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Business Black Box

September/October 2009


Business Black Box


September/October 2009

Business Black Box

September/October 2009


Business Black Box


September/October 2009

Business Black Box

September/October 2009


SEPT09 every issue



Status Check: Missing Pieces

11 Questions with John Poole

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10 11 12 15 48 86 96


September/October 2009

101 Days: SC COM

the think tank


Big Picture: Imagine Center, Greenville, SC


33 47 57 65 77 84 88 91


Layers of Thought: Group Effort



The Measure of OUR Success... ...Is YOUR Trust.


Giving Upstate CEOs, executives, and investors access to potential

Investment Opportunities from around

the world.

Weir Capital’s Goal is to:

Call today.

(864) 967-9838

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• Help individual investors in striving to reach personal financial objectives • Make complicated financial decisions simple • Take only the necessary amount of risk to help clients reach goals • Give our clients access to relationships, opportunities, and products • Implement intelligent strategies that may help you preserve your principal and seek to multiply your assets

Securities offered through First Allied Securities, Inc. Broker/Dealer Member FINRA/SIPC. First Allied Securities is an Advanced Equities Company. September/October 2009 7

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.

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Editorial Assistant Contributing Writers

Jordana Megonigal Andrew Brandenburg Julie Godshall Brown Andy Coburn John DeWorken Lydia Dishman Todd Korahais Ravi Sastry Tony Snipes Alison Storm


That’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.

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BE 1/2 V


At the heart of every event, every blog, every magazine issue, and every documentary Business Black Box produces, you’ll find a relentless passion for connecting, advising and growing Upstate business.

Creative Director Art Director Graphic Design Traffic Coordinator Photography

Chad McMillan Lisa Worsham Chris Heuvel Beth Boos Cullie Marsh Conrad LaRosa Image to Impact

VIDEO & INTERACTIVE Interactive Video Services Director Video Assistants

Matt Cuyar Conrad LaRosa Jonathan Shuler Judah Cofer

BUSINESS Publisher Brand Strategist/Marketing Account Executives


Geoff Wasserman Chuck Hipsher Dana Ashmore Laney Frick Elizabeth Sheets Danny Shelton Melissa Sample

PRESENTING SPONSORS September/October 2009


Business Black Box

September/October 2009




I’m here at my youngest daughter’s orthodontic appointment, and stumbled onto your magazine. Wow! It has a great look and excellent articles. Glad to see Alison Storm handling your cover story. Just thought I’d send an email of congrats. What else do dads have to do while their daughters get their braces tweaked?

Tim Waller Reporter, WYFF News 4

I just wanted to let you know that I have been hearing great things about Black Box magazine. There were a lot of folks discussing the most important marketing tool during a recession in the “Power Tools” section. I just wanted to let you know that there is positive “buzz.”

Beth C. Waters, CFMP Vice President/Marketing Director, Greer State Bank

Business Black Box really is a quality magazine and I am looking forward to the next issue. Keep up the good work!

Business Black Box

Jil Littlejohn Director, YWCA


Finally got a chance to look at your new magazine. WOW! For a business magazine it was new, edgy, and brilliant. Congratulations! Hope you have more in your office. I shared it at a meeting and someone left with my only copy, and I wasn’t done reading it! Debbie Griffith-Brown CEO, Professional Network Connections

Black Box is not a sterile gauze pad like others I’ve seen.


Chuck Driskell President & CEO, B2B Media, Inc.

I just got back from vacation and found your new magazine on my desk. Looks great and gives the reader a very energizing and motivational experience. I wish you every success with it! Gregory C. Clark President, ERA Riverside

The 2nd issue looked great. Ya’ll should be very proud. Also great job at the Chamber Commerce Convention! I understand the Business Black Box marketing workshops had the most participants and great feedback from both your sessions. Brian A. Martin Martin & Davis, LLC

September/October 2009

Tweets from Tweeps Thought the article in Black Box was a good start at looking at what I think is a real interesting issue. Labor law firms scare the s*** out of their clients and preach not making commitments. According to this logic, commitments lead to potential liability. Commitments also lead to loyalty (reciprocal commitment). The workplace has become a dance between employers trying to avoid creating expectations and employees expecting nothing. Enjoyed the article. Good work. Nice looking magazine. Andy Arnold Attorney, W. Andrew Arnold, P.C.

Just saw Black Box… bravo! Black Box is not a sterile gauze pad like others I’ve seen. Congratulations on the tremendous achievement, and keep up the great work.

@SoutheasternInc: Love the magazine. It’s about time Greenville had a good business magazine. @sccounsel: Thanks for following. I just visited yr site and was very impressed. I will look for your mag in print. Good luck. @iambriangreen: @InsideBlackBox really like the look of the mag. @missdestructo: @InsideBlackBox Black Box needs some blue. It promotes honesty and makes people calm. Or just want yams. :P @lbstewart: @InsideBlackBox Reading my Inside Black Box and found my quote p.15! Great issue and you guys rock! @swagclub: just reread @InsideBlackBox issue #2 —this is a keeper! @missdestructo: I saw my quote in @InsideBlackBox Magazine right above Bill Gates. :P

Chuck Driskell President & CEO, B2B Media, Inc.

Let us know... Do you have ideas you’d like to see in Business Black Box? Send us your input through our website, by email to, or by mail to 1200 Woodruff Rd., Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607.


in our state’s capital has been a source of contention and turmoil that has threatened to divide even the most timid of South Carolina’s inhabitants. A little history lesson for you: the Japanese didn’t fight above ground.They fought almost entirely from beneath the ground. A major tactic of the Japanese army was to build a complicated series of tunnels stretching for some 16 miles with 1500+ rooms housing soldiers, rations, and ammunition. From below ground, the Japanese planned and executed attacks on the enemy. Similar to the Japanese strategy of fighting below ground, the battle over the Confederate flag has been waged much the same way–under the radar, quietly wreaking havoc on our state. It’s a battle that has divided people and kept us from true victory–unity. I’m competitive by nature. It’s one of the curses of being creative. But,

through the years, I’ve learned to accomplish great things by leading great people. It takes a group as a whole to succeed. You see, you have to build a team where each person is able to share his or her own perspective. Everyone sees just a small part of the end result. I have blind spots and, without others to help me see them, I could never accomplish much. Each facet of life is precious and the only way I can see and experience those other facets is to have different people around me with diverse talents and perspectives. I would challenge you to surround yourself with people that think differently than you do. Don’t just connect with people that see things your way. Yes, people are passionate about what they believe—but let passion drive you, not divide you.

Special thanks to all of our models who posed for this shot.They received 6-month subscriptions to Business Black Box along with gift certificates to Table 301.Thanks again! September/October 2009

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In this issue of Business Black Box, we touch on a subject that is both personal and controversial to many people in and around South Carolina. From the politicians in Columbia to the people on the front porch in every corridor of this state, the issue of the Confederate flag being displayed at the capitol building affects us all at different intensities and in different ways. The idea of the interior spread for this article came from the famous Iwo Jima Memorial portraying six soldiers erecting the American flag on a hill in Iwo Jima, Japan, during World War II. This image is known throughout the world as a symbol of the American spirit to defy all odds and overcome any obstacle. It’s also a symbol of our unified effort to band together toward a common goal in the name of liberty and freedom. However, the raising (or tearing down) of the Confederate flag





Business Black Box

hen I was a baby, I had a diaper bag that said,“A woman’s place is in the House...and the Senate.” Now guys, before you check out and dismiss this as feminist rhetoric, listen close: this letter is not gender specific. In fact, it very much includes you. That bag, and what it symbolized, was not my introduction to a bra-burning, feminist revolution. It wasn’t an invitation to “take the world back from men.” In fact, it was very much a symbol of freedom. Growing up, I was afforded the knowledge that I had the capability to be whatever I wanted to be—a U.S. Marine, a ballerina, a lawyer, a journalist or a stay-at-home mom (all of which—except for the stay-athome mom part—were actual stages of my life that my parents supported me through). Growing up, for me, wasn’t a matter of “can you?” it was a matter of “of course you can. How hard are you willing to work for it?” Now that I’m raising a daughter of my own, I find myself on the other side of that coin. How do I raise her to understand that she can be whatever she wants? How can I raise her to surpass the obstacles her gender will automatically bestow upon her, and to find her own voice early enough to make it matter? I found that, for me, the answer is in how I raise my son. It is just as important for me to teach my son that his sister is capable of anything, as it is for me to teach her personally. It is extremely important that he understand his place, as a man, as one of her peers in this world. It is just as important that he understand that her gender is something that will hinder her just as much as it will grow her. And it is highly important that he understand that he has the power to be one of the ones that either grows, or hinders, her and her peers. See, that diaper bag should have had a flip side—a disclaimer, per sé—stating that even though I may have the capacity to do whatever I wanted, it would be twice as hard for me to get there as my brother, and that I would face discrimination simply because I had that chromosomal difference. In addition to the bag stating my capacity for either “the House...or the Senate,” it should have said “Oh, and good luck with that.” At least, in South Carolina. For now. You see, South Carolina is, quite possibly, the worst state for female leadership. The statistics for our political placement, as well as our corporate and board leadership, are strangling. S.C. ranks 50th of all states for women in elected office. And for the first time in three decades, our state Senate has no women. Still, this is far less a discussion of our state’s need to “promote women,” and far more a discussion of our need to diversify. Don’t believe me? Consider this: women comprise one-half of the U.S. paid labor force and represent 45.9 percent of management, but only represent 15.4 percent of corporate officers. (The message given here is that women can manage, but we can’t lead.) Think that doesn’t matter? Okay...according to a 2007 Catalyst study of women on boards and commissions, Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women board directors attained significantly higher financial performance than those with the lowest representation of women board directors. *Thanks to the YWCA for this information. It’s been proven time and time again that diversity helps companies grow. Whether it’s expanding the knowledge base of the whole, reaching a whole new level of expereinces that a group can only reach when it has different experiences to share, or even the simple fact that men and women are built differently (mentally and emotionally, not just physically!) — ­ it has to be said that there is little argument against diversifying your team, and a lot to be said for it. So although I’m speaking about women here, this isn’t just about women. It’s about ensuring that you have a board diverse enough to take you places you’ve never been before. A move as simple as making your next board pick a little more targeted can actually help you build your business. And not just that—it can also allow you access to a point of view you’ve never had before. I challenge you to take a look at your own companies. How many women are on your board; your staff; your leadership team? Are you racially diverse? Generationally diverse? If not, take a deeper look at why not. You may be missing out. On a lot.


Editor, Business Black Box September/October 2009

Business Black Box

September/October 2009



New DOL Secretary Intensifies Enforcement of Labor Laws, including FLSA Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Signed into Law Dept of Labor Issues Model COBRA Subsidy Notices and Forms Fines for I-9 Violations Raised Calls for More Action Against Misclassifying Independent Contractors Reductions in Force Present One Gotcha after Another Employee Free Choice Act Would Apply to Small Businesses

What happens if you get ANY of these rules


Pending Legislation Would Mandate Seven Days Paid Sick Leave

To make sure you get it call

Business Black Box



Featuring HR Director On Call

SM | (864) 527-0490 Legal Compliance • Recruiting & Selection • Employee Relations • Compensation • Performance Management • Training September/October 2009


Takes The Cake

In this economy,when you’re trying to get a foot in the door, sometimes it pays to think bigger and better than the average jobseeker. We’ve seen a lot of creative introductions in our company, but this one takes the cake!

In 140 characters or less, give us your feedback...

The Q:

Last month, we received a handdelivered cake along with a resume and portfolio. But it wasn’t just any cake—the cover letter was printed on the icing!

@InsideBlackBox: 140 wds or less: Give us your feedback: What is the best interview you’ve ever been asked/have asked? (Use #BB140 to respond!)

We know this isn’t the newest technology or anything,but a few things caught our attention: 1) it was hand-delivered;2) it was delivered mid-afternoon; and, of course 3) it was innovative (and delicious!)

“I realized people are inundated with resumes— dozens every day—even if it doesn’t get me a job, at least people get some food out of the deal. I knew that, especially not being from the area, that I needed to stand out from the crowd.” Here’s what happened: everyone in our offices read that cover letter. Everyone had a snack and a little sugar rush.And a few of us made sure we contacted him immediately—even though we didn’t have a position available at the time, when we do, and we go back through our files, he will always stand out.

CRAZY S.C. LAWS: 1. When approaching a four way or blind intersection in a non-horse driven vehicle you must stop 100 ft from the intersection and discharge a firearm into the air to warn horse traffic. 2. A person must be eighteen years old to play a pinball machine.

@ritewords: I don’t get interviewed much, but I’ve got a question I like to ask: What question should I have asked you that I didn’t? Follow us on Twitter:

Although this jobseeker requested we keep his name quiet (for obvious reasons) he did tell us how he came up with the idea.

The A:

@hotspringers: Is there anything we haven’t covered you think is important to mention? @GilGerretsen: How do you feel when you make a mistake? What do you do? Also, when you are not busy at work, what do you do? @tjohn266: Here is our publication workflow [after explaining the process]. How can you make it better? @PresslyM: When can you start? @clhughey: At my last job my manager asked me what color my vehicle was. He said because he just never seems to get along with people who drive red cars. Sarah Lynne Howie (via Facebook): Tell me about a product that you LOVE. Why do love it? What makes it so much better than others like it? What would you do to make it better?

what Bill said... what we said...

key now the k ’t n o d key “I but the , s s e c c u to to s is trying to failure rybody.” ve y please e - Bill Cosb

“With your success, we’d like to see a list of all the people you ticked off!” - Business Black Box






The Gist: According to author Brian Golter, June (his boss of 20 years) completely changed his way of thinking and his outlook on life, for a job, that is. Golter tells his story of his experiences with June over the course of their relationship at an employment services company, and how what she taught him changed his vision of what careers could be. How it’s Written: Small chapters of different job seekers’ stories, intertwined with the author’s personal account of his relationship with June.Very easy read. Great if: You are searching for a job, unfulfilled by life, or want to better understand how your job can be more than just another step on a corporate ladder. Don’t miss: Take this from June: learn to appreciate and communicate with the negativity in people. If you face your weaknesses, you discover your hidden courage and passion in life.

Business Black Box

Cool point: According to June,“the goal is to get your career to a point where your responsibilities match your intellectual capabilities.”


Our Read: Interesting, especially if you’re interested in finding a job where you truly belong, or even just looking to get a new perspective on the job you have.

September/October 2009

U.C.A.N.: Investing in Entrepreneurial Ventures Lots more to see at

Between the Pages

What we read: “Your Right Job Right Now,” by Brian Golter

Panel of members Matt Dunbar, Tom Govreau, JB Holeman, Tim Reed, Mike Smith, Sydney Timmons Taylor and Peter Waldschmidt

Questions addressed: 1. 2. 3. 4.

What is angel investing & how does it fit in world of entrepreneurial finance? What is UCAN & how does it work? What kinds of companies are good candidates for UCAN investments? What is the value of UCAN to investors & how do I get involved?

*To hear the the answers to these questions go to

Stupid Banking Tricks and How to Avoid Them with Gil Gerretsen

About the program: Times have changed. Deserving loans need to be made. But commercial lenders cannot afford to make mistakes! This special program by Gil Gerretsen (BizTrek International, Inc.) is not for the weak-hearted. Gil will rattle your core assumptions and shatter your paradigms about what to look for when evaluating a small business loan application. But in the process, Gil will introduce practical tools for evaluating and helping small business owners through the new lending environment while still protecting the bank’s investment. *Hear it for yourself. Go to

Business Black Box Spotlight: BALANCE Personal & Family Errands & Assistance

Personal and family errands and assistance for the essential needs of work and home. It’s good for business, too. Focused on job, networking, momentum? What basic chores in your life diminish these things? Outsource just a few of them and you’ll gain back some valuable time. I’m interested in knowing your comments and questions.


Get Connected: Connect with other business owners and tons of potential customers. Submit your business to our online directory for free at

Business Black Box

September/October 2009




10 Tips: 5.

Let’s be honest. Not to spread more doom and gloom, but for the time being, with the economy in its current state, one of the prime concerns for working Americans is job security. Here are 10 tips with the potential to make you more invaluable to your employer. And, yes, some of them are obvious. That doesn’t stop some people from being ignorant to them, though.

Go above and beyond the call. Sure, it’s not always easy, but if you do more than what’s expected of you, two things will happen: someone’s guaranteed to notice, since they won’t be doing what you’ve just done, and you’ll be likely to be given more responsibility once you’ve proven yourself reliable.

4. Look for ways to set yourself apart from your coworkers. No one wants to be the black sheep of the fold, but when your boss looks over the masses, wouldn’t you like to stick out? Just make sure you stick out because you’re better somehow, not worse.

10. Be socially aware. Certain things (i.e. actions, conversations, etc.) aren’t always appropriate in a work context. Some things are never appropriate. Judge actively and carefully.

6. Pick your battles. Because arguments over who jammed the printer 1. Do what you’re told, when you’re or whether or the next case of creamer told to do it, exactly how you’re told to should be vanilla rather than original do so. Duh. just show everyone else how trivial your cares really are. 2. Brand yourself. Any way you can make your work unique and special— 7. Meet deadlines. That’s what’s and preferably more desirable to your expected. If it’s not possible, let your clients—can solidify your position. If supervisor know before it’s due. clients are telling your boss, “But, so-andso does it this way, and that’s how I like it,” 8. Keep communication channels you’ve probably made yourself an asset to open. Openly communicating with your company. your boss will accomplish much more than can fit in one or two sentences, but, 3. Take pride in what you do. This for starters, it can help solve problems is your work we’re talking about. If you earlier and more easily and will help don’t take pride in it, who else will? This reduce situational ambiguity. isn’t license (or recommendation) to be a pompous jerk. But taking pride in 9. Don’t be LATE. No one likes something will automatically encourage waiting on others, and, chances are, if you to do a better job—after all, it’s your you’re not the CEO, you don’t have that name going on your work. luxury anyway.


• KEMET will receive a federal grant for $15.1 million to enable the company to develop green technologies.

Make Yourself Invaluable to Your Employer

Latest News Faculty at USC Upstate held a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of their newest residence facility, Magnolia House, which will bring with it 352 additional students living on campus. • Michelin announced their a new program to support education. The company will offer aid to public elementary schools located in communities where Michelin facilities are present. • USC’s Darla Moore School of Business exceeded its fundraising challenge goal of $30 million—a goal proposed by philanthropist and University Trustee Darla Moore, who donated $45 million and challenged the school to raise $30 million within a five-year timeframe in order to facilitate continued growth and renewal. • Non-profit collaborative Greenville Works announced plans to help advance the region’s next-generation labor force. The plans will primarily revolve around analyzing feedback from local businesses in order to develop local education and better equip students and adults for their careers. • FUJIFILM U.S.A. announced plans to make their primary U.S. manufacturing and distribution complex, located in Greenwood, S.C., the location for their new, ground-breaking operation providing digital print services and fulfillment. • Fortune Small Business magazine listed Span-America Medical Systems, Inc. in its list of America’s 100 fastest-growing small public companies. Span-America, whose corporate headquarters and principal manufacturing facility is located in Greenville, S.C., was ranked 78th based on the its stock performance, earnings and revenue growth over the past three years. • Bon Secours St. Francis Health System announced the addition of The Institute for Chronic Health at their Millenium campus. The institute will focus on prevention, detection and treatment of chronic health issues such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Business Black Box

September/October 2009




Calendar biz

what’s happening?

Here are just a couple of things going on around the Upstate for business owners, networkers, or entrepreneurs.

• WHAT - Industry Appreciation Tent Party • WHEN - Thurs., Sept. 24, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. • WHERE - Hartness Estate, Smith Road Entrance • DETAILS- The 12th annual Industry Appreciation Tent Party is held in honor of manufacturers who choose Greenville as the place to locate and grow their business. The Tent Party also raises money to fund a scholarship in advanced manufacturing at Greenville Tech. Please join us as we honor our manufacturing community.

• WHAT - Gain Momentum Business Expo • WHEN - Thurs., Oct. 22, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. • WHERE - Anderson Civic Center • DETAILS- The Gain Momentum Business Expo, presented by Greenville Office Supply, will be held Thursday, October 22 from 1 pm - 7 pm at the Anderson Civic Center. Doorprizes and giveaways will be present at the Expo in addition to 3 speakers throughout the day. This is an excellent networking opportunity!

Get connected by listing your event for FREE on our Business Black Box master business calendar:


Simply fill out the form and we’ll get your event posted to the calendar.

Reported Internet Usage for Individuals 3 Years and Older, by State: 2007

56.6 59.5

58.4 61.2

62.3 66.2 57.8




Cost to attend is $35 for Greenville Chamber members and $50 for non-members.

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• WHAT - A World Class Evening • WHEN - Fri., Oct. 2, from 7 p.m • WHERE - The home of Bill and Anne Masters • DETAILS- Join us for the 3rd annual International Gala to benefit the International Center of the Upstate. Enjoy delicious food and beverages from Europe, Asia and Africa while being entertained by musicians and performers representing cultures from around the world.


Tickets are $60 for ICU Members and $75 for Non-Members. Note: ticket prices increase on September 15.

September/October 2009

# in thousands U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, November 2007.

what Mark said...

“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them. ” - Mark Twain

what we said...

follow Mark “You can rkTwain. Twitter­—@Ma on , he doesn’t Unfortunately anymore.” retweet much k Box - Business Blac



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In your opinion,what is the single thing that Upstate businesses need the most?


Whether it is more political representation, more social organizations, or better continuing education courses, surely there’s something to improve upon. In your words, what is the most important piece of the puzzle?

September/October 2009

I think Greenville businesses could use some Listening skills! More and more I have decided to visit locallyeconomic stimulus. Backing off on employer tax rates would be owned companies as much as I can, due in part to the fact that they a start. I think there should be an additional benefit to local businesses who can’t get the big tax cuts that we gave to companies like BMW. As far as real local business, downtown Greenville needs to learn how to use an even hand. Some businesses get preferential treatment,which puts off the rest of the business owners. As a consumer, I tend to shop less downtown than I used to because of the ridiculous parking situation. I will not pay $5 to park my car so I can spend money in downtown. Downtown should be encouraging people to shop downtown, not charging them for the “privilege” of shopping there. MaryEllen Anderson Operations Manager, Sikora & Associates, Inc.

Good question but it really depends on the business, I guess. If it’s retail, then more traffic and in turn, customers. If it’s a

service-based business, then more clients. If it’s a startup—more encouragement and solid business plan development. From my experience, and seeing other businesses start and fail (been on both sides of that fence) I think too many people jump into something without realizing the true costs of doing business. Need more exposure for these small and upcoming businesses. Especially those that have some cool technology or products. Give them the PR they need to help propel them forward!

have listening skills and pay attention to their customers. Just this month I opened new business and personal accounts with Carolina First, because Bank of America has some major communications issues. Another good example is Charter. Everyone always talks about how bad their service is. Well, I moved downtown a few months ago and Charter has the best internet speeds available to me. I decided to give them a try and really liked them for the first week. The second week I had some service issues and Tweeted about the problems. Quickly someone from Charter replied and had the service issues fixed. Now even when their service goes out on occasion I know they are at least listening, something that AT&T doesn’t do very well. …A social organization that pushes local business would be nice, too. James Akers Owner, Akers, Bartlett, & Co. - RE/Max Foothills

I have heard about a few businesses who seem to be sailing through

this recession, but if you are in a construction-related field like mine (architecture), you are hurting. The conditions that have lead to dwindling investment in construction are clearly very complex, so forgive me for oversimplifying. For our business to rebound, we need to see two things: an increase in consumer confidence leading to large contributions to notfor-profits, and banks willing to lend money to developers for projects. Both of these conditions are clearly tied to the recession, so to put it in a phrase: we need for the recession to be over!

have “We to think

and act differently.

What are we missing? Hope.

C.S. Lewis said there are only two kinds of people—sinners with hope, and sinners without hope. I would say the same for businesses—all business have our issues, or ‘sins’, but we all have gotta have hope. We all could adjust to the changed market conditions, change our processes, adjust staffing and improve our skill sets, but we cannot just ball up and wait it out in despair. Those ‘despair balls’ are gonna wake up to a changed world, and they will perish without hope. And if you are in a hopeless, price only, RFP heavy, commodity-only model, change it or leave it—you do not have to do what you are currently doing. Ya gotta have hope, so keep your chins up, friends! P.S.—our state motto, ‘Dum spiro spero’ means “While I breathe, I hope.” Let’s remember that.

I believe most companies need new or upgraded Trade Show Display components. Some may need to refresh their office or lobby environment with decor. Especially if they can get great quality products and excellent customer service at very competitive pricing, right here in Greenville! James Hunter President, Dynamic Exhibits

Joel Van Dyke Partner, Freeman & Major Architects

What is the single thing that Upstate businesses need the most? They need to discover how to think and act differently. They need to learn new skills. This time period is a massive economic realignment. Some things and skills are increasing in value and some are decreasing in value. In time, people will see that this period was the equivalent of an economic earthquake (in a good way, I think). The way people do business is shifting rapidly as our population comes to grips with the reality that they are ill-prepared to weather future changes. The Internet has changed the way people communicate and connect. Business owners need to expand their skills to integrate what is coming down the pike.We may be only a few years away from an environment where traditional advertising venues no longer even exist. New ones will pop up and change how we interact even more. So...we need a local Think Tank.A place for business owners to grab a cup of coffee and challenge each other.Whether it’s retail or business to business, we need to start thinking—and talking—and exploring. Gil Gerretsen President, BizTrek International, Inc.

Business Black Box

Kamran Popkin Creative Director, Promotional Authority

Allen Vailliencourt Vice President, Programs, Upstate Chapter Help Desk Institute

Join the discussion! Join our group— Business Black Box—on LinkedIn to give us your feedback on this and many other subjects! 23

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September/October 2009

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September/October 2009


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September/October 2009

by Lydia Dishman

Business Black Box

September/October 2009


White-steepled churches and charming shop fronts line quaint thoroughfares. Meandering rock walls separate broad properties and small subdivisions give way to the vast stretches of undeveloped woodlands of Sumter National Forest and the banks of the Broad River. For many of the nearly 30,000 people who live here, Yellow Jackets football is a bigger deal than the NFL and the annual county fair—complete with livestock shows, horticulture exhibits, and a midway filled with lit-up rides and the undeniable fragrance of fried dough and cotton candy—is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Though it’s halfway between New York City and New Orleans and only an hour’s drive from Charlotte, Greenville, or Columbia,

such as Dollar General and Disney catalog distribution centers,

Union County might as well be a world away.

along with four Milliken plants and a Timken industrial bearings

At the center of this idyll is a hometown girl on a mission. But you won’t find her sitting on her porch sipping sweet tea. Packing

Powell-Baker says she’s working closely with the Upstate Alliance, especially as they complete their recent study-in-progress

Baker, born and raised in Lockhart, was recently named director of

to pinpoint future industries to target. Hal Johnson, president and

the county’s economic development board, and is poised to take

CEO of the Upstate Alliance, is eager to work with her. “It is great having Andrena on the Upstate S.C. team in selling

technology to attract industry to position it as an economic engine

this 10-county region to the world,” Johnson says. “She brings a

for the Upstate.

unique perspective to Union’s economic development strategy, both

on the recruitment and existing industry support side, which will

My goal is to create a strategic marketing and business plan for Union that will outline what we want in the future.

Business Black Box

manufacturing facility, among others.

a 30-year wallop of professional experience, Andrena Powell-

Union’s long-standing small town traditions and blend them with


The county is already home to a number of sizable businesses,

Taking over from Stanley Vanderford, who is retiring after nine

aid in our joint efforts to differentiate this dot on the map from others around the world” Experience working with Fortune 500 companies in the financial, restaurant, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, healthcare, energy, and retail market sectors to manage training and business development has taught her the importance of collaboration. Still, she also believes her office needs to pull its own weight. “We need to create and manage our own marketing plan. We can’t rely on [the Upstate Alliance and the S.C. Department of

years on the job, she’ll begin with the basics. “My goal is to create

Commerce] to drive sales. We will do our own prospecting and

a strategic marketing and business plan for Union that will outline

recruiting, and follow up right here.”

what we want in the future. It is also really important to develop

At a time when companies are doing more tire-kicking than

relationships at all levels to make sure that plan is carried out,”

signing contracts for facility expansions, Powell-Baker remains

declares Powell-Baker.

relatively unfazed. “Yes it is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity.”

September/October 2009

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September/October 2009


And, she’s willing to wager that the future of Union will hold traces of its past. “If I had to say which types of businesses we would go after, one would be manufacturing. But it will be different kind. We’ve been heavy in textile and that is not our bread and butter any more. I think it is critical to do more with healthcare and advanced materials—even alternative energy,” she says, noting that OSAGE Bioenergy just announced they would locate in Union.

Since I was a kid, I was always the one who was willing to jump out and take the risk.

“They use barley instead of corn to produce ethanol.You’ve got to think that it has to come from somewhere.” She muses, “We have a lot of folks with property. Perhaps we may improve our economic development through agriculture again.” She pauses for a moment to consider the irony of old-line industry marrying 21st century technology, then ties it into the importance of communicating with the citizens. Keeping in touch with constituents, regardless of which industry might be knocking on their door, means exploring social media channels. Powell-Baker acknowledges she keeps in touch with friends and associates across the country through Facebook. Those relationships forged at her previous jobs could lead to business opportunities for Union, and she’s not opposed to exploring that option. “It is uncharted territory, but when you mention being the pioneer of anything, I just raise my hand,” she says with a hearty laugh. “Since I was a kid, I was always the one who was willing to jump out and take the risk.” Business Black Box

As the eldest of four children, Powell-Baker credits her parents­—also life-long residents of Union’s environs—for their example (her father was an entrepreneur and freedom fighter in the 1960s) and firm base of support. Indeed, whether she was working at Spartanburg Technical College or most recently as an executive business consultant Amplify, based in Tampa, 30

September/October 2009 July/August 2009

MajorManufacturing Employers

Fla., Powell-Baker admits she’s never truly left Union. “We made a choice for our family because we love Union,” she says, explaining that her husband commutes to his job at BMW where he is a production associate and she, beginning in 1998, became a pioneer telecommuter. “I did travel extensively, working with professionals


across the country and internationally.” Powell-Baker says she could have never done it without the help and support of her parents and extended family who often took over childcare duties for her daughter when she was on the road. “It does take a village,” she says.

The best part of every trip was coming home.

Milliken (5 plants) Dollar General Distribution Center Disney Distribution Center Carlisle Finishing Timken USA CPE - Consumer Products Enterprises

Major Product

Fabrics Distribution Distribution for Catalog Marketing Finishing cotton fabric Anit-friction roller bearings Felts

Source: Union County Development Board and SC Appalachian Council of Governments

Labor Force

Spending time in other cities only cemented her desire to stay in

Union County Average Monthly Employment by Industry Group (2005)

Union.“The best part of every trip was coming home,” she recalls.“I love going to the store and seeing lots of people I know, or going out of my house and talking to my neighbors. My husband and I both liked the fact that this is a great place to raise our daughter.” Powell-Baker’s daughter was an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree; 19-year old Taylor just finished her freshman year at Winthrop. “We have a legacy there for sure. I am a graduate, my mom went there for her master’s degree, and my dad got his undergraduate degree the year they went co-ed.” She laughs again remembering the moment she stumbled across Union’s economic development director position listed in a national job search Web site.“I had been traveling so much I didn’t know what work was available in town. I just sent in my resume.” It may have been one of the few instances of an online lead turning into a real offer. But with her broad experience, she quickly rose to the top of the heap. Search committee chairman Les Anderson says Powell-Baker had the qualities the committee was looking for in a new director and “She has a love for Union County in her heart and mind and a burning

Industry Description

Average Monthly Employment

Natural Resources and Mining Construction Manufacturing Wholesale Trade Retail Trade Transportation & Warehousing Utilities Information Financial Activities Professional & Business Services Education and Health Services Leisure and Hospitality Other Services Total Government

121 214 2,471 128 881 30 50 45 312 659 381 618 139 2,015

desire to see this county improve economically.”

Source: 2005 Covered Employment and Wages (Annual Average), SC Employment Security Commission

“This is my home. I only want the best

Union 1%

for Union,” she says modestly. What

Rest of Upstate 23%

male-centric business? She says simply, “I don’t see it as a challenge.” She will say this though, “There is nothing quick about economic development. You have to be patient and you have to be diligent.”

Rest of S.C. 77%

Population (2006)

Union County - 28,306 Upstate Region - 1,297,943* South Carolina - 4,321,249

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about being female in a traditionally

*10 County Upstate South Carolina Region September/October 2009 July/August 2009


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Business Black Box

- Joseph Montgomery, CPA


Greenville: 864-233-6915 • Powdersville: 864-335-4804 September/October 2009


consistently communicating your value proposition 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.


by todd korahais

communication are consistent, you will be viewed as a professional in your field. Slightly more important than consistency is making sure that the message you’re communicating is valuable to your target audience. The only way to know this is by either picking up the phone and asking them or meeting with them and asking in person. For example, most people who buy a Volvo don’t ask about the horsepower—they’re interested in safety ratings. The question is this: are you marketing your “horsepower” to a client base who’s primarily interested in your “safety rating?” The difference between deleted spam and an email you read (or if you’re old school like me, deleted junk mail versus an envelope you open) is either knowing the sender or believing the content to be valuable. So communicating valuable information about your product or service to your target market whom you have a personal relationship with almost guarantees that your information will be read, unlike the messages from a sales person whom they may find annoying. This concept is called PUSH versus PULL: consistent communication to a target market that finds your information valuable pulls them in, and makes them want to do business with you. Unfortunately, all too often, sales people simply cold-call and push for an outcome and wind up pushing potential clients or potential additions to a referral base away (because if you establish a relationship, those people who don’t buy may still refer you to others). The Sales Cycle has three phases: Phase 1 has three steps, which were addressed in my last column and are listed above. Phase 2 also has three steps: Consistently communicate to build relationships, make sure your message is valuable to your target market, and pull—never push. Notice I haven’t mentioned a sales appointment yet— that will be the focal point of my next column.

ck a b d Feestorm, adviseouanvdisit

y s. Brain when .com/Sale in h ig x we Bo Black Inside

September/October 2009

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In my last column we touched on three major points necessary to complete the sales cycle. They were: being able to clearly articulate your “Unique Value Proposition;” establishing a brand that supports and communicates that value proposition; and carving out a position in the marketplace where consumers find your product or services uniquely valuable. Those three key items must be crystal clear in your mind before you can begin to consistently communicate them to your target market, let alone go on any sales calls. This is where many sales people make their lives more difficult— by trying to get sales appointments before addressing those three items. Consistent communication to your target market can include television commercials, radio spots, magazine ads, or direct mail. However, the most effective method is to build relationships (personal wherever possible). Remember, people do business with people, not organizations. And the most powerful force in the business community is always a personal relationship. Once you’ve identified your target market, how often do they hear from you? And is what they’re hearing from you valuable to them? The first facet of consistent communication is making sure it’s actually consistent. Is it monthly? Weekly? Quarterly? Annually? Most sales people are hard-working and honest— the problem is they tend to be undisciplined. Consistent communication of your “Unique Value Proposition” means taking a disciplined approach to defining your brand in the minds of a specific target market. If your brand and the quality of and frequency of your




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September/October 2009

Watch the full interview at


oland Bergeron has spent his entire career using his engineering skills to find solutions to problems. Whether it’s been in the coal mines of West Virginia or the power plants of Houston, computer manufacturing, or finally, as owner of Bergeron Builders, a custom upscale home builder in Greenville, he says challenge and change has never bothered him. “I don’t think I ever had a clear path, it continues to change. But I’ve been the happiest in my profession working for myself.” Then a seismic shift occurred for the self-professed Type “A” entrepreneur, who spent the first 50 years of his life not being a Christian. He found God in 2000 and discovered something else that surprised him. “That change was God-produced. We can’t truly change our lives by ourselves. I realized I had to stop relying on myself and start relying on God.” Still, it wasn’t always easy to let go, even for a person who claims to be good at rolling with the punches. At first, Bergeron confesses, he resisted going out of the country on mission trips with Brookwood Church. Then, he got “a very strong calling” to go to Honduras. He relented, and Water of Life was born. After working on several water ministry projects there, Bergeron felt as though he could keep doing that indefinitely. Water of Life soon started sending mission teams into different countries across the globe. While Bergeron, as executive director, didn’t make each trip personally, he reviewed proposals from all nations. One came from Liberia in 2004. Bergeron admits he never had any interest in going to Africa and cautions others, laughing, “The place you say you won’t go is exactly where God is going to take you.” One thing led to another and soon, Bergeron and another group of volunteers went to dig wells in Liberia. Throughout these projects, Bergeron’s knowledge of the technical points, especially in metallurgical engineering and hydrology, was helpful. His leadership skills enabled him to take people who had never been on a plane before off to Africa to help dig wells and spread the gospel. Though he says modestly, “It is just another problem to be figured out,” Bergeron was also responsible for catching the eye of the president of Liberia and eventually, through Water of Life’s good works and his business connections, was able to bring her to Greenville on April 13, 2009. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf officially kicked off the Global Pebble Project, a Water of Life initiative to help raise awareness and support for building wells and bringing fresh water to people in places around the globe, with nearly 1,000 people in attendance. Bergeron acknowledges that clean water is important to sustain the people in these countries, but he believes they thirst for more. “We are there to dig wells and spread the gospel.” Profile by Lydia Dishman


B.S. in Metalurgical Engineering from Michigan Tech


Worked in coal mines of southern West Virginia as an engineer


Dresser Industrial Equipment


Coal fired power plant in Houston


Digital Equipment Computer Manufacturing


Started Bergeron homebuilding


Full-time home builder


Water of Life Founder, President and Executive Director

On Liberia (from World Health Organization) Total population Gross national income per capita (PPP international $) Life expectancy at birth m/f (years) Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2003) Probability of dying under the age of five (per 1,000 live births) Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years of age m/f (per 1,000 population)

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3,579,000 260 43/46 34/37 235 498/415

A Comprehensive Food Security and Nutrition Survey reported that 68 percent of people across Liberia rely on untreated wells, rivers, ponds, creeks and swamps for drinking water. September/October 2009


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September/October 2009

-by Jordana Megonigal

The following pages may contain information that will anger, offend, or disgust you.

We're printing it anyway. Because here’s the deal: although this topic is a difficult one to cover—emotionally, mentally and physically—it is one that we feel needs to be addressed. It’s a topic that everyone has an opinion on. It’s a topic that many want to forget about. But it’s one that is affecting—along with many other factors—the economy of our state. This isn’t a question about right-or-wrong or black-or-white; that’s been done before and the debate will continue on for years to come. This is a question of whether or not your business—and ours—is losing money. This is a question we and many others, are asking: how much financial and economic stake should we put into something so simple (yet so complex) as...

...a flag? Business Black Box

September/October 2009


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September/October 2009


On July 1, 2000, flanked by thousands of lookers-on, the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina Statehouse dome by two Citadel cadets. In ceremonious display, it was then raised behind a Confederate memorial on the Statehouse grounds, marking the end of a long, tumultuous fight that had been waged for years.

( at least, that was what we thought. ) Although many debate the timing of this event, how long it was in coming, how often or how intense the arguments became, or even what this flag should be called—one thing cannot be debated, and that is how personal and heartfelt both sides of the debate are about their beliefs. For some, the flag represents racism, inequality or ignorance. For others, it represents is one of state’s rights (a topic that embeds itself continually in South Carolinian history, and wakes up constantly— even as recently as Gov. Sanford’s fight to keep from accepting federal stimulus funds.) But further from the complex arguments of what this flag invokes, and where it belongs is a question far more basic, far more overlooked, and quite possibly, far more detrimental to the state as a whole: What is this flag costing South Carolina?

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Throughout the latter part of the 20th century, there are numerous records of legislative resolutions and proposals related to the removal of the Confederate flag from the dome—most of which ended quietly in various stages. As early as 1994, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took a formal stand on the flag. In May, NAACP chairman William Gibson threatened economic sanctions against the state; in July, records place approximately 3,000 people in Myrtle Beach protesting its placement atop the Statehouse and calling for its removal by Labor Day. Or else, they threatened, they would bring a nationwide economic boycott to the state. For those legislators in office at that time, however, everything was less clear cut. Even after a subsequent proposal by Gov. Beasley in 1996, it was a topic that no one wanted to take on—and one that didn’t truly garner their full attention until 1999, when an actual boycott was issued. After that, the tide turned quickly. What began in fall of 1999 as a legislative session where few legislators were for removing the flag from the dome, ended in May 2000 with a vote confirming its removal. Added to the timing of the boycotts was the fact that because of the 2000 Presidential primary, where S.C. held the spot as the first Republican primary in the South, a national focus was thrust upon the state with a force that was overwhelming.

September/October 2009

“I can remember getting up one morning in January [2000] in my hotel room in Columbia and turning on NBC and seeing the dome with the flag,” David Wilkins, then-Speaker of the House ( and more recently, U.S. Ambassador to Canada) says. “[The flag] was spotlighted as the number one news story on the morning news.” Along with that national spotlight came intense scrutiny and debate. “It became a part of the campaign in S.C. Both candidates were asked what was their position on the flag; should the legislation bring it down or should it remain,” Wilkins says. “It was very divisive—everybody seemed to have an opinion.” But along with the public discussion came a movement within the legislature, championed, at least in part, by Wilkins.

"People were in the national scene depicting us as something we weren’t and we were not being portrayed as the state we really were. By us not taking action we were allowing them to define us." “I felt like it was time that we needed to take a very positive step; we had allowed this issue to define us a state,” he says. “People were in the national scene depicting us as something we weren’t and we were not being portrayed as the state we really were. By us not taking action we were allowing them to define us.” But in the beginning, it was still an untouchable subject. Only a handful of House representatives at that time were supportive of taking the flag off of the dome. Adding to the chaos were the varying degrees of support—leave it up, bring it down and place it in a museum, place it on Statehouse grounds, or even complete a “parade” of flags. “I always marvel at the fact that you can change the public code of South Carolina and have a bill that is a thousand pages long and you get up and say ‘this modernizes the public code’ and you can get a few questions about it, but most people don’t understand and it passes,” Wilkins says. “On the other hand, this was very simple. Either the flag continues to fly atop the dome in Columbia, or you were not for it. But everybody had an opinion. Most of it was very emotional.” For Wilkins, and for others, the question of removal was far

simpler than what it represented—it was one of whether or not it truly belonged on the Statehouse dome. “There was no way to continue to justify it,” he says. “The flag has different meanings to different people, and they all have legitimate arguments and they all have very strong feelings and we ought to be respectful of that. But when you have a flag flying over your statehouse, it really becomes a question of sovereignty.” What followed during that legislative session was a man-by-man turnover of the legislature, one that resulted in personal attacks on and threats to Wilkins and his family, but ultimately, in the agreement that the flag be removed from the dome and placed on Statehouse grounds, just alongside a memorial of the Confederate solders of South Carolina. Still, the memory is one that will always remain with Wilkins as “the most divisive, toughest issue that I faced as a speaker of the house in my 11 years. “Ten years before we passed it, had anybody in the House tried to bring that up, they would have said that there is no way it would be passed. Ten years later you bring it down and put it in a monument. It doesn’t shock me that it comes back up.”




So the question must then, be asked: Do these boycotts and bans truly inflict a financial or economic punishment upon South Carolina? Or, are they ineffective? Now, if one looks directly (and only at) state tourism revenues over the past years, it would seem not. In fact, South Carolina tourism boasts an average yearly increase of 4.7 percent in reflected tourism revenue across the state.And although those annual increases range from 1.7 percent (from 1990 to 1991) to 9.2 percent (from 2004 to 2005), one thing must be noticed, and that is from 2000 to 2001—the year the flag came off the dome—there was a decrease in tourism revenue to the tune of .7 percent. Although the number may seem completely insignificant, it is important to note, as it was the only year since 1990 that any decrease in tourism dollars has been recorded. Still, there are many who doubt that there is any continuing impact from such bans. One such group is the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who on May 27, 2009, released a statement applauding the ACC for “bolting the boycott imposed by the NCAA,” when the ACC awarded the 2011–2013 baseball championships to Myrtle Beach. "’The news that the Atlanta Coast Conference (ACC) has determined to bolt the boycott imposed by the NCAA at the behest of the NAACP is welcome news, not only to the ACC fans and supporters, but to fairness in college athletics throughout the nation.’ Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander-in-Chief, Chuck McMichael said.” The statement goes on to describe the NAACP boycott and the ACC ban as “dismal failures,” according to those same tourism revenue increases. McMichael then calls the program the “rankest form of discrimination,” and calls for other conferences to follow suit.



(Day trips and overnight trips combined)


Entertainment Outdoor Recreation Personal Business Other Pleasure/Personal *provided by S.C. Department of Tourism

September/October 2009

Business Black Box

What began as individual voices rising together in protest eventually became a topic that would rattle the state—and continues to be a source of pride, pain, irritation, confusion or discomfort to this day. Although many decry it as political or financial in nature (questions arise as to whether or not it is a popular claim to help the organization in its fundraising efforts nationally), the NAACP’s action of implementing the boycott must be seen for what it truly was—a true catalyst in the discussions that forced the debate to a head. But what was once the NAACP’s initial demand—removing the flag from the dome—over time grew to include the removal of the flag from all public property, and eventually, to place it in a museum. Claiming that it was placed in another position of sovreignity, and that it was more visible after its move, the NAACP decided to continue its boycott of South Carolina. “The initial message was, I believe, ‘take it off the dome,’” says Paul Guy, past president of the Greenville NAACP and current executive director of Beyond Differences, an organization that aims to address issues with race and division through open conversation. “I don’t think the NAACP clearly articulated what they truly wanted from the beginning.”According to Guy, it seems that their demands didn’t really grow, they just became clearer over time. The damage was done. Soon, other organizations like the NCAA joined in, and have eventually left South Carolina where it currently is—a state with a proud tourism industry, but a thick, red “X” hovering over it.



Unfortunately, for those who believe that the bans have no impact, one need only pull up the announcement by the ACC that followed on July 6, 2009. “The Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship will be held at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C. (2012), and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (2011, 2013), as announced today by ACC Commissioner John Swofford. …The 2011-13 championships were originally awarded to Myrtle Beach. The ACC’s decision to hold the tournament in this location was made with the stipulation that discussions be held, and agreements made, with all local and state organizations that had voiced concerns over the confederate flag being flown on the state grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol.”

"A topic as volatile as racism, lack of diversity, or even plain ignorance may keep the state from even being a potential location in the first place."

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Ouch. The ACC statement continues in fair suit, explaining the previous announcements as what Swofford calls “miscommunication.”


“Since 2000, the conference has supported the NAACP’s statements concerning the flag issue and followed the NCAA’s policy of not holding pre-determined championships in the state of South Carolina. In 2005, the conference presidents agreed that the ACC would be willing to consider awarding league championships to venues in the state of South Carolina on a case-by-case basis, provided that the host-site proposal included a plan to work with the NAACP at the local and state levels to ensure a proper environment. “’Our baseball committee and institutional administrators awarded the championships to Myrtle Beach with the understanding that the event had the blessings of all parties within the state of South Carolina. It has become clear this was not the case,’ stated ACC Commissioner John Swofford. ‘It’s unfortunate that this miscommunication occurred and since the original announcement, we have had productive conversations with members of the NAACP. In the end, given the conference’s commitment to diversity, equality and human rights, our institutions have determined that this change should be made.’”

September/October 2009

So, it’s definitely costing the state. But how much is a far more difficult question to answer. Although a tournament such as the one mentioned is nothing to sneeze at, economists like Raymond Sauer, a professor at Clemson, are quick to point out that determining an actual revenue number for such an event is near impossible. “It depends on how many people come from outside the area,” Sauer says. “It depends on how much people are spending; how many rooms are taken up. “The ACC is a tricky one. It plays out over an entire week and people come and go. I don’t really have a clue what the overall impact would be.” Still, one can speculate. With typical net spending of anywhere from $40 to $200 per person, per day, it is completely comprehendible that a week-long conference with eight teams of 25 to 30 people each, as well as fans, boosters and family, could be huge on an economic scale. Even at its most conservative numbers, one team of 25 people and a mere 100 fans spending $40 per day each could have an impact of $5,000 a day. Being more realistic with those numbers could easily push state losses into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Still, “any number you put on this thing is open to analysis,” Sauer says. “We can’t be too sure what the actual impact is.” What’s more, he adds, is that “from the state’s perspective, it’s just a drop in the bucket. [The situation is] far more localized; if you own a hotel in the area, you’ll probably feel a pinch. Still, it’s just one week out of 52.” The bigger problem is that this ACC tournament is only one of many that will not be coming to South Carolina because of the NCAA ban. And whether or not they attribute those decisions to the flag or not, we cannot ignore that it is, in reality, affecting our state’s bottom line. The state’s NAACP website lists other groups and companies who have banded in unity with their decision—including, in addition to the NCAA, the likes of the American Bar Association, the Harlem Globetrotters, Minority and Professional Business Administrators, the National Urban League, Pfizer, Phillip Morris, Inc., the United Auto Workers, and the Young Woman's Christian Association (YWCA). Can we still say there is no impact?

FEBRUARY 1962 A Confederate flag similar to the familiar battle flag, but rectangular rather than square, is placed on the Statehouse dome after lawmakers vote to fly it during the four-year Civil War centennial. Almost 40 years later, 51 surviving lawmakers would say they never intended the flag to stay on the dome and inadvertently omitted a date to take it down. *taken from NAACP website.

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September/October 2009

other states offer huge incentives, tax breaks and other perks to relocating companies. “Very few times has [the question] been directly ‘what about the Other questions then arise: if, with these boycotts and bans in place, our tourist dollars are seeing an increase, what could our state flag?’” Eric Miller, director of Business Development for Upstate look like without such obstacles? And, if that’s the effect on tourism, Alliance says. “More often times it’s ‘what is it like to live here?’ And people are particularly interested in my perspective because what does the overall effect on our businesses look like? Unfortunately, that may be an even harder question to answer, I’m African American.” Miller tells of a company looking to move to South Carolina as for economic development groups across the state, the responses during his career in economic development, who, after much are mixed. “We believe that the flag being removed off the capital dome has questioning and research, decided to move to another state. Still, the addressed most corporate issues.” Kevin Landmesser,Vice President executive group—very diverse in its makeup—was concerned about of Greenville Area Development Corporation, says, adding that how they would recruit people of the caliber they needed, to fit the diverse culture they had. Essentially, it he’s never heard of a company deciding became a matter of perception—would against coming to the state by reason of South Carolina be receptive to the the flag. This monument diverse talent pool they would bring in? But this is not unusual, as most Perpetuates the memory economic development engines smaller than a state level wouldn’t hear of a Of those who, potential move until the area has already True to the instincts of their birth, been selected out of a very long and detailed process. By that point, most Faithful to the teachings of their fathers, companies would have already decided Constant in their love for the state, on whether or not the flag issue would affect them. Died in the performance of their duty: For an area booming as the Upstate Who is (the year 2008 marked the addition of 6,100 new jobs in the Upstate, as well as Have glorified a fallen cause more than $2 billion in investments), it By the simple manhood of their lives, is hard to believe that we may be losing companies to other areas simply because The patient endurance of suffering, This just shows that quite possibly, of an issue that seems decades old. And the heroism of death it’s not the flag that matters. It’s the And while the ACC tournament is perception that the outside world has very specific about why they pulled, And who about South Carolina that does most of corporate moves and economic In the dark hours of imprisonment the damage. In fact, an entire campaign development initiatives are often much (see more subtle. It may not be as clear cut as In the hopelessness of the hospital was developed to change the perception taking the state off of a list of potential In the short, sharp agony of the field of who and what South Carolina is locations—a topic as volatile as racism, truly made of. The Confederate flag, in lack of diversity, or even plain ignorance Found support and consolation essence, has become an icon for a South (all things that may be part of public In the belief that people love to hate. perception) may keep the state from Calder Ehrmann, a senior associate even being a potential location in the That at home they would not be forgotten. with the Riley Institute at Furman, first place. -Confederate Memorial, S.C. Statehouse sums it up succinctly: “South Carolina In other words, a company may not is a wonderful place to live, but is it a have ever taken South Carolina off a list; climate you’d want when you want to launch or grow a business?” they simply may never have put us on the list in the first place.


When an image becomes your brand, it is extremely hard to change how others react and feel.

Add to the discussion South Carolina’s lack of pro-business legislation, a questionable leadership (or lack thereof), and a tumultuous political climate, and we’ve managed to create a mixture that businesses find hard to move into, especially when


While the question of whether or not things need to change, and whether or not the flag’s current position is a liability to our economic development and growth is a question to be decided by the public, there are a number of problems in simply getting to the heart of the problem. First, when an image becomes your brand (as some would argue the Confederate flag has, for South Carolina), it is extremely hard to change how others react and feel. A symbol of what truly ails us—division and non-communication—the flag could easily be a diversion to our growth within the nation. Changing that September/October 2009

Business Black Box

The Confederate flag, in essence, has become an icon for a South that people love to hate.



image without a huge measurement of change could prove quite difficult. Then, there’s the issue of ambiguity. With no way to measure the true effect that these boycotts have on the state, it creates a tense environment, with one side claiming its impact, and the other side with a playground “nah nah” approach. On one hand, the list of groups not coming to the state cannot be ignored. On the other lies the fact that the boycott is, in essence, ineffective. With little to no impact on tourism, it seems that the average person doesn’t base vacation decisions or business trips on a boycott. And if the general public isn’t buying into it, the message sent is that the boycott is nothing more than a political movement.

“The flag is an issue that needs to be addressed, but it can be done in a much better way.” “Boycotts aren’t the answer,” Guy says. “On a state and national level it may do something, but on a local level, it’s the black businesses losing out just as much as the white ones.” But the main thing to note is that many want the flag issue to just “go away.” An anonymous source in the legislature (there are many to be found when discussing this topic!) claims, “there is no appetite from our political leadership to open this issue again.” Still, those like Guy and Ehrmann want the issue resolved. “You have no idea how many people have told me – from black perspective to the white – that the flag issue has just got to go away. Not necessarily the flag itself, but the issue,” Ehrmann says. For him, not resolving the issue points to a larger leadership issue on both sides. After all, when the issue does come up in conversation, it usually turns into a debate—side pitted against side, arguing their points. But no compromise can be reached when people aren’t speaking the same language. “The flag is an issue that needs to be addressed,” Guy says. “But it can be done in a much better way.” For him, it’s a matter of opening the conversation in the community, before it takes place in the legislature or other political parties. “My suggestion is to stop the debate,” he adds. “It’s not a debate. Create dialogue where you can discuss the differences

Business Black Box

…it’s time to turn the page.”


September/October 2009


fish tanks, free beer and bad haircuts 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. Today’s economy is tough for so many businesses, and in times like this, most spend their time watching cash flow, cutting expenses, and not enough time figuring out how to do things differently for new customer acquisition or generating repeat business from existing loyal customers. The challenge, however, is that consumers today are receiving information and making purchasing decisions differently than ever before. Social media and other interactive tools are just a few of the major consumer shifts. So how’s a small business supposed to succeed? Sometimes, generating business doesn’t involve cutting prices, changing your product, or anything having to do with your product or service, in fact. New innovative ideas that are effective solve a problem for your customer or speak their language, meet a need in their world, not yours. These ideas demonstrate, “Wow, you get me.” Verizon exploded years ago, gaining unprecedented market share, because at the point of pain, when customers experienced a thread of discontent (dropped calls),Verizon figured out the power of speaking their customers’ language (“Can you hear me now? Good.”).With marketing changing dramatically the last 10 years, what hasn’t changed about people is this: we want to feel valued, special, understood, and appreciated. Here are two principles and a few examples that might get you and your team thinking differently—from your customer’s perspective—to come up with ideas that speak your prospective customers’ language and make them feel important. 1. Customer retention is a lot cheaper than new customer acquisition. Recently, I took my family out for breakfast at a restaurant here in Greenville that has become somewhat of a family tradition (shameless plug: Stax Omega). Good food?Yup. Service? Usually fantastic.This time? Not so good. Bathrooms? Too small. Cost? There are cheaper options ($45 w/tip & tax for two adults and three kids). So what’s the tiebreaker? Fish tanks. Two massive fish tanks. My kids (3, 4 and 8-years-old) have named all the fish. Freddy the fish,Wally the white fish,Yippy the yellow fish, Bubba the blue fish, Goofy the green fish, Peppy the pink fish, and Oscar the orange fish (buggy eyes—the goofiest of them all!). Bubba’s my favorite. He makes my youngest, Alana, laugh hysterically. Almost every Friday night when I tuck them in, after we pray and they kiss me good night, they say, “Daddy, can we go see da fishies in da morning?” They couldn’t care less about the food, quality, service, convenience, or price. But these three kids, for the breakfast restaurants in my city, are driving the purchasing decisions of a household for a

market segment, based on two fish tanks. Two weeks ago, I took my wife, for our anniversary, to Chophouse 47 for the first time. Phenomenal food, first-class service (a completely different experience. Thanks, Miller!), and arguably the perfect steak. But the tiebreakers I won’t forget? Without asking, the servers put a white napkin at my wife’s place (she had light beige slacks) and a black one at my place (I had black pants). They also kept putting her fork at her right side and mine at my left (they picked up on the fact that I’m a lefty). What’s the point? Price might be a non-issue, if experience exceeds expectation. 2. Understanding your target customers’ needs and habits is more important that yelling louder and more often to everyone about your product that you need to move, but they may not need. My (former) bank used to send me bill stuffers asking me to consider opening an IRA with them. Problem: I already had one with them. Key word: Had. Message: “We lump you in with everyone else. We don’t really get you.” And, as of last year, they don’t get my business either. Conflict = the distance between expectations and reality. Over 20 years ago, all of my college friends went to the same barber. Why? Definitely not the haircut (no jokes). Tiebreaker: They gave free beer to college students. Knowing what matters to your customers can change your strategy in a slow economy. It’s why a dry cleaner should consider the fact that consumers have limited time and might pay an extra $1.50 to save an inconvenient trip to pick up their clothes.Why not meet them where they already are going to be and partner with a church—an established, loyal audience conditioned to a great, reliable life pattern that matches your business model: drop off Sunday; pick up Wednesday. Okay, now look at your customers’ lives, not your business offerings. What do your customers LOVE? What matters to them? How do they live? Then, how can you incorporate the answers to those questions into your brand experience? They’re worth it. So are you.

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




A courageous step places a new magazine launch in the midst of a horrible economic climate. With a focus on collegiate men, and a unparallelled passion driving a national push, does Centered Magazine’s pitch have what it will take to draw investors? Alex Sok Founder/CEO of Centered Media, Inc. President & Editor-in-Chief of Centered magazine

Brainstorm, advise, weigh in.

Wanna offer your advice? Log on to

Business Black Box

What They Say...


"One thing is certainly clear from this passage—this entrepreneur is passionate about his goal to “simply change the world.” Since most investors ultimately place their bets on people rather than just products or technologies, a passionate and talented management team is a critical component of any successful startup pitch. However, this particular missive would probably be better suited as an internal vision-casting document than as an executive September/October 2009

summary for an external audience of potential investors. While an investor would appreciate the entrepreneur’s passion, what remains unclear is how Centered magazine will go about accomplishing its vision to change the world through its collegiate men’s magazine. An investor would be left wanting answers to a few fundamental questions like: What is the unique value proposition relative to other magazines? What is the content and how will it be distributed? What is the revenue and growth

model? How will you sell it? How much money will it take to reach cash flow breakeven? What is the likely liquidity event for investors to receive a return on their investment? Of course there are many more questions investors would ask, but clear, concise answers to each of those mentioned above would provide a much sharper hook to pull them in for a closer look. " Matt Dunbar Managing Director Upstate Carolina Angel Network

"I have, mainly, two points: First, to be fair, I’m not much into the neo-Christian movement, so the vocabulary you use, the culture you are catering to and the philosophies that would guide the decisions you are hoping for are completely alien to me. To me, the piece is filled with words and sentence structures that just don’t connect with my brain. Secondly, the words being used are flowery and vague. I’m not sure what they are talking about. • Every sentence could be at least 10 words shorter. Get to the point. Tell me what matters.

knowledge at an accelerated pace. We are committed to accountability and responsibility—we will not make excuses. In this field, where art and technology merge, there are many opportunities before us and capitalizing on them requires aggressive pursuit. We have the talent, the resources, the passion and the will. We intend to pursue investment opportunities to grow our business, and we will do so in a disciplined and strategic way that will not interfere with the development of our product and services. Many factors set Centered magazine apart, and they are the reasons we are confident in our ability to succeed in our mission.We stand on a solid foundation of innovation, creativity, talent, passion and desire. We are creating a culture that excites us internally, and we are creating a business model rooted in creative, resourceful thinking. It isn’t the man with the most resources, but the man who is the most resourceful who succeeds. Our mission is one that connects with many people within our demographic, even while it transcends barriers. It is a venture of enormous potential and ambition. My goal is to position Centered magazine at the forefront of the new paradigm in publishing that we are creating. Instead of following the trends, Centered magazine will set them.

• What this pitch fails to: Tell me what they are going to do, how they are going to do it, why I should care, and why it will succeed. They need to be much more specific. What world leaders? How will they help develop them? What will they do? What does it even mean? What new trends? • I think the last sentence should be the first one (albeit rewritten to eliminate the “my goal is”).This isn’t an affirmation of faith or a letter of intent. It’s a pitch. How about this: “Over the next 18 months, we will be

team that would convince you this publication would be successful. The target market of male college students is vast and extremely competitive. As written, this pitch has no focus on how to reach this market or tactics used to capture the elusive college student. This 'venture of enormous potential and ambition' needs to be defined."

positioning Centered Magazine to... XYZ...” In the end, nobody cares what they believe or want. It’s what they are going to do that matters." Olivier Blanchard Principal Brandbuilder Marketing "While there is a true passion for the development of this magazine concept, the initial pitch seems incomplete.There is no reference to the experience of the founder or the core

Jack Bacot Editor-in-Chief G–Magazine

Want to get feedback from business leaders and potential investors? Send your company's speed pitch to us at

September/October 2009

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How they tell it: Centered magazine was founded to empower male college students who are passionate about life, success, and servanthood. We seek to inspire them, through example, with excellent standards and values to guide them along their path of success.We believe the world can be a better place because this magazine has invested its resources and focus toward the growth and development of future world leaders—leaders who are now on college campuses everywhere. Centered magazine will be the source for all things collegiate, and we intend to help our youth get to college and get through college so they will have a solid foundation as they work towards achieving their goals. Centered magazine is about balance, ambition, faith, determination, community, responsibility and perseverance. It is our mission to simply change the world. With God’s help we have put together a core team that embodies unity and cohesiveness. While our company is still in its developmental and building stages, we are excited about where we’re going, why we’re going and how we’re doing it together. Our roster now is sharp with a blend of youth and experience. We have already proven our ability to absorb


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September/October 2009


4 ways to identify the right busines ideas 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.


Being an entrepreneur automatically makes you someone that not only has one potentially great business idea in mind, but in many cases, you’ll have multiple concepts in your head. To the non-entrepreneurial mind, it can be perceived that you lack focus, that you’re erratic; some will even call you “flighty!” But, it’s not your fault! It comes with the territory. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that your business notions will only come one at a time. There can be two challenges that you may face with this: The first is that since many of these ideas can be in your head simultaneously, it can be extremely difficult to decide which initiative is the one to act on at the right time.This is even far worse for the start-up entrepreneur who is launching out for the first time. You have to determine which initiative in the brainstorm of ideas that you have in mind is the idea to launch with. The second challenge is that some entrepreneurs have so many money-making ideas in mind all at once that they suffer from “paralysis” and never take action on any of them. The solution to this dilemma for the start-up entrepreneur is to bring some form of order to what may seem like chaos. Identify the initiatives that make sense. Identify

those that don’t. Clarify the ideas that are relative and may work together and those that may not work now, but will later. Here are a four principles that may help narrow it down:

1.Acknowledge that not every idea is a“good” idea. Come to grips with the fact not every idea you have in mind may be a good idea. This means that somewhere along the road you have to start creating a written plan with targets and goals. The initiatives that don’t deliver when it comes to meeting those targets and goals should be tossed.

2. Although some ideas will be good, the timing may be bad. A written plan with targets and action steps may also help identify ideas that are great, but could be premature. For example, I’ve had students in our entrepreneur class consider launching multi-location businesses, but through a written plan, those students determined that they needed to focus on being successful at one location first. 3. Examine the ease of launch. To prevent the aforementioned “paralysis” that can take place from having so many money-making ideas at once, you need to ask yourself, “Which of these ideas are the easiest to launch?” Getting started with a lesser revenue-producing idea is far better than inaction while extensively waiting for an elusive, seemingly bigger money maker.That idea that you’ve seen that is easy to launch on a part time basis may be the one to do first since it allows you to continue to work fulltime on your job. It can grow to fulltime.

4. Look for ideas that complement each other.

ck a b d Fee advise and

Business Black Box

The remaining ideas could help identify themselves based on their relevance to each other. Here’s an example: One of the entrepreneurs that I mentor has a plan to become a motivational speaker and author. His plan calls for him to first to launch a blog where he shares information and advice. His next business idea is to publish a book that shares the same advice. Notice how he launched the blog project first, which allows him to build an audience of potential customers for the upcoming book. His third idea is to seek out speaking engagements, where he will speak in person on the content shared on the blog and in the book. Having so many entrepreneurial ideas should be welcomed and not dreaded. Adding structure to those ideas makes the difference. Acknowledging that not every idea will be a winner, that not every idea’s time has arrived, and that some successful ideas compliment each other will be key to bringing order to what could look like chaos.

it , ou vis storm lBiz. Brain in when y om/Smal .c weigh lackBox B e d i s In September/October 2009 57


B O X 11 QUESTIONS 1. What was your first job?

My first paying job was a lifeguard. I was a competitive swimmer, and swam all the way through college—full scholarship at South Carolina for swimming—so that was always in my blood, and that’s how I got into it.

5. What are some strategies you use to do so / keep yourself in check?

I’m not the person to ask because I didn’t do a particularly good job of it, but I have a very understanding wife and understanding children. It’s a work in progress—there’s no question about that.

2. How did you get involved in your line of work?

6. What vision do you promote for your employees, and how

I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I thought, if I go into banking—particularly commercial banking—I’ll either like doing banking or I will have been exposed to some other type of business, having been in commercial banking—that I would like to go into.

First and foremost, I tell our folks that the product that we deliver, which is money, is no different from anyone else’s money, so we have to be able to differentiate ourselves from a service standpoint, because really we only have two things: a product, and how we deliver that product—the service. The service issue has to be the primary issue for us, and what we try to do is teach and inspire our folks to follow—and this sounds very corny, but it’s true—the Golden Rule. We want you to treat your customers the way you would want to be treated if you walked through that door.

I had an assistantship during graduate school at Carolina, and the professor I worked for was very close to the HR director for Banker’s Trust and after I finished, he suggested that I go and talk to a guy by the name of Tom Connor (sp?), who was the HR director there, which I did, and that’s how I got involved in banking.

3. What are some of the skills you developed early that you’ve found to be beneficial or essential to your practices now? Probably the most important thing is customer focus—customer relations and making sure the customer is No. 1. And I think in so many businesses today, we’re losing that. Another thing is financial conservatism. In this business, you see what happens to people that don’t manage their finances appropriately, unfortunately, so you’re kind of jaded by that side of the equation and you end up maybe being even more conservative than you need to be. The last one probably I’d throw out is time management. And I think that’s true for many people who are actively involved in an exciting, growing business like ours.


How do you strike a balance between your personal and professional lives?

Business Black Box

I have done a miserable job of striking that balance, in my opinion. I am obviously very much a Type A personality, and if I have a real weakness, that would be my biggest weaknesses—that I have not spent enough time with my family, and as you get older, you


look back and realize that you did that and shouldn’t have.

September/October 2009

do you get your employees to buy into or tap into that vision?

7. 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?

I think a lot about “team”—surrounding yourself with good people is the most important factor in being successful, at least in our industry. The character of the individuals is of the utmost importance. They have to have good job skills too— don’t get me wrong—but you’ve got build a cohesive team. If the character is there, the skill set can be taught.

8. If you retired tomorrow and could change to any field except the one you are in now, what would you pick?

I think probably if that happened tomorrow, I would probably want to back into coaching. I enjoyed that when I was younger.

9. What was your biggest failure as a professional? Over-committing. A few years ago I was on 16 boards in Spartanburg, which is ridiculous. You can’t be successful when you’re spread that thin, plus trying to do my job at the bank.

10. What did you do to recover from that failure?

I have made it a top priority as I have finished terms on various boards to just say no. Now I’m only on five— I’ve cut from 16 to five so I’m doing pretty well.

11. How do you avoid those similar failures today?

Just say no—that’s the bottom line. You have to be very selective and understand in your own mind that by saying no, that’s not a bad thing. It allows you to do the things you have already agreed to do much better.

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Over the next few months, Business Black Box will be conducting the “Success Experiment,” an opportunity for three groups of 10 people to test their entrepreneurial skills—on our dime. With an investor already chosen, it will be up to them to determine what they do, how they do it, and how well it turns up. We’ll follow the groups through their 30-day process, and let you know how it all turns out. In our November issue, you’ll get to meet the teams. In January, you get to see how they all did.

September/October 2009

Business Black Box

But to do this, we need you! We’re looking for 10 of each of the following: stay-at-home moms (or dads!), CEOs or business owners, and high school or college students. You don’t have to come to the table with any ideas, but having an innovative spirit won’t hurt you. If this sounds just like you, go online to and fill out the form. Deadline for entry is Friday, September 18, so don’t waste time.




Overall Construction: $5.8 million

Rubber Flooring:

Square feet overall: 60,000 Total # employees (FT + PT): 55

by Spectrum Interiors; Greenville, SC

Treadmills/Cardio Equipment:

A/C unit:

by Fitness Resource; Charlotte, NC

by Belk Electrical; Charlotte, NC


by Binswanger Glass; Greenville, SC


by Spectrum Interiors; Greenville, SC


by St. Clair SIgns; Greenville, SC


by Daystar Construction; Greenville, SC

Business Black Box

Imagine Center, Greenville


September/October 2009


Window Shades:

by Blinds R Us; Greenville, SC

Open Hours: 5am-11pm

Granite Countertops/Flooring: by Tile Outlet; Greenville, SC

Café Furnishings:

by Food Equipment; Greenville, SC

Bleachers: Basketball Goals:

by FuturePro; Inman, KS

by Spalding

Signage/scoreboards: by NEVCO; NC

Gym Flooring:

7 days a week....going 24/7 hours in December 09’ Cost for membership: Personal/ Couple: $23.00*/$38.00* Personal trainers available: 12 Avg cost of personal training: $15-60 per session depending on type chosen (individual, bootcamp, group, etc) 74 Byrdland Drive, Building G Greenville, SC 29607 Fun facts: More than 90,000 lbs of free weights 1/8 mile suspended track

by Done Right Flooring; Greenville, SC

Business Black Box

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Business Black Box


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HR BLACK B OX how well do you want to know your job candidates?

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.


Hiring the perfect employee is not an exact science and probably never will be. Utilizing the best practices in screening job candidates will improve your odds of finding Mr. or Ms. Right tremendously and will help you properly navigate the increasingly complex web of employment laws. Here are a few steps that are easy for any business to implement.

#1. The past DOES predict the future.

If you offered me only one method to select a new hire, it would be the past employer reference. It is of utmost importance to communicate with the former supervisor so you can best understand how this person will succeed in your specific position and overall environment. Confirming dates of employment will not provide what you need to assess their future performance. There is a misconception that references are impossible to get in our “sue-happy” world. Hear this: it is perfectly legal to request and give an objective, proper reference.

#2:BackgroundChecks. The information available from vendors ranges from a basic database search of criminal history for less than $10, to a detailed investigation that will cost several hundred dollars. Depending on the position for which you are hiring, consider the relevance of the information and the risk of not obtaining it. Though controversial, I recommend credit checks on candidates for positions in which cash handling, negotiable instruments or accounting is involved. Fair Credit Reporting Act rules apply to both credit and criminal background investigations. #3: BehaviorallyBased Interviews. Before considering a candidate for your team, don’t you want to know if this person is the one represented on paper? Behaviorallybased interview questions are carefully structured questions that ask candidates to describe the details of work-related situations and how they actually reacted, as well as the outcome of

by julie godshall brown

the situation. Different from traditional open-ended questions, behaviorally-based questions should focus on past or current experiences that are relevant to what is required for success in your company’s position. A traditional interview is actually one of the least predictive candidate screening methods.An in-depth, behavioral-based interview will provide a more accurate representation of a job candidate.

#4: Assessments/Personality Tests. More and more companies are utilizing some type of job match assessment, which may provide you with information regarding the candidate’s intellectual ability, as well as their predisposition for success in the role. Though recent court cases seem to demonstrate the court’s willingness to allow companies to adhere to the results of the tests, it is still critical to have a professional work with your firm to ensure the assessment you choose is valid for the position. #5: Job Skills Testing. At the most basic level, job skills testing is an old-fashioned typing test when hiring an administrative assistant. Today, sophisticated testing software is available for every budget.Web-based testing is available for almost any software package, knowledge category, or skill for which you may test. #6:Working Interview. What better way to find out if a candidate has what it takes than to have them try out the job! For example, if the position is an inside sales position, why not ask the candidate to sit at the workstation and make sales calls. You will get a feel for their ability and comfort level with the phone, and they will get a very realistic preview of the position. After all, the best time for both sides to determine whether or not there is a “match” is early in the process! The tools I mentioned are not intended to be legal advice or an exhaustive list of screening tools, but each is free or inexpensive. Whether a company is preparing to hire its first employee or hundreth, it makes good business sense to take the time to design a process that is objective and produces the result you intend. To read more pointers on how to hire the best for your company, visit

acekand b d e Festorm, advis u visit

. Brain en yo in wh m/HR weigh B Inside

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September/October 2009

Business Black Box

September/October 2009


The recently rebranded industrial and aviation center now operates under new leadership, boasts

impressive numbers—both fiscal and industrial—and sports a new moniker. All of this activity has garnered a surplus of much-deserved attention that has left many in the Upstate wondering how this formerly low-profile facility, transitioned from relative ambiguity to record growth in such a short time—not to mention, during a time of economic downturn.

What is

SC TAC? For those of you who are unfamiliar with what SC TAC even is, here’s the abbreviation’s breakdown: SC TAC stands for South Carolina Technology & Aviation Center. And SC TAC is just that. SC TAC—which has been in business for 45 years—is made up of 2,600, I-1 zoned acres of property housing more than 80 aviation and technology companies. But in addition to an incredible amount of property—“three times the size of Central Park,” Jody Bryson, president and CEO of SC TAC, says to give people perspective—SC TAC also is home to Donaldson Field, which is one of the major factors that makes SC TAC so attractive to businesses looking to build or expand.

Business Black Box

“There are only eight facilities like us in the U.S.”


Donaldson Field offers an 8,000 ft. primary runway, equipped with Category 1 Instrument Landing System, a control tower, automated weather observation reporting, FAA Part 139 certification, one million square feet of aircraft ramp, and excess aircraft capacity. All of these credentials add up to equal Donaldson Field’s classification as a general aviation airport, meaning it has the ability and is cleared to service any type or size of plane currently on the market. Donaldson Field also has a secondary, formerly inactive runway that is 5,000 ft. in length, which has been retired in order to facilitate even more growth at SC TAC. Another key factor is the Donaldson Fire Department, which offers its services to the facility.The department is ISO Class 4 certified, which may not be immediately important to many businesses, but to many of the companies that develop and produce chemicals at SC TAC, having that immediate, quality protection is an extra safeguard for their facilities and investments. September/October 2009

It’s through these two strengths that Bryson has worked to refine SC TAC’s focus—they market themselves to major companies in the chemical field as well as national and international companies that can capitalize on the impressive Donaldson Field for their own private use. And while there are countless airports and industrial parks in the United States, SC TAC’s combination makes it very unique. “We are focused on aviation industry and advanced manufacturing,” Bryson said.“There are only eight facilities like us in the U.S.”

How did it get


One of the keys to uncovering how the brains behind SC TAC helped generate this growth rests in where the facility came from. SC TAC—then the Greenville Army Air Base—was built in 1942 as a military air base during WWII. It hosted the 90th Bomb Group’s B-24s as well as the 334th Bombardment Group’s B-25s. The base’s next change came in 1945 when it was placed on standby and renamed Greenville Air Force Base and used for a military airlift mission until the Korean War where it housed the 375th & 433rd Troop Carrier Wings. It was in 1951 that the Greenville Air Force Base was renamed Donaldson Air Force Base, honoring Captain John Owen Donaldson, a WWI flying ace from Greenville, S.C. As the Air Force put the facility to work, renovation and construction were performed. Donaldson Air Base eventually came to be known as the “Troop Carrier Capitol of the World.” About 10 years later, though, the Air Force decided to close the facility, and by January of 1964, the property had been sold jointly back to the city and county of Greenville and was then named Donaldson Center Industrial Air Park. Relatively few major changes have occurred since then, although in 1975 the Donaldson Development Commission was put in place to take the job of the facility’s management committee in order to formalize and solidify the control and influence of the city and county on the field’s development and property management. And, of course, SC TAC’s most recent activity is its rebrand that took place last October.And that’s when much of the hype started.


“For example, Germans and the Japanese understand what an American president and CEO is—they have no idea what an executive director is,” Bryson says. “So if you’re trying to deal with an international company, you need to know that they instantly The fact is, SCTAC has always been a revenue generator for the Upstate know who you (as a CEO) are—the decision-maker. In Asia and as well as all of South Carolina. But until just recently, it kept a very low Europe, as well, titles are very important.” profile in the community. During the rebrand, SC TAC also revamped Since last year’s rebrand, though, SC TAC has its board of directors. risen up from its unassuming beginnings in order to “My board was also known as a both drop the mute façade it’s been viewed as having commission—that doesn’t mean a lot to for the past 30 years as well as to promote, generate, Companies at SC TAC people outside the Upstate,” Bryson said. and bring more business, both to the benefit of “Having a president and CEO who reports to themselves as well as the Upstate. a board of directors takes all of the confusion Axon Products The credit goes to Bryson and his team at SC out of the equation—that was all done for Bunty Engineering TAC as well as to Jackson Marketing who facilitated economic development purposes.” Crucible Chemical their rebrand. Many local businesses may wonder why Cytec Carbon Fibers Upon joining SC TAC as executive director SC TAC would restructure in such a way. The Daniels Scientific in May of 2007, Bryson knew that rebranding the answer? The vision of Bryson—and SC TAC, facility was one of his main and immediate goals for Diversified Coatings Systems incidentally—expands far beyond the borders the facility, and he knew he’d need to right help to of the United States. Ethox Chemicals do the job. Due to the globalization of business and Greenville Technical College “When we first started looking at the thought of the economy, “(international companies) IBM rebranding the center, we wanted to find someone can literally pick anywhere in the world (to IRIX Pharmaceuticals who had a local presence and an expertise in locate), where before they may have been Lockheed Martin aviation—because obviously it’s a huge part of who limited to a more specific or limited region,” we are—and we were looking for someone who Michelin Bryson says. “We’ve gone from competing could provide a complete sweep of services from logo with businesses in Georgia and North Nippon Carbide development to organizing sharets (brainstorming Carolina to competing with businesses in Perrigo Pharmaceuticals sessions) with stake holders to development of a Ireland and China.” Pharmaceutical Associates website to people with PR experience,” Bryson said. “We’ve gone from competing with 3M “We needed a one-stop-shop, and Jackson has a long businesses in Georgia and North Carolina Stevens Aviation track record with automotive and aviation.” to competing with businesses in Ireland and But Bryson’s vision far surpassed sprucing up TIARCO Chemical China,” Byson adds. the company’s logo and signage. He wanted to SC TAC is also spreading its reach through Timber Treatment Technologies groom the center—make it a serious contender on social media. Leslie Farmer, PR and marketing Vetroresina the international playing field. Part of this grooming representative at SC TAC, created the facility’s included restructuring the leadership hierarchy. Twitter ID (@SCTAC) and uses it to connect “When I joined, the title of my position with local business professionals as well as was executive director,” Bryson said. “One of the elements of potential and current clients. This venue allows SC TAC to the rebranding was to align our organization to be more like take part in and generate discussions as well as keep a business enterprise and also to align our organization so that people up to date with happenings on-site. other business people from around the world could understand our structure and leadership.” And this point is key for any company looking to contend on the international level, no matter what type of company they may be. International business people may speak different languages, but they communicate with a standard of principles.

Top Technology

Business Black Box

September/October 2009


One of Eight Like Bryson said, SC TAC is one of only eight facilities of its type located in the United States. They are similar because each began has an Air Force base and has maintained the original integrity of its boundaries. Also, the infrastructure of each of these sites has been preserved to support and strengthen business development and economic growth. Here are SC TAC’s seven “cousins.” • Ardmore Industrial Park, Ardmore, Okla. • Griffiss International Airport, Rome, N.Y. • Roswell Industrial Air Center, Roswell, N.M. • Kingman Airport and Industrial Park, Kingman, Ariz. • San Bernardino International Airport, San Bernardino, Calif. • Chennault International Airport, Lake Charles, La.

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• North Carolina Global Transpark and Kinston Regional Jetport, Kinston, N.C.


September/October 2009

“We deal directly with news people in the area so having conversations with them regarding projects going on here or in the community can help spread awareness,” Farmer explains. “We also have a lot of people following us, so we try to keep them up to date on what’s happening here.” Farmer also shares that SC TAC is looking into expanding its reach into the world of social media. “There are ideas for a blog and maybe a more interactive website—those (along with Facebook) are three of our future initiatives,” Farmer says. “The conversation and interaction that we have found so far have definitely helped broaden our vision regarding how the community affects us and how we affect the community and has introduced us to many people we may not have known any other way.” This involvement in social media further communicates SC TAC’s embracing the future and shedding their persona of being dormant. But that’s not to imply that the people at SC TAC are only interested in their own benefit—they are looking to help promote local business and become a leader in the business community. “I think that people viewed the Donaldson Center as kind of dormant and not very proactive in generating attention for over 40 years,” Farmer says. “It was only in the last two years and with our rebranding that SC TAC has started moving in a more interactive way. Everyone here supports the idea that this is no longer a place that sits idly by and hopes people find us. We are definitely in coordination with the other economic organizations in Greenville that we want to partner with—we’re no longer a dormant facility, and we want to target the assets that will be beneficial for the community.”

Economic Impact So far it would appear that SC TAC has brought it’s A-Game to the table: an impressive history, a remarkable facility, a snazzy new rebrand, and progressive tenants. But the true measure of SC TAC’s value to the Upstate resides in its economic impact thereon. The most detailed figures were taken by consulting firm Wilbur Smith Associates in 2006 during a study they performed encompassing airports located in South Carolina. Wilbur Smith Associates divided their study into three separate fields through a process approved by the FAA in order to calculate the total economic impact of Donaldson Field—not SC TAC in its entirety.

“This is no longer a place that sits idly by and hopes people find us.” Here’s what they found:

Through their airline operations, fixed base operations, flight and ground schools, government operators, air taxi and charters, helicopter operators, and coporate operators, SC TAC has made a direct impact of $102.3 million. That, factored with $2.3 million in indirect impacts including general aviation and corporate visitors and $117.6 million from aviation suppliers and the re-spending of funds, Donaldson Field—that’s not including all of the other companies located within SC TAC—had a total economic impact of $222.2 million in 2006 alone. Additional numbers include Donaldson Field’s total payroll for 2006, which totaled $103.3 million paid to the individuals working the 2,430 jobs held at SC TAC for the air field that year. It’s also worth noting that SC TAC is completely self-reliant.“We get no tax money from the government,” Bryson says.“We’re a revenue generator and self-supported.” But SC TAC took the process one step further by comparing their airport’s total economic impact to the totals of all other general aviation facilities in the state. And the results? Donaldson Field’s $222.2 million in total economic impact for the state of South Carolina make up 53 percent of the total economic impact made on South Carolina by general aviation facilities. Combined, all other general aviation facilities equaled $195.1 million. What makes the impact Donaldson Field at SC TAC even more staggering? Donaldson Field is one of a total of 54 general aviation airports in the state. Donaldson Field aside, SC TAC is making waves in the Upstate’s economy. Since the rebranding just last fall, SC TAC has signed on two more tenants: Vetroresina S.p.A., which produces gel-coated GRP (glassreinforced plastic) laminates; and SC TAC’s newest tenant, Bunty LLC, which works as an engineering firm primarily for the automotive industry.

Under the Radar It took some serious decision-making for Bryson and his crew at SC TAC to decide to close down Donaldson Field’s secondary runway permanently. “We’ve challenged every assumption, every presupposition—things that were just taken for granted over the years,” Bryson said. “For 45 years we have protected a 5,000-ft long runway for future activation.” The question you need to ask yourself is this:

“What are you holding onto that you just need to let go?” By letting go of something you may have irrational or emotional ties to, you can allocate said resources into a new venture capable of previously unattainable revenue.

Total State Economic Impact SC-TAC

$222.2 Million All other General Aviation Facilities Combined

$195.1 Million * Graph provided by SC TAC

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September/October 2009


And with the retiring of Donaldson Field’s secondary runway, SC TAC took the opportunity to re-align their remaining available property into seven new parcels totaling more than 153 acres of industrial and 358 acres of aviation property now available to prospective tenants.

Looking Forward Overall, things are looking up for SC TAC for the future. Here’s a short list of what’s still on the agenda for them in order to develop and surpass their current success: SC TAC leadership is • Working to increase national and international recognition as a hub for advanced manufacturing, research and development with direct access to airport infrastructure. • Exploring partnership possibilities with other research facilities including CU-ICAR. • Working to recruit companies that specialize in technology and advanced manufacturing. • Pursuing federal recovery for improvements and upgrades made to their infrastructure. • Developing a strategic plan spanning the next five years. • Working with the Department of Transportation to replace old Donaldson Center signs. • Planning renovations of the SC TAC corporate offices. Bryson and his team have a clear vision for the future. After shedding their veil of silence and ambiguity, the newly branded and vigorously promoted SC TAC is ready to propel Upstate business at an even greater rate than previously possible.

Corporate Growth at


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Exciting changes are going on at SC TAC, not only in the executive offices, but also with many of their tenants. Here are a few of the big projects going on at SC TAC currently.


• Cytec Carbon Fiber Expansion at $225 million • 3M expansion at $150 million • Greenville County School District bus maintenance facility at $1.5 million • SC National Guard Aviation Support Facility at $44 million • Vetroresina Construction complete at $15 million • Lockheed Martin facility upgrades at $3 million

September/October 2009

Prep your Biz

for International Competition Looking to expand internationally? Here are a few principles to keep in mind for either the business-to-business or business-to-consumer level.

1 2 3 4 5 6

First and foremost, confirm that your product or service has international appeal. Sure, Americans may be willing to pay for what you offer, but that doesn’t guarantee that people from other countries and cultures will. Use terminology international communications that people and companies will understand. This can range from words used in conversation to expressions used for your work flows and titles given to company positions.

Research international etiquette: if you’re visiting another country, it’s your job to honor its culture. Diversity training is often available.

Don’t assume the deal will be closed after one discussion. Be ready to spend time— perhaps over multiple meetings—explaining your service or product and how it will benefit your prospective clients. Utilize digital advertising and the World Wide Web. The better you can sell your product online—which ranges from information and answer to online ordering and shipment processing—the more likely you are to draw international consumers. Consider time zone differences. If you’re seriously looking into working with international clients, you may need to be available to answer questions when you’d typically be in bed.

7 8 9


Target with Tact. Accommodate your target audience, but don’t overdo it. In other words, show your potential clients you’re working to make them feel comfortable, but you’re not over-compensating or stereotyping their needs.

Currency difference. Is it worth deal with the exchange rates?

If you’re looking to seriously break into the international market, consider having your website translated into foreign languages or at least linking a free online translation tool.

Hire someone who can speak one or multiple foreign languages. It will help bridge communication barriers.

Business Black Box

September/October 2009



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September/October 2009

Watch the full interview at


e says he’s always had two lives. But whether Jonathan Shanin’s been toggling between schooling and kayaking, working on two degrees—one in Naval architecture and marine engineering—or growing a for-profit company (AceEngine) alongside a nonprofit organization (AidJoy), he’s giving it all he’s got. For the former Olympic team kayaker, that means maintaining a punishing schedule. During training, Shanin would drive from New Orleans to the mountains of Tennessee at 5 p.m. on a Friday night, arrive at 2 a.m., paddle all day Saturday and Sunday, then drive back and be at school on Monday morning. It was the same when he embarked on an entrepreneurial journey with AceEngine. While designing the legs of oil rigs for Bennett and Associates, he found a way to take those clients and sell them the concept of growing their business through online marketing, all while training and competing. He lived out of a van and worked on those marketing projects while the rest of the athletes took a few hours rest. He flashes a brilliant, toothy grin and says, “I like to be a little rough around the edges. Relaxing is not relaxing to me.” But there was something missing, he admits. Recalling his rabbi’s words about working with a purpose, Shanin founded AidJoy. “It’s an organization that tells the world about dire needs and the charities working at the grassroots level to meet those needs. They have proven track record and solid financials, but no infrastructure to communicate.” Shanin says that AceEngine was able to generate “a ton of revenue” for a number of businesses, so he took “a fat skill set” to help those charities selected by AidJoy to get to the next level and achieve their vision. Though he draws on all his expertise, from engineering knowledge to navigating the rugged terrain of remote locales (the most recent being Iquitos, Peru, for Project Amazonas), “working on AidJoy is the first time I’ve ever been solely focused on one thing,” says Shanin. Addressing medical needs of indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon since 1994, Project Amazonas has medical boats to provide care for 6,000 to 8,000 people, annually. With AidJoy’s help getting the word out, a new hospital boat will triple the number of people attended to, and provide them with more comprehensive medical care. He tells hair-raising stories of the problems faced by women with complicated childbirths and men bitten by deadly snakes with the objectivity of a journalist. “I’m not inherently a warm and fuzzy guy,” Shanin confesses. “I run AidJoy like a corporation.” Still, he says, “I’m designing it to be my legacy; to feel like my life is worth something.” Profile by Lydia Dishman


Material science guest student designing material for boat hulls, Northwestern Univerity


Dual Degrees in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering, University of New Orleans


Head of Design, Touring and Recreational Division, Perception Kayaks


Started AceEngine


Founded AidJoy

Former national team member in kayaking; junior Olympian; finished third in Green Race, a.k.a.“the holy grail of kayak extreme racing;” made fastest time down Grand Canyon

What AidJoy can help the Project Amazonas Medical Boat do:

Initiation Treatment Development

Provide regular and modern health services and education to the inhabitants of remote river villages Solicit donations of medicines, medical supplies, reference materials and equipment Train health workers in remote communities for the treatment of independently manageable ailments Arrange and coordinate visits to the Peruvian Amazon by volunteer health and development professionals for training Initiate child health programs in the areas of infectious disease and nutritional health Treatment of medical conditions where possible, while emphasizing disease prevention

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Provision Solicitation Training Arranging

In coordination with the School of Medicine of the National University of the Peruvian Amazon, develop tropical medicine course for both national and international participants September/October From 2009 75

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September/October 2009


is vietnam a luxury market?

by ravi sastry

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 25-year 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.

These factors have all contributed to a steep rise in consumer confidence and spending. During the past five years alone, the country has doubled its average consumption per capita**. Vietnam is following India and China in becoming a booming market for luxury products. High-end brands like MercedesBenz, Bulgari, Dolce and Gabbana, and Cartier have built a visible presence in Vietnam’s major cities, and together they’re spending millions of marketing dollars (billions of Dong) to capture the attention of Vietnam’s nouveaux riches.

Porsche in Vietnam is now,” said Mr. Andreas Klingler, general director of Prestige Sports Car Company. “Drivers in the high-end market are now looking for more than just average luxury vehicles.”

In Vietnam, the older generations, hardened by decades of war and poverty, are typically very cautious about spending, especially on items they consider to be frivolous. Only the wealthiest and most elite among the elders are indulgent consumers. For young, educated professionals, opportunities for upward mobility can be found in each of Vietnam’s major industrial sectors: • As employees of the many multinational corporations currently expanding into Vietnam. • As managers of Vietnam’s large and powerful state-owned enterprises. • As participants in Vietnam’s relatively small but explosive private sector. Talent in Vietnam is in tight supply and high demand, and wages are appreciating steadily for young, skilled workers. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for unmarried Vietnamese to live with their parents, rent-free, so a greater share of their income is available to spend on fashionable items. To this younger generation of Vietnamese, purchasing a stylish mobile phone or Italian handbag is an expression of success, selfconfidence, and independence from their parents’ strict conservatism.

............................................................................. .............................................................................. In what it described as a “dazzling debut”, German autoYounger Consumers Are Driving maker Porsche has launched its full range of sports cars and SUVs through a showroom in Ho Chi Minh City. Most Luxury Sales According to the company’s press release, “The time for ............................................................................. Drive a Porsche in Vietnam? Not so fast … The point isn’t that the traffic in Vietnam is horribly congested, although it is. What’s significant about the Porsche debut is that Vietnam now has enough drivers in the “highend market” to attract one of the world’s most exclusive and expensive brands of automobiles.

............................................................................. The Rise From Poverty to Opportunity Since initiating a program of economic and social reforms two decades ago,Vietnam has experienced a remarkable reversal of fortune. Poverty has been slashed by half. Health, education, and literacy have improved steadily. And foreign investments and export volumes are not only at record levels, they are among the fastest growing in the world.

**Source: General Statistics Office of Vietnam

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backand d e e F rm, advise isit

v to Brains when you /Global. in m weigh B Inside September/October 2009 77



B O X 101 DAYS


2,424 HOURS

145,440 MINUTES

8,726,400 SECONDS

After three years of listening to herself telling other women to take the risk and start their own companies, Erika realized it was time for her to take her own advice. So she quit her job with YWCA in order to start SC COM. Here are the first 101 Days of Erika’s endeavor.

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Hurdling towards disaster OR conquering the mighty competition.





Erika Spinelli isn’t new to entrepreneurship—she started a business and built a company years ago to pay bills and support herself and her young daughter. Following that endeavor and using the experience she had gained, Erika built the Empowerment Center. She settled into her cubicle; she got used to the benefits. Once she was ready to delve into entrepreneurship again, Erika sought the help from and collaborative planning with her friend Mike Cannon, and SC COM—short for South Carolina or for Spinelli Cannon Communications—was born. Erika and Mike each bring unique but vital experience to the table. Erika brings contacts and the proposals, focusing on health care entities and smaller businesses. Mike brings his expertise from his company of four years, PWC Sales, and from 20 years as a software and IT sales rep, manager and executive, most of which he spent with Datastream.

In a nutshell, the plan is to launch SC COM and make it run efficiently. The brainstorming has been implemented, the LLC has been filed. Now it’s time to build a client base, hire individuals who will work for those clients, and grow as a business. As SC COM began coming together, an opportunity to learn the ropes within PWC came along, and Erika was officially contracted to PWC as well, which Mike and Erika decided would give her insight into the day-to-day operations of a sales organization, as well as experience working within the software industry. So now Erika works both sides of the house, as owner, managing partner and chief sales women for SC COM, and as contracted program manager for PWC Sales.

SC COM is a marketing and communications company that provides domestic voices to companies who need sales and marketing support. It utilizes— primarily—the talents of collegeeducated stay-at-home moms, with a goal of helping companies and moms achieve that always-soughtafter balance between work and life. SC COM is a unique model that provides long- and short-term sales and voice support to companies in need, and also an opportunity for women (mostly) who want to keep a finger in the professional world while they raise their children. Since callers for SC COM work as behind-the-scenes extensions for the companies that contract with SC COM, references to SC COM clients and potentials in this piece will not be referred to by name.

September/October 2009

Day 5: Another meeting for Erika— this time a potential healthcare client meeting. This is Erika’s first foray into pitching business to healthcare institutions. Another paradigm shift for Erika: asking for business—and money to do that business. Erika has asked for money before, but money to change the world and improve lives; this money, however, will change and improve the lives of the callers she will contract with, and her own family, she reconciles her thinking. Plans are made to reconnect later this year regarding pricing.

Day 19: A political networking meeting is on the agenda for Erika today, since some of the services SC COM offers can be used in political campaigns. This meeting is Erika’s first meeting in the political arena—a chance for her to test the waters. She’s able to make some connections and gather names of people with whom she can follow up with to discuss pricing.

Day 33: Erika connects with people at another potential healthcare client meeting, this time discussing a more expansive program. She receives some positive feedback and is able to set up another meeting.

“ It’s difficult to leave something you have created, not knowing what its future is...

Day 1: Erika attends a media networking meeting. She does so in order to forge and continue to develop relationships she has with some of these individuals, since she comes from a background in media and wishes to continue building them up. The relationships Erika building during these first 101 days will be productive and helpful to the development of the company. It’s a paradigm shift, however, for Erika, who began her professional life as a reporter, and then worked in non-profits, where “nothing was sacred”; in private, forprofit business, relationships and deals are more closely guarded, especially in this business, where SC COM will represent other companies. She has to learn to choose her words carefully.

101 DAYS




B O X 101 DAYS Day 36: This is Erika’s first business-to-business meeting pitch— and her first time promising results that other people will deliver. Erika realizes she’s going to have to depend on others (her callers) to carry out the successful work she is pitching. Later she will learn that others can’t always deliver what she promises. She will have to develop better techniques to train and manage contractors, she will learn. The pitch is positive, and ends with a request for a proposal.


house SC COM. Questions arise: “Buy or Lease? Downtown, or on the Eastside in one of the office parks? An expensive, sexy space or an affordable utilitarian space?” Erika also meets with her accountant today. “Since I was a journalism major, money management is not my forte; business start-up guru Kim Williams told me to pay people to do things you cannot—so I pay someone to tell me how to add and subtract.”

Day 37: The GROW Conference monopolizes the agenda for today. Erika makes her debut as the owner of SC COM—the company’s first public appearance. She prints business cards—the kind that you run from a home printer with the perforated sides—with her business name, phone and email, and passes them all out.With each introduction, her “elevator speech” gets better. SC COM’s operations are rather complex, so three hours of saying it over and over helps her fine-tune it. “At the end of the day, my feet were tired and my voice was hoarse, but I was energized and encouraged by the experience,” Erika says. “And I went home and called my graphic designer to get some proper business cards designed and printed.”

Business Black Box

Day 39: Erika holds another media networking media in order to keep her friends and contacts in the media up to date on SC COM.


Day 40: Today is Erika’s last day with the YWCA.“It’s difficult to leave something you have created, not knowing what its future is,” Erika says. The agency was not in a strong financial position, but is under new, young, energetic leadership. “When I started the empowerment center four years ago, (former executive director) Phyllis Martin advised me not to plan to stay there forever,” Erika says. “‘You are not the empowerment center,’ she told me, quite directly.” “It was my vision, and a group of women shared in that, and we created something great,” Erika says. “Is it sustainable? I don’t know. But this opportunity (SC COM) came, and I couldn’t pass it up. I had spent too many hours at the YW telling women to leave the comfort of their fulltime jobs and build something great, something that will make them money and create a legacy for their children. I couldn’t not do it.” “Since then, people have expressed their amazement at my ability to walk away from an eight to five, benefits, an office and job security, when I have a mortgage and a child at home,” Erika says.

Day 44: Following some positive talks with potential clients, Erika and Mike head downtown to scope out some perspective spaces to

September/October 2009

Day 45: Today Erika goes to PWC training. “In between elementary school field day events, I learn what my job is going to be at PWC.” She is also looking for a way to balance work and life. Erika’s BlackBerry becomes a permanent fixture in my hand. “I’ve become one of those people I disdained for so long,” Erika says. “But it’s imperative to balancing life—being able to solve work issues and communicate messages while watching your child get water dumped on her head at field day. After sending the email, I can snap a quick picture of Isabel and her friends.” But having a BlackBerry can’t solve all of the struggles starting a company and being a full-time mom create. “Sometimes, I want to focus entirely on the moment—on being a mom—but as the business owner, you really can’t,” Erika says. “My daughter Isabel fusses at me to put the BlackBerry down, but I can’t always do that,” she says. “I use it as an opportunity to talk with her about business, work, income and living—and how to juggle all of that at one time.” SC COM creates a unique opportunity for moms who face this same situation. “I know a lot of moms who have work guilt—they feel guilty about working, but they have to, or actually enjoy what they do during the day,” Erika says. “One thing I love about my business, is we help moms bridge that gap—most of our callers are stay at home moms who want to contribute to the household income, or who want to keep their professional credentials fresh for their eventual return to work; on payday I’m excited to be able to provide means for them to do it, because I struggle to do it myself.”


101 DAYS BLACK B OX Day 46: Yet another meeting—today with the chamber for networking. Erika takes opportunities like these to keep her chamber friends updated with the developments of SC COM, just like she does with her media friends, since they have numerous connections. Erika also has software orientation today: “I have to learn how to navigate PWC and SC COM’s intranet—it’s how we coordinate 35 callers, their programs and our clients.”

Day 50: Erika has a networking lunch with her computer guru and former Junior League counterpart.

Day 51: Today, Erika has breakfast YW participant who took a leap and opened Evergreen Recycling, which now has more than 50 clients. “Elizabeth Garrison has vision and guts.”

Day 52: Partnership discussion today: Erika meets with a contact she met “by way of a friend of a friend who thought we should meet several months ago.” The two women reconnected through Facebook, after Erika posted her job change. The contact’s employer is looking to help develop businesses, and thought SC COM could help. The two continue on to discuss space availability and work possibilities. SC COM is organized to make outgoing calls, which allows contractors to work from home; SC COM is developing the capacity to take incoming calls, which will require workstations, space, capacity and equipment. A major client will dictate the eventual move into an office. “As we stand, part of the joy of our business is that it’s from home, so we decided to keep it there as long as we can,” Erika says.


Day 59: Erika has a second meeting with a large local entity regarding space and a possible partnership. Meeting highlights include meeting another key player as well as exciting growth of some big ideas. Later, Erika and Mike look at some real estate downtown.They eventually come to the decision that they should “wait for the egg to hatch.” They’ll keep working from home until it’s absolutely necessary to have an office.“Spill the Beans has worked delightfully for most of our meetings,” she says of the downtown location she holds most of her meetings in.


B O X 101 DAYS

Part of the joy of our business is that it’s from home, so we decided to keep it there as long as we can.

Day 53: Erika continues her networking efforts with another meeting today and receives a great explanation of city contractor navigations as well as several other referrals. Rather than taking a quiet lunch, Erika takes three managers and their vice president to lunch to see explore possibilities in creating a partnership and helping to build relationships on their behalf. Later that afternoon, Erika meets a potential client over coffee. To Erika the client seems excited about the possibility of working together and is in need of SC COM’s services.

Day 54: Today Erika signs on a contractor with experience in healthcare—a perfect asset for the client she is pursuing. A former co-worker, Erika knows her and her capabilities well. She’s a stay-at-home mom who wants what we all want, the perfect balance in life: to be able to watch her children grow up and pay the bills. The task is relationship development—talking on the phone with community members to educate and raise awareness. Erika knows she’ll be perfect.

Business Black Box

Day 58: Displaying the resource social media can be, Erika meets with another former contact from a previous job, all made possible through Facebook.


Day 60: Today Erika has a follow-up potential client meeting to brainstorm for more ideas and tweak her proposal. “I think that I, of course, have offered the perfect solution for my client’s dilemma, until I meet with the client,” Erika says. “They have ideas, too, and it’s my job to listen, marinate and formulate an articulate and effective solution that I know my team can carry out for the client.” Proposal revisions can range from going home and working on them to sometimes thinking of an entirely new proposal right on the spot, which is difficult Erika since she’s new at this. “Sometimes, I go back to Mike and say, ‘I promised this; can we do that?’ hoping he says yes,” Erika says.

Day 64: Erika has her “marketing kickoff ” where she attempts to learn more about her PWC client and its plans for the fiscal year.

September/October 2009

Day 66: Erika has another follow-up meeting with a potential client to continue gathering information about needs and assets and SC COM’s ability to meet them.

Day 67: Erika sets aside some time to meet with her media contacts over coffee in order to continue to building her relationships with them. “Coffee shops are the staple of my business development, and there’s this interesting subculture at them—of the consultant doing work and, in this economy, people networking to try to get work,” Erika says. “Spill the Beans works out great most of the time, though only before 2 p.m. (that’s when the kids arrive to get ice cream), and any Starbucks will do after 3 p.m. Coffee and Crema is the showiest coffee, if you’re in that neighborhood, and I try to hit Liquid Highway on North Main before 9 a.m., when I can park, South Main, if I’ve been at my trainer’s Pilates studio across the street.”

Day 68: Today Erika has a strategy meeting with a small service consulting group in order to develop calling and talking strategies— they’re very close to signing.

Day 71: Media networking coffee meeting. Next, a chamber meeting with John Moore thanks to a referral. John consults Erika on the Greenville Chamber’s activities and then listens to her opinions of offerings.

Day 81: After offering some constructive criticism regarding the Greenville chamber’s women’s business group, Erika is offered the position of chair of the committee by Claudia Wise in order to reorganize it. Erika accepts, under the condition of strategically getting more men engaged in activities of the group. Men, she contends, still have the power, money and decision making abilities at most companies and businesses; in order for women to advance their careers and/or businesses, they cannot seclude themselves into a “women’s only” corner, but must fully engage in business strategy and development with men; it might be intimidating, but success is rarely achieved without it.



Day 86: Erika’s team undergoes training. They meet with the department who will be directing them to learn more about the facility and its history, so the SC COM callers can speak with expertise. Following that is another potential client orientation. Erika meets with the caller and the staff of the small service consulting group to work out the details of the campaign, including script and calls. Erika works to get commitment for program’s start but can’t quite get them there.

Day 89: Erika pays a follow-up visit to a smaller potential healthcare client to discuss pricing and details on program proposal.Afterward she runs into media friend who schedules an interview for a story on SC COM.


Day 94: The small service company put dealings with SC COM on hold.They have lost two major clients due to the economy, and they must pull in the ranks. It’s here where Erika’s sales skills will have to come into play—she works to convince them that an investment in SC COM’s services will help them in the long run. “I provide the explanation that even though budgets are tight right now, investing in our services will reap clients, which equal money! He will marinate on that.”

Day 99: Today Erika completes her training of a caller to work with the first client signed—work with them begins in two days. A small project, which Erika will later learn was too small—not enough time for our caller to get results for the client.

Day 88: The potential client from Day 36 returns for a proposal. They’re ready to engage. “I’m surprised,” Erika says. “Why am I surprised? What a great surprise to be called back for more information, for interest in what your company does. It puts pressure on, though, to perform, to be successful, to bring positive, useful results for the client.” “It makes me nervous and excited.”

Day 101: SC COM calling begins for both the large healthcare company as well as the Day 36 client. At this point Erika realizes that she has to let go and entrust that the people she has hired are doing their jobs. This is yet another paradigm shift for her. Her previous business was based on intellectual property in Erika’s head, gathered from 20 years of work. This business is based on Erika’s contact capital and sales expertise, but the work will be done by others. “In some respects, that’s nice, but in others, it’s completely nervewracking,” Erika says. “I have learned that I have to be more vigilant in the management of people, and in touch with what it happening not only professionally with them, but, since they work at home, with what’s happening in their personal lives as well.” However, things are looking up for SC COM with two clients signed and more in the works. “It’s official,” Erika says. “I have clients, and a business.”

It was my vision, and a group of women shared in that, and we created something great.

Update: The proposal made on Day 89 was accepted. Client No. 3 starts in the fall.

Do you have a business venture that you would like us to track? Drop us a note and let us know more:

I have learned that I have to be more vigilant in the management of people, and in touch with what it happening not only professionally with them, but, since they work at home, with what’s happening in their personal lives as well.

Day 85: Yet another follow-up client meeting: Erika has organized the team that will be working with this major client. They meet to strategize about the following day’s training session at the facility.



kid entrepreneurship vs school funding

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.



t’s that time of year again when kids begin returning to school. I love the fact that my kids are beginning to embark on their journey through another grade level. What I actually dread about my kids’ return to the new school year however, is the fundraising! Now, don’t get me wrong. Each year my wife and I support almost every fundraising effort that can fit into our kids’ backpacks. But many times our kids get fundraising lists almost back to back. I dread pitching family and co-workers about buying candy, wrapping paper or whatever the “fundraiser du jour” is, after having just finished soliciting their help with the last project. Here are few ideas that may help this school year’s fundraising events become more entrepreneurially sound and more fulfilling to your young entrepreneur. Now, the best approach would be if the PTA, PTO or other host organization that is having the traditional fundraiser try these or similar ideas to benefit the group themselves. But if that can’t happen, your young entrepreneur can try these ideas

individually and use some of the money toward their traditional fundraising project. Note: All schools have different rules and policies. Make sure you check with your child’s principal or teachers before launching any of the business ideas below.You may get the green light quicker by sharing how these ideas can help with the school’s traditional fundraising efforts. • After-school snack stand. When kids get out of school, the first thing they want is something to eat. Your young entrepreneur can provide it. And not only the traditional snack items, but many kids enjoy certain side dishes as snacks like mac and cheese or potatoes au gratin. You can help your child serve the hot stuff in styrofoam bowls for a reasonable cost. • Locker decorating for birthdays. Get creative! Some students may be willing to pay to have their friends’ lockers decorated for their birthdays. • Make and sell cakes or cupcakes for in-school birthdays. Parents are busier now more than ever before, but they still have kids in school that have birthdays.Your child can even take orders throughout the year and you can help them with the making and delivery of the cakes to the birthday boy or girl’s classroom. • Customized day planners or organizers. • Design and set up websites for students, staff or anyone who needs one but can’t do it themselves. • Produce and sell CD-ROM yearbooks. Remember, any venture that makes money can be used to help the traditional fundraiser. This way, your young entrepreneur can try something innovative, fun and profitable for themselves as well.

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Business Black Box

With South Carolina’s most recent unemployment rate falling at 12.1 percent (according to the South Carolina Employment Security Commission), we thought we’d take a look at the South Carolina’s—and specifically the Upstate’s—employment figures from a slightly different perspective: jobs created versus jobs lost.


September/October 2009

Here’s a broad look at the jobs created and jobs lost from 2000 to 2007 in the Upstate of South Carolina in comparison to the rest of the state during those same years.

d provided

by Upstate


Business Black Box

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September/October 2009




our state legislature is key to your businesses success... or failure

by john deworken

John DeWorken is the vice president of public policy and lobbyist for the Greenville, Spartanburg, Greer, Cherokee, Greenwood and Anderson Chambers of Commerce, serving 6,300 members through these Upstate Chambers. John is a member of the advisory council for Business Black Box, advising on topics pertaining to politics and public policy.


Business Black Box

Do you think the actions of state legislature don’t affect you? Think again. From budget numbers or healthcare, to TV’s personal injury lawyers reaching for your wallet, the actions (or inactions) of your House and Senate members who serve in Columbia directly impact your ability to succeed—or fail. In 2009, the legislature moved some significant bills forward, but for the most part, a stalemate was created by the stimulus fiasco, leaving vital pieces of legislation far from the finish line. To its credit, the legislature passed a bill that would study the entire tax code and look at where improvements are needed. Called the TRAC bill, this legislation is a result of Act 388, the property tax relief bill that is causing havoc among businesses, schools, realtors and local governments. The study committee is to report back to the General Assembly in March and recommend how S.C.’s tax structure can attract more business, industry and residents. Another significant business legislation passed this year is a bill that restructures the S.C. Ports Authority. As 60 percent of the port’s imports and exports are generated from, or heading to, the Upstate, the Port is an economic umbilical cord to the business community of the Upstate. This bill essentially reduces the Governor’s ability to politicize the port’s board by removing his ability


to remove board members without cause. (Currently, the Governor may only remove Board members for malfeasance and a few other causes.) This, too, allows the board member to make decisions regarding the port without worrying about politics of the decision. Looking forward, the legislature did tee up many bills that will most definitely make a difference in Upstate businesses’ ability to compete. For one, there is a looming crisis occurring with our unemployment system, in that there is, basically, more money going out to unemployed workers than there is going into the Employment Security Commission. According to the State Chamber, which has led the effort in the past two years to reform the Commission, the Employment Security Commission will have an unfounded liability in excess of $1 billion at the year’s end. Where the money comes from to make up that liability has yet to be decided, but most experts say that S.C. businesses will have to ante up much of it. As a result, work must be done to restructure the Commission in 2010. The other crisis that has reared its head is the inequitable S.C. tax system. South Carolina commercial businesses pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. Additionally, the 2006 Property Tax Relief bill cost businesses an additional $350 million per year because of the extra penny sales tax that was implemented. Knowing that the TRAC Commission will post its results in March, the legislature must take a close look at those results and make significant changes to the tax code to make S.C. more competitive. That is—develop a state tax system that will create jobs and wealth for the Palmetto State’s citizens. Class action and frivolous lawsuits have a detrimental effect on businesses and workers in this country and state. These lawsuits cost citizens over $2,500 per year; it costs jobs, compromises entrepreneurship, and inhibits economic development. The point here is that hundreds of thousands of small businesses each year face frivolous lawsuits. They collectively spend hundreds of millions of dollars and countless hours defending themselves. Yes, the small businesses ultimately win, but in the bigger picture we are all losers, as lawsuits like these discourage entrepreneurs from setting up shop, inhibit job growth, and compromise economic development. As a result, four years ago, the legislature passed a tort reform bill that curbed frivolous lawsuits, reformed joint and several liability, and cut the statute of repose from 13 years to eight. This year, the business community is setting the stage to finalize that tort reform bill that will cap non-economic damages and punitive damages. To read more on this topic, visit

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Business Black Box

September/October 2009


Business Black Box



September/October 2009



avoiding pain: common mistakes with legal agreements 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

Always read the “boilerplate.” You can change a few words in agreement “boilerplate” and completely change the commercial benefits and risks under an agreement. Sophisticated clients negotiating commercial contracts often spend as much or more time negotiating limitation of liability and indemnification clauses than any other terms because the potential dollars and risks at stake in those provisions are equal to those in any other part of the contract, including pricing and warranties.


Beware of business people writing agreement schedules. Schedules usually describe things such as product and

When considering the legal matters of your business, there are typically large situations—taxes or liability, for example—that people take great notice of. However, there are many, more common legal agreement mistakes that I see in my practice.You may regard these mistakes as obvious errors that only a fool would not recognize and avoid. If so, congratulations, and by all means go find something else more interesting to read. Experience, however, suggests that many are not aware of these potential pitfalls or do not recognize them until it is too late. The catastrophe may not materialize, but when it does it is invariably costly, time consuming and even painful when you realize that a little extra effort on the front end could have avoided the problem. Here are a few pitfalls that you can avoid. Don’t sign anything you have not read. Nothing is more depressing than talking to a client who did not carefully read a contract and is now asking you how to avoid a contract provision that “should not be in the agreement” because “that is not what we agreed to” and/or “I did not know it was in the contract.” There are a lot of court decisions stating that if you sign a written agreement, you are legally deemed to have read it, even if you did not. Ignorance is no defense. Most agreements also include specific language stating that the written agreement supersedes prior communications, so it is difficult or impossible to rely on prior conversations or emails to contradict the terms of the agreement.

service specifications and pricing about which business people know far more than lawyers. The problem is that most business people do not spend their time writing documents with detail and clarity sufficient for a judge or jury that knows nothing about the business to determine what the deal was if there is a dispute. The most interesting case that I have heard of involved a software development contract.A year or so after the contract was signed, the parties had a disagreement about the work performed. They reviewed the contract schedule describing the work to be performed, and the schedule was sufficiently unclear that no one could determine what they had agreed to, including the owner of the software company who had written the schedule. There certainly are business people who need no assistance from a lawyer in writing schedules, but this is an issue that should be considered.

Make sure the deal described on paper is the same deal that you approved. A specific variation of the first

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September/October 2009

Business Black Box

To read more pointers problem is the failure to ensure that the written agreement actually on this legal topic, visit describes the same deal that the parties previously discussed. I have seen clients spend weeks working out a deal, only to find myself pulling teeth to get them to spend a few hours to make sure that the written agreement accurately reflects the terms that they so carefully negotiated. A careful review of the written document can avoid critical errors. In the worst cases, the other party drafts the agreement and deliberately puts in terms different from the approved terms or adds terms that were not discussed that significantly change the deal. Even innocent mistakes can be catastrophic. I once reviewed an agreement where the other side mistakenly flipped the numerator and denominator on a fraction – an error that would have cost them millions of dollars had it not been caught.



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September/October 2009


Business Black Box

September/October 2009



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hen Bryant Young lost his left leg after an accident in 1984, his first response was a feeling of being lost. “My first reaction was ‘What Now,’”Young says of the days that followed his accident.“ There I was, an 18 year-old elite athlete getting ready to accept offers to Division I schools, and then it all changed.” So, he created his own purpose. Young purchased a bike and began his mission—inspiring, educating, and motivating amputees to become physically active through recreational and competitive sports—a mission he put on paper when he created Amputee in Action, a non-profit that seeks to be a positive catalyst in the amputee community by helping them “Get Up and Get Active.” Young first rode across South Carolina, and now continues to push himself as an athlete to show others the power of believing in yourself. He dropped almost 50 pounds after beginning the bike challenges, and uses his rides to raise money for everything from a school in Kenya to funding for Amputee in Action. “Obstacles are meant to be overcome,” Young says. “It’s important that people—and especially children, understand that. Life is full of possibilities.” In addition to working with Sharp Business Systems as an account executive, Young is a husband to Jill and father to five children. Still, it’s his position in the community, and his organization dedicated to a growing population that helps turn confusion into opportunities. See more about Bryant and Amputee in Action at www.

September/October 2009

Get up.


Businesss Black Box - Sep 09  

September / October 2009 issue of Business Black Box

Businesss Black Box - Sep 09  

September / October 2009 issue of Business Black Box