Behind the List with Adrianne Kihm
CEO of Triangle Press Inc.
Q: Triangle Press is a Pennsylvania Department of General Services certified Woman/Minority Business Enterprise. How does a company earn this certification, and what are the benefits to having it?
A: We had to educate ourselves first of all on how to go about even applying for this certification. There were classes that were held and you had to register with the Small Business Administration. The actual application was probably around 4, 5 inches thick, so it wasn't something you could just do in a matter of a couple of days.
The advantages (to having it) are with the state and federal agencies. They often require, or some of the larger businesses require, small businesses for subcontractors. Oftentimes large businesses, they might complete a project based on needing printing from time to time, and that's where we fit in.
We're also Costars certified, which has an advantage, and we tie that in with being a small business. Costars is something that we can offer better price setting to state and local agencies.
Sometimes the certification helps us just getting in the door at times. Companies want to do business with us not for any other reason but wanting to support small businesses.
What changes have you seen as a woman in business over the course of your career?
Today, women are identified more readily as decision-makers, where in the past that wasn't the case, especially back when I started 35 years ago. Instead of having supporting roles, they're now seen as leaders. I believe the glass ceiling is a thing of the past.
What challenges face women and minorities in establishing a business?
I think all small businesses face challenges establishing a clientele, because they may be more hesitant trusting a smaller company. The economy, competition, those are the two great things that we see as a challenge. Even, to some extent, laws and regulations. Small businesses, they face different challenges than established larger businesses in gaining the client's trust. Until you develop that relationship, sometimes it's tough just getting in the door.
As small-business owners, we don't have deep pockets that some of the larger ones do. Some of our clients have problems paying us, then we can't pay our vendors, and it's a struggle we have from time to time. It's not just a matter of not getting paid, it's the timeliness of it.
What are the advantages for a woman or minority starting a business?
We haven't really received, in our line of work, any grants or such. Tammy (Shelley), one of the other owners, and myself, we're involved with the Diversity Roundtable through the chamber of commerce, so we've seen some of the other types of businesses be able to get more out of it as far as grants.
Sometimes when you're in a group of people and you introduce yourself as (a business) that is women- or minority-owned, it's something that people respond to, and it makes things easier, I think, just getting in the door and to be able to show our product.
How can we encourage young women and minorities to become business leaders and entrepreneurs?
I would say networking. There's some really great local women's organizations just right here in our area.
About Adrianne Kihm
Adrianne Kihm, 59, is an artist all around. When she has free time, she says she likes to “go back to my original roots with being creative” and do painting on glass and stemware or pen-and-ink work.
She also enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. She and her husband have been married 36 years and have two grown sons. They live in Lower Swatara Township.
Kihm has a degree in graphic design from York Academy of Arts.