The Bluffton News - 101 N. Main St. - P.O.Box 49 - Bluffton, OH 45817
Phone: 419-358-8010 Fax: 419-358-8020
by Paula McKibben Cutting Edge WoodKRaft won the Emerging Business Division of the Ropp Triplett Business Plan Competition, sponsored by the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs (BCE), after weeks of preparatory classes.
Luke Keuneke and Nick Recker entered the competition at the urging of Fred Steiner. According to Keuneke, “We wanted to get a better business plan.” He noted that when the plan is on paper, they could always refer back to it.
Both men belong to chapters of Business Networking International (BNI), a group specifically designed to pass on referrals for business, but they agreed that the most valuable piece of the BCE class was marketing. Kueneke said, “It’s all kind of new” because they hadn’t done much marketing. Recker commented, “Neither Luke nor I had any business experience.”
Along with the marketing instruction, both men benefitted from being around others who were starting businesses. Keuneke indicated, “Actually, that was a pretty cool part of the whole thing. Nick and I are always trying to better ourselves.” He said it’s always a good thing to meet people and compare situations. In fact, Recker added, “I got just as much from talking to the people in the class as the class.”
Every member of the class had to create a well-written business plan that included biographies, goals, target markets and geographic markets. Then, they each gave a 15-minute presentation that summarized their paper to the judges. There was even a dress rehearsal for the judging. Keuneke and Recker approached the presentation on a level of “personability.” Keuneke described the presentation in this way, “It was like you and I having a conversation.”
As a result of winning the award, the men got a $4,000 prize that they plan to use for a desktop computer in the office and an edge bander and edge band trimmer which will cut some of their preparation time in half.
The edge bander and edge band trimmer would immediately benefit one of their original goals: to organize and create closets. Both men have attended closet expos in Pasadena, California, and Chicago to study closet trends and products.
However, Recker says that custom cabinets are currently their “bread and butter.” One of their goals is to have more employees so that they can continue with custom cabinets and branch into doing more closets and cabinets with hidden enclosures.
Both men would sign up for another class. Keuneke says, “Anything to make us more knowledgeable, profitable.” He continued that programs like this make their lives easier.
Cutting Edge WoodKRaft can be contacted at 419-328-0671 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The business is located at 851 State Route 103, just the other side, the east side, of the I-75 overpass.