News From the Louisville SBDC

the secret of my success…

Local Business Owner Sees Success—and Gets Some Help From The Small Business Development Center

At the small storefront of Shively Food Mart, out on Dixie Highway, a big blue sign sports the friendly message:
“We Appreciate Your Business”.
The management at this store certainly does appreciate the community’s support—and sees the business as an opportunity to enhance the local economy.
Kevin Hathnawi, who started out as an employee, is now the owner and manager of the Food Mart.
“I was lucky, the previous owners offered to sell the business”, he told us.
He felt he had the management skills and foresight to run the store—and he was right.
The business has flourished and he feels his hard work has paid off.
Thanks to the success Shively Food Mart has had, Hathnawi has been looking to secure a loan for new developments for the business.
By requesting assistance through , Kevin quickly got the help he needed from the Louisville SBDC.
“I was surprised when I got contacted back by Mrs. Sears…without her, I couldn’t reach that approval of the loan,” Hathnawi said.
Toni Sears, Management Consultant at the SBDC helped Kevin by guiding him through the often daunting process of securing a loan.
That allowed him to focus on his specialty – managing and progressing the business.
“It’s a lot of paperwork, a lot of searches and details.
It’s not easy to get. You need somebody who has been through this before and knows about it and gets it,” Hathnawi said.
Toni is one of three professional business consultants who work for the Louisville SBDC, an office of the Kentucky SBDC serving the counties of Bullitt, Carroll, Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Owen, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble.
Funded by the Small Business Administration and the University of Kentucky, the SBDC offers free business consultations for small business owners looking to start or expand a business.
The SBDC has helped launch or support a huge variety of business in the region ranging from health centers to to ice cream shops to fashion designer centers.
You can contact the Louisville SBDC by calling the office at (502) 625-0123, or emailing You can also visit the website at
We asked Kevin if he had any advice for someone who is looking to start or expand their own business.
“One of the main things is the location”, he advised new business owners.
He also encouraged entrepreneurs to think about their own drive to start or expand an enterprise, noting that they will have to be ready for a big project.
But he encourages anyone who knows the time is right, reminding us of the importance of small business development.
“At the end it comes back to the community, so good luck to anybody who wants to do it.”
Written by Victoria Hewlett, Louisville SBDC Summer 2017 Intern.

A Good Source to Finance Small Businesses

After a couple of years of steady growth, there’s just not enough space at your current location to keep up with demand. To make matters worse, you’ve had to turn down some great opportunities because you just can’t make and store enough product. You need to move to larger facilities and add more production equipment. A quick call to the only person you know at your bank deepens your depression when you’re told you don’t have enough assets, or been in business long enough, or don’t have enough cash flow to qualify for a business loan.
Sound frustrating?
This is the frustration that often stymies small businesses from becoming medium businesses – they just aren’t bankable.
Enter Access Ventures, a local impact investment firm and the folks responsible for the great success of KIVA Louisville.
What’s an impact investment firm? It’s a firm that provides capital and resources to promising entrepreneurs that can have a positive impact on people and the community.
In late 2014, Access Ventures launched their Growth Loan program to help solve the lack of capital sources for un-bankable but promising businesses. Since then, Access Ventures has approved nearly $350,000 in non-collateralized Growth Loans to an array of small business owners throughout the Louisville and Southern Indiana region. Currently, loan proposals are vetted and approved by a volunteer loan committee made up of small business owners, attorneys, bankers, microfinance experts, and community representatives.
Borrowers can apply for up to $35,000 in growth capital that can be used to finance things such as equipment, legal or marketing expenses. Interest rates can vary depending on the deal but are usually at or below market and can have up to a 60-month payback period. There is no financial collateral requirement either. Your collateral is your local reputation.
Access Ventures looks for positive impact for the borrower, the business and the community, not the financial return earned on the loan. That’s why as part of the application process you’ll need to make a case for why it’s beneficial to receive the loan. Moreover, a personalized review process builds relationships with people that want your business to succeed. Providing helpful insights rather than focusing solely on a critical evaluation is an additional value add with this unique process. And, while traditional credit scores will always play an important role in the decision-making process, borrower evaluation looks at the merits of a business, it’s owner and its future potential not past performance.
Ready to get started?
You can find the initial application at Once your deal is vetted as having impact, you’ll need a professionally prepared business plan/loan proposal to submit to the loan committee. You are also required to make a 5-minute pitch to the loan committee.  
It sounds like a daunting process, and it is to a certain extent, but the SBDC is here to help. We will help you prepare your loan proposal especially the crucial financial projections. We’ll also work with you on your pitch deck and even help you practice. Small businesses have limited free time and using the free services at the SBDC will save lots. While meeting with an SBDC consultant to create your loan package you’ll benefit from additional insights and industry-wide data along the way. You’ll also learn about other local options for accessing additional capital.
Since the loan program’s inception, the Louisville SBDC has steered many clients toward David Taliaferro and the Access Ventures team for capital. The SBDC has been there for many business owners after receiving loans to advise them as they grow.
If you’re a small business in need of capital and think an Access Ventures Growth Loan may be a fit, we’d love to hear from you! Click here to complete a brief questionnaire. Along with our new partner, Access Ventures, we will work to determine if a Growth Loan is right for your situation and help you fund that next opportunity.
Still want more info? Contact me and I’ll be ready to help
If you are an entrepreneur seeking to bring your dream to reality, I will be glad to help you. Contact David Oetken, Center Director/Management Consultant at the Louisville SBDC.

502.625.0124 |

5 Essential tips to sell anything to anyone, according to a 'Shark Tank' Shark

Most people do not realize how important selling is — unless your paycheck depends on it!
Every time I mention selling, I always hear, “It’s not for me”, “You have to have a knack for sales”, or “I just can’t do sales” — but this cannot be farther from the truth.
Salespeople are not the only ones selling something. In my latest book, “You Don’t Have to Be a Shark,” the premise is simple: Great salespeople are made, not born, and no one achieves success in life without knowing how to sell.
Think of the last time you convinced your kids to finish their vegetables or convinced your parents to let you borrow the car for the weekend — believe or not, you’re selling something! On Shark Tank, entrepreneurs have to sell themselves just as much as their business because we invest in them.
Regardless of what you’re selling, it’s easier than most people think. Just keep the following 5 tips in mind…
Forget about the product or service. If whoever you’re selling to doesn’t like you, they’re not going to listen to you. Make sure you know the product and present yourself well. Be the salesperson you’d buy something from.
Bad salespeople can’t get over how amazing their product is — they go on and on about it! But good salespeople listen to what their clients are saying. They pay attention to the clients’ needs from the start and present accordingly.
If you’re selling a widget that costs $50K, don’t try to sell it to the guy whose widget budget is $2k. A common mistake salespeople make is trying to sell to anyone and everyone. Make sure whatever you’re selling fulfills your potential client’s needs and is realistic for them. You’re much likely to get that sale!
Why should people care about what you’re selling? How is your product or service providing value to them? Pay attention to what’s driving your potential client to take your meeting in the first place and address that in your pitch.
Don’t overcomplicate your pitch just because you want to sound more knowledgeable. The mark of true knowledge in anything is how well you can explain to the average person. Keep your pitch simple and under 30 seconds — practice your elevator pitch!
The key to selling successfully is to think about the person you’re selling to. Make your approach about their needs and think about how they’ll feel after the pitch/meeting. There is no such thing as a “natural-born salesperson.” Take it from me — anyone can learn to be good at sales, including you!
To your success!
Robert Herjavec
LinkedIn Influencer Robert Herjavec published this post originally on LinkedIn
Robert Herjavec is one of North America’s most recognizable business leaders.
A dynamic entrepreneur, Robert has built and sold several IT companies to major players such as AT&T. In 2003 Robert founded Herjavec Group, and it quickly became one of North America’s fastest growing technology companies. Today, Herjavec Group is recognized as a global leader in information security specializing in managed security services, compliance, incident response and remediation efforts for enterprise level organizations.
His inspiring books, Driven and The Will to Win, were simultaneously Top 10 Bestsellers that earned him the title of “Best Selling Author”. Robert has released his third book, You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success published by St. Martin’s Press on May 17, 2016. He shares his expertise with other entrepreneurs each week as a leading Shark on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning hit Shark Tank.
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