Ben Franklin News

Ben Franklin Holds First Virtual Tiger Session

Solo Labs Benefits from Sales and Marketing Strategy Meeting Via Zoom

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) recently held its first-ever virtual “Tiger Session.” The benefitting client was SOLO Laboratories, Inc., Kutztown, which received marketing and sales mentorship from tigers: Peter Gonze, Marketing and Business Strategy Consultant; Pete Molinaro, Chairman and CEO, Adhezion Biomedical, LLC; Joe O’Brien, Managing Partner, SalesWorX; and Susan Milles, Owner of Campbell-Grey Marketing.

A Tiger Session is a strategic planning/brainstorming meeting for Ben Franklin clients with a panel of three to five experts who are hand-picked to explore a variety of strategic options for specific issues, from sales and marketing, to financing, to operational strategy. Panelists review the company’s business plan and other information in advance of the meeting. In a three-hour session, a company team presents its plans and is constructively critiqued by the panel.

Sessions are intense, focused, and extremely productive. Some company principals have compared the event to being mauled by a tiger, but they are also extremely grateful for the condensed mentorship and concentrated strategic guidance that they receive from seasoned experts. Outcomes have frequently resulted in ongoing relationships with the tigers, both immediate and long-term changes in business activities, and new insights by the company management into its operations.

Tiger Sessions are one element of Ben Franklin’s “secret sauce,” which amplifies the impacts of its financial investments and often makes the difference in a company’s success. BFTP/NEP customizes its services for each client in each stage of development, drawing on both internal staff expertise and a network of external resources. Ben Franklin provides direct financial investments; preparations for and introductions to follow-on funders; coaching and mentoring; and a comprehensive and proven array of technical and business support, including college and university resources.

Ben Franklin recently announced SOLO Laboratories as the 2020 winner of its Innovative Application of Technology Award, which will be presented at the Ben Franklin iXchange that has been rescheduled for September 10, 2020. SOLO Laboratories has manufactured custom prescription orthotics for podiatrists and medical professionals since 1983. Ben Franklin invested $44,500 in SOLO in 2019 and connected it with Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Research to increase facility capacity and identify process improvements and additional quality measures.

After implementing the recommendations, SOLO enhanced production techniques, improved efficiency, and realized a reduction in lead times of 14%. SOLO continues to implement new technologies and emphasize the importance of a focused strategy as it grows. The company is expanding its markets into direct-to-consumer products with its new SOLO GO® custom insoles.

Company Chief Executive Officer, Lindsay Sokol Szejko, described the Tiger Session as tremendously valuable, and was thankful that remote technology allowed it to be held despite the pandemic. “It’s so important to hear the perspectives of outside experts as we grow SOLO,” said Szejko. “The tigers were well-prepared and their recommendations were insightful.”