SOAR Innovation is a champion for entrepreneurs in Eastern Kentucky.
Powered by Kentucky Innovation, our team provides many useful resources:
- The Complete Guide to Entrepreneurship
- Access to the CORI Mentor Network
- CO.STARTERS accelerator program
- A frequently-updated advice blog for small businesses
Did you know that SOAR Innovation also offers free direct services to help entrepreneurs tackle business essentials? Whether you’re a high school student starting a business, or retired and launching a passion project, these services are available to entrepreneurs of all ages and experience levels.
Let’s dive into all 6 of SOAR Innovation’s direct services. We’ll unpack what these services provide, the benefits of each to your growing business, and where to reach out to get started.
Writing a business plan is one of the fundamentals of entrepreneurship that you just can’t skip. It helps you organize your ideas into a complete (yet concise) document.
Business planning is useful for:
- Keeping your goals aligned with your big-picture outcomes and targets.
- Communicating with potential funders in a format that’s familiar to them.
- Supporting sound decision-making when the going gets tough — so you can stay focused on your most valuable goals.
Before reaching out to SOAR Innovation for business planning support, make sure you take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan. Before accessing this direct service, you’ll need to complete the One Page Business Plan and the CO.STARTERS Canvas.
After working with us, you’ll walk away with a complete business plan that covers all the essentials:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Research
- Products and Services
- Pricing Strategy
It’s not feasible to grow your business in 2022 without a website. Even if your customers connect with you in a brick-and-mortar environment, they still need to be able to locate you, read reviews, and learn about what you offer.
Building an online presence doesn’t mean you need to invest in expensive bells & whistles. A one-page business website can get the job done by anticipating and answering all the questions current and future customers will ask before purchasing from you.
SOAR Innovation has extensive experience with digital marketing and website creation. As part of our one-page website direct service, we’ll get you up and running with free to low-cost tools that are easy to use — even if you have a limited technical background.
Participating clients can expect to learn how to set up the following content and features on your one-page business website:
- Address and contact information
- Social media links
- Calls to action, such as a newsletter sign-up or email capture form
- Blog, photo slideshow, and grid setup
- Google Analytics and search engine optimization (SEO) best practices
After setting up a basic business website, integrating e-commerce is the next logical step.
Even if you’re planning to set up a brick-and-mortar business, omnichannel retail (such as buy online and pick up in-store) is growing increasingly popular.
SOAR Innovation can help you integrate e-commerce functionality into a website we helped you build. We can also provide this service for your existing website if hosted on an approved platform.
Our service will help you learn how to create a shopping page that includes:
- Link to your point of sale (POS) system
- Shipping, pickup, and delivery integrations
- Sales tax collection
We’ll also teach you how to self-manage your e-commerce system moving forward, such as adding and modifying items and managing your inventory.
If you don’t properly list your businesses on Google, customers are unlikely to be able to contact you, find you, or visit you.
SOAR Innovation can help you set up the Google suite of services for small businesses. We’ll focus specifically on the essentials: your Google listing and the Google Analytics platform.
A Google listing displays your verified business location and contact information. This makes you discoverable, contactable, and able to be reviewed by customers. We’ll help you link to appropriate channels, including your website, social media, and preferred phone number. We’ll also help you optimize photos to showcase your business in the best light possible.
Google Analytics (GA) is a powerhouse tool for all website managers. It helps you understand where visitors come from, how much time they spend on your site, what they engage with most (and least), and where they exit.
While GA is free, it’s also pretty complex. We’ll help you optimize dashboard setup for quick access to the data you need to support your business.
Many business owners assume brand development and management are a piece of cake. But when it comes to getting it done, plenty are left scratching their heads.
You shouldn’t underestimate the value of strong branding and a consistent online presence. It’ll build consumer awareness and credibility for your growing company.
SOAR Innovation will help you effectively tackle branding and digital media using free or low-cost tools and templates. We’ll help you establish consistency to express your brand, products, and value across the digital channels most relevant to your audience.
We’ll introduce the concept of brand templates using Canva, a free platform that enables you to create, maintain, and reuse graphic designs. The work products from this direct service will include:
- A custom media kit with both messaging and visuals
- Basic setup for your social media and email marketing platform
- An overview of Facebook ads and content boosts.
Systems for Success
As businesses scale, your policies and practices often need to evolve to keep up.
If you can embrace change as you grow, you’ll find yourself and your business in a strong position — ready to tackle the next challenges fearlessly.
SOAR’s Systems for Success direct service looks at the health of a business and probes for opportunities to enhance or streamline processes. We’ll ask: what’s working? Are there opportunities to optimize? Where are the pain points?
Through this lens, we’ll evaluate your accounting, shipping, production, efficiency, and employee policies. SOAR Innovation will offer an analysis of gaps and opportunities, identify where you can increase revenue, and coach you through the implementation process.
Conclusion: Access free direct services to support your growing business
SOAR Innovation supports entrepreneurs with free direct services so you can focus on growing your Eastern Kentucky small business.
Contact us today to request a meeting with a SOAR Innovation representative. We’ll help you identify which direct services you qualify for, implementation timelines, and what we’ll need from you to get started.