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Business Black Box

Quarter 3 • 2016

t po S ur o eY v r se Re

Presented by

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 • 8:30 AM — 1:30 PM TD CONVENTION CENTER Purchase tickets • Purchase a table • (864) 283-2317 #TATTSummit


Geoff Colvin, Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune Magazine; Author/Commentator on Business & Economic Issues

FEATURING 2016 LEADERSHIP PANEL s p o n so r e d by Mike Baur — CEO, ScanSource • James P. Clements — President, Clemson University • Pamela Lackey — South Carolina President, AT&T • Michael Riordan — CEO, Greenville Health System Moderator: Amy Wood — Anchor, WSPA-TV












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C O LU M N S 16























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Photo by Kevin Anderson/FishEye Studios

Q3.16 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.








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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.

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Business Black Box (Vol.8, Issue 3) is published four times per year by ShowCase Publishing, 18 S. Markley Street, Suite B, Greenville SC 29601 phone (864) 281-1323; fax (864) 281-1310.




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 or by mail to Business Black Box , c/o Freelance Opportunities, 18 S. Markley Street, Suite B, Greenville, SC 29601.

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GET MORE BUSINESS BLACK BOX Whether you are looking for a story we did in 2010, or are curious about what is in the current issue of Business Black Box, check out our new online digs at


Business Black Box Q3 2016




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.


1 2 5



9 6


10 8 12



13 17




Amy Wood, Anchor, WSPA


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


Greg Hillman, 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.


Business Black Box Q3 2016


A CASE FOR REINVENTION The writer (and, full disclosure: anarchist) Bob Black is quoted as saying “The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps.” I love this quote, because it so succinctly identifies the true root of reinvention. It’s a scary place. It’s uncharted territory—what was is not what will be, and so to figure out what is is sometimes an extraordinary challenge. It’s not easy—ever—to start a business and keep it up and running. It’s no easier to do that same thing in an industry that has completely morphed into something unknown by anyone—something that is still evolving according to the times, the technology, or the generation. Nowhere is this story more clearly told than through the textile heritage of the South. As we’ve been putting together this issue, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about the Upstate’s history than ever before. The mills—textile mills, in a large part—served to put South Carolina in a powerful position during the 19th and 20th centuries, where they were the transformative power between agriculture and business or consumer. When they finally shuttered, there was little shame. The times had changed; what could one do but move on? The textile work went to Asia, the mills boarded up, and the mill workers found new jobs. Or didn’t. In any case, time had marched on; what was there was now gone, and it was a time of reinvention for every individual on that spectrum. But that reinvention is key—it has birthed a new generation of entrepreneurs and research. The textile industry in South Carolina has not died. It is not “long gone,” nor is it “history.” Today, the textile industry is alive and well—it just doesn’t look the way it did 60 or 100 years ago. The old guard that remained in manufacturing looks drastically different. Kentwool’s focus on performance socks was born out of the heavy manufacturing era, and Milliken—once the textile king of the South—maintains vast numbers of patents; their products can be found today in every home, from Crayola markers to fire-retardant clothing, or the pipe that runs cabling to homes. Sage Automotive, born out of Milliken, now provides automotive interiors to just about every major automotive manufacturer on the planet. KM Fabrics—once part of cotton-producing Brandon Mill—still exists, providing velvet draperies for auditoriums. The buildings themselves are also undergoing major transformations. From educational spaces to residential or co-work locations, the remaining mills that withstood time are now finding new life in a new era. At the same time, a new generation of entrepreneurs are focusing on clothing design and manufacturing. Southern Tide, as one example, was recently acquired by an Atlanta firm for a cool $85 million. Beija-Flor, a maker of women’s jeans, has become a global presence in a matter of a few years (and designed those awesome jeans in my photo!). Others, like Coast Apparel, Billiam Jeans, Loggerhead Apparel or Marley Lilly, have put down roots in the Upstate and grown larger out of that footprint. There are too many to name, and in trying I’ll do someone an injustice. But the fact is this: we could all learn a bit about reinvention from our own history. At some point in our lives, we are all called to change and to transform. Sometimes it means that everything you once knew is gone and you are called “off the map.” Maybe it’s in your own life. Or your own career. Or your own business. But whatever the call, and whatever the reason, just remember: it’s been done before, and you can do it again. And when you lose sight of that, head over to West Greenville or North Spartanburg and get a reminder.

Publisher, Business Black Box 8

Business Black Box Q3 2016 | 864/281-1323 x.1010 | Photo by Kevin Anderson/FishEye Studios


Business Black Box Q3 2016

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




In the U.S.

In China



$18.40 FABRIC

















According to Bayard Winthrop, founder of American Giant, the average cost of making a hoodie has about an overall $7 difference between one made in the U.S. versus one made in China. The biggest difference between the two is the labor cost, where in the U.S. it costs almost $12 more to make a hoodie. However, this isn’t tied necessarily to labor wages so much as power and utility costs of the manufacturer. Another cost difference is duty and shipping. Coming from China, customs costs are a factor whereas locally-made require no such cost, and shipping is much less.* *Information based on 2013 data








This industry giant wanted to be a screenplay writer in middle school. (p.18)

The old textile buildings make great loft apartments, coworking space and artist studios. (p.30)

The current entrepreneur ecosystem in Greenville isn’t unlike the same entrepreneurs who built a textile empire. (p.42)

Hummingbirds and denim have a lot in common. Learn more about the story behind Beija-Flor. (p. 50)

This Upstate major is an ardent believer in the early bird gets the worm. (p. 60)

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




The U.S. Textile Industry

$1.6 Billion

In overall capital expenditures by the textile industry in 2014

232,000 Workers in the textile industry


Of the U.S. manufacturing workforce is textile-based

$31.4 Billion In fabric, yarn and thread shipments in 2014


In value of global exports


Higher is the textile worker’s salary, versus the clothing and retail worker’s salary

$30.9 Billion Value of export sales for the state

*Information courtesy of

Chicago’s Olsen Rug Company. circa. 1950 • Image by Everett Historical/Shutterstock


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



The Greenville Textile Heritage Society

What We Read: The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann The Gist: The Go-Giver presents a different idea of success and looking at the world around you. Instead of a stressful, dogeat-dog world, it puts forward the notion of looking at the world as full of opportunities to give without the expectation of receiving and not measuring success in dollar signs but in the good that you add to the world.

Formed in 2006, the Greenville Textile Heritage Society (GTHS) is responsible for collecting and preserving the rich history of Greenville’s textile history. The main call of the GTHS is encouraging the cooperation between those in the community who wish to not only preserve, but to celebrate the history of textiles in the area.





How It’s Written: Written as a parable, the protagonist, Joe, makes the acquaintance of Pindar, who through the course of the book guides him to five individuals who teach him the “Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.” Joe’s journey in the book mirrors the changing perspective of dollar-based success to a view based on giving. Great If: You are looking for a new way to view business, success and life itself, or if you feel like there should be more to life than working for a paycheck. Don’t Miss: Chapter 12, “The Law of Receptivity.” In it, Joe finally makes it to the last lesson. While all four previous laws are important, the fifth law on being open to receive another’s kindness is the key that makes them all function. Our Read: Within the pages of The Go-Giver is found a lesson that everyone should learn. That success should never be about how much you can get for yourself, but the good that you can invest in the world around you.


Business Black Box Q3 2016

Dobby Lite Dobby Lite allows you to simulate and create fabric designs on your mobile device. You can customize everything from thread count, to color and individual fabrics and even create collections of your designs. dobby-lite.html

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



What: Best Places to Work in South Carolina Where: Marriott Hotel, 1200 Hampton Street Columbia, SC 29201 When: August 4th, 2016, 5pm – 8:30pm


Presented by SCBIZ and the Best Companies Group, the 11th consecutive Best Places to Work in South Carolina celebrates companies that are at the top in the state in innovation and are great employers. For more information: Visit events/best-places-work-southcarolina-0


“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” HENRY FORD

What: Upstate Regional Summit Where: TD Convention Center Greenville, SC When: Thursday, September 13th


Now in its fifth year, Ten at the Top’s Upstate Regional Summit seeks to bring together business and community leaders to encourage collaboration among the ten counties of the Upstate. The theme for this year’s summit is “Creating a Leading Region.”

For more information: Visit


What: RECON S.C. Where: The Kroc Center Greenville, SC When: October 6th – 7th


RECON S.C. is the response to a need. In South Carolina, we have over 400,000 veterans and some are in need of a purpose. This is not a job fair, it is an intersection of resources, information and leadership to help our veterans determine where their passions, talents and goals lie.

For more information: Visit events/recon-sc/


Business Black Box Q3 2016

DID YOU KNOW? The Westin Poinsett was originally built in 1924 to attract out of town attendees of the Southern Textile Exposition, held in Greenville. TheWestinPoinsettGreenvilleunveilsnewmeetingroom.doc +&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari



MARLEYLILLY Made in Greenville, SC Marleylilly is an online-only boutique that specializes in monogrammed apparel, accessories and gifts. For more info, visit:

Photo by Kevin Anderson/FishEye Studios


Business Black Box Q3 2016


by Chip Felkel


A “CONFLICTED” REPUBLICAN’S GUIDE TO 2016 It’s a tough year for lots of self-described Republicans across the country. For many GOP activists, supporters, donors and just regular voters, this 2016 Election Cycle has not gone as expected. No one with any measure of credibility thought Donald J. Trump would be the GOP nominee this time last summer. No one. Probably not even Trump himself. And yet, he we are, with a wealthy—allegedly—version of Archie Bunker heading up the GOP ticket and going head to head with Hillary Clinton. Trump’s style was termed by one fellow Palmetto State voter as “Myrtle Beach Classy”. I think that perception of the man, indeed, says it all. So what’s a loyal GOP voter to do? What are you going to do? If you are center left Democrat, you have to feel pretty good about this race. Bernie has been beaten and will—perhaps unenthusiastically—support HRC. Bernie’s supporters need love and attention and the convention will provide an opportunity to sing kum-ba-yah. Of course, there are still some far lefties who will sit it out, but when you consider the number of independent-minded GOPer’s who are openly saying they plan to vote for Clinton, you’ve got to feel positive. On the GOP side, if you are like many, you can’t stand the thought of Clinton taking the oath of office. And yet, Trump’s bombastic persona seems unfit to handle the most important job in the world. If you are like many, you think that Washington does need to be shaken up, but feel that this seems extreme. It’s almost like the dreaded nuclear option, where no one survives. And, frankly, if you are like many, you are not sure the


Business Black Box Q3 2016

GOP will actually survive the Donald. Maybe it should, maybe it shouldn’t. It probably will, but for many, a Trump-led GOP is not one in which they are willing to participate. It’s utterly amazing that a party who publicallyacknowledged just 3.5 years ago that it needed to do a lot of work in focusing on Hispanic voters, would now have a nominee who has set that plan back 30 years. It’s impossible to believe the ineptitude exhibited by so many, with so much experience, money, and supposed skill, in dealing with Trump. The initial arrogance towards his candidacy only served to fuel his and his supporters’ fire. It showed just how detached the Beltway consultant class is with everyone outside the Beltway. Trump. So what might make Trump more palatable? For one, the selection of a reasonable VP. By the time you read this, we might know the answer to that question. Right now, I simply can’t fathom who’d want the job. I am sure someone, somehow can create a scenario, where taking on such a role makes sense whether to serve as a go between with Congress, to help with certain voters or whatever. I just don’t see it as much of a career move. And, I am afraid that for lack of willing candidates, Trump will pick someone with limited appeal or worse, that agitates an already cynical electorate. Clinton. What would hurt Clinton with these “conflicted GOP types”? Her VP pick could. If HRC picks Sen. Elizabeth Warren it would be historic, and probably historically bad in terms of expanding her vote. Warren is fairly controversial, would make fundraising harder from the financial sector and ideologically just is not that far away from Sanders. In fact, she’s probably further

to the left on a few things. So, Clinton picking Warren, could actually help Trump. Her better choice is Tim Kaine of Virginia or HUD Secretary Castro. #NeverTrump. This cycle has taught us to never to say never. However, this crowd tends to be people who understand that the November 2016 is about more than the White House. It’s about the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Congress. It’s about supporting or blocking Supreme Court nominees down the road. The Senate races will be close. Many of the contested races are in states that are more purple than red or blue (Wisconsin and North Carolina, for example). Second, there is legitimate concern over Trump’s presence at the top of the ticket and how that trickles down ballot. NeverTrump folks have not stopped him, but they won’t support him financially and many will openly support HRC. It’s a tough time. I get asked what I intend to do in the Fall. I loathe the idea of HRC, and Trump frankly scares me for more reasons than I have space to write. There is no really good choice this cycle. No matter who I support, I feel confident that I will at some point, regret doing so. And there, is the real conflict.

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


Business Black Box Q3 2016



Growing up, Mark Kent wanted to be two things: a Perry Mason-esque trial lawyer and a screenplay writer for Disney. “When I was in middle school some friends of mine joked about writing a screenplay and I told them I could do it,” says Kent. “I still remember the name of it: ‘Journey to the Center of the Sun.’ It wasn’t Oscar worthy, but it was fun.” His admiration for Walt Disney and the company led him to the conclusion of one day being a screenwriter for Disney. Also, according to Kent, working in either California or Florida wouldn’t be that bad. “Even to this day, my oldest son still says, ‘You need to go out and do something crazy like that,’” says Kent. “I haven’t written the screenplay yet, but I have a patent. I’m making my way to my screenplay, I’m going to get there one day, it’s the road less taken.”

“When the opportunity to go to Australia came around, I thought, there is nothing holding me here, why not go there and give it a try?” Kent says. In his time there, Kent learned that he didn’t want to work for a large company with all sorts of rules, procedures and politics. “They wanted to offer me a job to work and stay there permanently,” he says. “It was attractive working and being there, but the problem was that they were the third largest company in Australia.” Kent returned and went to his father’s office and said he would like to work for a small company and work at Kentwool. “You could have knocked him over with a feather.” So, in 1987, Kent returned from working in Australia to begin working full time for Kentwool.

As the fifth generation of Kent behind Kentwool, he grew up with wool and textiles. He was born in Philadelphia and, at eight, relocated with Kentwool to South Carolina in 1970, when his father moved operations to Pickens County. As a teenager, he spent hot summers working for his father’s company. Majoring in history at Wake Forest and after doing graduate work at Clemson, Kent had the opportunity to travel and work in Australia for the Australian Wool Company.


The first socks were made of matted animal furs. Imagine playing 18 holes or running in those!

“I started working for the company in 1987 and worked in everything—from procurement, to sales, to production. It’s funny, because I had done so much in the summertime growing up, it’s amazing how much of that stuff comes back to you,” says Kent. In 1992, Mark’s father passed away suddenly from a heart attack and Mark found himself in a difficult position. “I went from being the son of the president to being the president. It’s a way you don’t ever want to move into a position like that,” he remembers. “I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 30 years old and I promise you, I wasn’t ready to be president of the company.”


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The time frame between 1992 and 1997 are what Kent calls his “Lost Years.” He readily admits that he wasn’t ready to be the leader of the company, and that he didn’t do a spectacular job at the helm. “During that particular time frame, I was more of a manager than a true leader,” he says. “True leaders inspire people. True leaders have vision. True leaders make decisions that matter. True leaders care more about others than themselves. I was doing none of that.” Still, he notes, the company succeeded in those years—not because of him being a great leader, but because of the great people who were in the company and around him. During this time, in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed, causing massive shifts in the textile industry to Mexico and overseas. In 1997, it gave Kent the push he needed to come out of his “Lost Years.”

A True Leader After a business trip to Mexico in 1997, Kentwool’s General Manager and VP of Sales at the time told Kent he would be a fool to not move operations to Mexico. “Then I must be a fool, because we are not going,” was Kent’s response. According to Kent, he already had the best workers in the world right at home and he wasn’t going to spend his life moving from country to country searching for cheaper labor costs. “It was my first true leadership move. It was real and scary, because now I had to figure out how to make it work. It was a defining moment for me,” Kent says. “It was the kick in the pants I needed to start becoming a real leader.” It was during this time that Kent took on a more empowering based leadership strategy, over a managerial one. He began building a corporate culture with intention. “I will spend more time interviewing you and making sure you are the kind of guy who fits in with our culture and our team. Then, I’m going to cut you loose,” he says. “I want to see how creative you can be; how successful you can be.” That marked the end of his “Lost Years,” and according to Kent, he learned what it meant to be a true leader during that time from his father’s legacy, his friends and family.

The New Rules One day, Kent walked into the office and gathered all of his senior management around. The goal: to begin instituting three new rules. They all thought he had lost it. The first was to give everybody unlimited vacation days.


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Business Black Box Q3 2016

“Only you know how much time you need to recharge your batteries,” he says. “I found it was becoming a greater stress on our people trying to figure out how to use the time. When I removed that, that stress went away.”

“The true story, I really was playing in the BMW golf tournament and I really did have blisters on my feet and I really did turn to my caddie and say, ‘why doesn’t anyone make a really good golf sock?’ He looked at me and said, ‘hey man, you are in the business, why don’t you do it?’” says Kent.

The second rule was unlimited sick days. “I thought this was just common sense,” Kent says. “If you are sick, don’t show up.”

The next day, Kent gathered his team and told them Kentwool was going to make the world’s greatest golf sock. “They looked at me like I was crazy,” says Kent.

The third rule had its foundation in Kentwool itself. “The third thing I added as well was, this is a family business,” Kent says. “It’s been in the family for five generations now. Family is kind of important to me, but I want family to be important to you.” According to Kent, at the end of the day, the memories you want to hold onto are not of the good job you did at work, but of being able to spend time with your kids and family. “A family company should stand for and mean family all the time, not just when it is convenient.” Kent would also removed several rules, procedures and policies from the company that had been there for generations, which came from his experience working in Australia. In doing so, “Our productivity improved dramatically,” Kent says. According to Kent, the company became a more creative and outof-the-box place to work with the new rules. “The only one constant is change. It’s true in any climate, city and people,” says Kent. “While the industry was changing, we made the decision to not go. Let’s be that company that can be edgy and create things that can be made in America.” At the time, the Pickens facility was maybe running about five different yarns for eight customers. “Not very complicated, but not sustainable,” he says. “Our group got together and asked how do we get sustainable, how do we get creative and how do we add value to what goes on there?” They soon began working with companies like Loro Piana and SmartWool, developing products and yarns for their products. They also took on contracts for the U.S. special forces to develop fabrics that were durable and odor resistant and would be comfortable in extreme cold and extreme heat. “Now, we have 250 different SKUs running and shipping to 50 different customers, all in the first quarter,” says Kent.

Today, the Kentwool golf sock is the number one sock on the PGA tour and also the official sock of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies. With the success of the sock, Kentwool is expanding to an entire line of performance clothing, including underwear and shirts and also travel lines, due to Kentwool’s product being so resilient and odor resistant. “What else does our golfer do? They travel,” says Kent. “We have found that people write us and say, ‘I only packed one pair of socks.’ That’s a little dangerous; one pair of socks for a three day weekend.” They got the same feedback for the underwear. “Too much information,” he says, with a laugh.

Have Fun “There are more jobs coming back, companies are growing and our numbers are growing and now there are young people getting involved,” says Kent. “In the 1980s, while textiles were doing well, young people weren’t getting involved. They didn’t want to be involved—that was Norma Ray; that was dirty.” Now the growing trend in textiles is more centered on advanced materials and science and coming up with new innovations in fibers and processes. But, according to Kent, it doesn’t matter if you have an advanced materials degree or a communications degree or a history degree. For Kentwool, they only look for two things. “We try to find people who have that creative instinct and that is what we need for our company.” The other necessity for Kentwool is to have fun. “If we aren’t having fun, there is no reason to do this,” says Kent. That combination is exactly where Kent wants Kentwool to be, and calls it a “vertically-integrated boutique manufacturer.”

“I started playing golf when I was eight years old,” says Kent. “I think I was drawn to it as I grew up because it was the hardest of all the sports I played to master. To this day, I have yet to master it.” Kent’s passion for golf ultimately led him to the 18th hole of the BMW Charity Pro Am, where Kentwool’s golf sock was born.


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“We want to make things and be unique and creative,” he says. “If we keep that pathway, I think we will continue to transform,” says Kent.


by Marc Bolick


WILL AFRICA BE THE NEXT BIG THING? I made my second ever trip to Africa earlier this year—to Ghana—on a business trip. The trip was amazing, the people warm and hospitable, and I came away with a new appreciation for a part of the world that is rarely top of mind in the business world. I want to share some of what I learned, and nudge you to take a fresh look at what the African continent has to offer. Most Americans have a very limited view of this enormous continent, comprised of 54 nations, over a billion people and a desert that is larger than the continental US. When we think of Africa, we inevitably think of the most common headlines like war, political instability, disease, and famine. But, anyone who has visited the continent recently will certainly confirm that it is a place of great change and hope. Geographically, continental Africa takes in an area bounded by Tunisia to the north, South Africa to the south, Somalia to the east, and Senegal to the west. The distances are formidable, and what lies within are vast expanses of natural beauty, resources, cultural treasures and ingenious people. Africa might well be the source of your next investment opportunity, an innovative business model to adopt, or a new market to enter. Africa is experiencing a ‘youth bulge’, with 200 million people aged 15-24 years (a number that is projected to double by 2045). Combined with a drive towards urbanization, this source of human talent can power economies, drive innovation and become a vast market for goods and services. Examples of innovation are starting to sprout up in different parts of the African economy.

Take M-PESA for example, a payment solution from the Kenyan mobile telecom operator, Safaricom. This service has allowed 17 million consumers to go directly from having no access to banking, to a mobile payment and financial services solution. What started as a way to send other people money using text messages is now so ubiquitous that it is used for paying bills, disbursing salaries and for various banking products like loans and savings. In turn, the service has driven a host of start-up companies to piggyback on the platform, similar to how the iPhone drove development of app based businesses.

were clamoring to invest. Ironically, China is now a major investor in Africa, recently announcing a $60 billion loan and aid package. Just think what the second most populous continent might look like with shiny new cities, unburdened from legacy infrastructure, and powered by the latest products and services. The window of opportunity for building prosperity and peace in Africa has never been so wide open.

This mobile payments innovation was driven by the ‘leapfrog’ adoption of mobile phones, where landline phones were bypassed almost entirely in favor of mobile technology. Other leapfrog opportunities are emerging in sectors like healthcare, energy, transportation and higher education, to name a few. For these advances to take root, the world is going to have to lend a big hand, support the development of sustainable industries, encourage civil society and remove barriers to trade. Funding models for international development are moving toward public-private partnerships, and donor organizations are focusing more on innovative ideas for solving the continent’s many challenges. A nascent startup community is emerging across Africa, fueled by venture capital and private equity deals that are injecting much needed growth funding. It was not long ago that China was the vast, untapped opportunity where businesses

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..


Business Black Box Q3 2016


by Tressa Gardner


INDUSTRY’S NEW REALITY Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are big right now. Really big. TIME magazine’s editor recently explained their coverage by describing it as “a new frontier.” There was a VR/AR Experience at this year’s South by Southwest Conference in Austin, TX. Lockheed Martin’s Generation Beyond project has developed a VR-equipped school bus that transports children to Mars for the afternoon. The Martian, last summer’s blockbuster hit, is being made into a VR Experience. Samsung just shipped their one millionth GEAR VR headset. And you can convert a McDonald’s Happy Meal box into a VR headset, à la Google Cardboard. Sounds like you know what your kids will be clamoring for next December, but as a business person, why do you care? At the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT), we’re working with companies from many industry segments on the development of VR and AR simulations for a myriad of purposes and through multiple remarkably affordable platforms. Think about your on-boarding processes, such as employee orientation. Does your facility tour take three hours? And when it concludes, can your new hires find the cafeteria or their emergency evacuation route? VR doesn’t just exist on a headset; it will run on a laptop or your server. Employees and visitors can access a virtual tour of your facility, highlighting the buildings they need to access, and find the appropriate meeting place in an accident. Imagine immersing your firm’s control room operators in a virtual version of their everyday environment. Everything


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seems normal, and boring, until something cataclysmic happens. How do they respond? Examine the most difficult operations your employees perform. What if they could practice working on high voltage or other dangerous (or really expensive) equipment via a 3D holographic desktop unit? We can configure the simulation so that your employee is timed, or must complete the exercise in the exact order of operations, or both, to demonstrate competency.

I bought my GEAR VR headset last summer for $200; at Christmas you could get one for free with the purchase of Samsung cell phone, which powers the GEAR VR. Not every VR or AR platform is that inexpensive, but you’ll be amazed at what you can do.

Consider the competition for the best talent. How will you engage, recruit and retain the best and brightest, especially Millennials? We developed Augmented Reality (AR) apps for the automotive technology programs at FlorenceDarlington Technical College (FDTC) and Spartanburg Community College to help them lure high school students. We developed a VR simulation that allowed employees to train in a pharmaceutical production clean room before its construction was complete; and for a top tier supplier’s engineering team to demonstrate and receive approval on the process for manufacturing their company’s product for the end-user, before construction on the facility began. Virtual Reality allows automotive technicians to explore a running engine or transmission and nursing students to dissect bodies. Augmented Reality allowed FDTC’s Trustees to “see” a proposed facility on the exact spot where it will be built, but trees still stood, at the groundbreaking ceremony. It even allows readers to interact with print media, through added content and website links.

ABOUT TRESSA GARDNER Tressa Gardner is Associate VP of the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT), Florence, SC. Ms. Gardner connects business, industry, inventors and entrepreneurs to the advanced technical resources of the SiMT. Ms. Gardner received a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree from Francis Marion University and a Master of Arts in Economics from Clemson University. She served as Project Manager and Co-PI on numerous National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) and S-STEM grants to Florence-Darlington Technical College from 2003-2013, and joined the SiMT as Director of Business Development in 2013.



THRIVING FROM AN INTERSECTION OF QUALITY OF LIFE FACTORS By Reba Hull Campbell Since its early days, the City of Florence has been geographically perched at the intersection of progress. In the 1820s, it was a small township at the junction of three busy rail lines. Today, the city sits at the geographically important intersection of I-20 and I-95, roughly halfway between New York and Miami. These days, Florence is flourishing as the result of the intersection of more than just geography. A downtown resurgence, a thriving arts and culture scene, and a focus on quality of life are all important ingredients in Florence’s formula for success. A visitor taking a walk through Florence’s bustling downtown will find a growing mecca of dining, shopping and entertainment options. This resurgence downtown is due in large part to the city’s commitment to making sure the building blocks are in place so businesses want to be downtown and can thrive there. To encourage the downtown renaissance, the city has set in motion a number of incentives to boost investments including façade grants, a low interest loan pool, sign grants, design assistance, business license grants and a business incubator. As well, minimum maintenance requirements for businesses are helping keep the area clean and safe. Public infrastructure investments such as streetscapes, sidewalks and additional parking, along with water, sewer, and stormwater utility improvements have made downtown Florence a desirable location for both new and existing businesses. All of these upgrades mean commerce is bustling, and downtown events like Fridays after Five, the annual Pecan Festival and the farmer’s market are the place to be. But it’s not just dining, shopping and entertainment options that make downtown Florence a destination these days. Arts and culture also add to the city’s quality of life and play a key role in attracting locals and visitors alike. Many of the city’s arts and cultural assets exist because of financial support from the Doctors Bruce & Lee Foundation. From the expansive downtown library with six branches county-wide to a community health center, the Foundation has partnered with local governments and many other organizations since 1995 to grant more than $62 million to organizations that shore up the quality of life in the area. The Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center is one example of how the city and Francis Marion University partnered with the Foundation to bring the arts and art education downtown. Situated just steps from the new Hotel Florence and a variety of restaurants,

the Performing Arts Center is a 61,000 square foot facility includes a main stage and seating for more than 800 people plus an academic wing housing FMU’s fine arts program. The city’s focus on quality of life also extends to health and wellness through support of facilities, events and partnerships that give residents maximum opportunity to get outside, exercise and eat right. A soccer complex is under construction, as is a regional gymnasium and recreation facility. City leaders anticipate both to be completed in 2017, and both are funded from a combination of local government investment plus grants from the Doctors Bruce & Lee Foundation. Florence boasts an extensive 22-mile urban trail system that shows off the natural beauty and historic sites of the area while providing visitors and residents with a safe, attractive place to bike, run and walk. Part of the trail follows an old rail bed, while other segments meander through neighborhoods and connect city parks. Food is becoming a common thread that connects both consumers and the farmers in more and more cities these days. In Florence, the City Center Farmer’s Market is a focal point for improved community wellness and connectivity. The market runs Saturday mornings from April through October drawing vendors from all over the area, and creates a friendly gathering place downtown for the whole community. In addition, the city has plans in the works to establish a food corridor that will promote food and food-oriented businesses. Beyond access to healthy food, the city is also working to ensure all residents can get the health care services they need. The city partnered with HopeHealth, a federally qualified health center, to bring a community wellness center downtown on the site of a former junkyard. Funded through a combination of city and federal dollars coupled with a grant from the Doctors Bruce & Lee Foundation, the center sits a neighborhood where residents had long experienced chronic illness due to the lack of nearby affordable health care. This partnership recently won the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s annual award for public service. In addition to helping provide health care in underserved neighborhoods, the city has also taken on the challenge of making sure all Florence neighborhoods are healthy and safe places to live. Through a recently adopted Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy, the city is focusing on three target areas located in North, Northwest and East Florence with approximately $7 million dedicated toward infrastructure projects and more than $3 million for direct neighborhood reinvestment. While Florence’s geographic location is at a prime intersection in the southeast, it’s the intersection of quality of life factors that is driving the city’s renaissance.

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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Population as of 2013


Median household income



Tree City USA Designation from the Arbor Day Foundation for 36 Consecutive Years; 15 years Growth Award Recipient


Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) Achievement Award (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)


Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The City of Florence has been awarded this certificate for 18 consecutive years.

Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center was named 04 The South Carolina’s 2014 Member Facility of the Year by the USTA South Carolina Awards Committee


One of four communities in South Carolina to be recognized in The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Small City Economic Dynamism Index and awarded a score of “high” economic dynamism (2016)

by “Only In Your State” as Number 9 of 06 Recognized “These 25 Towns in South Carolina Have The Best Main Streets You Gotta Visit” (2015)


$12 million and 32 jobs added to the local economy by the Gould Business Incubator (2015).

Additive Manufacturing has assisted 22 South 08 SiMT’s Carolina medical development companies. (2013)


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by Sharon Day


DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE MEASURING STICK Recently I re-read a study conducted in 2012 by Harvard that was published on the Harvard Business Review Blog. According to that research, “one out of every two managers is terrible at accountability.” That statement struck them as counterintuitive— could the number really be that high? Unfortunately, four years later, I think the number may actually be higher.

disintegrate or the manager is labeled as ineffective.

Their study of 5,400-plus also revealed that “upper-level managers seem to be focused on securing their image and position and avoiding tough conversations. Instead they created and hid behind processes and procedures. As a result, however, their need to be keenly focused on productivity was replaced.”

It’s time to bring out your measuring stick. Define the key performance indicators that matter to your business. Know how you will track whether those are being met and share that information with your team. Then, put on your big-boy pants, grab your courage and hold everyone accountable for their strong or weak performance.

Why is this happening when we all know the behaviors of avoidance and redirecting never result in long-term health and growth?

Your team should not fear your measuring stick. Rather they should witness you referring to it with each member of the team on a regular basis. They will then come to trust it for being an indicator of how quickly you’ll attain desired results and with whom you will or won’t celebrate.

So should we take this to mean that 50 percent of managers aren’t intent on making sure their team is getting results? Could that be true? If results aren’t going to come from your team where else might they come from? Another factor cited in the study was ‘the growing number of employees who are not particularly open to critical feedback. Many managers have replaced the necessary controversy and conflict around what needs to get done and how to do it with politeness, political correctness and efforts to not offend’. I have yet to meet a passive-aggressive or codependent manager who was an effective long-term motivator. Their style may work in the short term but eventually their teams


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A team simply cannot consistently produce at high levels without the mutual respect that accountability provides. It’s more important that your team respect you than like you. First, work to prove why they should respect you. Hold them accountable.

Here’s why this is so important. Have you ever been on a team where some members don’t carry their weight and drag on the performance of others? Have you ever witnessed someone being placed on a pedestal and extended leniencies not offered to others? A word of caution: Allowing everyone to enjoy the benefits of group membership while some of them don’t have to make the necessary personal contributions is a recipe for longterm disaster. Group performance requires that someone play the role of sheriff and that can be a thankless job. After all, who wants to be

labeled the ‘bad guy?” The unfortunate consequence of not holding others accountable is that you create a culture of mediocrity that leads to lackluster performance overall. No business owner wants to settle for that. Accountability is not a dirty word; rather it’s the foundation for motivation. The team needs to know what you measure and both the positive and negative consequences of hitting or missing those marks. Only then will they be able to choose whether they want to step up or step out. When your team is convinced that your managers will hold their feet to the fire, they will begin performing and you will win.

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:


The renovated mills of Upstate South Carolina are also a reminder of where the South used to be, and a glimpse of where it is headed in the future.

Brandon mill, Greenville, SC


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Coming into downtown Greenville from Furman, you’ll cross over a bridge that lofts over train tracks. The painted blinds try—and fail—to hide a prominent view over the landscape of West Greenville—one dotted by water towers and smokestacks from the old mills of 20th Century Greenville, that serves as a reminder of the industry that once was.


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The shift away from textiles in the Upstate was long. Depending on the source, you can find mills that started closing in the ‘40s; those who held out longest saw their end somewhere in the ‘70s or ‘80s. But regardless of when each mill was shuttered, it left a gaping hole—not only due to the substantial physical footprints of buildings and villages, but also within a people who had lived and breathed within that small piece of the world. The city moved onwards, spreading out in the direction away from the old mills, and focused into the urban centers. Economic development focused on new construction and infill, leaving the hulls behind, alone and eventually people moved away. But the buildings remained, an empty reminder of what had been.

trends have elevated the industrial style found in many of these buildings, the true value goes far beyond design. For one, redevelopment of the spaces is long touted as being a waypost of sustainability, simply for the fact that many of the sturdy, brick frameworks are easily converted and reused. Surrounding neighborhoods are typically already pedestrian friendly and have a solid infrastructure to build upon. Add to it the financial opportunities, and there is a significant draw toward rehabilitating an old mill.

But in recent years, a boom in the rehabilitation of these sites—called “adaptive reuse,” in some circles—has given these sites new life. The mills themselves (if they were sturdy enough to withstand nature’s attention and man’s neglect) are finding new life.

“Mills often qualify for Historic Tax Credits and either Abandoned Building or Textile Mill credits, which makes the cost and effort to redevelop worthwhile,” says Donnie Love, a principal with architectural firm McMillan Pazdan Smith, who recently renovated Beaumont Mill in Spartanburg, which will soon house administrative staff for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Those credits can be significant—covering up to 25 percent of eligible rehabilitation expenses, in some cases.

There are, of course, economic reasons to rehabilitate old historic buildings. There is, of course, the fact that they have become increasingly popular for their brick walls, open pipes and large windows. But while recent design

Still, it’s important to remember that these projects are in no ways cheap. Many times, according to Love, the floors are not level and have elevation changes that must be addressed. Vertical access ways like stairs and elevators must

drayton mill, spartanburg, SC


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many times be added, and the simplistic, vast layout can produce challenges to designers or architects. In many cases, simply bringing the building up to to code—for accessibility, longevity, sustainability or safety—can be a daunting task, and the price tag usually reaches multiple millions of dollars. There are those, however, who choose to take that task head-on, and Pace Burt is one of them. Burt has become well known for his historically-centric reconstruction projects—rehabilitating historic buidings in Georgia, North Carolina and in both Greenville and Spartanburg in the Upstate. For Burt, the goal was to simply “reinvent the apartment market.” His foray into historic buildings (not simply mills, as he recently acquired Spartanburg’s Fremont School, as well) was simply something unique that he knew he could capitalize on. “It would be impossible from a cost standpoint to recreate these structures,” Burt says. “It really was a fun niche that I thought that I could capture and give the public something new.” In Spartanburg, Burt took on Arcadia Mill No. 1 and No.2—also called Mayfair Mill and Baily Mill, transforming the old, 1920s-era textile mills

into residential apartments. He replicated this in Greenville, transforming Monaghan Mill into the Lofts of Greenville, a 194-unit complex that spans more than 470,000 square feet. Burt then did the same with the Brandon Mill—once the workplace and home of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Around 95 percent of Burt’s holdings are multi-family structures. Like Love, Burt confirms that the surrounding community is just as important as the building itself, and he selects his locations based on the community and the surrounding market. Looking for historic sites in communities voted “Best Places to Live” or some such notoriety has served him well. But while the community the building is located in is important, creating community around the building is even more so. Known as a giver and a community builder, Burt has built a reputation not only on the rehabilitation of old buildings, but on the fueling of excitement and the nurturing of small businesses and organizations around him. Although Burt claims, “it’s easy to do when you have such large buildings,” the fact is that there are many examples of his generosity in the local communities. For one, he leases the old sorting building next to Brandon Hall


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to the Greenville Center for Creative Arts for a mere $1 a year, effectively helping the newly-founded organization get off the ground and foster arts education in the West Greenville community. In the plans for Brandon Mill itself, he noted that there was a vast space that would work well as co-work space, so he called local entrepreneur and founder of Mill Village Projects, Dan Weidenbenner, to co-manage the project, splitting the potential revenue with the group. Maya Movement arts, an aerial yoga studio, found a rent-free home in Monaghan Mill—something that Burt brushes off with a simplistic “it’s good for the tenants.” He’s not wrong in that assessment, either. It’s been long proven that adaptive reuse—and design done right—can serve as a monumental catalyst in communities. With parks, lakes, restaurants, breweries, film screening rooms, studio space, work space, dog facilities and game rooms, Burt has found opportunity in the wide open space and wide open framework of old mill buildings. After all, he says, “at some point you have to draw the lines as to how many people you want to put in apartments.” In the end, renovating our old mills is not just wonderful in terms of economic development. It’s serving as a catalyst for a new way of life, taking note of the communities of the past and recreating them for the future. The histories of the buildings have served to create a new future for new generations, and hopefully preserve a whisper of the past in their large brick facades. It’s not just about redevelopment of these communities—it’s about building community as a focus. Sometimes, as in the case of West Greenville, it’s a community surrounded by independent artists. In other cases, it’s as simple as giving the same history to the same people. “Of course it’s about creating communities,” says Burt. “It’s about giving back, but it’s also about creating the energy among people who don’t even live there but are maybe just passing through.”

monaghan mill, Greenville, SC


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was once home to a sprawling campus that began in 1890 by Captain John Montgomery. Focused on textiles, the mill closed in 2001 after serving as Spartan International’s headquarters. While the building itself is long gone, the space was renovated to house the campus of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, or VCOM. The one remaining remnant of the past was the smokestack. According to Donnie Love with McMillan Pazdan Smith, who oversaw the design of the new building, the preservation of the smokestack, was important. “The smokestack was an iconic symbol of the site’s mill heritage and the college wanted to preserve it as a historical feature that paid homage to the surrounding neighborhood. It also helps identify the site from a distance.”

One of the Upstate’s first true cases of adaptive reuse, the Huguenot Mill was, like so many others, in the cotton industry. Surrounding buildings comprised what may have been Greenville’s first Industrial Complex, including the Coach Factory’s Paint Shop (now Wyche Pavilion) and the Blacksmith Shop (now Larkins). The complex was a leading manufacturer of coaches and carriages from its beginnings in 1835 until the Civil War, which effectively bankrupted the company. Today, the mill and its surroundings serve primarily as event space.

Community Revitalization isn’t limited to mills themselves. The entire economy of the textile South is up for grabs—from sorting rooms to suppliers and even the neighborhoods of the workers themselves. In Greenville, the old Steel Heddle mill on McBee Ave, which served to make heddles—small metal pieces that aided in the weaving of fabric from the many cotton mills around—functioned until the 1950s, then shuttered. It soon was transformed into a college, and most recently, into the Park Sterling corporate headquarters.

Today it’s Taylors Mill, but back then it was Southern Bleachery—a functional arm of the cotton industry. Comprised of 827,000 feet of interior space, the mill operated between 1924 and 1965. Over the past few years, the local community has championed the renovation of the mill, and it now is home to businesses like 13 Stripes Brewery, Due South Coffee, and the Taylors Farmer’s Market, to name just a few.


by Anna Locke


LET’S PLAY “MONEYBALL!” In 2002 the Oakland Athletics faced a tough task—to build a baseball team capable of delivering the club well into the post-season against franchises with monumentally larger budgets. The 2011 movie Moneyball documents the Athletics’ key management individuals as they began to rebuild and rewire. The key wasn’t to get the biggest names with the biggest salaries; it was to approach the data in a way none of their competitors were. Every piece of data tells a story, and more importantly, all of the data tells a different story. How businesses build their team to interpret data has a significant impact on access to information to drive the decisionmaking process. The “Moneyball” approach of building for data focus also works :

What sets of data are undervalued? Or overvalued?

Many times a focus on a particular set of data began as a good idea ten or fifteen years ago. How much has the world changed since the original timeframe?

Apply external input for the new insight. Internal associates can often be so emotionally attached to the status quo that they can hinder progress toward mobilizing change.

Think differently. While it can be easier to just maintain the processes—where receipts come

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Focus on team member strengths that add to the team. There is an inherent temptation to add the ‘sexy’ star player to your business, but you may need a gritty, always-round-outa-ground-ball type of player who gets the work done.

Think about gaps in overall team strength. Hiring one person gets you one skill set, but hiring a team of experienced providers helps add depth to the bench in a wide variety of areas for a fraction of the cost.

owners start guessing and making shots in the dark, the situation needs to and increasingly, can be analyzed.


Use the data at hand to isolate the symptoms from actual problems so management can focus intently on solving the underlying issues.


in, invoices go out and taxes are prepared—looking at the complete picture of your company’s health and performance allows decision makers to take it to the next level.

Increasingly, businesses are turning to outsourced accounting firms with teams of highly trained and specialized accountants to help them think outside the box by providing the high-level analysis and critical information necessary to gain an ‘unfair’ advantage. Just like in baseball, if you want to win, you can either outspend or outwit the competition. Much like the changing world of data management and interpretation, competition no longer takes the shape of a competitor in your industry. There are too many challenges that threaten the success of a business to only focus on market share and how you stack up to the guy across the street. We’ve seen demands from customers have a drastic effect on business performance, not always to the positive. Imagine that, the source of sales is the source of problems! Before business

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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Photo by Kevin Anderson/FishEye Studios


DONKOONCE By Jordana Megonigal

When Don Koonce moved to the Upstate, his passion for history and storytelling led him to dig into the textile heritage of the South. In the end, it took an outsider to tell the Upstate the story of its own history. It was in 1975 when Don Koonce first came to Greenville. And when he drove in for the first time, he came in through West Greenville. “I made the mistake of getting off of I-85 and coming through West Greenville, and I thought, ‘Dear God, what have I done?’ Because of course, West Greenville was boarded up,” remembers Koonce. Fortunately, he decided to stay. “I was going to turn around and go back but everybody was so friendly that I decided to continue on.” Little did Koonce know then what part West Greenville would play into his life in the future. A Citadel graduate and Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Navy, Koonce had already maintained an established career in the publishing world, having served as an editor of Georgiabased Georgia Magazine. In the ‘70s he led creative for Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, producing the “Peanuts” films; that foray into film soon steered Koonce into a career developing videos and films for organizations of all types—from the National Park Service to NASA. Then, in 1975, Koonce found himself working on the project that first brought the USS Yorktown to Patriot’s Point in Charleston. So at least initially, Koonce had arrived in Greenville, coming to the design firm Group 4, with a plan to stay for “maybe a year” and then return to Georgia. That “maybe a year” turned into a few, and eventually stuck. (Today, Koonce is one of the most prominent business leaders in the Upstate


area, from his involvement with Upstate Warriors Solution to Greenville Rotary, the St. Andrew’s Society, and the arts and historical communities in Greenville.) Koonce has always thrived on storytelling, and with an inherent love for research began to dig into the area. But even outside of creative projects in his career, he was looking for more. In fact, it was a meeting with a local Chamber board member that led him into a life’s work—to identify and retell the Upstate’s history. “I asked them to tell me a little bit of the history of Greenville,” Koonce says. “And he tells me, ‘There’s no history here, it’s just an old mill town.’ And I thought, ‘There’s got to be more to it than that.’” He couldn’t have been closer to the truth. A journalist by trade and a researcher by nature, Koonce began to learn the stories of the region. He first met with Furman professor of history AV Huff, who gave Koonce the cornerstones of information on the area. Then, when no one could give him a map of all the mills of the area, Koonce did it himself. It took almost two years to map what he calls the “Textile Crescent,” because he’d find a mill, go back and research it, and then go out to find the next one. In this process, he located 18 mills in the Western part of Greenville—13 of which still exist. Today, he gives tours of the area, both personally and through the Upcountry History Museum—primarily to educate people on the needs of those same communities today.

Interested on taking a tour of the Textile Crescent? Call the Upcountry History Museum to save a seat on the next bus tour at (864) 467-3100.

“The reason I started doing the tours is because we have 5,000 mill homes out there, many of which are in poverty because they’ve been ignored, because when the big mills took over, most of the mills sold their villages to realtors who divided them up and sold to slumlords,” Koonce says. “There are so many houses out there that need help and we need to raise the bar.” Although his love for history is clear—Koonce serves on the boards of the South Carolina Historical Society, the Historic Greenville Foundation and the Greenville County Historical Society—his love for research has led him into other topics virtually unexplored by others. “I like researching things that nobody knew about,” he says, and many of those topics intersect with his own life values. “I did a paper on Japanese balloon bombs in WWII, I did a paper on the Scottish clearances (the forced displacement of many Scots in the 18th and 19th centuries). I love to research things I don’t know about.” Koonces love for research and history has had huge payoffs—but for no one to the extent that it has had for the Upstate. As a primary source of information on our own textile mill history, Koonce has an energy like no one else when it comes to the communities of West Greenville. And that energy—like the history of Greenville—won’t likely change anytime soon. “The history will still be here,” he says. “It’s not going anywhere.”


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by Leslie Hayes


DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? I have horrible vision. If I tried to drive without glasses or contacts, I could probably keep the car on the road at 15 miles per hour, but I still might hit something. It’s amazing how simply wearing glasses gets me down the same road four times faster and accident free! Last quarter, I mentioned lack of vision as one of the critical factors impacting employee engagement. I know you answered those questions and have 20/20 clarity on where you are trying to go this year. My question to you now is are you communicating that vision? Here are four areas to check: Compensation. You know the adage— people will do what you pay them to do, but are you paying them to do what you want? Last year we discussed revisiting your pay bands to address upcoming changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act; however, when communicating vision, it is critical to tie rewards explicitly to behaviors that fulfill the vision. For example, do you value collaboration and teamwork but provide only individual raises and bonuses? Besides base pay, what are the other rewards in your organization? How do these rewards tie to results? Policies. When is the last time you revised your handbook? For legal reasons, you need to review certain policies annually— but have you looked at your conduct or performance policies lately? Are they clear, concise and aligned with your vision? Policies don’t need a lot of words— they need the words that are there to be clear and meaningful. For example, if you



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value honesty, you do not need 100 words on integrity. Instead, you can say, “Do not lie, cover up, evade or ‘fudge’ the truth. Ever.” That’s pretty clear, right? Feedback. Excellent coaches have one thing in common: they stop a player the minute they do something incorrectly, show them how to do it correctly, and have them practice it several times.1 Contrast this with the workplace. Typically, we provide instruction manuals or training courses, turn the employees loose on the process and only follow up when something goes wrong—or provide a “once-a-year, needit-or-not appraisal” that is, at best, neutral at motivation. Or, even worse, we provide no direction and force employees to figure it out as they go along—only to criticize when the work doesn’t match our vaguelydefined expectations. Behavior. Does your management team talk openly and repeatedly about the vision? Have they personalized it to their functional areas and are they demonstrating results that support it? Do you see discretionary effort? New ideas? Openness to mistakes? Sharing of credit? As a leader, do you “shoot the messenger” when you receive bad news or openly thank the individual for bringing the information forward so that it can be addressed? Want to go faster than 15 miles per hour? Look at your organization through some new lenses and make sure you are enacting and communicating the vision you want your team to see.

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.


The Greenville Chamber exists to develop a globally competitive Upstate economy where businesses succeed and people prosper. We connect, convene and mobilize the business community to drive regional economic growth. If you’re in business, you have a partner in us.


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It’s not hard to see that entrepreneurism is alive and well in Greenville. Our ecosystem is thriving and because of that—in large part—the community around it flourishes as well. But where did this spirit of entrepreneurism and collaboration come from? Is it something that just took hold in the last 20 to 30 years? Or do its roots extend all the way back to the founding of Greenville and in its first major industry—textiles?

by Josh Overstreet


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Sampson OSCAR





The Upcountry History Museum — The Furman University’s Wilson Collection

Greenville County Historical Society (GCHS)


NO. 1

success GCHS


1876 Camperdown No. 2 built



1775–1864 Vardy McBee becomes a key donor & investor in Greenville.










Alexander McBee heads up Conestee Mill & starts a spinning operation.

Camperdown Mills Cotton thread operation powered by Reedy River Falls.

THE MAN WHO STARTED IT ALL Greenville can trace its central foundation to three men—Richard Pearis, Lemuel Alston, and Vardy McBee—but McBee is usually looked at as the most vital in the establishment of Greenville. “He understood community building, and he encouraged Greenville growth,” according to the City of Greenville’s article “The History of Greenville.” McBee gave land for the first area schools, churches, a brickyard, a rock quarry, grits mills, a tannery and a general store. He, along with Joel Poinsett, was one of of the original investors in the Greenville and Columbia Railroad. He also built a grain mill at the Reedy River Falls and came to own the Conestee Mill, a saw and grist mill, whose operation McBee turned over to his son, Alexander.

According to Koonce, Alexander began a spinning operation at the mill and sold the spun cotton to Northern textile companies. Vardry McBee sold Conestee Mill later in his life around 1852 and Alexander took over the grain mill operation and also started a spinning operation in that mill. In 1872, a fire in Boston would send Oscar H. Sampson and George Hall south looking for potential sites to open textile mills. They leased the saw mill from Alexander to start a cotton thread operation powered by Reedy River Falls. The operation would become Camperdown Mills and by 1876, the mill was so successful, they built another, larger mill on the other side of the Falls, known as Camperdown No. 2.

“He built the saw mill and then he turned Conestee over to his son,” says Don Koonce, creative director of Fern Creek Creative and local historian. “Alexander didn’t want the job but he had to.”


After being moved from downtown, Textile Hall opened in October of 1964 on Pleasantburg Drive and is now known as the TD Convention Center.


Business Black Box Q3 2016





L.H .B eije n

r e b m a h C omf erce Com









Marshall Williams



Robert Duke






Late 1880’s– Early 1900’s Entreprenurs work together to build a textile empire.








Early 1900’s

Smyth builds Dunean Mill, an innovative mill with electricity & humidifier.

Tom & Louis Parker build mills; help establish the first public library and a hospital.

THE TEXTILE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD “A lot of these cotton men, weren’t cotton men, they were entrepreneurs who thought the textile industry was a good idea,” says Koonce. “They all got together and decided to build an empire.” After the two Camperdowns were built, several more started popping up all over the Greenville area. Mills Mill, Poe Mill, Brandon Mill, and American Spinning, to name a few—all owned by forward thinking entrepreneurs. “There were some key players who decided to make this venture profitable and to build the town,” says Koonce. “People like Ellison Adger Smyth.” From Pelzer and the pioneer behind Pelzer Mills, Smyth came to Greenville and built Dunean Mill, which, for its time was incredibly innovative. According to Dr. Marshall Williams in his article “I Love my Heritage...God, Family and Country, and Dunean Dynamos,” Dunean Mill ran well because of its steady electrical supply, humidifier and the use of electric, incandescent lighting. “Prior to the establishment and widespread success of Dunean Mills, the impression prevailed in textile circles that Southern mill folk


Business Black Box Q3 2016

could not make the fine-grade cotton goods such as had been manufactured only in New England for years,” says Williams. It wasn’t just that they were building mills and villages; these entrepreneurs built lasting pieces of the community as well. Tom and Louis Parker, cousins, built Victor Mill in Greer, S.C. and also Monaghan Mill in Greenville. According to Koonce, the Parkers were responsible for the establishment of the first public library in Greenville as well as the Salvation Army hospital that would eventually become Bon Secours St. Francis. The Board of Trade and Cotton Exchange was founded by several of the cotton men—most notable William Beaty and Otis Mills—as a way to regulate the local industry and promote it to the world. This was the foundation of the modern Chamber of Commerce. “They truly started the concept—not by name—of this whole public-private partnership idea, which is why Greenville is where it is today,” says Koonce. “I think Greenville, from the very beginning, understood the concept.”




REINVENTION But as everyone knows, the textile industry—as least as it was then—declined in Greenville by the 1970s, leaving a clear and tangible legacy of entrepreneurship, collaboration and innovation that helped weather the decline of the textile industry. With the decline of the textile industry, Greenville began turning its sights on developing away from West Greenville. “When the textile industry was in decline, the city turned its back on the area, but now we are going back,” says Koonce. This turnaround happened in the early 1980s. According the “The History of Greenville,” Mayor Max Heller, along with Buck Mickel and Tommy Wyche, local businessmen, worked in partnership with the government and private industry to build the Hyatt Regency, which most in Greenville will point to as a signal of downtown’s renewal.

“Greenville, it is a business town,” says Koonce. “I don’t care how many tourists come here, it is still a business town and that was established early on.” Besides textiles, Greenville has been the home to many industries that helped it endure and reinvent itself such as colleges, like Furman, military installments like the Donaldson Air Force Base, automotive manufacturing like BMW and Michelin, downtown redevelopment and various other cutting edge tech industries. “Entrepreneurial endeavors permeate throughout our economy— in real estate, retail, advanced manufacturing and biomedical, retail, restaurants—the list goes on,” says Nancy Whitworth, director of economic development for the city of Greenville. “It is this fundamental belief in Greenville that we can control our own destiny that causes our economy to prosper.”


Another clear example of this partnership is Fluor Field, opened in 2006, which the city and the Greenville Drive organization partnered together to build to great success.






1958 Furman moves out of downtown.


Downtown revival starts with the building of the Hyatt Regency.








The Total Development Campaign encourages retailers to move back downtown Greenville.



Mickel BUCK








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n w o r u o l contro d est i n y








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THE NEXT STEP If there is one modern entity that embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship that the early textile leaders established, it is the NEXT Innovation Center. Formed in 2006 by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, it was the culmination of two to three years of work and community effort to create an entity to support the local entrepreneurs. “It was a group of folks around the community who were working on entrepreneurship and the importance of entrepreneurship on economic development—not just as a good thing to support small business but as something to support for long term economic BRANDON health,” says John Moore, president and CEO of NEXT.


Moore, along with NEXT vice president Brenda Laakso, were there on day one with a group of eight entrepreneurs and asked a very basic question: “What do you need?”

MILLS MILL One of the first and simplest things they mentioned was just knowing who to call or what connections to make, according to Moore. “One of the first things requested was needing somebody to call, to email,” says Moore. “They might have problems with governments or zoning. Little software companies sometimes do not know who to call.” Moore says he handles roughly 10 of those calls a week and they MILLIKEN range from simple email replies to two-month projects. “We try and show them the same level as we would a major employer because we know the number one driver in economic success is to make sure they are plugged in and connected,” says Moore.

From there, the need for facilities became apparent leading to the NEXT Innovation Center on University Ridge and most recently, NEXT on Main in the Bank of America Building, both providing BMW workspace for entrepreneurs and startups. From 2006 to now, NEXT has been responsible for helping foster the creative entrepreneur and startup ecosystem that has always been apart of Greenville’s DNA and the continues to impact the local community. “Look at Methodical Coffee as a model. Without the entrepreneur and creative scene, you wouldn’t have MethodicalTAYLORS Coffee in downtown,” says Moore. “You wouldn’t have Iron Yard sponsoring MILL things at the Drive stadium.” Several companies that have come from NEXT have made huge splashes of success, such as Selah Genomics and ChartSpan, with the latter announcing recently an expansion to 2 North Main Street and the creation of 300 jobs. According to Moore, while we aren’t a major capital for innovation like Greenville was with textiles, the signs are their showing a lot of health and potential, such as the healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that NEXT has encouraged and other companies who, according to Moore, “are getting it done,” like ChartSpan, Condrey, Boyd Cycling, Zipit Wireless and many others.



“My point is we are still very early and the examples I am giving are early indicators,” says Moore. “I think we can be more impactful than people think.”

Then the need of investors was addressed with the forming of a local angel network, The Upstate Carolina Angel Network.









Peace Center is built and celebrates its inaugural season.

Fluor Field opens. NEXT Innovation center is formed.






“I think that Greenville’s penchant for entrepreneurial ventures have been evident throughout its history—from the early mills that began on the banks of the Reedy to the technologically advanced companies that are starting now,” says Whitworth. It hasSELAH only really been in recent years that the history of Greenville as a textile empire has started to make it into the public conscience. GENOMICS The renewal efforts you are seeing on old properties like Mills Mill, Brandon Mill and the Greenville Creative Arts Center, Monaghan Mill, the Peace Center and the community renewal movements

such as Taylors Mill and the Village of West Greenville that are being led by artists, entrepreneurs and community builders are hard not to notice. And while technological, biomedical and automotive are the big industries right now for Greenville and the Upstate, the textiles haven’t completely left us. Instead, the companies that are left have innovated and adapted to new markets, such as Milliken, Kentwool, and even Alice Manufacturing, who runs under the descendant of Ellison Adger Smyth, Smyth McKissick III.



Business Black Box Q3 2016


by Andrew Kurtz


THE SILENT COST OF YOUR LEGACY SYSTEMS To replace or not to replace? It’s an age-old business dilemma, but the criteria for the decision have changed significantly. As with most business decisions, the choice to love or leave your legacy system often boils down to ROI, a simple costbenefits analysis, which can be difficult to calculate. You know intuitively that your old systems are slowing you down, but how much? And will the benefits of replacing your legacy systems really outweigh the cost and the hassle of learning something new - isn’t it better to stay with the enemy you know? Of course, I’m in the business of helping business owners make the most of their applications, learning to see their data systems as their best friends and secret weapons rather than their enemy. When I encounter clients who are considering replacing their legacy systems, I try to help them build the ROI case either for or against the replacement. Is the system missioncritical? Who are the vendors or support staff available to maintain the system? In certain scenarios, waiting too long to update can be a huge, costly and critical mistake. Some systems we evaluate drive critical business processes that produce revenue for the company. In other scenarios, the ROI is not as obvious. In these cases, you truly want to understand the possible effects of a new or updated system. In addition to the usual suspects of efficiencies and expected advantages your business will gain, there’s another strong business case for replacement that many decision-makers overlook—the cost of recruiting and retention of top-tier talent.


Business Black Box Q3 2016

You’ll Attract What You Are When I consult with CEO’s and entrepreneurs who want to maintain their legacy systems, I ask them to consider how they look as a company and as a team, compared to the world in which their talent pool is used to functioning. I ask them to think about their culture and their work environment, including their virtual work environment. Think about these things from the outside, rather than the inside. If they were out looking for a job right now, would they apply at the company they founded? More to the point, would their kids or their grandkids apply at their company? The truth is, you get what you are. If you make an honest assessment of your work environment and conclude that it isn’t attractive to a rising workforce, then the chances are your competitors are winning on recruiting top talent because they are doing a better job at mirroring the very world their talent is used to - a world that gives them at-their-fingertips access to data, on demand solutions, more options, more control, and more power to make decisions on the fly. Our generation has done a top-notch job creating leading-edge consumer-facing applications. We’ve poured research and development dollars into building better, faster applications that challenge the way people think about and react to our brands. It’s no wonder that the new working generation expects to be able to live, work, and make decisions on the go. We have conditioned ourselves to instant access to information and the ability to make changes from anywhere - from the line

floor to sitting by the pool on vacation. If we want our people to give their personal time to the company, we need to make it easy. Picture this. Your bright, promising new team members live in a world where they can order and pay for their favorite take-out with one click on a mobile app, press a button on their screen when they arrive at the restaurant, and expect someone to bring their order to their car window, greeting and thanking them by name. They live in a world where they can open an application on their phone to catch a strain of new music at the coffeeshop, and their phone will tell them the name of the song, the name of the artist, and where they can buy it. They live in a world where automation is a given, where everything is connected, and where a lot of the minor details of life take care of themselves. And then, they show up for work, where nothing or very little is connected. Where they have to enter data from three different reporting systems into a main database, and they have to walk down to the warehouse to count and enter inventory by hand. You can dismiss these as trivial concerns, and you can dismiss this generation as naive or entitled, but neither is true. This is simply the world they have always lived in. Instead of dismissing it, wouldn’t it be better to invest some of your research and development dollars giving your employees the same impression of your company, the same user-experience, as you give your customers? If not, you are not likely to attract the top talent in your field.

You’ll Lose What You’re Not Make no mistake, your virtual work environment is your work environment. Having user-friendly, mobile, up-to-date software solutions for your employees is the modern equivalent of providing good air quality, ergonomic chairs, and well-lit break rooms with good coffee machines. If the workplace conditions at your company are not conducive to efficient, productive, fulfilling work days, you will lose your top talent. How much does your company invest in its top employees? What would be the effect if you lost one person in a key position every year? Every quarter? It doesn’t take too many retention problems of your top talent before becoming a significant factor in your upgrade decision. On the one hand, it’s easy to understand why otherwise leading-edge companies hang onto their legacy systems for too long. By their very definition, legacy systems, though threatening to become obsolete, are business-critical, vital to the normal functioning of the organization. Replacing

legacy systems may take a lot of time and resources. Also, upgrading any businesscritical system can involve significant risk. What if you don’t move all of the data over correctly? What if training on a new system negatively affects productivity? In my experience, however, it’s a much larger risk, with much greater potential consequences, to wait too long to replace outdated software systems. When you phase out your legacy systems, not only will your business be better situated to attract and retain top talent, you’ll also boost efficiency through greater automation and boost productivity through greater autonomy. We have moved into a world where tasks that don’t require judgment are increasingly becoming automated. When you’re looking at where opportunities lie for efficiency improvements, any task that doesn’t require judgment should be on the list. Meanwhile, the most productive companies are giving their team members more autonomy, or more decision-making power, over tasks that do require judgment, with significant positive results. Updating your critical business systems can

accomplish both goals at once, freeing up your employees from tasks that should be automatic and giving them more control over how they work. The last couple decades working with a large variety of organizations in varying industries has helped our team identify a few critical issues all organizations should consider when evaluating legacy systems that have major impact on efficiency and profitably. The last couple decades working with a large variety of organizations in varying industries has helped our team identify a few critical issues all organizations should consider when evaluating legacy systems that have major impact on efficiency and profitably, and we’ve got those outlined in much more detail at ABOUT ANDREW KURTZ Andrew Kurtz is the president of Kopis (formerly ProActive Technology), which has been serving Greenville, SC with custom software development solutions since 1999. Andy and his team are experts in business intelligence, custom software development, SharePoint development, database administration, mobile app development, and much more.


Business Black Box Q3 2016



Business Black Box Q3 2016

Photo by Kevin Anderson/FishEye Studios



Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. For Emilie Whitaker that problem was the inability to find a pair of designer jeans with a perfect fit. The solution became Beija-Flor, an apparel company, founded with her mother to craft a designer jean that would not only fit women well, but make them feel beautiful.

While living in Washington D.C. and working in marketing for a research firm, Emilie Whitaker decided to go hunting for the perfect pair of designer jeans. “I was earning money, so I was going to buy my first pair of designer jeans and went to the stores, everything from department stores to boutiques,” said Whitaker. “It was really apparent to me that nobody was designing jeans for my body type. Things were either super low-rise or super highrise. It was just a frustrating experience.” Around the same time, Whitaker’s mother and co-founder of Beija-Flor, Kathy Moça, was in Brazil researching how to bring other products into the U.S. market. Moça bought a pair of jeans for Whitaker as a gift. “These jeans were awesome; they weren’t perfect, but between my sister and my friend Katherine and I, they fit well, but in different ways for each of us,” says Whitaker. Whitaker and Moça soon toured Brazil. One of the factories they discovered there was using very innovative technology in their denim fibers, fibers that have better recovery from stretching, which, according to Whitaker, you don’t see that from a lot of American and Chinese denims which are 98 percent cotton. “A lot of the things that were frustrating about the denim market here were because of the lack of technological fibers,” says Whitaker. “The Brazilians have a way of being innovative in how they approach things. They don’t just do things because that’s the way they have been done.”


With her mother’s sales and distribution background, they quickly found a factory and began making jeans. “We basically focused on this jean idea and what made this work and what could be improved on,” says Whitaker. “I was our fit model and I was a size eight, typically a fit model is a size two. That gave us a big advantage—we were representing more of an everyday woman.” Soon, Beija-Flor—Portuguese for hummingbird and literally meaning “to kiss a flower”— was born. According to Whitaker, the name was chosen for two reasons: one, it is the state bird from Espirito Santo, Brazil where Whitaker’s father was from; and secondly, the hummingbird travels between the Americas, like Beija-Flor bringing Brazilian denim to an American market. “We had a lot of success early on; we got a lot of good press that helped get our name out there,” says Whitaker. “We grew into a place where we were comfortable with expansion.” After a series of trunk shows at Bloomingdale’s last fall, Beija-Flor will now be carried in Bloomingdale’s, but Emilie knew she had succeeded when seeing a complete stranger wearing her jeans. “When you see a woman who looks good in something you made, that made it full circle for me,” she says.

jeans that have crystals in the fabric that use the body’s own energy to generate heat. These also had the interesting side effect of smoothing skin. “Normally a smoothing skin thing is a cream or medical treatment, but this is a beauty product in the pants,” says Whitaker. “We are the first American jeans company to have it and everybody will be behind us. For Whitaker, being a small company outside of the main clothing centers of New York and Los Angeles is a distinct advantage and also a quality of life advantage for her and her family. As a small company in a very competitive world, we have to have differentiators,” says Whitaker. “Greenville really backs its entrepreneurs. We feel like we are part of helping Greenville too. We have people who come from Atlanta/Charlotte and come to our store. We like the entrepreneurial spirit going on here.” Still, according to Whitaker, the customer is the most important part of her business. “The plan is to continue to listen to the customer,” says Whitaker. “That might be in tops or that might be in accessories—it all depends but it would have to come from our customer because if it comes from our own desire, it doesn’t have as good a chance of success.”

Now, Beija-Flor aims to be the most innovative jean maker in the industry with products such as jeans made from fabric that is 30 percent recycled water bottles, to

Jeans are named for the Italian city, Genoa, where cotton corduroy was manufactured and called jean or jeane.


Business Black Box Q3 2016


by Reed Wilson


THE DATA THREAT ALREADY INSIDE YOUR BUSINESS One of the most prevalent misconceptions about data security—especially among small business owners—is that they don’t need to worry about data security because they won’t be a target. Unfortunately, this isn’t true and could cost you. According to the 2016 Symantec Threat Report, cyber-attacks targeting small businesses—fewer than 250 employees—have been steadily increasing over the past five years, with 43 percent of all attacks targeted at small businesses. The average cost of a data breach? $223 per record in the U.S., according to a recent study done by the Ponemon Institute. If you lose the records for just 20 customers, you’re looking at more than $4000 on average just to recover—and that’s not to mention a damaged reputation. Your biggest cause for concern, though, isn’t outside attackers—it’s your employees. The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) found that 30 percent of data breaches in 2015 were caused by employees—and that more than 90 percent could’ve been prevented by keeping equipment up to date, encrypting data and just making sure employees don’t lose their laptops (or taking preventative measures in case they do). This typically isn’t the work of disgruntled employees trying to get revenge (though that is a real concern that should be addressed in your security policies). It’s simply a lack of training around data security and human error. All it takes is one person clicking on a bad link or responding to a malicious email they think is legitimate for your entire company to be compromised.


Business Black Box Q3 2016

Cyber criminals know this and use it to their advantage. Phishing attacks—email attacks aimed at tricking someone into clicking on a malicious link or sending money or sensitive data to attackers— continue to grow in popularity. Spear phishing attacks—attacks specifically targeted at your company, like someone posing as a high-level employee at your company requesting a lower level employee wire them money or send payroll files—increased 55 percent in 2015, according to Symantec. Your employees can be your biggest data security weakness. With training and the right tools in place, they can also be your first line of defense. Training should be your top priority when putting together a data security plan. The best equipment in the world isn’t going to catch everything and your team needs to know what to look out for when something does slip through. All employees should be trained on data security best practices (what to do, what not to do and the warning signs to look for) and the data security measures specific to your company and industry. We advise our customers to make this part of their new hire orientation and to regularly update your training and retrain your employees as threats evolve. You can also set employees up for success by having the right tools in place and keeping them up to date. While they aren’t going to catch every single thing, what the right tools can do is limit the number of malicious attacks getting in, and help you get back up and running if your network gets infected.

The most important tool for keeping malicious traffic out is a firewall with antivirus, website blocking, encrypted and unencrypted traffic inspection. Just as important as having a firewall is keeping it up to date. A firewall that hasn’t been updated in two years isn’t doing much good to protect you from the latest threats. The other tool we recommend to all customers is backups. The best option— cloud based or physical backups—will vary by company but the key is that your backups are off-site and not connected to your main network—and updated regularly! This is the only way to ensure you can get your files back in the event you get infected with ransomware or something happens to your office. It’s only a matter of time before cyber criminals make you a target—in fact, it’s likely that you have been already. Your employees can be your biggest weakness when it comes to data security, or they can be your first line of defense. Arm them with the tools and the knowledge to stay safe and your company stands a much, much better chance of coming out of it unharmed.

ABOUT REED WILSON Reed Wilson is the founder and CEO of PTG, an outsourced IT company and Microsoft Partner organization. PTG focuses helps customers manage their technology needs and securely access their information, no matter where they are. They’ve were named a Microsoft Southeast Region Cloud Partner of the Year in 2013 and 2015 and voted as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina for the past three years.



by Doug Lineberry


SECURING INVESTORS BY USING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Entrepreneurs are no strangers to adversity; three out of four new businesses fail. One critical reason they fail: lack of financing. One advantage for obtaining financing is strong Intellectual Property (IP). IP assets, (i.e., patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights), signal to investors a business is more likely than less IP-rich competitors to have a competitive advantage and more likely to succeed. Businesses should implement a strong IP strategy starting at day zero. While businesses may hesitate to invest in IP given its high costs, the results speak for themselves: • Patents attract investors; • Patents prompt faster investment; • Patents increase investment amounts; • Granted patents have more value than patent applications; • Larger patent portfolios attract prominent investors; • Strong IP receives more financing rounds; and • Strong IP has a lower probability of bankruptcy and a higher probability of successful exit. A World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) white paper explains the criticality of IP to investment—IP forms the basis for a significant portion of investments. Having patents increases the likelihood entrepreneurs will receive initial financing. Since the quality of early-stage businesses often cannot be observed directly, determining the commercial promise and value of nascent technologies can be difficult, particularly for investors looking at the business from outside. Patents signal

business quality and positively influence investors’ perceptions.

or trademark search, that no such risks exist or are limited in scope.

Mark Lemley, Director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology, recommends businesses—especially startups—obtain patents as a financing tool. Investors use patents as “evidence that the company is well managed, is at a certain stage in development, and has defined and carved out a market niche.”

Business also need to appreciate that certain IP must not be registered or made publicly known. Indeed, this IP’s value stems from remaining secret. Confidential business information—e.g., production details, pricing, technical know-how—may be the source of a business’ competitive advantage. It is critical that investors are informed when a business has proprietary business information—known as Trade Secrets. Paramount to this is that “reasonable steps” (a case law derived term) protect Trade Secrets from employees and competitors. Indeed, business plans should be considered Trade Secrets and disclosed only on a ‘need-to-know basis,’ and then only after the employee, investor, or third party has first signed a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement.

Importantly, obtaining IP allows a business to “put its money where its mouth is.” All entrepreneurs describe their technology as innovative, unique, and superior to their competitors. Entrepreneurs, however, must prove this to investors: a patent, or the results of a reliable patent search, may be the best proof available. Further, proposed trade names, trademarks, and domain names should be carefully selected and registration underway when entertaining investors. While technology is an obvious boon to any business, be wary of the bogus belief that having access to the technology means you are free to exploit it. A penultimate issue evaluated by investors is ownership of IP. IP ownership issues must be very clearly defined, especially if an inventor is doing research at a university or other institution. Another prominent concern is assuring investors that a business’ technology is not relying, without authorization, on others’ patents, trade secrets, copyrighted materials, etc. Infringement litigation will kill any new business. Businesses need to show their technology is free and clear of encumbrances, by proving through a patent

When deciding to invest in a company, investors evaluate a business’ IP strength, especially patents and trade secrets. Strong IP reassures investors and eases the path to obtaining financing, so their businesses need to protect/register IP and ensure that Trade Secrets remain just that.

ABOUT DOUG LINEBERRY As an attorney with McNair, Doug assists clients with protecting intellectual property through patent, trademark and copyright prosecution, as well as intellectual property litigation. He has experience drafting and successfully prosecuting patent applications for various fields, including mechanical, medical and chemical technologies. Doug also helps clients with establishing and protecting trademark portfolios, guarding same against improper third party use and conducting enforcement actions.

1. 2. Cardullo, Mario W. “Intellectual Property – The Basis for Venture Capital Investments,” World Intellectual Property Organization [undated] 3. Lemley, Mark A., “Rational Ignorance at the Patent Office,” Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 95, No. 4, 2001. Nightingale’s Visual Rhetoric in the Rose Diagrams.”


Business Black Box Q3 2016


Business Black Box Q3 2016


GLOBALIZATION AND ENCRYPTION: THE MODERN FOUNDATION FOR THE TOWER OF BABEL According to the Bible—after the Great Flood—the whole world had one language and a common speech. The ability for unified communication led to the population aspiring to create, innovate. When the Lord saw what they were doing, He said that “the people is one and they have all one language…nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11:5). Deeming this innovation unacceptable, the Lord came down and confounded their language, “that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:7). Fast forward to the 1980s, when TCP/IP provided one language allowing different computer systems to communicate, resulting in the Internet. The Internet continues to be one of the most revolutionary impacts on society, culture, and commerce, including providing near-instant communication. With the invention of portable computing devices such as tablets and smartphones, theoretically, anyone can send and receive a message from anyone else in the entire world. Over 45 percent of the world is projected to have Internet connectivity and over 30 percent of the world’s population will send and receive messages on their smartphone by the end of 2016. In the modern world, how do we reconcile the increase of global communications and the “flattening of the world” with the lessons from the Tower of Babel? The flattening is seen in the American Invents Act that was to “harmonize” the U.S. patent system with other countries to align our system internationally. Another is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that seeks to deepen economic ties between the 11 member countries, includes the U.S. But, this desire to remove communication barriers can undermine our right to privacy. The use of encryption is one way to have global communications while also protecting privacy. We have recognized that encryption promotes privacy at least as early as 3000 years ago, where encryption was mentioned in Kama Sutra, suggesting that couples may need to communicate in a way that neighbors cannot understand to have privacy. We created substitution cyphers around 1500 B.C. described in a cuneiform tablet in Mesopotamia, German encryption codes in WWI, Enigma in WWII, and today we use many algorithms, keys, and applications constantly improving encryption.

By Doug Kim

However, there is a tension created when fundamental rights such as privacy conflict with national security. This conflict is illustrated by the activities of the NSA post-9/11, when the NSA and the telecommunications carriers cooperated to give the NSA unfettered access to large streams of domestic and international communications data that amounted to over 1.7 billion emails a day. The NSA would analyze this traffic for suspicious keywords, patterns, and connections. The Fourth Amendment, however, provides “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause….” This tension is not just between competing fundamental rights, but can include open communications vs. privacy, citizen rights vs. government activity, technology vs. law, and encryption vs. law enforcement. These tensions reached a tipping point when the United States government sought to compel Apple to decrypt a particular iPhone’s content. The FBI wanted Apple to create software that would enable the FBI to unlock a work-issued iPhone it recovered from one of the shooters in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack that killed 14 people and injured 22. Apple refused, taking the position that encryption is a tenant to privacy and is a fundamental right. The case was pending but was never heard. In March of 2016, the FBI requested a delay in the case as it believed that a third party has a possible way to unlock the iPhone and more time was needed to investigate the opportunity. In April of 2016, the FBI publicly stated that is has acquired a tool that could unlock an iPhone 5C and others. As a result of the FBI acquiring this “new tool”, the ultimate obligations of Apple, the power of the FBI, the decision of the US Magistrate Judge, the ability of criminals to keep encrypted communications encrypted, and many other social and legal issues remain unanswered. The question remains whether we will continue to improve encryption and anonymity to provide privacy believing that it is necessary to exercise freedom of speech, economic rights, privacy, and due process or become complacent about encryption, government surveillance and move to one language to promote globalization.

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.


Business Black Box Q3 2016

TECH BRIEF Before 2100 BC

The events at the Tower of Babel occur.

Around 1500 BC

A cuneiform tablet is found in Mesopotamia with an encrypted message from a craftsmen who camouflaged the recipe for pottery glaze.

400–200 BC

The Kama Sutra is produced, and suggests that couples may need to communicate in a way that neighbors can not understand to have privacy.

Around 1450

The use of substitution cyphers begins in the West.




A two-network TCP/IP communications test was performed between Stanford and University College London, laying the foundation for Internet and network communications. The U.S. Department of Defense declares TCP/IP as the standard for all military computer networking. The NSA introduces the Clipper chip, an encryption device with an acknowledged backdoor for government access for phone encryption. However, after heated public debate called the Crypto Wars, it is never adopted.


Silent Circle, an encrypted communications firm, moves from U.S. to Switzerland to protect customer’s privacy in response to the Lavabit incident. Lavabit is the encrypted email service that was used by Edward Snowden and shut down in response to pressure to release personal information.

May 2015

Wired magazine publishes an article by Neil Richards, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. According to Richards, “Evidence shows that Internet surveillance stops us from reading unpopular or controversial ideas. A free society should not fear dangerous ideas, and does not need complete intellectual surveillance.”

September 2015

Apple announces its iOS 9 can be protected by a fourdigit PIN code and on the 11th unsuccessful attempt to unlock the phone, the encryption key is erased and the contents become inaccessible.

November 2015

The NSA loses the ability to store phone call information of millions of U.S. citizens, according to H.R. 2048 of the 114th Congress.

December 2015

The FBI acquires the San Bernardino terrorists’ phones.


Al Gore states, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

February 2016

Magistrate Judge Pym rules that Apple must provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the FBI to crack the terrorist’s iPhone 5C and to develop a bypass to the phone’s auto-erase function.


Thomas L. Friedman authors The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century and analyzes globalization.

March 2016


IBM and Forterra Systems announce a project to develop a unified communications solution to allow U.S. intelligence agencies to instantly communicated within the virtual world called Babel Bridge.

On March 22, a California Federal Judge is informed that the FBI intends to investigate an outside method of unlocking the iPhone that would not require Apple’s assistance. By March 28 the FBI announces that the phone was cracked without Apple’s assistance.

April 2016

February 2011

The Leadership Quarterly publishes a report stating that subordinates’ compliance can be ensured with tools that include surveillance.

A draft of “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016” is released, proposing that courts have the ability to order companies and individuals to decrypt data and messages.


June 2011

A U.N. report declares that Internet access is a Human Right.

In theory, privacy becomes taboo and is not appreciated or understood by upcoming generations. It bends to convenience, allowing consumer tracking for governmental and commercial purposes to be much easier.


The NSA’s Utah Data Center is reported to be up and running, acting as a data storage facility for the United State Intelligence Community.


Business Black Box Q3 2016


by David Setzer


YOU CAN DO IT! (BUT REALLY, YOU SHOULDN’T). I can guarantee that if you’re an entrepreneur you can do a lot of things well, and most likely enjoy doing a lot of those things. The problem is, a lot of them are things that other, more competent and capable people can do better on an individual basis. So, if you don’t figure out “the main thing” requiring your focus as you grow from startup founder to company CEO then you are the one who will limit the size of your business. I believe these are those three “main things” you must do well as a CEO: Chief Sales Office: This doesn’t mean you have to spend all day talking to potential customers. It does means you can articulate a persuasive argument for someone to give you their money. As you grow, you’ll hire salespeople and sales managers and it will become their job to sell, but you must be able to do this because even when you have a massive team, there will be some deals that you have to sell. At some point, sales rise to the CEO, whether it be a trajectory— altering deal or a pitch to investors. CEOs must be able to sell. Chief Visionary: This means that you are the one who can articulate a vision and direction for your organization. You are the one ultimately responsible for determining why your company exists and why that matters to your customers, your partners, and your industry. You may have others that help clarify and crystallize that vision. It’s great to be surrounded by competent people that


Business Black Box Q3 2016

can help refine that vision and develop the strategy to execute on it but, in the end, you are ultimately the one responsible for deciding that vision. A clear vision allows your team to operate with clarity which means they can operate more independently and productively and that helps with our next role. Chief Team Builder: Being the Chief Team Builder means that you are responsible for the composition and health of your team, as well as the overall culture of your organization. As you start hiring employees, you should be intimately involved in the process and then put the hiring principles in place for others to execute as the job function grows. Chief Team Builder also means you are the one who ultimately sets the culture of your organization. This simply means the standard and accepted behaviors and beliefs of your team. It is the behaviors that are rewarded and the ones that are punished—either overtly or covertly—that determine your culture. This is where being a CEO is like being a parent: people emulate what you do, not what you say. Make sure your own actions line up with your core values first before you the same from others. You have a culture. Whether you actively shape it or not is another story but you must be purposeful about this. Go to school on these three roles. There is an avalanche of books, blogs, podcasts, and coaching to make you better in each of these areas. Eat, live, and breathe

them. Look at everything else you do as delegable and figure out how to do these three things really, really, really well. Take your daily calendar and figure out how much time you’re devoting to each of these roles every day and then increase it. If you will laser focus on your ability to sell, to articulate a clear and compelling vision, and build a competent and motivated team then everything else will handle itself.

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.





Business Black Box Q3 2016



to make sure their needs, wants, and desires are met and try to be a good listener. Striving to maintain good communication is the key in any relationship—whether it’s business or personal— and I have found much success from it.

What was your first job? My first job was working at Bishop Farms under the owners and mentors to me today, Mr. Emory and Mrs. Nan Bishop. They taught me about the farming industry and how to grow and pick all kinds of produce. During this time I developed a hard work ethic that has shaped me into the man I am today.


My biggest failure was following the wrong crowd and letting those people influence me, which found me in a situation where I hurt someone I considered close. I recovered by apologizing and I had to forgive myself for what I had done before I could get over it and move on. Hurting someone who cared for me and had my best interest in mind was one of the worst feelings I have had, but it taught me to follow my heart.

What are some of the skills you developed early, that you’ve found beneficial or essential to your practices now?


Many skills I learned growing up are very beneficial to me today, and I am glad that people pushed me when I was younger to work hard and never give up. When I worked on the farm I learned to rise early (and that the early bird really does get the worm), and to pray before starting the day. I also kept busy hands and was always working hard until the work was done. My father, the late Opal Huff, used to tell me never to take short cuts and always be honest with another man, which are words I still live by today as well. How do you strike a balance between the personal and professional?


I learned to put an order to life and follow the order: God first, family second and everything else third. Family time is very important and I set aside a day or two each week that is dedicated for time with them. I have also learned to turn my phone off after a certain time every evening and enjoy the people that I love at home.


When faced with a challenge the first thing I do is find out if it’s biblically correct and if God would agree to it. I also look to some respected friends who are full of knowledge and wisdom and will be truthful with me when I ask for advice. I consider my 98 year old grandmother another one of my assets, who I can always depend on for sound advice due to her many experiences in life.



My vision is to have positive energy because that is what it takes to make a change. I surround myself with positive people and encourage others to do the same because negative people will only destroy your vision and dream. I have always preached about being positive, honest, and to love people, whether they are good, bad or ugly. People must be respected and treated with dignity, regardless of their background or current situation. This is the first step in bringing a community together.


What’s your most difficult responsibility, and how do you deal with it? My most difficult responsibility is making sure I am a good husband, father, and that I keep my family moving forward in a positive way. I connect with my family every single day


Inman Mills was originally founded in 1901 by James A. Chapman and is still spinning today.

What is your plan for yourself in the future? I plan to enter the next dimension in my political career by serving the State and occupying the Senate seat for District 11, which I am running for in November. Ever since my fifth grade visit to the South Carolina State House, I knew that a seat belonged to me in the Senate chamber as soon as I set foot in the room. It has been a long journey with several detours and back roads, but I’m on the path that leads me there. After serving two terms in the Senate, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, traveling, and doing more mission work for my home church. Would you consider Inman a “textile town” still, or has it changed? Inman has changed to a multi-use town as we are now in the mainstream of growth. The property that used to be textile and farmland is now housing or in the process of development. We have multiple subdivisions being built and within the next five years our population is predicted to grow to over 2,000 people within the city limits. By extending our sewer lines to interstate 26, it has secured continued growth for our city, which will bring more change in the future generations to come.

What vision do you promote for your community, and how do you get others to buy into or tap into that vision?


What is one of your favorite hobbies, and what is it that you find most fulfilling in it? Fishing would be my favorite hobby because I receive so much peace and tranquility when I’m on the water with nature, whether I catch a fish or not. I use this time for meditation and to enjoy God’s wonderful creations, which in itself helps me relax and gives me a calming feeling.

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


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


What is your vision for the City of Inman”? My vision is to preserve the city while improving infrastructure, promoting relationships, encouraging the youth, and allowing people to take ownership of their town with the inspiration to make it great. We are a small community but we are also a loving and caring community and we never want to let that go away. Ultimately, I want to showcase Inman as a destination and improve the future for current residents and those who wish to move here.


Business Black Box Q3 2016


Por Evelyn Lugo


ORGANIZANDO MI NEGOCIO– COMO ME AYUDA LA TECNOLOGIA En la edición anterior hablamos sobre una de las nuevas tendencias en el área de mercadeo. Con esto en mente, me parece apropiado seguir la línea de lo innovador y cómo la tecnología nos puede ayudar a mantenernos organizados. La gente de negocios llevan vidas ocupadas llenas de reuniones, correos electrónicos y la acumulación de correspondencia y/o el papeleo asociado con el negocio. Con tanta actividad, mantenerse organizado es un desafío constante. ¿Alguna vez ha pensado que tiene que haber una manera más eficiente para mantenerse al día? ¡Bueno, hay una aplicación para eso!... En realidad, más de una docena de aplicaciones. He aquí solo algunas de las que pueden revolucionar el día a día de cualquier persona de negocios. MailChimp: Este sistema es perfecto para comunicarse con una gran cantidad de clientes. MailChimp enviará correos electrónicos en masa y le dará seguimiento a los resultados. Por esta razón es una gran herramienta para los vendedores que utilizan el correo electrónico. La creación de los mensajes de correo electrónico es simple, gracias a sus plantillas y direcciones claras. Además, si tienes miedo que se te olvide enviar el material promocional en el momento adecuado, se puede programar para que se envíe en el momento deseado. La aplicación móvil incluso le permite manejarlo desde su celular. Pocket: ¿Dónde se puede almacenar esa noticia interesante para leerla más tarde? Y, ¿cómo recordar dónde la guardó una vez que esté listo para leerlo? Seguro que podrá, si los guarda todos en el mismo lugar.


Business Black Box Q3 2016

Pocket es un lugar donde puede almacenar todo lo que ha encontrado en la Web con un solo clic. Y no solo artículos, pero videos, fotos, entradas de blog; lo que sea. ¡Usted puede accesar la información en cualquier lugar y en cualquier momento, con o sin una conexión de Internet! OneReceipt: ¡Nunca pierda de vista sus recibos! Al inscribirse a OneReceipt y conectarlo a su correo electrónico, usted recibirá los recibos electrónicos cuando usted hace compras. La información se guarda automáticamente en su aplicación OneReceipt. Así usted puede darle seguimiento a sus compras, le recuerda si tiene que hacer alguna devolución, lo mantiene organizado, y mucho más. Es gratis y se puede desactivar si no está satisfecho; así que ¿qué tiene que perder? Evernote: Esta plataforma se ha diseñado para tomar notas de sus reuniones, registrar los esfuerzos de colaboración, al igual que tiene la habilidad de compartir documentos o archivos con los compañeros de trabajo. Puede subir archivos o crearlos directamente en la aplicación, organizar todas sus notas en cuadernos y tener acceso a todo, desde cualquier equipo electrónico y en cualquier lugar. Incluso, bajo la cuenta corporativa, todo el personal tiene un cuaderno privado para almacenar sus notas personales. Y las notas no se limitan solo a texto. Pueden ser fotografías, extractos de la Web, notas de voz, o incluso notas y bocetos dibujados a mano que se pueden crear en la aplicación. Esta aplicación facilita la comunicación a través de los distintos departamentos y equipo electrónicos y llena todas las necesidades de su negocio.

Hootsuite: El manejo de múltiples cuentas de redes sociales puede ser lento, monótono, y abrumador. Hootsuite simplifica el proceso de seguimiento e incluso ofrece opciones de planificación y análisis. No importa qué tan básico o avanzado sea su plan, los servicios de HootSuite son innegablemente útiles para su publicación, la programación y el análisis de sus medios de comunicación social en sus esfuerzos de mercadeo. Como les mencioné al principio, solo hemos tocado la superficie en el mundo de las aplicaciones. Permita que estas herramientas alivien su estrés y despejen no solo su mente, pero el espacio en su escritorio. Y si usted está buscando una aplicación para satisfacer necesidades específicas, haga una búsqueda en la Web y probablemente hay una aplicación para ello también!

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.



REVIVE YOUR VISION Do you find yourself frustrated with your business? You might be working your tail off and seeing little to no returns, except for stress and frustration. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your vision and business plan so you don’t burnout for good.

HE R E ’S HOW 1. Recognize the Problem You always hear the saying, “the first step is admitting you have a problem.” Usually it’s said in connection with addiction, but it can make sense in a business setting, too. Do you feel burned out? Is your business not performing like you want it to? Are you constantly frustrated and stressed? It might be a time to admit there is a problem—either with yourself or your business, and take the steps to do something about it. 2. Step Back “After a decade of working like crazy and building my business, I was tired. So in 2011, I pulled over. I stopped. I deliberately downsized my company and took a break from the pressure of having to meet payroll, churn out products and plan launches,” says Joel Comm, in his article “Why Stepping Back From Your Business Could Be The Best Thing You Ever Do,” for the SalesForce Blog. You can only take so much pressure before you physically and mentally become exhausted. No good decisions are ever made from a place of exhaustion. To revive your business and passion, the best thing you can do is step back, breathe and take a break. Give your brain a rest, then you can make thoughtful decisions from a fresh position. Source:

3. Get Advice “Coaches aren’t just for professional athletes. Executives and business professionals alike rely on coaches to help them set personal and professional goals, streamline their businesses and stay motivated when it’s hard to keep focused,” says the article “Have You Hit a Wall in Your Business? Get a Coach!” on Buffini & Company’s blog. As a leading real estate coaching and training organization, B&Co says that sometimes the best thing you can do for your company is to get an outside perspective from somebody who isn’t personally invested in your business. They can give objective advice and coaching to help get you back on track. Source:

4. Make a Plan Now that you have identified your problems and gotten advice, you need to formulate a plan that will get your business back on track and address those issues. Make sure to set achievable and measurable goals. “If goals are not measurable, you can’t gauge progress and will eventually abandon them. What gets measured gets done,” says Daniel Kehrer in “8 Keys to Re-energizing Your Business.” Source:

5. Look Back You’ve identified the problems, gotten advice and made a plan. So, how well has it worked? Be sure to make time and review what has transpired since you implemented a new plan. “Looking back can be extremely effective. It’s a lot like using your rear-view mirror when you are driving,” says Scott Petinga. In his article, “Why Looking Back is Key to Moving Your Business Forward,” he notes that from time to time, looking back is a great thing, and if you make it a habit, it might save you another serious pitfall. Source:


Business Black Box Q3 2016

Business Black Box - Q3 2016  

Upstate South Carolina's Business Magazine

Business Black Box - Q3 2016  

Upstate South Carolina's Business Magazine