News From the Louisville SBDC

Food Truck 101: Don’t Start One Without This!

by David Oetken

Louisville is truly an entrepreneurial town. It’s also a great foodie town and we are nationally recognized for our innovative restaurants and food businesses. And, that includes food trucks, too!

Today, food trucks are gourmet affairs that offer anything from gourmet corndogs and signature mac & cheese to sushi or fine French cuisine. While starting a food truck can be less expensive than a bricks and mortar restaurant, it can be just as risky. While launching a food truck business can often be difficult, there are significant advantages. Here are a few:
1. Low Initial Investment – while a custom truck right off the showroom floor and cost well over $100K, you can get started for much less.
2. Great Brand Builder – your truck is a rolling billboard for your concept and getting out there is a great way to build momentum and customers!
3. A Mobile Classroom – If you are a newbie to the restaurant business, a food truck is a great way to start small. But you do need to learn the business to be successful. Learn from others that have successfully operated a food truck or consider working temporarily for someone to get experience. The local Food Truck Association is a good resource too. Your truck can be a rolling laboratory and you can easily try new ideas at your next event.
4. A Great Way to Learn What Your Customers Want – If your mobile concept isn’t getting rave reviews, it’s much easier to make menu changes on a small scale. With a food truck you can quickly morph your concept to please your customers.
5. Location, Location, Location – the advantage of being mobile is just that: if you’re in a poorly performing location – move! Restaurants don’t have that luxury and if they picked the wrong location, they’re in real trouble.
I hope these tips are helpful as you work to develop more focused, more productive and more effective social media marketing for your company.  Don’t hesitate to contact me if I can assist you in these endeavors. I look forward to working with you! Email or call me at 502.625.0123
If you’re serious about Food Trucks, make sure you do these things:
First, attend our upcoming Food Truck Workshop on Thursday, April 13th.  You’ll learn  everything you need to know about permits & licensing, equipment requirement, location limitations, inspections and Health Department Codes. It’s from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM at Republic Bank, 11330 Main St, Middletown. (It’s on the corner of Shelbyville Rd and Blankenbaker Pky.)  Want to know more?  Click for Details
>>>>>>Register HERE <<<<<<

Second, we wanted to streamline the food truck launch process as much as possible and make it easy for you! So if you’re thinking about building and running your own food truck business get started right by Downloading our Handbook  to starting a food truck business in Louisville Kentucky.  In this free guide you’ll find the info and contacts you’ll need to save yourself time, money and loads of frustration.  We’ve researched and listed all the steps you need to get your food truck business up and running including important regulatory contacts and forms.  All you need to supply is a tasty menu and a cool truck!

Don’t forget to invite me to your Grand Opening! ( )
Or, if you’d like some one-on-one help to plan your business, contact me! I love starting businesses!

Office of Sustainability News

Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Sustainability is excited to share information about two programs that will help our community save money while going green.
The Cool Roof Rebate Program will provide rebates to property owners of $1 per square foot of cool roof installed, with a goal of incentivizing at least 100,000 square feet of cool roofs. This program supports the city’s efforts to reduce the heat island and will help citizens reduce energy use at the same time. Buildings located in Metro Council Districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 14 and 15 are identified as high heat island areas based on the Urban Heat Management Study (2016), and will receive at least 60% of the available funding. Applications are being accepted now and the program will continue until funds are depleted.
In partnership with the Louisville Energy Alliance, a goal was established to move Louisville onto the top 20 US cities list with the most Energy Star Certified buildings in 2017. Benefits of being an Energy Star building include:  up to 35% less energy usage resulting in reduced operating costs, 35% fewer greenhouse gas emissions that help protect the environment and health of our residents and garnering higher rental and sale prices, which will help drive economic growth. Buildings owners/managers will need to track their energy usage through EPA’s Portfolio Manager Program. Once a building receives a score of 75 or greater, LEA volunteers will perform a free verification inspection, which is necessary to get Energy Star certification. If a building does not achieve the score of 75 and the owner would like to learn how to improve their energy efficiency and save money, Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, a non-regulatory and confidential organization will offer free technical assistance.
For more information on these programs contact or 502-574-6285.

Pick the Fruit You Can Reach

Why you need to take the baby-steps in order to take the giant ones

By Don Skaggs
Inventors and entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are big idea people. When the rest of the world just asks why and wanders off, we ask why not, and then go find a solution. It is both part of the essence of who we are and part of the secret sauce of how we’re able to come up with what we do. But there’s a problem: when you get caught up in big dreams and aspirations, using the very creative talent that likely brought you to your great idea, you can fall into the trap of thinking so big that you forget about the little steps necessary to get you from the place you’re at now to the destination you envision.
A lot of people are just wired this way, and if you are – you know exactly what I’m talking about. You have 6 new ideas before breakfast, and by lunch you’ve got six more. When that creative wave hits you, it just hits you. Many of you are probably like me and try to write them down and save & sort through later. When later comes, you may be as perplexed as you were when you first thought of them. Which one do I work on first? Should I try and do them all at once? How do I know which one will be successful? These are questions that I hear a lot from inventors and entrepreneurs at the Inventors Council. Not to worry; we’ve all been there, and we can help.
If you’re faced with this quandary, however, ask yourself this: Which one is your lowest-hanging fruit? Which idea is the easiest and fastest for you to prototype, ramp-up and get to license or market? Is it the one that will take tens of thousands to build and sell? Or is it the one you can make and sell a smaller number quickly, easily and cheaply to prove your market? If you pick the fast/cheap/easy one first, it will do two things for you. First, it gives you a chance to make more money (& gain experience) in less time than the others. If you’re successful it also gives you more resources, which in turn gives you a longer reach to the next idea that was a little further up the tree. What if the idea turns out to not be successful? Then you will have spent less of your time and money, but will have gained more of the precious wisdom necessary to try and reach the next idea. If you’re going to fail (and we all do), fail fast and fail cheap.
How Tall is Your Ladder?
Picture a tall tree. And on that tree are all kinds of fruit, some high and near the top and some closer to the ground. These fruits represent your ideas, and their distance from the ground represent how much time, effort and money it will cost you to get each up and running. Now picture your ladder. This isn’t just any ladder; this is the ladder that represents your resources. It includes what you are able to put into your idea: your time, money, and wisdom (which includes how familiar you are with the product, the industry, the market, implementation, etc.). For some it may be a tall ladder that reaches high. For others, it may just be a short stepladder. The good news is that with fruit all over the tree from top to bottom, you can reach some with either.
So yes, do aim for the stars. You never know if you might actually grab one. But in the meantime don’t forget to first grab some of that low-hanging fruit that is currently within your reach. It may be just exactly what you need to keep you from going hungry on your way to the stars.
Don Skaggs is President of the Inventors Network KY, which includes the Inventors Council Louisville, a non-profit dedicated to helping inventors & entrepreneurs through education, engagement and empowerment. Free meetings on the first Thursday of every month.

Upcoming Workshops

  • Operating a Food Truck in Louisville
    April 13
    6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Intro to QuickBooks 2017 (2 Days) with Jim Wells
    April 18
    4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • Web Assetments
    April 27
    9:00 am – 11:30 am
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