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Q 1 2016

IN TH IS ISSU E 20

THE 2016 BLACK BOX AWARDS

A DOLLAR AND CHANGE

32

TECH DISCOVERIES OF INNOVISION

56

BUSINESS

BLACK

BOX FEATURES

42

THE TRUE COST OF HURRICANE JOAQUIN

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Business Black Box Q1 2016


D E PA R T M E N T S 08

GUT CHECK

10

RANDOM & RELEVANT

17

HOMEGROWN

40

ON THE TOWN

52

TRAILBLAZER

62

NEXT GEN

68

TECH BRIEF

72

11 QUESTIONS

76

SPEED PITCH

80

HOW TO

C O LU M N S 18

HR

29

POLITICS

50

ENTREPRENEUR

54

SALES

60

MARKETING

64

FINANCE

66

GLOBAL

70

LAW

74

BUSINESS INTEL

78

EN ESPAテ前L

JASMINE TWITTY 4

Business Black Box Q1 2016

NEXT GEN P.62

Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


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Q1.16

CEO

PUBLISHER

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

GEOFF WASSERMAN

JORDANA MEGONIGAL

JOSH OVERSTREET

EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

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.

Business Black Box (Vol.8, Issue 1) is published four times per year by ShowCase Publishing, 200 North Main St, Suite 201, Greenville SC 29601 phone (864) 281-1323; fax (864) 281-1310. Business Black Box is a registered trademark of ShowCase Publishing 2016. 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.

MARC BOLICK REBA HULL CAMPBELL SHARON DAY REGGIE GAY CHIP FELKEL LESLIE HAYES DOUG KIM ANDREW KURTZ ANNA LOCKE DANIEL LOVELACE EVELYN LUGO DAVID SETZER

DESIGN PHOTOGRAPHY WAYNE CULPEPPER, FISHEYE STUDIOS

CREATIVE DIRECTOR CHRIS HEUVEL

ART DIRECTOR CATHERINE CRANDALL

GRAPHIC DESIGN KELLY PHILLIPS JEN WETZEL

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

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

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

FREELANCE OPPORTUNITIES Local talent is what keeps us moving. If you’d like to write or photograph for Business Black Box, please contact the editor at editor@insideblackbox. com or by mail to Business Black Box , c/o Freelance Opportunities, 200 N Main St, Suite 201, Greenville, SC 29601.

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 video we’ve done for your event, please contact us for info and pricing at info@insideblackbox.com or by mail to 200 N Main St, Suite 201, Greenville, SC 29601.

EVENT MANAGEMENT / SPONSORSHIP Business Black Box hosts events monthly from Business Connect networking held at local businesses to sponsoring events for other local organizations. If you’d like to find out more about hosting an event with Business Black Box, or about working with us to sponsor your event, please call our sales team at (864) 281-1323, ext. 1010, or email sales@insideblackbox.com.

BUSINESS

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

ACCOUNTING JON COVER

UPSTATE MARKET MANAGER DONNA BEERMAN

AUGMENTED REALITY Go to your app store and download the Layar app. (available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Google Glass) When you see this mark on any page, the page has something else to show you. Just scan that page, in full, with your Layar scanner, and it will pop onto your mobile device’s screen. 6

Business Black Box Q1 2016

TWITTER

SCAN TO DOWNLOAD LAYAR


B B B A DVISORS 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

1.

Chip Felkel, CEO, The Felkel Group 2.

11. Tony Snipes, Business Coach & Entrepreneur 12. Coleman Kirven, Commercial Banking Executive, The Palmetto Bank

Julie Godshall-Brown, President, Godshall Staffing 3.

13. Todd Korahais, Operating Partner, Keller Williams Realty

Andy Coburn, Attorney, Wyche Law Firm 4.

14. Terry Weaver, CEO, Chief Executive Boards International

Dean Hybl, Executive Director, Ten At The Top 5. Tiffany Hughes, Director Of Marketing, Meyco Products 6. Michael Bolick, CEO, Selah Genomics

7.

Greg Hillman, Upstate Director, SCRA/SC Launch! 8. Ravi Sastry, VP of Sales & Marketing, Immedion 9. Jil Littlejohn, President, Urban League Of The Upstate 10.

15. Sam Patrick, CEO, Patrick Marketing & Communications 16. Matt Dunbar, Managing Director, Upstate Carolina Angel Network 17. John Deworken, Partner, Sunnie & Deworken 18. Nigel Robertson, Anchor, WYFF 19. Douglas W. Kim, Shareholder, McNair Law Firm, P.A.

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GUT CHECK WHEN THINGS COME TOGETHER. AND WHEN THEY DON’T. Ain’t it grand when everything just falls into place? When you plan something, and each step you take just….happens...and then at the end you look back and you’re successful and happy and ready to tackle another challenge? But what about the other 99 percent of your life? You know, that 99 percent where you’re having to hoof it all the time, where it feels like every step you take gives out underneath you, and you make the proverbial movie-themed scramble to the edge at the cliff, where you dangle precariously by your fingernails until someone pulls you up, or until you pull yourself up? Look, we’ve all been there. And when we are, it just seems so...big. The successes seem bigger than life and the failures seem like they’re going to swallow you whole. For the entrepreneurially-minded, it’s a life of living on extremes. Except, it’s really not. This past year, we had some things that came together. Let’s take RECON South Carolina—our new conference for military veterans in career transition—as an example. At the end, it was highly successful and we are excited about picking it up again this year to grow it. But if I look back honestly—from the day we had the idea to the day of the event—there were a lot of places where it almost fell apart. I mean a lot. There were days we didn’t think it would happen...days we almost cancelled the event...days I almost walked away never to return….but we didn’t. We pressed on. Even with the many failures involved in putting on the event, ultimately, RECON was one of our most successful ventures this year. And now, as I’m feeling nostalgic and insightful, I’m thinking...what if the failures—those cliff-hanging, soul-ripping disasters—are just the hiccups of the next success? And if we just keep going, we’ll get to the end...to the success...and not even see them anymore. What if we erase our failures simply by continuing to move forward to success? Of course, I realize this epiphany is idealistic at best—the reality is that there are failures...complete and total failures….every single day. Things end; they have to. But, that doesn’t mean we are limited to them, that we are tied to them, and that that failure can’t shape us for our future success. So long as we don’t stop with failure. So here is a mantra for 2016; keep going. No matter how long you’ve held on or how many failures you had last year or how successful you have been so far. Keep going. And may 2016 wash away all memory of those failures with many more successes. Happy New Year. We’re happy to see you in 2016.

Publisher, Business Black Box jordana@insideblackbox.com | 864/281-1323 x.1010 twitter.com/jmegonigal | linkedin.com/in/jordanam facebook.com/jordana megonigal 8

Business Black Box Q1 2016

Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


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R A N D O M & R E L E VA N T

THE RISE OF SELF-EMPLOYMENT Of the nation’s 146 million workers, the self-employed and those hired by the self-employed now account for 30 percent of that number—or 44 million jobs in all. Policy makers are quickly taking note of the impact that the entrepreneur is having on the economy and the creation of jobs, which is especially important in the agriculture, fishing, forestry and construction industries, where 81 percent of the jobs are held by those who are self-employed or those who work for them.

Note: Self-employed people work for profit or feeds in their own businesses. The number of paid employees is top coded at 75.

Info courtesy of Pew Research http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/10/22/three-in-ten-u-s-jobs-are-held-by-the-self-employed-and-the-workers-they-hire/

5 THINGS TO DO IN THIS ISSUE

1 It’s that time of year again. Business Black Box Awards are in. See who made the cut! (p.20)

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Business Black Box Q1 2016

2 Check out our local resources for entrepreneurs. (p.59)

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4

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Cat videos are taking over the internet and you need to pay attention. (p.68)

Planning a trip to the coast? Skip Myrtle and go and see what the big deal is in Bluffton. (p.40)

Meet South Carolina’s youngest sitting judge. (p.62)


R A N D O M & R E L E VA N T

BY

TH E

N UMBER S

New Year’s Resolutions

45%

Of Americans typically make New Year’s Resolutions

38%

Of Americans don’t make resolutions

8%

Actually achieve their resolutions

47%

Of resolutions are quality of life or education based

39%

Of Twentysomethings follow through with their resolutions

14%

Of people over 50 follow through with their resolutions

46%

Are still maintaining their resolution past six months

*Information courtesy of Statistic Brain http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolutionstatistics/

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R A N D O M & R E L E VA N T

BETWEEN THE LINES

D IREC TO RY

SCIWAY

The South Carolina Information Highway (SCIWAY) is the front door of the state. Active for 19 years, SCIWAY is the most comprehensive database of information on South Carolina. With over 50,000 links and various maps, photographs, calendars‚ you will be hard pressed to find something that isn’t on the site. What We Read: The New One Minute Manager, by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. The Gist: “In these changing times, the most effective managers manage themselves and the people they work with so that both the people and the organization profit from their presence.” This book, in essence, is just how to do that—become an effective manager without becoming a micro-manager.

http://sciway.net

A N

AP P

W E

LOV E

How it’s Written: Once again, we have a book written for the super-busy business person. Short, concise chapters are laser-focused on specific topics, like “One Minute Praisings” or “One Minute Redirects.” A great book for a long weekend or a plane ride, you’ll be able to dive in and out quickly, getting a lot of meat in exchange for just a little bit of your time. Great if: Your responsibilities include management of anyone else’s time, energy or output. Don’t Miss: The “Game Plan,” near the back of the book, that boils the bulk of the book down into an easy-to-digest flowchart. Our Read: A great, short read that gets to the root of most management issues in just a few pages—in our book, The New One Minute Manager is a quick must read. And because it’s so easy to read and process, there’s no real excuse as to why you can’t.

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Carrot To-Do Need motivation? How about a to-do list that actually talks back to you for being lazy? Carrot To-Do has personality and as you do tasks—on time—it remains happy. However, if you get behind, you might find your to-do list will not be happy with you.

www.meetcarrot.com/todo


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R A N D O M & R E L E VA N T

CALENDAR

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What: Business Black Box’s 2015 LEADER Series Where: McNair Law Firm, 140 S. Main St, Suite 700, Greenville, SC When: 2nd Tuesday of each month, 4 p.m.

FEBRUARY

Now in its third year, the LEADER Series provides open discussion and connection between local business leaders in a monthly setting. Presented by McNair Law Firm and Sandlapper Securities, the event covers topics of interest to business leaders and businesses in growing markets. For more information: Contact Business Black Box at (864) 281-1323 ext. 1010, or by email at info@insideblackbox.com

23 FEBRUARY

What: 127th Greenville Chamber Annual Meeting Where: TD Convention Center, Greenville, SC When: February 23, 2016, 5:30 p.m. Bringing together over 1,500 South Carolina business and community leaders, the Annual Chamber Meeting is the largest such gathering in South Carolina. Join them as they celebrate another year of business and set the vision for 2016.

For more information: http://web.greenvillechamber.org/ events/eventdetail.aspx?EventID=5340

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MARCH

Business Black Box Q1 2016

O N

TH E

STR E E T

As you know, Business Black Box is keeping close tabs on the revitalization of the Taylors community and any time we get to share news about what they are doing, we jump. May 5th of this year will see the launch of the Taylors Farmers Market at the Taylors Mill. 20 vendors will be setup—with over half being farmer vendors within a 100 mile radius of the community. In addition to farmers, look for value added and processed food producers as well as local artisans selling their wares. According to Alex Reynolds, president of Taylors TownSquare, the community development organization behind the revitalization of the area, this isn’t the first time an idea for a farmers market came up, originally presented by Steve and Andrea Rhodes. “The Rhodes first attempt to organize a market in Taylors in 2014 was unsuccessful, however this time Taylors TownSquare brought the Taylors Farmers Market on as an initiative and thereby enabling a team to organize the market,” says Reynolds. Already, the local community is showing its support for the initiative, with Greer State Bank on as the main sponsor. Pelham Medical Center, Taylors Rec, the Taylors Mill, Carolina Recycling Company and Gary Sullivan & Associates have joined in as community sponsors as well. “The entire foundation of Taylors TownSquare is built on facilitating connections and enabling their outcomes, and a farmers market is both at the same time. It is an enabled response of some earlier connections from Taylors TownSquare monthly meetings, and a marketplace is naturally a place where new connections are made,” says Reynolds.

What: South Carolina’s Nonprofit Summit Where: 299 North Church Street, Spartanburg, SC When: March 9 - March 11, 2016 Join the state’s most comprehensive conference specifically for the not for profit sector. Organized and presented by SCANPO, the summit is led by leaders and organizers of nonprofits.

For more information: http://summit.scanpo.org/about/

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W O RD

For more information, contact Alex Reynolds at alexr@taylorstownsquare.com http://taylorstownsquare.com


At Radium, we specialize in a different perspective. We combine deep architectural design skills and knowledge with the collaborative, forward-thinking attitude your business needs to look like the future. Find out how Radium can transform your future today.

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HR

by Leslie Hayes

www.insideblackbox.com/hr PRESIDENT & ORGANIZATIONAL COACH THE HAYES APPROACH

ARE YOU STILL PAYING FOR APATHY? Are you buying apathy from your employees? I don’t mean are you “buying” it—as in accepting that employees have a right to be and actually are apathetic about something. I mean, are you buying it—as in paying good money to your employees in exchange for their apathy? Some research organizations put employee disengagement at up to 70 percent!1 While that number is often debated, three things are true. One, even if the correct number is only half the stated statistic, it means that about four out of every ten of your team members are not engaged in their job or your business; two, the problem of a disengaged worker is at least 50 percent a leadership problem; and three, disengagement is expensive. At one extreme, workplace shootings are often perpetrated by people who have become not only disengaged but completely disenfranchised and are seeking meaning or release through violent or criminal means. Less obviously, recent studies have quantified the number for small businesses as over $2,000 per year per disengaged employee. 2 Most people agree that employee engagement reduces turnover and absenteeism and increases creativity, problem solving and discretionary effort. However, did you know that increased employee engagement can positively impact employee mental health... which can positively impact subsequent engagement... and so on?3

1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/joefolkman/2014/03/06/ seventy-percent-of-workers-not-engaged-what- about-themanagers/

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Business Black Box Q1 2016

The first step to improving engagement is to take a look at company culture. Every company has a culture—but is it deliberate and is it the one you, as a leader, intend? Regardless of what your vision and mission statements say, consider these questions: 1.

Where do you have the biggest problems with motivation and discipline? Does it require rules and writeups to get people to do the right thing?

2.

When is the last time you did an anonymous survey to ask employees their opinions about the most important things in the company?

3.

How often does your management team talk about what kind of culture is needed in your industry and organization to get the operational results you need? And how often do you take deliberate steps to shape your culture?

4.

If someone was behaving in an unusual or negative way, how would the people in your company respond? Would anyone notice?

Once you have the answers, or at least a start, to these questions, it’s time to create an action plan to shape the culture you need. In my practice, we created the FEEL™ (Five Essentials of Exceptional Leaders) approach to leadership concerns, and the first essential is to “create a vision” of the culture you want to have. What does it look like? How do people behave? Where does productive work happen? And—most importantly— how will I know that we have attained that culture?

2. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/ openforum/articles/how-much-disengaged- employeesreally-cost-you/

!

Getting the answers to these questions early in 2016—and then acting on them— just might get you to stop signing big checks for apathy and cashing ones for engagement instead. The new year is a natural time to take stock of the current situation and create a plan to move things forward. I find the compensation budget goes alot further in satisfying employees with a robust company culture on the side.

ABOUT LESLIE HAYES For Leslie Hayes business is people. She tested a Harvard education and graduate leadership degree with over two decades of practical experience and currently serves clients of The Hayes Approach in the Upstate and globally. Leslie’s expertise, humor, compassion and realism keep her in demand as an HR expert, coach, educator and author.

3. http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/employeeengagement-closely-tied-to-health-and- wellbeing

62% of North American employees report burnout level stress http://www.statista.com/topics/2099/stress-and-burnout


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Business Black Box Q1 2016


Every new year rings in with celebration. We stay up, watch the clock strike midnight and welcome in a brand new year with brand new opportunities. That’s why we choose to start the year with our annual Black Box Awards— celebrating the businesses and individuals in the community who are standing out, making an impact and leading the way.

WRITTEN BY JOSH OVERSTREET PHOTOGRAPHY BY WAYNE CULPEPPER

FURNITURE GENEROUSLY PROVIDED BY ROWAN COMPANY

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Innovation Award Zipit Wireless

Represented by Frank Greer • CEO

With the latest trends going toward what’s called the “internet of things,” Zipit Wireless is making sure to be on the innovative edge when it comes to product solutions and wireless connectivity of devices. “We’ve created a technology basis that can be used across many things,” says Frank Greer, president and CEO of Zipit Wireless. One of Zipit’s best known devices is their Enterprise Critical Messaging Solution™, a device that finds use in hospitals, schools, manufacturing, utilities, government agencies and hotels. Using their cloud connectivity technology, these pagers have more features such as two-­way communication and greater message tracking than older models that most would think of when imagining a pager. “One is our goals to be the best, most widely deployed critical messaging device in the country, and eventually, other parts of the world,” says Greer. “Most of us have forgotten about pagers, but in certain industries— emergency responders, government—we do a really good job providing a reliable solution.” Along with critical messaging, Zipit’s other goal is to help companies that don’t have cloud computing and carrier relationships and help them get to market with a great product, Greer says. One such product is an award-winning trail camera developed for Bushnell. “If you are a hunter, you don’t have to drive out and check your camera; it comes straight to your computer or phone,” says Greer. Another solution they are engaged with is and supports medication adherence. With cloud connectivity, it helps ensure the right medications are taken at the right time. The reason Zipit remains innovative is because of the environment they have created in which engineers can be creative and find technological solutions for companies looking for the ability to create an internet connected device. “For us, it has to be simple to use. Get into somebody’s hands, open it, connect to internet,” says Greer. “We try to take the complexity out of the equation for consumers and businesses who use our products.”

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Future Leader Ryan Heafy

Chief Engagement Officer • ThinkIdeally

“In becoming a leader, one of the biggest things was that I was challenged from a young age to achieve my potential,” says Ryan Heafy, the chief engagement officer with ThinkIdeally. “I never had anything handed to me on a silver platter.” Heafy was born and raised in Connecticut and attended the University of Connecticut receiving a mechanical engineering degree. After a stint with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, he relocated to the Southeast because of the area’s connections in aerospace. After being a part of quality services for a small company that was eventually acquired by private equity, Heafy started pursuing his passions of entrepreneurism, workforce development and STEM education. “One of the most important things about the next generation is that we need to prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow,” says Heafy. Part of this vision was Imagine Upstate, which raised money to bring families out to experience what it looks like to work in a STEM based field such as robotics, virtual reality, drones or 3D technology. “Right now, there is so much opportunity here and we are growing so quickly—which is good for the community—but are we growing effectively and to meet the needs of the millennial generation and those who are coming?” asks Heafy. Through ThinkIdeally—a company dedicated to helping entrepreneurs connecting to what they need to succeed— Heafy says he is involved at NEXT High School to help recognize potential in students who are being prepared for the future workforce. “Analytical thinking, teamwork, project-based learning is a great way to get kids to work together in teams and be outside of the box,” says Heafy. According to Heafy, that’s the kind of employee that is necessary, not a 4.0 GPA who can’t work with anybody, but workers who can work effectively in a team, problem solve and add value to the company they are a part of. “If we have the opportunity to drive economic growth in a strategic manner that really helps us be successful down the road, I will be happy as a leader in South Carolina,” says Heafy.

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Best Place to Work Coldwell Banker Caine

Represented by Stephen Edgerton • CEO

When you are having a bad day, your first inclination to make it better probably isn’t going to the office but Stephen Edgerton, CEO of Coldwell Banker Caine, says that’s what he wants. “We want that—when you have an awful day—you come to the office,” he says. According to Edgerton, we spend most of our time in the office working, so it’s vital to build an environment that is supportive and enjoyable. And Coldwell Banker Caine makes it much more than a workplace, it makes it a family. “It’s a family business. Coming from outside into the company that was the first thing I realized. The company was truly a special place. They ran it like a family,” says Edgerton. Moving to the Greenville area in 2006, Edgerton met Brad and Frank Halter and within 18 months came on board of the Coldwell Banker Caine family. “Real estate in general is very competitive, but something that is truly unique about us is that everyone celebrates each other’s successes,” says Edgerton. It is an intentional decision by the leadership team to create a family atmosphere and a culture where employees feel responsible with maintaining it in various ways, like get-togethers and community involvement. “People talk about culture a lot, but it’s the people that come before the culture, and they are responsible for it,” says Edgerton. “You have to make that a core value.” And that culture can go beyond just your office. After all, the employees aren’t the only part of the family but their customers and the community at large. “If we can build an environment where people are caring and supportive of each other, they in turn can offer exceptional service to their clients,” says Edgerton. When you are treated like family in the workplace, it’s easy to forget you are actually working. “That’s one of the unique things: everyone in the company refers to it as the Caine family,” says Edgerton. “Not only do we live in the community, we do business here. We are locally owned and operated. All of our revenue is generated here,” says Edgerton.

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Business Black Box Q1 2016


Entrepreneur of the Year Pamela Evette

President & CEO • Quality Business Solutions

Even after 16 years of success with her business QBS, Pamela Evette is always looking ahead and around the corner. “That’s what an entrepreneur does. They have their vision and the aim to get there. Never get discouraged,” says Evette, the president and CEO of QBS. “There were years where we didn’t take on new business because of the economy, but you never get discouraged. We constantly tweak things and change things, but never get discouraged.” Early on, Evette always knew she wanted to open up her own business. From an accounting background, she founded QBS—specializing in outsourced HR, payroll and benefit consulting and 100 percent woman owned— in Travelers Rest in a small one office building. “We just got a great base of clients who became our cheering section. In the beginning that’s how we grew: word of mouth,” says Evette. Now, Evette and QBS are named for awards such as the Inc. 5000 for fastest growing companies, they were named an SC Best Place to Work in 2015 and finally Evette herself won 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year, being recognized as top of her category in the $100 million plus companies—representing leaders in the largest companies in the awards. Accessibility is one of the things Evette sees as being an advantage. No matter how big the company got, their clients were always able to get ahold of Pamela or someone at QBS to help them out. Now, with clients ranging from five employees to 45,000 employees, Pamela and QBS have found a great niche in their market, especially as a forward-thinking company. “We were never afraid of technology; we always are asking, ‘what is the best way our clients can connect with us?’” says Evette. Whether it’s cutting edge software, cloud computing or the latest in security to keep their clients’ data safe, Evette is always looking for the newest and best way to keep in contact and to be competitive. “I could see where I wanted to be, one day I knew I would own a business and I always could look further out and that drives me to where I want to be,” says Evette.

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Business Black Box Q1 2016


Best Boss Award Jessica McDowell

Senior Manager • Synnex

Being a great boss takes a lot, and for Jessica McDowell it took a lot of learning and letting go to be a truly effective leader in the workplace. Originally from Greenville, McDowell studied communications at the University of Tennessee before coming back and working with Synnex, originally in their healthcare division for the first four and a half years of her seven and a half career. She currently works in the product management side as senior manager of the business division, in which she oversees all vendor lines for her particular business unit, something she has been incredibly successful at, making her a natural choice for our Best Boss award. “I think that in order to be an effective leader, you have to be accessible to your team. They need to be comfortable coming and asking questions,” says McDowell, “You have to continually create an environment where people ask questions, take risks and aren’t afraid to fail.” Ever since taking over her individual unit, she has been able to bring in more and more vendor partners thanks to her and her team’s planning, something that, according to McDowell, “takes an army.” But success does not come without challenge, as McDowell had to—and is—figuring out daily on how to be the best leader she can for her team of 11. “Some of the biggest challenges were when I first started into management,” says McDowell. “I think the hardest thing for me was being a perfectionist by nature; I quickly and painfully realized that perfectionism is a direct impediment to being able to delegate. I had to learn to let go and trust the team and what I learned was that people who feel trusted, respected and appreciated will always work very hard to prove you right.” As part of that, McDowell makes an extra daily effort to spend time with her team members and get to know them on a personal level and know what makes them tick, so she can effectively manage each person on an specific, individual basis. “I think everybody has to be managed differently; different things motivate different people. I can’t use one style across the board,” says McDowell. To McDowell, being a good leader is constantly about learning something new and applying it effectively, such as creating careful balance in the workplace and at home and to find time to recenter yourself.

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Business Black Box Q1 2016

“I carve out about an hour or so in the morning and go the gym—that’s my me time,” says McDowell. “You have to make time for yourself, to stay grounded and centered.”


The Green Award BASF

Represented by Neville Lockwood Mauldin Site Director

Companies will not make it very far if they aren’t doing the right things. At 150 years old, BASF is one of the oldest and largest chemical companies in the world. Their secret? Always looking forward at not only the next innovation but also how they can save the world. “BASF is a very long-term focused company,” says Neville Lockwood, site director for BASF Whitestone and BASF Mauldin. “They are interested in the next quarter, the next year.” BASF focuses on the manufacturing of surfactants— which play important roles in cleaning agents, detergents, cosmetics, fabric softeners and many other around the house products. The Whitestone plant in Spartanburg originally complimented the textile industry of South Carolina, but when that industry departed, instead of closing the plant, BASF—among many companies at the time— thought ahead and repurposed their goals to meet other needs, continuing to be an economic boon to a region experiencing economic change. “We’ve been here for 150 years,” says Lockwood. “What do we have to do to be here another 150 years?” But for BASF, it is about so much more than just making a better dish detergent or hand soap. It’s about making the right ones for preserving the planet. “We create chemistry for a sustainable tomorrow. It’s not enough to just make chemicals—they have to be sustainable,” says Lockwood, “A lot of it is top down, corporate green initiatives.” The company’s 150th anniversary coincided with this past Earth Day and from the top down BASF encouraged its employees to get involved in helping the community. According to Lockwood, the Mauldin plant decided to go out and help local food banks and growers with weeding and taking care of the gardens. It’s not just about grassroots organization either. BASF is on the innovative forefront, using more sustainable raw materials such as algaes, palm and coconut oils in their manufacturing. Also, with new trends in dishwashing and laundry going toward low heat, low water and high efficiency trends, they are creating the products to keep up, such as the use of enzymes to break down dirt allowing cooler water to wash effectively. “There’s what six billion people on Earth and 10 billion by 2020? Clearly we can’t keep going the way we have been going,” says Lockwood. “We are here to make money and to save the world.”

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Community Impact Sandlapper Securities

Represented by Trevor Gordon • Founder & CEO

“If you’re not an active partner and participant in your community, I think overall it’s more problematic to build your brand and build your business,” says Trevor Gordon, founder and CEO of Sandlapper Securities. “You’ve got to show your community you appreciate them and that they allow you to do what you do.” One of the first lessons Gordon learned moving here was that the community loves to help itself and for a business to not get involved makes it very hard for Greenville and South Carolina to embrace it as one of its own. For Sandlapper, this takes many forms and it comes from every level of the company. The Center for Developmental Services (CDS) is one organization that is near and dear to Sandlapper and each year they do a lot to support the organization that supports children in the Upstate. “I’ve been involved with them in some capacity since 2004,” says Gordon, who also serves as vice chair on the board of CDS. According to Gordon, each year Sandlapper does something of significance for CDS, whether it’s a donation, a specific night at a Swamp Rabbits game, or—in 2016—a benefit concert. “Within our company, just about everybody is a parent. It’s easy to get involved in organizations that help children,” says Gordon. Loaves and Fishes is another organization that Sandlapper is passionate about helping. “They run a very lean organization so anything we can do to help. Over the last few years we have become the title sponsor of their annual fundraising drive, which is a concert,” says Gordon. Sandlapper focuses a majority of its efforts on local organizations because, according to Gordon, they do not have the bloat of some of the national/international organizations whose donations may or may not go towards the cause. “That’s some of the good things about community organizations— they don’t have that bloat and you are able to make a significant impact,” he says. Finally, to encourage employee involvement, an internal committee at Sandlapper is dedicated to ideas and requests employees have to help the community. According to Gordon, it is a good way to get the team involved in the community outreach and the committee has been given $10,000 to use for 2016 in helping community organizations. “We really wanted to bring this together. Instead of sending $100 here and $1,000 there, we really wanted to focus our efforts to make a significant impact as a company,” says Gordon. “Hopefully each year, we will be able to grow that pot on what we want to allocate to the community.” “We don’t do what we do for the business accolades. I just want my community to know that we care and if ultimately, business impact is generated, great,” says Gordon.


POLI T I C S

by Chip Felkel

www.insideblackbox.com/politics CEO THE FELKEL GROUP

THE JOB OF A PRESIDENT There is just no way to accurately handicap the GOP race for the White House. At this writing Trump leads nationally, Cruz is threatening to win Iowa, New Hampshire will likely serve as the mainstream candidate filter and make it hard for several of them to continue. Our beloved Palmetto State once again has the opportunity to make—or break—a campaign or two, and while it is tempting to make a prediction as to the winner on February 20th, this thing is so bizarre I am sure I would want to change it at least twice between now and then, so I am going to pass. This election cycle is like nothing we have ever seen. The hyperbole is aided by Twitter, and supported by the media who are more focused on ratings than anything else. There has been a lack of real substance on issues when we clearly need real substance. It has become what I will call a “National Enquirer” kind of election— and that isn’t a good thing. We are hearing a lot of demagoguery and rhetoric from candidates about building walls, tearing up various agreements and doing all kinds of things that sound good to a lot of people. These comments have gotten a lot of cheers and applause as very angry populism seems to be the mood of the land. But here’s the truth: It’s really easy to say loudly what you will do if elected president. That doesn’t take anything more than a microphone. The fact is the Office of the President only has so much power and needs the support of the other branches of government. It’s not kingship and it’s not a dictatorship. The president has to play well with others. The role of President of the United States, is outlined in Article II of the Constitution of the United States. I have omitted the text regarding

the election process and impeachment but would respectfully offer to you Sections 2 and 3, which are worth consideration: “Section 2. The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment. He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments. The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session. “Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall

judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.” That’s the job. That’s the role of the president as outlined in the Constitution. All that said, take the actual constitutionally defined job of president into consideration as you determine who you support in the primary. Don’t let yourself be hoodwinked by soundbites and “entertainment” disguised as real news. The ability to throw grenades, or play the “holier than thou” card doesn’t cut it. That’s not leadership and it is not what our Founding Fathers had in mind. Do your research. Look at the issues. Look at the character, temperament and yes, experience of each candidate. Then vote with your head.

ABOUT CHIP FELKEL Hollis (Chip Felkel) is a veteran public affairs strategist and political advisor who has worked in the state and national arenas for almost 30 years. He is the CEO of Felkel Group and of RAP Index, a web based advocacy service. Follow him on Twitter: @ChipFelkel

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Business Black Box Q1 2016


One dollar. Four quarters. Ten dimes. One hundred, otherwise unusable, copper-colored pennies. One dollar. That is Ed Bell’s annual salary. Only, not precisely. Because only two months into his new position as president of the once-faltering Charleston School of Law, Bell got a raise.

For college, Bell headed toward Spartanburg to enroll at Wofford College, where he struggled as a pre-med major during his freshman year. But then he took a course at Carolina Night School—a business law course. It was there that Bell fell head over the heels for the subject of law, but his father refused to pay for any further college for him due to his poor prior performance, and loans were unavailable because of his family’s income level. So, Bell got creative.

“A 20 percent raise,” he adds, with a chuckle stifled deep inside his throat. Still, a smile escapes. “We couldn’t figure out how to divide a dollar into twelve months, so now I make $1.20.”

Taking on three jobs—as a night clerk at a local law firm, as a night auditor at a Holiday Inn hotel, and selling mobile homes on the weekends—he went back to the school and set up a payment plan. “It was the only way I could do it,” Bell says of the agreement. “It wasn’t a hard thing for them to say yes to; I would take them part of my paycheck every week.”

“And,” he says, lifting a finger to make another point, “I’m donating that to the scholarship fund.”

By the time he graduated more than six years later (“It took me a little longer because I couldn’t afford to pay the full-time tuition,” he says), Bell’s grades had vastly improved, and he was accepted to the University of South Carolina’s School of Law, where he once again paid his own way.

We are sitting in his current office, in front of an enormous circular window that displays Charleston’s busy King Street down below. Soon, Bell will not have that daily view anymore—the offices of the School of Law will be moving elsewhere in the city as part of a larger restructuring project. That restructuring—one of many changes that will take place in the final two months of 2015— epitomizes Bell’s fit to the job: to not just save the Charleston School of Law, but to transform it into one of the best and most innovative schools in the nation…and one that serves a greater purpose than simply to create successful lawyers. It’s a hard job, but one that Ed Bell has been preparing for his whole life.

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orn in Sumter as the son of an obstetrician, Ed Bell grew up around children and the world of medicine. He spent Sundays at the hospital, eating lunch there after church while his father made his rounds. With what he calls a “typical” childhood, the young Bell spent his time in sports, taking his “mandatory” piano lessons, or visiting his grandmother in Charleston. He also worked, running a paper route or mowing lawns.

Business Black Box Q1 2016

“While I didn’t enjoy my undergrad school as much, I loved law school,” Bell remembers. “I just loved the reading of the law and the different factual situations that you encounter in every case. In those encounters you learn so much about people and business and ingenuity and calculations and dreaming and things like that. Anyone that has learned to read case law has learned a little bit about themselves and others at the same time.” While in law school, Bell had the opportunity of a lifetime—to serve as an aid to Senator Strom Thurmond in the late 1970s. For four years, Bell lived alongside the South Carolinian legend, all the while being shaped by his insight and advice. “He was an extraordinary man; he really loved young law students and young lawyers,” Bell says of Thurmond. “He would give you advice every day—all of which was great—and he’d never give you the same advice twice.” That advice—and Thurmond’s constant presence—shaped Bell’s outlook on working with others. “You know, your parents can teach you principles of life, but sometimes it takes the experience of life to understand what they mean,” he says. “With Senator Thurmond, people always wanted to know: what was his secret? Why was he elected at such a high percent of the vote almost every time? And it really had to do that


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he cared for each person individually. You could see that working for him. It wasn’t his politics—it wasn’t that that got him re-elected. It was his personal involvement in people’s lives that when asked, he got involved. And I think that part shaped my life the most.” After leaving Thurmond’s side, Bell moved to the Weinberg Law Firm in Sumter, working there for a few years before opening his own practice in 1983. In 1996, he expanded the practice to Georgetown, moving closer to the ocean that called to him. “I promised myself as a kid that I would eventually move to the coast,” he says of the move. “I grew up in the summers going to the beach, and I fell in love with the salt water—the fishing, the hunting and the outdoors. While we had that in Sumter, we had lakes and freshwater. My father loved the fresh water,” he adds. “I fell in love with the ocean.” Along the way, Bell—an entrepreneur at heart and a problem fixer by nature—became involved with other projects and businesses across South Carolina. In 2010, he became a partner in Garden & Gun magazine, now one of the fastest growing magazines in the nation. Not long after, he acquired a real estate business on the coast called The Litchfield Company. He has becoming a leading attorney in various fields, and even founded a Vehicle Safety Research Center—a facility that can investigate auto-related instances like automotive defects or accident re-enactments. Even after all this time, with more than 300 major cases under his belt, it’s not difficult to notice the one case that marked him the most. And you have to look no further than his very first one to find it. In 1979, Bell had recently graduated, but had not yet passed the bar, when he received a call from a panicked mother. Her son had been charged with murder, and she wanted Bell to represent him. And while Bell eventually won the case—and many other murder cases to follow—the memories of that first time in court have played heavily into his life ever since. “I tried that case three months after I was sworn in,” he remembers. “The court was concerned that I was handling this big case and I had never tried a case, nor did I have the experience…but I knew I had to do it. The concern and the fear that I had of not doing well—of not making sure I did the very best—drove me to do a better job. Drove me to do the best I could, and even more.” The fear of failure—and not just failure, but failing someone—is a theme that marks our entire conversation. “I always worried about representing somebody and not disappointing them,” Bell says. “Not failing them. Not just doing what I said I’d do but doing it the best way. I’ve always had this underlying fear of failure. I think that’s what drives me to maybe do things at a different level than some.”

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till, the realization of how unprepared he felt in that first case, and how common that is for law students moving into their own profession in law, was something that stuck with Bell. In law school, he had attended only one court hearing. He had never cross-examined a witness, and didn’t know how a witness was supposed to be sworn in. And while he had hours of training under his belt through law school, the practicality of practice was never truly attained until it was necessary in court. “I didn’t know what all this training I had gotten really meant,” he says. “You know, I can’t think of a scarier situation for a kid to be in than to be given the responsibility of representing a person whom you know is innocent, and yet you’ve never tried a case. I’ve always thought that those people who get out of school and become great trial lawyers…great practitioners of our trade…have to have had some mentoring of some sort to get the things they didn’t get in law school, because they don’t get it, at least when I was coming along, in law school.” In fact, it’s the focus on this need—for mentorship and for practical exercise—that years ago led Bell to focus on the Charleston School of Law, who had intended to start a clinics program that would provide just that. Bell was fascinated by the goal of educating law students in the practical aspects of law, but as the years passed and the program never materialized, Bell maintained an interest in the school—one that would prove vital to the next major career move of his life.

“When I heard the school was in trouble several years ago, it really grieved me and I followed it closely,” says Bell. “It bothered me. There wasn’t much I could do about it; it was something that was happening afar.”

It was a call from someone close to him—the husband of his goddaughter, in fact—that prompted Bell to take more of an active role in the transformation of the Charleston School of Law. Bell agreed, initially, to be part of a group that would help the school—which was, at that time, suffering from three pending lawsuits from past faculty (and the countersuits filed by the school), an exodus of students from the school and a staggering $6 million loan debt. That “group” never materialized. “When I called back later I found out that the group was one,” Bell adds with a wry smile. “Apparently, there were a lot of people smarter than I was.”

And with that, Bell agreed to become the next president of the Charleston School of Law. Not only that; he would assume responsibility of the $6 million loan debt, and would come on for the salary of one dollar a year. Make that $1.20. But Bell wasn’t without his own concerns. He was inaugurated as president on October 29, but even then, his ever-present fear of failure was driving him. “I’m not sure that I could take this job unless I felt like my background warranted it; I think I’ve been earning this job for a long time,” he says. “While I’ve had a little bit of a storied career when it comes to the kind of work I’ve done and the kind of cases I’ve handled, I don’t think I could have honestly taken this job on had I not been successful in the other parts of my life.” Still, like many other entrepreneurs, the drive of perfection follows him. While he acknowledges he has been successful by many standards, he is still quick to second-guess himself. “See, I don’t feel that success every day,” he notes. “I don’t feel I’ve been as successful as maybe others think I’ve been. I still get stage fright when I stand up before a jury—that first five minutes of a case. I still have trepidation when I’m asked to stand up and speak before a group.” In fact, he adds, “I’ve got my first graduation in a week, and I’m scared to death.” But Bell does not let the self-doubt debilitate him. He has learned, over the years, to surround himself with others whose strengths counter his own. In fact, it’s why he immediately, upon taking the seat behind the president’s desk, began establishing a board of advisors that would help him identify problems and possible solutions. “The more I looked into the school, the more I realized that the school didn’t need fixing. This school just needed leadership,” Bell says. He brags of a faculty that Princeton recently named one of the Top 10 in the country, and a dean that serves the school well. He points out that the school was recently awarded the title of the best value law education in the country. “I can’t claim credit for that, but what I can claim credit for is changing the attitude around here. I’m coming in without having to fix a lot of problems—there are a lot of issues that I’m working on, but I don’t call them problems…they aren’t that big a deal, and they’re getting taken care of every day.” One of those issues was dropping the countersuits the school held against the former faculty. That, simply, Bell says, was “the right thing to do.” “We should have never filed them,” he adds. “We teach these kids how to practice law honorably, we’ve got to lead it.” Today, his main projects are stabilizing the school—its expenditures, revenues, students, faculty and more—and working toward shifting the school into a non-profit model shared by most other law schools in the country. This change, according to Bell, is vital to the school, and is a practical move that needs to be taken immediately.

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“You can’t raise money for scholarships being a for-profit; you can’t raise money for your endowment; you can’t raise money to build a campus. That’s the business side of it,” Bell says. “The other side is that I don’t want to have the temptation of profit versus what’s good for the students. It’s an inherent, irreconcilable conflict to have money sitting in the bank and decide whether to take a distribution or whether to reduce the kids’ debt burden.” For Bell, the move to being a non-profit is “an easy decision.” This conversion is one that will take a while, but Bell and his team plan to apply in January 2016 for the change in status. Still, there are obstacles—the Department of Education’s review of non-profit status validity for the school, for one—that he knows will have to be navigated. And yet, Bell talks through all of these changes with the cadence of someone who has thought through them in a million different ways. He knows what has to be done, because he’s likely thought it through in every possible scenario, minimizing risks and addressing obstacles before they even appear. He talks briefly about the need for a permanent campus in downtown Charleston—something that is “in the works” but still until wraps. As the conversation turns to his students, however, Bell is energized. He has a vision for this school far beyond a new building and more students. He has a vision for a new Court. In Bell’s vision of the Court of General Jurisdiction, law students—with special rules to protect the litigants—would have the opportunity to try real cases in real court with real results, but the ripple effect would be felt far beyond the school. It would be felt around the entire community. “Let’s say you have a landlord and tenant issue where someone is fussing with the landlord and they can’t get their deposit back. It happens every day,” Bell says. “Most people don’t take those cases…and so they turn up as pro-bono.” He then notes that South Carolina’s pro bono system, the only group privately funded by grants and donations, wants to establish a justice center through the school, organizing all pro bono programs in the city into one. In that scenario, someone in that landlord versus tenant situation could come to the pro bono court and could try that case, using students as representation. “What you’re fussing over might be only $200 or $500 and so if you make a mistake—and they will—it’s not so bad. Of course, litigants would know that up front, but they could get more of a representation than doing it on their own. And those who refuse to give deposits back because they know that they can’t be taken to court because it’s too expensive may start changing the way they treat people.”

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After all, for Bell, it’s not just about teaching the practice of law. It’s about what that practice of law can mean for the community on a larger scale.

“Isn’t that our job, to learn how to treat people right?” he asks. “That’s why having that access to court—poor or not—is so important. It’s a great equalizer…you are teaching people to get out in their community and to give of themselves and to help others. And that helping spirit is what changes people’s lives.”

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ell hopes that this program could come together in 12 to 18 months—an ambitious desire for a program that could potentially change how law schools all over the country teach their students. Still, legislation is scheduled to hit the State House in Columbia in January when session opens, as the creation of this court would require a legislative act. It’s the first step of many, but one that, in only a few short weeks, Bell has identified and worked toward a solution. The next 12 months will prove essential to the momentum needed to turn the Charleston School of Law around. In that year, Bell simply hopes for small successes that can build into larger ones. “Success in a year is different than success in five years,” he says. “I think the trend, of course, is that we save the school and make it better, and that we continually strive for that excellence in education.” That education is built of more than classes and even the practical court program that he hopes for. Education, to Bell, is about promoting a culture that can help people far beyond their time in court. “You see, lawyers—other than maybe doctors—lawyers are probably the sole profession in our society that has the greatest ability to effectuate change in all aspects of what we do. So it’s not just about going out and making a living, it’s about what you can do to change society to improve it; to make it better. So, if we train these lawyers right and give them that sense of purpose, then that is success.” It’s a challenge on a sizeable scale, and one that still evokes a fear of failure within Bell. “I’m worried that a year from now people will look back and say, ‘what happened?’” he says. “So that will not happen. This school will not fail. This school will thrive. Because I will not be able to stand having something go wrong.” After all, even with all its challenges and opportunities, the choice to embrace the Charleston School of Law as his own was simple for Bell. “Someone had to save this school,” he says, “and someone did.”


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ON TH E TOWN

BLUFFTON, SOUTH CAROLINA:

FROM SLEEPY SMALL TOWN TO THRIVING HIGH TECH ECONOMY By Reba Hull Campbell As the “Heart of the Lowcountry,” Bluffton earns this distinction from a location that’s equidistant from Hilton Head’s Harbor Town, downtown Savannah and the Beaufort waterfront, making Bluffton a sought-after location for residents, tourists and businesses alike. Until just a few years ago, Bluffton was considered by many to be a sleepy river-front town known more for its picturesque location on the May River than for its growing and thriving economic base. Today, Bluffton encompasses 54 square miles with 47 miles of riverfront and a population of 17,000 in town limits with another 18,000 in what town leaders call “greater Bluffton.” The town has been described as one of the Southeast’s fastest growing cities. The evolution of the town from its sleepy roots to today’s thriving economy started in 1998 when Bluffton annexed the 20,662-acre Palmetto Bluff, expanding the town from one square mile to the state’s fifth largest municipality in land mass. In 2005, town council adopted the Old Town Master Plan, creating a blueprint to energize Old Town with infrastructure, entertainment options and new businesses. The heart of Bluffton has long been its historic and walkable Old Town corridor. The Bluffton Historic District is on the national Historic Registry and is considered the central gathering place for town events and festivals. Lots of small businesses call home this onemile-square downtown district that includes a variety of retail shops, art galleries, a weekly farmers market and restaurants frequented by both residents and tourists. Town leaders point to the guiding philosophy of encouraging targeted growth while preserving the town’s unique quality of life, culture and history as the key to Bluffton’s success. Strategic longrange planning has helped town leaders stay focused not only on maintaining Bluffton’s small-town feel but also making the town ripe for entrepreneurs. The idea behind the master plan is to create a “sense of place” by incorporating walkable areas with parks and open spaces. This pulls people together and creates a sense of community rather than just a series of buildings. Under the guiding principles of the plan, town leaders invested more than $6 million for infrastructure improvements. In turn, more than $60 million in private investment has been one of the numerous outcomes of the master plan. After the recent recession, Bluffton leaders made economic development a priority with the desire to create a self-directed economy. In 2013, town council established two separate

organizations which spearheaded the town’s economic development initiatives—the Don Ryan Center for Innovation and the Bluffton Public Development Corporation. The Don Ryan Center is a partner with the Town of Bluffton and Clemson University Institute for Economic and Community Development. It is a technology business incubator, giving entrepreneurs and start-up companies the space and resources they need to get up and running. Entrepreneurs from the area and from around the country have found the Center to be an innovative and supportive launch pad for their fledgling companies. In the three years since the Center opened, 24 companies that are either still part of the incubator or that have graduated have brought some 77 employees to the area, generating more than $4 million in annual payroll. Products out of these knowledge-based companies range from eco-friendly pest control to high-end web developers. The Center is located in a magnet for high tech businesses, Buckwalter Place, a 94-acre mixed-use technology park. The vision for Buckwalter Place came together in the early 2000s, when the project’s developers and the Town of Bluffton envisioned a “village” design theme that would incorporate retail, residential, outdoor and entertainment elements. Private investment by Buckwalter Place, coupled with public investment by the town, the state of South Carolina and the federal government, combined to make this technology park a success. The anchor tenant in Buckwalter Place is national headquarters for eviCore, a multi-million dollar company that provides medical benefit management. In addition to this national headquarters and the Don Ryan Center, Buckwalter Place is also home to Town of Bluffton Law Enforcement Center, the Buckwalter Place Greenway Trail, Southern Barrel Brewing Company, retail stores and entertainment venues. But it’s not just a thriving business climate in Bluffton that draws people to the area. Residential options in the town range from historic quaint cottages to new neighborhood communities to multi-million dollar homes. Tourism is another important draw for the area. Together, the background beauty of the May River and charm of Old Town provide the foundation of Bluffton’s tourism appeal. With the convenience of a larger city and the charm of a small town, Bluffton is perfectly situated for future success.

ABOUT REBA HULL CAMPBELL Reba Hull Campbell is the deputy executive director of the Municipal Association of SC that represents all 270 South Carolina cities and towns. Reba has spent more than 25 years in communications, government relations, fundraising and campaigns around SC and in Washington, DC. When not working to promote the interests of SC cities and towns, Reba is a writer, traveler and frequent bicycle rider on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

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!

After annexing 32,000 acres, Bluffton is now the fifth largest town in South Carolina http://www.townofbluffton.sc.gov/visitors/Pages/ default.aspx


E CW H N O N T H E TTO

by Marty Bauer

www.insideblackbox.com/tech CO-FOUNDER RIDEPOST

BLUFFTON’S ACCOLADES

THE TOP 9 TECH BOOSTERS OF THE UPSTATE The Upstate is growing on many levels with the influx of young, educated, wage earning transplants. An ingrained sense of being the underdog keeps our small businesses and startup entrepreneurs hungry to do more with our blue-collar roots. This unspoken but powerful work ethic is fueling the growth of a tech ecosystem locally; here is a list of nine great things that are boosting the Upstate tech scene. 1. UCAN. Early stage capital for tech companies to get to market is a needed component to grow a hub of startups. While there are no largescale Venture Capital funds in the area, Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) has been a leader for seven years. Recently ranked as a Top 10 Angel Network in the nation, UCAN is now expanding across the region supporting groups in Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia and Asheville. 2. Company Exits. When a company succeeds, it is not only a win for the shareholders and investors, it is also important for the employees who help build these businesses. Data shows that employees in successful companies go on to start future businesses, creating a ripple effect in the area. So while the Upstate has had multiple exits recently, the bigger effect will be felt in years to come as these teams move on to build the next successful company. 3. NEXT. Whether it’s the monthly lunches that attract CEO’s from tech companies or the countless behind-the-scene connections—the Greenville tech

community is unique, thanks to NEXT. The organization is more than a name on a building—it is a group of 100+ entrepreneurs who believe that helping others get started benefits their bottomline as much as it does the other person’s.

Garden & Gun Magazine named Bluffton a “Southern Dream Town.” (June/July 2015). Money Magazine named Bluffton as a “Top 20 Best Places to Retire and the Best Place for Waterfront Living” (July 2015). The Huffington Post named Bluffton its #1 destination for its list, “Ten Amazing Non-Beach Alternatives for a Summer Getaway” (2014). Only in Your State, The 18 Wedding Venues in SC Which Are Perfect in Every Way, #10 Rose Hill Mansion; #14 Palmetto Bluff (2015). Bluffton’s Farmers Market Ranked #1 in all five South Carolina categories: People’s Choice, Focus on Farmers, Healthy Food for All, Pillar of the Community & Champion for the Environment. (2015)

with other like minded people. Ta5,

DonGreenville Ryan CenterJavaScript for Innovation/Clemson Technology meetup, Code For Village; Bluffton was the first non-metropolitan town in South Carolina to Greenville, Upstate PHP user group,10-4 partner with Clemson University to form a private-public Good City, Technically-A-Beer, and others Technology Village (i.e. business incubator).

provide the platform for people to get out of the office and connect with others IRL.

4. Coworking Space. 8. The Iron Yard. The way in which we work has changed. Now with 11 locations nationwide Coworking is a new type of workspace and investments in more than 40 where multiple startups co-locate to share startup companies, The Iron Yard is a a larger office space. Tech companies fill national leader in producing technical coworking space in Greenville at CoWork talent to major corporations as well as and OpenWorks as well as at The Iron Yard mentoring and seed funding for early and at USC Upstate in Spartanburg. stage tech companies. Best Community Revitalization Award from Southern Living

PLANNING, GROWTH MANAGEMENT AND URBAN DESIGN:

5. Clemson Connecting to Downtown Greenville. University students are providing a young, educated workforce to area businesses. Whether these graduates start their own company or work for existing companies, the Clemson-to-Greenville connection is having a positive effect on the region. 6. Local news outlets. Even in a digital age, traditional media remains a powerful voice to spread information about events and milestones by tech companies. Outlets like Business Black Box Magazine, The Herald Journal, Greenville News, GSA Business, Upstate Business Journal, WYFF4 and others have dedicated content focusing on tech companies in the area.

Magazine for the Wharf Street Redevelopment Project 9. Main Street Coffee Shops. (August 2014).

Spend time in the growing number of

Municipal of South Carolina Achievement coffeeAssociation shops on Main Street and(MASC) you will Award, 10,001-20,000 Population Category, for the Wharf Street likely find a number of heavily caffeinated Redevelopment Project (2013).

tech folks working behind a laptop, not to

mention theAffordable number Housing of private meetingsAward for the Palmetto Forum Achievement Wharf Street Redevelopment (2012). happening over coffee.Project But one question remains: why does Coffee Underground still use the paper Wi-Fi codes?

NATURAL RESOURCES, ABOUT MARTY BAUER ENVIRONMENTAL Marty is a two-time Greenville transplant. He is the co-founder of RidePost, a transportation software company, and the Managing Director of The Iron Yard PROTECTION AND Accelerator Programs. Connect with him on Twitter at @bauermarty. BEAUTIFICATION: Charleston’s Post & Courier article, “Bluffton is an Innovator in Using Development Rights Transfer Program to Reduce Sprawl,”

7. Tech Meetups. (August 2014). On any given morning or evening in downtown there is likely a group of Tree City USA Designation from the Arbor Day Foundation organized tech professionals meeting to (2013, 2012, 2011). discuss trends, solve problems and network

Inaugural Sustainable Communities Building Block Program Participant selected by the Environmental Protection Agency (2010).

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WRT WHY READ THIS

Better understand the economic impacts that SC and its businesses face from the effects of Hurricane Joaquin.

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here were flood warnings for her area, but Janie Dunn had no idea just how high the waters would get when Hurricane Joaquin and its bands of rain rolled through Andrews, SC. The deluge of rain and subsequent wall of water that raced down the Black River ultimately led to five and a half feet of water in the building that houses their business, Spiral Fittings, a manufacturer of sheet metal products for air conditioning and heating. The water level rose so fast, Dunn says, that when they realized the flooding had reached their building and they went to try to salvage as much as they could, the water was up to their knees. A couple hours later, it was above their waist—and they salvaged practically nothing.

It’s a story that is echoed throughout the state after the hurricane dumped a record amount of rain in areas that were caught off guard and ill-prepared. Columbia and its surrounding communities received more than two feet of rain in a 48-hour period, while some cities along the coast saw as much as three feet. Now, South Carolina is looking at a long-term recovery that experts say will take at least two years, both physically and economically.

SMALL BUSINESS RECOVERY PLAN Following President Obama’s disaster declaration for the state, the U.S. Small Business Administration began offering homeowners and business owners the opportunity to apply for Physical Disaster Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Both of these loan programs offer low interest rates for up to 30 years—as low as four percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for non profits and 1.875 percent for homeowners. The deadline to apply for physical disaster passed in December, but victims could still apply for economic injury through Jan 4. “The local SBA district offices in Columbia, our resource partners at the Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Center and SCORE Chapter are fully engaged in working with affected businesses as they recover,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “We have a lot of work ahead of us in the days, weeks and months to follow, but SBA will be here as long as it takes to help South Carolina recover and rebuild.”

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In mid-November, the SBA announced they had approved more than $50 million in disaster loans to 1,707 businesses and homeowners. Mark and Janie Dunn, however, are not among that number. They considered applying for an SBA loan, but they were able to get a loan from their local bank at a lower rate of 3 percent, so Janie says the federal government hasn’t really been of much help to them so far. Still, the Dunn’s are now heavily involved in cleaning the warehouse and repairing equipment; they expect those repairs to take up to two years and several hundred thousand dollars before everything will be complete. It will take longer to repair, obviously, than it would to buy brand new equipment, but Dunn says it would cost more than $1 million if they bought new equipment— equipment that includes two 400-ton presses and three sets of circumference welders. Much of the company’s finished product waiting for shipment had to be thrown away because it was developing white rust from being under water. Even shipping supplies were lost—more than $30,000 in cardboard boxes were destroyed. She says they were fortunate, however, in that their home was not affected, nor were the homes of their 15 employees. (The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently estimated home restoration costs around $140 million for the state, and FEMA tacked on another $67 million in individual costs.) “Our employees were all working as soon as we could get into our building,” Dunn says. “They jumped in and started helping us with the recovery process, cleaning and getting rid of mud. It’s just been a mess.”


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GEORGETOWN, SOUTH CAROLINA About 18 miles down the road in Georgetown, residents and business owners were seeing a similar picture. Brian Tucker, director of economic development for Georgetown County, says Front Street in the historic downtown had significant flood damage. The water began to drop, but then steadily rose again, he says, as water from upstream washed through. “Several property owners got hit pretty bad multiple times during the first week,” Tucker says. “Some spots averaged six to 10 inches while others had up to three feet of water.” Georgetown’s Front Street is no stranger to disaster. On September 25, 2013, the area had a devastating fire that destroyed eight buildings. The remnants of the fire are long gone, and in its place at the moment is just empty land, Tucker says, while the new owner determines what to build. Tucker says it’s too soon to say at this point how much the flood will cost the county in the long run, but to expect physical repairs to take as long as 18 months to two years.

INFRASTRUCTURE AND AGRICULTURE When the Governor spoke to the state in her December 1, 2015 address, she noted that federal assistance for road repairs had been approved, costing approximately $70 million, with another $37 million being provided from public assistance. Still, many roads do not qualify for that assistance, and another $28 million would be required for them. Prior to that, in a statement released November 9, the S.C. Department of Transportation reported a peak of 541 state road closures in the days following the flooding. As of mid-November, that number had dropped 85 percent to 80 road closures. The department employed an additional 23 highway/bridge contractors to assist in emergency repairs. And a whopping 69,468 cubic yards of debris had been collected to date.

informed the committee that farmers had lost more than $329 million crops in the field, and another $46 million crops that were prevented from being planted due to damaged fields. These totals include peanuts, cotton, wheat and soybeans. “While the money does need to go to the farmer, it will end up being the support for our local communities, as we spread it to all the local businesses like we have done for so many years,” says Jeremy Cannon, a farmer in Clarendon County who grows tobacco, cotton, corn and soybeans. “To me it’s not my job. It’s my heritage, my family, my life and now its future is in the balance, hoping for someone to throw out a lifeline.” Still, farmland is not the only natural resource that has been affected by Joaquin’s waters. In the Lowcountry, engineers will be expediting the process of renovations to the beach prior to warm weather season—another $28 million charge.

BETTER PREPAREDNESS Scott Whelchel, area manager and business consultant with the Clemson South Carolina Small Business Development Center, says business owners should sit down and write out a disaster plan as part of the preparation for such a level of catastrophe. “We have short memories and it’s amazing how quickly people will assume ‘Well, that’s not going to happen because it didn’t happen last time,’” Whelchel says. For this plan, businesses can start by collecting contact info on all their employees, inventory assets and equipment, and know what you’re going to lose if you lose everything. Tucker agrees, adding that if you don’t have flood insurance, now is the time to get it, whether you think you need it or not. “I’m spreading the same message now that we delivered after the fire—make sure all your assets are properly insured,” Tucker says. “That includes flood insurance, fire and property. We have a number of folks who were either uninsured or underinsured. I can’t stress it enough.”

In the City of Columbia, almost 400 homes and 60 businesses were damaged, totalling nearly $65 million in damages so far, although authorities told the House Ways and Means Committee in November that those numbers would continue to rise as more damages were discovered. At that time, the committee was informed that $411,000 had been spent on debris removal in the Columbia area alone, and $11.5 million on emergency protection measures, which included repairing the Columbia Canal.

The Dunns did not have flood insurance on their property, which is located one and a half miles from the Black River. When they first purchased the property in 1998, it was not considered to be in a flood zone, but in 2008 a new zoning survey determined they were in an A1 flood zone. An A1 zone means the area could expect a flood every 100 years. Dunn says she is shopping around now for flood insurance, as it’s a safe bet that this could occur again in her lifetime. In the meantime, they’re holding steady and continuing work as usual.

At that same meeting, representatives from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, USDA and Farm Service Agency

“I think we’re very resilient,” Dunn says. “We know how to work hard and that’s what we’re doing.”

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THE FIRST STEPS A DISASTER PREPARATION PLAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS by Scott Whelchel, Greenville Small Business Development Center

The best time to prepare for a disaster is now. This checklist is compiled from a variety of resources including www.SBA.gov, www.Ready.gov/business, and www.SCEMD.org. It is not intended to serve as a comprehensive list for every type of business in every situation. Rather, it is a starting point which can be expanded and customized for your business. Be aware of potential threats in your area. Hurricanes and flooding are more common in the Lowcountry, while winter weather or ice is more likely in the Upstate. Other types of threats may include tornado, chemical explosions or derailments, and fire is a universal threat.

LOCATE A VARIETY OF RESOURCES TO HELP YOU PLAN.

CONSIDER BUSINESS CONTINUITY.

As you begin, become familiar with websites such as: • http://www.scemd.org/business SC Emergency Management Division

This can get very detailed, but think about it in terms of a few general ‘systems.’ Address each of these and you are on your way. Technology: Can data or files be accessed from remote locations? Do you have off-site back-up for critical systems? This includes records as well as software/IT. And “off-site” should not simply be across town.

Your County/City government’s staff who fill a similar role. Try the Sheriff’s Department if you don’t know where to start.

National Weather Service (www.Weather.gov)

The American Red Cross service center near you.

The US Small Business Administration www.SBA.gov

ARMED WITH INFORMATION, YOU CAN NOW BEGIN YOUR PLAN. START WITH PEOPLE. Collect emergency contact information for employees. Provide multiple contact numbers, websites, or other avenues for employees to contact you and keep informed in case of a disaster. Set expectations for various situations; should employees call you, or check a website? This is the basis of a crisis communications plan. For more see: http://www.ready.gov/ business/implementation/crisis. AFTER PEOPLE, LOOK AT PROPERTY. Is your facility equipped with a basic emergency kit? See http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit Does your facility have local or unique risks to consider? Can you access important insurance, personnel or financial documents remotely? What if your server is underwater or on fire? Can you move equipment or inventory within the facility to protect it?

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Logistics: Can materials and finished products move into or out of the location? Can you designate an alternate location for critical operations? How can you communicate with vendors and customers? Financial: How long will the business survive if cash flow is interrupted? Can you implement alternative payment or billing systems? Do you have insurance to replace lost income? Resources: This encompasses people, machinery, equipment, materials, utilities, and services from vendors. Time: Either friend or foe, time is a critical element in a disaster. Set reasonable goals for each element of response and recovery. Communications Plan: It isn’t enough to write it and put it away. Your employees need to practice (regularly) and be familiar with it. Your key customers may also need to be advised that you have a plan (and what it is) prior to high-risk seasons or if an imminent threat is identified.

For a deeper dive, planning resources and guides/templates are available both online or through your local SBDC.


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E N T REP R E NEUR

by David Setzer

www.insideblackbox.com/entrepreneur CO-FOUNDER, THE BOOTSTRAP ENGINE CEO, MAILPROTECTOR

BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID “I think it’s really good to have the fear; the fear of failure and of not being able to do your job. You have that in all sorts of careers but in this one I think it’s good to be close to the edge all the time because it keeps you somewhat fresh and hungry because I think when people stop being hungry, especially with songs, then they start writing s*** songs.” - Marcus Mumford, The New Basement Tapes

The quote above is a musician and songwriter’s advice to those in his industry, but I think it applies equally to the world of entrepreneurs. We spend so much of our lives running from fear, trying to avoid it, get rid of it, talk it away, pray it away, or just wish it away when—in fact—a certain amount of fear is a good thing. We’re not talking about the other fear—the fear that keeps us from taking a chance, from stepping out, from trying something new, or trying to do something better. That’s a paralyzing fear that we need to ignore. That’s the fear that tells us “If I fail then I am a failure” or “If I fail then I am worth less as a person.” That fear is like the playground bully. We need to run straight at it because it isn’t real and unless we confront it head— on it will forever hold us back. But the good fear, that’s the fear of failing because we’ll let others down, the fear of being average or doing “OK”. That fear is good, we should embrace it because it’s the fear that causes us to think more, work harder, and do whatever it takes to get the job done. We’ve stepped out and taken a chance. We started a business and now we have employees to manage, vendors to pay, and most importantly customers to

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satisfy. It’s OK to be afraid of failing them, of letting them down, because that fear makes us better. Many believe the profile of an entrepreneur as a wild-eyed, fearless risk taker. But we aren’t. Entrepreneurs are more practically known as risk mitigators because we know how to deal with the fear. We step out and take a chance but we have a plan B...and C...and D...and even an E because we know which fear should be ignored and which should be embraced. The most dangerous time in an entrepreneur’s journey is not when we start our business. It’s when things start going well and the fear starts to subside. It’s easy to let the good fear slip away which is very bad because that’s when we’re in danger of slipping into mediocrity; when instead of hungry and fresh, we become satisfied and stale. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to face fear on a regular basis. To successfully navigate this calling you have to learn to distinguish the two. Figure out which fear should be confronted and which should be embraced. Knowing the difference will keep the new and fresh ideas flowing while letting you enjoy your passion.

ABOUT DAVID SETZER David Setzer has been an entrepreneurial coach and mentor to thousands of business owners in former communist Eastern Europe for 20 years. Additionally, he is the founder and CEO of Mailprotector, a global IT security firm based in Greenville, SC and co-founder of The Bootstrap Engine, an entrepreneurial greenhouse located in downtown Greenville.


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TRAILBLAZER

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Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


TRAILBLAZER

ANJALIJOSEPH By Josh Overstreet

More and more, research is showing that the architecture of a hospital has a direct impact on the wellness of the patient. Clemson University’s Anjali Joseph knows this well, her entire life and career have been based on researching and designing the next generation of hospitals.

Imagine the following scenario: a patient comes into an OR for a routine procedure and all goes well, except they develop an infection after the fact. The questions immediately begin. What went wrong? Where cleaning procedures not clear enough? Was the nurse/ doctor exhausted or stressed and maybe forgot to properly sanitize something?

went to California to work with the Center of Health Design, a non-profit think tank innovating design in the healthcare industry. Of the Center, she says, “It’s a community of different entities in healthcare. Very multidisciplinary. They work with architects and hospitals and their focus is research and putting it all together to develop better healing environments.”

But while the questions are many, Anjali Joseph thinks the answer may be much simpler.

After 10 years of work for the Center of Health Design, Joseph was brought to Clemson University as an endowed chair in their Architecture Department. The chair is funded by a grant from Spartanburg Regional Health System, as well as through the SmartState Program, a statewide program between Medical University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina, and Clemson to encourage economic and technological growth by bringing in outside experts and researchers to educate a new generation of South Carolina’s workforce.

“More and more the research is showing that if something goes wrong, you can’t point to a single factor, but instead it is a system of many different things,” says Joseph, who sits as the Endowed Chair in Architecture and Health Design and Research at Clemson University. Joseph grew up in New Delhi, India, attending the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi receiving her bachelor’s degree in architecture, which was a natural fit for her passions growing up. “I was always good at art and science and architecture was a marriage of those things,” says Joseph.

The research will look at everything from room design and layout, to how equipment is used and where it is in the room, to work flow, communication and basically anything that can impact the human element of the process. In the end, all of her work will seek to answer one question: how do you make these places safer for everyone involved in healthcare process? According to Joseph, most of her research and work will be able to directly impact future construction in South Carolina. One example would be MUSC’s new surgery center, in which she is a part of a project on creating an innovative operating room that will be part of the new center. Joseph has high hopes for this particular project. “I hope to grow the center to where it is the best in the nation, attracting the best students and faculty from across the nation,” she says.

Joseph is tasked with creating a strong research base to innovate healthcare design, in addition to working with healthcare organizations across the state, including Greenville Health System, Spartanburg Regional, MUSC and Health Sciences South Carolina.

From there, Joseph received her master’s in architecture from Kansas State University. “I was interested in architecture and its impact on human behavior,” says Joseph, “I enjoyed the research so much I decided to do more research and went back to school.”

“We can look at all of the various systemic factors—the different aspects of operating room design, how the room is linked to the operating suite, the flow, the equipment flow, information flow and communication between the operating room team,” says Joseph. “The focus of my position is any health outcome.”

At Georgia Tech, Joseph earned her Ph.D in architecture, with a focus on architecture, culture and behavior. After graduating, she

!

Henry VIII’s reforms brought about a separation of monasteries from caring for the sick leading to the first secular voluntary hospitals in England during the 1700’s. http://www.britannica.com/topic/hospital

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SALES

by Sharon Day

www.insideblackbox.com/sales PRESIDENT SALES ACTIVATION GROUP

ESTABLISHING VALUE CRUSHES HAVING A SALES PROCESS To win big in sales today, your team must be able to make others quickly see the value of working with and purchasing from your company. To accomplish this, your team needs to also believe in the value they personally deliver and how valuable your products and services are. Without buy-in to value, there are fewer sales. The absence of value creates ‘a dime a dozen’ thinking and this is when commodities are born. When the sales team doubts the value of their products, they’ll cave to pricing pressures. If accepted, those lower rates reinforce lack of value thinking for both the seller and the client. No sales process can fix that! Here are several ways, from simple and somewhat obvious to more complex, that your team can establish and prove value with clients and prospects. Know your products well and know how those products fit into your client’s businesses. Be able to quickly and succinctly state your value proposition. This is more than a memorized statement, it is a passionate message delivered with so much enthusiasm that others take notice and become curious. Prove that you respect others’ time and that you place a premium on it by arriving early and staying within the parameters they’ve set for the meeting. The only way a meeting should run longer than the client originally planned is when they permit it to. Understand that the client has formed an opinion about what they want, your products and your team. Before discussing your offerings ask them what they are considering and why. This will give you insights into their past purchases and patterns, likes and dislikes. Being armed

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with that information allows you to better frame questions, share potential impacts and craft alternative solutions. Any seller who can accomplish those things will always be considered high caliber and valuable. Know your client’s customers. Your clients buy from you because they have someone else they’re serving. The more your team knows about your client’s customers, the more ways they’ll find to help them. And, the more your clients witness your team demonstrating knowledge of their customer, the more your clients will trust and appreciate your team. Remain curious, ask tough questions and listen. Top sellers realize that things aren’t always as they seem and they also don’t let their needs or interests cloud their judgment. Because they remain a bit skeptical they don’t filter comments based on what they hope to hear, they stay focused on the client’s interests asking questions that neither of them can answer easily. Clients describe them as great listeners. Communicate, set expectations and follow through. Lack of communication and miscommunication are the main reasons that a deal can fall apart. When your team communicates next steps and expectations and takes the initiative to alert clients to potential issues they become known for great customer service. These acts are highly valued and appreciated and will set your team apart. When your team follows through after the sale is made, you clients will place them heads and shoulders above your competition. This is the foundation for long-term professional relationships that transcend to personal friendships. Pursue a greater future for both your business and their clients. Share insights

that lead their clients to realize potential future impacts of differing solutions. Lead them to think of things they’ve not yet considered. The best-case scenario is when you deliver new ideas, share opportunities and create positive impact for them. They will reward you with an inordinate share of their business, challenge you to expand and grow with them, and they’ll refer you to others. That’s pretty much the holy grail of any business relationship. Establishing value requires that you be savvy, equipped with the means to have executive level conversations and willing to accept the challenge to grow. It’s also a life-long journey because once established you need to reaffirm why you and your products are of greater value. Every supporting department needs to consistently perform to expectations so that superior products are delivered on time. This is where having processes in place to ensure high standards are met and adhered to is critical. Top performing sellers will balk at selling inferior products and they typically leave companies that fall short or fail to deliver on promises made. They attach their names and reputations to companies and products that are sought after and valued. Settling for anything less is a compromise and they won’t go there. Your clients won’t either.

ABOUT SHARON DAY Sharon Day is President of Greenville-based Sales Activation Group. She and her team focus on recruiting, educating and motivating sales teams to produce at higher levels. Everything is customized for each client and their offerings range from fractional sales management to one-of-a- kind sales contests and promotions. For more information call 864.451.7676 or e-mail: sharon@2activatesales.com


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WRT WHY READ THIS

If you are looking for technological innovation that might not be in the mainstream.

SOUTH CAROLINA IS QUICKLY BECOMING SYNONYMOUS WITH INNOVATION. For 17 years, InnoVision has been tirelessly hunting the state for the new, the innovative, the game changing and, in some cases, life changing. When they find these companies who are doing something new and groundbreaking, they not only unearth them, they gather annually to celebrate them.

W R I T T E N BY J O S H OV E R ST R E E T

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InnovaPad makes this problem easier and seamless with the use of an point, click and scan iPad. “Fire departments using this service have to get their firefighters to write down information while at a dangerous roadside accident. They have to take these manual field notes and re-enter them into a website (adding transcription errors in the process), before these billing companies can file an insurance claim. The process is inefficient and laborious and not popular with firefighters who joined to save lives, not to be clerks,” says Vik Pearce, founder of InnovaPad.

EXPOSURE The InnoVision Awards just celebrated their 17th annual awards dinner and another successful season of applauding the technological achievements of the state of South Carolina. Founded by Deloitte in 1999, with McNair Law Firm taking the reins as presenting sponsor, InnoVision is a way to not only find, but also to celebrate technological achievements in business, environmental, community service and education. “Through the Awards Dinner and the Technology Forums, we target specific subsets and the idea is to bring people together and connect them,” said Michael Mino, CEO of PropertyBoss Solutions, who sits on the InnoVision Board of Advisors.

According to Pearce, InnovaPad eliminates the tediousness of gathering the insurance info for the “at fault” insurance companies,giving firefighters more time and concentration on saving lives. Another discovery that came to InnoVision’s attention is Package InSight, LLC. They utilize mobile eye recognition technology—think Google glass—to gather data on the consumer in order to innovate the next generation of product packaging. According to Drew Felty, COO of Package InSight, LLC, millennials have just become the dominant workforce in the country and they have different values when it comes to choosing certain products over others—such as brands who are socially conscience or environmentally friendly.

It is this bringing together and exposure that is one of the goals of InnoVision.

“We try to understand things from the consumer’s perspective—and one thing we know for sure is that attention to recyclability, waste, and environmental impact is not a trend topic for tomorrow’s consumer— it’s a core value,” says Drew Felty, COO of Package InSight, LLC.

D I S COV E RY

FUTURE

Originally, the scope of InnoVision covered the Upstate only. However, the past two to three years have seen an increase in geographic scope as well as an increase in applications to find new pockets of innovation around the state.

Innovation is pushed forward from established companies like Milliken and TTI—who consistently push the needle—but also a driving force are the smaller startups and inventors, such as Village Features.

“Its overall goal is to enhance innovation in our geographic area,” said Mino.

Village Features combines 360 degree photographic capture of real estate properties with 360 degree photorealistic renderings of future construction to give stakeholders a potential to see a property before development.

For Mino, each new year with InnoVision brings excitement because of the discoveries that he gets to make. “InnoVision has provided SealCath, LLC with the distinction of being one of the South Carolina companies with a new technology that will be in the forefront in the near future,” says Cephus E. Simmons Sr.

Village Features was named one of the finalists for the Small Enterprise award, giving them exposure that wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of InnoVision. Even so, according to founder Joshua Hale, exposure for a bootstrapped startup is a challenge.

Simmons is not only the founder of SealCath, LLC but the inventor of the product that will put them on the map. The Cephus catheter is a double balloon catheter designed to reduce intussusception—when part of the intestine folds into another part of the intestines—in pediatric patients.

“We are learning that educating both our clients and prospects had proved to be invaluable in building report especially with a new technology offering like VR,” says Hale.

“I enjoy the discovery process,” said Mino, “After all these years you’d think you’ve seen it all, and then we uncover new pockets of innovation.”

For Mino—and InnoVision as a whole, that’s a job well done. By being able to find the businesses and individuals who are pushing the needle, they continue to nourish the innovative spirit of the state by connecting and recognizing individuals such as SealCath, InnovaPad, Package InSight and Village Features.

InnovaPad is one such discovery. Fire departments utilize onsite cost recovery and use paper and pencil to take the notes necessary to report to insurance companies.

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“This breadth of things happening in South Carolina is empowering and it get’s the juices flowing,” says Mino, “There’s a lot of neat stuff you and i would never know about.”


SOUTH CAROLINA

RESOURCES FOR ENTREPRENEURS 1

6 Clemson University MBAe

SC Launch

A year long, intensive program where students develop an idea and apply business principles and upon graduation, the business is fully formed.

Provides tools, facilitates research and development and helps commercialize technology based startups.

http://www.clemson.edu/cbbs/departments/mba/ academics/entrepreneurship/index.html

http://www.scra.org/sclaunch/sc_launch_overview.html

2

7 Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership

S.C. Small Business Development Center

Focusing on wealth creation through entrepreneurial activity, which they promote through education and outreach programs.

A consulting and information source for entrepreneurs in South Carolina with offices all over the state.

http://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/spiro/about/ spiro.html

http://www.scsbdc.com

3

8 The Iron Yard

Upstate Carolina Angel Network

Hosts events and offers collaborative space to bring together entrepreneurs, investors, artists, educators and developers all to encourage innovation and startups.

Provides intellectual and financial backing to high-growth startups.

https://www.theironyard.com/locations/greenville.html

http://www.upstateangels.com

4

9 S.C. Angel Network

Center for Entrepreneurship at College of Charleston

The statewide network of angel investors and funds whose goal is to improve early stage capital fundraising in S.C.

Go-to resource and point of contact for future and current entrepreneurs in the Lowcountry and the the entire state. http://www.sb.cofc.edu/centers/centerforentrepreneurship/ index.php

http://www.scangelnetwork.com

5

10 Bootstrap Engine

New Carolina

Organization dedicated to coming alongside entrepreneurs to guide them through the highs and lows of building a business.

Group dedicated to bringing together all of the different entities that help encourage startups and entrepreneurs.

http://thebootstrapengine.com

http://sccompetes.org

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M A R KE T ING

by Daniel Lovelace

www.insideblackbox.com/marketing AGENCY DIRECTOR SHOWCASE MARKETING

HOW TO GET MORE OUT OF YOUR MARKETING AGENCY At our agency, we work with lots of different types of personalities. We have many different dynamics between our account executives and our clients. Even though there are major differences in personalities, I recognized recently that there are certain clients that seemed to be getting more attention and allteam buy in than others—shhh... don’t tell anyone, but, it doesn’t always have to do with how much they pay. In this short installment, I want to give every business owner, marketing director, and CMO the dirty secret to becoming your marketing agency’s favorite client. If this were a country song, the title would be followed by an alternate name in parenthesis: (How to get the most bang for your buck). 1. Communicate with them the impact of their work. Whether you know it or not— the creative geniuses at your marketing firm of choice are not robots. And you don’t want to them to be. It’s hard enough not to get into the mode of “just do the work,” although, when your team doesn’t know the impact, they will slip into a mode of “checking off the contract deliverable list.” That’s not beneficial for either company. Treat them like a partner, not a vendor. Vendors “do the work” while partners help grow your business. 2. Set clear expectations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen companies sign vague agreements with an agency and hope their team hits the mark. Statements arise like “I thought that was included” or “They keep sending me unexpected invoices.” If you want a successful partnership, spend time—upfront—making sure that you and

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your marketing partner understand the “win” and agree on timelines for success. 3. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”... But do you really want grease? We’ve all heard this at some point in our careers. And it’s true—the loudest clients get attention— but they don’t get passion. You may get it right now but it won’t always be right. I’ve encountered these types of clients. You know the ones: Yell loud enough, call enough times and they get what they want—you probably have these clients too. Play nice and follow the upfront expectations and you will be your agency’s favorite client. 4. Send food (and a thank you card). That should be enough... but I will explain. Since there are more people in the agency than just the people on your specific team, it will be good to win over the locals. There will be a time when you need something last minute and your account exec will need some extra push to get their design team back at it when they were on their way out the door. Hint: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts have super powers. I have seen clients that budget an extra $100 per quarter on food or snacks and everyone in their agency is ready to knock down any wall you throw at them. I have literally witnessed small paying clients get more attention than clients that pay triple just because of a little extra love along the way. These are the dirty little secrets to getting more out of your marketing agency or maybe the reasons you have a great relationship with yours now. Follow these steps and you should see them jumping over the moon for you. You’re welcome!

ABOUT DANIEL LOVELACE Former Pastor and part-time alligator farmer (ask him!), Daniel combines a passion for helping other with all the tenacity befitting an All-American Defensive End. A native of Chester, S.C., Daniel now helps companies and organizations develop marketing plans to grow and fulfill their dreams. Daniel currently serves as Agency Director at ShowCase Marketing, doing what he does best: helping a dynamic, diverse client base move the needle and increase sales.


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NEXT GEN

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Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


NEXT GEN

JASMINETWITTY By Josh Overstreet

Jasmine Twitty wants to be the change she wants to see in her community. As the youngest sitting judge in Easley and with community involvement geared towards education and young professionals, she is poised to make a meaningful impact on the future.

“I always said I wouldn’t come back to Greenville after graduation,” says Jasmine Twitty, Associate Judge of the SC Municipality Court. But as the youngest sitting judge in Easley’s history, Twitty not only returned to her home, but is making a huge impact in the community. Community involvement and outreach have always been a part of Twitty’s plan. She was involved in several organizations through her time at college, while getting her political science degree at the College of Charleston. Among Americans for an Informed Democracy, French Club, voting poll volunteer and director of her church’s Vacation Bible School, she also volunteered with the Literacy Outreach Initiative at College of Charleston and was assigned to schools to help encourage students to read. Despite not being a part of her original plan, Twitty returned to the Upstate, where she had a change of perspective about returning to where she started. “I had to change that mindset,” says Twitty. “What can I contribute; what can I give back? I started seeing the glass half full instead of half empty.” Straight out of college, Twitty began working for the Greenville County Bond Court as a night clerk. The court is the only court in the state that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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“In my role as night clerk, you get exposed to a little bit of everything,” she says, noting that her duties included preparing all documents legally necessary for defendants, communicating with detention centers, law enforcement, and interacting with the public which includes bondsmen, victims, families, attorneys and anybody who has anything to do with the legal process.

“No matter what I do in life, I will give back and share my talents and experiences,” says Twitty.

Then, in August 2015, she was sworn in as an associate bond judge in the municipality of Easley, where she presides over bond hearings. She credits her experience working as a night clerk in the Greenville Bond Court with helping her adjust to her position.

“I was in one of those places where...if I ended up where I started, certainly I hadn’t accomplished what I thought,” she says.

While she doesn’t have a specific plan for the next few years, Twitty will be using her experiences to impact her community in a positive way. But, she also realizes that sometimes, plans must be changed.

After her appointment, Twitty has maintained the community involvement that helped get her there, and remains an active force in the Upstate community with a passion for developing young professionals and helping the next generation. She acts as the communications co-chair for LeadHER Greenville, an organization founded on empowering young professional women through developing leadership, community involvement and networking opportunities. She also serves as the vice-president for the Upstate Network Young Professionals, the young professional’s arm of the Urban League of the Upstate. Their focus is to encourage the next generation of Upstate leaders by networking, leadership development and community engagement.

The Judiciary Act of 1789 specified which crimes were bailable and how much. https://www.loc. gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/judiciary.html

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F I N A NC E

by Anna Locke

www.insideblackbox.com/finance OWNER A.T. LOCKE

GROWTH AND COST BENEFIT I heard a great comment recently from a service provider to a potential customer– “Our price tag is not necessarily your cost.” Businesses make growth and cost benefit decisions on a daily basis in considering new customer projects, new financing and potentially new employees. The cost to the organization involved in these decisions is often the lost opportunity rather than the cash disbursed. From a macro perspective, the US Office of Economic Policy has relied on a formal process entitled Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) to strengthen the results of its work, save money, and reduce the need for U.S. assistance over time in developing countries. CBA typically includes: analyzing the design of a project to best meet the needs of beneficiaries and helping to determine if the project will be sustainable. CBA has also been used to identify improvements to existing programs. This is done by estimating the expected costs of implementing a project and comparing them to the benefits of the project over a long period of time. CBAs typically provide answers to key design questions missions face, such as:

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Is the impact of the project worth the investment?

What are key variables that are likely to determine the project’s success?

Who stands to gain the most from this project, and who may lose the most?

Will this project be sustainable after the intervention is complete?

Business Black Box Q1 2016

Whoever coined the old adage, “It takes money to make money,” may not have been specifically referring to growing a business, but they could have been. Businesses have to invest in the ‘mission’ of their decisions in order to receive the result and ‘return’ desired. When a company is in start-up mode, most decisions are made with clear goals in mind—make a profit and stay in business. However, once established, companies face organizational decisions that require a little more finesse. One of the most difficult and crucial of these decisions is whether the company has access to the cash it needs to grow. The first step in being prepared to make such daily decisions is to understand the operating cash cycle of the business. For each dollar of new sales, what amount of cash will be needed and when will it be needed? Mapping out the cash needed up front, the anticipated receipt of cash for each sale and the cash flow needs in between allows all parties to see where and when opportunities or challenges exist. Growth and refinement is the thing that keeps businesses sustainable and there is certainly a price tag to everything that we do. I celebrate that the cost of the things that keep our businesses learning and alive might just be far less than the price tag.

ABOUT ANNA LOCKE Anna T. Locke is an Upstate South Carolina business leader passionate about bringing relevance to financial data. She leads A.T. LOCKE, a company she founded in 2008, on a day to day basis while staying active in community conversations relevant to future business and educational needs. Locke currently serves as Treasurer of the Board for the NEXT High School, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Certified Development Corporation of SC, and serves on the Accounting Advisory Committee for Greenville Tech. Besides professional interests, Anna serves as a Board member for The Center for Developmental Services.


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G LO BA L

by Marc Bolick

www.insideblackbox.com/global MANAGING PARTNER DESIGNTHINKERS GROUP USA

WE’RE ONLY HUMAN “After all, he’s only human.” We have all heard this expression mentioned at times when someone makes a mistake, or fails to achieve a goal. It’s a nod to the fact that we are not perfect, and these days can just as often be about how we are more fallible than machines. To be human, however, is pretty awesome. We do some amazing things. We express intense emotions to one another like love, gratitude, honor, respect and empathy. On a collective level we organize to lift people up, to provide refuge, meet basic needs and protect other groups. Machines don’t do these things. But our humanity is possibly under threat. Not that we are going to become machines and lose our biological identities—at least not anytime soon. Rather, we need to make sure we keep a focus on human contact— that personal interaction that reinforces our genetic code, and allows us to express our human characteristics. Anyone who travels can relate to the variety and value of human contact. We experience it when we travel across the country, or around the globe. It stands in front of us when we buy that double latte at Starbucks. And, it becomes most apparent when we run into some sort of problem, for example when our sinks or arteries get clogged. We need personal contact especially at times when our emotions are at highs or lows. We want to speak to people, to hear that things are going to get better, to be reassured by someone who ‘understands’ what we are going through.

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Understanding human contact is what is behind a recent trend that is taking root in organizations around the globe. It is referred to variously as design thinking, service design or strategic design and it is showing up in everything from healthcare to financial services, from education to international development. The broader term for this methodology is humancentered design and it is all about solving problems and ‘designing’ solutions by starting with those uniquely human characteristics of emotions, needs, aspirations—the ‘soft’ stuff that really makes humans tick. These also happen to be strong drivers of behaviors like purchase decision making, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. Here’s the catch: we have to get out of the office and get to know our customers, our stakeholders—the humans for whom we are creating value. Customers demand that our products and services are tailored to their individual needs, are sensitive to their culture and satisfy an increasing range of stakeholders. By exercising those uniquely human capacities—making contact, building empathy, and gaining understanding – we discover new opportunities to meet needs in novel ways, and to innovate in ways that leave our competition behind. So, get out and make human contact. That is where the value lies!

ABOUT MARC BOLICK Marc Bolick replanted his native roots in Greenville after living in Europe for 13 years. He has worked in all aspects of product and service creation for companies ranging from Fortune 100 multi-nationals to mid-sized European firms to startups. Marc is managing partner in the US of DesignThinkers Group, an international design-driven innovation agency. He is passionate about using the power of service design thinking to help companies build their capacity to work collaboratively, to innovate and to solve vexing problems..


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TECH BRIEF

Scan the page to reveal more.

CATS: THE STORY OF SOCIAL MEDIA’S IMPACT By Doug Kim As we enter 2016, we know that social media will continue to transform and bring new and exciting issues to the table. It would take volumes to discuss all the issues implicated when we handed the power of mass communications, without restrictions, to, well, everyone, when previously, mass communication—especially advertising—was limited to media conglomerates such as Time Warner, Comcast, Sony and many others. Now, anyone can publish content for millions to see. However, this power does not come without problems. It is now becoming acceptable to pull out your phone at the dinner table, even when dining in public. In-person communication is no longer the norm and texting— even sensitive personal or confidential information—is routine. In fact, the phone call is becoming as rare as the hand-written note. Privacy has been significantly eroded as publishing your thoughts, dreams, desires, rants, prejudices, political position, beliefs, break-ups and job termination is now in a medium that can be broadcast, shared, commented on, and used against you later. Voula Papachristou, a Greek triple-jumper destroyed her lifelong dream and was kicked off her Olympics team by 90 characters that were perceived as racist. Victor Paul Alvarez, a Boston reporter, was fired for a bad joke about John Boehner. Adam Mark Smith’s video of being rude to a Chick-Fil-A worker on YouTube resulted in him selling his house and moving to a new city. Tragically, a Rutgers student committed suicide after being humiliated on the Internet over personal life choices. We have seen the ugly side of the Internet’s “Scarlet A” and it is routinely disproportional to the offense. As social media is used more and more effectively by businesses, the competition for readers will continue to grow which could result in more edgy content. Attracting readers means topics that stand out and create a buzz—usually a controversial topic, thereby increasing the risk of the Internet “Scarlet A”. But this is not the only risk. In 2012, it was reported by PhoneDog that the followers of one of their employees, Noah Kravitz, was worth about $42,500 a month. When Kravitz changed jobs, he flipped his

followers from his former employer’s account to his personal account (@noahkravitz). PhoneDog sued, claiming that the Kravitz’s Twitter account and its password are company property, or at least trade secrets. Fairly early in the litigation, Kravitz moved to dismiss this case. The court held that the Twitter account and passwords could constitute trade secrets and that Kravitz’s failure to relinquish an account could constitute misuse of a trade secret or “trade secret misappropriation.” This case is frequently cited as the reason to include social media account ownership in employment agreements. The case was settled, and while the settlement terms are confidential, Kravitz continues to use his account. While some categorize social media as one of the most disruptive technologies in the 21st century, another way to look at social media is as the natural maturity of mass communications. According to the Merriam-Webster, social media are “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).” But, it is not these technologies that are the real impact on society. It is how we handle the power of mass communication now that it is available to everyone. Unfortunately, the ability of mass communication was given the public first, and the rules are catching up slowly. We can temper our risk by a few simple rules: (a) have a policy about social media, who can post, when and about what, who owns the accounts, the content and the like (but be careful about policies that prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions or these policies can be held invalid); (b) no posting of confidential information; (c) no defamation; (d) do not break up, get divorced or talk about your job termination online; (e) nothing racist, prejudiced, off color, etc.; (f) if it would embarrass your mother, don’t post it; (g) if you wouldn’t project it 10-feet high in a courtroom, don’t post it and (h) enough cats.

ABOUT DOUG KIM: Doug Kim, a physics major and former computer programmer, likes to maintain a close relationship with both up-and-coming technology, as well as the history of its predecessors. Kim is also the head of the Intellectual Property Group of McNair Law Firm and current Chairman of the InnoVision Awards.

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TECH BRIEF About 500 B.C.

Written communications (letters) are delivered hand-to-hand.

1792

The arrival of the telegraph means that messages can be delivered faster than a horse and rider.

1836

William Murdoch invents the pneumatic tube, which eventually becomes a staple of the bank drive-through.

1876

History is made when Alexander Graham Bell makes the first phone call. He says, to his assistant, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”

1891

The first mass communications network begins with the invention of the radio.

1940

Computer network research begins, allowing two computers to communicate, effectively producing bilateral communications.

Early 1950s

Early networks of computers include the military radar system Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE).

1956

AT&T creates the acoustically-coupled 103A-compatible 300 bit/s modems.

1960

System semi-automatic business research environment (SABRE) goes online with two connected mainframes for the commercial airline reservations industry.

1963

J. C. R. Licklider of Bolt, Beranek and Newman publishes a memoranda discussing the “Intergalactic Computer Network” (early TCP/IP).

1965

Thomas Marill and Lawrence G. Roberts create the first wide area network (WAN), the precursor to ARPANET.

1969

CompuServe first allows members to share files and access news and events.

1979

UseNet allows users to communicate through a virtual newsletter, but still unilaterally.

1977

Dennis Hayes introduces the Hayes modem.

1983

Control Video Corporation is founded. Later, in 1991, the company will become AOL.

1985

Microsoft’s Windows “1.0” paves the way for the home computer.

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Dennis Hayes (see notes from 1977) now lives in Spartanburg after returning from Georgia Tech. He is now the Entrepreneur In Residence for USC Upstate.

Bell

1997

Possibly the first introduction of social media as we know it, the company Six Degrees allows users to create a profile and then friend other users.

2002 -2005

Continuing the growing trend of social media platforms that hit the market, Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook and others go online.

2006

The first cat video is uploaded to YouTube.

2011

The cat to human ratio in the United States is about one to three.

2014

ReelSEO reports that there are over 2 million cat videos on YouTube, garnering about 25 billion views.

2015

NBC reports that cats outnumber humans on Japan’s Aoshima Island.

2017

The United States spends $11 billion on social media in the United States.

2020

Around five billion people—about two-thirds the world’s population—will use social media in one form or another. It’s also speculated that by this future date, brain implants will connect us to the Internet.

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L AW

byReggie Gay

www.insideblackbox.com/law MANAGING SHAREHOLDER MCNAIR LAW FIRM, P.A.

DRAFTING ENFORCEABLE RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS CAN BE TRICKY Covenants Not to Compete, Covenants Not to Solicit Customers and other restrictive covenants are common methods for protecting a company’s interests. In South Carolina, such covenants are enforceable, but employers can run into a number of problems drafting and enforcing them. While not all inclusive, some of the more common issues in drafting restrictive covenants are set forth below. From the employer’s perspective, the loss of key employees, customer lists, price lists, customers, proprietary or confidential information, or trade secrets can damage a company and from the employee’s perspective, a Non-Compete Agreement can limit an employee’s ability to find future employment or utilize knowledge or contacts gained during employment. Courts try to balance the employer’s needs with an employee’s right to work and the courts have met somewhere in the middle by developing certain rules surrounding restrictive covenants. In South Carolina, an overly broad covenant will be determined to be unenforceable so care must be taken to limit restrictions placed on an employee and to not appear too greedy. Simply put, restrictive covenants cannot be unduly burdensome or overly broad. An employer cannot prevent an employee from working. In South Carolina, a restrictive covenant typically must have reasonable restrictions related to time and geography. South Carolina has determined on a number of occasions that a two-year restriction on competition is reasonable.

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However, in today’s globally connected world the geographical restriction may have become obsolete and covenants are now focused on customers. If a geographical restriction is used, it should be tailored to the individual employee’s territory or actual work area. Decisions have held that restrictions regarding soliciting or contacting customers or clients with whom the employee or company did business with are enforceable. The employer must be careful not to include language such as “any potential customers or clients,” as this could include anyone, and may be found to be overly broad and unenforceable. Remember that a contract will not be rewritten to make it enforceable. Employers should also recognize that restrictive covenants must be supported by adequate consideration. In South Carolina, adequate consideration can be the offering of a new job. Employers should know that South Carolina has determined that continued employment in itself is not valid consideration. Offering a restrictive covenant agreement to an existing employee must be supported by additional consideration, other than continued employment, to which the employee would not otherwise be entitled. Employers should consider offering a salary adjustment, a one-time payment, additional vacation time, or a discretionary bonus. Lastly, the National Labor Relations Board has determined that confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions which prevent an employee from disclosing “all information learned while employed” or

“prohibiting an employee from disclosing, revealing, or exposing any proprietary/ confidential information to any person or business, or entity” were overly broad. Similarly, a provision which restricts an employee from “publicly criticizing, ridiculing, disparaging, or defaming its employer or products” is overly broad and, according to the Board, illegal. Like it or not, employees can discuss certain confidential information such as wages and conditions of employment, they also have the right to criticize his or her supervisor and employer and in fact, the Board has determined that even certain profane statements are protected. So what should an employer do? Review all offer letters, policies and procedures, employment agreements, confidentiality provisions, restrictive covenants, and non-disparagement provisions to ensure they are not overly broad. Remember that these are not one size fits all documents, and they should be tailored to the individual circumstances.

ABOUT REGGIE GAY Reggie Gay is the Managing Shareholder of the Upstate Unit of McNair Law Firm, P.A. His primary areas of practice include labor and employment law, workers’ compensation, litigation, health care, and appellate advocacy. Reggie represents business and governmental clients by providing consultation on employment and other matters, conducting preventive training, and litigating in both federal and state courts. He represents companies, manufacturers, governmental entities, and insurance companies in employment litigation, personal injury cases, products liability litigation, and general business litigation. He frequently lectures on employment topics such as FMLA, FLSA, ADA, harassment, discrimination, and Workers’ Compensation.


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11 QUESTIONS

FOUNDER/CEO DIG SOUTH CHARLESTON, S.C.

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11 QUESTIONS

1

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What was your first job? Entrepreneur. I ran a lawn-care business or “grass cutting” as we called it then and maintained the grounds for an apartment complex plus the yards of several neighbors. I also had the following jobs in high school: Christmas Tree sales for Forrey’s Plant Palace, artwork framer for a gallery, and delivery driver for Starnes’ Florist. I also ran a window-washing service with two friends and did odd jobs for my father’s business, J.P. Gray Finance & Motor Company. I was not an idle kid. What are some of the skills you developed early, that you’ve found to be beneficial or essential to your practices now? Be honest and don’t cut corners. Your customers will always find out and will stop doing business with a person who lacks integrity. You’ve got to show up for the job and be present. Be a finisher. Complete the job before moving on to the next thing. Situational awareness. Stay aware that better opportunities exist and are probably directly in front of you. Remember to have fun and enjoy your colleagues. If you’re not having fun or don’t feel inspired, you’re in the wrong job.

3

How do you strike a balance between your personal and professional lives? Striking a balance between personal and professional life is not easy and both require the same kind of discipline. You have to vigilantly guard time for your family and unplug from devices for a while. The job can wait for you to have personal time and recharge. And you will probably perform better if you maintain the balance.

4

What are some strategies you use to do so/keep yourself in check? I use daily exercise and planned breaks throughout the day to keep myself in check, I also pick sports that I enjoy like paddleboarding, running and swimming instead of a gym, and I seek advice from a wide array of people.

5

What vision do you promote for your community, and how do you get others to buy into or tap into that vision? DIG SOUTH’s mantra is “Succeed in the South.” We believe that the South can compete globally while maintaining our unique culture and quality of life. In Charleston—and across the region—we can maintain job growth, increase wages and scale innovative companies responsibly while maintaining the things we love—particularly the landscape. The best three ways I know to achieve buyin are to Listen to and respect the community, welcome everyone to participate and prove the vision will work through action and success.

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Clear your calendar for DIG SOUTH 2016! Coming April 26-28. For more info: http://www.digsouth.com/dig-conference

6

What do you struggle with?

7

What was your biggest failure as a professional and how did you recover?

Deciding how to grow smartly and expand the company without diluting the excellent brand our team has created is a constant challenge. When done well, successful expansion is, obviously, very rewarding. Hiring top talent is also tough!

My biggest failure was an inability to advance in a former job despite years of focused, creative effort. I responded by taking personal responsibility, getting creative, and launching a company I love called DIG SOUTH.

8

9

10

Where did the idea for DIG SOUTH come from? DIG SOUTH grew out of a lifelong love for exciting, innovative ideas and technologies. It probably stems from a Science Fiction course I took in the USC Honors College, an earlysubscription to Wired and Ray Gun magazines, Po Bronson books and a deep frustration that opportunities available in the Bay Area, Seattle, NYC and Boston were not happening as rapidly or on the same scale in the South. More recently, I attended the AdAge Digital Conference in NYC in 2011 and returned with the notion that the same kind of event would fly in Charleston. What is it about Charleston—and South Carolina—that makes it a place for an event like that? Charleston is a top destination with an incredibly culinary scene, gorgeous beaches and waterways, plus a rapidly emerging technology sector. It’s the perfect intersection of quality of life and job opportunity – the perfect environment where tech and creative workers thrive. South Carolina is a business-friendly state becoming more globally competitive by the minute. Where do you see DIG SOUTH going into the next several years? DIG SOUTH’s plan is to continue to grow the event in Charleston, host affiliate events across the South, diversify the brand into new, soon-to-be announced industries and welcome the world’s leading brands and brightest startups to join us.

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What was challenging about DIG SOUTH and getting it off the ground? Selling sponsorships and tickets for a new event was the most challenging obstacle to launching DIG SOUTH. We were able to overcome the unknown-entity dilemma by rallying the community around a successful Kickstarter campaign and reaching out to businesses and organizations who were game to support this kind of interactive technology event. DIG SOUTH’s was the Southeast’s first and foremost event to celebrate innovation in the digital economy and we could not have pulled it off without an incredible outpouring of regional engagement and direct, financial support.

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B U S I NE S S INT EL

by Andrew Kurtz

www.insideblackbox.com/businessintel PRESIDENT/CEO KOPIS & VIGILIX, LLC

HIDDEN PROFITS: DATA DELIVERS DOLLARS Over the past two decades, we’ve learned firsthand what many of the world’s leading companies are experiencing in the digital age: the value of data. In fact, the most valuable—and often most underleveraged— asset a company has is its data, and multiple six and sevenfigure savings and/or top and bottomline impact are typically only a few layers of visibility deep. The key word for leaders: Visibility. Collecting, storing and analyzing information is an incredibly expensive process. That expense becomes an invaluable investment only when all the expense is coupled with converting it to actionable knowledge that impacts areas of a company’s profitability, efficiency and workflow. With that in mind going into a new year, here are three simple principles upon which to build an action plan for making expensive information convert to visible data points that drive decisions in your organization, and five critical questions to ask your leadership team. Principle #1: Don’t repeat yourself. As developers, one of the mantras we live by is DRY: “Don’t Repeat Yourself.” This principle not only keeps the code we write clean and efficient, but it also is one of the easiest ways that we help businesses cut down on time wasted inputting data. Over the years, we’ve seen the impact this principle can have on businesses, helping them improve their efficiency and cut down on costly errors simply by reducing the number of times they have

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to input the same data across multiple systems (e.g. project management systems, estimating tools, reporting software, etc.). Are you currently duplicating your efforts by repeatedly inputting the same data? There could be huge time savings for your business hiding one or two layers below the daytoday operations of your company. Principle #2: Centralize your data. A common dysfunction of so many companies is duplication of data across too many softwares and systems. One of the biggest steps you can take to better leverage your data is to centralize it into one place where you and your team can easily access the right data ondemand. Though data often comes from a variety of sources, it’s important that it all finds its way to a centralized, easytoaccess portal, system, or dashboard. Only when you know where the data is can you begin to leverage the full power of what your data has to tell you. Principle #3: Use your data to look ahead. Once your data is accurately input and centralized, you can begin to conduct crucial analysis and visualization on your data. Too often, data is simply used as a measuring stick for past performance (i.e. reports). But with access to all of your data on demand and with the proper tools, you can easily turn what looks like disparate pieces of information into a powerful narrative that will help you remove the grey, the emotion, the gut feelings in decisionmaking, and objectively and succinctly analyze, improve, and grow your business.

With these in mind, here are five great questions to consider in the year ahead: 1.

How are we using the data we’re spending time collecting, tracking and reporting?

2.

Who is it being reported to and who should be in the loop?

3.

Are we leveraging its full potential?

4.

Have we fully explored all the opportunities to harness and leverage the power of our business data, from operations to marketing to sales to personnel decisions to customer retention and acquisition, and everywhere else?

5.

If not, who have we identified to champion this for our future?

ABOUT ANDREW KURTZ Since 1999, Andrew Kurtz has served as the President and CEO of Kopis (formerly ProActive Technology) and Vigilix LLC. He and his team specialize in providing custom software development solutions to firms from startup to Fortune 500 companies. Andy is actively involved in NEXT, the Greenville Chamber’s internationally recognized economic development program, and he is also a passionate supporter of the newly launched NEXT High School.


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SPEE D PITCH

KENNY REID Grove Builders, Inc.

THE PITCH: Grove Builders, Inc. is a residential construction company that specializes in bringing new ideas to older homes. We specialize in remodeling older homes—and the older the better. I am Kenny Reid and have been in the construction business for over 35 years. After selling construction products for 20 years, I knew that it was time to set out on my own as a licensed builder. Since then, I have been involved in remodeling homes in Greenville’s Historic Districts, mill villages, and even regular neighborhoods. During the housing crunch, I spent time with a general contractor supervising/managing a school project, a high end condominium development and an 80 year old hotel, converting it into apartments. This one was highlighted by George Clooney filming in our lobby with 9 stories of remodeling above. That was stressful while exciting. Now, I am back in full swing, saving older homes from the wrecking ball, re-commissioning them for another 50-year life cycle. By working with capital investor partners we are focused on bringing affordable living in Greenville’s downtown market. Grove Builders will add on, convert living space and generally make life better for homeowners. Fueled by the right side of my brain and to save on landfill cost, Grove Builders Studio was established to upcycle reclaimed building materials. We build tables, benches, baskets and other eclectic treasures. Usually no two or three items are the same. Remodeling also, allows me to pursue my interest in Urban Archaeology. Great discoveries have been found in wall cavities, behind chimneys, children’s’ hiding places, and of course attics, crawl spaces and closets. So, not only is Grove Builders, Inc. striving to provide affordable housing, saving older homes from total demolition, and creating a more livable, comfortable home, we are providing jobs, creating a strong ROI for investors, saving space in landfills, creating interesting conversation pieces and preserving history. I am searching for investor partners interested in a reliable ROI, properties that need to be saved and recommissioned and of course, clients. If you are interested in any of these, Contact me.

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Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


SPEE D PITCH

THE FEEDBACK: Kenny has a strong personal background story that demonstrates his years of experience and passion in his industry which investors will greatly value. Trends in remodeling and historical preservation continue to rise with the renewed interest in urban living and business revitalizations in downtowns across the nation. While renovating older homes brings a special satisfaction, it also requires equally special skills involved and especially an experienced eye capable of envisioning the potential. Home owners usually depend quite heavily on the contractor for vision and guidance on a myriad of choices, often placing complete decision making trust with them. Unfortunately there are too many stories about poor experiences such as botched jobs or worse, so most friends I know highly covet a relationship with a really good “artisan” contractor who has a good track record and especially the flexibility to tackle both small or large projects. There is definitely a strong market demand for highly skilled contractors with a focus in this area, but my main question from an investor perspective is on the business model and proving how it is more than just a lifestyle business. Most investors are keenly looking for a lot of scalability in a business model to achieve a strong multiple on their returns, so conveying information and details on sales, operations and overall execution plans are extremely important. If Kenny does require investors for his business, clearly describing the use of funds is essential. For example, does the current shop and equipment have capacity to double or triple in sales, or is additional equipment needed? How much top line revenue can be generated with existing resources? Or perhaps are any specific new tools or equipment needed that can help open up more customer sales opportunities? Other critical questions surface that need more detail as well. One example is, how will sales be generated and what are the sales expectations for the first and subsequent years? Are sales leads obtained from word of mouth in the local region, from formal marketing outbound efforts, or perhaps through close partnerships with larger contractors looking to sub-contract out specialized project needs? Equally important is how does the work get quoted/estimated and what are the typical costs and margins expected (i.e., how do you expect to make money), especially since every job could be its own unique “science project” due to the nature of renovations. If a project stretches out over two to three months or longer, does Kenny have enough working capital to pay for raw materials, direct employees and subcontractors? Investors also place great emphasis in the team behind the company. Is Kenny a “one-man-band” or does he have a skilled team working with him? Are they direct employees or independent contractors, which can flex based on the ups and downs of contract project loads? When Kenny is working on a project personally, who is selling and quoting new work? From a risk management standpoint, what happens if Kenny is injured or sick and cannot work? What if a customer is unhappy and decides to withhold payment?

Grove Builders sounds like a solid business that is well positioned to take advantage of plentiful opportunities in a proven local market. Mr. Reid’s background certainly helps build the credibility of the pitch, and I think his holistic approach to thinking about how the company creates value for customers, employees and communities is smart business. However, I think there are several key points that could help improve the pitch. First, given that Grove Builders operates in a crowded marketplace with many competitors, it would be helpful to clarify the company’s unique value proposition. What approaches or advantages does the company have that allow it to successfully execute projects that are creative yet affordable and in keeping with historic neighborhood aesthetics? The second point is an extension of the first—the pitch should address how the Grove business model accomplishes the primary objectives of the customer while also providing attractive returns for investors. Ideally the answer to both questions is well aligned and allows for attractive economics—and provides a foundation on which the business can continue to survive in the next inevitable downward turn in the real estate cycle. Third, the pitch could be more focused. While the Studio recycling unit is a logical extension of the core business, the further mention of Urban Archaeology begins to raise questions about whether the company might be susceptible to the classic entrepreneurial challenge of attempting to do too many things at once. I suspect the mention is simply a personal interest rather than a business pursuit, and if so, it would be better omitted from the pitch and saved for casual conversation. Finally, I would encourage Mr. Reid to make sure he has good corporate counsel that understands securities laws. By publicly disclosing that the company is seeking investors (called a “general solicitation”), the company falls into a new regulatory regime under something called a Regulation D 506(c) offering. Among other things, the rules require that the company verify the financial wherewithal of any investor or be at risk of having to return investors’ funds. The rules can be confusing and cumbersome, so its important to hire a good securities lawyer to help navigate the regulatory minefield. I wish Mr. Reid and Grove Builders the very best of success, and I hope the pitch feedback will help them in securing additional investment.

MATT DUNBAR Managing Director, The Upstate Carolina Angel Network Co-Founder, South Carolina Angel Network

Kenny has a great start in a growing market opportunity with a strong background and years of experience. If raising funds from investors is part of the business plan, then answering some of the above questions will be necessary to garner interest. JASON PREMO Chairman, Premo Ventures Executive Director, Upstate South Carolina The Founder Institute

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E N E SP A Ñ O L

Por Evelyn Lugo

www.insideblackbox.com/enespanol FOUNDER & PRESIDENT SOUTH CAROLINA HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

LAS REDES SOCIALES Y SU NEGOCIO Cada día me impresiona más y más como se utilizan los medios de comunicación, especialmente las redes sociales. Las opciones son ilimitadas, y aunque no soy una experta en la materia, me parece oportuno que tomemos esta oportunidad para compartir con nuestro público lector algunos consejos. Aplicaciones tan simples como enviar un texto, hasta las más complicadas como los es abrir y mantener una página en Facebook, son la tendencia y llegaron para quedarse. Como expliqué anteriormente, no soy una experta en la materia, así que le pedimos a nuestra agencia de mercadeo, Unicomm Media Group, que nos hiciera llegar su perspectiva en cuanto a la utilización de las redes sociales. ¡Espero le sea de provecho y le ayude a tomar ese primer paso, si no es que ya lo está haciendo! Más empresas están utilizando y creando cuentas en las redes sociales. Han descubierto que las redes sociales pueden ayudar en sus campañas de mercadeo y expandir su cartera de clientes, al igual que en la interacción en general. Casi todas las páginas web de las empresas de hoy contienen iconos para su Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, o Youtube. Pero la idea de manejar estas cuentas de las redes sociales puede ser desalentadora. Estos son algunos consejos básicos para empezar: •

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A la hora de publicar, piense qué audiencia usted quiere alcanzar. ¿Quiere llegar a la misma audiencia con sus medios de comunicación social que lo hace con sus otras herramientas de mercadeo? Así que asegúrese que

sus mensajes lleguen a ellos con eficacia. Por ejemplo, los memes humorísticos llegan efectivamente a la generación de los milenarios, pero sólo pueden confundir a los baby boomers (los que nacieron entre el 45 64). También, dependiendo del público al que usted quiere llegar, y en horas específicas del día, su mensaje atraerá más personas. La investigación en línea le dará una idea general de cuándo publicar, y entonces usted puede probar dentro de ese espacio de tiempo y encontrar las mejores horas para publicar su anuncio. •

Use visuales. Según el blog de mercadeo de Hubspot, los tweets con fotos reciben 18% más clics, 89% más favoritos y 150% más retweets. Encuentre un sitio con imágenes que usted pueda descargar legalmente o utilizar recursos como dollarphotoclub.com. Con el programa correcto para personalizar fotos y un poco de tiempo extra, usted puede convertir la imagen en algo exclusivo para su negocio o mensaje.

Personalizar artículos. Si publica un artículo relevante, agregue valor al mismo. Déle su perspectiva sobre el artículo, añada contenido o estadísticas similares, o critique una sección del artículo. Muestre a sus clientes que usted ha leído personalmente y revisado todo lo que publica, y que cada blog es valioso.

Si usted no ha entrado al mundo de los medios de comunicación social, no trate de hacer frente a todas las plataformas a la vez. Comience por crear una o dos cuentas en

?

Want to know more about local Hispanic businesses? Check out the S.C. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at SCHCC.org.

los medios sociales, y a medida que crece y se sienta más cómodo con los medios sociales, entonces puede concentrarse en el próximo. Cada plataforma tiene una sección de preguntas frecuentes o un blog sobre cómo utilizar mejor su plataforma. Una simple búsqueda en Google también le proporcionará infinidad de artículos sobre cómo crear su cuenta y hacerlo crecer. Con un poco de esfuerzo y mucha práctica, el uso de los medios de comunicación social realmente pueden ayudar a su negocio.

ABOUT EVELYN LUGO 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.


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HOW TO

CHILL KEEP STRESS AT BAY Stress is part of life. Some stress is a good thing. It keeps you moving and motivated, but too much stress can be detrimental to your overall health and wellness, as it takes a toll physically, mentally and spiritually, and it can negatively impact all areas of life, including work. Here are some quick tips to keep the stress down to a healthy level.

HE R E ’S HOW 1. Exercise Get up and get the blood flowing. According to Webmd.com, physical activity releases endorphins in the bloodstream which help reduce pain and give a euphoric type feeling associated with morphine—without the danger of dependence and addiction. Find time during your day to take a walk, go for a jog, stretch, lift weights or just anything that gets you moving! 2. Meditate “Meditation is a simple but life-transforming skill that can help you relax,” or so the blog post “How to Meditate: A guide for beginners” from The Conscious Life attests. It doesn’t have to be hard; in fact, meditation can be quite easy. You don’t need candles, soothing music or incense. You just need a quiet place, 15 minutes and a comfortable place to sit down. Clear your thoughts and just focus on your breathing, taking air in through your nose and slowly let it out of your mouth. Outside thoughts will come in, but just keep refocusing on your breathing and just breathe all of the stress right out. 3. Bananas Seriously. If you aren’t eating bananas everyday, you are missing out on some serious health boosts. Among an assortment of benefits including healthy digestion, loads of iron and potassium, and energy boosting, bananas pack tons of tryptophan. MedlinePlus says, “The body uses tryptophan to help make niacin and serotonin. Serotonin is thought to produce healthy sleep and stable mood.” Stress can lead to aggravation and anxiety, while more serotonin in your body counters that with helping create a positive mood. 4. Turn It Off It’s one thing if it’s an emergency situation or if your are on deadline, but for the most part, try and unplug when not at work. The office and the home are both full of stress and there is no reason to blend one into the other. That’s a chemical mixture that will lead to a meltdown. Enjoy time with the family that isn’t in between working overtime on projects, especially if it really isn’t necessary. 5. Tunes “The old man’s about to knock on the sky and listen to the sound,” says Kevin Flynn to his son Sam in Tron Legacy. Sound and music are innate in humans and it’s no surprise that music can impact in real ways. Working out? Listen to something fast and loud. Want to unwind, reduce stress? Try listening to some soothing instrumental music. Something with lots of piano or cello, some chill electronic beats or maybe just some natural noises like rain or birds.

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!

Need help meditating? Check out XHALR, a breathing app designed to help you breathe during meditation & exercise. Check it out here: http://www.xhalr.com


Let’s do something that matters today. 127TH ANNUAL MEETING PRESENTED BY

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2016 TD CONVENTION CENTER 5:30 PM — RECEPTION 6:00 PM — DINNER AND PROGRAM

Featuring SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER

Beverly Wyse Vice President and General Manager Boeing South Carolina

Join the Greenville Chamber to celebrate the progress of our business community and its innovative leaders, and take a look through the lens of the Chamber’s new vision and goals for the year ahead. For sponsorship and event details, visit www.greenvillechamber.org.


Business Black Box - Q1 2016  

THE Business Magazine for Upstate South Carolina

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