News From the Louisville SBDC

Your Elevator Pitch: Never Leave Home Without It!

A few weeks ago Delta Airlines made the national news when their servers crashed which caused widespread flight cancellations and delays. It was a big mess and screwed up travel plans for thousands of people. And, as my luck runs, I was one of those people.
I was trying to get back home from Spokane and had made it as far as Minneapolis. My one hour, twenty-minute flight to Louisville was cancelled because there was no crew available. To make matters worse, I would have to spend the night in the airport since all hotels were full within a 50-mile radius of the airport. If you’ve ever experienced this pleasure, the Minneapolis airport staff do their best to make you comfortable by dumping a forklift load of gym mats in the middle of the food court. I joined a large group of poor souls as we each took our turn to drag one of these gym mats to some corner of the terminal to camp out. The airport looked like what I imagine a Red Cross shelter would look after a hurricane or some other natural disaster.
Early the next morning while hunting for coffee I thought my luck had changed. I ran into a former client who was not flying Delta and looked well rested and sharply dressed. While we exchanged pleasantries, I felt very uncomfortable in my wrinkled clothes and disheveled hair that would warrant a guest appearance on the Ancient Aliens show. He asked me what I was doing these days and I babbled about this and that until his eyes glossed over and checking his watch, he was gone.
Had I been better prepared I would have been able to quickly and succinctly tell him what I do, how I do it and why he needs me. I didn’t even get his card or a promise to follow up. What I needed was a tight, crisp elevator speech.
David Oetken, Louisville SBDC Center Director
According to, crafting a short, attention-getting elevator pitch is a matter of following a 5-step outline and then putting the pieces together:
1. Define who you are – We generally have a label for ourselves but add who you help. “I am a CPA who helps small businesses grow.”
2. Define what you do – Build on #1 by adding a statement like “I help these small businesses grow by putting processes in place to give owners good info to make decisions.”
3. Identify your ideal client – If you don’t know who your ideal client is, this is a good time to figure that out. Be specific as to who you can help the most with your products or services. “I work with businesses that have 10 – 15 employees and need to outsource some of their accounting functions. “
4. Deliver your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – What is it that makes your product or service different from the competition? “I have a proprietary software solution that makes interfacing with existing accounting software quick and easy.”
5. Say what you want to have happen next – If you want a sale or referral you have to ask! “I’d like to schedule a time to show you this new solution and how it can help your business.”
If you follow these steps, you can write a compelling 30 second elevator pitch in no time. Once you have a draft, try it out on friends and associates to get some feedback. Most importantly, practice, practice, practice. A relaxed, confident delivery is as important as the content itself. Armed with your new tool, you can confidently network a room full of strangers; even after sleeping on a gym mat overnight. People always do business with people and a strong elevator pitch is essential to grow your business.
If you’ve tried your hand writing your elevator pitch and just can’t get it right, fear not!  There are resources available to help. Access them HERE
Dreaming of starting your own business? Email David or call 502-625-0123

Louisville SBDC Awarded Kentucky State Star at National Conference

From left: Janet Flaugh, Dr. Becky Naugle, Toni Sears, and Vallorie Henderson. Not pictured, David Oetken
The Louisville Small Business Development Center (SBDC) was awarded the 2016 State Star Monday, September 19th, at a reception during the America’s Small Business Development Center annual conference in Orlando, Florida.
The America’s SBDC Network is a partnership uniting private enterprise, government agencies, higher education institutions and local nonprofit economic development organizations in an effort to provide support to small business. Each year, the ASBDC honors a star from every state. Selection is based upon examples of excellence and important contributions to entrepreneurs and the small business community. The Kentucky award is called the Sutton Landry State Star Award.
“This is a tremendous honor for the Louisville SBDC,” said Executive Director, David Oetken. “It’s really a testament to our expert staff, and the great entrepreneurs who are launching startups or scaling their existing businesses in the Louisville region. We are proud to provideguidance and specialized counsel as small business owners work to build and finance their dream ventures in fields ranging from restaurants to services to tech to manufacturing.”

Are You a Retailer Needing a Little Motivation
for the Holiday Sales Season?

What should a business owner be doing on a sunny October day? If you sell to consumers, it’s time to get every aspect of your business ready to reap the most benefit from the upcoming holiday season. The more you do now to ready your business for holiday shoppers, the more profits you’ll reap by the end of this year.
Join the Louisville Independent Business Alliance and the Louisville Small Business Development Center on Tuesday, October 11th for a ramp up to Small Biz Saturday and beyond. Come for your list of 10 marketing “Must Do’s” for business owners as you prepare for your busiest time of the year. Be ready on all fronts; social media, website, print advertising, staffing and updates to client contact info.
Also, hear from Clay Jacobs, Business Development Manager with American Express, who will give some insights into Small Biz Saturday as well as other resources AmEx provides to small business owners.
We’ll close out the event with Jennifer Rubenstein from LIBA who will talk about the events they have planned for to celebrate Small Biz Saturday and hoLOUdays 2016.
Find out more here

You Can Take This to the Bank!

There’s a real truth that any homeowner knows. That truth is if you have to fix any leaky faucet, it will take at least 5 trips to the hardware store to get the right part. Wouldn’t it be great if you had everything you needed on hand before you got started?
Sometimes going to the bank to line up financing to start or grow your business is much the same way. The loan officer wants you to produce yet another document or piece of information even though they told you at the last meeting that they had all the documents they needed!
We hate that too!
To make things easier, we’ve produced a checklist for you to use.  We’ve listed pretty much everything a loan officer would need to make a decision on your deal.  While there may be the occasional exception, we’ve done the research for you and have produced this checklist to make the process as easy as possible.   Download the checklist HERE.
Whether you are actively seeking financing now or just starting to think about it, you’ll want to download the checklist and get familiar with what you need to get started.  Download the checklist HERE or click the button below:

Upcoming Workshops

  • Crafting Your Elevator Pitch
    October 13th
    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Own Your Own Business
    October 18th & 20th
    6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Marketing Basics for Start-Ups
    November 2nd
    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • How to Create a Successful Online Business
    November 12th
    8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Other Events

  • Social Media Webinar (FREE)
    October 19th
    3:30 pm – 4:45 pm
    more info
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