By Patrick McCallister
For Hometown News
VOLUSIA - Kimberly Yaney was flipping through a magazine and saw gold. Actually, she saw QR codes, but they looked like gold to her.
"As I began to look at that, I realized there was a great need for [it] and it was not hitting the small and mid-sized businesses."
Ms. Yaney owns Klein-Yaney Media, one of a dozen businesses getting a leg up at the University of Central Florida's Business Incubator at Daytona Beach International Airport, 601 Innovation Way.
QR, or Quick Response, codes are appearing more often on print ads and other media. Smartphone users swipe the QR code and are transported to digital media with additional information about the products or services advertised. A light in Ms. Yaney's marketer's mind clicked on, and a business started growing there. She could help smaller businesses take advantage of growing technologies.
"As I looked at that, I said, 'That's great, but I don't want to hang my hat on one feature,' " she said.
A longtime newspaper woman, the 44-year-old got her start in the business delivering papers when she was a student at what is now Daytona State College.
"I wasn't really the waitress type," she said. "My mother-in-law carried papers for years to be home and raise her three boys."
Over time the business student worked her way into the office. A local community newspaper put her on the front desk. That's where she caught the attention of another, larger local newspaper. She went to work for that newspaper, and expanded her horizons there for almost two decades.
"I was on a pretty nice growth pattern there," she said. "During that time, I was approached - many, many times - by a publisher and asked to come to Tampa and South Florida."
She declined, and told the publisher to call her when that paper got to Volusia County. It did. When Hometown News started covering the county, Ms. Yaney was the general manager and oversaw its early growth.
Ms. Yaney said working for local newspapers gave her a deep appreciation for small and mid-sized businesses that depend on them to get their messages out. However, the newspaper business was changing around Ms. Yaney. Technology was moving its customers around, and the newspaper industry was grappling to find a way to keep them.
"For years I spent time at conferences and over and over it was the same agenda - print is dying, print is dying," she said. "Twenty years later I still don't believe that. I don't think print is dying."
But, Ms. Yaney said, it is changing, and many smaller companies are struggling to keep up with the shifting world of advertising options. She said it was natural for someone like her, with one foot in the newspaper industry and another in technology, to see opportunities for small businesses to reach old and new customers alike using both.
Klein-Yaney Media started in summer 2011. While meeting with a client, Ms. Yaney found out about the UCF Business Incubator. After making her presentations there, she was accepted this summer.
"They assist me with market research, as well as they helped me uncover a tremendous amount of resources," she said. "I like to say I have an advisory board of MBAs. It doesn't get any better than that."
The business incubator celebrated its first anniversary recently. In 2010, the Volusia County Council approved $1.4 million to renovate a 10,000-square-foot facility to house it. Also, the county gave the university $750,000 to run it for three years.
"The business incubator is a place to start a company," said Doris "Connie" Bernal, site manager. "The entrants have a lot of resources to work with here. They have professionals who help them with a number of areas."
Ms. Yaney said her company has recently hired two fulltime employees, media strategist Kelly Dunaga along with graphic and web designer Susan Gardner. Also, Ms. Yaney's sister, Karen Buttz, does work for Klein-Yaney Media. Ms. Yaney projects she will hire up to 26 fulltime and five part-time employees in coming years. She said her business could bring or keep "millions" in Volusia County.