2014 Year in Review: January Through June

Looking back at 2014, it was hard to pick just a few stories from each month to highlight in the end-of-the-year roundup. New startups emerge every month and small businesses grow. There’s trends to track and how-to’s to highlight. Today and tomorrow you’ll find three(ish) stories from each month that cover everything from successful startups to sage advice for entrepreneurs. With another year down, 2015 should bring an even more vibrant and thriving small business community to Columbus.


The year started with some less than stellar news for small businesses utilizing Facebook. An algorithm change all but eliminated organic page reach and encouraged users to sponsor, aka pay, for posts, leaving businesses to get creative or turn to other social media platforms. But, not all resources for small business are online. Locally, Sunapple Kitchens provides four commercial kitchens entrepreneurs can utilize, each with a specialized niche. Located at Arc Industries locations, the kitchens also give meaningful employment to adults with disabilities. January also offered a peek into the offices of well-known architect Tim Lai. Character and natural light flood their office space at 400 West Rich.


Columbus is dedicated to Columbus (that’s why we can have a whole website dedicated to its small businesses and entrepreneurs), but even with the rising tides of shopping and supporting local, Columbus has room to grow (sentiments echoed in this November post). Economist Bill LaFayette outlined some ways that everyone from an individual to a large business can utilize to change the local tide. In February, Pursuit also joined the ranks of a growing number of retail trucks perusing the streets of Columbus. Owner Nate DeMars took the pop-up shop on wheels and his mobile suit enterprise has since frequented support-local events like the Moonlight Market. Finally, Barnes & Thornburg offered some advice on a touchy subject – should you look at a job applicant’s social media profile? The answer isn’t black and white, and there are several factors to consider even before just taking a curious glance.


Bootstrapping and tight budgets don’t leave a lot of room for business nice-to-haves like working with a public relations agency. Instead, Michelle Garrett, head of Garrett Public Relations, gives small business owners some DIY advice on boosting their credibility. Another small local business with a big goal, CredHive is revolutionizing the job search platform. Calling it the future of the job search, CredHive creates an anonymous platform that allows employers to evaluate job seekers based solely on the work they have done. Speaking of big goals, many small businesses start crowdfunding campaigns in sometimes strained and stressful hopes they will meet their goal. This proved not to be a problem for Columbus-based Trident Design with their Quickey Multi-Tool campaign. The company exceeded their modest goal of $4,000 by just a bit, ending the campaign with nearly a quarter of a million dollars.


There was too much great stuff happening in the small business world in April to just share three stories. New businesses formed like Fit Food, a delivery services that combines two food types that normally don’t go together: healthy and convenient. Minds merged to build Fort, an agency aimed at building inspired brands. Metrorpreneur partner ECDI celebrated a huge milestone, closing their 1,000th loan. April was also a strong month for small business resources. How to Create the Perfect Pitch kicks off a string of helpful guides for entrepreneurs (just wait until May!). Names from Columbus’ biggest pitch events go over the ins and outs of perfecting the few minutes that could mean big things for a business. Finally, the Salt Mines Device Lab houses almost any electronic gadget available for developers to use for testing – for free.


How-to May. Two guides published this month walked entrepreneurs through the finer points of setting up a home office, and making their list and checking it twice when it comes to preparing for a festival. Home offices aren’t as tricky as many entrepreneurs think (and they mean a whole lot of tax write-offs). Festivals require a lot of coordination and a lot of stuff, but at the end of the day are a great opportunity to engage with the community and show off your product. Columbus also celebrated the re-opening of the Idea Foundry, making the new space in Franklinton one of the largest makerspaces in the world. The refurbished 60,000 square-foot warehouse offers a plethora of options when it comes to creating, and houses a number of startup businesses, like truck customizer Aries Gate.


The Metropreneur features all types of businesses and the range couldn’t be more evident with two businesses profiled in June. First up is Knockout Concepts with their 3D mobile scanner. The operation creates mobile devices that allow simple, interactive, volumetric capture. It looks like a giant gameboy, but way, way cooler. Highlighting the soon not to be so irksome Olentangy River, Olentangy Paddle brings kayaking to Columbus. The family friendly activity takes advantage of the major changes coming to the waterway. Finally, Telhio offered some practical advice on offering discounts as a small business.

Stay tuned tomorrow for great highlights from July through December!