The Incubator at MAGNET Creates a New Service Program and Names Tom Lix as Entrepreneur-In-Residence

Tom Lix and Incubator LogoThe Incubator at MAGNET has created a new service—an onsite, product-focused Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) and named Tom Lix, founder and Chairman of Cleveland Whiskey, to serve as its first EIR. The EIR is a seasoned, “been there, done that” coach and mentor for current Incubator tenants and will also serve a resource for prospective entrepreneurs throughout Northeast Ohio.

The Incubator at MAGNET helps entrepreneurs and new companies with high growth potential focused on producing engineered products.  As EIR, Lix will provide subject matter expertise on product entrepreneurship, offering assistance on designing, engineering and commercializing technology in an engineered product or process. The EIR will be chosen from the Incubator’s roster of later-stage market-successful tenants with a new EIR being named every few years to take advantage of the expertise of the Incubator’s most dynamic tenants.

“Tom Lix is a serial entrepreneur and been the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Lake Erie College as well as an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Lake Erie. He was the founder and president of two different software start-ups, both resulting in acquisition,” said MAGNET Director of Entrepreneurial Services Dave Crain.

For the past four years, Lix’s latest company, Cleveland Whiskey LLC, has been a tenant at The Incubator at MAGNET. In that time, with MAGNET assistance, he has developed his product and taken it to market with sales now occurring in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and New Hampshire.

Lix has also been president of Yankelovich Partners where he consulted for leading food, hospitality and entertainment companies including Proctor & Gamble, PepsiCo, American Airlines, Federal Express and HBO.

Dave Crain, Director of Entrepreneurial Services, The Incubator at MAGNET

Dave Crain, Director of Entrepreneurial Services, The Incubator at MAGNET

“We’re certain Tom can offer invaluable insights into product development and  commercialization processes from the point of view of the entrepreneur and hope that the region’s entrepreneurs will take advantage of the deep knowledge Tom has acquired over years of successful entrepreneurship,” said Crain.

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How to Promote Innovation on Your Website

innovationInnovation is the backbone of every successful manufacturing company. It helps your business stand out from the competition, as well as continue to grow and prosper. If your company has a culture of innovation, it’s time to tell the world what you’re doing. Your website is a great way to promote the innovative projects you’ve worked on, as well as the innovative solutions you provide.

Case Studies

Case studies are a tried and true way for manufacturing companies to show what they’ve done. Sharing success stories in the form of case studies on your website can prove to potential customers that you have the ability to solve challenges like theirs. In addition, these case studies highlight the innovative solutions you provide in order to solve these challenges.

Testimonials

Think about your most successful and innovative projects and reach out to those happy customers. Testimonials don’t need to be paragraphs long. Just a brief sentence or two will work. And if you find that you have difficulty getting testimonials from customers, consider offering them an incentive for providing a testimonial or write the testimonial for them and let them edit it to their liking.

Custom Projects

Custom project work is a goldmine for highlighting your company’s innovative solutions. More often than not, a custom project requires creative and “outside the box” thinking in order to provide a viable solution. To showcase your custom project work, create a section of your website specifically for this. Include a description of the project, your solution and any pictures or multimedia that helps tell the story.

Pictures

As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Consider creating an “image gallery” section of your website in which you include pictures of various applications and solutions you’ve provided. In addition, pictures are great on product and case study pages.

Video

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures. Videos have a way of showing a story, rather than just telling it with words. But don’t limit yourself to highlighting past or current innovative projects. You might even want to create a video that talks about your innovation process and how much your business values innovation.

These are just a few ways you can promote your innovative solutions on your website, but there are many more ways to do so. If you’re able to think outside the box when developing solutions to your customers’ challenges, then you can do the same when thinking about how to highlight innovation on your website.

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How to Maximize ROI of Your Next Tradeshow

tradeshows

Manufacturing trade show.

For manufacturers, tradeshows are often a popular sales, marketing and branding effort. However, attending and exhibiting at tradeshows can be expensive. The costs for tradeshow banners, booths, displays, employee time, travel, and more, can add up so quickly that your boss might ask you if the cost of it was worth it.

21 (+2) Tips to Maximize Your Manufacturing Tradeshow ROI” is the newest whitepaper from Fathom. This whitepaper preps you with everything you need to do months in advance, during and after the tradeshow to ensure a great return on investment. In the whitepaper, you’ll find tips for:

  • Creating press releases
  • How to promote the tradeshow on your company’s website
  • How to get and promote videos
  • Creating pay-per-click campaigns
  • Working with the media
  • Coordinating with your internal marketing team
  • What to give away at your booth
  • How to follow up post-show with emails
  • Tips for tweeting at tradeshows and conferences
  • And more.

Get the inside scoop on how to make the most of your tradeshow experience. Download your copy of the whitepaper.

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MAGNET AND WIRE-NET JOIN FORCES ON A LEAN IMPLEMENTATION PROGRAM

 

We want to help you grow!

We want to help you grow!

MAGNET and WIRE- Net are partnering on a program aimed at manufacturers with up to 150 employees that are seeking to grow.  If you’re a manufacturer in that employee range having trouble tackling the issues preventing your business from growing and achieving your goals, learn how the combination of MAGNET’s PRISM initiative and WIRE-Net’s Growth Accelerator initiative can help you.  Contact Clare Crawford at clare.crawford@magnetwork.org. 

 

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Attracting and Retaining Manufacturing Talent

Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development, MAGNET

Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development, MAGNET

Recent surveys of manufacturers consistently identify one of their top three priorities as workforce issues. Companies— regardless of size— recognize that a highly skilled, qualified workforce is critical to their success. Whether manufacturers are seeking to develop new products, enter new markets, or improve overall productivity, their workforce will be key to their ability to remain competitive and achieve their goals.

Companies that are successful in attracting and retaining talented people  realize they must be pro-active and become part of their workforce  solution.

Fewer young people are choosing manufacturing careers. They don’t know  the opportunities or the educational requirements.  Coupling that fact with  smaller numbers of students in high school means a smaller pool of qualified candidates for employment.

To overcome that obstacle, smart manufacturers are actively engaging with educational institutions in their communities, informing students, teachers, guidance counselors and parents about the many stable and well-paying jobs they have available.

Starting with middle school age students, these manufacturers are sending young scientists, engineers, technicians and machine operators to visit local classrooms and talk with students about their work.

Students, teachers and parents are also invited to open houses to see the inside of plants and facilities they likely drive by on a daily basis, but have no idea of what is actually taking place inside. They tour the facility, are introduced to the young professionals in the company and see for themselves what takes place at that facility.

Many manufacturers are also sponsoring teams for the FIRST Robotics or Robobot competitions giving students valuable hands-on experience and also the opportunity to work as team members with engineers, technicians, and scientists to solve technical challenges.

Promising high school students can be provided shadowing opportunities that could lead to summer work-based learning experiences and possibly part-time employment during the school year.  The students learn the company culture, its products, processes and customers and can contribute to the overall company goals.  Many students who start out as part-time workers in high school often progress to achieve consistently higher company positions, becoming supervisors, managers, and executives.

October will once again be celebrated as Manufacturing Month in Ohio.    This would be an ideal time for you to start your proactive campaign to build your workforce of the future by sponsoring an event in your local community. If you start planning now, you should be able to hold a successful community event at your facilities this October.

If you’d like to know how MAGNET can help you stage such an event in October, please email me at:   Judith.crocker@magnetwork.org

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Northeast Ohio Regional Manufacturing Workforce Meeting

Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development, MAGNET

Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development, MAGNET

On April 23rd, MAGNET hosted a Northeast Ohio Regional Manufacturing Workforce Meeting.

Representatives from ten grassroots groups located throughout Northeast Ohio with a manufacturing workforce agenda came together to discuss current workforce skills gap issues.

These groups have manufacturers as part of their leadership along with education and economic development partners. The purpose of the meeting was to review some of the best practices in the region that address growing the pipeline of future workers as well as preparing individuals to meet the more immediate skilled worker needs.

The group concluded that the Right Skills Now model currently being piloted by Cuyahoga Community College with Solon-based manufacturer Swagelok with support from MAGNET is a model that could be replicated throughout the region to address the short term needs.

Engaging K12 students in career awareness activities, work-based learning, and internships are ways to develop the future skilled manufacturing workforce. MAGNET is committed to working with the grassroots groups, facilitating local employer engagement, and assisting with sharing of best practices and resources.

Employers interested in getting involved in a local group in their region to address workforce issues can contact Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development  at MAGNET: Judith.crocker@magnetwork.org

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How to Use LinkedIn to Promote Your Innovative Company

linkedinIf you haven’t adopted LinkedIn as a means for promoting your company, now is definitely the time to do it. As of this week, LinkedIn has modified the format of company pages and this may prove to be especially beneficial for manufacturing companies. The change LinkedIn unveiled is the removal of the “Products & Services” tab of your company page in order to make way for showcase pages. Showcase pages allow you to extend your company page presence by creating a dedicated page for your most innovative products and services. On these pages, you can share content just as you would with company page status updates. The new format helps your company build long-term relationships with LinkedIn members who want to follow specific areas of your business that interest them most. In addition, it can help you attract the hard-to-reach younger workforce by presenting your company as an innovative and lively company. As many manufacturing companies have a complex and vast array of products and services, each with different audiences, showcase pages allow you to address different markets with customized content. Whether on purpose or not, LinkedIn’s showcase pages provide the ability to segment your audience and these people can choose to subscribe to any of your pages in order to receive content that’s tailored to what they’re interested in. Keys to Showcase Page Success Showcase pages have a lot of potential and provide an opportunity to highlight what makes your company stand out. The key to getting the most out of this feature is to regularly post relevant and interesting information to each showcase page. There are many different types of content or information you can post, and here are just a few options:

    • Product/service information

o   Updates or revisions to products or services o   Little known facts about each area of your business o   Answers to some of the most common questions asked

  • Awards or recognition
  • Interesting applications of products
  • Industry news from authoritative sources
  • Tradeshow appearances, including where you’ll be and what you’ll be presenting

Part of being an innovative, leading-edge company is embracing change. And the most recent change to LinkedIn offers you an opportunity to deliver relevant content to prospective customers, partners or employees about the areas of your business that interest them most. Take advantage of this marketing tool to develop deeper relationships with your audience and “showcase” what makes your company innovative.

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