Business Black Box
The Great American Success Experiment
How to Approach Succession Planning
Discovering Your True Potential
Taking the Leap: Starting a New Business
Business Black Box
The Tale of Cory Godbey
How to Get the Right Employees Hooked
Business Black Box
Status Check: Business Resolutions
11 Questions with Dr. Para Jones
10 11 13 78 80
GUT CHECK LAYERS OF THOUGHT RANDOM & RELEVANT SPEED PITCH MEASURE OF SUCCESS
September/October Q1 2010 2009
101 Days: Leah Stoudenmire
the think tank
Business Black Box
Big Picture: Thrift Library
21 29 46 50 65 79 82 93
CEOs & LEADERS LAW POLITICS SMALL BIZ GLOBAL HR SALES KID BIZ
What Matters: Jamie Wilkie
Business Black Box
Why Business Black Box? Whether planes crash or crews overcome obstacles to successfully complete flights, airlines go to the black box to discover secrets, answers, and missing information to explain what happened and learn for the future. Thatâ€™s the mission of our magazine, our connect events, and our interactive platform.Newsofbusinesses succeeding, failing, merging, hiring, firing and more are reported everyday, all over the Upstate. But in business, the real power is not just hearing the news, but about going behind the scenes, discovering, connecting, and learning from those that made it happen.
Business Black Box
BE 1/2 V
At the heart of every event, every blog, every magazine issue, and every documentary Business Black Box produces, youâ€™ll find a relentless passion for connecting, advising and growing Upstate business.
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Editorial Assistant Contributing Writers
Jordana Megonigal Andrew Brandenburg Julie Godshall Brown Andy Coburn Noelle Coyle John DeWorken Lydia Dishman Todd Korahais Maggie Martin Liz Morrissey Missy Nowack Ravi Sastry Tony Snipes Alison Storm Simone Shahdadi
DESIGN Creative Director Art Director Graphic Design Traffic Coordinator Photography
Chad McMillan Lisa Worsham Chris Heuvel Conrad LaRosa Beth Boos Conrad LaRosa
VIDEO & INTERACTIVE Interactive Video Services Director
Chad McMillan Conrad LaRosa Jonathan Shuler
BUSINESS Publisher Director of Client Services Account Executives Accounting
Geoff Wasserman Missy Nowack Mary Wray Conner Robbie Lynn Robertson Danny Shelton Melissa Sample
www.insideblackbox.com/Genesis Q1 2010
Business Black Box
B O X GUT CHECK
From Conception to Birth—the Entrepreneur Begins “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” -John Steinbeck (1902 - 1968)
love the quote above. How true it is: once you free your mind to think openly and create, how easily ideas (good and bad!) can run in and build a nest. And multiply. So it is for every entrepreneur. Even those who haven’t started their own business or gone out on their own—just yet.The beauty of entrepreneurship is the conception of ideas—the understanding that they are, with a single blink, sometimes the beginning of something big. Or something bulky. Or painful, or exciting, or too much to handle. But also the understanding that they are one of the most powerful things in this world. In 2009, we launched our first print issue.We had already been in planning for a long time, but even on the brink of that first printing, I remember sitting in a room questioning every single decision— The beauty of small and large—and its repercussions. After all, what entrepreneurship is the it meant was building a startup magazine in a year of conception of ideas—the potential economic disaster. understanding that they No, wait. Let me spell that out for you. are, with a single blink, Publishing. Startup. With No Money to be Found. sometimes the beginning (Also known as “Dead Profession. Why Would You, of something big. Now? Ha!”) But one cool thing we experienced was being able to find and align with other business men and women who totally understood what we were doing. After all, many of them were going through the same thing. The even cooler thing was meeting people who totally understood why we were doing it at all. You see, conception is built out of passion. Once something hits you, you can’t just get rid of it, even when it’s completely illogical. Sometimes, it completely fails. But sometimes, it is able to change the world (even if it’s just your own). And that, my friends, is where it is worth all the risk in the world. For people who have acknowledged that innovation, that entrepreneurship—they get it. Interestingly enough, as I write this now, I know that I’ll be away from Business Black Box— our “baby” for the past 18 months. As you are reading this, I’ll be out on leave, adding to my own human brood. Still, the correlations aren’t lost on me—the conception and gestation of this child has been so much like what we went through to launch Business Black Box. Fear. Anxiety. Excitement. The“oh, what have we done?” The “what does this mean, financially?” and the “how much does that matter?” I have worried and fretted about this child almost exactly one year after I began worrying and fretting about publishing Black Box. I have lost sleep, much time and much sanity over both. And still, I wouldn’t change either one. Thank you for making our (almost) first year at Business Black Box one of success. Thank you for your input, your responses, your ad dollars, your submissions, your questions and your excitement for us. We can’t do it without you, and we wouldn’t want to. And for 2010, I’d encourage you to let that one little idea take hold.You never know how it will turn out, but after all, that’s part of the fun.
Business Black Box
Editor, Business Black Box
email@example.com twitter.com/jmegonigal 864/281-1323 x.1010 facebook.com/jordana megonigal linkedin.com/in/jordanam
are pretty much self-explanatory. So, what does that have to do with ‘why’ I do what I do. Well, I took a step back and asked myself if I really enjoyed graphic design. As the Creative Director here, you would think I would be in love with design. But, it would surprise you to know that that’s really not what drives me. You see, there is an underlying reason for why I do what I do. Years ago I interned at a small college that offered several on-campus and correspondence classes. They were in need of someone to take the manuals and do a better job making them look professional. So, I bought a computer when I was 20-years-old and did my best to help them out. I learned fast and people were amazed at what I could create on a computer. They constantly told others what a
great job I had done and how creative I was. You see, what drove me then (and still drives me!) is not so much a passion to create something new, but it fulfills my love language (words of affirmation). I realized that the ACT of creativity fulfills a NEED I have...a need to make a difference, a need for impact, for significance. If no one ever confirmed or affirmed my impact on their world, would I still do what I do? The answer is “probably not.” So, ask yourself, “Why do I do what I do?” If you’re honest with yourself, you probably will realize that a NEED you have drives the ACTS that you do. Think about it. What you find might tell you a lot about yourself. It might also cause you to rethink what you do.
Business Black Box
Can you really define success and what it takes to really be successful? Is it something that just happens by chance to some lucky people? What drives success? What drives you? I was eating lunch with a business associate the other day. We were swapping stories about our past and laughing at how we made it this far and how we ended up being the ‘creative’ people we are today. Later on, I thought back to our conversation and it really challenged me as to ‘why’ I do what I do. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest everyone read the book “Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. He demonstrates how everyone responds to others in light of FIVE love languages. They are: quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, physical touch, and words of affirmation.Those
Business Black Box
Random&Rele 140≥ The Gist: Not unlike his other book, The One Minute Manager, Blanchard takes a quickread approach to the most basic of business relationship builders—how to apologize. How it’s Written: An easy read—we got through it in a few hours. It tells the story of a young man whose boss is on the verge of career collapse, and how he goes through a weekend of exploration trying to find out how to help his superior. Instead, the advice changes his view on what it means to apologize—and how to do it. Great if: You’ve ever made a mistake, or you will ever make one. Don’t miss: The great turnaround, where it becomes about you and your relationships, not just a great concept someone is writing about. (Note: this book may also affect your relationships outside of the office,so be ready for some self-evaluation!) Our Read: Because it’s so easy to read and so influential on how you’ll begin to communicate up and down the corporate ladder, this book is one worth investing in. Buy one copy and pass it around the office. Any way you put it, this one’s a definite to have on the shelf.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/insideblackbox
What we read: The One Minute Apology:A Powerful Way to Make Things Better, by Ken Blanchard and Margret McBride. HarperCollins,2003.
In 140 characters or less, give us your feedback...
@InsideBlackBox: What’s the best trick you have for relieving work-induced stress?
The A: @hughest0316: I have a few short videos on my computer that make me laugh. I take 60-seconds, play those videos & feel better. @SariFarrell: Daily exercise. Helps keep it all in check. @kephart180jaime: Jokes @TarynTKPR: Yoga! For 1 hour technology can’t reach me! @brianirey: Trip to the driving range or the shooting range. Both are great stress relievers. Also going flying :) @BrettInc: One word answer. Golf. @lbstewart: tug the stuffed animal w/ my dog & then go wade in the creek together. Just go canine for a while & escape reality.
what Thomas said...
y issed b m is y it it rtun “Oppo ople because e d most p in overalls an d .” e k s e wor is dres looks lik
what we said... le o peop d n e h w s?” “ S in c e o v e r a ll in k r o w Box s Black s e in s u -B
Business Black Box
Between the Pages
RANDOM & RELEVANT BLACK B OX
B O X RANDOM & RELEVANT BLACK
Now on InsideBlackBox.tv
GSA Business Women’s Summit Oct. 20, 2009 Marriot Greenville Moderated by Deb Sofield, speaker and executive speech and presentations coach Panelists: Annette Allen, general manager of Greenville operations, Fluor Corporation Nikki Haley, [R] S.C. House of Representatives, 87th District Dr. Para Jones, president of Spartanburg Community College Margaret Seidler, author, speaker, consultant
Cybertary is a collaborative and cohesive network of professional Virtual Assistants (VA). Having a VA is fast becoming an essential need for the entrepreneur, small business owner and busy executive. Since we work virtually, you can think of us as your “remote staff”. A VA can perform duties that range from word processing, bookkeeping, creating brochures, flyers and business cards, travel arrangements, maintaining databases and sending out mailings, etc. We work when you need us, so you only pay for productive time on task. As your VA team, we will be handling many of your day-to-day operations, allowing you to focus on tasks that generate new income for yourself. We can increase your productivity by streamlining systems and removing your administrative burden.
Business Black Box
http://www.cybertary.com/ spartanburg firstname.lastname@example.org (864)641-1152
Get Connected: Connect with other business owners and tons of potential customers. Submit your business to our online directory for free at http://www.insideblackbox.com/directory
Lots more to see at www.insideblackbox.com
Wingman Bobby Harrell [R] Who he is: Speaker of the SC
House of Representatives How to find him: (803) 734-3125 email@example.com
What you need to know:
Our state’s economy is the biggest issues facing our state for the next two decades. South Carolina needs to support our existing business and industry and become more proactive when it comes to economic development. What to talk to him about: As a small business owner, I know how bureaucracy and red tape can greatly hinder a business.Your representatives are here to make sure our state government is providing helpful services and help you break through any red tape issues that may get in the way. More details: Owner and operator of a State Farm Insurance Agency for over 25 years. Elected to the House in 1992. www.bobbyharrell.com
Business Black Box
B O X RANDOM & RELEVANT BLACK
10 Tips: Implementing Change 1. Don’t be intimidated! Change is the
essence of business.
2. Take the present situation into account. Change is good and can be very beneficial to your company, but be realistic about new goals and ventures. Changes should go along with your company’s visions and strategies. 3. Get people involved. Involve your co-workers in the plan and implementation of your changes. Make sure they are on board with the upcoming changes and have the capabilities to make them. More importantly get the right people involved and leading the change. 4. Lead by example. Make sure you are
completely aware of every aspect of you new procedures; completely cover every area that could come into question before dropping in on your business. Then implement it! The changes should be shown through every action you do to help others understand and show that this is something being done immediately.
Reward, reward, reward. Reward those that take risks for your firm. Rewards those that meet small terms goals of your vision.
6. Don’t count your eggs before they hatch. Change is a patient process
and before implanting 10 different projects because innovative ideas are moving, step back and let one success be fully realized before moving on.
7. Set small goals. As established, change may take a long time and setting smaller goals will help people focus on making subtle changes now instead of ignoring it completely or getting overwhelmed.
“Reward those that take risks for your firm.” 8. Don’t get frustrated. Check on the process frequently and see how your co-workers are coping with it. Never scrap the idea immediately if it is not going at the pace you expected. Changing gradually will allow for a better transaction and more success in the future. 9.
Get rid of obstacles. Get rid of any guidelines or established procedures that would inhibit workers from moving forward with set changes. People are comfortable with the familiar and generally don’t accept change kindly. Anything that would impede their transition may result in extreme frustration. Guide them—support them through the whole period of adjustment.
10. Communicate! You need to be very thorough in what exactly you want and expect. Further, keep the lines of communication open throughout the process to allow for any questions on their end and enhance the flow of the transition(s).
Business Black Box
B O X STATUS CHECK
We all spend time in reflection each year on what could be bigger, better or bolder. But aside from our personal New Yearâ€™s resolutions, what are your plans for 2010 in your business?
My resolution is to simplify things to the ridiculous and set concrete, measurable goals. I want to contact 10 new prospects per day. I want to close 4 loans per month and close $7.2 million in loans in 2010. And I believe I can do this by contacting 10 NEW leads per day—which is the hard, mundane part.
It’s gonna be a big year for me!
I will be saving all winter for AmericasMart in Atlanta in July and get my product into the hands of retailers! I am also going into manufacturing. Next year will be my first whole year in business and I plan to make it a splash!!
As a technology channel sales and marketing professional whose department was eliminated in 2009, I’m determined to find an organization that will greatly benefit from my 14+ years of experience. Being a former CMO who has worked for two distributors, a Value Added Reseller and a technology manufacturer, I posses a deep understand of every aspect related to Channel Sales and Marketing.
I stopped doing them as I never stuck with them as most of the world does not.We are setting up a goal setting challenge with a group of men and having each person have an accountability partner to work with them on setting goals and seeing them through in the five major areas of life—personal, professional, spiritual, physical and financial. We are putting our action plan together next week and sharing three different methods of goal setting that have worked for others over the years. We will then meet with our accountability partners to discuss, share and exchange our goals, and discuss our plan of action to achieve them moving forward.The ultimate goal is to live life ZonedIN.
I refuse to be a victim of the slow economy.
Jeff Hammer Technology Channel Sales and Marketing Guru
My resolution for 2010 is to find a job where I can spend the rest of my career.
will create a total of six to 10 new job opportunities in those areas and give our local admin crew additional hours as well. Debbie Griffith-Brown CEO, Professional Network Connections, Inc.
TJ Rumler Mortgage Specialist, Upstate Carolina Mortgage
Phoebe Anne Devereux Owner, My Mommy Moments, LLC
Our NewYear’s Resolution is to launch Professional Network Connections into no less than six new states. This
Patrick Van Every Senior Account Executive, Wastequip
Our resolution is simple. We are going to
continue to provide the best IT support possible, bring in new clients, and grow our business by adding additional staff! We also plan to find ways to educate Upstate businesses about how they can protect their IT infrastructure from Internet Terrorists. John Hoyt Senior Systems Engineer, Homeland Secure IT, LLC
Mine is mundane but still tricky- I want to start providing My New Year's Business Resolution:
Kamran Popkin Creative director, swagclub
I refuse to be a victim of the "slow" economy. I refuse to allow other small business owners in the Upstate be victims of the economy. With all of the ingenuity and creativity that started this great country, we as small business owners will help restore it. I will be part of the solution. Dana Hall-Ragland Owner, Synergy Consulting
Join the discussion! Join our group— Business Black Box—on LinkedIn to give us your feedback on this and many other subjects!
Business Black Box
turnkey project prices. My industry is rife with an infinity of set up charges, and it just causes confusion. I understand why they do it, but the whole ‘set up’ thing is dumbfounding to most clients. My goal for 2010 is @Swagclub goes to turnkey prices for our clients, if I can figure it out. Know it’s gonna be very tricky, but I am flat tired of feeling like we are nickle and diming our clients. We are not—we flat love ‘em!
CEOs & LEA CEOs & LEADERS BLACK B OX
are you stepping on toes? by geoff wasserman
Geoff Wasserman, CEO and president of Showcase Marketing and Publisher of Business Black Box, spends most of his business time advising and consulting with business and ministry leaders developing growth strategies. Before starting Showcase Marketing in 1999, Geoff spent seven years in sports marketing with the Montreal Expos and the Atlanta Braves, and seven years as managing director in the financial service industry with two Fortune 500 Companies. I had a baseball coach in high school who, when he saw any of us standing around, would shout, “Get moving, you’re not here to kill grass and make my turf brown!” People who stay in one place too long, get offended, or refuse to recognize their own pride usually get their toes stepped on by those following a leader’s vision. For a vision to be fulfilled, leaders need people willing to constantly be moving, growing, changing, challenging “the way we always did things” and carving out new ground of opportunity and new turf. Those who complain about their toes getting stepped on are usually spending far too much time attaching their self-worth to the turf they’ve firmly planted their own feet on. Problem is, when leaders cast vision, those called to the leader respond by blazing trails to fulfill the vision. The only way new ground gets plowed is by digging up old turf. Progressive, growing organizations have leaders who are constantly willing to allow people to take risks, challenge old paradigms and build new bridges to the future. But you can’t build two sets of bridges simultaneously, in opposite directions. It drains too many resources, zaps too much energy and sucks too much life and joy out of the journey. In large organizations especially, when teams begin building bridges to the future, the hope is that everyone will cross the bridge. In reality, not everyone will. As a leader, the easiest way to figure out who’s on board, who has their own agenda and who can’t go with you is to see who’s trying to build a bridge between where you are and where you used to be. In other words, they’re building a second bridge to create a path—a way for them to stay the way they are and not work with those you’ve brought in to effect change.You can’t afford two crews, so make a decision which crew to pull, and give everyone the opportunity to get on the same bridgebuilding project. As a leader, you aren’t responsible for the feelings and frustrations
of those who feel their toes are being stepped on, if you’ve clearly articulated the vision and given them every opportunity to get off the old turf and start building toward the future. You are, however, responsible for recognizing who’s complaining about their toes getting stepped on, and helping them see that, in reality, they are getting their toes stepped on by the very people you’ve put in place to bring the organization to the place you envision. The other responsibility you have, to them and to the team, is to give them only one choice, and give it to them with compassion: They can stay if they get their toes out of the way, off of the turf they think is theirs, and get their feet moving on the new bridge. If not, that’s okay. There will always be people assigned to different stages of your vision who helped you get here, but can’t help you get there. People who stay in one place too long are the people who get their toes stepped on because they’re standing idle, pointed in the wrong direction, and a vision only waits so long. For the vision to be fulfilled, the people who have the resources and the drive will make it happen and be there when the final bell sounds.
ck a b d Fee m, advise andisit
ou v s stor Brain in when y om/CEO c . h x ig we kBo eBlac Insid
All original artwork displayed in this piece was originally created by Cory Godbey as a tribute to author and artist Maurice Sendak and his book “Where the Wild Things Are.” The characters and story concept are originally Sendak’s.
Few people prosper by not listening to their teachers.
CORY GODBEY, THOUGH, DID JUST THAT. He doodled and drew through his classes growing up, and he’s still drawing today, only now he does it for a living, illustrating and animating things captivating and wild (and much more) as an illustrator and author with Portland Studios. Like Maurice Sendak’s character Max from his book “Where the Wild Things Are,” Godbey spent much of his time off in his own world. For Godbey, though, departures were often taken while in class, rather than in his bedroom. “This feeling is as real to me as it was in the third grade— of having some workbook and drawing little monsters and whatever, and looking up and realizing that the entire class had moved on and I had no idea what anybody was talking about,” he remembers. “There’s this complete different subject on the board, and it’s just like, ‘Well I’m here now, so I’ll just go back to what I was doing.’” Godbey didn’t meet Max and his scary friends until later in his life. And he had no idea that they’d have such a significant impact on him.
Business Black Box
From Pastime to Profession
“I was the kid that always drew in class.” Sometimes, Godbey’s artistic talent was capitalized on in class: “I was always the one where whenever anyone needed anything drawn on the bulletin board, they said, ‘Cory can do it,’” he remembers. “And it’s just something that I did.” Other times, this seeming obsession was viewed as an academic roadblock. “Whenever they had a parent/teacher conference, my teacher would say, ‘Cory needs to stop drawing in class,’” Godbey says. Ironically enough, Cory’s biggest academic distraction was catalyzed at school. “In kindergarten, we had to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up,” Godbey reminisces. “And so I remember thinking I wanted to be a Thunder Cat or something— you know, like a G.I. Joe or a Transformer. So I Q1 2010
started thinking, ‘Policeman, that sounds honorable.’ So I started drawing this policeman, and I drew one of the old-time sort of 1940s policeman hat, and I remember looking at it and thinking, ‘That’s a really good-looking hat.’” From there Cory’s pastime and talent (and eventually, career) progressed. “All through school I drew through all of my classes,” he says. Cory never looked back (or up at the chalk board). And while Cory’s focus may not have benefited his grades in school’s traditional “three Rs” of academia, one of his teachers recognized how it has aided his career now. “I had a teacher that apologized,” Cory said. “I saw her years later at a wedding, and she said, ‘You know what? It doesn’t matter.’” Needless to say, earning his undergraduate degree at Bob Jones University served as a welcome change in one regard. While studying there, he was expected to draw through many of his classes—the art ones, at least—and spent that time developing and focusing his skill. Even then, though, Cory often liked to delve into his own world to develop his own talents. “I always hated it whenever the teacher would come near, because I honestly would rather just screw it up for a while and try to figure it out,” he remembers. From that point, Cory put in the work necessary to drive his passion into a legitimate career. “You’re going to get what you put into it,” he says, referencing his college study of art. “There are students that want their hands held and there are students who are just doing it because it’s a cool thing. But then there’s always gonna be a group of people who are actually trying to learn, and you get out of it what you put into it.”
Troll and Dragons, and Wild Things— Oh my!
“The big thing of it is—
probably more than drawing—
THAT I LOVE
STORIES” But what makes Godbey’s illustrations particularly compelling is often found behind the characters and shapes. “The big thing of it is—probably more than drawing—that I love stories,” he explains. “I mean, a dragon is really cool—it’s fun to draw—but in the end, it’s like the original Godzilla movie—the original Japanese movie. “It became about monster fights, but the original one was about the monster as a metaphor for nuclear power, and that’s really compelling,” he continues. “It’s this wild, uncontrolled thing, and it’s personified in this creature that can destroy everything. That’s really compelling.” Another literary concept that Godbey referenced is Tolkien’s concept of eucatastrophe: “That sudden opposite of catastrophe, that sudden turn for good,” he explains. “To me, that is one of the strongest, most compelling ideas ever.” To sum it up, Godbey says it’s not only the monsters, but also the meaning behind them that makes them compelling. “In the end, it’s creatures and monsters—dragons and trolls that are metaphors for certain things,” he says. “I really enjoy that.”
Time to “Grow Up”
“Drawing is what comes most naturally to me.” Today, Godbey doesn’t spend all of his time drawing dragons and monsters. Now to say that Cory Godbey sits at home drawing all day may be somewhat misleading, but it’s not far from the truth in one sense. The reason why? Godbey’s studio is in his and his wife Erin’s home. And he’s been at it for a few years now. Godbey had already found a place at Portland Studios before finishing his undergraduate degree. “I graduated and I started the next Monday,” he says. “I was already working, and I just started full-time.” As an illustrator and author for Portland Studios, his duties range from pure illustration for stories, graphic novels and more, as well as story-writing, animation and digital work. “I’m currently working on a six-minute film for Prudential,” Godbey says. “It’s kind of like silhouette animation.” And while animation develops from the same vein as illustration, much work goes into bringing a piece to life. “You have to articulate everything,” Godbey explains. “All the characters need moving parts and levels of smiles. They all need separate heads and torsos and toes.” Q1 2010
Business Black Box
“I would love to have some eloquent statement about monsters, but I just don’t.” Godbey’s style of art and the inspiration behind it have been long in the making, but they both stem from something special: stories and the principles behind them. One great example of what Godbey enjoys drawing is found on his business card: a troll. But it’s Godbey’s take on trolls that make them particularly special. “I really enjoy drawing trolls, and I like drawing them as really nimble, graceful characters—it’s like sort of playing against the perceived stereotype of a big brute. It’s just something that’s really huge and cumbersome, but it’s really in control of itself.” As for how he became captivated with characters of fantasy—trolls, dragons (and Sendak’s Wild Things) are reoccurring characters
in much of his personal work—even Godbey had to sit back and speculate a little. “I’ve wondered about it,” he says. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen ThunderCats—I loved that when I was like three. It’s really weird and just total fantasy: swords and monsters.” And pop culture is always helpful “I’ve always loved Star Wars and all of that kind of stuff.
One of Godbey’s secrets to success (which actually is pretty intuitive, when you think about it) is to portray himself exactly how he his, displaying his passions and skills how he enjoys them best. “If you fill up your portfolio with things you think people want to see, then that’s what you’re going to be stuck doing,” he says. “The trick is to fill your portfolio—put out there—the stuff you want to do.” That strategy also opens the door for easier client relations. “A client who just hired you because they like you, that’s the easiest client to work with,” Godbey says. “They say, ‘Just do it,’ and they’re the best client.” Godbey’s strategy hasn’t let him down, either. He says he’s booked through the first quarter of 2010 with various animating and illustrating projects.
Terrible Roars, Pointy Teeth, Sharp Claws and Yellow Eyes
Business Black Box
“I love Maurice Sendak’s writing—‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ especially.” Godbey didn’t meet Max of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” until later in life, but the impact the he and his friends left on Godbey helped shape him and his career into what they are today. Godbey admits having seen Sendak’s book during his high school years, but it was during his undergraduate studies that it really impacted him. “I sort of rediscovered the book during
college, and it was this kind of watershed moment for me that really crystallized the sort of stuff that I liked,” he explains. “It helped me really settle on it.” But once again, it wasn’t only the art that impacted Godbey. “What really got me was the story,” he says. “It’s like 200-something words, and the way it starts isn’t ‘once upon a time…’ or like, ‘Max was a boy…’ The book just starts the night Max wore his wolf suit. It just starts—like, there it is.” Godbey continues to explain how the uniqueness and depth of the book are what really makes it special. “There’s something about the iconic-ness of Max—the white wolf suit is really captivating and the monsters themselves, too,” he says. “When you think about it and really look at it, those creatures are unlike any other picture book monsters. They’re all sharp, they have horns and teeth and really sharp claws; they’re friendly in a way, but they’re not safe. They could really do something horrible. “There’s this feeling about that book that is unlike any other,” he continues. “It’s got this sort of anger, and Max, in his situation, learns to deal with his problems and deal with his anger and figure things out—he masters the situation, it’s not something beyond what he can handle.” But Godbey didn’t want to keep his experience inside, so he created the blog “Terrible Yellow Eyes” as a commemorative site for artists and viewers who love Sendak and his work, specifically “Where the Wild Things Are.” “The reason for ‘Terrible Yellow Eyes’ is because I love the book so much, and people would ask me ‘Why do you like it?’ and I would find myself really unable to express it because most times I feel like I’m really inarticulate, especially about something I really like,” Godbey explains. “I try as hard as I can to sound intelligent about it, but I just can’t.”
“My goal all along for
Even before the idea of a blog, Godbey knew he wanted to do something to express his appreciation for the work, he just wasn’t sure how to at the beginning. “I thought I really wanted to do more than just enjoy the book, and I thought, ‘You know what? I have a really hard time saying why I like this, so why don’t I show why I like it,’” he says. “And so from there I just thought it would be fun to make tribute paintings—take some particular aspect of the book that I really liked and translate it into a piece dedicated to the book, and I found out I didn’t have as many ideas as I thought I did for something that was foundational, in a way, for the sort of stories I really like.” But Godbey didn’t let that set him back. Rather than creating a tribute comprised solely of his own work, he opened up an opportunity for something different. “Somewhere it just occurred to me that I should just start inviting my friends to contribute,” he says. “I started telling my friends and people around that I know.” But he didn’t stop with just friends and acquaintances. “Then I started telling people online—people that I knew but didn’t know personally,” he continues. “And then from there I started to get a few things in, and then over a month I compiled a list of all the people I wanted to invite and from there I just invited like a hundred people—other people that I knew and people that I didn’t know, that I was sure would never write me back.” What happened next surprised Godbey himself—the blog received submissions from more than 150 artists, all admirers of Sendak and his Wild Things. “What I attribute it to is that people just really like Maurice Sendak and the book and the story and the feeling and the characters and all that, and that’s why it’s gotten the response that it’s gotten,” Godbey says. “What I enjoy about it is that it’s students all the way up to the top of the industry professionals. It is doing exactly what I hoped it would, so that’s pretty cool.”
Terrible Yellow Eyes was to
honor Where the Wild Things Are
and express my love for the book in pictures because I just couldn’t do it with words, no matter how hard I tried. Putting together the project has been the fulfillment of a years long desire to do something more than just enjoy the book.”
Terrible Yellow Eyes Blog Stats Average number hits a week over the course of the project:
Number of hits the week of Sendak’s birthday:
Total number of contributors :
Business Black Box
“The project has truly become what I had hoped for but did not imagine exactly possible.” After eight months and more than 175 posts and submissions, a collaborative art show at the Nucleus gallery in California and the celebration of Sendak’s birthday this year (Godbey says he was afraid the blog might crash from all of the hits that day), Terrible Yellow Eyes has accomplished much and inspired many, serving as tribute to Sendak and appreciative outlet to those who love his work. And with these accomplishments being complete, Godbey plans to draw Terrible Yellow Eyes to a close. “The more I think about it, the more I’m ready to move on to other projects,” he says. “It is going to be a little sad, but it’s been pretty consuming and I’m ready to move on.” On December 4th, Godbey made the announcement on the blog that posting would be discontinued, thanking his fellow admirers for helping him make his dream a reality and reaffirming the original intent of the blog: “to honor the book and express my love for it in pictures because I just couldn’t do it with words, no matter how hard I tried.” Godbey assures his readers that the blog will remain live and all of the art will stay in place, though. So if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Godbey’s work as well as that of his friends and fellow admirers of Sendak at www.terribleyelloweyes.com. And if you haven’t yet experienced “Where the Wild Things Are,” you should probably add that to your to-do list too. Q1 2010
Business Black Box
LAW breaking up is hard to do As an attorney with Wyche, Burgess, Freeman & Parham, Andy Coburn regularly represents clients in mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, structuring of joint ventures, securities offerings and other financing transactions. Andy also advises and assists public and private company clients in the design and implementation of executive compensation arrangements, equity compensation plans and broad-based employee benefits.
by andy coburn The two friends can mitigate this result if they can agree with the third friend on a price to buy out his or her interest and find the money to pay that price. Even so, paying the third friend any amount is typically painful, and the (now probably former) friends may not be able to agree on a price. This nightmare can be avoided. For example, the friends could have required that each contribute an equal amount of cash to the company as initial financing, or they could have agreed that the ownership interests would vest over several years. Some nightmares occur even though the original business partners never have a disagreement. For example, two partners may start a company and build a valuable business. One then dies, and the deceased owner’s children inherit his or her stock. The children do not work in the business, and the business does not pay dividends.The surviving owner wants to continue to reinvest the profits of the business back into the company to grow it further. If the children have control of the company, they may decide to sell the business to get value out of it. If the children do not have control, they may sue the surviving owner to try to force a buyout or sale or liquidation of the company in order to get value out of the company. The parties may or may not be able to strike a deal. The situation could have been a lot easier to handle if the original owners had put in place life insurance on themselves to fund a buyout of their stock in the event of death. Prior planning cannot guarantee a harmonious future for business partners, and some business partners never have problems with each other. Failing to consider and plan for a potential breakup, however, too often leads to an expensive and painful divorce that might have been avoided.
ack d b d e Fe , advise an it
storm en you vis w. Brain a in wh om/L weigh lackBox.c B Inside Q1 2010
Business Black Box
A company created by two or more individuals is often like a new marriage— the newlyweds look forward to a successful and happy future together until death (or sale of the business and retirement to the Caribbean) do they part. No one wants to think about the possibility of divorce. It is hard to even imagine it happening. But not considering the possibility of divorce can lead to a nightmare that in many cases could have been avoided. For example, one all too common scenario is the Three Musketeers—three friends go into business together and in accordance with the Musketeers’ motto, “all for one and one for all,” they split up ownership and control of the company equally. Then the nightmare begins. The company needs cash to operate, but only two friends are willing or able to put in money. The other friend not only does not contribute funding but does not work as hard as the other two, or turns out to be incompetent.The third friend finally leaves, still owning onethird of the company; one-third of any value that the first two friends create in the company therefore will belong to the third friend who has made no real contribution to the company.
LAW BLACK B OX
Business Black Box
Business Black Box
Business Black Box
B O X TRAILBLAZERS
Watch the full interview at www.InsideBlackBox.tv
on Carpenter’s not totally in jest when he says that one of the challenging parts of being a trailblazer is getting “out there with a bush axe and weed eaters” to clear a path for others to follow unscathed. In his opinion, it’s the part that separates a leader from an innovator. “There is no model, and there is a lot of trial and error,” says the pastor of Redemption World Outreach Center. Yet somehow he makes it look and sound easy. Considering that he and his wife Hope were just 23 years old when they founded Redemption—with only three members and a dream to create a spiritual home unencumbered by racism, cultural lines, or preconceived notions about poverty—it’s nothing short of amazing that today Carpenter leads an international network of 1,200 churches. Moreover, his ministry has become a model for successful community impact and has created multiple strategic partnerships with corporate, governmental, and non-profit organizations to develop innovative ways to improve quality of life. For this tremendous growth and impact, Carpenter gives props to his extensive team, acknowledging there is no way he could have done it alone.“The first thing I realized about destiny is that you don’t get there by yourself,” he points out, adding that his congregation is also very action-oriented. “If you don’t have people and resources, a dreamer dies a dreamer.” What Carpenter does take credit for is internal motivation—the “secret sauce,” if you will—of his success at being a leader of leaders. But that career path happened by accident, Carpenter admits. “It was a natural progression,” as pastors working independently came to him for mentorship as they were attracted to the work he was doing at Redemption. “I started as a voice,” says Carpenter, recalling that after a few years he made it official and began administrating a program in earnest. He’s still in disbelief, though. “I believe success is intentional, it shouldn’t take you by surprise. Success should have been your goal the whole time.” That intent is evident in the way Carpenter runs his church—like a business, as well as a ministry—an admission he knows will ruffle the feathers of some other pastors. He makes the distinction of pastor and CEO by changing hats when different needs present. “I have limited resources to get a job done, and it is sometimes difficult to make decisions in a church setting. You cannot pastor the administrative and you cannot administer the pastoral.” That said, he’s got a bit of wisdom for all CEOs who’ve failed spectacularly in this economic downturn—he believes any business will succeed if run on the right principles, but many leaders lack character. “Understand that life is circular, and every decision you make will come back to you,” says Carpenter. “CEOs are not paid to think in the now.” As the self-professed CEO of his ministry, Carpenter practices what he preaches. “I believe I get judged against my potential, but potential is not known until demand is made on it,” he says. So for now, as always, he’ll continue to identify needs and make things happen. “I don’t believe I’ll retire, I’ll just change my schedule. I think I’ll stop when I don’t see any need around me, which probably means I’ll never stop.”
Graduates from Emmanuel College and marries Hope Carpenter
Founds Redemption World Outreach with three people
Began televised services that broke cultural barriers
Built sanctuary with 4,200 seats (largest in the state at that time)
Internationally televised to 80 countries each week
Profile by Lydia Dishman
Economic Impact, 2005-2009
15 175 $1,000,000+ 15,000
Number of start-ups generated
Current number of staff
Jobs directly created outside church walls
Current number of volunteers
Economic impact of crises averted
Churches and ministries worldwide under their Ministerial Fellowship (www.rmfionline.org)
Current church membership
When anyone talks about success, the conversation often becomes mucky. There seems to be as many views on success as there are people talking about it.The issue here is not defining success, but discussing its nature.
What goes on inside a person that motivates them to make choices to try to fill a void they see? It is hard to believe, but many people do not truly want to be successful. The responsibility of stepping up and purposely motivating oneself to want more for themselves and others can be a burden to some. People who embrace a lifestyle of success must be willing to be uncomfortable with the status quo and work diligently at achieving their goals. When people are willing to own the fact that they have a void in their life that they think they can fill, only then has the process of success begun. In the life of the successful person, stepping into the unknown of wanting to make things better will open up his or her mind, heart, soul and spirit. This journey begins by tapping into a primal part of oneself. It is in the middle of this process where people say they feel the nature or the spirit of success. Successful people love the challenge of doing something that has not been done before.You seldom hear people say they feel successful because they have accomplished the same thing they did last month or last year. It is the high that comes from doing better in an area that’s important to them and brings on “the feeling of success.” In reality, success is a personal process in which a person is looking to fill a void in his or her life, which will potentially make something better. By being immersed in the journey of filling this void—whether it be getting healthy, making money, deepening oneself spiritually, etc.—people feel like they are a participant in life rather than a spectator watching it pass them by. - Dr. Roger Rhoades, D.Min.
] E D I t n e [INS m i r e p x n Success E
a c i r e m A t a Gre
Business Black Box
owners, ke business li s, p u ro g nt create an from differe f money? Why even se o o h c y o Why?” Wh g amounts ondering, “ 30 days? Why varyin w ly ab b ro p dents? Why So you’re ate, we saw ms and stu o m e m o h in the Upst ss e n si u stay-atb w y like this? nect and gro opportunit advise, con to t. n n e o si m is ri e with the m ccess Expe res. Jobs ar merican Su publication A ss e at n re si u G b table cultu e a ic th d . As re in m e p y d th it n s hear res an us opportu nal structu t everyone o io n it t u so ad B , tr a tremendo . d to re to ave ing e filte en don’t h st erate accord Messages and ideas ar li p o to . s t e d e ss an k e n as w ost busi ove them. who don’t uestion we You see, m ediately ab e second q and people m th , d ’s im e at v se h sa o T is th t? e by unimportan system: tim monitored ome from? ignored or it’s a good , s d e e as ifl c st y ugh ideas c l e an ro fe th o ak h In m re w b n’s on at every t the people organizatio ea-generati an id l o d d what abou an re e y h ivit :w ployees fee ation, creat mily members of em gh, was this v u o o n y e th in , th n rs o e io D st fa y quest that fo company? ouses and The primar any have a culture een? Do sp es for your v tw ti e ia at’s in you?” it -b p in in m o e d c dered, “Wh everyon n rvices an o to se w , Does your d rn ts c an te u r in d CEO to r coworke eas for pro level, from employee o out new id an ab at out it. k d in e k th o lo to we went ab u ever w o y o h e welcomed ’s av re H e ? H its vision their stuff. even know ple to strut o e p r fo y opportunit t created an n e m ri e p x This e
of the fascin s because part e pe if lo L ve life and en in ed t al o L ’re handed in r tal in se ey pi u th ca o t lo of Y s e nt th g ou act to t am namic of Meeadesciuderdin ent people re ipants differen it as a great dy er ic ff w rt di sa pa e w W ve ho . gi ng em to e what they’ll nded to th t lies in seei
te W t ha perimen or can’t guaran er or worse lo ess for this ex n don’t know hers get a bett te ot of t le ou discovery proc op nd pe fi — t when they a unique way how they reac mulates life in si have. it e ey us th ca t be ha t k with w or w to the experimen ed rc so they’re fo get out of life, don’t break ly three rules: on s nt ta es nt e co eone in the ays.We gave th ner with som w rt s pa ou ri ld va ou w in ho d ask for nges e wondered: w react to challe the investor an W le to d. op ck en pe e ba t th en go at er ould dare would hing” Similarly, diff d quit? Who w t away? Who return “somet an d gh l ri an al l w up na a t ve ur hi gi jo ld hear a ould ould the law, keep idea? Who wou nture? Who w skills? Who w er ve tt r ng be ti ei a th en h it to im w pl in m ty if they came up group with co their own equi experiences? to shift gears, ho would put m ea W tr ? on would -s ey id on m d on their life m g se e in ba ill mor w es lv be what each pers se e d se em an th to g, d in on te th ns e an on ew itatio red success to dream, try each person.W se 10 other lim s. Some measu by po on si ed im is in lfbm rm se su te d r de an ld reflect thei “three rules,” ccess is that it’s hers. d how that wou thing about su an g s, in es az cc am the lives of ot su y he if on T al ct qu pa ld im e ou w th contestants and others by create—how quality of life in rs he ot s, rm in financial te p” (rather ntrapreneurshi “i d lle ca es ni ee, who has compa isting employ ex e Fortune 500 m an so ve h it gi I w d do rate from lope emselves, “How r industry, the chance—sepa trend has deve th a , ng de ki ca as e de ar st s ea is viable, ader hin ou Over the la whether the id other words, le portunity, wit e In op or ). pl th ip ex sh ow d ur gr an a ne than entrepre period of time, e opportunity, s a week, for a and sees a nich ur nt ho le fect to start w ta fe or a t ft a gi carve ou oyees who de pl to em — es ng ti si du lo ” b t? of of a large ead profi their regular jo have the safety mately create ure where, inst d ti lt ul an cu d ay ic an st m e to na nu dy ed eas together. eate a courag can create reve they pursue id as ployees are en s, companies cr , es ds em ar oc e, w pr ac re is sp d th t ke s an Through the same mar of possible risk nesses within s and shar ing si ce bu ur n so ow re , r m ei th eedo dition to the fr company in ad t and ran one this experimen of on si vi d e president’s t an ught the hear an idea from th ca ss om fr ne si e m bu co te am tivity. Upsta gh revenue stre tential and crea ou po happen if your hr d an kt ul m ea co br hu t xt to ha w ft organization, your ne hen le Imagine pective into an zation. Would are limitless w rs ni es pe ga ti h ili or es ib fr ur ss gs yo po s br in The ity to come up internally in gifts and talent unt executive? the opportun ’s co d on ac ha rs or ee pe ni oy ch ju pl ea initiatives— on y em assistant? The stomer service puts a demand s. What if ever at cu er , th ad es e le ch ur e lt un m cu la sa t a e Creating sion or produc pressure on th e streams, divi tting the same nu pu ve re an , th es ity to see how ic er rv th ra onths? ique opportun products, se m un w e a 12 ne ’s in in e ny em lik pa t th h just a simpl look with a com leaders and pu t culture—wit that company ss en ld ne rr si on ou cu si w bu is d t d an ha rm an t y, pe me moms, anything? W environmen u license to tr ents, stay-at-ho d build despite their titles, e’re giving yo “W , id sa e We took stud an W . m eam a shot.” t. Dare to drea uld achieve, dr your potential? you to give it ed ess Exper imen much they co ck cc pi Su d an an ? What about ic u on er yo ti m za in A ni s at ga ve re or lie G ur catalyst: the someone be for years in yo rtunity to know been dormant ve ha ay m at to RUN, oppo th could be born What dreams
our Box Y e id s t u O g Breakin
eurship” n e r p a r t n I “ g Fosterin
tential o P e u r T g in s s Harne
Business Black Box
, Business ? s s e c On October 15 c . al u s du vi e di n in fi ch u debased on the needs and wants of eareat American Success Experiment and owccdesos isyreo So h lative. It’s part of the G reality, su rtunity to be a
In the oppo 18 participants Black Box gave ur ial coach their success. , an entreprene or st ve in an achieve success— nt of money from ly-selected amou om nd ra a , ys 30 da We gave them down the abide by. to so we narrowed s t, le en im er xp E and three ru s cces at Amer ican Su inner of the Gre w dges. e ju on of l be ne ly on to our pa n sio ci de Since there can al fin e alists, and left th entr ies to five fin ore than trepreneur for m As a successful en for in ed ok criteria Erik lo nsider two decades, key co ld e who he wou d the the winner includ pe lo in and who deve ld investing capital ou w d e that he believe product or servic . le ab ost financially vi potentially be m
n-profit entor in the no m s es sin bu a s A ced by oice was influen world, Tony’s ch ve on ha ld ch entry wou what impact ea hers. He ot of d the lives an ity un m m the co ct versus immediate impa also looked for the future. in t en investm on rn tu re l ia nt pote
Business Black Box
e winner lp decided on th he to er og R d e insights We invite also give us som to d an t en m tions of the of the experi s” behind the ac hy “w d an s” s also reflect into the “how ces and insight oi ch ’s er og R king outside contestants. onal dr ive, thin rs pe on ts pu the value he al inhibitions. allenging person the box and ch
gave them d markers. We an ds ar bo te whi five strong . We gave them e winner. With om th ro as w ce en us er ve nf with the a co to gi ay. But dealing We gave them ll they needed yw A an e. sy tim ea of t n’ nt as ce w ion process ed amou inner, the choi made the select w r an undetermin ne of in le w tit e e th th of ing for y defining factor candidates fight s as the pr imar es cc su of t ep abstract conc completely cult. cus pr imar ily or even more diffi fo e m So s. cu at: helping nt fo plishes just th ns has a differe m io co iss ac bm r le su ut s’ B nt non-profit ntesta irtual n developed a ay’s Upstate V Each of the co w w ro lo ol -B H th ffi es ri m G Ja elters and Debbie itarian. en, women’s sh om r the business. on the human w fo t te na ofi tu pr or a -f g less neratin em, benefiting others while ge three-tiered syst a g tin as bo n organizatio ng Women. e audience. itself—Designi s, others to a nich the non-profit se as m e th to g pealin he Loser Line ration—some ap Jay and Dan’s T ne e. lif ge esy nu bu ve a re on with ’s GrapeDail Others focused peals to anyone ugh. John Timm ap la r od le ut go B a r al fo tu g tate Vir e for cheaper. lookin ene and others the same servic Holloway’s Ups sc ng al ri ci fe so of e th by g ’s not wor n hittin n into ed clothing that d businesses ru m appeals to those an m ra es og ch ur on m ch ll se oblem e helps parents solves a pr ice-pr ogram Exchang on ll extent. M fu he its T to ’s rk t it be used Carey Cla le d an t ofi pr a ct the most make siness that impa out in order to bu d an on rs pe generation— it the mpare revenueost success? Is co m e u th yo ed an C ev ? hi ac rrent results pact But who truly community im rely based on cu te pu ia it ed Is m ? rs im t he os ot of the m nce in the lives people or have making a differe be considered? to to s— nt or ct ce fa d r he ot an dollars an e er tential? Or is th tside yourself.” or foreseeable po ng the world ou
, out being defined “Success isn’t ab
ni but about re-defi
hieved an the finalists ac of h ac E . us looked at took way. What we aking process nt m re nffe sio di ci a de in e of their each re th stepped outside her own way— And that’s whe ho or s W hi n. in sio t ci ec de sp t gges vel of re ho made the bi extraordinary le biggest step. W e th ok to ho next was w d security. But beyond m of comfort an is experiment. th box—their real of e ng le al hing new. the ch out to try somet at by taking on ed th ch st ju an d br di rs s he nt ot ntesta familiar, while Each of the co . s did what was nt ta among the rest es nt ed co ish e gu th in st di y ul tr as that, some of nt w at one contesta And it’s here th - Dr. Roger R
Business Black Box
Grapedial.com Defining characteristics:
Business Black Box
tion due to his Timms stood out among his competi Many people out. innovation and willingness to branch especially those e— zon don’t travel outside of their comfort branched out ms Tim . who are very established within them ing into new head was he to try something new, even though and unfamiliar terr itory. is his innovative One of Timms’ most defining factors school student, high a thinking and business sense. Even as lop a useful deve only Timms took this opportunity to not uct in a prod ul usef dy product, but to improve on an alrea option. per chea a er new way in order to offer the consum e vativ inno his was it While his idea may not be original, es judg the to out d thinking that set him apart. This stoo essing this innovative who considered Timms’ potential. Poss y, making his inar business sense as a teenager is extraord edible. incr e mor potential for the future that much ile the ages Wh age. ms’ Another incredible factor is Tim tive factor nega a as ed of the other contestents wasn’t view Timms that fact the and didn’t penalize them in any way, s him ishe ngu disti this was able to develop a product like —his tion peti com this from his peers and—for the sake of — from draw to ces rien competitors. He has fewer life expe less had he ns mea also unlike the other candidates—but that ns. to box him in his thinking and actio with the Timms’ incredible ingenuity paired ntial for pote and his product’s is financial viability cted as the sele was ms significant growth that John Tim erican Am eat “Gr the winner of Business Black Box’s Success Experiment.”
Possessing teenager is this innovative busin the future t extraordinary, maki ess sense as a ng hat much m ore incredibhis potential for le.
Overall con cept: Soft
ware sy type of busi stems like PhoneTree, ness or org that provid anization th e a mass-cal are very su at needs to ling service ccessful in g d for politicia e ir t a single m ect-dial cam John has cre ns, churche e ssage out to p ai g at n e s, d b s and any o an u t al c a large num o te the hardwar st upward o ther ber of recip e—much m rnative hardware pro f $ 1 0 0 0 e ac ients quick d u h o smaller bud ct that prov . re affordab ly, le for mass gets than o ides the sam users like c ther, larger e service, b Contact in hurches (p entities. e g in formation n in g rayer lines, can be uplo recorded an etc.) and sm at $300 for aded via an d then sent all business Excel spread out to the two-secon with listed conta d time dela sheet or list cts. Timms y that does of numbers answering al n so improve ot playback , and messag machin du until there es are More inform e/human question). are a two fu pon the product by c ation is avai re ll at se ing c o nds of silen lable at ww ce (eliminat a w.grapedia ing the l.com.
Roger’s ins ights: Jo
Quick analysis: “Although John was the youngest of the finalists, his ability to “er” himself and his idea put him at the top of the heap.” Business Black Box
hn, our win ner, is the very much epitome o like Henry f “er” succ Ford who ess. He is making car saw other s, but thou people ght he cou bigg“er”, fa ld make th st“ em in a based conte er” and cheap“er” w ay. He’s the stant. challengeJohn is the intellectual have to do athlete wh to win?” Y o asks, “W ou have th hat do I but he’s aro is young g und other uy that’s sm smar t guys, compete. H ar t, so he finds e determin a way to es his skills the level h and then c e sees as be ompetes o st-buil John looke n d at his situ dable. challenge?” ation and as He then d ked, “What etermined to make bas is the the adjustm ed on who ents he ne he is and w against. eded ho he was competing If he has th e right sup throughou port, he’ll t the rest o be challeng f ing things h is life. John didn’t b e at the odds; h outside of e beat his o his box of dds. He ste comfort, an as the winn pped d that’s wh er of the G at distinguis reat Ameri hed him can Success Experimen t.
Designing Women Overall concept:
Although she went halfway through the experiment with a different focus, one night at an artisans group changed Debbie’s whole plan. She developed a non-profit group (still awaiting 501c3 status) that provides a three-tier revenue system. She (or other women) go into local women’s shelters, and train women to paint/ create hanging ornaments. Out of each ornament made, the woman gets an hourly wage (tier 1). Once the ornament is sold, the shelter receives part of that profit (tier 2) and the rest goes to Designing Women (tier 3). We liked this project for a number of reasons: first, the tiered system of revenue was innovative, and provided not only revenue for the non-profit, but also for the supporting shelter; but also because of the investment in human capital. (How many of these women never knew their potential at making money through their own creativity? How many will go on to create their own ideas/ businesses in the future?)
Roger’s insights: At the core of many people’s definition of success, is the ability to make life better for others. Many people make an effort to do so by being charitable in some fashion.To other people, though, being charitable for a single instance is not enough.They need to create something that keeps on giving after an initial investment. Debbie is the values-based contestant. She finds value in connections. Her success is partially defined in making things more valuable to the human condition. Her core gift is that she helps people identify value—here specifically, women will find value through this project.
change The Monogram Ex
Business Black Box
consignment change is an online The Monogram Ex but not worn out— ed— boutique that sells us ren’s wear. monogrammed child or consignors ler method, parents sel te Using a priva rammed clothing the initialed/monog to ks lin ide ov pr n ca with the If buyers see an item se. ru pe to rs he ot r fo match and can king for, they have a monogram they’re loo make the purchase. e didn’t feel is not yet launched (sh Although the website in the amount of s financially to invest she had the resource business plan is e) we feel her overall marketing it would tak ess. l to be a national succ solid and has potentia ey it does not ey with making mon on m g in sav of n binatio Roger’s insights: think of developing a business plan, the com, and created The Monogram Exchange. siness plan le gh op ou pe th t l, tentia cognized her bu When mos n. Carey saw the po ings at once. She re tio th y na bi an m m co so way to upscale s les ou vi gg ju t that she thing. She found a fac seem like an ob e clo th ed in liz le sty op r, pe pe y ea od: ch so man pr ide, she has Carey Clark is like g from that family result in looking go in d ul ch an wo br o d als an at t, th tan ty es opportuni ily-pride-based cont as a money-saving cost. Carey is the fam e same time. e th th at le ca od ns go w do ok d lo e her family the project an ak m d an et dg bu a upscale developed a way to
ser L Overall concept ine : Taking
ladies in an idea from h is d a callers to bar situation w ays in radio, Jay h oa dec a gener ic Since it answer in re being hit on ided to create T s creatio can giv g he Lose m a ch n, The L r Line We initia oser Lin ine, and the m e this number ll y away (ra with the help e e worr ied ’s servic ssages le as well a of Da ther es h ft ar abo s devise a plan fo ut monetizatio ave expanded to e then turned than their own n Wallace. It’s a ). The in n of this webs r promo to s e Roger’s ven area c tional tidea—b insights: codes ra lips on the Gre number leads u ite where u s h t ir Ja e n ts y n n g , key ch For ma ains, etc has managed to ing from Char villelLoserLine suspecting . .com sit lotte, N of fool o ny people, one g e t a n .C e. type of umber o f him or humor f websit . to Houston, T herself. Jay and consists e e S x a in as. n c d D e / a or card of be the e n rea success. sponsor Some p lized that tappin arly days of ente ing on the outs s, eop id rtainme g into th contesta nt, this s e of a situation nts—fou le try to grow is need ,w ty for hum u nd a wa or by ta le has made mil atching or hea y to ma p and hide the pping in ir inner ke mon r ing som li ons laug ey and s to their c eone els h. till be k hild. Other pe e make ople em “inner child” w ids. ould be brace it. These tw their ke y o—the inner-ch to ild-base d
Upstate Virtual B Overall utler concep
Business Black Box
t: James bu supply se ilt a business tha rv tp can list th ice to local hom rovides a eowners. eir credit Buyers card wit and prov h th ide UpstateV a consistent sho e company, pping list irtualBu tler. to delivered every 3 w com (I would li ke tissue The serv eeks; ligh s ice tb doorstep then charges th ulbs every 2; etc e card .). delive There are ry to the custom and provides Roger’s e r n upon ation but noth insig ing we a al services like th order date. When th hts: re is alre Ja fa m m es has als within th inking about, o devise iliar with on a lo ady, w “ d it e to ca h vendo a plan w when th obvious overlo o much on yo here par l level. one-ma rs provide the d ur plate ad. It wa ey need tn erships n e ” liveries (s show). ed it am s James is o he’s no idst their James whose c or “too many b th e la a ta n lls in the ove r ity saw eed needs. W the opp air,” it is hen you -to-help-based rload. o h rtunity ’r type of in helpin ard to see the o person w e given the me contestant. He pp g people sees peo ssage th ho decid at y ple get wha ortunity es to he t they n lp you d ou should be a s needs and dev eeded ble to d o it all. o it all a eloped a way to nd can’t c o n v e n , there’s an issue iently meet tho s there. Ja mes is th e e Q1 2010
Co. z n e h mes or s e r F l outco uct e ia t n R e t o The ll concept: at idea lie many pheir previous proadtalyst to put
Overa e heart of a gre and Tami used t inator, as the c Freshenz e At th n, ichael dor elim The R io o M d In addit tations. y create l smoke manifes ke, a persona n the end, the r for women. oman.I ato mo ,w GoneS pt into action l odor elimin d for women ill be e a n c w n a this con ray as a perso business “by ince proceeds p a s s g Co. and sed on creatin ith a purpose,” e globe. th w cu they fo oman-dr iven, issues around ’s w n , owned vest in wome in used to
ters t e L e v ve, n true lo a h t Lost Loncept: l fu wer heir
po to t l co Overal e’s nothing moreided to use that ission: to
Business Black Box
Ther n dec heir m and Jaso submission. T heir venue: ie c a t S and their love. T ge with rs can ir true advanta le express the e, reade letters, r e H . om op ve help pe tLoveLetters.c s sorts: true lo rs s u o nd lette ial a io .L , r s a w r v e t f t o ww le s nt r st love e lette in pote post lov m ex-lovers, lo r revenue lie o s fo letters fr n. Possibilitie ndorsements. io t re of flirta ertisements o v d future a
Homemade Holiday Ornaments Overall concept:
Hobbies sometimes make great money-making opportunities—making them enjoyable and lucrative. Lauren decided to branch out with her boutique, It’s SEW You, be offering a new product: unique, personalized holiday ornaments. She has already received several orders through featuring them featuring them on Facebook. Future plans include possibly promoting them on her boutique’s website and marketing them to other local boutiques for resale.
Expanding All About Seniors Overall concept:
Missy’s investment gave her the final push she needed to begin the next phase of expansion for her business, All About Seniors. Throughout the experiment she formed an advisory board for her business, began planning a new and improved website and made an investment of $250 to the Greenville Memory Walk.
Chris set out to “challenge the public’s perception of attorneys’ personalities” and also “increase public awareness of the significance of estate planning. Chris’s ideas are still in the works, but we’re expecting something great. Q1 2010
Business Black Box
Creating Opportunities for Education
mad as hell, and not going to take it any more! John DeWorken is partner in SUNNIE harmon & john DeWORKEN, LLC, specializing in government relations and advocacy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Visit their website at www.sunnieanddeworken.com.
Small businesses and their millions of employees are rising up to fight for their right to a prosperous future. In his new book, “What Americans Really Want…Really,” national pollster Frank Luntz says, “For the first time ever, a majority of the country now fears the next generation will inherit a world worse than this one. Our national confidence is in pieces, our personal expectations shattered. From the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep, we’re desperately looking for proof to suggest an improvement—any improvement—in our condition.” Most people in this country work for a small business. The very future of our nation is based on the successes (or failures) of small businesses and their employees. Additionally, most people shop at small businesses and have personal relationship with these folks— whether it’s the local gym, laundromat or a favorite restaurant. So, when the economy tanks, so goes our friends’ prosperity. We don’t have to go very far to see the results of a bad economy. So, businesses are asking this question: Why would Congress consider legislation that hurts small businesses? Good question. This fall, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest U.S. business lobby group that represents small and large businesses on Capitol Hill, lost a couple of the world’s biggest and most successful companies because of its stances on some potentially job-killing legislation. Steve Jobs of Apple and Phil Knight of NIKE pulled their membership out of the U.S. Chamber because the it has been increasingly critical of the Administration’s positions on bills moving through Congress, including Healthcare Reform, Cap and Trade legislation, and the Employee Free Choice Act. Though the Chamber lost two big-name companies because of its outspoken stances on those bills and voicing criticism of the Administration, the Chamber saw a surge in its membership of small businesses. Why? Because small businesses are mad as hell. What has happened there is a microcosm of what is occurring around the nation. Local businesses and their employees— regular folks who usually leave the policy making to the D.C. political pundits—are rising up and saying “enough is enough.” Already faced with decades-high unemployment and facing a shaky future in their own right, what small
by john deworken
business owners and their employees see coming out of Washington D.C. exasperates their worries. The national deficit is at a record high and regular folks still are not sure if the bailouts and stimulus money have really helped. Now, employees and their employers see bills moving through Congress that they don’t think will help. The healthcare bill, Employee Free Choice Act, and Cap and Trade have them worried—and rightfully so. Many policy groups agree that these bills will eliminate more jobs than they create.
According to the most recent polls, Americans believe available healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Where most Americans don’t agree on is how to pay for it. And most Americans, by as much as a 10-point margin, don’t think the proposed healthcare bill will improve the nation’s healthcare problems. In the proposed legislation, businesses and small businesses will be faced with stiff penalties if they do not offer healthcare to their employees. Faced with additional costs to do business, small businesses are worried that these additional costs will mean they have less money —money they need to hire new people and buy more stuff. Also worrisome to businesses and their employees is that the national healthcare bill is absent of any provisions to curb the rising costs of lawsuit abuse.
POLITICS BLACK B OX
Employee Free Choice Act
Unions are on the move. They have more clout now and more friends in Congress today than they have had in decades. They have spent recent years bankrolling candidates for Congress—and winning. As a result, unions are pushing a bill called the Employee Free Choice Act. Also called Card Check, this bill would eliminate the right of workers to vote in secret when voting in a union election. And, the bill would force businesses to use a D.C. arbitrator to set contracts between the union and the business—setting contracts not based on current market conditions, but based on the opinions of D.C. bureaucrats. If this bill passes, union bosses will soon target small businesses to unionize, especially those in the service sector.
Cap and Trade
Cap and Trade legislation caps (limits) the amount of carbon dioxide produced per year and attempts to significantly reduce the amount of carbon emissions over the next few decades. Failure to limit theses emissions results in stiff fines for American companies. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, Cap and Trade could cost 2.4 million American jobs by 2030— 11,100 of those in S.C. South Carolina’s disposable income would decrease $694 per year.Though we are fortunate here to have Senator DeMint and Graham who are trying to protect jobs, the implications of this bill are still concerning.
“For the first time ever, a majority of the country now fears the next generation will inherit a world worse than this one. Our national confidence is in pieces, our personal expectations shattered. From the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep, we’re desperately looking for proof to suggest an improvement— any improvement—in our condition.”
The silver lining in all of this is that regular people around the nation are once again getting involved. They are questioning policy makers and demanding more out of them in terms of ensuring a brighter future. To these people—employees and owners of small businesses—they rise up not for today, they rise up for a prosperous future tomorrow.
Business Black Box
ck a b d Feetorm, adviseouanvdisit
s y itics. Brain in when com/Pol . h weig BlackBox Q1 2010 e 47 d Insi
B O X BIG PICTURE Architect:
Marsh/Bell Construction of Easley
Craig Gaulden & Davis Inc. of Greenville
Campbellsville Industries, Campbellsville, KY
Feltman Brothers of Fair Play
Thrift Library, Anderson University
Williams Renninger Associates of Greenville
Stringer-Rainey Fountain Sculpture: commissioned to artist Marc Mellon by the Rainey Family of Anderson
Thrift Library Anderson University 316 Boulevard Anderson, SC 29621 (864)231-2000 or (800)542-3594 Constructed in 2006
Overall investment (entire facility): $8.5 million Total square footage: 45,000 square feet Students served annually: 1,280 Employees: six full time, two part time Fast facts: In addition to the book areas, the building contains a state of the art multi-media room, a hightech music lab, the largest of AUâ€™s two art galleries (The Vandiver Gallery) a large computer lab, and several fully wired multimedia capable meeting and study rooms. Also contains Java City, an Internet cafĂŠ.
Business Black Box
SMALL BIZ BLACK
B O X SMALLBIZ
need to grow? get a business mentor by tony snipes
Tony Snipes is director of Redemption Marketplace Alliance, a Greenville-based entrepreneurship training program, where he utilizes a unique combination of years of leadership experience in the corporate arena with ministry experience in the community. Tony has spent over a decade as an internet publishing and advertising expert, helping clients for news media companies such as the Greenville News, The St. Petersburg Times, and News Channel 7 WSPA.
The difference between a good entrepreneur and a growing entrepreneur is that a growing entrepreneur develops from sound, trusted counsel and advice. This advice doesn’t come from just anywhere, but must come from a source that has actually walked the walk—a source that has been there, done that and sold the t-shirt. A growing entrepreneur needs a mentor. Now, the more relevant the experience of the mentor to your business or industry is, the more relevant the advice you’ll get. But here’s the tricky part: typically, entrepreneurs start locally when they seek relationships with advisors, knowing that the most relevant and knowledgeable person is usually someone that does exactly what you do. The irony comes in the fact that on the local level, that person is usually a competitor. Good luck with getting them to be your mentor! So here’s what I teach my students to do when they are seeking an industry-specific mentor:
1. Same Business, Different State Seek a mentor by reaching out to a business similar to yours, but in a different state. The business you approach should be at a level of business that is healthy and should also be in a market similar to your own.You’ll be surprised at how seasoned entrepreneurs that do the same thing that you do (or wish to do) welcome the notion of sharing their expertise. With the potential mentor being in a similar but separate market from yours, the fear of competition is irrelevant and should allow a growing consultative relationship.
2. The Power of the Internet Long before anyone heard of Facebook, Twitter or even MySpace, there were online forums.
These forums are simply websites (or a part of a website) where like-minded people can post discussions about topics relative to their business or hobby. In most cases, either the forum owner or key members of the forum have a level of experience and knowhow to act in a mentorship role. They are usually the ones that not only post ongoing resources on the forum that they know users can benefit from, but they tend to be approachable and welcome questions and requests for insight about the industry. I have used at least two forums regularly for more than four years because of the industry-specific advice, insight and expertise that I get from them.
3. SCORE: The Service Corps of Retired Executives (or SCORE) is a non-profit association that has provided entrepreneurs access to mentorship since 1964. Initially, this expertise came from retired executives as the acronym states, but today the organization is mostly comprised of working professionals that make up their 12,400 volunteer counselors who share their counsel through a mentoring relationship. Although SCORE still maintains its In Person Mentoring through the 364 local offices throughout the U.S., the organization’s website (www.score.org) allows entrepreneurs to go the next level through their Online Mentoring program. There you can conduct multiple searches that allow you to drill down and find the mentor that has relative experience for your specific business type. There are two ways entrepreneurs can learn how to grow their businesses, and that’s through either your own experiences or through mentorship. Your own experiences include your own mistakes and bad decisions. Relevant mentorship allows you to learn from the life lessons of others and build upon proven success.
ck a b d Fee m, advise anvdisit
ou stor lBiz. Brain in when y om/Smal .c weigh lackBox B e d Insi
Business Black Box
or Jason Kelly, 2009 was a year of change— some good, some bad. At the top of the “good” list—the birth of his first son, Jack. Leading the “downs” were the full-staff layoffs at Greenville marketing firm Cargo, a business he’d been with since the company started three years ago. He’s gone from spending the day changing a company’s brand to changing his little guy’s diapers.
Just over a year ago Kelly never would have predicted he’d be unemployed. As he describes it, Cargo had it made. Their major clients included auto giant Chrysler and several big financial institutions. “Those were the perfect clients to have for an advertising agency,” explains Kelly. But, he adds,“Chrysler has gone under and banks have defaulted loans so the ad money isn’t there anymore.” Unpaid invoices and a drastic reduction in new projects left Kelly without a job for the first time in his adult life. Kelly’s resume includes positions with two of the biggest advertising agencies in the U.S., but despite his decade of stellar experience, Kelly’s encountered closed doors and delays. “What I’ve heard so many times is ‘we would love to hire you, but we just want to talk right now because we’re waiting for the environment to change,’” says Kelly. “I’m kind of over-qualified for a lot of the jobs that are out there, but there’s just not a whole lot of that account director/strategic planner role out there now.” That’s why Kelly is seriously considering fulfilling a longtime dream by opening a marketing firm. “It’s scary and exciting and challenging all rolled into one, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do and it’s something I know I can do,” he says. He’s got the dream and he’s even got the name—Yawlp, a term Kelly derived from the rarely used word “yawp” that means “making your voice heard.” But is this a good time for Kelly to move forward and take the plunge by opening a business? That’s the type of question business coach Terry Weaver hears nearly every week. He usually responds to that question with another question. “The first thing I talk to them about is their passion for this business that they’re thinking about starting,” says Weaver. “Is it their calling?” Regardless of the economy, if the business you’re thinking of launching isn’t your passion, Weaver says your chances for success are slim. “Someone told me once that businesses come into existence through the sheer force of will of the founder, and I think James Holloway that’s a pretty good statement,” says Weaver, who spent 25 years Owner, Souiheast Installations working in corporate America including time as president of a publicly-traded company. “There are just a zillion things that can derail someone if they’re not really committed.” So while plenty of things—lack of money, customers or demand—may disrupt your plans for opening your business, the lackluster economy shouldn’t be the big deterrent.
I came to the realization that if I waited for the “timing” to be right or all the “circumstances” to line up I would have never started my business. Sometimes you have to simply make a decision and then CREATE the environment in which it becomes the right decision. Rather than the Ready, Aim, Fire mentality, you have to use the Ready, Fire, Aim mentality.
If you ask Glenn Williams, founder and president of the Entrepreneur Center for Business Excellence, now is a great time to start a business. “When the economy seems the worst—when there seems to be a lot of problems in your life—that’s a good time to start researching your business,” he says. Often, he says, it’s in the toughest times that entrepreneurs thrive. Through his experience as a business development manager for Hewlett Packard, Williams started to observe a trend among business owners. “I noticed that even successful business people, they all had a struggle.That struggle is, how do I take my business to the next step?” He started counseling business owners—both new and seasoned—seven years ago after relocating to the Upstate from Arizona.Among the Upstate businesses he’s helped launch recently? A Spartanburg mattress company, a bookkeeping firm, and a deli. When it comes to those who have just opened a business,or those who are simply considering it,Williams advises entrepreneurs to be as conservative as possible. He says if you are employed, consider operating your business in your off hours until you build up enough income to make the move to full-time. If you’ve been laid off and are considering launching a business to make money, look for opportunities that allow you to operate out of your house. “If you can start something from your home and build it up, that would be something great to do,” says Williams. He also suggests having six months worth of expenses in the bank before taking the plunge, and he says to avoid hiring employees for as long as possible. “I say don’t hire anyone until you’re overwhelmed with your business and you’re too stretched. Do as much as you can to learn it. Then when you bring someone on board they’re enhancing what you’re doing and not controlling what you’re doing.” Weaver agrees that taking the plunge should only be done after careful planning and research. He recommends creating a list of 50 potential customers that you can call on with your product, and even suggests going as far as paying some of those prospects a visit and asking them what they think of your business idea. According to Weaver, most budding entrepreneurs aren’t willing to take this important step. “They really don’t want to bump into somebody who says their baby’s ugly,” he says. “They happen upon an idea and say ‘I think I’ll go out and sell that.’ And they don’t take enough time answering questions like ‘where am I going to sell this’, ‘to whom,’ and ‘how fast.’” Seven months ago, burgeoning entrepreneur Matt Silver conservatively and carefully launched his business,The Silver Agency, a talent management firm. After serving as the Director of Marketing for Greenville-based Portland Studios, Silver decided to step out on his own.
“Most people, when they’re making the plunge, they’re having to start from scratch. I didn’t have to start from scratch because I still represent the [artists] from Portland Studios and I’m adding more clients over time,” explains Silver. But just because he didn’t build his business from nothing doesn’t mean the experience wasn’t intimidating. “It was so scary because I went from a salary position to the money I make is the money I make,” says Silver, “and that was quite scary. If things get slow I don’t have that salary to fall back on anymore.” To make the experience of starting his business a little less terrifying, Silver took small steps—not big ones. He didn’t take out a business loan or rent an impressive office space. “I don’t have any company debt,” Silver says. “I don’t have a staff. I don’t have inventory. It’s just me, my cell phone and my computer.” And if it stays that way, he’s okay with that, as he says there’s nothing as gratifying as being your own boss. “My main goal is to represent
For me it was Divine Discomfort as I had maxed out in my corporate career. I think entrepreneurial dreams reside in most people. There is a covering in a multitude of counsel. But if you do not have the greatest Counselor confirm your plans then don’t do it. If He says yes: research, plan and prepare then blast through all obstacles and do it. Craig Lambert Creature Comforts Veterinary Resort & Suites
my clients well, keep them happy,” says Silver. “If I’m still doing that in five years I’ll be happy—even if I don’t have 10 employees and a million dollars worth of revenue.” Other entrepreneurs have loftier goals and dreams of major growth. Jim DeWitt and Wendell Reynolds started Simpsonville-based Caregivers of the Carolinas in mid-2009 to fulfill what they believed was a need for in-home care for the elderly. “What better place to age in than your own comfortable home,” asks Reynolds. DeWitt agrees, saying, “We just realized we could do a better job at it [than the existing competition] and thought now may be a better time to do it.” After all, Dewitt and Reynolds say, people still age in spite of the recession. “It’s a service you need, regardless of how well the economy is doing,” says Dewitt. The pair, both administrators at Upstate assisted living facilities, did their homework before opening the business’s doors, but say they overestimated the demand. “I think we’re still growing,” says DeWitt, “but it’s not the rate we hoped to grow in the beginning.”
Still, DeWitt adamantly advises other would-be entrepreneurs to take plenty of time to do market research to make sure there is enough demand for the products and services you plan to offer. That market research is essential according to Weaver, as well. And doing it, he says, only requires time and a computer. “The first thing I’d do is research my competition and—hands down—the best way to do that is Google,” he says. “You might be the first in your city, state or region, but the likelihood that you’re the first to do anything is slim. There are probably other people doing the type of thing you’re doing.”
It certainly wasn’t an overnight decision for me but one I’d considered for several years. Although the economic climate was to-be-desired, my personal and professional lives seemed to be ripe for committing to building a business. I was fortunate to have built a large network of relationships that I could leverage to begin earning clients, and I quickly discoverd that the most fruitful tactics were the simplest ones: catching up with people over a cup of coffee opened many doors.
Business Black Box
Jamie Prince Founder, FLOURISH Integrated Communications
Investigating similar businesses will tell you whether there’s enough demand. “We did good market analysis to see how many like-businesses there are that offer this service,” says DeWitt of his research of in-home elderly care businesses. “We determined there still is a need for good caregivers to go to someone’s home.” But despite studying the competition, DeWitt and Reynolds admit that Caregivers of the Carolinas isn’t as busy as they would like. “We kind of go in peaks and valleys,” says DeWitt. “Sometimes we have a lot of people that need help and sometimes we have dry Q1 2010
Brian Morin CEO, Innegrity
Turning a Hobby into a Business Like to bake pies, sew pillows or build furniture? Here are a few tips for turning your hobby into a business:
Start with a Plan for Growth:
Even before you begin, Weaver advises developing a plan that will take you out of production. Find someone else to get your product to market so you can focus on sales.
Set Yourself Apart:
There are likely plenty of other people who have turned similar hobbies into businesses. Figure out a way to set yourself apart from the competition.
Consider Your Enjoyment:
Chances are if you’re considering turning your hobby into a business you have a serious passion for it. But businesses require a lot of work and dedication which can easily turn your hobby into a chore that no longer brings you enjoyment. Make sure this move is worth it. Q1 2010
Business Black Box
I know the exact moment when I determined that I would launch the company, rather than staying put in my cushy corporate job. It was 2004, the day after the UNC-Duke basketball game, and I had left my driver’s license at the bar where my brother and I had watched the game. I didn’t realize this until I was at the terminal at GSP, and they told me I couldn’t get on the plane that was leaving in an hour to see my potential future business partner. I raced to my car and prayed all the way home, telling God that it was fine if I didn’t make the plane, that I’d just go to work tomorrow and pick my attitude up by the shoestrings and make myself glad to be there. But if he somehow got me to my home to get my passport, back to the airport, parked my car, got through security and onto the plane all in an hour, then I’d start Innegrity and never look back. I’d even do my part by running the parts that I could, though I wouldn’t speed or jump any curbs. My fleece was on the ground and I was ready to check it for dew. Well, He did get me on that plane, and now it is almost six years later and I’ve stared down failure more times than I want to count. Nowadays I’m not sure if I’m praying for failure or praying for success, just praying mostly, and I’m afraid still checking the fleece every now and again as well.
spells.” Both men blame poor advertising moves and misdirected marketing for not reaching the right client-base. Eventually the pair plans to franchise Caregivers of the Carolinas expanding its reach across the state, which proves they plan to be around in the future. “We definitely see us being around for the long haul,” says DeWitt. “We’d love for [business] to start picking up.” Still, Weaver says those who have just started a business shouldn’t expect instant profits. “It might take someone 18 months to get to cash break even, where in a hotter economy it might have taken nine or 12 months,” says Weaver. Kelly’s eyes are wide open to first-year struggles like the ones DeWitt and Reynolds are experiencing. “The first two years is normally when any small business closes,” he says. That’s why, before opening the doors to Yawlp, he plans to conduct his own research to find out if there’s enough demand to sustain another marketing firm. “If there are 72,000 people doing the same thing and talking the same message, then it’s not viable. It’s not something I want to do,” says Kelly. “I need to do my research and find out where I can play in the market that would make the most sense so I’ll still be in business two years from now.” That way, rather than drowning, he’ll take the plunge and find himself soaked in success.
Business Black Box
Even an amateur fisherman will tell you,
if the fish is too small, throw it back.
But regardless of where you’re fishing and what type of bait you’re using, the sport requires a good deal of patience and determination. From a business standpoint, hiring the right employee—and keeping them on board—runs along a similar vein. To hire the best, you not only need to identify exactly what you’re fishing for, but you also need to use the right kind of bait—a positive culture, competitive pay and attractive benefits. All of these components can help you find the best employees and retain them longer.
BMW Manufacturing Co., in Spartanburg also invests a great deal of time and money in the training of its employees. All employees undergo some type of screening and training, says Robert Hitt, manager of public affairs, including both classroom and on the job training. He estimates there are roughly 3,000 courses in the company’s curriculum. “Training is a valuable, intrical part of BMW,” he says. “We use every resource we can find.” Those resources include professors from technical colleges in the area, colleagues from their Munich, Germany, office, and supplier representatives. Hitt was unable to provide an exact figure on the financial cost of training, but he says its several million dollars each year. Hubbell Lighting has a state-of-the-art, on-site training center that is used for both employees and customers. Employee training is ongoing, says Nail, especially in the customer service department.
“It’s far more lucrative
for me to keep the ones that I’ve already trained as opposed to having to retrain over and over again.”
“We’re trying to be a learning organization,” he says. “We really believe that that’s the way for us to be competitive. We will continuously upgrade our people so they can be more efficient and creative.” He estimates the company spends more than $1,000 per employee each year on training, and says they are exceeding the company goal of 40 hours of training per year for each employee. Customer service employees undergo more training, he says, because the company has hundreds of products that they need to be familiar with in order to assist customers. “One of our objectives is to be the best in the industry in customer support, so you have to have good, well-trained people to do that,” Nail says. So once you’ve hired your target employees, how do you keep them on board? One area is, of course, competitive pay and benefits. Q1 2010
Business Black Box
Studies show that the costs of retaining employees are lower than the costs of employee turnover. In fact, estimates show companies will spend anywhere from 50 percent to three times an employee’s salary to replace them. The variance in cost is due to which factors are being included, such as the job position, training or morale of the other employees, says Julie Godshall Brown, owner and president of Godshall and Godshall Personnel Consultants Inc. “It is so extensive to recruit and hire the right talent, and once they have it, it’s imperative to keep them onboard,” Brown says.“That was sort of left to chance in the past, where now (businesses) make a dedicated effort to get that employee acclimated.” Steve Nail, vice president of human resources for Hubbell Lighting Inc. in Greenville, says a company incurs both hard and soft costs on new hires. Soft costs at Hubbell vary with each position and measure such factors as the amount of time it takes to become proficient in a position. “You’ve lost recruiting costs, time getting them up to speed—at this company, that can take a long amount of time,” Nail says. Hard costs at the company include relocation costs for out-ofarea employees. Nail estimates Hubbell spends at least $10,000 per hire in hard costs. Another hard cost, he adds, is the expense used to post job openings on job boards. Companies could easily spend $20,000 on job postings alone, he says. Many companies invest in their employees through training, which costs the employer both money and time. In fact, training is a core component to the success of an employee at The Melting Pot in Greenville. The restaurant has each employee accrue roughly 30 hours of training before they wait on tables, says James Robinson, general manager of the Greenville location. “We don’t require any prior knowledge or serving experience to work here,” he says. “Our training is in-depth enough about what we do here that if you have a solid work ethic, you will be truly successful.” Robinson hires an experienced server to come in and do the training for him. Both the trainer and trainees get paid by the hour during training, so the process can be very expensive, which makes retention imperative to his business. The expense for training just one employee is close to $500. “It’s far more lucrative for me to keep the ones that I’ve already trained as opposed to having to retrain over and over again, especially now, in this economy,” he says.
An employee is more likely to jump ship if they are offered a more lucrative deal with a competitor. Robinson says The Melting Pot has a better retention rate than many other restaurants because his servers can make anywhere from $300 to $700 a week. Most employees stay an average of one-and-a-half to two years with the restaurant, which Robinson says is not too bad for his industry. He says retaining employees doesn’t have any negatives associated with it except for the occasional employee who has become sour with the job. “For some people, serving is a means to an end. It’s not a career for them, just something to do while they are in school or between jobs.” When Hubbell Lighting relocated to the Greenville area, Nail says, they “looked at local wage surveys in the community and met with local companies we considered ourselves comparable to, to make sure we were in line and competitive with other companies in the area.” The company has two retirement plans, one based on years of service and the other set up as a 401k program, for which they match 50 percent of up to six percent of pay. They also offer a profit sharing program, disability insurance, and full health and dental insurance. A more positive work environment, or culture, will also increase your retention rates. But what steps should you take to change your culture? “First of all, you have to have a plan and a strategy for doing it, it doesn’t just happen,” says Nail.That strategy can include aspects such as open door meetings, a more family type atmosphere, creating fun activities outside of the workplace, or even getting involved with the community. Hubbell puts this thought into practice on a regular basis, organizing company events that employees and their whole family can enjoy. For example, employees’ children and grandchildren are invited to an Easter egg hunt each year, they hosted a night at the ballpark at a Greenville Drive game (for which Hubbell provided the tickets, food and drinks), host employee appreciation luncheons, and are active in the community with participation in charity events such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The Melting Pot also tries to create this type of atmosphere with its corporate program called “Family and Belonging.” The staff gets together both on and off site for activities such as paintball and group meals.This fall, they went out as a group to Bailey’s for wings and pizza. Culture is a two-way street though, says Brown, so it’s important that companies are hiring the right employees that are a culture match and vice versa. “Most of the turnover we see is from a lack of cultural match,” Brown says. “Investing in an employee to ensure their success is not only the right thing to do but the right thing to do financially. However, if you recognize there is not a culture match, no amount of training will rectify certain situations.”
The first step both the employer and the potential employee should take is to make sure during the interview process that they share mutual values. Once the employee has been hired, Brown says it’s important to monitor their first 90 days with the company. Check with the employee to see if they are getting acclimated, provide a mentor, or offer several learning opportunities for their growth. “It sounds very simplistic,” she adds, “but treating employees the way you would want to be treated, caring about them as people. People want to be appreciated and hear the positives.” Another option is to initially hire the employee on a temporary basis. You can then use that period of time to determine if the employee is a great fit for the company without making a long-term commitment, Brown says. If you choose this route, select a staffing service that serves industries similar to yours and be clear what your expectations are from them. Brown says the temporary employee industry has seen large growth this year and has become one of the largest industries in the country. According to the American Staffing Association, the temporary employee workforce represents roughly 10 percent of the working population. BMW is a great case study in that it has a successful low turnover rate and employs temporary employees on a regular basis. “If you want to increase your volume, you need to increase your throughput and you have to have an orderly way to do that,” Hitt says. “Some companies hire permanent people and then lay them off; we prefer to hire contract people who know there is a beginning and an end when they come to the job.”
Culture is a two-way street it’s important that companies are hiring the right employees that are a culture match and vice versa.
Most of employee turnover is a result of
Business Black Box
“lack of cultural match.”
“...treating employees the way you would want to be treated,
caring about them as people” is key to employee retention.
The company just recently brought several hundred temporary employees on board due to increase of demand, but Hitt says it’s hard to predict how long that will last. They currently have roughly 700 temporary employees, 40 percent of which are in logistics and the other 60 percent work in support of main line activity. The company’s retention rate among factory-related positions is less than 2 percent and 4 percent among managerial staff. In comparison, the national turnover rate for the month of September was 3.3 percent. “We like to think that the culture of BMW is a big part of retention,” Hitt says. “We have good pay and benefits, but
more importantly we have a teamoriented structure.” In addition, BMW has developed a family atmosphere for its employees with aspects such as an internal newspaper and TV station, wellness programs and has demonstrated its dedication to the employees’ home communities by being active in the Upstate. (BMW employees represent nine counties in the region.) Hubbell Lighting’s continual education efforts and their selectivity during hiring phases contribute to its low turnover rate of less than 5 percent. Keeping that rate low is imperative for any
“People want to be appreciated.”
business, Nail says, especially in their industry. As one of the leading developers of LED products, Hubbell Lighting strives to hire the best and keep them. Whichever way you look at it, employee retention is the most cost effective option for businesses, both financially and intellectually. “One of the major issues with companies is brain drain,” Nail says. “Your knowledge walks out the door when your employees walk out the door. … (When an employee leaves) it’s very difficult to replace the knowledge you’ve just lost. It’s in their head, not something that’s on paper somewhere.”
Employee turnover versus retention statistics can be tough to pinpoint and analyze when discussing the topic in general terms. Many business people know the pros and cons, but not how the numbers add up.
According to an article by Evan Cooper, ((C) 2000) a study by Sibson & Company reports these findings in specialty retailers and call centers, as well as high-tech and fast food industries.
• An average reduction of 38 percent in earnings and stock prices per employee lost due to high turnover • Expenses reached $75 billion annually, to replace the 6.5 million employees who left their jobs
Business Black Box
• A fast food restaurant had to make $19,032.50 in sales to recover from losing just one employee. • Annual turnover rates in call centers totaled 31 percent annually, while fast food restaurants reached 123 percent in costs after one year. • Costs per employee lost at IT companies totaled $34,100. • A clothing store had to make $105,000 in sales to recover the cost of losing one sales clerk.
Business Black Box
B O X TRAILBLAZERS
ometimes blazing a trail isn’t about finding a totally new way to do something. Take the case of Victoria Moore, chef de cuisine of the popular Lazy Goat in downtown Greenville. Moore says The Lazy Goat’s signature dishes are rife with Latin and Mediterranean influence, both with long histories in culinary culture. But for Moore, a graduate of Johnson and Wales in Miami (whose mettle was tested in the kitchens of the acclaimed Capital Grille), it’s not so much the flavors that are innovative. It’s the fact that she’s brought the goods to Greenville that’s groundbreaking. “Mediterranean and Latin cuisine can be found in big cities,” she notes, but being able to recreate their authenticity here, night after night, is what she considers to be her personal feat of innovation. It’s one that’s landed her squarely in the national spotlight. Esquire’s 2009 “Best New Restaurants” issue named Moore one of four “Breakout Chefs to Watch,” a distinction shared with culinary artists in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and New York City. Though the young chef admits that this is one of her greatest achievements to date, she’s quick to add that she never got into cooking for the notoriety, “but it is cool to be recognized.” And she says, “I’d love to take credit for the idea,” she adds, “but there is also a great team behind me. It’s been quite a collaboration.” No doubt.To hear Moore describe it, dinner prep begins before most people have had a second cup of coffee. And while she confesses she’s not a morning person, she does admit she’s leading a gourmet charge, because there is no executive chef above her at The Lazy Goat. So from crafting the menu to supervising the purchase of ingredients and executing the service, Moore laughs, “I do it all,” still pointing to her team as an integral part of the full plate. Running a kitchen is like running a business for Moore, who puts an emphasis on the bottom line in a way that any business owner can relate. “You have overhead, except it is very perishable. You have to be aware of inventory and spending, and price [the dishes] to be able to pay for labor and cost of the product.” In order to make it all work, the staff needs to understand her vision and follow her lead. But rather than ring arrogantly, her confessions about sleepless nights spent worrying about using the right ingredients show that she’s not only an artist with comestibles, she’s also a passionate CEO of the kitchen. Citing influences that range from her nanny’s Alabama home cooking to the acclaimed Thomas Keller, chef owner of French Laundry, Moore is crafting a career as carefully as she constructs any of her dishes. “My vision is very important,” she declares, though she fully realizes the realities of working with what is fresh and available as well as what makes sense for the bottom line. “We’d all love to work with fresh truffles and foie gras every day, but my creativity comes back through the business side because it is still my art.” Moore is just as determined to have Greenvillians who always go to chain restaurants experience the art of local dining. “I will continue to be competitive and creative to drive that [experience] downtown,” she says, offering this as a way to whet the appetite, “We like to think of ourselves as making dreams come true.”
Lands in Miami to attend culinary school
Graduates Johnson & Wales with Bachelor of Science degree
Moves to Greenville to work at The Lazy Goat
Watch the full interview at www.InsideBlackBox.tv
TRAIL BLAZERS BLAZERS 12 2009
Named to Esquire’s “Breakout Chefs to Watch”
Profile by Lydia Dishman
3,500-5,000 60,000+ 400 4,000
Business Black Box
Food for Thought Dinners served at The Lazy Goat in a month Meals served at The Lazy Goat in a year Bottles of wine on hand at any time Bottles of The Lazy Goat Amber Ale sold in a year Q1 2010
Business Black Box
GLOBAL GLOBAL BLACK B OX
the evolution of the expat
by ravi sastry
part 1 of 4
Ravi Sastry is president of International Innovations, a consulting firm specializing in American and Asian business and commerce. He has held senior management positions in international sales, marketing, logistics, and operations. During his 25year career, he has lived and worked in 14 countries on three continents, forging strategic relationships with industry leaders like Bosch, IBM, McKinsey, Samsung and others.
This is the first of a four-part series that will discuss the transition from the Expatriate (Expat) to Global Executive. For decades, expats were characterized in one of two ways—either they were a loyal lifetime employee who didn’t quite have the talent to run a unit in the U.S., or there simply wasn’t any spot for them in the U.S. These loyal employees were still rewarded with a posting, including the perks of club, car and international school for the kids, in locations such as Hong Kong or Paris. Usually, these offices were already established and the expat played a caretaker role, performing mostly ceremonial duties. Another major reason for sending these people was that the CEO usually wanted their best and brightest right next to them at headquarters. Fast forward to the 21st century, and this has completely changed. “Expats” now prefer the term “Global Executive,” and these positions are being filled by the young and ambitious looking to springboard into the C Suite by managing offices with exponential growth in places such as China, India and Russia. Rather than golf three days a week, these Global Executives are expanding the business, securing talent, formulating strategies and developing their teams into top-notch performers. Furthermore, these roles are not just as VPs or heads of business units, but support functions such as marketing, sales, logistics, IT and R&D. However, there are still traditional expats out there, and a “clash of ideologies” has since become evident. Since expat positions are quite attractive, one common weakness that develops is the fear of losing the position by taking risks. In the end, expats who develop this weakness become an extreme liability to the company and subvert the entire reason that they’ve been sent overseas. The safe play is to go with the flow and do just enough to get by without taking the risks that can lead to major losses. Unfortunately, many of these risks are what lead to unprecedented success. A mentality of “hold the gain” infiltrates their thinking and stagnates personnel. Global Executives take a different approach to their position. They treasure the opportunity and see it as their ticket to validating their value in the organization. So, what are the characteristics of a Global Executive? What does it take to find one, get them on board, and ensure there is a high rate of return on both sides? Further than that, one must ask some deeper questions. Can you manage your business without an expat, (i.e. remote control from home base and/or hire a local person for the specific country or region)? What will be the return on the investment
and why can’t you “get by” with local talent? (This issue causes companies to vacillate when trying to establish a presence in Asia.) To help you begin the exploration into your own business’ global presence, here are some key advantages and disadvantages of sending the Expat or managing with a local.
Manage This…Expat or Local • Expat Advantages • Corporate culture • Western management techniques • Western customer requirements that need support in Asia • Internal relationships to get the job done • Expat Disadvantages • Lack of cultural understanding and sensitivity • Seen as temporary, lacking credibility • Cost relative to return • Personal impact, no work/life balance • Local Advantages • Culture and language • Local and regional networking • Ease of getting the job done in country • Reduced expenses • Local Disadvantages • Respect with key management • Western management techniques • Western customer awareness • Developing strategy and long-term objectives In the next issue, we’ll continue to explore the world of the expat, and how to find the best global representative for your growing international business.
backand d e e F rm, advise isit
v to Brains when you /Global. in m weigh lackBox.co B Inside
Business Black Box
If there were any logic to our language, many business owners would stash that phrase in the four-letter-word file. According to Thomas Thorsheim, a psychologist and executive business coach, succession planning is a foreboding issue for various reasons: “The owner could be in denial about aging and their own mortality, or their sense of identity is so tied to their business that they’re clinging to their role.”
Thorsheim says it’s a double-edged sword, too. “If someone feels good about what they’ve accomplished in their career, it may be hard to let go,” he explains, “but if they haven’t achieved all their goals, they may still feel as though they have work to do.” Couple that with the potential for communication to breakdown among members of a family business or closely-held company, and add in a tight focus on day-to-day operations, and it is no wonder many owners are willing to plan for what might happen down the road. If you are among the estimated 29 million owners of a small to mid-sized business in this country, you’re not alone if you don’t have a succession plan in place. In fact, a study by the Alliance of Merger and Acquisition Advisors showed that seven out of 10 businesses of this size will transfer ownership during the next decade, and at least 90 percent of them are not properly prepared. “You are one truck driver away from leaving the company,” quips Myles Golden, “and then what?” As founder and president of Golden Career Strategies executive consulting and coaching firm, Golden is an advocate of having a plan in place before disaster strikes. But he too, is no stranger to procrastinating. Though he’s helped many executives and business owners to plan ahead for transition, Golden says he’s just now working on his own strategy, as he approaches his 70th birthday, to determine who will take the reins when he’s ready to transition in a few years. “There are a lot of components to a succession plan,” notes Golden. And there’s no time like the present to start laying them out.
Golden adds that business owners should ask themselves if they want to really retire once they step away from the company, or if they’d like to begin a new career. “It is important to identify what quality of life you’d want to have once you make the transition,” he says.
Start with a List
Determine the Value
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business for three years or three generations—even start-ups would do well to have an end game in mind. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that retirement is not in the cards. E. L. Mont, a principal with The Capital Corporation advises, “If you do not have an estate plan, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your business to put one in place now.” Mont recommends starting with an outline of future goals for the company. Thorsheim suggests adding to that a list of personal values, the guiding principles of your business, and other interests and hobbies.
These talks are vital to the company’s worth in another way: they can be a starting point for determining its value. Carey Hall, an attorney with the Wyche law firm, says it is important to remember that “a substantial amount of value is in the going concern, its people and its contracts.” If there is no plan and something happens to the owner, Hall adds, a business may be forced to liquidate to cover expenses, thereby greatly reducing its value. While it is a good idea for you to take a hard look at the balance sheet and any assets to get a clear picture of the company’s
Move On to Talks Chris Brown, chief operating officer of Family Legacy, Inc., the wealth management firm he shares with his father, says that once you are clear about your intentions it helps to discuss them with your partners and/or potential successors. While it is common for these conversations to be fraught with tension, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them. “The key is patience and tolerance. A whole lot of both on everyone’s part will make it work,” he observes, “but be prepared for it to take a while.” Brown is no stranger to the process—he’s helped clients through them, as well as took part himself with his father and his three other siblings. “You want to have this conversation because you care about what happens to the business, and to create continuity,” Brown cautions. “Without a plan, everyone could wind up suing everyone else and no one would get what they could have gotten financially.”
immediate value, Mont stresses the importance of calling in an outside expert. “Consider an independent business valuation a sanity check against your and everyone else’s opinion,” he says. The best choice for an advisor is not necessarily someone who only has expertise in your industry’s specialty. A generalist merger-and-acquisitions shop with plenty of deal-making experience and exposure to a lot of industries will offer the best perspective, says Mont. Don’t forget that the IRS will want to know the company’s fair value for tax purposes, even if your intent is to pass it on as a gift to a child or other beneficiary. A professional advisor will come in handy for making sure the valuation has no holes.
Get a Lawyer If you don’t know the difference between an intentionally defective grantor trust and a grantor-retained annuity trust, don’t worry, just get an attorney. There are a lot of legal strategies for passing on a business, especially if you want to pass it along to your children as cheaply as possible. Brown notes that though he’s the logical choice to succeed his father at Family Legacy, his three other siblings are written into the succession plan, not to take over
“It is important to identify what quality of life you’d want to have once you make the transition.”
Business Black Box
TOP 4 THINGS to remember about Succession Planning
not all about you. Succession 1. It’splanning isn’t just a matter of who
you will turn a company over to, it’s about who belongs in what positions and what will ultimately best serve the company. This isn’t a kingdom, and you aren’t a king—treating it as such can cause infighting and dissension.
not only for retirement. Succession 2. It’splanning is, ultimately, about the “next step” for your company. If you only
look in to it when a retirement is imminent, you could be missing a lot of opportunities to put the best people in their right placements.
It’s not just for CEOs. Although the top layer of management is typically the one that gets the most attention in these areas, any role vital to the organization is worth examining. After all, if your Financial Manager or Human Resources person is looking for a change, you will want to, too.
not on your own. Get a career 4. You’re coach, a corporate consultant, or someone who’s been there before to
Business Black Box
give you some advice on the pros and cons. There are also many online tools to help you along the path—and a quick search will turn up a ton of them.
running the operations, but to spell out the details of each of their financial interests in the firm. If you are worried about the cost of retaining legal counsel, consider that Uncle Sam can eat anywhere from 18 to 55 percent of an estate. That’s not insignificant, and could mean liquidation or worse—force the new owner to take on a big debt load if you die unexpectedly. Hall says that if your business already has a good relationship with a general counsel, that attorney may be well-placed to provide advice and guidance to ease this part of the planning process. At this time, the lawyer could also draw up a resolution for the board of directors to appoint a chief executive, or sell the company if something happens suddenly.
“Healthy people who
want to gain clarity and define their goals can do better with some assistance.”
“I suggest setting up a board of directors anyway, especially if it is a family business,” adds Hall, explaining that a board made up of professionals outside the company may help ease any contention among family members or staff executives.
Seek Professional Help
Consider Your Options
Now What? What if, after talking to the experts you discover that while you are ready to relinquish control (at some point, not necessarily tomorrow) of your business, you are eager to continue working, albeit in a different role? Working with a career coach, says Golden, can help identify what the owner might like to do when they are ready to give up the reins. A professional coach will walk you through the process to determine how to leverage your extensive knowledge. “Everyone ought to have a Plan B,” he says, noting that he’s worked with many top level executives to help them find their new path, but Golden also makes it clear that this process doesn’t have to just be about them. Succession planning also helps identify which members of your team are best suited to move into positions of greater responsibility, and once everything is in place, to make stepping aside easier.
“Some CEOs hang
on for dear life, and they end up being an obstacle for the growth of the business.”
“Some CEOs hang on for dear life,” he observes, “and they end up being an obstacle for the growth of the business.” The bottom line, states Brown, is that a good succession plan will take care of everyone involved as long as it allows enough time for comfortable transition. “Be prepared for conflict, and be prepared for it to take a while,” he says, sometimes up to two years. “But it is possible to get to the end with everyone still liking each other.”
One of the harsh realities coming out of this economic meltdown is that owners are quickly realizing a drop in market valuations can make years of hard work evaporate, says Mont. Q1 2010
Business Black Box
Though your attorney can provide some worthy advice, Hall says it may help to speak to a business psychologist to resolve the thorny issues that arise from negotiating a changing of the guard. Thorsheim adds that there will always be unforeseen obstacles and an objective third party can provide an impartial (and calm) way to work through them. “I really see help-seeking as a strength,” explains Thorsheim. He looks at it this way, “If you know what you need and where to get it, that is resourceful.” Just like using a lug wrench instead of your bare hands to change a flat tire, Thorsheim says talking things over with a psychologist skilled in the ways of succession planning can be like using the right tool to get the job done. “It is not a sign of weakness,” he maintains. “Healthy people who want to gain clarity and define their goals can do better with some assistance.”
“That is why diversifying wealth through a partial sale protects in today’s environment, even if you aren’t quite ready to walk away completely,” he points out. Though mergers are not usually prevalent in the lower middle market, Mont says they are a good way of making a company stronger and more valuable to a future buyer. “Ideally, combining a business with a target that strengthens weaknesses ensures survival of a company through the lean times, positions it for growth during a slow recovery, and equates to no more than selling a portion of a company at a current market value while increasing the value of what remains to be sold in the future presumably for a greater amount,” Mont explains.
Business Black Box
Business Black Box
Business Black Box
At 44-years-old, Leah Pianella knew her resume had to be top notch to make her way back into a professional career. Unemployed for 15 months, Pianella left her job in the medical field and was determined to find something she enjoyed.
She seems to have met her goal. Since early October, she’s been working and describes it as being “in heaven.” Getting to that stage of Nirvana, however, took a lot of time and reflection on her previous work experience. Although she didn’t have a background in her new profession—dentistry—she saw that she had the skills to do the job. How did she determine which skills that included? She worked with Find Great People International in Greenville, a staffing and recruiting company. FGP helped her tweak her resume many times over to show off her background in the medical field. “I never worked in the dental field, but through my other skills I was able to mold it,” Pianella says. “They had a lot of similarities.” Reliable.Team Player. Quick Learner. Motivated. All are the skills employers are looking for in today’s market and looking back on previous experience is a must, whether you are stepping into the professional market for the first time or making a career change.
Job seekers need to be aware of the qualities they have used in the past to achieve goals and overcome obstacles—both personal and professional.
Business Black Box
There are plenty of skills that are transferrable to nearly all job opportunities, says Eddie Payne, director of professional staffing at FGP. “Job seekers need to be aware of the qualities they have used in the past to achieve goals and overcome obstacles— both personal and professional,” Payne says. Dig a little deeper into your past work history and ask yourself these questions: Did you meet the demands of your employer? Did you give them any hints or suggestions for their business? Did you handle customers properly? “Sit down, take your time and start making a list of responsibilities, achievements and skills from each job.” One valuable resource is O*Net Center (http://www. onetcenter.org). On this site you can research a list of occupations and check out which skills from a previous job would cross over to another one.You might look at it as an “anatomy” of occupations.
WHAT’S UP YOUR SLEEVE?
Even if you worked in a fast food restaurant, there are plenty of skills you may have taken away with you, such as handling money, taking inventory, working with customers and focusing on quality control. And, don’t forget to talk to the people who know you the best. Have them state your strengths and qualities they think might relate or correspond well to a new job opportunity, suggests Payne. Another helpful hint is to use Google to aid you in remembering your previous skills and how they might apply to a new job; all you have to do is find descriptions of your past jobs. “It helps to trigger people to remember what they did,” says Bob Prock, owner of Greenville’s a Preferred Career and Resume Service, whose company assists those graduating college, making career changes and even the elderly. “Then look at the job description for the new one you are applying for and see what skills relate.” Not only is reevaluating past skills important, but also examine what motivates you, a task that is important in determining what you’d really enjoy doing. Prock learned about motivational patterning about 30 years ago. It helped him think back to a job that was as simple as mowing a lawn and molded it into what motivated him. “You break your life into fiveyear time blocks,” says Prock. “Write down five things you can remember that meant the most to you.” He recalled his days of mowing lawns and realized he got the most joy out of seeing nice, neat rows. “This meant that I liked seeing visible results,” he says. “It meant something to me and those skills ended up being transferrable to my job today.”
FINDING YOUR TRUE COLORS
“We’re a relationship-based company” says Stapleton. “We’re pretty unique and don’t do the same thing day in and day out.” Because of this, SynTerra requires that its employees be diverse and be willing to wear many hats. “They need to be able to jump in and multi-task. I think that’s even more important in a smaller company,” she says.
Now that you have discovered some of your job qualifications you need to find the best fit for your personality. Fortunately, there are plenty of online assessments and books to help you focus on particular areas. One of the more popular exams, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator—designed to hone in on your personality type—can benefit people in the workforce in many ways. After all, knowing ACROSS CAREER BORDERS your personality type can help you work better with others and Still have a hard time determining what you are gifted at, manage your own work. Taking the test can even help you choose trained in or motivated for? Fortunately, there are standards the right career and learn how personality type is used in major that, if you learn them, can be used across professions such as law, medicine, the board in any occupation. According education and engineering. to workforce researchers for the S.C. SynTerra Corp., a Greenville Department of Commerce, there are five is one of the environmental engineering firm, prefers top skills required across industries and most important skills we possess, having to use the Management By Strengths occupations. a major impact on the job we do and (MBS) model to fully understand its The first, Active Listening, includes the relationships we make. According to employees and to help them understand giving your full attention to what others an article by MindTools.com, an online each other.This test focuses on colors: are saying, taking time to understand resource of tools to boost your career red, blue, yellow and green which them, asking appropriate questions and not skills, we only remember 25 to 50 percent correspond to your traits. interrupting others. of what we hear. To combat this, they “It helps to get to know their Cherie Pressley, coordinator of the list with five ways you can develop your personality and you learn how to Upstate Regional Education Center in listening skills. approach that person,” says Chris Spartanburg, says this skill is important to Stapleton, human resources manager. employers because they want to know that 1. Pay attention. Stapleton is red which means she is a you are really listening to what they need. Look directly at the speaker and direct person, focused on getting results The Upstate Regional Education Center acknowledge the message, taking note of and solving problems. was established in 2008 and coordinates the speaker’s body language. Like many other personality tests, not and facilitates education and workforce only does the MBS show the employer 2. Show that you are listening. development with local service providers in your personality, but gives you insight to Use your own body language and gestures our region. yours as well, helping you stay aware of to nonverbally communication you’re “For entry-level jobs there are a lot of your strengths and weaknesses and how paying attention—nod, smile, and use instructions,” Pressley says, “and employers you operate in the workplace. open and inviting posture. want to make sure you are getting the 3. Provide feedback. appropriate information.” Ask questions and reflect what is being Pressey adds that active listening is MAKE YOURSELF said by paraphrasing and asking questions something that can be practiced. Talk INVALUABLE to clarify certain points. with someone, and they can tell you if For those looking to actually build you’re responding with questions or 4. Defer judgment. their physical resume, local OneStop repeating information. Don’t interrupt with counter-arguments, centers offer free assistance with resumes, The second top skill is Critical show respect and allow the speaker to finish. hold workshops and have many resources Thinking—using logic and reasoning 5. Respond Appropriately. to help those searching for jobs. Due to to identify strengths and weaknesses of Respond by asserting your opinions in the high unemployment rates,Anderson’s alternative solutions, conclusions and how a respectful and understanding way, OneStop center saw about 200 visitors to approach problems. treating the other person how you would per day one year ago. Now they are Healthcare and those who work with want to be treated. seeing double or triple that number. specific equipment are some careers where But according to Teri Cox Gilstrap, critical thinking is especially important, says the Anderson County OneStop center Pressley. You need to be able to look at the director, says a top complaint from many data and make informed decisions and be able to troubleshoot. employers is about reliability and commitment. Mathematics can also be helpful in most jobs. Besides the obvious “You need to be willing and capable of learning,” she says.“Many like an accountant or a bank teller, employers like to see that the companies are willing to train you as long as you are trainable. people they hired can at least do basic math. If you’re leaning Lifelong learning really applies.” towards a technical career, algebra can be especially important. Gilstrap says companies don’t want their employees to think of Reading Comprehension—understanding written sentences and the job as just a paycheck. “A positive attitude is key.” paragraphs in work-related documents—is another important skill Likewise, SynTerra Corp. recently hired several new people and that employers are looking for. looks for those who have good relationships with clients. “Practice, practice, practice,” stresses Pressley. “The more you read, the more you improve and can explain what you read.”
Business Black Box
Not only that, but you need to understand the lingo in the field you are working in, she says. Finally, the simple task of Speaking properly isn’t one to be overlooked. Being able to talk with others to convey information effectively must be a skill any employee possesses. Everything from correct grammar to tone of voice and proper enunciation are what counts for this skill. “If you want to learn a foreign language, then you put yourself in that situation,” she says. “Be around those who (speak properly).” A recent report by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee shows that other skills businesses say their workers must acquire are listening, teamwork, observation skills and the ability to read information. Skills that employees often lack, according to the report, are motivation, commitment and good communication skills. “Companies are always looking for basic computer skills, those who can work on several projects at once, quick learners, good problem solvers and people with a strong work history,” adds Payne.
REACHING BUSINESS NIRVANA Now that you’ve taken a look at what you’ve done in the past, learned a bit more about your likes and dislikes and evaluated your skills, it’s time to present it in a strong resume. Payne suggests experienced individuals begin by categorizing their responsibilities at each previous job to apply them to a resume. “Oftentimes jobseekers quickly put a resume together without thoroughly thinking through job history,” he says. “A jobseeker should list the duties that he or she used most frequently. “It’s very easy to ignore significant accomplishments that could help a jobseeker land a great opportunity.”
You have to adapt, be lifelong learners and keep improving your skills for a job.
Business Black Box
Also, life experiences such as volunteer work or internships are also skills not to be overlooked. “Keep your resume current by only listing jobs that you have held within the last 10 years and list them in order of importance.” Finally, to get to the head of the class, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the company you want to work for. Pressley suggests making a phone call to the employer prior to sending your resume and make sure you have a “knock-out cover letter.” Talking to the employer may help you establish exactly what they are looking for. “Don’t be afraid to develop several resumes that cater to the individual job,” she says. While it may seem tedious to do so, “it’s a lot of work to focus on specific companies.” Discovering more about yourself and capturing your strengths in the workforce can lead to great opportunities. “There is no perfect job, no perfect fit,” says Pressley. “You have to adapt, be lifelong learners and keep improving your skills for a job.”
B O X SPEED PITCH On the heels of “cozy” products hitting the shelves, local entrepreneur Sandra Cannon wants her product to hit the market with a bang. Does her Kozy Sleeves product have the potential to warm the hearts of investors and buyers alike? Sandra Cannon Founder, Kozy Sleeves
I’m Sandra Cannon, the founder of Kozy Sleeves—fleece arm warmers that allow you to stay warm and comfortable wherever you are without having to lug around a bulky jacket or cumbersome blanket.The design of the sleeve allows your fingers to be free to perform a multitude of activities while staying warm. Kozy Sleeves are one size fits all, machine washable, 100% fleece, soft and light, but also functional and practical. Kozy Sleeves are for personal comfort at every level when you’re at home, reading in bed, knitting, or watching movies. This lifestyle-enhancing gear is also great for work or play, indoors or outdoors, and Kozy Sleeves are easily portable for car and plane travel. The Kozy Sleeves website has been up for a few weeks now and for the next phase my goal is to focus in on specific demographics where this product is wanted and, in fact, needed, including active seniors, the medical industry, physically limited individuals and athletes. Kozy Sleeves can provide comfort, warmth and ease for seniors and others with poor circulation. Kozy Sleeves are great for hospitalized surgery patients; the arm warmers are specifically designed not to hinder intravenous medication. Kozy Sleeves are also beneficial for athletes during a game to keep their arm muscles warm and loose, and after to help soothe sore and aching muscles; the wide sleeve design allows perfect space for hot and cold therapy products. This is not a seasonal novelty item; this is a good tool for flexible living environments.
Brainstorm, advise, weigh in.
Wanna offer your advice? Log on to www.insideblackbox.com/SpeedPitch
What They Say... I’m going to assume that you have an ability to do small runs of product and that sales to-date have been primarily from word of mouth and possibly a number of on-line buyers. There are a number of other “Kozy”-named apparel products offered, so trademark infringement might be an issue. It would be worthwhile to obtain a professional point of view in regard to your freedom to operate your business using the Kozy Sleeves name. Getting a large volume of product into place to satisfy rapid, high-growth demand will change the dynamics of the business from where you are today. A first large order in the wide spectrum of colors you currently have on your site will be expensive (minimum quantities will be high) and you will need to have sufficient cash on hand on at the front of the order to get started, more than
likely from an Asian manufacturer. Timing is key as well, both in terms of the ramp time needed to have product on hand and also in terms of actually generating a cash flow from sales. A few similar “wrap” products have hit the infomercial market very successfully during the last few years. If you can build sufficiently convincing market research or early sales success that would assist in getting the attention of a credible promoter in that area you might be able to attract enough interest and funding to get you positioned to make that happen. The same is true for getting onto one of several TV-based home shopping venue. However, if you can get it started, insure you have solid professional legal and financial assistance, and a willingness to work harder and longer than you have in life to
this point, you might just be the next one to set a sales high water mark with an interesting early product and be prepared to grow a great company. Greg Hillman Zone Management SC Launch Kozy Sleeves is an interesting idea. But, many questions come to mind…Why would I need Kozy Sleeves? Is this the newest fashion craze like Crocs or Snuggies? Will my kids ask me for Kozy Sleeves for Christmas? Maybe this idea is ahead of it’s time and in three to give years we will see Kozy Sleeves infomercials and people sitting next to us at the football game are wearing only sleeves, but in my opinion, it doesn’t appear, at this time, to be a feasible idea.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard about this idea was “leg warmers for your arms”.Why buy this product when I can easily get a light jacket or a heavier long sleeve shirt? What’s the practical use of this product? My suggestion would be to narrow your target market because I don’t think your target is the fully active person. I think this product might be good for those with limited mobility or those with poor circulation. Create a focus group of athletes, seniors, teenagers and business people. Let them test the product for a day and get their feedback.This will give you ideas on feasibility, price, quality and your narrowed target market. John Clement Director of Marketing Redemption Marketplace Alliance
HR BLACK B OX managing hr in an increasingly regulated business environment
Julie Godshall Brown has spent the last 14 years running her family business, Godshall and Godshall Personnel Consultants, Inc., which specializes in direct hire and contract staffing solutions in healthcare, legal, financial, accounting, technical, and other professional markets. Julie holds a Masters in Personnel and Employee Relations from USC and a Bachelor’s in Marketing from Clemson University.
Regardless of your political persuasion, every business person recognizes that the regulatory environment is becoming ever more burdensome on business. As difficult as it is for Human Resources professionals to keep up with changing regulation, consider how much more difficult it has become for smaller businesses without a professional HR department. In the effort to help you navigate the ever-changing world of HR, here are a few tips for managing the overwhelming HR role of today’s business leader: 1. Document, document, document. Discrimination claims have increased over the past few years. Additionally, defending such claims has become more burdensome. For example, to defend an age-based discrimination claim, an employer used to have to prove that age was not the determining factor in an adverse employment; in July of this year, a mixed-motive case was allowed where age may be one of several factors for the decision.
2 . T r a i n supervisors on the fundamentals of employment law.
3. Always be ready for an investigation. Though most employers recognize the need to follow immigration law, very
few perform self-audits of their processes. Doesn’t it make more sense to find your own mistakes rather than allowing an investigator find gaps in the process? Effective July 1, 2009, all S.C. employers of 100 or more workers must verify the legal status of new employees by one of two processes, in addition to the current federal I-9 requirement. Many felt that enforcement of this legislation would be difficult in our current economic environment; however, many S.C. businesses have already been audited since July. Even more, businesses with fewer than 100 employees will be covered July 2010. Make sure to audit yourself before they come to you.
4. Communicate company policies regularly to all employees—not just supervisors. All employees should be regularly trained on the company’s policies, including harassment/ sexual harassment and the company’s policy on discrimination. When employees understand top management’s stance on important issues, they are more likely to report problems rather than letting issues get out of hand. 5. Keep up! Regardless of the size of your company, someone should be designated as the HR “leader.” As a small business owner, the responsibility has predominantly been mine—and I’m sure that I am not alone. The burden of keeping up with the ever-changing legal landscape can be made lighter by developing a relationship with an excellent employment law attorney, subscribing to an online HR newsletter, or joining a national or local HR group such as the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) or an HR forum at your Chamber of Commerce. As we focus on the primary job of serving our clients and building a financially secure future for our employees and ourselves, it can be frustrating to deal with increasing regulation. Developing tight HR processes and training our employees to those processes will ensure that we are here for our clients for years to come!
acekand b d e Festorm, advis u visit
. Brain en yo in wh m/HR weigh lackBox.co B Inside Q1 2010
Business Black Box
Supervisors and managers are legal representatives of your firm—both when they do smart things and when they do not-sosmart things. Although the law may be a matter of common sense in many cases, expensive litigation can often result from following “common sense” rather than the letter of the law. Supervisors should be trained on interviewing and selection, harassment and equal employment opportunity, employee and labor relations, as well as documentation procedures, to name a few.
by julie godshall brown
B O X MEASURE OF SUCCESS
For the past year (or more) weâ€™ve all heard about unemployment rates and how they are affecting our friends, relatives and co-workers. But what do the numbers really look like? Here, weâ€™ve taken a look at Upstate unemployment, showing you the historical breakdown (for nine years), as well as how we compare to S.C. and U.S. numbers. You may be surprised at how they break down. *Data provided by the Upstate Alliance.
Refer to annual Mass Layoffs and Plant Closures tables for detailed information 2009 Numbers include layoffs and closures announced through October 31, 2009. GENERAL NOTES: 1) County tallies of facilities affected count multiple locations of the same company individually. 2) Total tallies of facilities affected over the 8-year timeline may count an individual facility more than once if it experienced layoffs in multiple years during the timeline. Source: Rapid Response Report, SC Employment Security Commission & SC Department of Commerce Compiled by InfoMentum - A Decision Support System for Upstate South Carolina report provided by Upstate Alliance 1
Hereâ€™s a broad look at Upstate unemployment rates from 2000 to 2009 in the comparison to the rest of the state as well as the national average during those sames years.
Source: SC Employment Security Commission & U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1 Refer to County Overview sections for county labor force and unemployment data.
October numbers are based on preliminary, not final, figures. Compiled By: InfoMentum - A Decision Support System for Upstate South Carolina
Business Black Box
what do you want and why?
the first step in the art of goal-setting
Todd Korahais currently serves as Operating Partner for Keller Williams Realty. He has successfully built three different businesses and at age 31 sold his first business to a publicly-traded company. His community involvement includes several board positions and leadership roles in civic, business, and philanthropic organizations— most specifically, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and Clemson University.
Business Black Box
If you knew that by reading this article, you could reach any goal that you set, would you read it? Reaching any goal is possible—the key lies not in setting that goal but in the step before it, which is found in the questions,“What do you want?” and then “Why?” So many people in sales (although this applies to every area of life) want to jump straight to putting numbers on a page:“I’m going to book this many appointments, sell this many contracts or make this much money.” They set some tangible goal. But these goals become nothing more than numbers on a page unless they become internalized. Each person needs to consider what it would mean to reach them and why reaching them is important. In planning your goals for 2010 and beyond, you need to start with the “What?” and “Why?” So, first, ask yourself: “What do I want?” You may remember reading a poll asking the American people “What do you want?” The number one answer? “I don’t know.” Number two? “To be happy.” And number three? “Money.” So what’s your answer? Do you truly know what you want? Consider your definition of happiness.What is your definition of “enough” money? If you don’t set a goal that reflects what you truly want, you’ll always strive for more, which can ultimately leads to burnout, addiction or worse. But even once you know what you want, you’re still not ready to put numbers on a page yet.Your next step is to run those desires and wants by the five people closest to you to see if they’re consistent with who you are and what truly makes you happy. If you’re not honest with yourself (even if you don’t realize it), they will be. After internalizing what you want, the next step is to ask yourself: “Why do I want this?” The tricky part here is that the answer is the question, and the question is the answer: “What do you want?” is the question; the answer is “Why do you Q1 2010
by todd korahais
want it?” So why do you want to make that much money or book that many appointments? Here’s the key to asking yourself “Why?” If your why doesn’t really mean something to you, you’ll never achieve it because it’s not really worth making the effort to you. This is the reason why this series is entitled “The Art of GoalSetting.” The “what” and “why” are your art. The science, or numbers on a page, only comes after the art is complete. You get to put the colors on the canvas and be the artist of your life. Once you’ve internalized that, then there truly isn’t any goal you can’t reach or anyone or anything that can stop you. In preparation for this coming year, begin planning around what you truly want to accomplish in life and why you want it. If you plan your goals around those two factors, you’ll set yourself up for success and be pleased with the outcome.
ck a b d Fee rm, advise anvdisit
sto ou Brain hen y om/Sales. w in weigh lackBox.c B Inside
Business Black Box
Entrepreneurs take heed—opportunity can be found right around the corner. For Leah Stoudenmire, opportunity was found in the loss of her job, the building of a number of partnerships, and her desire to step out in an area she held so much passion for—textiles. Hurdling towards disaster OR conquering the mighty competition.
When Leah Stoudenmire became a victim of the economy, she had no idea that she would turn her career from luxury real-estate marketing into leisure apparel. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she had always had a passion for developing her own clothing line, but when she was surprisingly laid off in August 2008, it was her passion for her dream—as well as a partnership with co-founder and entrepreneur Blayne Henderson— that served as a catalyst to create Coast Apparel.
From the beginning, the concept for COAST was to create a clothing line that alluded to the serenity of the coast, no matter where that coast was actually located. By choosing a name that encompassed the feeling of a coastal lifestyle without limiting it to an area, COAST, although founded in Pawley’s Island, S.C., is not limited to a region. Beginning with one shirt—the men’s Winyah polo—the COAST line is growing at amazing stretches.
Calling themselves a “team of coastal living enthusiasts,” the COAST family grew up loving the relaxed feel and traditions of the beaches of S.C., and could “never understand why that sense of contentment…was never equaled when we’d return to our inland homes.” With the desire to promote the leisure and charm of a coastal lifestyle, Leah and her team began with the first piece in the line, the signature Winyah polo—made of breathable, moveable Peruvian cotton with a touch of Lycra that allows the movement and relaxation of the brand it represents.
Business Black Box
“It helped us get “
Day 1: Leah meets with Jack Delgado, a local creative director, to discuss her vision for Coast Apparel and the opportunity to work together. It represents the very first meeting outside of her and her partner’s discussion of the business. Immediately, they begin conceptualizing the brand.
a good grasp on what fit
Day 2: In efforts to convince herself that there is validity to selling COAST in local retail shops, Leah visits Pierce and Parker, a women’s clothing store in Greenville. She gets her first verbal commitment to carry the line.
Day 3: New Year’s Eve. Leah and her partner take a break for a few days to prepare for a great year ahead.
Day 5: The team takes time to unveil the brand and the idea to friends and family. Although her friends knew she was up to something, “we had not told anybody— we had been making connections, phone calls, and making sure everything was done before we committed everything to it,” Leah says. They sent an email to family and friends, followed with a press release and a number of phone calls. Overall, the response is overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.
Business Black Box
Day 6: Since Leah is “out of touch about public relations,” she meets with a close friend, Virginia Hayes, for advice. Knowing she wants her PR campaign to be extremely effective, they create an outline of first steps, including ways to start promotion at minimal cost.
Day 7: The planning for product and lifestyle photography begins. Instead
Day 8: In addition to working with the website design, a tenth round of threads is received from the manufacturer in Peru to choose the perfect blue for the signature blue label. Finally, the color is chosen to represent the COAST label and Pawley, Coast Apparel’s blue crab mascot, who is described as “a versatile creature, just like the clothes he represents.”
Day 9: Something simple turns stressful—Leah works on getting the credit card systems set up to receive payment for orders on the website. Leah remembers, “It’s not easy! This had to be one of the most stressful days.” But, with potential orders coming through at any minute, it’s something that has to be done.
Day 10: The button design is received from the Pe r u v i a n m a nu f a c t u re r.
Day 11: The third shirt sample arrives from Peru, but while the fit is great, her logo, label and fabric are all wrong. Also received are the final color swatches for the first colors of the men’s line. Finally, 11 colors in jewel and pastel tones are selected for the first season of men’s Coast Apparel.
Day 12: Because of the errors in the sample on Day 11, a conference call is held with the manufacturer. While the manufacturer is positive about the changes to be made, Leah is frustrated. “This is absolutely ridiculous,” she says. Still, things must keep moving, and Leah meets with Wayne Gregory, the S.C. Economic Development director, to talk about plans for COAST. He agrees to send out a press release in the spring, and in the meantime, the two discuss local presence within South Carolina. Options include using the apparel in local golf tournaments, creating new jobs, and getting local press.
Day 15: Gregory puts Leah in touch with Harris Chewning, of the S.C. Department of Commerce. He,too, agrees to send out the press release, and also gives Leah contact information for a retail store in Spartanburg.
Day 16: Direct mail pieces go out to retail locations in more than 40 stores in South Carolina, and another 40 in North Carolina, to inform them of the new line inspired by Pawley’s island.
remembers, “It’s not “Leah easy! This had to be one
of going with the more-expensive talent-for-hire, they begin contacting friends to collect interest in participation in everything from photos to trying on sample sizes. “It helped us get a good grasp on what fit,” Leah says. “We didn’t have time for the moretraditional trunk shows, so this way, we could just grab 20 people for a focus group.”
of the most stressful days.
Day 17: The label and hangtag details are received from Peru for final approval for the Winyah polos, but they still aren’t correct, and all samples received are labeled size “M.” While they deal with errors in yet another shipment, they manage to finalize the fabric—a “combination of Peruvian Pima Pique Cotton with a 3% Lycra combination for ease, breathability, durability and comfort.”
Day 18: Leah finalizes the distributor who will provide displays, and begins working on store signage with a Greenville-based sign company.
Day 19: In anticipation of the August Men’s Apparel Club show (CMAC) in Charlotte, Leah calls to schedule space for COAST. Amazingly, there was a morning cancellation of a space for the February show—only 19 days away! The opportunity to launch COAST a full six months ahead of the plan proves too much of a temptation, and they finalize the space, breaking a waiting list by paying within 30 minutes. “We were first thinking that we would launch a full season ahead,” Leah says. “But because of the economy, people held their money, so it had a play into our success.” Because of this delay, the buyers at this show will be looking at the correct season colors, and will be ready to buy—not simply be introduced to the brand. But COAST currently has no collateral, no samples, and no brochure. Immediately, a call is placed to the manufacturer in Peru to have samples ready in time for the show. Everything pushes to high-speed as there is a lot to do in a short period of time.
Day 20: Work to prepare for CMAC, including mailers, copy for press kits, and marketing materials. A discussion ensues as to whether or not to have order forms ready for the show—a decision vital to the potential financial success of the brand.
make something in order to have something to give back,” she says. “This is the first time we’ve been able to solidify some kind of giveback,” through silent auctions and other programs. Still, the pressure is continuing—the team is realizing they can’t get everything done. “We need to think ahead and be more proactive,” Leah says. In response to this feeling, she begins interviewing for an office assistant in their Pawley’s Island office.
Day 21: COAST holds its first photoshoot with local models Craig Stipes and Lee Stalvey.
Day 23: A day of conference calls—the manufacturer, the creative director and local media all make the list of calls to be made.
Day 24: Although the website has been in progress for a while now, a first draft is proving disappointing. “It had no emotion. It didn’t sell our brand as a lifestyle brand. It was just informative,” Leah says. “I wanted this site to be something that I would have revisited as a customer.”
Day 25: One of the first responses comes in from the direct mailer—the Haberdashery in Conway, S.C., calls to inquire about the line and set up COAST’s first appointment for the CMAC show.
Day 28: Leah begins to set up COAST for different social media outlets. “Facebook is definitely on go,” she says. “Not sure about Twitter. Hmmm….”
Ever ything was becoming more and more difficult,” she says. “You’re in survival mode, so you’re willing to do anything it takes to make it easier.
Day 22: Leah meets with the BMW Charity Pro-Am to discuss opportunities for COAST’s involvement in the Upstate tournament. Although it is tempting to want to get involved for the current year’s tournament, the decision is made to keep focus on the CMAC show and re-examine the Pro-Am for the following year. “I am realizing that traditional advertising is not the key for COAST right now,” Leah says. “We have to be creative and innovative.” For this reason, she begins to look at other forms of non-traditional marketing, like social media and collegiate representation. Prior to a meeting with Smith & James, a retail location in Greenville, Leah drops by FedEx to pick up the latest round of samples. This time, everything about them is wrong. “We didn’t know what we were going to do,” Leah says. “The shirts should have been in Friday, for this meeting with the retail shops.” Instead, Leah sells the ownership on their marketing, customer service, and overall vision. A verbal commitment to carry Coast Apparel in both Smith & James and Chelsea’s is made.
Day 27: Calls with the manufacturer continue, trying to improve embroidery for the logo for the 30th time. Leah also makes a point to contact some companies for promotional items and ideas—something she considers a “casual” marketing tool.
Day 29: Another retail location from Florence, S.C. calls, responding to the mailer. Just after setting up an appointment during the CMAC show, the Blue Mer from Myrtle Beach and The Men’s Store in Pawley’s Island also call regarding carrying the line.
Day 30: Tedious work fills today—everything from setting up accounting systems to dealing with too-high printing quotes on marketing materials. Leah also places a call to Peru for updates on samples for the CMAC show.
Day 32: Sales calls in follow-up to the mailers fill up today. Day 26: Leah explores a few ways to work with community programs in efforts to determine how to give back to the community. “From day one, I’ve always wanted to give back, but you have
Day 33: To help free up time during the CMAC show, Leah plans to meet with some interested retail locations beforehand to build the new relationships. Today’s meetings include stores in Hartsville, Pawley’s Island, and Florence.
Days 36-38: Four days before the CMAC show, and there are still no swatch cards to show the colors/fabrics to be used for the new line. Still, preparations continue for the show, in hopes that everything comes together.
Day 50: A meeting with Ed Moore, the operator of David Lindsey store in Greenwood. It proves valuable—COAST lands another location.
Day 51: Smith & James and Chelsea’s both formally agree to carry the COAST line in their stores in Greer.
Days 52- 54: A solid PR plan has turned valueable for COAST— articles run in the Coastal Observer, the Waccamaw Time, and the Sun News. Day 39: The day of set-up for the CMAC show, and swatch cards finally arrive from Peru. But because of the lateness of the delivery, Leah starts to work clipping the swatches into ½-inch squares in order to hand-build swatch cards. Now with blisters, they are soon greeted with mannequins, order forms, and folders. But the website is still not up— so hourly phone calls to the coastal-based marketing firm continue throughout the day.
Day 40: Banners and shirts arrive on the first day of the CMAC show. The team rushes to Charlotte to set up for the show immediately.
Day 41: While not many appointments had been made at this point, a lot of walk-ins generate a lot of interest in the COAST brand. The website goes live. Fortunately, having order forms available proved a good decision—COAST picks up full orders from 15 stores in Mississippi, N.C., S.C. and Georgia, all to ship immediately.
Day 55: As everything escalates within the brand, Leah decides to pack up her Greenville townhouse and move to Pawley’s Island to be closer to the main office and her partner. “Everything was becoming more and more difficult,” she says. “You’re in survival mode, so you’re willing to do anything it takes to make it easier.”
Day 59: With their first delivery of shirts from Peru pending, Leah drives to Pawley’s Island to prepare her business partner’s house to prepare areas for the delivery. Preparation begins for all the “little touches” necessary to make each order unique—including handwritten notes in each box.
Day 60: Delivery day, and 10,000 shirts are delivered to a garage in Pawley’s Island. Even with a background in shipping and receiving, Leah’s business partner underestimates the impact of the delivery. “The house is full of Winyah polos,” Leah says. “We can’t walk, can’t eat, can’t move. It is such a ‘Wow’ factor.”
Days 61-64: Now that the shirts are here, deliveries must be made. As shirts are unpacked and then repacked, Leah begins delivering and invoicing for the orders that have already come in.
Days 42-43: More walk-ins and appointments at the show prove valuable to the COAST brand.
Business Black Box
Days 65-68: More of the same, Blayne and Leah begin hand deliveries to locations all across the state of South Carolina.
Days 44-45: After driving back to Pawley’s Island to unload, work begins to update the website with the new retail locations. Follow-up is also made—shipping requested samples and making follow-up calls.
Day 71: After days of sleep, the team reorganizes and begins to concentrate on Customer Service processes and procedures.
75: Leah holds a meeting with Steve Poteet at M.H. Frank in Clemson to discuss the possibility of their support of the COAST brand.
Day 78: After a few days of moving Leah’s household, COAST sends out press releases to all media within the cities who now represent Coast Apparel in retail locations.
Day 80: The first order off of the website comes in, and the office is out of boxes. In order to make this one shipment, someone drives to Myrtle Beach to pick up packing and shipping materials.
Day 83: A new order is placed with the manufacturer to order more shirts, as the stock has been greatly depleted at this point.
Day 85: Two Georgia locations call to carry the COAST line in their stores.
Day 86: Although there are now three prospects for a sales rep for COAST, the team is not sold on any one person. So, Leah and the team continue to hold down sales, marketing, design, growth, shipping and receiving and customer service.
Day 89: Pierce & Parker holds a Winyah polo launch at the Greenville, S.C. location.
Day 99: As part of the newest expansion, COAST begins the search for College Enthusiasts. A meeting with two Clemson students— Jack and Jeff Johnson—is held; they will soon help promote the brand to college students at Clemson University. Additionally, Leah meets with Chris Peters, a Clemson alumni fundraiser, to help promote to another collegiate-based market.
Day 100: Three more stores agree to carry the COAST brand. Although Leah is frustrated (“We can’t maintain...something has to give!”), the brand’s legitimacy is proven more and more everyday.
Day 101: Quoting her mom, Leah says “Can’t never could!” Coast Apparel’s first phase has been more than successful, and more than stressful. Still, the outlook for the rest of the year is overwhelmingly positive, and the team is more than determined.
“We can’t walk, can’t eat, can’t move. It is such a ‘Wow’ factor.
Update: Less than one year after its launch, Coast Apparel can now be found in more than 80 locations in 12 states. After adding a third partner, Chad Odom, as well as two internal staff (one sales and customer service, and another as director of Collegiate promotions and Marketing), a PR representative, an art director, a copywriter and four sales representatives, COAST is projecting a profit, even at the end of its first year, in March 2010. Today, they are preparing for a January show—MRket in New York—where they will introduce their complete Fall 2010 line, adding wovens, pants and outerwear.
Business Black Box
Day 87: Already looking forward, discussions begin on the fall line—colors, design, and product expansion.
Day 92: Now up to 20 stores in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, COAST looks at running print ads to help boost the brand and aid their retailers in getting COAST off the ground.
Day 74: After beginning to search for an indirect sales rep to sell the COAST line, Blayne finds office space that can hold the growing business. A perfect start-up situation, the new office provides access to a conference room, and 144 square feet of space. Still, it’s overhead for a new business. Day
B O X 11 QUESTIONS
What was your first job? My first job ended up being at Goodyear Aerospace in Akron, Ohio, as a technical editor and writer, and I worked on the F14 trainer and training manual and maintenance manuals because Goodyear Aerospace made the flight simulators to train pilots to fly the F14 Fighter. The discipline was really in writing very simply, succinctly, and clearly.
How did you get involved in your line of work? While working for Roadway Express—traveling across the country—I got pregnant with my twins. My plan was to go back to work, but when I had the twins I decided to stay home for at least a year. I ended up having lunch with a friend of mine who also had twin boys really just to find out how she handled child care. And she was working at a college called Stark Technical College. She said to me, you know there’s a job open for director of marketing—I wonder if it would be something you’re interested in. I interviewed and was offered the job.
What are some of the skills you developed early that you’ve found to be beneficial or essential to your practices now? While working for Roadway Express I had to be able to communicate with a truck driver or dock worker as I was able to communicate with the president of the company. So during that period of time—the first 10 years of my career—I developed skills in communication, and I developed people skills: the interpersonal skills to be able to listen, understand and appreciate people and where they’re coming from.
Business Black Box
How do you strike a balance between your personal and professional lives? Poorly, especially over the last 5 weeks I’ve been here. I decided I was going to plunge right into the presidency over the last several days, trying to learn the college, the community and the people here, both on campus and off. My balance right now—I would say there is no balance: all work and no play and no personal life. Now having said that, I realize that’s not a good thing for a very long period of time. I think we’re better people if we have full lives. My goal is to develop more of a personal life over the next several months and years, but in the past where I’ve had more of a balance between the personal and professional, it’s very difficult—I think it’s something you work at on a regular basis. It’s an ongoing challenge.
What are some strategies you use to do so/keep yourself in check? I work out. I do pretty heavy duty aerobic Q1 2010
exercise. I run a couple times a week—three miles in the morning and/or do elliptical or something highly aerobic, usually elliptical and running on an alternative, everyday. It keeps my energy level up, and it keeps my energy level down—it keeps it moderated. I get hyper when I don’t.
What vision do you promote for your employees, and how do you get your employees to buy into or tap into that vision? It’s not necessarily just my vision, and I think that’s the key. One of the things I’ve had the fortune of doing is strategic planning and in that strategic planning, probably the most critical thing about it is creating a shared vision. The vision is something the college has to develop itself to serve the community.
If you could choose one principle or piece of knowledge you know now that you wish you had known early on in your career, what would that be? Probably the importance of listening and learning from others. That’s an evolutionary piece of information for me. I think early on I probably was afraid to listen and ask because when you’re younger you feel like you need to show people what you know. I think as we get seasoned we begin to appreciate that other people know a lot and can share that.
If you retired tomorrow and could change to any field except the one you are in now, what would you pick? I suppose back in a business field would be my nature. I’m very business-oriented. I believe it’s critical to have a business orientation, no matter what you do. So I suppose possibly into business.
What was your biggest failure as a professional? My biggest failure as a professional in general terms was when I didn’t accomplish something. Where I have not gotten where I wanted to be, I think I have failed to go back and find out why.
What did you do to recover from that failure? I try to understand and not take things personally, even if it’s a failure in a relationship. I think recovering from failure to achieve a goal means going back and understanding what went wrong.
How do you avoid similar failures today? I try to go into every situation as well-prepared as possible. I don’t know if you can over-prepare. But I also go being prepared to listen and learn because although you may think you have the answer, others may know more about the situation.
Business Black Box
Business Black Box
KIDBIZ BLACK B OX
business lessons learned from a game of monopoly by tony snipes
Tony Snipes is director of Redemption Marketplace Alliance, a Greenville-based entrepreneurship training program, where he utilizes a unique combination of years of leadership experience in the corporate arena with ministry experience in the community. Tony has spent over a decade as an internet publishing and advertising expert, helping clients for news media companies such as the Greenville News, The St. Petersburg Times, and News Channel 7 WSPA.Tony’s three daughters offer him a unique perspective that he brings to KidBiz.
.............................................................................. The key to teaching kids anything is to blend learning with fun. Finding teaching moments in everyday life can help you with introducing your child to the world of entrepreneurship. Like many of you, I grew up loving Monopoly, one of America’s favorite board games, and I wanted to introduce my daughters to the game so that they could share in the enjoyment. I discovered that not only would they share in the fun of the game, but that they would also learn concepts that are important to running their own businesses. Yes, we had a blast playing the game, but I also noticed my kids experienced a few business concepts during the fun:
4. Different Business Investments Can Have Different Kinds of Value.
Everyone always wants to own Boardwalk and Park Place because of their potential value. But they also learned that developing less expensive businesses (properties) that players would land on more frequently than on Boardwalk and Park Place proved to be wise moves.
5. The Art of Negotiation.
A big part of Monopoly is the art of negotiation. It is so interesting watching my kids’ attempts at negotiating each other and even negotiating with me to swing business deals. Introducing your kids to basic business lessons and letting them experience a snapshot of the world of entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as easy as playing your favorite boardgame.
1. Have Multiple Streams of Income Rather than a Paycheck Alone.
My daughters began to learn that although they’d get a “paycheck” each time they’d pass “Go,” it could be gone by the time they’d circle back. Having businesses (properties) that generated income was much better than living paycheck-topaycheck.
2. Always Keep Money on Hand.
Finally landing on that desired property and realizing that you didn’t have enough cash on hand was experienced during the game. That Chance card that has you pay for repairs on all the homes you have built taught the lesson of spending wisely and maintaining a cash reserve.
In Monopoly, the owners of property make money.The renters lose money. The game taught my daughters that conducting business caused their income to be larger than their outgo, making them “rich.” The opposite was not what they wanted.
ck a b d Fee m, advise andisit
Business Black Box
3. You Can’t Get Rich by Renting.
ou v stor iz. Brain in when y om/KidB c . h x ig we kBo eBlac Q1 2010 93 Insid
SUBSCRIPTIONS/GIVE A GIFT Annual Subscriptions are $16 and include four issues of Business Black Box, as well as one year of full access to Insideblackbox.com. Think someone you know would like to receive Business Black Box? A complimentary gift card will be sent with each order indicating who the gift is from and when the recipient will receive their first issue. If you have a question about your subscription, call us at (864) 281-1323, ext. 1010, or reach us via email at info@ insideblackbox.com.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS When contacting us about changing your address, please provide us with both the old and the new addresses, as well as any other informational changes. The post office will only forward Business Black Box for 60 days, so make sure you let us know as soon as you have your information ready.
BACK ISSUES When available, back issues of Business Black Box are available for $9 by mail or for $7 for pick-up through our office.
FREELANCE OPPORTUNITIES Local talent is what keeps us moving. If you’d like to write or photograph for Business Black Box, please contact the editor at email@example.com or by mail to Business Black Box, c/o Freelance Opportunities, 1200 Woodruff Rd., Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607.
REPRINT/PHOTO/VIDEO REQUESTS If you’d like to request a copy or a reprint of a photo or an article you’ve seen in Business Black Box, or of a Fly On The Wall video we’ve done for your event, please contact us for info and pricing at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to 1200 Woodruff Rd., Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607.
EVENT MANAGEMENT/ SPONSORSHIP Business Black Box hosts events monthly–from Business Connect networking held at local businesses to sponsoring events for other local organizations. If you’d like to find out more about hosting an event with Business Black Box, or about working with us to sponsor your event, please call our sales team at (864) 281-1323, ext. 1018, or email email@example.com.
Business Black Box
BUSINESS BLACK BOX IS
Business Black Box (Vol.2, Issue 1) is published four times per year by ShowCase Publishing, 1200 Woodruff Rd. Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607; phone (864) 281-1323; fax (864) 281-1310. Business Black Box is a registered trademark of ShowCase Publishing © 2010. Content may not be reproduced without written permission of Business Black Box. Excerpts may be reprinted, provided that credit is given to the author and to Business Black Box magazine., Q1 2010
Bynum Aesthetic Dentistry • drmattrocks.com • 30 Charter Business • charter-business.com • IBC Hilton Garden Inn • greenville.hgi.com • BC Imagine Center • imaginecenter.com • 51 Martin & Davis • martinanddavis.com • 92 Mobili • mobilifarmtabkes.com • 15 Nimlok • nimlok-greenville.com • 28 Pinnacle Bank • pinnaclebanksc.com • 20 SCBT • scbtonline.com • 2 SC Launch • sclaunch.org • 5 SCORE • thescoresportsradio.com • 94 Spartanburg Community College • sccsc.edu • IFC The Sugar Studio • sugarstudiosc.com • 12 Table 301 • table301.com • 1 Truth-Missionary Baptist Church • truthmissionary.com • 64 Water of Life • globalpebbleproject.com • 17 Weir Capital • weircapital.com • 7 Wolf Technology • wolftg.com • 83 WORD • newsradioword.com • 72 Zombie Data Recovery • zombiedatarecovery.com • 83
Business Black Box
B O X WHAT MATTERS
Business Black Box
uring the winter of 2008, while his wife lay sleeping peacefully at night, electrician Jamie Wilkie suffered from extreme allergic reactions. He tossed and turned night after night, suffering from an intense cough, swollen face, and troubled breathing. They turned their house upside down, scouring for mold and having the carpets cleaned—even going as far as to purchase an air purifier—all in an effort to relieve Wilkie from his symptoms. After two months of suffering and searching without answers, they discovered a crack in the heat exchange of their six-year-old furnace—so new it was still under warranty—leaking carbon monoxide into their home. Were it not for his reactions, the Wilkie family may have discovered the deadly leak too late. Following his personal experience with this silent poison, Wilkie determined to educate and protect not only his family, but his community as well. Until this point, he had not found a niche where he could serve as an active volunteer in his community, but his near death experience propelled him to make a difference. “It presents such a risk to the entire community, and no one knows anything about it,” he says. “Sixty-seven percent of homes in the U.S. have some sort of risk for carbon monoxide,” Wilkie says, emphasizing his concern that people are not aware of carbon monoxide being the number one cause of accidental poisoning in the United States. Now the president of the Greenville location of Mr. Sparky, Wilkie also owns his own franchisees in Anderson and Greenville. In an attempt to help protect other families, Wilkie created a new campaign: whenever technicians make house calls to check smoke detectors and replace batteries, they also use the visit as an opportunity to educate those who live there on the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to protect themselves from it, free of charge. Personally training personnel at Mr. Sparkys all across the U.S., Wilkie has taken the time to spread his message. He has also taken other opportunities to spread awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide, whether it be by hanging door fliers, mailing information to the community, speaking to local fire departments, or educating children. Instead of regarding his experience as a traumatic close call and seeing himself as a victim, Wilkie decided to turn it around and use it as a starting point to serve and protect the community through his own business. “Because it’s so personal, I think that if I stay focused on this I think I can eventually get our community’s education level way up on the risks that are presented,” he says. “I’m trying to turn one of the worst things that happened to me and make it one of the best things that happened to me.” Q1 2010
Q1 2010 issue of Business Black Box Magazine.