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Welcome to the Iron Yard

BUSINESS

BLACK

BOX For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

FEATURES

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Last Days: A Glimpse at South Carolina’s Hospice Industry

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E is for education


Q4/2012 E V E R Y

I S S U E . . .

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Launch: Votivo

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GUT CHECK LAYERS OF THOUGHT RANDOM & RELEVANT STATUS CHECK MEET STEVE SPEED PITCH

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TA N K

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What Matters: Bo Cable

T H I N K

Trail Blazer: Jil Littlejohn

T H E

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

Next Gen: Cate Ryba

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LAW GROWTH GLOBAL POLITICS SMALL BIZ SALES HR EN ESPAテ前L

11 Questions Danny Joyner


A B O U T

B B B

B B B

L E A D E R S H I P

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Jordana Megonigal

OUR STORY... 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. That’s the mission of our magazine, our connect events, and our interactive platform. News of businesses 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. 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. Printed with

BY

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

SUBSC RIPTIONS / GIVE A GIFT

Andy Coburn John DeWorken Todd Korahais Evelyn Lugo Josh Overstreet Charles Richardson Caitlin Rusnak Ravi Sastry Tony Snipes Alison Storm Terry Weaver

DESIGN GRAPHIC DESIGNER Catherine Roberts ART DIRECTOR Lisa Worsham SENIOR DESIGNER Chris Heuvel PHOTOGRAPHY Wayne Culpepper, Fisheye Studios Nill Silver Photography TRAFFIC COORDINATOR Christina Zoha

DIRECTOR John Schulz

IT ADMINISTRATION James Cable

BUSINE SS

Business Black Box is a registered trademark of ShowCase Publishing 2012. Content may not be reproduced without written permission of Business Black Box. Excerpts may be reprinted, provided that credit is given to the author and to Business Black Box magazine.

Chad McMillan

BBB

LE AD PROGRAMMER Nathan Morgan

Business Black Box (Vol.4, Issue 4) is published four times per year by ShowCase Publishing, 1200 Woodruff Rd. Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607; phone (864) 281-1323; fax (864) 281-1310.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Geoff Wasserman

EDITORIAL

INTERACTIVE SP ONSORED

PUBLISHER

Brooke Holder Charles Richardson Amy Smith

ACCOUNTING Jess Cable

RE ADER

SERVIC ES

Annual Subscriptions are $20 and include four issues of Business Black Box, as well as one year of full access to our website, Insideblackbox.com. Think someone you know would like to receive Business Black Box? A complimentary gift card will be sent with each order indicating who the gift is from and when the recipient will receive their first issue. If you have a question about your subscription, call us at (864) 281-1323, ext. 1010, or reach us via email at info@insideblackbox.com. C HANGE OF ADDRESS

When contacting us about changing your address, please provide us with both the old and the new addresses, as well as any other informational changes. The post office will only forward Business Black Box for 60 days, so make sure you let us know as soon as you have your information ready.

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When available, back issues of Business Black Box are available for $9 by mail or for $7 for pick-up through our office.

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Local talent is what keeps us moving. If you’d like to write or photograph for Business Black Box, please contact the editor at editor@insideblackbox.com or by mail to Business Black Box, c/o Freelance Opportunities, 1200 Woodruff Rd., Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607. REPRINT / PHOTO / VIDEO REQUESTS

If you’d like to request a copy or a reprint of a photo or an article you’ve seen in Business Black Box, or of a Fly On The Wall video we’ve done for your event, please contact us for info and pricing at info@insideblackbox.com or by mail to 1200 Woodruff Rd., Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607. EVENT MANAGEMENT / SPONSORSHIP

Business Black Box hosts events monthly from Business Connect networking held at local businesses to sponsoring events for other local organizations. If you’d like to find out more about hosting an event with Business Black Box, or about working with us to sponsor your event, please call our sales team at (864) 2811323, ext. 1018, or email sales@insideblackbox.com.

WEBSITE

FAC EBOOK

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B B B

A D V I S O R Y

C O U N C I L

For complete bios on our advisory council visit www.insideblackbox.com/advisors

A TEAM OF EXPERIENCED, CONNECTED BUSINESS LEADERS FROM DIFFERENT REGIONS OF THE UPSTATE, WHO ADVISE US REGULARLY ON TRENDS, CHANGES, GROWTH, AND PROGRESS IN UPSTATE BUSINESS.

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amy wood, anchor, wspa

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10. jil littlejohn, executive director, ywca

chip felkel, ceo, the felkel group

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tony snipes, business coach & entrepreneur

julie godshall-brown, president, godshall staffing

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kimberly kent, principal, mg&c consulting, llc

andy coburn, attorney, wyche p.a.

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13. todd korahais, operating partner, keller williams realty

maxim williams, director of community relationships, bon secours st. francis

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14. terry weaver, ceo, chief executive boards international

tiffany hughes, marketing director, hallelujah acres

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15. sam patrick, ceo, patrick marketing & communications

michael bolick, president, lab 21

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16. matt dunbar, managing director, upstate carolina angel network

greg hillman, upstate director, scra/sclaunch

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john deworken, partner, sunnie & deworken

ravi sastry, vp of sales & marketing, immedion

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bill west, managing partner, the atlantic partners


G U T

C H E C K

It’s About People like many of you, am in a really weird spot right now. With impending elections right around the corner, and craziness looming overhead, it seems the world has lost its mind. I’ve been reading news of people bullying, killing, and tormenting others for their religious beliefs. I’ve heard accusations hurled, without direction, at others for their life choices. I’ve seen people pressured to vote “this way” with threat of impending doom. And this ain’t the global news, people. This is all happening here—in the land of freedom, tolerance, and opportunity. It seems lately that dialogue—the art of conversation between two people who may or may not see things in a like way, but can still speak with measures of decorum and civility—is lost. Replacing this dialogue is debate, a twisted form of conversation where differing sides argue their points—points that, may I add, they are convinced are solely right.The end result of this concept is, of course, that the other person is obviously wrong. The most troublesome part of this for me is that it has removed our opportunities for learning— for understanding a different point of view, or what makes someone tick, or even that there’s another point of view, at all. Gone are days of openness and knowledge absorption—replaced only by fighting and undercutting. When did we lose common courtesy for each other? When did it become okay for grown men to walk into public places of business and verbally accost 17-year-old girls, simply because they disagree with someone else’s religious, moral or political position? When did it become second nature to “block” friends or cut off communications just to not have to talk to someone becuase you know you disagree? When did it become our right to preach people into submission—to ridicule them if they resisted, or worse, slander them because they simply see things differently? Here’s the answer: It didn’t. It’s not okay. Ever. At all. Call me sentimental. I probably am. So, let’s put a practical spin on it. I recently heard Dave Ridley, the Chief Marketing Officer for Southwest Airlines, speak. As he walked us through the many reasons that Southwest has remained successful and profitable while many other airlines failed, he kept noting one point:Their business is about people.The person they serve isn’t just the person who bought the plane ticket to Las Vegas—it’s also the steward on that flight, the pilot in the cockpit, and the mechanic who’s pulling overtime. It stuck with me. After all, the primary concern of the guy in charge of promoting what is arguably the best airline in the world, isn’t whether or not to build a meal into the price of the ticket, or how to charge you for that extra inch of carryon luggage without you noticing—it’s how to make your trip the best, and how to empower the people you will meet along the way, to make it the best. It’s amazing—in all the noise that Ridley could possibly be listening to—new regulations, political swinging, consumer complaints—in the clutter of the rest of the world, and undeniably, in his own business, Ridley gets it: It’s all about people. Remember that, please.As we go into a volatile season of elections and businesses are already stretched and people are raw and excitable—remember: we are all people. We all have thoughts and feelings.We are passionate because we care, so let’s be careful to take care of those around us, as well. After all, if we all agreed, all the time, what a boring place this would be. And I’m scared to say, if we continue this path, it will be more empty than we’ve ever known.

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

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“We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.” – George Bernard Shaw

Editor, Business Black Box

jordana@insideblackbox.com | 864/281-1323 x.1010 twitter.com/jmegonigal | linkedin.com/in/jordanam facebook.com/jordana megonigal Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios

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Dear IT Companies University MBA Programs Insurance Companies Pro Sports Teams Golf Courses Art Galleries

Thank you, but the position has been filled. In April 2012, Business Black Box made the decision to offer category exclusivity to our advertising partners. Our readers don’t want our pages filled with 60 percent advertising like those other publications. After all, isn’t separating yourself from your competitors why you advertise in the first place?

So, we commit to you that: BUSINESS BLACK BOX WILL NEVER BE MORE THAN 30% ADS. EVER. YOU CAN LOCK OUT YOUR COMPETITORS. WE’LL TAKE YOUR AD OUTSIDE OF JUST PRINT INTO DIGITAL, WEB, SOCIAL MEDIA AND EVENT MARKETING— ALL IN ONE CONTRACT

Don’t let your competitors lock you out. Give us a call today.

(864) 281-1323 X. 1010 | INFO@INSIDEBLACKBOX.COM


L AY E R S

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For more Layers of Thought visit www.insideblackbox.com/layers

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Production Hours

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Individual Photographs Used

107 Photoshop Layers

Have you ever wondered how large, successful companies begin? That’s easy: every business—successful or unsuccessful—starts with one thing....an idea. Look at two of the world’s most profitable businesses: Apple and Facebook. Steve Jobs, late CEO of Apple, created a multi-billion dollar empire in the technology industry. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, created one of the world’s largest social media platforms. But where did it all begin? With one simple idea. Brilliant ideas are often so simple, you may wonder “Why didn’t I think of that?” But what if you had thought of it? Would you be as successful as Jobs or Zuckerberg? The truth is, the idea is only the beginning. It’s what you do with that idea that makes the difference. That’s what determines success or failure. This issue, we got the chance to meet the teams of the Iron Yard, an accelerator program in its first year. After we met them, we couldn’t just pick one idea.So the covers (yes, that’s 10 covers) of our Q4 issue feature each of the teams that didn’t just have an idea—they are working their tails off to make them successful.

original photo

increased levels and contrast

added background color

“whiteboard” text added

DE SIGN

PHOTO GRAPHY

MODEL S

Chris Heuvel

Wayne Culpepper Fisheye Studios

21 Entrepreneurs seeking to be “The Next Big Thing”

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R A N D O M

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R E L E VA N T

Between the Lines

Calendar

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NOVEMBER

InnoVision is the premier organization that honors the world-class achievements of businesses, educational institutions and governmental entities in South Carolina’s Upstate and Greater Midlands regions. As the only awards program of its kind, the InnoVision Awards distinguish businesses, individuals and educators who set new standards for innovation in finding, developing and retaining profitable business. Jason Berns, Director of Innovation for UnderArmour, will be the 2012 keynote speaker.

What we read: Death by Meeting, by Patrick Lencioni

FOR MORE INFO: To purchase individual tickets or for questions about sponsorship opportunities contact info@innovisionaward.org.

The Gist: Casey McDaniel, CEO of a software

company in which he is also founder, has no idea why his company is drowning in mediocrity. He knows they can do better; he is just stuck on the “how.”

How it’s Written: As Lencioni tends to do, the first

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

three-quarters of the book are written in fable form, telling the story of a CEO with a challenge he can’t seem to fix, and the unlikely stranger who comes along to help.

Great if: You, like so many others, feel like you meet all

the time. And, you probably feel that those meeetings don’t end up with too much progress.

Don’t miss: The last few chapters of the book. The one

thing we love about Lencioni is his desire to truly affect change, and in Death by Meeting, the last few chapters are focused on helping the reader “map out” their own meetings.

Our Read: This is one of the few books we’d recommend across the board—to everyone who’s ever had or been in a meeting, at least. And we think that’s pretty much everyone, so if you have a chance, pick up this book.

WHAT: InnoVision 2012 Awards Dinner WHERE: TD Convention Center, Greenville WHEN: November 7, 2012

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NOVEMBER

WHAT: InnoMobility Conference WHERE: TD Convention Center, Greenville WHEN: November 7 & 8, 2012 InnoMobility, a conference developed by InnoVenture, brings together a global, open innovation community of diverse thought leaders exploring how evolving demographics and advancing technology lead to new high-growth mobility markets. The southeast region is an epicenter of a large, transforming global mobility industry with an innovative ecosystem of forward thinking mobility companies and academic centers. Keynotes include Ryan Popple, Partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Cliff Thomas, Managing Director of Smart+ Connected Communities at Cisco Systems. FOR MORE INFO: To register, see the agenda, or nominate a speaker go to www.Innomobility.com/2012/

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R A N D O M

&

R E L E VA N T

DIREC TORY

Economic Futures Group

By the Numbers

312,108 Number of small bsuinesses in South Carolina

Dedicated to economic development in Spartanburg County, the Economic Futures Group website offers insight and data on the progresses and developments within Spartanburg.

90,416 Number of those small businesses who have employees

www.economicfuturesgroup.com

181,946 Number of those self-employed in South Carolina *Info taken from www.gaebler.com

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For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and selfrestraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.�

Number of local unions in South Carolina

30,131 Number of union members in South Carolina *Info taken from www.unions.org

THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

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R E L E VA N T

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

In a recent post on theAtlantic. com, writer Derek Thompson investigated the trend in the U.S. to not take vacation time. Compared with other countries’ federal paid annual leave policies, we’re not even on the charts—primarily, he says, because we don’t even have a policy in the U.S. So while workers in countries like Spain will take 22 paid days off and another 12 paid holidays, we in the U.S., even without a policy, average in at 0. Finland, Norway and Sweden (who always seem to be “cutting edge” when it comes to paid time off) will see 25 paid vacation days. And don’t even get us started on things like medical leave and family or maternity leave.

Did you miss our last event? With the last issue focusing on all the goings-on in Spartanburg, it was only natural that we have our Issue Launch there! Many thanks to Hub City Bookshop for hosting, as well as Cakehead Bakery, Costco, and Jessi Jazz for all their hard work as well!

b City The gathering at Hu

Bookshop

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Take a Breather, already

perfo rm

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Jessi J azz

R A N D O M

WSPA anchor Amy Wood and BBB editor Jordana Megon igal

So while there’s science behind resting, recovering and taking time off in order to be more creative, more productive and just, well….happier, apparently we Americans are more apt to burn ourselves out than just take a breather.

.. els...at it again. Our cover mod

Megonigal, Mit of Spartanbu ch Kennedy (City rg Chamber pr ) and Spartanburg esident Dav id Cordeau

s marcu ood, Ja W y m A

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n Pittma Becky d n a n Gasto Photos by Lisa Worsham


Taylors First Baptist Church is a place where people can connect — to God, to one another, and to the Greenville and Greer communities. Join us on Sunday! 8:30 am Traditional 9:50 am Contemporary 11:11 am Modern

wearetaylors.com


L A U N C H

VOTIVO

CLEAN CRISP WHITE REED DIFFUSER manufactured by votivo spartanburg, sc

for more visit www.votivo.com Photo by Nill Silver Photography

From S.C. to the World


ANDY COBURN ATTORNEY WYCHE LAW FIRM

T

he Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act became law in April of this year. The number of initial public stock offerings (IPOs) by companies—companies “going public”— has been depressed in recent years due in large part to the massive additional regulations imposed by laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The JOBS Act takes a significant step in the other direction by making it easier for an “emerging growth company” to conduct an IPO and easing the regulatory requirements for such companies after they have conducted an IPO. An “emerging growth company” is a company that had total annual gross revenues of less than $1 billion, provided that companies that had an IPO on or before December 8, 2011, and are already public may not qualify. Status as an emerging growth company ends if and when a company has total annual gross revenues of $1 billion or more; five years after its IPO; if and when it issues more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt during a three-year period; or if and when the company becomes a “large accelerated filer” under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules. With a $1 billion revenue threshold, a great number of the private companies that might consider an IPO will qualify as “emerging growth companies.” The JOBS Act includes a number of new rules that make it easier for an emerging growth company to conduct an IPO. One of the most significant is an exception that permits such companies to

L AW

THE JOBS ACT, PART II

About the author...

As an attorney with Wyche, P.A., Andy regularly represents clients in mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, structuring of joint ventures, securities offerings and other financing transactions. He has extensive experience with growing companies and private placements of securities.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. Outside of his legal profession, Andy is on the board of the Greenville Little Theatre, a project leader for Habitat for Humanity, and serves as a Business Black Box advisor in law.

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communicate with certain institutional investors before an IPO begins to determine if investors would be interested in investing in the company. For companies that are not emerging growth companies, such communications are generally illegal.The JOBS Act also permits a broker-dealer assisting with an IPO to distribute research reports about an emerging growth company before the IPO begins, which can help smaller, less well known companies get the attention of institutional investors. Other benefits under the Act include the ability to file registration statements with the SEC on a confidential basis, reduced financial disclosure requirements and reduced restrictions on stock analyst communications with investment bankers and company management. Once an emerging growth company has gone public, the Act relieves such a company from a variety of regulatory requirements. These include a number of accounting-related requirements, such as one of the most disliked (and expensive) requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the auditor review of internal financial controls. Other regulatory relief includes reduced executive compensation reporting requirements and exemption from the shareholder “say-on-pay” vote requirements. Whether the Act will result in a flood of new IPOs remains to be seen as the SEC issues regulations under the Act and companies reassess the pros and cons of going public, but the JOBS Act is definitely a breath of fresh air in the fog of recent regulations.

Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

For more on this topic visit InsideBlackBox.com/law


Clemson University Master of Business Administration Wanted: Leaders with entrepreneurial mindsets — trailblazers; business renegades. Those who see challenges as opportunities and rush head long to meet them with creativity, skill and passion. www.clemsonatthefalls.com · 55 E Camperdown Way · Greenville, SC 29601 · 864-656-3975


S T A T U S

C H E C K

Business and the Affordable Care Act With the new healthcare standards in place and already being implemented, many companies are realizing new options when it comes to providing benefits for their employees. Even should the plan be repealed, we still face a good amount of time with new rules and regulations in place.

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

So, what are you doing to prepare for the current and impending healthcare and provision changes in your company—either as an employee, or an employer?

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“We are teaching our staff about “loss ratios.” The idea that if your group pays $100,000 of premiums into the system each year but uses $120,000, then there was a 1.12 loss ratio for the insurance company. Translation: your group rates are going to skyrocket. Example: You have a $20 copay for a name brand drug and “don’t ask the doctor” for the $4 generic (because it is easy to pay the $20). In this example, the drug’s actual cost is $250/mo, and while you have paid, say, $240 per year with your copay ($20 X 12), the insurance company may have paid $3,000 ($250 X 12). Thus, your group plan spent $3000. It does not take many $3000 name brand drugs to blow your loss ratio away. You would have saved 98 percent in this case. Here is another one. Need a drive to the hospital? Call the ambulance, right? Well, you may find that with the new plans that this is not covered. More and more, ambulance services are independent and are not covered. Thus, you get stuck with 100 percent of the cost, regardless of your insurance. So be smart—use it if necessary, but consider the cost. It could be up to $5,000 to get to the hospital, depending on time, distance, and mode of transportation. Or $5 in gas if you calm down and consider the true reality. Again—a 99 percent savings.”

David Pence

CEO, Acumen IT

“For us, it is all about the math. If at the end of the day it is more cost effective to gross up my employees salaries to buy their own insurance and pay the fine, tax, extortion, bounty or whatever you want to call it I will. Otherwise, with the inclusion of pre-existing conditions it doesn’t make any sense to buy the insurance until you need it, so why would you? If the goal of this administration is to run doctors out of work, raise the ranks of unemployed in nursing and bankrupt the healthcare system, we can surely accomplish this by the middle of next year without repeal. But, if we want to let the free market system continue to move forward and see advances in life sciences, then repeal of this completely arbitrary and unsustainable healthcare mandate is in order. I will end this where I started. At the end of the day it is about the math. Business owners need to simply do the math.”

Trevor Gordon

CEO, Sandlapper Wealth Management

“We had already taken steps to prepare for the Act almost a year ago as details were released, since the implications could have a large cost impact for our business. Overall, as a high tech manufacturer of aerospace-machined components, we already offer great benefits in order to

C H E C K

recruit and retain the best possible employees, which is critical to our business due to a national shortage of skilled workers. Since our healthcare costs are already considerable for a business our size, we definitely were concerned about higher costs that might cause a reduction in quality or coverage in order to maintain our budget. Most entrepreneurs and small business owners are fearless in dealing with obstacles, but the fear of unknown legislative changes and impact is a formidable opponent, so many of us have taken extremely cautious “wait and see” measures until we learned more. Examples include delaying hiring decisions, delaying capital equipment purchases, hoarding cash to protect working capital, etc. Besides the conservative steps mentioned above, one very important preparation step was to review any “grandfather clause” options. One of the immediate provisions, we learned, was a clause granted to companies that stayed with the same insurance carrier over the last two-year period. Since most small companies typically switch medical insurance providers every year due to large rate hikes, ADEX elected to remain with our existing provider and deal with the normal cost increases. As a side note, for as long as I can remember in may career, I have always seen cost increases, often double digit, regardless of which political party is in office. Kicking the can appears to be a strategy that both parties utilize, with the same results each year. Perhaps if our legislators were on a similar private industry healthcare plan that we deal with, they would adopt a different behavior? Remaining with our current healthcare provider allowed us to grandfather in our current plan provisions and thereby avoid some of the changes that we would have had to immediate cost impact, and instead implement in phases (since we aren’t a large company that received presidential waivers). If we did not have the grandfather clause in place had, we calculated that, combined with the normal yearly cost increase, would have resulted in a 21 percent total cost increase over our current plan. Quite a staggering cost increase for a small business to digest in recessionary times and would have required us to most likely take some very drastic measures. Unfortunately, even with these and other preparations, our annual medical plan cost increases were still too high and we could not absorb the full impact. For the first time in our history, we had to pass along some of the cost increase to our employees. While this is still a very good plan when compared to other companies, this costs our employees up to a couple more hundred dollars per month (money they don’t have to spend on consumer goods that generate sales tax dollars for Greenville and SC), and similarly has cost ADEX tens of thousands of dollars as well. If medical costs continue to increase at this rate, we might have no other choice than pass more costs to employees, reduce coverage quality, or even possibly eliminating our current private plan altogether and putting all employees on the government system, which appears to be an almost engineered eventual outcome. ”

Jason Premo

CEO, ADEX Machining Technologies

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For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

S TAT U S


with anticipation

with delight 171 Riverplace Greenville, SC 29601 864.271.8700 ~ hamptoninnandsuitesgreenville.com

greenville downtown @ riverplace


TERRY WEAVER CEO CHIEF EXECUTIVE BOARDS, INTERNATIONAL

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ou want to contact a prospect by phone. You know you can’t get an order by email— it’s going to take a conversation to get the selling process to the next step. You can’t catch him answering his own phone.You try leaving voicemails, asking him to call you back—he doesn’t. You need a better plan, and here’s one that’s worked for me. 1. Send an email a day or two in advance, with a short (no more than a few sentences) description of what the call is about or why you want to talk to him. In the first or second line of the email, usually in bold font, say, “I’ll call you Tuesday morning to fill you in on this. If there’s a better time for you, just let me know.” Use a subject line something like, “Can we catch up Tuesday morning?” 2. Build a process for sending these. You can send 12 to 15 of these for a single morning or afternoon of prospecting phone calls. Use a merged email generator like Worldcast, your CRM, Outlook Mail Merge or “Resend this message” in Outlook. You’ll be amazed at how many people respond with a better time—in one recent morning, I had that happen on three out of five prospects. Then you have an email dialog going, with no gatekeeper in between, where you can make an appointment that suits you both.

GROW T H

5 STEPS TO TRIPLE YOUR PHONE PROSPECTING HIT RATIO 3. Many, of course, will not respond to your email, and you’ll call them on the appointed morning or afternoon. Some of them will take your call. For others you’ll get an assistant or voicemail.Voicemail is probably preferable, because you can leave a message something like, “Hello, this is Terry Weaver calling from Chief Executive Boards International. I’m sorry I missed you today. My phone number is 864-527-5917. As you know, CEBI is a membership organization of business owners and CEOs who meet occasionally to help and advise each other. I’d like to take a few minutes to fill you in on how this works, and I’ll call you again on Thursday morning. Please give me a call at 864-527-5917 if another time would work better for you. That’s Terry Weaver, Chief Executive Boards International, 864-527-5917.” 4. Pull up your earlier email about the Tuesday morning call, and forward it to the prospect, with a subject line like, “Can we catch up Thursday morning?”That email forward message is something like: “I’ll call you Thursday morning to fill you in on this. If there’s a better time for you, just let me know.” 5. Call again, as promised, on Thursday morning. You can, if you wish, repeat steps four and five one or more additional times. This has worked remarkably well for me. First, I regularly hear from someone proposing a different time for the call. And, interestingly, having sent the email just before my call actually increases the hit ratio of my call getting through—as if the prospect was really expecting it.

For more on this topic visit InsideBlackBox.com/growth

About the author...

Terry Weaver is the CEO of Chief Executive Boards, International and former President and COO of Kemet, the founder of Metaprise computing, the founder of Delta Resource Group, and presently owns and operates a national CEO membership organization. His experience as a Fortune 100 Vice President, mid-cap NASDAQ company President/COO and round-trip (startup, growth, sale) entrepreneur provides unique perspective.

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In May of this year, 10 teams were chosen,

out of 321 applicants from 19 countries, to participate in the Iron Yard, an accelerator dedicated to help create a thriving startup community and develop the young creative class. All 10 spent the summer developing their companies—web or mobile products focused on meeting the needs of a national or international market. “I think more than half will raise venture capital funds, and all that are pursuing raising capital will,” says Peter Barth, Managing Director of the Iron Yard. “They’ve exceeded my expectations.”

In Celtic, the word “kamb” means change. So essentially, the name “Kambit” is the perfect name for the online tool that came from John Michael Davis and Kasey Walker. Growing up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Davis and Walker were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug early. Not wanting to get “a typical job,” the two began blogging throughout college, learning though experience about affiliate marketing and the dollars that companies spend to attract customers. But it was after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that the duo stumbled upon their calling. Wanting to donate to the American Red Cross, but living on a college student-budget, the two asked the question: why couldn’t they connect affiliate marketing with a giving model? It turns out that they could, and they created a basic website, asking people to connect dollars they were already spending online with money given to charities.They raised $1,000 for the Red Cross. It wasn’t long before they sold everything they had, packed up the car and moved east to join the Iron Yard, where they would spend time cultivating Kambit to the next level. Using a format made popular in crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.com, along with affiliate marketing dollars, Kambit allows online shoppers to purchase as they normally would, while directing those corporate dollars to any charity of their choice. From local schools to large charitable organizations to private projects, Kambit truly is “changing” the way the next generation will see charitable giving.


For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

Years before its conception, the partners of Leaguevine had already met and shared a love of sports. Roger Wang and Mark Liu grew up together in Chicago. Although the two attended separate collages—Mark attended UCLA while Roger studied at the University of Illinois—they both gained backgrounds in computer science, which would later be utilized for the building of their own company. The idea originated at UCLA, where Mark discovered his love for Ultimate Frisbee. During his time there, he took his newly learned computer science skills and applied them to his newfound passion to create an Ultimate Frisbee stats app. He then went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received an interdisciplinary degree in Computer Science and Environmental Science, all while continuing Ultimate Frisbee and laying down the foundation for Leaguevine. Upon graduating, Mark began working on Leaguevine full-time and, in 2011, asked Roger to join him. In short, Leaguevine builds sports profiles for nonprofessional athletes. As amateur athletes themselves, they saw the need for an online sports application to keep track of the stats for recreational leagues and their players. Users can upload their own stats and data to create their profiles on Leaguevine. However, their vision for Leaguevine does not stop there. In the future, Mark and Roger hope that the app can be used as a platform for all sports data. They have developed their backend in such a way that other developers can build on top of theirs—and three already have.

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It was on a recent trip to Australia that Rich Winley first had the idea for an app. Not knowing the area he was in, he had a hard time finding the best restaurants—which, for him, meant knowing which ones were chain restaurants, what was fresh, and where the restaurant was located. After navigating restaurants without signage and even one in the middle of a river, Winley knew he was sitting on something big. “How do you find those places? When you’re going out, you don’t just want to eat at Applebees—you want to eat somewhere local,” Winley says. So when he found himself with a group of tech entrepreneurs in Seattle, and heard more about the TechStars programs that help accelerate technology start-ups, he was intrigued. Along with partners in Clemson and Philadelphia, Winley developed an app that he says will be the “easiest way to find the ‘diners, dives and drive-ins,’” referring to the popular Food Network TV show. Aptly named No Chains, the app will also review by the “menu item, not the menu,” meaning that users can find reviews on individual dishes, not only on the restaurant itself. After all, Winley says, “people eat food, not restaurants.” You can also filter the search to find the best dishes or even allergysensitive menu items. What Winley hopes is that the dinergenerated content will help No Chains grow into a app that helps find the best dining experiences around the world. His goal: “We’ll help you find that local flavor anywhere.”

Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

The name, MoonClerk, may seem strange at first glance, but it is very relevant to the purpose of the company. It is in reference to the cyclical nature of the moon and the profession of the clerk, which entails accounting and bookkeeping. Creators Dodd Caldwell and Ryan Wood noticed the problem that many businesses were facing—currently, it is next to impossible to accept online recurring payments without being a web developer, or hiring someone with that skill set, a problem that can be extremely costly and time consuming for small business owners. “Right now, if you want to accept those recurring payments, but don’t want to use PayPal, you either need to be a developer, or be able to hire one, and that can be really expensive and time consuming,” Caldwell says. “We actually make it easy and non-expensive for non-technical people to accept those payments.” So they began MoonClerk, which, just as the name suggests, will be useful for anyone who wants to have their finances cared for through a service that helps them collect payments on a regular basis, makes it easy and inexpensive to accept online recurring payments. With a system that can be set up in minutes, rather than weeks of programming time, MoonClerk gives businesses—from lawn care providers collecting service fees, to property managers collecting rent, and non-profits collecting donations—a new edge when it comes to billing and taking payments.

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Online education is a burgeoning industry— one that has leaders like Salman Kahn of the Khan Academy focused on innovative and effective learning techniques, rather than brickand-morter schools. Seeing this trend, and having worked in programming and development in the University atmosphere, brothers Paul and Mark Johnson decided to create an online platform where instructors could build their own cirrculums, wihtout incurring the costs involved in building their own site. “Educators create paths for others, and they guide them along the way,” Paul says, reflecting their choice of name. “That informs our entire philosiphy.” Along with the help of Greg Taylor and Justin Hall, the team developed Pathwright, where anyone can create an online school under their own brand, allowing interactive courses with

the use of text, video and chat, and set their own rates for enrollment. “We really see it as major,” Paul says. “This is where the future of education is going.” Not only is the instructor’s experience changed through Pathwright, but the student’s is, as well. With a visual “path” that shows each step of the cirrciculum or course, and an interactive experience that allows students to work on their own time, many can learn courses in whatever they need to, at a tenth of the cost of a university. In fact, Pathwright is already so respected that upon launch, there were already thousands of students taking courses throught the Pathwright site and its online educators. “It’s very flexible for many kinds of educational delivery,” says Paul. “That way, everybody learns a little bit more.”


When Blair Deckard, Marty Bauer and Nik Budisavljevic formed a group to work on a project in grad school at the University of South Carolina, they had no idea what it would eventually lead to. But after traveling abroad—Deckard and Budisavljevic to Brazil and Bauer to Europe—they discovered a method of ride sharing where travellers could share both rides and expenses. On his first use, Bauer found himself crammed into a tiny European car with four others, travelling into France. Still, Bauer only paid $15, instead of the originally budgeted $150, and experienced something wonderful, in the process. “Not only did it cut down my cost in travel, but it gave me a new experience of meeting people,” says Bauer. While their experiences abroad served as origins for what would soon become their business, it was by no means a new idea. In fact, ride sharing is used in the U.S., as well, though primarily on the West Coast. “Ride sharing is not a new concept—it’s just about the execution of it,” Bauer adds. “We looked around and thought, ‘why can’t this work in the U.S.?’” So, the team added Robert Pearce, a programmer working in Charleston, S.C.’s healthcare industry, and began developing RidePost. With a high focus on security based on models like Match.com, their goal is to ensure safety by “putting a face and a name with every transaction.” Although many investors like to pull startups closer to their home base, the RidePost team wants to keep the business in Greenville, if at all possible. And with a partnership already in place at USC, RidePost has the potential to transform what shared transportation means in the South. “Realistically, there isn’t a lot of capital in the Southeast,” Bauer notes. “we’re not looking to break the bank in the Southeast, but we have a real passion for doing something different somewhere else.”

Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

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For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

Grocery shopping is a task that no household can avoid. With all the different products and companies out there, it is hard to keep track of which brands you have purchased in the past, and when supermarkets are having the best deals on the products you need. It is unrealistic to constantly search for sales, and coupons can easily be forgotten or lost. Additionally, retailers are frustrated with their inability to access customers and with the inefficient coupon system currently in place. Luckily, there is a new application that strives to fix all these problems. Called Spent, the app uses Point of Sale data to keep track of customers’ personal grocery purchases, in order to keep them better informed on what and when to buy, and also to help retailers gain better access to their customers. The makers of Spent, a team built of Terry Horner, John Krebsbach and Andria Trivisonno, say that this Point of Sale data is already being collected, just not utilized. The app was originally envisioned as a personal finance app to keep track of Terry’s family’s grocery spending. At the same time, through John’s contacts in Cincinnati, the group learned of the retailers’ inability to efficiently access customers. Buy merging the two and focusing on both the consumer and the producer, Spent has the capability to change how households spend money on their household. Although the team sees a future in Greenville, their past has helped them shape their new company. Terry is experienced in web development, and has used these skills to start three other companies; Andria’s passion lies in product development; and John’s background lies in finance. Together, the team hopes to partner with a retailer in order to prove what Spent, and point of sale data—when utilized effectively—can do for the market.

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Q4 2012 // Business Black Box


Anyone who has ever tried to coordinate a large group of people for an event or party knows how challenging it can be—coordinating schedules, planning an itinerary, and splitting expenses can turn off even the most avid party planner. For Earle Gregory, one such experience was the wake-up call he needed. “I was planning a trip with a group of friends,” Gregory says. “After about 250 emails back and forth, I thought, ‘There has to be a better way.’” It turns out the “better way” was just getting started. Gregory began with surveys of more than 3,000 people across the U.S.—all of which validated the same things Gregory himself experienced. So he began Tribr, an app that focuses on the three common points of pain—planning, pictures and payments—and plans to limit “app fatigue” by providing a toolset that can be used for essentially anything an organizer might need. In addition, based on the survey results, and by focusing on 18 to 24-yearolds who were active on mobile devices, Gregory was able to determine that there were more than four billion opportunities for advertisers to sell through the app. While the plan for Tribr is to start small, with movie and concert tickets, Gregory’s plan for the near future is to expand into trips, where he hopes the app will find it’s niche in and beyond the demographic he’s currently targeting. “You can do all the things that you’re already going to do, it will just be in one app,” he says. From family vacations or reunions, to the concert downtown, Gregory hopes that Tribr will live up to its tagline: More Fun, Less Hassle.


If you have ever visited a large city, attended a musical festival, or watched the food channel, you have probably noticed food trucks supplying delicious meals from directly inside their vehicle. Food trucks provide a unique dining experience, are extremely mobile and often offer niche cuisine, which makes them highly desirable. Unfortunately, this mobility also makes them difficult to locate. That’s where TruckyLove comes in. When Luke Bayas and Steve Palmer met a year and a half ago through a mutual friend, and found that they shared a love of using location services to help businesses. Bayas, who previously studied software development, handles the software development for the company; but it was Palmer that originally conceived the idea of a location service. Originally started as an app to keep track of the locations of different service providers—such as mechanics and electricians—it soon transformed into an app which is closer to Bayas’s and Palmer’s heart. While they began working on their service provider locator, the pair was approached by the Mobile Food Association of Philadelphia. Bayas and Palmer saw this as an opportunity to follow their passion of helping small businesses, and TruckyLove was born. “It’s based on the owner managing their location, rather than third parties, who primarily have no adoption by the owner,” Palmer says.“It’s just people who are developers or fans of food trucks—which is cool—but they are making applications that are really just aggregating Twitter data and then they are repurposing that data to serve as a food truck locator. There’s some inherent issues with that.” By focusing on the mobile food truck industry, and helping customers effectively “track down” their favorite places to eat, Bayas and Palmer hope to revolutionize the already growing mobile restaurant industry.

Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

If you’ve ever been able to travel as part of a larger corporation, you understand that there are perks that come with corporate travel, and more specifically, price breaks. Special rates are negotiated, based on the amount of traffic a company can provide. But for smaller companies who have to try to negotiate rates based on smaller budgets and smaller employees bases—many times the benefits aren’t as easy to cultivate. Tarin Pabla and Sanjay Rama immediately saw the problem—the Rama family is known throughout the hospitality industry—and wanted to help offer the same perks to smaller businesses. So they found Josh Lewis, who had interned in D.C. and worked on startups at Harvard, and created Trips & Salsa. After joining the accelerator program in the spring, the team noticed their ideas were varying—something that the Iron Yard program helped them refine. “In the beginning we were moving all over the place. We had a big vision for what we wanted to do, but we had a problem explaining it all at once,” Pabla says. “Through the Iron Yard, we have better go-to-market ideas; the program allows us to propel each other forward.” Trips & Salsa provides a site where small businesses cannot only negotiate rates with local hotels, but also solutions for booking and tracking all company travel. Through the site, small businesses can expect to save up to 30 percent in their hotel expenses. “We just wanted to provide some of the same opportunities to small businesses as larger businesses get,” says Pabla. Based on the concept of connecting small businesses to those who can set lower rates, they hope that Trips & Salsa will be a solution for many smaller businesses to save on travel.

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RAVI SASTRY VP OF SALES & MARKETING IMMEDION

F GLOB AL

orget about the politics or the number of jobs that have gone to China: is China worth it for your business? Until a few years ago, China was all the rave; access to the largest market, low cost labor, highly technical and well-educated people, much improved infrastructure, and less restrictions on business with respect to licenses, tax, and repatriation of funds. So, why is the shining star for foreign direct investments from U.S.-based companies not so bright these days? China’s export growth peaked in 2004 at 35.4 percent, and since then it has declined, due to land prices that have increased over 70 percent, electricity costs that have gone up more than 30 percent, and the fact the Yuan (local currency 6.37 Yuan to $1) has risen more that 30 percent against the U.S. dollar. In other words, it costs more today to make it in China and import it to the U.S. to be sold. Rise in manufacturing labor costs have gone up from $90 per month in 2002 to $300 per month in 2012, on average. Although this is extremely low compared to the U.S., it is still a 333 percent increase. New employment contracts developed by the government, higher educated/skilled population and the movement of the labor force from rural areas to the coastal cities have all contributed to the increase in monthly wages. If you plan to invest in China due to low cost labor, just make sure your total labor in the U.S. is greater than 25 percent of the your total costs or it’s not worth the manufacturing shift.

IS CHINA WORTH IT?

About the author...

Ravi Sastry leads the marketing and sales planning for Immedion’s state-wide business strategy. Sastry has over 25 years of successful sales and marketing experience. Most recently he was the General Manger of the Americas with AVX Corp out of Fountain Inn, SC. Before that, he was the president of CenturaTek LLC, an independent consulting firm specializing in American and Asian business commerce. He has lived and worked in 14 countries on three continents and is a graduate of Lander University.

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“It hard to believe the cost we were given for just an on-line quote.” “I can’t understand how our plant can be moved to this province and produce at such a low cost rate with the same yields.” Time and again companies have been spellbound by the low costs in China. In many cases, what has not been taken into consideration are the hidden or true costs prior to moving or outsource. The following basics must be considered (average costs of total): • Proper allocation of corporate overhead - 2% to 5% • Supply chain/shipping/logistics - 12% to 17% • Finding a viable partner - 2% to 5% • Cost of poor quality - 4% to 8% • Travel and communications - 2% to 5% • Transactional costs;VAT/local taxes/import, export duties - 10% to 15% • IP (Intellectual Property) infringement; stay home if you don’t want your IP threatened; any recourse is nonexistent - X? In order to be closer to the market base, a number of companies have placed smaller orders and are receiving delivery in real time or JIT. One of the keys to this success is a process called “reshoring,” where manufacturers have made the decision to move back the North America to be closer to their customers and in some cases reduce their costs from China. Based on research by the Hackett Group, “China remains a manufacturing powerhouse, with nearly 75 percent of the companies surveyed having some manufacturing capability in China for at least the next three years, either directly or through contract manufacturers.” In addition, their research stated that 20 percent of the companies are planning a “reshoring” process as an option between 2012 and 2014. Whether you plan to invest in the PRC or develop a “reshoring” strategy, you need to review and understand the true costs and the trends of these costs. Spending the time upfront on the due diligence will save you money in the long run.

Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

For more on this topic visit InsideBlackBox.com/global


From jumping out of planes to learning how they operate.

Jay Taylor Marine Corps veteran and Aircraft Maintenance Technology student

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T R A I L B L A Z E R

JIL LITTLEJOHN FOUNDER & HOST, THE TALENTED TENTH –GREENVILLE

As Executive Director of the YWCA and Greenville City Councilwoman, Littlejohn knew that young minority professionals were slipping out of the Upstate. She wanted to change that.

Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


T R A I L B L A Z E R

TRAILBLAZER.

In order to inspire others, sometimes you need to overcome the urge to just sit back and let someone else run forward, which leads to inaction because people are waiting for each other to move, while not moving themselves. That wasn’t an option for Jil Littlejohn. “I think for me, a lot of times we wait on others to do things, but instead of waiting on someone else to do it, it made sense for me to do it,” said Jil. Originally from Atlanta, Jil began working for Milliken in Georgia and was then transferred to Laurens. During that time, she began to live in Greenville and fell in love with the area. After leaving Milliken, Jil remained in Greenville, getting involved in volunteer opportunities and began her political career by volunteering in the 2008 presidential elections. From there, she wanted to become more directly involved with local politics. “I wanted to be at the table when true decisions were being made,” she said. So, on January 20, 2009, she was elected to city council as the youngest serving member and also as one of two minorities on the council. Since joining the council, she has had two goals that she wants to see accomplished: the first, working with city housing and trying to bring more people from the suburbs into the city limits of Greenville to live; and second, to find ways to get more young professionals—especially minority professionals—

to become more connected and active in local politics. “A lot of times, unfortunately, when we look at the population that votes, it is usually the older population, so people who are younger look at it as something you do when you are older or are apathetic about it.” But, in what may be one of the biggest accomplishments of her tenure is the local organization of the Talented Tenth conference. Originally developed by Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, Talented Tenth is a conference for

“Sometimes, people go to Atlanta or Charlotte because they think there is something else there that Greenville doesn’t have.” young professionals with a specific focus on minorities. The conference offers several classes, sessions and networking opportunities for those in attendance to get involved with their communities and businesses, and sessions focus on topics such as entrepreneurship, self-branding, climbing the corporate ladder and community involvement to name a few. After hearing about Talented Tenth since the start of her city council career, Jil immediately wanted to bring it to Greenville, seeing the potential that it offered. “That’s one thing I really try to do—to get young people connected and plugged in and involved to see all the great things that Greenville has to offer. Sometimes people go to Atlanta or Charlotte because they think there is something else there that Greenville doesn’t have. But we have

everything that those cities have, plus more,” Jil said. The conference was a resounding success. Initially, plans were estimated at 70 to 80 attendees, but by the time of the event, there were more than 140 to 150 in attendance. “Greenville’s great—I think it’s absolutely awesome—but what we have that other cities don’t necessarily have is that we are more condensed, so it’s easy for people to see other people and do other things and have like minded interests,” she said. The Talented Tenth was a big step in capitalizing on that strength, by gathering like-minded young professionals together in order to educate, encourage, and have them begin networking with other likeminded individuals to begin making differences in Greenville. Continuing forward, Jil is seeking ways in which to advertise various city boards and committees to these talented professionals who can really step up and begin making differences in those capacities. “That’s one of the things that I am hopeful for from the Talented Tenth conference is to get people involved,” Jil says. “Two things we need more of on our boards and committees are young people and minorities, and I think the challenge is that these boards and committees are looking for certain skill sets—an architect or an attorney or somebody that knows planning and development.” Jil wants Talented Tenth to become a major way for young professionals who have these skills to become involved in their communities and local governments, or at least begin the conversations that will bring more young professionals, especially minorities, to the table.

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For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

By Josh Overstreet


JOHN DEWORKEN PARTNER SUNNIE & DEWORKEN

W

e have to invent our way to growth.”

That is what New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman wrote recently, explaining that in today’s slow-growth global economy, start-ups and innovation businesses are where the jobs must come from. Friedman says,“We need 2,000 people in every town each starting something that employs five people.” He is not alone in his beliefs. A recent National Governors Association report stated, “Helping entrepreneurs start, grow, and renew businesses is one of the most important things a government can do to create jobs and raise living standards. It should be a priority at all levels of government.” The South Carolina Legislature now has one bill to help improve high-impact business soil conditions, which will be introduced this fall, called the SC Entrepreneurship Act. The bill promotes innovation-based business growth in the state by making more capital available to these risk takers. Historically, when a start-up must raise money, it begins first with friends and family, and then when it needs hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop the commercial potential, it must tap into

POLITIC S

SC ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACT KEY TO GROWING JOBS, ECONOMY networks of high-worth individual investors who are often from the area—called “angel investors.” There is typically no substitute for these angel investors for that critical early stage funding. And these investors often provide the important concept validation necessary for follow-up private funding from venture or corporate funds. What is missing, especially in the Palmetto State, is angel investment. In fact, a 2010 report by the Milken Institute found South Carolina fell 16 places in ranking 48th among states for risk capital and entrepreneurship infrastructure. Not surprisingly, it also fell eight positions to rank 43rd in venture capital investment as a percentage of Gross State Product. While other states are moving ahead to build start-up ecosystems, South Carolina is falling behind in supporting these critical job engines. A broad coalition of state and local business community groups, including the South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO), have an answer: The S.C. Entrepreneurship Act, which provides small, high impact start-up companies more access to capital it sorely needs to grow by offering a tax credits to South Carolinians who invest in these small, high-risk companies. If the companies succeed, the state gets the credit back. This act helps draw investment off the sidelines and into the state economy creating businesses and jobs. The South Carolina Legislature was one step away from passing this bill in 2012, but with the objection from one senator (Senator WHOSIWHATSIT), the bill died. Next year, it will have another chance. South Carolina would be following 30 other states that either have already passed similar legislation or are pursuing its passage. In fact, North Carolina implemented 25 percent tax write-off for investors in 1987 and Georgia passed a 35 percent credit in 2010.These jobs created in North Carolina average over $70,000 per year in wages. An overwhelming number of legislators already support this bill because, according to the Moore School of Business, high impact small businesses account for two-thirds of all new net jobs in South Carolina. Still, it could be more if the Legislature enacts the Entrepreneurship Act in 2013.

For more on this topic visit InsideBlackBox.com/politics

About the author...

A three-time graduate of Clemson University, DeWorken is partner in The Sunnie & DeWorken Group, a government relations and advocacy firm. Previous to forming their group, DeWorken, along with Sunnie Harmon, created the Upstate Chamber Coalition, a ten-chamber, 8,000 business coalition. He previously served as a research director for the SC Senate, associate vice president at the SC Chamber of Commerce, and vice president at the Greenville Chamber. DeWorken is a member of the Business Black Box advisory council, advising on topics pertaining to politics and public policy.

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very winter, dozens of parents pitch tents and cash in vacation days to camp in front of AJ Whittenberg Elementary, a public school in downtown Greenville. Parents like Natalee Whitesell, who didn’t do it for fun. She did it with hopes of giving her four children a better education. “It was freezing,” Whitesell remembers. “The first year we had to camp out there were super high winds and a huge rainstorm.” Whitesell waited in line during the day while her husband took the night shift, something they were willing to do to give their children, ages 10, 7, 6 and 4, access to what many consider a more innovative education. “The engineering curriculum [at AJ Whittenberg] provides lots of opportunities for problem solving,” says Whitesell. “I can’t say enough about the administration. The teachers are top notch.” This happens because AJ Whittenberg is a school of choice. “We serve our immediate neighborhood families. However, if you reside outside of that zone, you can come through choice,” explains Ansel Sanders, Program Director. “This means that enrollment is first come, first served. This is why folks were camping outside in the wind, cold, and rain for the past two Decembers.” It’s the same reason why some parents put hundreds of miles on their mini vans each year driving kids across town to a school they feel is better suited for their educational needs rather than enrolling them in the school down the block. Twelve percent of the district’s roughly 71,000 students go to a school of their choice, according to Grier Mullins, Executive Director for Public Education Partners of Greenville County. “We’re very fortunate [in Greenville County] to have magnet schools and lots of schools of choice,” says Mullins, who helped expand the program 20 years ago. But education means different things to different people, and many are hoping to expand educational alternatives even more— through a school choice bill that would provide financial benefits to parents who choose private or home school options.

state. For the first time in eight years, the school choice bill passed the S.C. House in 2012, only to die in the Senate. If it had passed, the bill would have provided tax deductions and tax credits for parents of students in outside of the public school system—including up to a $4,000-a-year tax deduction for each child attending private schools and up to a $2,000 deduction for expenses incurred by families who home school their children. In addition, poor and disabled students would have been eligible for scholarships to private schools. But opponents of school choice say if it passes in future years, it will cost the state about $37 million in lost revenue the first year in the form of said tax credits. That number worries Mullins, since her daily focus with Public Education Partners of Greenville County is working to get more money and resources into the hands of schools, teachers and underprivileged students. The non-profit distributes about a quarter of a million dollars annually in donations from local businesses, foundations and individuals, funding mentors for first year teachers, books for underprivileged kids and programs to increase graduation rates. “That’s one of the parts that’s very concerning,” says Mullins. “Just like roads and other things the public is responsible for, you shouldn’t have the opportunity to opt out and say I’m not going to pay taxes for it because I’m not going to travel on that road.” Currently in South Carolina, public education spending works out to just under $12,000 per public school student, excluding capital costs. It’s a number not far from the U.S. average spending per student of $12,450 in 2008-09. In contrast, private school tuition in South Carolina is roughly one-third of the price, with an annual tuition of about $4,000, as compared to the national average for annual private school tuition is $8,549, according to the Council for American Private Education, So why does public school seem to cost so much more than private education? According to State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais, the largest driver of costs in most school districts is personnel. He says his office investigated the growth rates in student population compared to the number of teachers and administrators. “The data is crystal clear: the growth in employees has far outpaced the growth in student population,” says Zais. “Personnel costs are likely the most significant factor to explain the difference in the level of spending between public and private schools.”

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

Currently in South Carolina, public education spending works out to just under $12,000 per public school student

Since 2004, “school choice” has been hotly debated in the

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Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

If you look deeper at the numbers coming from private schools, they may offer another explanation, as well. Chris


Dorrance, who served as headmaster at Spartanburg Day School for 11 years until retiring this summer, notes that many private schools charge much less in tuition than it costs to educate each student. “It’s an interesting business model where the pricing doesn’t match what you’re trying to offer,” says Dorrance, 64. For example, at Spartanburg Day School, roughly one-third of students will receive financial aid, and only 70 percent of the annual budget comes from tuition—the rest from fundraising, grants and other sources. When it comes to school choice, Dorrance tried to avoid the politics of school choice and focus on making Spartanburg Day School the best private school possible, but notes that he sees the debate is more of a capitalistic argument than an educational one. Although he spent much of his career teaching, he says leading a private school required him to be a businessman as well. “I was the CEO of a small $7 million company with 90 employees and 500 customers,” he says of his role as head of a private school. “You’ve got to balance the budgets, be responsive to your customers, and you’ve got to compete.” Sticking close to this analogy, many often describe school choice as a way to let parents and students vote with their feet, creating more competition among schools which should in turn improve the product—in this case, the product being the education of each student. It’s a concept Mullins can’t accept. “It’s hard for me to think of children as a product,” she says. “There’s lots of room for improvement, but I don’t think giving up on public schools is the solution. I think the solution is working hard to make sure schools have the tools and support they need.”

state $118.4 million in education spending, producing a $36.2 million net fiscal benefit. Still, there are many who have their doubts. “Tax credits divert state resources and attention from public education and this may eventually erode the public’s commitment to our public schools,” Mullins—whose organization has opposed any public dollars supporting private education—notes. “The amount of money for tax credits will increase annually at a time when the state is underfunding, by state law, public education.” If you consider education as a business, as those like Dorrance do, it is natural to see that many think school choice will help improve the quality of education.“When parents have the mobility factor I’m assuming you’re going to see better education,” says Mellen. Still, it’s important to note that that’s not what all states are reporting. In the early 2000s, more than one in four students in the San Diego Unified School District, the 8th largest in the country, chose to attend alternative schools. But according to reports from the Public Policy Institute of California, it didn’t improve test scores. “It is clear that school choice did not improve student performance in quite the way its proponents had hoped,” wrote David Lyon, President and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. “At a minimum, the results from San Diego raise doubts about the ability of choice programs alone to increase the achievement of participants. They also suggest that parents and students may be expecting more from an improved public education system than higher test scores.” Likewise, the University of Arkansas completed an extensive evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, MPCP, which was one of the first like it in the nation, and also found that the program had no significant impact on test scores. However, studies show that students involved in the MPCP program were five to seven percent more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college. But at AJ Whittenberg, the story seems to be different. The downtown Greenville public school where almost nine in 10 students qualify for free and reduced lunch received the distinction of being the only elementary in the district to score a perfect ranking by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Federal Accountability System. In addition, more than 90 percent of the school’s third graders met or exceeded standard in every subject of the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards test, one measure of accountability used for public schools. When it comes to accountability in South Carolina, public schools are evaluated annually through both state

If the argument against school choice is primarily due to potentially-lost tax revenue, it should be noted that some states have actually seen a financial benefit from school choice. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia now have some form of school choice, according to Neil Mellen, Communications and Research Director for South Carolinians for Responsible Government, a school choice advocacy group. Mellen would like to see South Carolina’s school choice program modeled after the one currently in place in Florida, where school choice saved Florida taxpayers an estimated $36.2 million during the 2008-2009 fiscal year, according to the Florida legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. The program handed out about $82.2 million in private school scholarships to more than 21,000 students. But eliminating those students from public school rosters saved the

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Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia now have some form of school choice


and federal accountability systems. Each fall, the state issues school performance report cards based on state test scores. On a federal level, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 sets standards for curriculum, student testing, school accountability systems, teacher quality, and school safety. Additionally, annual measurements are made through Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP. Students who attend Title I schools where the majority of students are on free-and-reduced-priced meals and where federal benchmarks for AYP haven’t been met for two years in a row can opt to change schools to one that’s performing better. Transportation must be provided for students transferring under these conditions, but in some districts Mellen says there are no alternative options, which makes this type of accountability almost useless. In fact, he says, more than 100,000 low-income students are trapped in failing public schools in South Carolina­—either by lack of alternatives, or a lack of funding to go elsewhere. “The idea that we can tell you how bad they are does not make them accountable to parents,” he argues. “The private schools have to be incredibly accountable because at any moment [parents] can change enrollment. To have an engaged parent say I’m making a choice, that’s what accountability has meant historically before politicians got a hold of the word.” Unfortunately, parents who have the most money currently have the most choice because they’re the ones that can most likely afford private school tuition. “If you look at the amount of choice it mirrors parental income,” Mellen says. “It’s kids who need it the most who have the least amount of choice.”

and private schools score higher than public schools. Further, College Board data from 2009 college-bound seniors shows a combined SAT score for reading, math and writing at South Carolina public schools of 1445. In contrast, private schools scored an average of 1508 and religious schools scored the highest on the SAT with an average combined score of 1562. Edward Earwood, Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools, says the reason religious schools tend to have higher test scores comes down to money. “A parent is going to demand more if they’re paying something for the child to go,” he says. He also argues that because of this, Christian schools should be accountable to parents—not the state. “If you were laying out the kind of money these parents were laying out on top of the tax dollars, wouldn’t you hold the school accountable?” he asks. “Because if they don’t do their job [parents] will just pull them out. Accountability would be equal or better in a private setting than a public setting.” Earwood, who has served in Christian education for 34 years, recently wrote a book about the Christian school movement, A Scent of Water: Bringing Life Back to the Christian School Movement. He says he believes school choice would definitely attract students to the 80 schools in his association, where the economy is blamed for dropping enrollment by about 30 percent across the state in recent years. Even the state’s public education leader, Superintendent Zais, says school choice legislation that empowers the consumers of education— parents and students—can bring positive change to education. “When parents have a choice in the type of school their child attends, they will make the best choice for their child,” says Zais. “Research has shown when parents have the responsibility to make a choice they become committed to that choice and get involved in the school their child attends.” He adds that choice—whether it is public charter schools, open enrollment plans where all student-generated revenues follow the child to the school they attend, or independent school tuition incentives—brings positive change to education. While both sides of the school choice dialogue are confident that they’ve got students’ best interests in mind, they can agree on one thing—improving the level of education in South Carolina will impact the state in profound ways. “When someone gets a good education, there is a value of that that is a public good,” says Mellen. Mullins adds, “It’s an important part of economic growth and prosperity for our students to be educated and we’re behind. We’ve got to do everything we can to help in that regard.”

It’s in this subject that another issue arises—the perceived lack of accountability standards in private schools. “Whereas public schools have to take the same tests and be accountable for the money they get, private schools don’t have that requirement,” Mullins says. “We do not believe the public should fund schools that are not accountable to the public. No conclusive research supports the assertion that education is stronger or better where tax credits exist.” Still, there is evidence to suggest that private—and religious—schools are setting a high standard when it comes to education. Many private schools do participate in various national achievement tests such as the ACT and SAT, which may give parents an added sense of security in the level of education their children are receiving. In South Carolina, test scores show that religious schools typically outperform private schools

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More than 100,000 low-income students are trapped in failing public schools in South Carolina


Make your business look as good as it sounds. You're the face of your business. Get it out there. /GreenvilleHeadShots

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TONY SNIPES BUSINESS COACH & ENTREPRENEUR

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etermining what business to launch and how to ensure its success is not always based on the bright, “warm fuzzy” things that so easily motivate you. Often, the best things to explore when launching the right business, at the right time, to serve the right people, takes embracing what I call the “Dark Side” or the unpopular.

Commonly, the popular concepts and mindset most explore when it comes to thinking of what business to launch is based on: • What you have a passion for. • What you feel you can earn a good profit from. • What you are good at doing. These are very positive sounding concepts. Don’t get me wrong, these concepts are perfect for helping determine which business is a good idea to launch. But I’m finding that looking at a few seemingly negative concepts can actually lead to clearer vision and more determined action:

SMALL BIZ

STARTING A BUSINESS? EMBRACE THE “DARK SIDE” Embrace Problems: I love this quote from Dr. Myles Munroe: “Every problem is a business.” Many businesses and inventions have been launched due to their ability to solve a problem. Not sure about what business to launch? Take a look at problems people have that are relative to products or services you are able to use to solve those problems. Embracing a problem helps you launch a business capable of sustaining itself because there is a demand for it. People want the problem solved and are willing to pay you to solve it. I often saw many people with a desire to launch businesses, but most had no training or guidance in what steps to take. This led to these entrepreneurs either moving ahead with poor decisions, or never moving at all. That’s a real problem. Seeing this, I developed an affordable, short coaching program specifically designed to help. Embrace What You Hate: As mentioned earlier, looking within yourself to pinpoint the things you have a passion for is a smart and effective way to determine what business is right for you. Go further than that. Ask yourself “What is it that really bothers me?”The answer often points to something that you were born to help solve.Your business just happens to be the tool or resource put into action to solve it. I hate to see talented people waste or misuse their unique ability. Because I hate it and want to counter its affects, I was driven to make coaching and consulting a part of my business. So when searching for clarity on what type of business to launch, it’s ok to embrace the “dark side”.

For more on this topic visit InsideBlackBox.com/smallbiz

About the author...

As Director of Redemption Marketplace Alliance, a Greenville-based entrepreneurship training program, Tony utilizes a unique combination of years of leadership experience in the corporate arena with ministry experience in the community. His impact in the lives of entrepreneurs has been as an internet publishing and advertising expert helping small to large business clients for News media companies such as the Greenville News, The St. Petersburg Times, and News Channel 7 WSPA. He also utilizes his first-hand knowledge as an entrepreneur from years of retailing, designing and marketing his own art and design work.

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N E X T

G E N


By Josh Overstreet

The recent revitalization of Spartanburg didn’t happen overnight—rather, it has come about through the efforts and sacrifices of forward-thinking leaders on the front lines, bringing about change to the city. For city councilwoman Cate Ryba, that has meant being on the frontlines of the new cultural uprising that has swept over Spartanburg and has brought plenty of new ideas to the table as the youngest member of city council. Raised in Spartanburg, Ryba moved north to attend Wellesley College in Boston, where she received her undergrad in studio arts. While she stayed and worked in Boston for marketing and city planning firms, she was so inspired by the artistry that went into city planning. So, she went back to school and got her master’s degree in city and urban planning from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, she and her husband sat down and began looking for cities to live in. “My husband and I looked

Photos by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios

at New York, moving to Philadelphia, or maybe Boston and then we looked for jobs in Spartanburg and we both found really good jobs there, and the cost of living was very low, and my family was there,” she says. “We didn’t think about it at the time but being there, there were a lot of opportunities for people our age to make a difference.” So after an 11-year absence, Ryba returned to her roots, and in 2009 decided to run for the vacant District 4 seat left by the current mayor Junie White. “I had talked a lot about how it is important for the views of the younger generation, especially women, to be represented in politics and have a seat at the table, and so my friend called and said ‘you need to run for city council,’” Ryba says. “So, I needed to put my money where my mouth was.” She won. Now, at 33, she is the youngest member of the council. Being the youngest does come with its share of challenges, which Ryba has run into in her three years on council. One is what she calls the digital divide. “For example, this year I would always bring my laptop in and read everything on my

computer...everyone else had a stack of papers. Now, they have adopted using iPads.” Another challenge she has, which points to her vision for what she wants for the city, is trying to put on events that will get younger people more and more involved in the city. “One of the things that I have been interested in is how do we have a ‘cool factor’ in Spartanburg? So, how do we do small projects that don’t cost a lot of money, but that will make people our age feel like cool things are happening?” Although the economy has made it to where these types of events get shelved because basic city needs such as police, fire, trash and other such necessities take precedence, Ryba has seen a lot of success with several projects that she has attempted both before and on city council. One such project was the Jazz on the Square, which is currently in its seventh year. Initially, it was met with hesitancy because many people thought jazz would just not take hold in Spartanburg. But after finding the sponsor and launching the event, it now sees an average of 500 people in attendance each night.

In addition to being active in seeing the smoking ban implemented within the city, Ryba is also one of the major forces behind the Nu-Way 5K run, which celebrates one of the oldest bars in the city. Participants run and halfway through must eat a donut and drink one beer and finish the race. Most of Ryba’s passions focus on activity in the community and the arts—passions she hopes to pass onto Spartanburg natives. For Ryba, supporting things like Hub-Bub and using it as a driver for economic and cultural development are a must—not only to get younger people involved with city events, but also in local politics. But all that aside, for Ryba, her biggest accomplishment was simply running and winning in the first place. “I think one of the most important things that I have done is just run for office because I don’t know that people, myself included when I first moved to Spartanburg, think they could be that person. I think for me that’s a win.”

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For Cate Ryba, the youngest member of Spartanburg’s City Council, deciding whether or not to run for public office wasn’t really a question. “I had talked a lot about how it is important for the views of the younger generation, especially women, to be represented in politics and have a seat at the table... So, I needed to put my money where my mouth was.”


TODD KORAHAIS OPERATING PARTNER KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY

SALES

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f you’ve ever imagined what your life would look like if you reached all of your goals, you might see the house you’ve always wanted, or perhaps you can picture in your mind you and your family on that special trip that you’ve always dreamed about. We live in a visual culture.Today, more people get their information from a visual format than ever before. One of the things that sets Business Black Box apart is the amazing graphic design that draws readers in. Also, one of the main goals of this publication is to drive people to their website. Whether it’s through television, “Skyping,” online advertising or sending video over a text message, communication in today’s world is grounded in video. As a salesperson, oftentimes our success can hinge upon getting people to think in pictures. If you go back and carefully reread the first paragraph, you will notice words like “imagined,” “look like,” “see,” “picture” and “dream about.” The previous two columns discussed kinesthetic communicators and digital communicators, or simply translated: people who feel what you say or people who listen in process and sequence. A visual communicator thinks and communicates in pictures. They rarely communicate, “I hear what you’re saying.” A visual communicator would say, “I see your point,” or “It looks like we’re in agreement.”

CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SAID?

About the author...

Todd 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.

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With any style of communication, you must first determine how you communicate to others. The easiest way is to start at home or work with friends, family and coworkers. Ask them for honest feedback on what style and type of words you use to accurately express your thoughts. As a sales professional, it will help you tremendously to know what your default language is. Also, if you pay careful attention, you will see (or pick up on) the language your sales prospect is using on your next appointment. The real challenge is not becoming aware of these differences in communication. In fact, most sales people enjoy knowing the nuance differences between individuals. Where most sales people struggle is in paying careful attention to the style of communication that their audience conveys and then disciplining themselves to match that style regardless of their natural communication tendencies. Truth be told, visuals are one of the easiest styles to communicate with. Modern day society has done most of the heavy lifting for today’s sales professional. If you find yourself on a sales appointment, presenting to a visual communicator, then remember the purpose of your words is to paint a picture in their mind’s eye. The more clearly they can see that picture, the closer you are to doing business with them. Their ability to envision why your product or service is the best choice to meet their needs in business will rely heavily on you matching their communication style. So remember: don’t just uncover their needs in business; paint a picture of your understanding of their needs back to them with your words. Then help them to see why your products or services illustrate a solution and a business relationship that they can see far into the future. Next time I’ll talk about why Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan would never make it in sales, and you will not only understand, but also “hear the words comin’ outta my mouth.”

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For more on this topic visit InsideBlackBox.com/sales


At age two, Jessica Smith was a little behind developmentally, but overall, a healthy little girl. Her parents, John Wendell and Wendy took great care of her, ensuring regular check-ins with her pediatrician, and a stable home life.

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But when Jessica began having seizures, their world turned upside down. The family was helicoptered to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to care for the little girl whose body was failing her. “We went into MUSC with a healthy little girl who could hold her head up and feed herself,” says John Wendell. “When we came out nine weeks later, she was in an infant stage again.” Diagnosed with Alpers Syndrome, a progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system, the family soon came to understand that there was no cure. “Jessica was terminal,” he says. “There was nothing we could do except make her comfortable.” But Jessica’s “comfort” now meant dealing with feeding tubes, lists of medications, and a new level of care, and for the family of four (which included Jessica’s seven-year-old sibling), the needs were daunting. And although they had never considered hospice— “We always thought that was for grandparents,” John Wendell notes—they chose to bring in hospice care to help care for their tiny daughter, for whatever time they

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had with her. The family left MUSC for home, and by the time they arrived at 9 p.m., their care coordinator from Hospice Care of South Carolina was there, waiting. “We came home from MUSC thinking, ‘How are we going to do all this?’ But they helped us set up everything,” John Wendell remembers. “They helped us with the feeding tube, they brought oxygen machines to us, beds to us—all on that Friday night.” The care provided the Smiths a barrier to the upheaval of their family—providing advice, care and even sitting with Jessica at a moment’s notice, if her health turned toward the worse. Although Jessica passed away in the fall of 2011, at three years old, the family is resolute in their support of the hospice care that provided them so much support. “I can’t put it in words what it meant to us,” John Wendell says. “We knew that any time we needed anything, they would be there. They were just a great group of people, we couldn’t have done what we did without them.”


Nationally, hospice is a $14 Billion industry—a staggering amount that has put the industry in the crosshairs of debates and discussion from coast to coast. But it is also a relatively young industry— with earliest reports only hearkening back to the ‘70s and ‘80s—although one whose rate of growth is unparalleled in the healthcare industry. In 2011, South Carolina was home to 82 different hospice organizations, representative of all sizes and types. They provided care to more than 29,000 patients and their families, a relatively shocking number, considering that of all the South Carolinians who die each year, approximately 39 percent will do so while under care of a hospice organization. Still, there are many—like the Smith family—who think of hospice as an industry geared toward the elderly alone. Even more think that hospice—an industry focused on providing end-of-life care and comfort—is simply one organization with many local branches. “There are people who think hospices is just one large worldwide organization,” says Marsha VanHecke, Director of Development for Hospice of the Carolina Foothills. But in reality, the hospice industry is simply one type of healthcare service, where new companies are only part of the larger

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In order to be eligible for reimbursement for hospice care, a physician has to order the service for a patient, and it has to be for a diagnosis that has a prognosis for six months or less, if the disease follows the normal progression. Additionally, adults may not seek progressive therapies, although children, under the Concurrent Care Act (part of the Affordable Care Act), can. whole. Some are non-profit organizations; others are for profit. Some are large, only serving a handful of patients every year, while others are large groups that cross county—and even state—lines. In South Carolina, hospice is predominantly for-profit, according to VanHecke, which, when it comes down to it, has no bearing on quality of care—it’s simply a matter of funding. Dawn-Michele Teachey, CEO of Hospice Care of South Carolina, a for-profit organization that covers all 46 S.C. counties with 35 local offices and 443 employees, notes the difference. “There is kind of a divisive feel between the organizations,” she says. “But we all get paid the same way. Hospices are reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance—no matter what your tax status is. [For-profits] just can’t fundraise, and we have to pay taxes on our side of the fence. As for notfor-profit, they don’t have to pay taxes, and they can fundraise. So, I think that gives us a little bit of a disadvantage, because we have to do as much or more with less revenue coming in.” While both sides, though competitive, agree that in the end it comes down to the care that’s provided, regardless of the overall structure of the organization, the revenue stream is important—hospices set a different model in healthcare, being paid primarily through Medicare, on a per diem (“per day”) payment. The per diem the hospice receives is based on one of four levels of care, which are further determined by the acuity and care intensity needed by the patient and family.

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At the time, some of the growth was attributed to fraud; between 2000 and 2009, there was a 60 percent increase in the average amount of time patients spent in hospice. In fact, in 2011, MedPac, claimed that 110,000 patients weren’t facing imminent death when they were admitted. This fraud—while not unlike the types that, while minimal, can be seen all across the healthcare industry—created a culture of fear—fear of potential fraud, and fear of being able to keep up with the exponentially growing costs. That fear then gave way to more regulations and standards placed on the back of the industry. “Before the boom, there were some costs to the system, but they were not significant,” says Stone. “You would naturally expect that as more and more Medicare beneficiaries come online, many more of them are saying, ‘I don’t want to do another round of chemo, I don’t want to do another round of hospitalizations. Rather than continue to pursue curative care, I’d really rather do something that’s going to have quality of life,’” he says. “So, we have seen an increase—no doubt about it—but I think you have to look at that in terms of context.” Stone also notes a significant contributor to the increases: there are between seven and ten thousand new potential hospice patients every day since 2008, due to the aging population of Baby Boomers. “There is a fairly significant jump in terms of what hospice is costing Medicare,” says Stone. “But, you’ll also notice that this parallels the growth of Medicare beneficiaries.” Teachey agrees. “The ironic thing is that you can try to slow growth all you want, through different things such as audits, and obstacles you can put in the organization’s way—but we are still outnumbered three to one just from the population of the boomers. And we all know its coming and we all are talking about how we are going to do it… How is Medicare going to take care of all these people and what’s going to happen? It’s really going to shift where care is provided and who provides it. So you can try to slow the growth down, but it’s still coming.”

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The most common level of care (and the lowest) is Routine Home Care, which accounted for almost 60 percent of S.C. hospice patients in 2010, and is reimbursed at $140/day. That $140, however, must cover all costs associated with the terminal diagnosis—medications, counseling, equipment palliative care, rehabilitation services, and more—and even if the costs exceed the payments coming in, the hospice may not turn down any sort of treatments a patient requires. “Once a hospice takes on the responsibility for a person’s care, they are responsible for all the needs related to that patient’s care,” says David Stone, President & CEO of The Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care, noting that only situations unrelated to the terminal illness or diagnosis would not be covered. “That’s why it’s so important for hospice’s main responsibility to be the care coordinator for that patient.” But with the advent of new drugs and treatments, the average cost to hospices for patient care has risen much faster than the hospice benefit reimbursement rates. Consider also that a hospice’s interdisciplinary team can include registered nurses, spiritual support or counseling, bereavement support, therapies, trained volunteers, and respite care, and the cost of those types of services can easily run over the allowable per diem income. The growth of the hospice industry is impressive, although difficult to determine by exact size. Typically, the growth of hospice as an industry is determined by Medicare dollars spent, as Medicare is the primary payer of hospices benefits, and more than 90 percent of all hospices in the U.S. are certified by Medicare. With the two so clearly tied together, it’s difficult to see the true growth of the industry. Still, the increase is irrefutable. While the Medicare Hospice benefit was initiated in 1983, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that its payments began quickly trending upward. In 2007, Medicare spending exceeded $10 Billion nationally, with expected growth to $21 Billion by 2018, according to MedPac, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. But by 2011, where MedPac had projected spending $12.9 Billion, the hospice industry was already drawing $14 Billion annually.

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While hospice remains highly scrutinized for the dollars that funnel into the system each year, it’s also important to note that it is not the highest-funded healthcare sector. “In the entire healthcare industry, hospice is 12th on the list as to money spent—and it’s miniscule compared to the others,” says VanHecke. Not only that, but hospice and palliative care—essentially “comfort care”—can actually be cost containers, saving taxpayers more in the long run than what is spent with the Medicare benefits in place. To illustrate, one need only consider the example of South Carolina’s recent history with Medicaidprovided hospice benefits. In February 2011, under pressure to balance the budget, DHHS tried to eliminate the budget, believing it would save money. (Hospice is considered an optional service by Medicaid, which means states can decide on whether or not to offer the benefit.) Without hospice benefits in place, many patients ended up in ER rooms and ICU units, as evidenced by Jon Cohen, then Director of THA Group Hospice, who was quoted as saying: “Taking away the Hospice Medicaid benefit does not change the fact that the patient has Medicaid.The patient will still seek end of life services, but in a more expensive setting such as the hospital or nursing home. This will increase costs and decrease the quality of end of life care received.” It was a situation that had already been seen in Arizona, where the state removed Medicaid benefits, only to see a 4.4 percent increase in costs to provide the same services. Fortunately, advocacy groups were able to get the decision reversed. “Through the advocacy efforts of The Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care, and our member organizations, we were able to demonstrate to DHHS and the General Assembly the real cost

A 2007 study by Duke University showed that hospices services provide an average savings of $2309 per patient over acute care cost.

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savings…thus causing the Agency to reverse the decision to eliminate the benefit,” says Stone. Still, he notes, there is always the possibility that the benefit could be removed again. It seems to be a common thought—that removing taxpayer-provided benefits will help shrink costs to the state. But as Teachey notes, the complete care found through hospice providers is unmatched in the healthcare industry as a whole, and costs can be reduced due to the constant intervention and guidance of hospice professionals. “That’s why we are needing more palliative care, not less,” she says. “Chronically managing these patients, their pain and symptoms through an interdisciplinary approach, out in their home environment, is going to be more cost effective then them showing up at the hospital every time they can’t breathe correctly.That’s where I think from a financial prospective, and a economic prospective, [hospice] should have a bigger seat at the table, and we don’t right now. A lot of people see us as a luxury item.That couldn’t be further from the truth.” Having hospice providers active in these discussions may only be one step toward progress. Another would be to hold them up as a model for how healthcare as a whole can be paid for. “There’s some degree of recognition across the provider network…we need to do something to control healthcare costs,” Stone says. “We can’t have healthcare spending consume more and more of the GDP or the national budget. But we would also hold out hospice as a model of how healthcare can be properly reimbursed…how it can be properly handled.” With Medicare taking the national stage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the upcoming presidential election, industry leaders are tentative to make any long-term decisions for the future. The ACA provided a number of industry regulations that many say are good for the industry, as well as Concurrent Care for Children, which means that children who have a terminal diagnosis can receive agressive therapies at

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assume that hospice care has no economic impact,” says Stone.“A substantial percent of hospital payments come from Medicare and we certainly would not assume that the hospital’s economic impact on an area or region was diminished because of this.” According to Stone, the impact of hospice care can be looked at in a number of ways. Consider the employment of approximately 4,000 individuals— not only specialized medical staff, but also support staff, in addition to ancillary providers—pharmacies, equipment providers, or therapists. Consider gas and automotive care for the providers that drive all across the state to provide care. But there are also hidden costs that Stone notes are just as important to consider. “The support and professional care that hospice provides often enable working individuals who are helping to care for a terminally ill family member, so they can continue to work or not have to take extended time off,” he says. “Consider as well the bereavement support that helps a surviving family member adjust to life following the death of a loved one which helps them successfully maintain their employment or other role in the community.” Although the focus remains on growth and the benefits of hospice, there is already some natural contraction within the industry. “Either small providers are getting bought out by bigger providers, or they are choosing not to provide anymore,” says Teachey. “It’s just getting too difficult to get through all the hoops we have to jump through today, versus what we did 10 years ago. So there is some contraction that has happened with that. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing; the good organizations— the quality organizations—are going to survive. They are going to prepare and survive. Their focus is on their mission and not necessarily on their margin.” After all, hospice care is one of the most personal industries in our world, and without a driving mission to care for others in their last days, many companies won’t survive. These organizations offer hope and comfort, and for many, like the Smith family, that is worth all the money in the world. “With a terminal illness, hope has been taken away,” VanHecke says. “We are there to redefine hope for them.”

Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

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the same time as they recieve hospice benefits—an option not available to adults, who may not seek curative therapies while in hospice. “[These children] still have to meet the criteria, they still are considered to be facing end of life, but it allows parents to hang on to the hope that is part of the benefit that if the cure comes out tomorrow for whatever they have, they can seek it,” says Teachey, whose organization began the state’s only pediatric hospice program in 2010— the same program that served Jessica Smith and her family—and employs two Child Life specialists, a position only found in three states in the U.S. “At the same time, we don’t know how far into their disease progression they may be, so they need that supportive care for end of life as well, should something change them in another direction. So it has really opened up access for us to be able to provide the hospice care for children, when before it was more of an obstacle. If they had to give up one for the other, than the parents would normally not choose to implement the hospice benefit.” Still, with the future of the ACA in the balance, and Medicare reform taking center stage this fall (although a recent poll from Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan polling group, found that 58 percent of Americans preferred to keep Medicare as is), many are skeptical of the future of hospice, should it remain a primarily Medicarefunded benefit. “I think trying to push healthcare reform before we fix Medicare is a huge, huge issue,”Teachey says. “You’ve got this big huge system that doesn’t have enough money in it right now. I think it runs out in 2030...and you’ve got three times as many people coming behind it who still need services and aren’t even in Medicare yet. How are you going to pay for that? Where is it going to come from? And if we don’t fix that, you can reform health care all you want to—the elephant is in the room and you are not addressing it. That’s a huge issue that you and I are going to have to figure out... how we do that.” But as the future points toward further reform in healthcare and paying organziations, there’s one further issue in danger of being overlooked—the economic power of the industry itself. “While the majority of hospice care is paid for by the Medicare program, it seems inappropriate to

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JULIE GODSHALL BROWN PRESIDENT GODSHALL PROFESSIONAL RECRUITING AND STAFFING

U

.S. companies currently have more job openings posted than in the past three years. For years I have advised our clients that businesses are always in competition for top talent, regardless of economic conditions.When candidates are considering multiple opportunities, it is more important than ever for employers to recognize the need to sell their organization to potential candidates. In my 19 years of experience in recruiting and hiring top talent for my organization and our clients, candidates often report these negative observations when making a decision on a new employer:

HR

Lack of organization in the hiring process. Make sure that the position is clearly defined, determine the essential requirements, outline a consistent process to use for screening candidates, and agree on a timeline. Regardless of the process your organization chooses to use, it is important to organize the steps before getting started. The hiring process is the organization’s opportunity for a positive first impression on top talent. Interviews that include inappropriate questions. Often questions about family, plans for children or proprietary information from their current/past employer come up during an interview.

MISTAKES DURING THE HIRING PROCESS CAN COST YOU TOP TALENT About the author...

Julie Godshall Brown is President of Godshall Professional Recruiting and Staffing, a firm specializing in direct hire and contract staffing solutions in professional, healthcare, manufacturing, legal, financial, accounting, and IT markets. Julie has been in the human resources field for 19 years and is very involved in the Upstate community, currently serving in leadership roles on several business, civic, and university boards.

These questions create an awkward situation for the candidate—do they refuse to answer or do they share personal or unethical information? Train interviewers in basic interview skills including points to avoid protected classes (age, gender, race, national origin, religion). Indecisiveness. When a candidate experiences long communication lags between interviews, it can leave the impression that the company is uninterested or indecisive. Whether you choose to hire the candidate or not, top talent knows top talent. Your organization needs to maintain a positive reputation in the market. “Low ball” offers. Early in the process, it is important to find out the candidate’s current compensation. Only in the rarest of circumstances should a firm offer someone less than their current salary. Yes, benefits and perks factor into the equation; however, most individuals expect to be offered a new position with at least a comparable salary. For those who have been recruited due to their market knowledge, they will expect a 10 to 20 percent increase to consider a move. Once a company makes an unreasonable offer, it is difficult to overcome the feeling of being undervalued even with negotiation that results in a higher offer. Involving the wrong people in the hiring process. Logically, we might choose to include an incumbent in the interview process due to their knowledge of the position and frankly, their desire to be a part of the decision. Unless the incumbent is being promoted or happily retiring after many loyal years of service, the benefits may not outweigh the cost. I could write a book to share examples including the underperforming incumbent who shares that the company has “impossible expectations” and the short term fill in who wants the job and attempts to eliminate the competition with negativity. I once knew a protective office manager who knew that “no one can do as well for my boss as well as I did” and proceeded to convince some excellent candidates of the fact! With a little preparation, both candidates and employers can put their best foot forward during the interview process. The competitive market for top talent is here to stay.

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1 1

Q U E S T I O N S

DANNY JOYNER

PRESIDENT

PRUDENTIAL C. DAN JOYNER COMPANY


1 1

Mowing lawns and painting houses for our property management company when I was in high school. My dad used to always give me a hard time because it seemed to always cost the company more to clean up the mess I made. Needless to say, I wasn’t a very good painter.

[2] What are some of the skills you’ve found to be beneficial or essential to your practices now?

Probably just to treat people the way you would like to be treated. That always came from the top down because that was the way C. Dan operated. There are always difficult issues that arise in any business. If you live by the “Golden Rule,” things always seem to work out for the best.

[3] How do you strike a balance between

your personal and professional lives?

Honestly, I have never had a problem with this. I’ve never once felt guilty for taking time to spend with family or friends. We encourage that throughout our company as well. Exercise is also important to me. I usually play basketball four mornings a week with a great group of friends.The ages range from about 20 to 60. The skill level ranges from bad to really bad!

[4] What vision do you promote for your employees, and how do you get them to tap into that vision?

I want our company to be known for operating with honor and integrity. A company that gives back to its community. Those are the principles we were founded on in 1964. Everyone has already bought into that. I feel it is my responsibility to help grow our company by continuing to add high-quality people that share the same vision and conduct their business utilizing those same principles. We help people with one of the most important decisions they will ever make and that’s an amazing feeling. It’s also why you have to operate with honor and integrity.

[5] What’s your most difficult responsibility?

Without a doubt, being a father. I feel like I have been blessed to have the greatest parents ever. C. Dan and I had an incredible father-son relationship. I hope that I will be able to have the same relationship with my kids that my father had, and my mother still has, with my sisters and me. All of my kids are now teenagers and my oldest is going to college this year, so there is a lot of change happening in our house right now. It is so sad to see them go but one of the most fun things in my life has been to experience being a father and to see how your relationship with your kids transforms as they grow from childhood to an adult.

[7] What do you struggle with?

Saying “no” to people. Some of my biggest mistakes have come when I have committed to serve on a board or a committee and couldn’t fully commit the time and energy needed to do an effective job for that organization. That is a terrible feeling and you feel as though you have let people down. You just cannot take on more than you can handle simply to try and make someone happy. I feel like I am a “can do” kind of person and saying no to people is often very difficult for me.

[8] If you could choose one principle or piece

of knowledge you know now that you wish you had known earlier, what would that be?

How important it is to have complete focus on the task at hand. I still struggle with this. In today’s world, with all of the new technologies and the importance of instant access, total focus is almost impossible. Why in the world do I need three different devices to receive e-mails? Something is almost always ringing, buzzing or beeping. I am so much more productive if I can sit in a room and leave my cell phone off, turn the computer off and put away the iPad. Unfortunately, I don’t do it often enough. My goal is to become much better at this.

[9] Your father left quite a legacy in the

Upstate. What have you noticed in trying to work within that legacy? It has really been incredible.

All of the things that dad accomplished are really mind blowing. What has been the most heartwarming to me, though, is the culture he created within our company. I have always felt we had a special group of agents and employees, but the support they have shown for our entire family has been incredible. We have all helped each other through this because Dad was like a father to everyone in our company. He literally made you feel as though you were the most special person in the world. There has been a resolve within the company – and I mean literally everyone in the company – to not only carry on C. Dan’s legacy but to grow it even further. I feel like we have 300-plus C. Dan’s running around out there, more determined than ever to make a difference in people’s lives. How could your legacy be any better than that?

[11] What legacy of your own do you hope to leave?

My only wish is that when my time is done, people will remember me and laugh. I certainly will never try to be “the next C. Dan.” That isn’t possible because he was one of a kind. I feel like I do have the identical heart that he had, though. For the most part, I tend to love people unconditionally. Sometimes people take advantage of that, but most of the time you receive the same love back when you offer it up. So no legacy for me, just laughter.

[6] How do you deal with it?

However my wife tells me to. (laughing) Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

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[1] What was your first job?

Q U E S T I O N S


S P E E D

P I T C H

EMORY

CASH & DODD

CALDWELL LOFT RESUMES

THE PITCH: Employers are drowning in a sea of resumes. On average, they’ll spend less than 30 seconds looking at each one. They’ll then place the resumes into one of two stacks: interested or uninterested. If a resume doesn’t make it into the former, the job seeker doesn’t stand a chance. Loft Resumes is dedicated to crafting gorgeous resumes that make it into the “interested” stack and help our customers reach their career goals. When customers hire Loft Resumes, they choose from one of our nearly 50 designs. We custom typeset their written content into their chosen design, transforming what used to be an entirely utilitarian document into something beautiful and compelling. Our customers are not hiring a machine; they’re commissioning trained graphic artists who will custom-typeset every word so that their story is told, their history is communicated, and their accomplishments are revealed. After having received hundreds of orders and many success stories from our customers who found their dream jobs, we’ve realized that there are a significant number of job seekers and employers who are attracted to a resume that is both well designed and has appealing aesthetics. We acknowledge that there may be some jobs or careers that may not be great fits for Loft Resumes, but there are still numerous positions where it’s perfect. People have asked whether or not our resumes are readable by resume parsing software. While we have found that they perform well, our advice for people who are submitting their resumes through these applicant tracking systems is that they keep a text version of their resume on-hand and then use their Loft Resume for interviews and emails. After all, while only 30 percent of jobs are found through these tracking systems, almost 100 percent of successful job searches end in an interview. We never want to dismiss the need for a well-written resume with relevant content along with a well-written cover letter and great interviewing skills. Great visual design is a positive add-on to all of that for the right job candidates. The market is tough right now, and it’s important to stand out. Even if it gives job candidates a 10 percent edge, isn’t it worth spending $99 to get that edge—particularly if it can mean the difference between landing a coveted career or being stuck in a dead-end job? We can’t guarantee people their dream career, but we can give them an advantage.

Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


S P E E D

P I T C H

THE FEEDBACK:

S. ROBERTS Investor UCAN

YES, YES, YES. after 20 years in human resources, hundreds of thousands of plain, boring resumes reviewed, I beg of you…give me a reason to contact you. I get an average of 400 resumes per job opening. You get an average of six seconds to grab my attention. If you can’t show me and tell me why I should keep reading in six seconds, then your resume goes in the virtual circular file. This might sound unfair, but it is unfortunately the nature of the beast. Relatively easy online application tools, viral job postings and mass quantities of applicants create a candidate funnel the size of the Grand Canyon. However, the systems and technology used for resume scanning don’t favor the uniqueness of visual resumes and have limited-tono capabilities for graphic files. A text version for online applications is a requirement, so make your content count as much as the visuals. In the case of online applications, grab me with your words! Great employees are more than just a regurgitated job description. Capture your unique talents and abilities with strong visuals and words that tell me you are more than just a generic job candidate. Consider your talents, abilities, experiences and accomplishments the product for a targeted marketing campaign. Your visually interesting, content grabbing resume is just one part of a bigger career marketing plan.

DANA HALL-RAGLAND, PHR

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

First of all, its always good to see ideas in progress. Ideas are what make this country great. Although there are many good thoughts when considering Loft Resumes, I would not be doing you a favor by telling you it would be something to move forward with. Loft Resumes attempts to help addresss a major problem in today’s marketplace—unemployment. While having a resume to stand out from the competition is a good thing, there are hundreds of companies currently in the space that do basically the same thing. In many instances these companies charge less and provide a stellar product. The business is easily copied and hard to defend or patent. From my personal experience, a resume is only a moderate barrier to “getting through the door for an interview”. I have looked at tens of thousands of resumes and interviewed literally thousands of people. Only a limited number of factors in any given resume mean anything to me at all. Spending an exorbitant amount of time on something that has very little impact as to whether you are hired or not doesn’t make sense to me. All of my hiring decisions are made in the interview, not the resume. Secondly, the idea when creating a business is to grow it exponentially and to have the potential to create a multi-million dollar enterprise. No matter how “successful” Loft Resumes becomes, I would never consider it to have the potential for multimillions in revenue. Just the sheer number of people you would have to sell at $99 per resume is a very high hurdle. If you do plan on moving forward with this plan, I would suggest a more residual, long term, business payment model and a way to keep your customers on board for extended periods of time. Lastly, assuming Loft Resumes did become successful, what exactly keeps you from easily being copied by someone else? Any system you put in place could be imitated quickly and cheaply regardless of any type of patents you could protect it with. Major barriers to entry into a space typically involve high dollar cost for entry or a technological advantage you have that a competitor doesn’t. This doesn’t seem to fit either catagory. If you do decide to move forward with Loft Resumes, I wish you the best of luck. My suggestion is to scrap it and move on to something else.

President Synergy Consulting, LLC

*Speed Pitch feedback is provided by investors and members of the Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN).

Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

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EVELYN LUGO FOUNDER & PRESIDENT SCHCC

O

tro año de elecciones está sobre nosotros y para los hispanos propietarios de pequeñas empresas (así como para otros dueños de negocios) esto significa cambios en el ámbito político y regulatorio. Como propietario de un pequeño negocio, una de las cosas más difíciles para hacer es mantenerse educado sobre todos los cambios regulatorios. En si, estamos demasiado ocupados ejecutando las operaciones del día a día de nuestros negocios y tratando de hacer crecer nuestro negocio frente a una economía difícil. Los posibles cambios en Washington y Columbia sólo se añaden a la lista de cosas que debemos hacer si vamos a tener éxito en los negocios. Desde impuestos sobre las ganancias y los impuestos en general y hasta las nuevas regulaciones de empleo, un año electoral puede traer muchas sorpresas. Los dueños de negocios hispanos se enfrentan a una serie de desafíos, no sólo porque tienen que mantenerse al día con estos cambios, pero también lo hacen mientras se enfrentan a barreras lingüísticas y culturales. Pero los hispanos propietarios de pequeñas empresas no tienen que enfrentarse a estos desafíos por si solos. La Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Carolina del Sur existe para ayudar a estos dueños de negocios a navegar este complejo ámbito regulatorio. La Cámara comunica estos cambios y otra información de interés de manera rápida a sus miembros. Además, la Cámara va más allá asegurándose

E N E S PAÑOL

LOS NEGOCIOS HISPANOS: LOS CAMBIOS POLITICOS Y REGULATORIOSREGULATORIOS que sus miembros se informen y tengan un conocimiento práctico del ámbito regulatorio. Es sumamente importante que los negocios hispanos se mantengan al día sobre los últimos cambios en el ámbito empresarial. Como empresarios, el conocimiento es muy importante. La Cámara reconoce esta necesidad y trata de mantener a sus miembros a la vanguardia de los cambios importantes en el ámbito regulatorio, especialmente en un año que puede traer muchos cambios. La Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Carolina del Sur (SCHCC) es una organización sin fines de lucro, fundada en el 2007 y designada 501(c)6 por el Departamento de Rentas Internas de los Estados Unidos. Nuestra misión es el educar y apoyar a los empresarios en el desarrollo de sus negocios. Si necesita más información o desea ser parte de esta organización, favor de comunicarse al (864)6437261 ó visite nuestra página en la Internet www.schcc.org.

For more on this topic visit InsideBlackBox.com/enespanol

About the author...

Evelyn Lugo is the founder and President of the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SCHCC). With a background in business administration, Ms. Lugo obtained additional experience in working with corporations such as Eastman Kodak, Abbot Pharmaceutical and 3M. Her motivation is to help entrepreneurs, identify business growth opportunities, and help others to overcome challenges during their business development. The South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in August 2007 and designated a 501(c)6 non-profi organization in June 2009 by the IRS.

Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

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Elevate your For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

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Q3 2012 // Business Black Box


A D V E R T I S E R S

7 BMW Performance Center • bmwusa.com/performancecenter 21 Clemson MBA • clemson.edu/mba IBC Clemson Corporate Leadership • think.clemson.edu 2 Courtyard Marriott • marriottcourtyardgreenville.com 79 Fete Greenville • fetegreenville.com 11 Fisheye Studios • fisheyestudios.com 1 Greenville Drive • greenvilledrive.com 55 Greenville Sports & Social Club • greenvillessc.com 39 Greenville Tech • gvltec.edu 24 Hampton Inn Riverplace • hamptoninnandsuitesgreenville.com BC Hilton Garden Inn • greenville.hgi.com

50 Nill Silver Photography • nillsilverphotography.com 68 Quality Business Solutions • qualitybsolutions.net IFC Sequoyah National Golf • sequoyahnational.com 76 Stax Catering • staxs.net 5 Structured IT • structuredit.biz

A Multimedia Celebration of Downtown Greenville Look for us online

www.fetegreenville.com

18 Summit Janitorial • summitjanitorial.com 17 Taylors First Baptist Church • wearetaylors.com Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

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42 Meals on Wheels • mealsonwheelsgreenville.org


W H AT

M A T T E R S

For more from Business Black Box visit insideblackbox.com

T

he Generous Garden project has been a vision of Bo Cable’s for 15 years. After leaving the media company he worked for in Florida, Bo began to feel the time was right to put his vision into practice. “We found Greenville through some friends, came here to visit, and fell in love with the area and just decided to start the garden,” said Cable. Having felt hunger when he was growing up and knowing what it is like to be without, Bo has a heart for those who have no idea where there next meal will come from. “I think one of the reasons I choose the whole vegetable part is that we need more of those nutrients and vitamins in our system,” he says.“If you look at people who are underprivileged, lower income people, food banks, shelters, even some of these ministries in town where people are trying to come off drugs; those organizations rely on donations so probably 90 percent of the food they get is all boxed and canned, pumped full of sodium and chemicals to preserve it. So I believe that if we can pump in fresher nutrient rich vegetables it makes our minds think clearer and we have a little more energy.” In the year since starting the garden last April, the project has seen 52,000 pounds of food and 2,000 volunteers come through to help with the gardens. One of the most amazing things the project has seen is its remarkable volunteer retention especially with the younger volunteers. “We attract so many young people and a lot of young people come back, we have a 40 to 50 percent retention rate of volunteers coming back more than one time, which is really high.” Since Bo’s heart is really in what he does, he wants to see the project grow and expand just like the vegetables that are tended to by the volunteers. He cites a statistic by Feeding America, in which around 61,000 people do not know where there next meal is coming from in Greenville. “That’s each day. In Greenville. That just rocks my world.” Something particularly personal and heartbreaking for Bo is that 22 to 26 thousand of that number are children. With one fully-formed garden off of Verdin Road, and two others located on Hudson Road and in Taylors, Bo hopes his organization can begin to tackle 61,000 and pour both food and love into their sometimes very broken lives. “Everyone of us is broken or hurting in some area of our life, and we try to come beside you and help you and that is what the garden is really about. We use the tool of tilling the soil and giving the produce away to be our connector, to be able to chat with other people and to speak into their lives and do what we need to do to help them.” It is this vision that Bo wants to catch on and take root among the community, one of helping others to help themselves, who can in turn help others who are or were in the same situations.

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Q4 2012 // Business Black Box

Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


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