is solely responsible for research/development of new product lines, and acquisition of other existing companies’ products that need refinement, marketing and a distribution thrust. MSI will provide the best quality and durability to an ever changing marketplace. Users appreciate the quality of construction, ease of operation, and the humane features of TruCatch Traps.
TruCatch comes to the virtual incubator with a goal of growing their market share and understanding their untapped market segments.
Results: In July of 2012, TruCatch presented at the PetCo Cat Trap Depot Workshop, partnering with PetCo to bring TruCatch quality humane traps to the nonprofit rescue organizations that need them. This quarter's event was held in San Diego and Doug Bidwell, VP of Marketing, gave a demonstration of TruCatch trap operation.
Tru Catch has also taken advantage of the Dakota Seeds program, hiring a manufacturing intern from the BHSU Industrial Technology program to assist with operations.
Contact Doug Bidwell, VP Marketing
Black Hills PR helps connect customers, fans and followers to your product or service via public relations, social media and smart strategy. We help build better relationships between businesses and their fans and customers. We can teach businesses how to use social media to market their business or develop and execute thoughtful and effective social media marketing and PR campaigns or simply review their current marketing strategy. Black Hills PR helps build businesses, one relationship at a time.
“The virtual incubator intern has done numerous research projects for me revolving around public relations and social media for a wide variety of current and potential clients. These research projects have helped create some templates and processes that I now use for all of my social media clients. Having an intern to do the upfront research has allowed me to focus more on client development and the analysis that comes after the data gathering. When I hand projects off to an intern I am now more focused on providing clear direction on projects.”
Black Hills PR
3240 1st Ave.
Spearfish, SD 57783