small business administration

How Technology Actually Saved A Paper-Based Small Business

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/ilm-corporation-survives-rise-of-computers-2013-6

Jason Cohen

People have predicted that technology would destroy Jason Cohen’s family’s company for decades. Document management does sound pretty old-fashioned. But Cohen, recently named Virginia’s Small Business Administration Small Business Person of the Year, has managed  not just to keep his company alive, but also to turn technology into an opportunity.

ILM Corporation was started in 1976 with technology for converting hardcopy materials into electronic files and manage them. As more companies started keeping their own digital files, however, business started drying up.

Soon after Cohen joined ILM in 1992, the staff had shrunk from hundreds to only six people. It was a rough period.

“You don’t avoid the pitfalls,” Cohen told Business Insider. “We all go through them and a good friend of mine once said, ‘tell me what change isn’t bloody, ugly, and messy.'”

Cohen started turning things around after buying the company from his parents in 2001. While technology had killed some jobs, like picking  up The Washington Post at 2 A.M. to digitize it, technology also opened new opportunities.

“Our love affair with paper has diminished somewhat in terms of how we’re using it,” Cohen says, “but the amount of information has expanded exponentially.”

These days people expect that information to be accessible faster than ever.

 

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Monday, June 24th, 2013 news No Comments

How Chobani Founder Hamdi Ulukaya Unleashed The Greek Yogurt Craze Upon America

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chobani-founder-hamdi-ulukaya-and-the-greek-yogurt-craze-2012-6

Hamdi Ulukaya chobani greek yogurt

The Chobani brand is widely credited with starting the Greek yogurt craze in the U.S.

Consumers have gone nuts for it since the product hit shelves in 2007, and Chobani has grown into a massive force.

Turkish native Hamdi Ulukaya is the man behind Chobani. The 40-year-old ran a modest cheese company in New York state before getting into the yogurt business.

Now, the company is the No. 3 maker of non-frozen yogurt in the U.S., raking in about $750 million in sales, according to Symphony IRI. The only ones ahead of it are industry titans Yoplait (owned by General Mills) and Dannon (owned by Danone).

And it all started with one snap decision.

Ulukaya didn’t come to the U.S. from Turkey in 1995 to make yogurt — he had a very different plan.

“I came from a family of farmers who made cheese and yogurt, but that was the furthest thing from my mind at that time,” he told Forbes. “I came here for education, to learn English, to learn business.”

That changed once he saw the opportunity. Ulukaya had always thought that American yogurt brands were “horrible,” and thought if he made something better, people would flock to it.

In 2005, Ulukaya received a direct mail ad that said, “Fully equipped yogurt factory for sale.”

Ulukaya initially threw away the ad, but decided the next day that he wanted to buy the former Kraft Foods plant in Columbus, N.Y. It took him five months to come up with the funds to do it.

He bought it using less than $1 million in loans, including one from the U.S. government’s Small Business Administration, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Everybody around me thought I was nuts,” he told the WSJ. “Here was this huge company, Kraft, getting out of this plant. If there was value in it, why would they close it? But you just have a gut feeling you can do something.”

It took 18 months to come up with the Chobani recipe.

“I wanted to make sure the product was perfect because I only had one shot and it had to work,” Ulukaya told the Wall Street Journal

He worked with his sixth employee — a “master yogurt maker” and family friend from Turkey — to create it.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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