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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Making it in Maine

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In case you haven't heard manufacturing is alive and well in Maine! This was abundantly clear when I had the privilege to introduce nine Maine companies as part of a Business Showcase at the 2012 Manufacturing Summit held in Rockland by the Manufacturers Association of Maine. The companies included Howe & Howe Technologies, Sappi Fine Paper, Biovation, Pepin Associates, Revision, Wentworth Technology and more. The companies ranged from those that have been doing business in Maine for a long time and employ hundreds of people to start-ups with one or two people.

What was particularly interesting and exciting was the range of products being developed by these companies right here in Maine - everything from paper being used in Nike sneakers and Gucci jackets to medical dressings that are made to not stick to skin, robots being used to fight fires, headsets for the fast food industry, airplane parts being made by new lightweight composite materials, and highly-absorbent fiber products being used in packaging to preserve fresh food.

Although the companies and products featured varied widely, similar themes emerged as the presenters shared words of wisdom and advice for the audience that gathered to hear their stories. I'll share the top five as these are great lessons for every business.

  1. Developing successful products and services begins with 'feeling your customers' pain.' It's critical that you understand their needs and wants and offer a solution.
  2. Innovation is critical to the long term success for any business. The only constant in business is change. If you are not adapting and innovating to adapt to change, you won't survive. Innovation needs to be inspired and fostered in business.
  3. Failure is part of the process and should be encouraged. It is only when we fail that we find a way around it and new solutions.
  4. Give back to your community to the world. You have a responsibility to make a difference that is bigger than you bigger than making a paycheck.
  5. It can and is being done here in Maine! We need to be proud of what is happening in Maine and the work being done. Maine businesses need to inspire others - especially our young people, so they know there are exciting opportunities for them to live and work here.

Great lessons and stories shared by businesses and entrepreneurs making it right here in Maine.

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