SEED Cohort Companies Launch New Websites | Community

Two southeastern Kentucky-based manufacturers launched their new websites over the summer. Owners say their new and improved internet presence is already making a difference to their bottom line. They have SKED’s Supplier Education and Economic Development (SEED) program to thank.

Wayne County companies Monticello Tool & Die, Inc. and Crossroads Railcar Services, Inc., located in McCreary County, are two of four regional companies that participated in The Manufacturing Growth Series co-hosted by Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corp. (SKED) and its SEED (Supplier Education and Economic Development) partner Advantage Kentucky Alliance (AKA).

Monticello Tool & Die has operated for years without a functioning website. They see many benefits from their new one.

The marketing training the companies received included the development of a new website designed to give them a web presence and enable them to sell their products and services online.

Monticello Tool & Die, Inc. Secretary Jerry Morgan says his company is already seeing tangible results on the website.

“We recently made a word-of-mouth connection in the industry and were able to immediately tell them to check out our website to learn more about us before they come to our facilities,” Morgan said. “The relationship with them in these early stages has been wonderful, and the website has been a great tool for them to get to know us and gain their trust.”

Crossroads Railcar Services, Inc. President Steven Richards says his railcar repair, restoration and service business is grateful for the new website.

Crossroads Railcar Services, Inc. had difficulty getting people to understand its work. Now they send them to their website.

“We had a very generic website and didn’t know how to make a professional one,” Richards said. “We are delighted with the beauty and professionalism of our new website. Crossroads is growing in manufacturing, and this new website has really helped us in this new beginning. Crossroads is a professional company and now our website proves it.

The training called “a mini MBA for small industrialists” began in February and ended in the spring. AKA Business Coach Kent Waide worked corporately and individually with representatives from all four companies, enabling them to learn from each other and encourage working together.

Website development for Crossroads Railcar Services and Monticello Tool & Die were important additions in their attempts to break into new markets, according to Waide.

“Through the Manufacturing Growth Cohort, they learned methods that allowed them to grow their businesses,” Waide said. “Next, with the additional help of the SKED Marketing Grant, businesses are now able to use their new web presence to connect with targeted markets. It was literally a game-changer for their businesses.

The series includes 12 hours of classroom instruction and 52 hours of individual coaching. After the classroom training, participants will implement the tips and lessons they learned to deliver exceptional value to their clients under the guidance of the Business Coach. Additionally, they will learn new strategies on how to grow their businesses, pricing techniques, and how to sell products or services to other businesses, both within their cohort and to others.

The training was funded by a POWER grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

SKED Executive Director Brett Traver said the training is one more way for SKED to continue to work closely with manufacturers in the region and provide the services offered by the non-profit organization when businesses need it most.

“The manufacturing sector is vital to southern and eastern Kentucky,” Traver said. “Our small and medium-sized manufacturing companies employ thousands of people who put food on the table for working families. At SKED, we always believe in manufacturing. That’s why this program is so important.

For more information on joining a SEED cohort or what AKA does, go to https://www.advantageky.org/.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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