W HA T ’ S IN S I D E
January 2014 • The CSRA’s Only Monthly Business Magazine
Career Expo...................................................2 Buzz Bits...................................................... 8,9 Business growth strategies............. 10,11 Special career section............................. 21 Economist sees job growth.................. 26 Businessperson of the month.............. 33
Muscling up in the fitness business After 10 years, Garners own 4 Anytime Fitness franchises By Gary Kauffman
A decade is a worthy achievement for any business, but for Tammy and Tommy Garner, it is also a vindication of their faith in a fledgling franchise. When the Garners opened their first Anytime Fitness center in Martinez on Dec. 29, 2003, it was only the 24th Anytime Fitness franchise in the United States and the first in the Southeast. “It was almost like starting our own franchise,” Tammy Garner said. “We were taking a chance on it being successful. But we thought that if this makes it, the name behind it will carry some weight. And it has.” Today the Garners own four Anytime Fitness centers in the CSRA, and Anytime Fitness has more than 2,300 franchises in the United States and several other countries. The appeal of Anytime Fitness is that
Number of franchises Anytime Fitness had after the Garners bought their first
Current number of Anytime Fitness franchises
members can work out literally any time. They gain entrance through an electronic key 24/7, even on holidays. That concept appealed to the Garners when they were looking to start their own business. Tommy found the information on the
Internet about the new franchise headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. Tammy already made regular business trips to the city, so she met with the franchise owners and they struck a deal. Although the concept of people using the gym anytime day or night appealed to them, Tommy admitted that it initially caused some butterflies as a business owner. “That first day we went home with people still in here, we were nervous,” he said. But Tammy said they’ve never had any trouble with the members. “They treat this as their own,” she said. In the beginning, Tommy still worked at his job at E-Z-Go and Tammy became a one-woman show, doing everything from signing up new members to working as a personal trainer to mopping the floors. When they opened their second gym in Evans, Tommy left his job and became a coordinator. He now spends his days hopping between their locations in Martinez, Evans, North Augusta and the newest addition in Grovetown. Tammy, who has an MBA, runs the business side of things in addition to a few personal training sessions. “What’s helped us is that all the stuff Tammy hates to do I enjoy doing,” Tommy said. The Garners attribute their ability to grow their business from one to four locations in 10 years to the personal touch they provide. They determined early on that Continued on page 10
Photo by Gary Kauffman
Tommy and Tammy Garner in their Martinez facility, their initial Anytime Fitness center.
Career Expo sets venue for employers, job seekers Event is set for Feb. 13 at Legends Club Buzz on Biz Special Projects Coordinator Erin Campbell has logged some frequent driver miles crisscrossing the CSRA in search of the prototype for the Feb. 13 Buzz on Biz Career Expo. “I’ve visited dozens of career fairs and job expos since last summer,” she said. “I’ve tried to take some of the best practices from all of them to make our Career Expo the best in the CSRA.” To that point, Campbell selected the hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the event. That will allow those who are currently employed ample time to attend before their shift, on their lunch hour, or at the tail-end of their day. She is coordinating breakout sessions to be running simultaneously in both rooms to give attendees more choices. Campbell plans to arrange the booths in a way that will allow for a free-moving traffic flow so that guests will not feel constricted while walking around. It will also give the exhibitors the most visibility. A simple check-in system will allow attendees to be contacted by employers after the event. The location picked is The Legends Club,
centrally located on Washington Road a few miles from I-20 and the Riverwatch Parkway. Campbell will place directional signs the day before the event. In addition, 100 posters will be placed on the storefront windows and walls of busy locations in the CSRA. WGAC and WRDW radio will continue to make announcements about the Expo. In early February, News 12 will run a two-week schedule of 30-second promotional spots inviting job seekers to attend and spotlighting the expo sponsors. Buzz on Biz President Neil Gordon said there will be targeted ads in Buzz on Biz, its sister paper, Verge, and The Medical Examiner to target the medical field. “In the next issue of Buzz we’ll have a 16page pullout section that will also be handed out to attendees at the Expo,” Gordon said. “It will feature a diagram of where the exhibitors will be placed and bios of our major sponsors.” He added that the pullout section will be designed on heavier paper as a keepsake for attendees to refer to throughout the year. Anyone who would like to advertise in that section or would like to reserve a booth
To reserve an Expo booth call Erin Campbell at 706-589-2033
2 Buzz on Biz January 2014
Career Expo Special Projects Coordinator Erin Campbell visited many expos in the area to make sure the Feb. 13 event employs the best practices.
should call Campbell at 706-589-2033. The charter sponsor of the Buzz on Biz Career Expo is the trio of employment experts at Augusta Staffing, Aiken Staffing and Job Shop. “A recent poll of HR professionals all over the country stated that the No. 1 thing that applicants need to focus on is preparation for their interview and presentation of their resume,” said Isaac Kelly of Augusta Staffing. Kelly will be conducting three separate
breakout sessions to help attendees with resume formatting, online applications and interview follow ups. “I’m excited to meet the job seekers who are eager and ready to get their foot in the door with all of the great companies that will be there in attendance and represented there,” he said. “I also hope to see the ‘light bulbs’ go off for the people that attend our workshops.” Kelly talks more about job issues on page 23 of this issue.
New year brings new look to Buzz
Have you ever walked into a room and just know something is different, but you can’t pinpoint the changes? You may be under the same spell when reading this edition of the “Buzz”. Our new Editor in Chief, Gary Kauffman, is using a more traditional newspaper font and headline style to make it an easier read for you. He’s also taken our popular “Buzz Bits” stories – once spread throughout the paper – and consolidated them into a twopage spread to give you a quick snapshot at some business developments in the CSRA. Our theme this month is how area companies can “grow” their businesses with a little strategy and perhaps a new way of thinking. Our cover story relates to that. It features the Garners, who were one of the “first ones in” when Anytime Fitness first began selling franchises. The Garners were the first franchisees in the Southeast and now operate four locations in the CSRA. It is their 10th Anniversary, so Gary Neil Gordon visited with them for some lessons learned. He discovered that Anytime Fitness is the fastest growing Buzz on Biz franchise in the country – now with thousands of locations. Publisher The Garners opened the 24th location around this time in 2004. In this edition we also say “hello” to Robert Amos of Cartridge World, who is going to write monthly sponsored columns on the world of printers. His first article appears on page 18. About seven years ago, Robert and I used to sit near one another at the 7 a.m. Business Network International (BNI) meetings at the Courtyard Marriott. I had a short commute from the third floor as I was staying at the hotel at the time. Amos was commuting from McCormick, S.C., and was always on time and chipper, and always moving. He still delivers product to his customers in the familiar yellow and blue Cartridge World vehicle. We’re happy to have him on our team and hope you can utilize his wealth of knowledge to make life easier in the office. Happy New Year!
The CSRA’s Only Monthly Business Magazine The Buzz on Biz mission is to act as an inspirational tool for those in the workplace and those who are entrepreneurs, and to provide useful, practical information to increase their companies’ bottom lines. To order a 12-month subscription mailed to your home or office, please mail a check for $36 to cover postage to the address below. Publisher Neil R. Gordon Editor in Chief Gary Kauffman/803-341-5830 Sales Manager Neil R. Gordon/706-589-6727 Sales Kyle W. Evans/706-288-9957 Special Projects Erin Campbell/706-589-2033
Photography Gary Kauffman Melissa Gordon/sofiacolton.com Design Gary Kauffman Distribution Coordinator Erin Campbell Submit Information firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Buzz on Biz LLC or its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only.
For more information, visit us at buzzon.biz or like us on Facebook
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January 2014 Buzz on Biz
New Business Owner? Avoid the Pitfalls! One of the benefits of my job is that I get to connect with some very talented professionals who’ve been there and seen that, and who have proven to be great partners to both business buyers and sellers alike. One of these is Scott Lewis. Scott is an Kim Romaner attorney with Fulcher Hagler, Business Broker LLP, and is licensed to practice in both Georgia and
South Carolina. Scott’s practice focuses on business law, estate planning and tax controversy matters. Scott is also a licensed CPA and holds advanced degrees in tax and business. I asked Scott to share some advice that comes from his experience with owners of both new and existing businesses. Q: What are some of the pitfalls that a new business owner should be aware of? A: New business owners must quickly ascertain what their strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to running their business. Typically, new business owners understand well the product or services they wish to provide, but may have limited functional business knowledge when it comes to “back office” tasks associated with running a business.
How to make sure you have a wonderful life
Everybody watches It’s a Wonderful Life over the holidays, right? George is going to throw himself off the bridge when Clarence intercedes to show George what life would have been like without him. While I hope none of you are contemplating doing yourself in, allow me play Clarence for a moment. What would J. Edward happen in your Enoch, J.D. family, business
or job if sudden- Business Attorney ly you were not there? This might not mean death; it could be a traumatic brain injury or a stroke that leaves you in a coma. Obviously, there would be grief and emotional distress. So my question is, Have you done the things you can do to help ease that distress? Based on my experience, here are some things I suggest: • Make sure you have a will (or trust) to ensure your assets are distributed the way you intend and that you pick the person in charge of that process; • Make sure all your beneficiary designations are up to date and correct, because assets such as life insurance and
Although a highly regarded baker may produce some of the most elaborate cakes or tastiest pastries, if the baker is unable to understand or control his costs he may soon find himself out of business. New business owners also need to be wary of overextending themselves by trying to run all aspects of their business alone. Sacrificing customer service to attend to matters which are not the business owner’s strengths may cause damage to the business’ reputation and result in lost customers. Q: What are some ways new business owners can protect themselves? A: New business owners should surround themselves with professionals who can advise them on those areas of their businesses that are not their strengths. Most competent business advisors spend a great deal of their time “issue spotting” for their clients. Issue spotting is the process of identifying business risks and making adjustments to reduce or eliminate those risks. Although utilizing business advisors will increase costs, it helps reduce the chance an otherwise avoidable risk will cause the business to close. Q: If you were going to buy an existing business, what would you want to know about it? A: Before acquiring any business, the potential business owner should enlist the help of a professional advisor to examine the business’ financial statements to determine if the statements accurately reflect ongoing
business operations. The professional advisor will examine things such as year over year growth in sales and net income, debtto-equity ratios, inventory balances and instances of off-balance sheet financing, all of which could affect the viability of the business. The business owner should also conduct multiple site inspections during normal hours to determine if the business is being accurately represented. Thanks, Scott! And, hey: Asking for the seller’s sales tax records isn’t a bad idea, either. In the Main Street business marketplace, most deals are structured as asset sales, meaning the seller takes the debt with him or her, as well as the corporate entity—should one exist—so the new owner should not be liable for any liens or other encumbrances on the business. However, only a good attorney knows for sure. Make sure you have one on your team today! This is a sponsored article. Kim Romaner is president of Transworld Business Advisors of Augusta, a business brokerage that helps people buy and sell businesses, and also enter into the franchise world. With more than 70 locations in the United States and abroad, Transworld has sold thousands of businesses. If you’d like to talk to Kim about selling or valuing your business, buying a franchise or turning your existing business into a franchise operation, call 706-383-2994, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
retirement accounts are not controlled by your will; • Make sure you have health care and financial powers of attorney, so there is someone who can legally step in and act for you without going to court; • Organize all your account information in one secure place (bank, investments, bills, credit cards, etc.) and make sure the necessary people know where these are, so that whoever has to take over for you has all the information they need in one place and organized; • Store online passwords in such a way that the person who steps in for you can get access to your online accounts, since so much of what we do now is online. If you do not have the user name and password, you can forget about getting access to those accounts. While these tips are important for everyone, they are particularly important for business owners, because in the event of an emergency, it is critical the business keep running. Do these things and maybe I will earn my wings! This is a sponsored Law Talk article. Ed Enoch’s practice focuses on business, employment and real estate law. He is a 1992 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Washington and Lee School of Law. He has served in many leadership roles for SHRM, Rotary, the Family Y and the United Way. Reach him at 706738-4141 or email@example.com.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
10 questions that can improve your 2014
Is 2014 finally the year to make some significant positive changes in your business, career and/or personal life? January is often the month Larry Rudwick that we’ve made New Years ResBusiness and olutions but, if Relationship Coach history repeats itself, many of us will give up on achieving them by February. How would you like a little help working on a simple system that will stack the odds of success much more in your favor? The Executive Assessment is a process I have created that has helped hundreds of people become more personally successful, no matter what there goals were. Keep in mind: Even if your intentions are to tune-up your business or your career, this process will also have a positive impact on your personal life. How you start: The following questions will help jump start you toward reaching new achievements. It’s a thought-provoking process where you will think about and write down some of the most important things about yourself. Here are the topics to consider: Goals. What goals would you like to achieve within short term (the next six months), medium term (the next six to 36 months) and long term (three or more years)? How long have you had these goals
6 Buzz on Biz January 2014
in mind? Obstacles. What challenges do you think are preventing you from achieving your goals? Strengths. How would you characterize your strengths, and what you do best? Preferences. What types of things do you like to do? Dislikes. What duties and functions do you perform you don’t enjoy doing? Weak Areas. What types of things do you do but not particularly well? Growth. What would you like to learn (or learn better) to help you obtain your goals? Advice/Help from Others. Have you had help in the past (an advisor/consultant/coach)? Help with what? Do you have help now? Help with what? How effective has it been? Trusted Advisor. Would you consider having an experienced coach/consultant work with you at this point? What do you think you should work on with this person? Comments/Questions. Do you have any additional comments you’d like to add? Any questions for me right now? The Rest of the Process: After one writes their answers next to the appropriate question, using a different color font, they email it to me. I suggest including both business and personal goals. Should they not be able to answer a question, I suggest to skip it initially, and move on to
the next question. Come back to the hard questions later. After I receive the initial responses, I write comments and between 25 and 50 follow-up questions, all based on the initial responses. After the second set of responses are received, it will become quite clear to me where the person currently is, what their goals are, and what’s holding them back from meeting or exceeding their goals. It starts to become clear what type of action plan is needed. We then discuss the results, and start to create a personalized plan of action.
If you are excited about increasing your chances for greater success in 2014, I invite you to contact me and find out how I may help. If you know someone else who may be interested, show them this article. This is a sponsored Business Talk article. Larry Rudwick is a long-time business coach. You can request an Executive Assessment via email, a Word document entitled Ten Questions That Can Improve Your Life. Contact Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 571331-6102. For more information visit www. businesstune-ups.com.
Remember changes when figuring â€™13 taxes Each year there are tax changes that can affect your business and its overall tax liability. Regardless of whether you own a small sole proprietorship or a medium sized corporation, if you are a business owner, there are several tax changes you should be aware when figuring your taxes for 2013. Small business employers who pay at least half Christine the premiums Hall, CPA for single health Hall, Hall & insurance coverage for their emAssociates ployees may be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit as long as they employ fewer than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers and average annual wages do not exceed $50,000. The maximum credit that can be claimed is an amount equal to 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible small businesses for 2013. The calculations to determine the qualifications and amount of the credit are complex and time consuming. You will need to provide your tax preparer with copies of all 12 months of your health insurance bills
and the names of any relative you employ as they are factors in this calculation. There is a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) available for hiring qualified veterans. The maximum credit in 2013 is $9,600 per worker for employers who operate for-profit businesses, or $6,240 per worker for tax-exempt organizations. Before an employer can claim the WOTC they must file Form 8850, Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit, to obtain certification for claiming the credit. Normally an employer must file this form with the state workforce agency within 28 days after the eligible worker begins work. In 2013 the maximum Section 179 expense deduction for equipment purchases is $500,000 of the first $2 million of certain business property placed in service during the year. The bonus depreciation is 50 percent for qualified property that exceeds the threshold amount. Bonus depreciation can only be taken on new (not used) equipment and cannot be taken on software. When applying these provisions, Section 179 is generally taken first followed by Bonus Depreciation. The standard mileage rate in 2013 is 56.5 cents per business mile driven. As an employer, you may reimburse any person that uses his or her personal vehicle for business use. This is an expense to your company and considered a reimbursement to your employee; therefore, it is not taxable to them. A
log must be kept of the business miles traveled as well as the total overall mileage. Remember, only miles traveled for business purposes qualify; travel to and from work is not considered business travel. The new rates for 2014 have just been announced and the rate is decreasing in 2014 to 56 cents per mile. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your business owns a vehicle and your employee uses it personally, the personal usage is considered a taxable fringe benefit to them. This is most easily done by including it in their W-2 wages each year. The IRS issues a chart that takes the fair market value of the vehicle into consideration when figuring this fringe benefit. Be sure to ask your payroll service or tax preparer to include this in your employees W-2 wages for 2013 so you stay in compliance with IRS regulations. The most important thing to keep in mind is that taxes are complex and in constant flux. Be sure to communicate with your tax preparer to ensure you are taking advantage of every opportunity available. This is a sponsored Employment article. Hall, Hall & Associates P.C. is a full-service public accounting firm established in 1979. They have a staff of experienced professionals that stand ready to meet all of your accounting, tax and general business needs. For a complimentary consultation, call 706855-7733 or visit hallassociatescpa.com.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
buzz bits Queensborough Bank ranked No. 1 in Georgia Queensborough National Bank and Trust Co., based in Louisville, Ga., has been ranked No. 1 among Georgia’s Top 25 community banks in total deposits. Queensborough displaces Heritage Bank, founded in Hinesville, Ga., based on data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Georgia’s Top 25 Financial Institutions and Banks is a report provided annually by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Queensborough serves Georgia with 22 locations, seven of which are located in the Augusta, Evans and Martinez areas.
Today’s Staffing becomes Accustaff Today’s Staffing of Augusta officially changed its name to AccuStaff on Jan. 1. AccuStaff is locally owned by Tom Moody and is a franchise affiliate of the international staffing firm, Randstad, the second-largest staffing organization in the world. Randstad has more than 300 branches and client-dedicated locations across the U.S. That means Accustaff is better able to offer its talent a better selection of career opportunities, better companies to work with and the best possible chance for success.
Anything Audio celebrates 25th anniversary Anything Audio, 3906 Washington Road, recently celebrated its 25th year in business. Their current location is not far from their original location at Washington Road and the Bobby Jones Expressway. The company is family owned and open from Tuesday-Saturday, specializing in auto, marine and home stereo systems. They also have a “man cave” system on display in their showroom that features a big screen TV, recliners, and high
8 Buzz on Biz January 2014
end audio equipment. In past years, Anything Audio has been named National Car Stereo Retailer of the Year. The company has also been picked numerous times by vendors as “Dealer of the Year”. The marketing philosophy has always been to invest in the schools and begin relationships with students ready for their first car stereo system.
Taste tapas bar temporarily shuts down Taste, the wine and tapas bar in the Hammond’s Ferry area of North Augusta, announced via its Facebook page that it will temporarily suspend operations. According to the Facebook post, the suspension of operations involves space issues. “Taste was operating under a model that became increasingly apparent would require additional space in order to be viable,” the post said. Taste expects to resume business in March, prior to The Masters. Where the business might resume operations was not disclosed in the post.
Need for pocket squares turns into business opportunity Reginald Crews of North Augusta recently formed Pocket Crewsers, in part to fill a personal need. The dapper man could not find a pocket square to match each of his neckties. He searched from store to store and discovered that either their pocket squares were low in quality, high in price, or a combination of the two. It was at that point that he decided to start making his own. Crews took a sewing class, bought two sewing machines, and started sewing. Throughout this process he began to realize that he was not the only one having problems finding quality pocket squares. That’s when he decided to launch Pocket Crewsers Pocket Squares. New products will be added
Airport wins FAA safety award Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) has been presented a prestigious Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) award, Airport Safety Mark of Distinction, for its continuing efforts to improve airport safety. Every year the FAA presents the Airport Safety Mark of Distinction award to airports that have displayed great efforts to enhance and preserve airport safety. Nominations for the award are based on the recommendation of the FAA Southern Region Airport Certification Safety Inspector assigned to that airport. AGS was one of only five airports in the southeast to receive this award. The airport was recognized for its support of aircraft rescue firefighting training improvements, development of a streamlined work order process, implementation of a successful crack seal project, prevention of runway incursions and development of a almost weekly. His pocket squares are of different fabric and range from $5 to $15 dollars.
Columbia Co. Chamber slates banquet, showcase The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce will hold its 9th Annual Banquet, VIP Reception and Premier Business Showcase on Jan. 28 at the Columbia County Exhibition Center in Grovetown. A Cocktail Reception and the Premier Business Showcase will be held 4:30–6:30 p.m., with the dinner meeting and awards presentation to follow.
Club Car builds fuel efficient Carryall Club Car is launching a new line of Carryall utility and transport vehicles to help commercial and industrial customers switch from costly pickup trucks to gas, diesel or zero-emissions electric utility vehicles. The new vehicles are available in January. “We designed and engineered the new Carryall utility vehicle line based on customer feedback obtained through a global listening tour,” said Ross Lyons, Carryall product manager. “As a result, they incorporate the improved power, versatility,
wildlife hazard management plan. Gary LeTellier, Augusta Regional Airport Executive Director, said few airports win this award. “The airport places a high priority on safety and we are honored that the FAA has recognized all of our hard work and dedication,” he said.
reliability and fuel efficiency today’s customers demand.” In addition to work utility vehicles, the Carryall line includes Transporter transport vehicles, which can carry up to six passengers, as well as streetlegal Carryall LSVs (low speed vehicles). To bridge the gap between trucks and UTVs, Club Car partnered with Subaru, whose engineers adapted automotive technology to design a sophisticated new engine for the Carryall utility vehicles. The new engines boost horsepower by 30 percent and fuel efficiency by as much as 50 percent over previous Carryall utility vehicle engines.
us highly competitive in the Augusta area.” The hotel is owned by Dr. Harinderjit Singh and a collection of local businessmen from the Bismarck-Mandan area. It is the third Hampton property in Augusta and the 89th in the state. The Hampton Inn Augusta/ Gordon Highway brings an estimated 35 new jobs to the Augusta area. For more information or to make reservations for the Hampton Inn Augusta/Gordon Highway, visit the hotel website or call 706-396-5500.
Downtown apartment Hampton opens project planned new hotel on Fred Daitch, owner of International Uniform on Broad Gordon Hwy.
Hampton Hotels, Hilton Worldwide’s global brand, opened a new property in December, the 88-room Hampton Inn Augusta/Gordon Highway, 2171 Gordon Highway. “Hampton combines quality, innovation, comfort and plenty of value-added extras, making it the brand of choice in the marketplace today,” said Tonya Treece-Burley, general manager, Hampton Inn Augusta/Gordon Highway. “Quality accommodations and amenities combined with proactive, friendly service from our team members – all backed by the 100 percent Hampton Guarantee – make
Street and owner of more than 50 CSRA properties, is ready to build “The Lofts at Marbury Village” at 1232 Ellis Street. Daitch is working with architect Allen Venable to complete plans for new construction of downtown lofts like the ones being built in his existing building (1216 Broad Street-1213 Ellis Street). The Marbury Village project is out on bid to three local construction companies. Daitch’s apartments at 1216 Broad Street will be called “The Union Cash House Apartments”. The name has been embedded in the sidewalk in front of the building since its inception in early 1900s.
buzz bits New law helps vets find work A new Georgia law went into effect in December that will make it easier for military service members to enter the civilian workforce by speeding up the transfer of some military certification to professional licenses. “With the large number of Georgia veterans returning to civilian life, we have the opportunity to make that transition a little bit smoother,” Gov. Nathan Deal said. Veterans can now apply online within 180 days of discharge of active duty to have their military experience recognized by the state. State officials recognized that some military occupations require the same skills as for civilian licensure. Some of those include electrical contractor, journeyman plumber, conditioned air contractor, residential-light commercial contractor and utility foreman. Georgia has the fourthlargest population of veterans nationwide and the state projects more than 60,000 military members will return to Georgia in the next three years.
Red Carpet Inn cleans up image The Red Carpet Inn, 2050 Gordon Hwy., is now under new ownership. The new owners have come from the Savannah area to Augusta in hopes of revitalizing the property by bringing their extensive motel background experience and fresh outlook. The motel staff acknowledges it was once considered dangerous and undesirable due to criminal activity. However, since the new ownership and new management team have come on board, the hotel has worked closely with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Department to successfully “clean up” the motel, being an active partner with the Sheriff’s deputies who patrol the area. To show their community service Red Carpet Inn is embarking in efforts to participate in positive activities like the local Muscular Dystrophy Association fund-raising efforts held at
VeryVera expands by merging with Athens caterer
In an effort to expand and grow their individual services, VeryVera of Augusta and Epting Events of Athens will join forces in the Augusta market, providing clients with the ultimate Southern experience. VeryVera is owned and founded by Vera Stewart. She has experience with the full spectrum of events, from extravagant weddings and intimate dinner parties, to corporate galas and cocktail and holiday parties. Combined, the two companies bring more than 70 years of catering and coordinating expertise to the table. A modern approach with a nod to Grandma’s favorite Southern recipes is what guests can expect from the joint efforts. “We are excited to see where this new project will lead,” said Lee Epting. A member of the elite organization, Leading Caterers of America, Epting Events is a family business inspired by the distinct personality of the Southeast, a region where they have four decades of event and design experience. Both companies are positive that this will be a long and fruitful collaboration, extending well into the future. Epting Events’ menus, already infused with the flavor of the South, will be enlivened by the local tastes of Augusta, presented with unique flair, and served with genuine Southern hospitality. the Augusta Harley-Davidson dealership. They also took part of the Holiday Gala of Giving, collecting donations for Toys for Tots, Child Enrichment and Big Sisters in Action. The Red Carpet Inn is currently undergoing renovations to upgrade the look of the property with a fresh coat of paint, new furniture, beds and linens. Stage 1 of the remodel is to be completed by early spring.
Global Spectrum slows losses at Brown, Bell Since Global Spectrum took over at the James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium losses have decreased, according to city officials. Ticket sales for the Bell auditorium and James Brown arena are steady this year. Global Spectrum Marketing Director Katie Cason said
they’ve been worked hard to keep the shows fresh. City officials said they were losing almost $1 million a year before Global Spectrum entered the picture but now losses have slowed.
Cushman unveils new 72-volt cart Cushman has introduced the next evolution in golf utility vehicles, a fully electric Cushman Hauler Pro that provides the range and power once exclusive to gas-powered machines in a silent, zero-emissions vehicle. Cushman vehicles are manufactured by the E-Z-GO Division of Textron Inc. The new Hauler Pro features a 72-volt AC electric drive train, upgraded from more traditional 48-volt systems, that offers up to 50 fully-loaded miles of range between charges. The AC Drive technology is up to 25 percent more energyefficient than DC technology, and also provides for unique
features such as regenerative braking that recharges the batteries whenever the vehicle’s brakes are applied and also speed control to maintain constant speeds up and down steep slopes.
Augusta Historic Commission OKs new IT building design An architectural design for the new Information Technology Building was approved by the Augusta Historic Preservation Commission in December. The design is in keeping with the guidelines of the Downtown Augusta Historic District. At the same time, the last remaining 19th Century court building on the block will also be preserved. Plans were approved after two months of discussions and negotiations between city officials, Virgo Gambill Architects, the project designers, members of the Augusta Historic Preservation Commission and representatives of Historic Augusta, Inc. The two-story 20,000-squarefoot IT Building will be constructed on the east side of the present Municipal Building, near Greene Street, and will be a modern building with traditional characteristics. Its brick and metal surfaces will complement the existing architecture that surrounds it, while providing all the needs of Augusta’s important 21st Century IT Department. The IT Department is currently housed along with the city’s print shop in a building that began as county offices constructed in the mid-19th Century. This building has had several incongruous additions that obscure the original structure’s Greek Revival simplicity. Once the IT Building is completed, it was agreed that the additions can be removed, leaving the original symmetrical one-story building intact for a future use that will be determined at a later time. The adjacent building, currently housing the city’s planning department, will also be preserved. Built in 1869, the
Greek Revival Temple is the oldest existing building in Georgia constructed as a synagogue.
North Augusta plans to counter law suit The North Augusta City Council has authorized taking legal action in response to a lawsuit filed in December relating to Project Jackson. In early December the River Club Homeowners Association filed lawsuit against the city, claiming the council’s amending of the local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) ordinance to fund the project was invalid. Project Jackson is the proposed $144 million development along the North Augusta riverfront. Part of the project is a baseball stadium that will become the new home of the Augusta GreenJackets. The council said it authorized the legal action in order to protect the sizeable investment which it feels will benefit the city and the region.
New Hampton Inn planned on Washington Rd.
Construction will begin soon on a new five-story Hampton Inn on Washington Road. The new hotel will be built behind the current Hampton Inn, and is expected to open about a year after construction begins. The new Hampton Inn will have 126 rooms, all with interior access. The current hotel rooms can only be accessed from the exterior. The current two-story hotel was built in 1986.
Jersey Mike’s to open in Aiken A grand opening for Jersey Mike’s sandwich shop in the Eastgate shopping center in Aiken will be held Jan. 8. It is the third Jersey Mike’s franchise owned by Eric Clark and Jason Wren. They also own the franchises in Grovetown and Martinez. Plans are to open a fourth store in North Augusta, possibly by June.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
3 simple strategies to boost your business Customers are the lifeblood of business growth. Here are a few tips to draw more By Gary Kauffman Three simple strategies can lead to almost immediate results in growing a business. While they concepts are simple, they do take planning and discipline to implement. 1. Increase your customer base. While this might be one of those ideas that make you say, “Thanks for the obvious,” it is surprising how many businesses – especially small businesses – have no real strategy for increasing the number of new customers who walk through the door. We live in an increasingly more competitive world. Thanks to the Internet, consumers can shop while in pajamas sipping wine in front of the TV. Because of the competition, you will have to be intentional about gaining new customers. Why is this important? Because, according to some researchers, a new customer will continue to buy from you for an average of five years. That’s a good way to sustain your business for many years.
There are a number of strategies for drawing more customers, and you’ll have to evaluate which one works best for you. One essential is to make sure you’re advertising your business, another simple concept. People won’t buy from you if they don’t know your business exists. You can advertise in a variety of ways: Print, radio, television, billboards, direct mail or even hiring someone to dress in a gorilla suit and stand in front of your store with a neon-colored directional arrow. Since few people get all their information from one
source, a good mixture of advertising media and locations works best. 2. Increase the amount your customers spend. If you’ve been in business any length of time, you already have a customer base. Getting them to spend a little more each time they interact with you will automatically result in revenue growth. One way to do this is to simply raise your prices. (It is a good strategy to periodically evaluate your pricing to make Continued on page 11
Anytime Fitness continued from page 1 they would not be absentee owners. “It’s our desire to make it a friendly, personal atmosphere that’s made us successful,” Tammy said. “It’s almost like we opened up our home, put in all these gyms and said, ‘Y’all come hang out with us.’” Tommy said their bonds with the people who use the gym transcends an owner-cli-
Photo courtesy of Augusta Metro Chamber
Pictured from left are Sue Parr, Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce president; Sean and Krista Wight, owners of Frog Hollow Hospitality Group; Randy Hatcher, President and CEO of MAU Workforce Solutions; and Remer Brinson, President and CEO of First Bank of Georgia/Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc.
Randy Hatcher named Entrepreneur of the Year
The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce announced its “2013 Entrepreneur of the Year” at its December Member Economic Luncheon. The recipient is Randy Hatcher, President and CEO of MAU Workforce Solutions. “Randy is the quintessential entrepreneur and MAU Workforce Solutions represents the kind of successful, iconic business our community is known for,” Chamber President Sue Parr said. “National recognition such as Inc. magazine’s annual 5000 Competition for the last three years is a remarkable testament to their outstanding growth and sustainability over the last 40 years. Augusta is truly fortunate to be the home of this incredible family business, now in its second generation.” Judging elements for the award included business growth and performance, use of unique and innovative business develop-
10 Buzz on Biz January 2014
ment practices/models, community image, impact, involvement and contribution as well as operational excellence. The recipient had to be an owner, partner or major shareholder in the business and active in the day-to-day operations. He or she also must be a member in good standing with the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce. As recipient of the award, Hatcher received a recognition package from the chamber which included a nomination for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award. The Chamber also announced the recipient of the “Entrepreneur Rising Star” award, which recognizes up-and-coming businesses that have made significant contributions to the business community. The 2013 award was presented to Krista and Sean Wight, co-owners of Frog Hollow Hospitality Group.
ent relationship. “All of our friends are here,” he said. A positive attitude has gone a long way in helping the Garners grow from one to four gyms in 10 years. “Attitude has a lot to do with running a franchise,” Tammy said. “If you’re as involved as we are then you need to enjoy it. You can’t dread going to work.”
Running a franchise creates new opportunities, challenges Running a franchise creates some challenges compared to running an independent business, but also offers plenty of benefits. Tommy and Tammy Garner, owners of four Anytime Fitness franchises in the CSRA, say they’ve benefitted from the support system and the reputation of the franchise’s name. “Sometimes when people drive by a gym they wonder if that’s a good place,” Tammy said. “With Anytime Fitness they know.” One advantage of a franchise is that many of the bugs of starting a business have already been worked out by someone else. In the case of the Garners, Tammy already had an MBA, which helped because they joined Anytime Fitness in its first year as a franchise. “It helped us because the franchise was new, but if you came into it now it
wouldn’t be necessary because they’ve already done all the legwork,” Tammy said. Because of that legwork, it’s important to recognize that what the headquarters dictates as the way to run a franchise is based on research – and sometimes failures – at other locations, even if at first their ideas don’t seem to make sense. “You need to see what the franchise is doing as a positive,” Tammy said. With franchise opportunities available in a wide variety of occupations, from carpet cleaning to tax preparation, from tool sales to restaurants, there are plenty of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. The Garners have one important piece of advice in making that choice. “Our biggest advice is to go with what you love to do,” Tammy said. “We happened to love the fitness area.”
According to Entrepreneur magazine’s website, these are the Top 10 franchises for 2014 1. Anytime Fitness 2. Hampton Hotels 3. Subway 4. Supercuts 5. Jimmy John’s
6. 7-Eleven 7. Servpro 8. Denny’s 9. Pizza Hut 10. Dunkin’ Donuts
Change the way you think
Modifying your thought patterns and behavior are keys to real business growth, says growth coach Ken Kehr
By Gary Kauffman n the classic movie The Shawshank Redemption, prisoner Andy Dufresne says there are two choices in life: “Get busy living or get busy dying.” The analogy can be applied in many ways to running a business – either you’re growing the business or it is dying. “You’re going one way or the other,” said Ken Kehr, business growth coach in Augusta. “If you’re not growing, you’re heading in the wrong direction.” Except in rare cases, most businesses want to continue to grow, whether the goal is to build wealth, provide employment or build a legacy to pass down to the next generation of family. “Number one, if you want your business to grow you have to sell more stuff,” Kehr said. “It’s as simple as that. You need to make the most margin you can.” And Kehr can sum up the art of selling in one sentence: “Figure out what the other guy wants and show him the easiest way to get it.” While it sounds as if growth is simply a matter of focusing on sales, Kehr believes business success comes from where and how you focus your thoughts and actions. After spending most of his life in sales for information technology systems, Kehr saw a need to help businesspeople – especially owners of small and medium-sized businesses – obtain the knowledge they needed to grow. He bought the Growth Coach franchise two years ago. He often works with people who have the technical skills for the job but may lack knowledge to run the business end. “The plumber is comfortable underneath the sink but not comfortable behind the CEO desk,” he explained. Kehr is convinced that increased knowledge is the key to improved sales and attaining growth. “When I break it down, at the end of the day I spend most of my time with business owners modifying their mindsets and modifying their behavior,” he said. “We are our own worst enemies.” Kehr believes that for a business to grow – go from good to great – requires mastering five critical concepts: Attitude, discipline, goal setting, time management and leadership. “These are behavioral and mindset changes that are sustainable and change your life,” he said. He is a firm believer in goal-setting. “Write the goal down,” Kehr said. “It has to be concrete, it has to be specific and it has to be measured.”
Breaking the goal into stepping stones, with prioritized tasks, keeps you focused and helps you manage your time more effectively. Rewards for accomplishing tasks help with motivation. “When you start achieving your goals, it improves your attitude,” Kehr added. One mistake business owners sometimes make is trying to go it alone. “Everybody needs somebody,” Kehr said. “You need to find somebody who is not emotionally involved to help you think things through.” He also believes in the value of stepping away from the business in order to improve your business knowledge. “Most of the people I work with are successful,” Kehr said. “Successful people know they need to take time out to improve their skill set.” The discipline to reach their goals, despite bumps along the way, is another attribute that separates the successful from the unsuccessful. “Most of us don’t persevere,” Kehr said. “We give up too easily.” But discipline doesn’t mean staying chained to the desk and losing sight of those around you. Kehr said businesspeople should develop strong, healthy relationships with employees, customers and family. “Business needs to be fun,” he said. When he talks about fun, discipline, goal setting and modifying behavior, it sounds as if Kehr has wandered far afield from his earlier assertion that the key to growth is selling more. But he believes that all of those attributes will lead to better sales. “Business is a game,” he said. “It’s a serious game, but like a game it should be played by the rules.” And by playing by rules that modify mindset and behavior, a business will get busy growing instead of getting busy dying.
“The plumber is comfortable underneath the sink but not behind the CEO desk.”
Growth coach Ken Kehr believes that a business owner has to master five critical concept in order to make a business consistently great. 1. Attitude – Having a positive outlook 2. Discipline – Taking responsibility to get things done 3. Goals – Specific items with action plans 4. Time Management – The great equalizer is time 5. Leadership – Influencing decisions by leading
Strategies continued from page 10 sure you are making the proper profit margin – no need to cheat yourself.) Most customers won’t notice or care about a gentle price hike. Simply rounding your prices up to the nearest dollar (say, from $8.36 to $8.99) can potentially yield thousands of dollars in annual profit. But to really increase your sales and promote growth, you want the customer to actually spend more while he’s with you. That means you have to be prepared to offer him more. One strategy is to offer all the peripherals. For example, if you own a store that sells paint, then make sure you also stock brushes, rollers, masking tape, drop clothes, ladders and anything else a customer will need to accomplish the job. Keep those items stocked near the paint and have your sales staff remind them what other items they’ll need. You might even print up checklists of the items to hand to the customer. That strategy also works when you’re providing services. 3. Increase the number of times your customers spend money with you. Almost every retail chain of any size these days has a loyalty rewards program of some sort. You spend so much and you get something free, or a perhaps a discount or some money back. They do that so you’ll keep coming back. Each time you return, they have one more opportunity to sell you something. It’s simple math. Say you have a customer who spends $10 with you. If you can see him nine more times, and each time he spends the same amount, you’ve made another $100 in his 10 visits. If you give him a free item worth $10 after that 10th visit, you still netted $90. Without that reward system, you might have made only the $10. Of course, running those kinds of loyalty programs often requires a lot of time and organization. On a smaller scale, local coffee shops and restaurants hand out business-card sized rewards cards that they punch or stamp each time you buy on the way to a reward. Another way to promote customer loyalty, i.e., more opportunities for sales, are to send e-mails or special direct mailers to existing customers reminding them of upcoming sales. You can offer them an extra 10 percent off for being a loyal customer. One other key for increasing the amount they spend: Make sure you carry the products your customers want. Every time your customers enter your store – or website – they are subconsciously filing away all the other items you offer that they’ll need, even if they don’t need it on that particular visit. That means you’ll have to interact with your customers to determine their needs, pay attention to what people are asking for, and stay on top of current trends. If you have what they need, they’ll keep coming back. As I stated at the beginning, the strategies are simple, but the implementation of them requires work. With the right planning and effort, though, your business will grow in 2014 and in the years to come.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Augusta-Richmond County recognized by national association Augusta-Richmond County was one of eight counties nationally identified in the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) 48-page November profile of “Strategies to Bolster Economic Resilience: County Leadership in Action.” This publication highlights counties that are applying innovative approaches to economic development to bolster economic growth and improve community quality of life. In researching these successful counties, three common themes emerged – long-range planning; support for targeted industries, local businesses and entrepreneurs; and workforce develop-
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ment. Augusta-Richmond County was one of only three counties featured for successful initiatives in each of these categories. “This report from NACo is a wonderful tribute to years of dedication and vision that many within this community have shared,” Mayor Deke Copenhaver said. “City leaders, along with our wonderful team of economic development professionals, have allowed for this vision to become a reality, allowing our city to prosper for years to come. I appreciate all who have worked, and continue to work, so diligently in allowing Augusta-Richmond County to
become all that it can be.” The report highlights Augusta-Richmond County’s use of long-range planning and infrastructure development to breathe new life into its urban center. As a result, it was able to withstand the recession and attract new investments and improve regional quality of life. NACo also commended Augusta-Richmond County for leveraging its transportation and infrastructure assets and creating partnerships with major firms in the manufacturing sector. Finally, the report applauded the county for its investment in workforce training programs and partnerships with local
universities to develop a more advanced workforce and attract and retain growing businesses. Commissioner Alvin Mason commented, “To receive this type of recognition from the National Association of Counties is awesome, and speaks volumes about the collaborative effort between the Augusta Economic County Development Authority, the Mayor’s office and the County Commission, as we have all worked together for a better Augusta”. Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson added, ”This is a testament to the hard work and effort we all have put forth to build Augusta to be a sustainable community.”
Is that credit card processor working for you? Stick a fork in 2013 – it’s so done. I googled Business Budget Templates and found categories for Utilities, Labor, Advertising, etc. Not a “Card Processing” line item anywhere. In budget planning, you can choose to add another billboard, or not. These are known dollar projections. M a n y think Card Processing Fees are i m mut a b l e percentages of total card sales. Jimmy McCollum But there Credit Card are ways to Payment Systems reduce – sometimes significantly – your overall Effective Percentage Rate (EPR), and that is only number that matters. Until 2012, the highest EPR we had seen was a little over 12 percent at a local dentist’s office. Then we found a merchant whose rate had crept up to 18 percent. Both were extreme cases, but it does happen. Card processing really is the proverbial “elephant in the room.” It isn’t spoken of among business owners. Virtually no one understands it. We have seen file drawers with dozens of unopened processing statements. We hear “The CPA gets the numbers from bank statements. Why open them if I can’t understand them?” All merchants
are somewhat frustrated. Some are mad at the card reps and others at themselves because the grass has all too often been no greener. After bad experiences, they’re resigned to feeling fleeced in this area of their business lives. I’m not here to tout the obvious, get everyone upset and leave you no better off than you were three minutes ago. But can we agree that it could be negligent to throw that December processing statement into the file drawer without seeing if your EPR can be lowered? The higher the percentage of card sales, the greater the impact on gross sales, so this is huge. What can make a difference? • Did you know that having an incorrect Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code can affect how transactions qualify? Per Visa and MasterCard, different industry types have different processing fees. • Wholesale or B2B Merchants, if your card terminal isn’t prompting Commercial/Purchasing Cards for the Level II Data, money is being wasted. • Do you have scheduled billing? Whether your business is landscaping/lawn care, sanitation, fitness club, housing rentals, or a medical office or B2B who lets customers carry balances, there is a recurring billing rate that is less than the cost of manually keying cards each month – but only if that recurring billing has been set up. There are many more nuances to this complex business. If, after reading the title
of this month’s piece, you answer “Not too good!,” give Mark a call at 706-799-2913 and let us help you with 2014. We’re local, we answer our phones and we do what we say. If you missed past Card Processing articles, you can read them online. August: The article on who we are – http://issuu.com/john-boy/docs/august_ buzz November: Entering the last 4 card numbers because of Counterfeit Magnetic Stripes – http://issuu.com/john-boy/docs/
november_buzz December: Why Leasing a Card Terminal is a really bad business decision – http://issuu.com/john-boy/docs/december_2013 Jimmy McCollum is vice president of Service Operations for Credit Card Payment Systems. Mark Hofilena is the president. The company was formed in 2006 after the two longtime friends worked for other credit card companies. For more information, visit ccpaymentsystems.com or call Mark at 706799-2913.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Write subject lines that get your emails read Ever hear the term, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” In today’s hectic world, almost everything is judged quickly and ruthlessly! If you’re anything like me, you get several hundred emails in a week (sometimes in just one day!). As a marketer who uses email to speak to our existing clients and prospective clients, getting our emails opened and read is very important to us. Open rates Jeff Asselin and conversions Director of Sales typically gauge an email campaign’s & Marketing at success. A recent Powerserve Epsilon Resource Center study showed the average open rate for email campaigns is about 28 percent. Open rates vary by industry; general retail emails have a 40 percent open rate while typical business products and general services businesses get anywhere between 19-25 percent of their emails opened. So what’s the key to getting people to open your email? It’s all in the subject line! An email subject line needs to scream, “Read Me!”, “I’m Interesting!”, “I’m ReleThis is a sponsored article. Jeff Asselin is Director of Sales and Marketing for Powerserve, a web development company that focuses on websites, custom business software, search engine optimization, graphic design and social media marketing. He will put his more than 16 years of advertising and marketing experience to work for you in helping grow your business. For more information , visit www.powerserve.net or his of-
vant!” and “I’m Important!” I’ve highlighted 6.5 tips below to help make your email marketing campaigns a success. 1. Keep Your Subject Line Simple. Introduce the email’s message. That’s it! Stick to 50 characters or less. 2. Be Honest. The subject line must match content in email body. Dishonest subject lines tarnish business relationships. Consider writing subject line in the form of question or declaration. 3. Identify Yourself. Build a relationship. Your company name alone should get them to open email. Using your company name shows you take responsibility for the email’s content. Keep in mind that a spammer would never do this. Start emails with your company name in [brackets] or (parentheses). 4. Use Actionable Language. Tell the reader what you want them to do and create a sense of urgency. Engagement increases when people feel like they’re racing the clock. Use a high verb count; include verbs like take, order, sign up, and register. 5. Personalize It. Include reader’s name, company, and even title. This catches readers’ attention. Include their name in a question, like “Have you registered yet, Susie?” or “Bobby, what are you waiting for?” 6. Edit, Then Edit Again. The first draft will probably be too long. Remove any excessive words without changing your message. It’s easier to develop subject lines after writing email content. Keep it short – 50 characters or less. Don’t send a one word subject line, either! 6.5. Avoid Common Spam Filter Triggers. Don’t be excessive with ALL CAPS. Go easy on the exclamation points! Don’t use obscure symbols or “salesy” words like Free, Act Now, Limited Time Only or Guarantee. Email can be a tremendous tool in your digital marketing toolbox. This measurable
format allows readers to see your fabulous offer, interesting news pieces and learn more about your goods and services. For additional tips and recommenda-
tions on uber-successful email campaigns, consult with folks who have a proven track record in online marketing. Happy emailing!
Market yourself from your customer’s shoes This was going to be a column about the hazards of marketing self-delusion and the danger that can pose to your business. It would have been inspired by years of watching business owners act on the certainty that, while they were skeptical of everyone else’s advertising, they were certain the public bought in to every word of theirs. Imagine the tactical advantage of actually molding your marketing from that realization. Molding your marketing by first standing in your customer’s shoes. Shockingly wonDon MacNeil derful things – if you stay the Crown Point course – will start to happen. Communications at To do it, you’ll have to turn conventional thinking 180 deWindsor Jewelers grees. (You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? Sounds great. Inspiring, even.
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Except somewhere in most of our brains it registers as a nice-sounding theory that in practice collides with the real world, like the karate black belt holder who gets stuffed by the barroom bully. Still, let’s try) Put another way, instead of simply sending out what you want potential customers to believe, make yourself imagine you are the receiver of this message. Here’s a tiny but telling example: 99% of businesses take it as gospel that their menu-laden, call answering recorded message should at some point say, “Your call is important to us.” Do any of us believe that any more? So why use it? But let’s say this is what a caller hears. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that this first customer contact has begun not with a welcome and a simple, “How can we help,” but with a PR-sounding smokescreen, if not an out-and-out lie. And the caller intuitively knows this. How about, instead, “At Smith Auto Parts we really listen to your message and act on it immediately. Please let us know how we can reach you and how we can help.” A small difference, but having never heard that before, your new client will probably feel a fresh breeze of sincerity. The trick to winning by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is identifying – collecting, really – every
advertising statement that everyone by now either tunes out or doesn’t believe, turning it 180 degrees, and blasting it back at the public. Instead of a giant billboard that reads, “WE’RE HERE TO SERVE YOU”, our guys at Smith Auto Parts would wisely put, ”WE’RE HERE TO MAKE MONEY”, and then add in smaller letters underneath, “By letting you keep yours.” That’s the fun part. That’s the attitude that must be maintained. But the bigger picture, whether playful or serious, is listening to the voice in your head each time you hear or see an advertising statement, and if your inner voice answers with some variation of, “Balderdash”, that’s the ammunition you’re seeking for your next 180 degree headline. Because in your customer’s shoes, that’s what just went through his head, too. Next time: Where’s the Beef? Don MacNeil is a traditional media expert, having spent more than 30 years on-air and behind the scenes in media and marketing. If you have any comments or questions, email him at email@example.com.
The beginning of the end for healthcare act? As I write this article we are eight short days away from the end of an extended Dec. 23 deadline to enroll through Healthcare.gov for a Jan. 1 effective date. Healthcare reform regulations originally placed the date on Dec. 15. While enrollment through the website has increased dramatically from the month of October, the current num- Russell T. Head ber of enrollees are Employee Benefits far from the proConsultant jections that were anticipated at this time. Perhaps most surprising – or maybe not for many– are the number of enrollees now enrolling for government-funded Medicaid. The states that chose not to expand Medicaid are even seeing their numbers increase just because of the broad awareness of the new healthcare reform mandate of being insured in 2014. Insurance brokers, navigators and application counselors have been busy educating and/or enrolling the public who may not be aware of the mandate. The enrollment process has been frustrating to say the least. While our office has steadily enrolled numbers of people throughout the past few
weeks, it has not been without continued glitches and delays – or pressing the restart button after the system has locked up for no good reason. An electronic enrollment should not take up to two hours to decipher a premium tax credit or cost-sharing subsidy. Perhaps even more concerning is the number of people who believe they are insured for Jan. 1 and their insurance carrier has no enrollment information from the back end of Healthcare.gov. The current admission by Health and Human Services (HHS) is that up to 25 percent of those enrolled may not have electronically transferred to their prospective insurer with complete enrollment information. Yes, that should be a little concerning to those who believe they had coverage beginning Jan. 1. Enrollees are thinking they have completed the process for insurance but yet their information cannot be found. The front end of the system is working better with increased capacity for up to 50,000 users in the system at one time; however the back end of the system has electronic kinks that must be repaired for the completion of coverage. It would be like placing an order on Amazon to arrive before Christmas but Amazon never acknowledging the transaction took place. How happy would you be? Better yet, how long would Amazon be in business? We are three years into constructing the new healthcare reform law. HHS had three years to build the site.
In the future, will the system be able to handle the capacity of those applying for coverage? I will be pleasantly surprised if all goes well without a hitch – on the front end and the back end. How much more can the administration delay? The continuance of website glitches has the potential perception to annihilate President Obama’s marquee legislation to reform healthcare in America. Only time will tell. And time is about at the end. For further explanation of the ACA/ PPACA provisions outlined in this article,
please refer to the following resources: www.hhs.gov www.irs.gov www.healthcare.gov www.cms.gov Russell T. Head is a partner and chief visionary architect with Group & Benefits Consultants, Inc., Augusta’s largest privately-held employee benefits consulting firm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-733-3459. For more information about Group & Benefits Consultants, visit www. groupandbenefits.com.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Georgia Economic Outlook event planned for Jan. 27 Registration is now open for the University of Georgiaâ€™s Terry College of Business â€œGeorgia Economic Outlookâ€? event scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at the Augusta Marriott. The event is sponsored by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce. Economic predictions for the CSRA will cover employment, income, population and real estate. The analysis also will focus on the prospects for specific economic sectors such as retailing and hospitality. Speakers will be Interim Dean Charles Knapp, giving the state economic forecast,
and Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo, providing the local economic perspective. To register, visit the website at terry.uga. edu/events/details/2506
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Essential considerations when relocating
Relocating to a new area can be overwhelming, to say the least. There are many things to consider from the way the move may affect your family life to where you should buy your next home. Working with relocation companies across the country, we have been able to help many families find their home in the CSRA and have put a list toLelia Hebert gether of things to consider Marketing Director, when relocating. Meybohm Realtors Your current home. Many times this is the largest concern for relocating. Should you rent your home or put it on the market? We strongly recommend working with a relocation company that will point you in the right direction based on the current real estate market in that area.
Lelia Hebert is the Marketing Director for Meybohm Realtors. She also serves as the cochair for the Greater Augusta Association of Realtors- Young Professionals Network and is co-owner of Geez Louise Special Events.
If homes are not moving quickly they may suggest renting for a year to see if the market changes. If you are planning to buy a home at your new location, it may be essential to sell your home before doing so. In that case, your relocation company will work with the top relocation agents to help with this process. Taxes and Insurance. Taxes and insurance premiums can change from county to county. Higher property taxes may encourage you to research surrounding areas to see if they better suit your family. Cost of Living. While finding a new place for your family to reside is a large concern, you should also consider the cost of living in your new community. While home prices may be lower, such things as groceries, gas, and education may be more expensive. It is imperative to budget accordingly. Area Knowledge. A Realtor cannot give opinions on such things as communities and school systems. You will need to contact a future employer or a family member who lives in the community to ensure that the area is the best fit for your family. You can also check websites such as greatschools.com and the city website for census statistics. Climate. While this may seem like a small consideration, it is often overlooked. If your family has lived in the South, it will be a large transition to the frigid winters of the North. Also, you will need to budget for winter clothes and tools.
Community. When relocating to a new area it may help your family to adjust by getting involved in the community. Meeting new friends can make a move worthwhile. Many cities have a community calendar posted so you and your family can enjoy the events. I hope that these tips can help if you are considering a relocation. Moving can be stressful on a family but with the right
relocation team working behind you, you will have more time to focus on the needs of your family. Meybohm Relocation is partnered with several national brokers, a network which interconnects brokers all over the United States and around the world. That means we can help you find a home no matter where you’re going. Call us today at 1-800477-0932 x 2159.
Thinking ahead in printer purchase saves frustration “Shoot, our printer just stopped working and we’ve got to get this report done today! Let’s run out and buy a printer now so we can get this printing done. Find one on sale.” Sound familiar? It happens every day. Printer purchasing decisions aren’t really something we devote a lot of time to before the need arises. The problem with making a rushed printer decision isn’t the initial up-front cost however; it’s the cost and headache associated with the ink and toner cartridges it uses throughout the printer’s life. Buying on price alone will more likely than not lead you to frustration. Before making a purchase, take a moment to figure out how much or little your home or office prints. A good way to estimate is to see how many reams (500 pages per ream) of paper you use in a month. Ask yourself if you need to print color or will black and white be fine. If you print a lot but only in black and white, you may want to consider a monochrome (black only) laser. Want color but have low volume? Consider a smaller inkjet printer. Just be aware that pictures will empty those cartridges fast! Robert Amos Also avoid buying more printer than you need. Some homes Cartridge World and offices need scanner or fax utility from their printers while others covet wireless technology. A multifunction printer sounds nice, but when that scanner or fax component breaks it can lead to the entire printer being unable to perform. Answering these simple questions before you rush down to make that emergency printer purchase will save you headache and money down the road. If you have a question about printers, give us a call at Cartridge World and we will do our best to help guide you to the best printer option for you. Robert Amos owns Cartridge World in Augusta. For nine years Cartridge World has been helping the CSRA save on their printing needs, whether for home or for business. Visit Cartridge World, 592 Bobby Jones Expwy, or call 706-228-6000.
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Is the federal government out of control? Article V of Constitution provides way for states to propose new amendments The United States federal government has been “kicking the can down the road” for years when it comes to the nation’s finances. Our national leaders have been using the nation’s credit card to continue to feed Jabba the Hutt pizza and pastries. When the credit card hits the limit, they simply “raise the debt ceiling” and obtain a cash advance by simply printing more Thomas Scott money. The truly Hudson scary part is Correspondent that no one seems to be able to rein in what has become an out-ofcontrol monster. Fiscal conservatives run for office only to get to Washington and find themselves powerless. States are powerless, too, as they have no one representing their interests in the nation’s capital. The so-called “economists” that parade as experts on television keep repeating the same tired phrase: “We are the world’s richest nation and the economy will be just fine as long as people keep spending money.” Well, people are not spending money, and thanks to the Obamacare disaster, they have even less to spend than they had last year. As a result, many businesses are changing their structures to hire only part-time help so they can avoid the Obamacare mess, and more and more Americans are stocking up on food and other supplies to be prepared for what they see as a coming disaster. These people are not conspiratorial nuts, they are educated people who understand the common sense notion that no person, business or government can continue to spend more money than they take in forever. At some point, the credit runs out. Can our entire economic system collapse? The answer is yes, it can and if not reformed, it will. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the national media focuses on the latest tragic event and numbs viewers with the latest outrage involving Miley Cyrus. The reason is that the media and their economic “experts” want to avoid a panic.
They know that if people withdraw their savings from the bank and instead invested their money in gold and supplies, the system will crash immediately. The core of the problem is that the federal government has long engaged in activities that are in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. As a result, small businesses are being choked out of existence while huge corporations that can afford to pay massive amounts of money to candidates running for re-election are able to almost completely avoid paying Uncle Sam. The federal government seems to no longer recognize that the 10th Amendment exists. Indeed, the Affordable Care Act is proof that Congress allows lobbyists to write the bills and they vote them into law without even reading what is being proposed. Congress consistently passes bills requiring the states to follow certain policies, but provides no funding. That buck gets passed on largely to the small businessperson and middle class taxpayer. Why are you paying for free lunch to every kid in Richmond County? You are paying for the pizza and gluten-free burgers because the federal government says you have to. And, pray tell, where in the Constitution is the enumerated right for every American to have a cell phone? Look on your next cell phone bill and you will discover that you are not only paying for your service but other people’s service as well. The federal government was designed to pave roads, deliver mail, coin money, provide a national defense and regulate interstate commerce; it was not designed to hand out free housing, free food, free cell phones, farm subsidies to urban areas and free health care. Even though medicine in their time was primitive compared to today, if the framers thought bloodletting was a right, they would have said as much. They never did. The framers of the Constitution gave We The People a way to hem in the federal government should it become tyrannical – The People can demand an Article V convention. The process is difficult and requires more than just a majority consensus, but the process is codified into the Constitution. People on the fringe have been calling for such a convention for years. The media has ignored them and labeled them the “tin-foil hat” people. However, a movement by state legislators across the nation has begun to seri-
Photo by Gary Kauffman
What would framers of the Constitution, like Thomas Jefferson, think of the state of today’s government?
ously take root. This movement is gaining steam because it is a bipartisan movement. Liberals and conservatives are both coming around to understanding that if something is not done soon, the nation’s economy will reach the tipping point and collapse. The group, which calls itself the Convention of States, recently held a conference at Valley Forge, Pa. Representatives of 32 states attended. This was an important moment in the nation’s history as 34 states are needed to call for such a convention. The group has agreed to meet again this spring and by that time may have the required amount of delegates to move forward. When not ignoring the movement altogether, the critics in the media have labeled the participants as a bunch of kooks wanting to create a runaway convention that will rewrite the Constitution. This is not true and a convention could not legally happen in such a way. Sure, it is likely that the conservative Christian bloc will propose a right to life amendment for the unborn and the far
lefties would love an amendment that ends income disparity within corporations, but neither of those issues is what this convention is about. Also, it must be noted that any amendments that come out of the convention require the ratification of 38 states, which is a tall order. The goals of the convention are to simply offer amendments that rein in the federal government and take it back to the original intentions of the framers, who designed the national government as one that did very specific tasks while allowing the individual states to be the incubators of public policy. It should be common sense that the national government be forced to balance its budget each year and that Congress be subject to term limits. You can find out more about this growing movement by visiting www.conventionofstates.com. These opinions are those of Thomas Scott Hudson and not necessarily those of Buzz on Biz or its staff. He is a reporter for WGAC News. For comments or story ideas, email email@example.com
Article V The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Deck the Halls with Sighs of Folly Vicky snorted with laughter, “Have you seen the office bulletin board, Nora?” “No,” I glanced away from a stack of papers. “Did Bob post another picture of Fred sleeping on his desk?” “No, it’s much funnier than that.” The gleam in her eye should have warned me. “Did Carol share another recipe for gluten-free, sugar-free, carb-free brownies?” “Taste-free is more like it,” she muttered. “No, it’s even better. Nora Blithe You’ve been selected Correspondent as the head of this year’s committee to decorate the lobby for Christmas!” “What,” I gasped. “There’s nothing funny about that! There is no committee to decorate! It’s just some poor soul who spends a day on a rickety ladder getting covered in glitter! I don’t like Christmas! I don’t even decorate my own house! Who nominated me—“ I broke off. I knew who had nominated me and she stood inches away grinning in my face. “You!” I hissed. She smirked. “Me! I’m just trying to help you appreciate the holiday more. Besides, I’m doing you a favor. Theodore loves Christmas. He always gives the best raises to the person who decorates – if they do a good job. Poor Timothy was fired the year he accidentally set the eight foot inflatable snowman on fire.” I glared at her, “I will get you for this!” “Good luck!” She skipped away, pleased with herself. I admitted defeat, went to the basement, and began hauling the dusty green and red Christmas storage bins to the lobby. “She wants to help me get a raise,” I muttered as I unstrung Christmas lights. “I’ll get a raise all right. This will be the best Christmas lobby Theodore has ever seen.” I worked through lunch.
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It was after five when I crawled under the large credenza, threaded myself through its legs, narrowly avoided impaling myself on the scratchy artificial tree and tried to plug in the final strand of lights. Only my feet remained in the lobby. The rest of me was lost in “Workplace Narnia.” I could almost reach the outlet. I leaned, I stretched, I believed I could reach the outlet. One more try. It reached! The lobby was awash with a near-unholy deluge of red and green lights. It was a Christmas miracle! Or at least I supposed it was. I couldn’t see it from behind the credenza. I tried to wriggle out only to find I was stuck. I squirmed but the credenza held my hips in a snug embrace. Suddenly, I heard people. It was Vicky and our boss, Theodore. I held very still and hoped the lights would prevent them from noticing my feet. “Didn’t Nora do a fantastic job, Theodore,” Vicky cooed. “Yes,” he said heartily. “It’s fantastic!” He hummed a Christmas tune as he left the lobby. Something kicked the bottom of my shoe. “You’re stuck aren’t you,” Vicky asked my heels. “What makes you think that?” She grabbed my ankles and hauled. I popped free. The next day in the cafeteria Vicky gaped at her lunch. I swapped her leftovers for a plate of Carol’s tasteless brownies. “Told you I’d get you back,” I smirked. “’I’m just trying to help you appreciate your leftovers more,’” I quoted. “’Besides, I’m doing you a favor’ – they’re carb-free!” Nora Blithe is an Augusta native, an entrepreneur and a syndicated humor columnist. She lives in Greenville, S.C., with her husband, Brian, and their pets. Read her syndicated humor column Life Face First in Verge, or find her online at doorinface.com or email her directly at norablithe@gmail. com.
Special career section
WOW! Part of our Expo and our excitement Wow! Call Center is now an H.R sponsor of our event in mid-February. In January, they announced an expansion of their Augusta call center with 120 new positions. Managers will be on site with jobs to offer for the New Year! They’ll join another new sponsor Amerilife. Sofia Colton Photography will be present at the Expo to offer $49 headshots so that job seekers can update their LinkedIn, Facebook and web pages for the future.
In this edition, one of our CEO presenters, News 12, celebrates a special anniversary. Take a look on Page 27. On Page 23, Isaac Kelly of Augusta Staffing presents an interesting challenge to local employers. He’s suggesting that your business office should add another layer of forecasting to the bottom line in 2014. Besides P & L’s, perhaps an effort should be made towards strategic staffing through forecasting. It makes sense and Isaac has included some
great resources for your people to review. As a reminder, Isaac will conduct three different workshops during our Expo: Interview follow-ups, Resume formatting, and On-Line applications. Besides News 12 and Augusta Staffing, we have two other tremendous business partners in Teleperformance and Troy State University. Please learn about what they have to offer in this section.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
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Thinking ahead to staffing needs saves time, money We’ve all experienced the fluctuation of our own work volume peaking and descending, sometimes resulting in staff cuts and hiring swings. The industries that I see this the most in are manufacturing, medical and logistics. It doesn’t matter where you are currently on this roller-coaster of hiring and firing – if you are constantly reacting to these staffing Isaac Kelly changes instead of planning for Augusta Staffing them, there are unbelievable costs of time, money, and often talent associated with this fluctuation. If you or your hiring managers build a plan of what talent and skills you will need in the coming weeks, months or even years, it will greatly improve your ability to pull in the right talent and to provide the best service to your customer. This concept is not just for hiring large numbers of people, but it can also be used in targeted individual hires. Factoring in the different business strategy elements such as number, types, and quality of employees needed is critical for your forecast plan. We all need to have plans for increases or decreases in customer/consumer spending and their needs for our products and services. Let’s dive into what this forecasting process would look like and what questions need to be answered. What skills are needed to fulfill the five-year business strategy? In order to better project and staff your team, the first step is to align your hiring needs to your business plan. Take into consideration where your industry is going and what skillsets you will need to have on hand to operate. How much of which talents will we need? In order to forecast hiring costs, you have to know the numbers of employees and what their skills and competencies look like. For example, you may need two maintenance mechanics and one supervisor to every 15 machine operators. Five of those 15 machine operators may have to have preventive maintenance competencies to fill the first shift and last shift time
frames. Spending the time to get this in your plan is crucial. What is our labor demand compared to the local labor supply? Now that you know what skills you need and how many employees you will need to hire for each skill, you will need to focus on where those candidates are going to come from. Some of this information will be available on labor resource websites. Historically, when have been our peak hiring times? If you are able to access your historical hiring data, you can formulate an average of the percent increase in your staffing during your peak times. Where you can improve this is knowing who to hire and how to hire the volumes of the right skillsets that fall into your business strategy to constantly feed your business with fresh talent. You can also have built into your plan what percent of your hiring will be temporary or contract hire. In order to better help you build a plan, it’s important to know where to go for your labor-market forecasts and related information. Here are a few links that will be useful to you: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: www. BLS.gov Local Employment Dynamics from the U.S. Census Bureau: www.lehd.did.census. gov/led Labor Market information by state: www.bls.gov/bls/ofolist.htm Conference Board Help Wanted Advertising Index: www.conference-board.org ISM reports on Business: www.ism.ws A huge part of my profession is to handle the “right now” needs of my client companies. One of my visions is for more of our clients to integrate their hiring needs around their business strategies and grow as a result of hiring increasing the ROI of every hire. It’s hiring smarter and for the future of your company! Isaac Kelly has been in the recruiting and staffing industry for eight years, providing staff-building, restructuring and development for client companies through temporary and direct hiring, consulting and pre-screening support. He specializes in industrial, mechanical and technical staffing services for Augusta Staffing in the Augusta office. His focus is to provide flexible staffing and risk-free hiring. For information about free interviews or staffing consulting, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706860-8909.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
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How will you stand out? Teleperformance has interactions with 25 percent of the world’s population annually. We provide passionate people, working with the best tools, to ensure excellence. We deliver solutions to generate value and results for your customers. We provide an outstanding customer experience in every single opportunity. We face the Advertorial future like it is By Teleperformance already here. Te l e p e r f o r mance’s Multichannel Strategy meets today’s challenges: fast, changing world; fierce competition; and demanding customers. More than that, it anticipates what will come: the mobile Internet revolution first, and a whole new way of interacting with people next. We are aware. Our experiences have prepared us. Our vision towards the future makes us ready. Our expertise, technology and innovation take us there. We value our people to add value to your brand. Teleperformance’s business strategy success is highly correlated to the satisfaction of its employees. Our unique focus on people, backed by our experienced and committed management team, ensures we meet our clients’ requirements and their customers’ needs. Our People Strategy states, “Happy employees make happy customers, which makes happy clients, and happy shareholders.”
If you’re a job applicant, how will you stand out to be the best of the best that companies desire? It’s important that you understand you are being “interviewed” the minute you walk in the door – the way you speak to the receptionist, the way you engage others in the lobby and the way you are dressed – are all being reviewed the minute you open that door. Are you giving off the right message when it comes to finding your next job opportunity? Are you looking to simply pay the bills or are you looking for a long-term career opportunity? Many times individuals seeking employment see a customer contact center as a last resort to finding a job without realizing the career opportunity is right there. Customer Contact centers incorporate so much more than an agent taking phones calls. Think about areas like Recruiting Department – Receptionist, Recruiters, Recruiting Manager; Human Resources Department – HR Coordinators, Regional HR Coordinators; Benefits Department – Benefits Administrators; Payroll/Accounting Department – Clerks; Accounts Payable/ Receivables, Auditors; Operations – Supervisors, Assistant Call Center Managers, Call Center Managers, Directors; Training – Trainers, Training Managers, Quality Assurance, IT, Telephony, Software and so much more. When in the job hunt there are some ba-
sic behaviors that you should follow at all times no matter the position you are applying for: • Updated and clean resume (no one wants to see a resume that is two years old with a coffee stain). • Dress for success – it doesn’t matter the position you are applying for, think professionalism. • Be on time if not early for interview – no excuses. If you are not going to be able to make a scheduled interview, call the employer and let them know. A no-call, no show now may mean no job down the road.
• Bring a pen and paper – if you need or want to take notes you should be prepared to do so. Ask questions during your interview – an interested applicant is a good sign. • Clean up your social media – it’s a new day, don’t think for one moment that employers are not searching out your social media pages to see who you “really” are. The important thing to keep in mind when searching for employment is that there are 20 or more right behind you looking for the same job. So how will you stand out? To learn more about Teleperformance visit Teleperformance.com.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Economist sees job growth for Augusta Job growth is in the forecast for the Augusta job market, according to Georgia State University’s Economic Forecasting Center. Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Forecasting Center, said job growth in 2013 was 1.4 percent, and could be 1.6 percent this year. Georgia’s employment growth rate in August was better than the nation’s. The A Labor Department survey of employers in the Augusta metro area shows an increase in workers of 1.5 percent. January 2013: 213,200 employed August 2013: 216,600 employed However, a survey of households shows a job loss of 0.4 percent. January 2013: 241,600 employed August 2013: 240,600 employed Households tended to report those who were self-employed, leading to the increased number of people with jobs.
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state created 85,000 jobs in 2013, compared to 63,000 the previous year. The center’s forecast calls for 78,000 jobs to be added in 2014. But beyond the number of jobs being gained is the quality of those jobs. An increasing number of the new jobs will be higher-paying positions. In addition, the unemployment rate is expected to drop from 8.5 percent in 2013 to 7.3 percent in the next two years. Some sectors of the job market have made full recoveries from the recession several years ago. Dhawan said professional and business services, transportation and hospitality have regained all the jobs they lost during the recession, while education and health care have been adding jobs. Manufacturing, finance, information, wholesale and retail trade are still trying to recover. Augusta’s economy could get an added boost, Dhawan said, as the Army attempts to consolidate its cyberspace training by sending 1,500 new soldiers to Fort Gordon. Dhawan added that the multifamily housing market, such as apartment complexes, continues to be strong in the Augusta area.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Start with the foundation Choosing the right university for your learning preferences
Whether you are attending college for the first time, returning to complete your education, or pursuing a specialized degree, there are opportunities that accommodate just about every learning style and scheduling preference imaginable. As a result, the search for the right educational fit can be an overwhelming task. So why not start at the beginning – the foundation of the university? Every university has a mission on which it was founded, a set of core beliefs that define its educational philosophy. Some universities emphasize social or athletic strengths, some center around a particular teaching methodology, while others foster a culture based upon religious or social mores. Alabama’s public Troy University believes that its foundAdvertorial ing principles continue to shape its students today. Founded By Troy University in 1887, with the motto “Educate the mind to think, the heart to feel, and the body to act,” the University sees its continuing mission as one of preparing future leaders through teaching the importance of service to the community. According to Troy Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., “Troy is not trying to be all things to all people, but what we promise in preparing tomorrow’s leaders through service, ethics and patriotism, we do very well.” As universities have grown and extended their learning options through remote teaching locations and even online learning, it is important to make sure that their founding principles remain steadfast whether on campus in a dorm or taking classes online thousands of miles away. “At Troy University, we saw the need to provide distance learning options to our students in the military more than 60 years ago, so we committed to developing programs that maintained the same quality and the same spirit of an education obtained on the Troy, Alabama campus in a traditional classroom,” said Dr. Hawkins, who is a Marine Corps veteran himself. “Today as we teach more than 22,000 students in teaching sites and online across the globe, the importance of maintaining our servant leadership principles, academic excellence and reputation is paramount to the Troy promise to each student.” University district director Philip Rousch, based out of Troy’s Augusta location, reiterates the Chancellor’s message. “From our curriculum, to our professors, to our student services, the Troy promise is alive and well. A Criminal Justice degree obtained in Augusta through Troy carries the same promise of quality and emphasis on service and leadership as a degree obtained on the Troy, Alabama campus. A Troy degree is a Troy degree, with all the same rights, privileges and honors regardless of where it is earned.” In addition, Troy’s programs continue to stay current and forward thinking in order to best prepare students for the opportunities ahead. With programs in fields like business, education, nursing, computer science, nursing, and criminal justice – some of the world’s most in-demand career fields – students can pursue an education in professions with predicted job growth. At a time when job security is a concern for many, knowing that your education is and will be relevant in the future justifies the pursuit of the degree. It appears that Troy University is doing something right, as accolades from the nation’s top financial and educational publications validate the university’s core mission. Recognized by the Princeton Review as “one of the best in the Southeast,” by U.S. News & World Report as “one of the top universities in the South,” and by Military Times as “a top university for troops,” the Troy promise to students is quality. To find out more about Troy University’s Augusta location with in-class and online degree programs, visit troy.edu/augusta or call 1-800–473-0975 today.
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January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Do culture, literature apply in the workplace? If managed well, diversity in a work environment provides benefits that will increase an organization’s success. Bringing different cultural backgrounds into a place of business offers a wider variety of perspectives. This can increase productivity because the various perspectives can make for stronger problem solving within Missie Usry a company. Enrollment Manager, Becoming Georgia Military diverse and College understanding cultural differences is not always an easy task. While diversity can be learned through travelling or living in various parts of the world, it can also happen through education. Often students ask why it is important to study literature. While it’s easy to understand why a teacher or English major needs to take a literature course, they somehow think that literature is unrelated to becoming an accountant, a nurse or a parole officer, for example. However, Dr. Aman Kay, English department faculty member at Georgia Military
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College, makes the correlation in his explanation. He says some social philosophers define culture as “the spirit of a nation,” while some scholars emphasize that culture is the soul and language of the body of literature. Kay points out that literary writers often incorporate their own culture into writings, offering students a familiarity with a culture they might never otherwise get to experience in a lifetime. Finally, Kay points out that as our world continues to shrink and nations become closer through faster communication, the power of culture in literature becomes more apparent and significant. We gain an understanding of culture and language through fine arts and literaMissie Usry is Enrollment Manager, holding an MBA in Marketing, and heads up Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus admissions department. The admissions department is responsible for enrollment, marketing, public relations and recruiting activities. Dr. Aman Kay is a professor in the English department at Georgia Military College. He is a published author in several languages. He is also the advisor for the student group that publishes the campus student newspaper. For questions about how to enroll in Georgia Military College’s degree programs, call 706-993-1123, email email@example.com, or visit www.gmcaugusta.com.
ture, which filters into practical applications in our daily lives and at work. Studying literature helps us to relate to those who are different. Georgia Military College aims to prepare
students for the workplace by teaching diversity, culture and literature, creating better-rounded employees for organizations looking for the cream of the crop when they hire.
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Leisure & Hospitality Buzz Businessperson of the Month
Aaron Hensley Premier Martial Arts, North Augusta Aaron Hensley, owner of Premier Martial Arts in North Augusta, has something few business owners have – a personal friendship with Chuck Norris. The legendary martial arts star is a family friend and Hensley began studying under him at the tender age of 5, earning his 1st Degree Black Belt at age 12. Now a 6th Degree Black Belt – at age 32, one of the youngest to hold that distinction – he has owned the instructional facility in North Augusta for four years. He moved into the North Hills Shopping Center in May. In addition to owning and teaching, he also competes in martial arts contests. Last year he placed second in the world competition in weapons skills. He and his wife and two children live in North Augusta. Why did you decide to go into business? I love teaching and I thought about becoming a school teacher. But doing this I have an influence over my students’ lives beyond what a school teacher would. Some of the kids who have been promoted to black belt have been with me eight or 10 years. A lot of times I may be the only male role model for them. Why did you choose to be affiliated with Premier? I wanted this to be my full-time gig and I wanted to educate myself. They taught me the business side so I could take what was my passion and make it my profession. You have to go through a two-year certification class before you can teach, and you have to go through continuing education. It’s our professionalism that sets us apart.
Everyone can tell you that martial arts creates self-confidence but we’ve created a system that tells kids why and how to have confidence, self-respect, respect for family and to have more discipline. And it also helps parents open the conversation about those things without it seeming like a lecture. What’s the best business advice you’ve received? Most people in a small business operate it because what they’re doing is their passion. I teach martial arts because of what it did in my life. But I don’t care how much of a passion it is, after a few weeks in business it becomes a job. You’ve got to know it’s going to be work. To keep it your passion when it becomes a job, you have to find ways to keep it enjoyable. For example, last year I went on a mission trip to Indonesia to teach martial arts. It was a really cool experience. What’s your biggest challenge about being in business? Being able to turn it off when I go home. Because I get so involved with the families, it’s tough to not let it bleed through to your personal life. How do you unwind? Travel. I love to travel. Last summer my wife and I went to Paris. I’ve been to Barcelona, and next year I want to go to Israel. A lot of times when I travel it’s because of martial arts. I didn’t want to see the world through the Internet, I want to see it with my own eyes. And I’m also looking to share those experiences with my family. What’s the biggest lesson you learned from Chuck Norris? It wasn’t anything he said, it’s what he
Photo by Gary Kauffman
Aaron Hensley learned his craft from martial arts legend Chuck Norris.
showed me. I was 13 and it was my first time working out with Mr. Norris since I’d earned my black belt. We were doing jiu jitsu, and afterward we did King of the Ring, a one-on-one contest. I was in the ring with Mr. Norris. I was overconfident because I had just earned my black belt and I was 13, so I thought I knew everything. Mr. Norris was in his 50s. I was on Cloud Nine because in my head I was thinking, This is 10th Degree Black Belt Chuck Norris and I’m about to whip him because he’s over the hill. I felt kind of bad for him.
About 10 seconds into the match, he jumped into the air from a standing position, put one leg across my throat and the other across my chest and took me down. I was tapping out before I hit the ground. It taught me to never judge a book by its cover, and that there was a reason Chuck Norris is a Grand Master. It was a very humbling experience for me. It was a wakeup call for me to work hard to prove myself worthy and to never take anything for granted. I use that as a lesson now for my teenage students.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Candlewood Suites wins Masters of Hospitality award Candlewood Suites recently won the prestigious “Masters of Hospitality” award handed out annually by the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s quite an honor for our 80-room hotel with 10 employees to beat hotels with 150, 200, 300 rooms and many more employees,” said Candlewood General Manager Betty Carter. The award criteria is based on hotel guests filling out “Masters of Hospitality” survey cards at the 79 Augusta area hotels. Carter’s team also won the award when she was sales manager a few years ago before being promoted for her attention to detail. “With social media now, you’ve got to be upfront, honest, and deliver to clients or pay the consequences with bad reviews, low rates and poor occupancy levels,” Carter said. During the week, Carter said Candlewood Suites are nearly always sold out. She added that the hotel is in the mid-price range from $89 for a studio suite to $149 for a onebedroom suite. Candlewood Suites, 1080 Claussen Road, provides free coffee, parking, local calls, movies, wi-fi, a gym and discounted snacks. All rooms contain a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and other amenities. The staff of the Candlewood Suites received a $200 prize to pay for a party for their hard work.
34 Buzz on Biz January 2014
Bride-to-be? You’ll probably fall into one of these types AN OPEN LETTER TO BRIDES: What an incredible time in your life this is! He asked and you said “YES.” You’ve been imagining your engagement since you were a little girl and since it’s been in the back of your mind since your sixth or seventh date with your bridegroom, you’re ready to get started! Now you’ve picked up a few Bridal Maga- Candace Wolke zines or spent a Co-Owner, few nights peGeez Louise rusing Pinterest, and your beautiSpecial Events ful bride brain is spinning, which means you are now one of the following types of brides: THE PRE-BRIDEZILLA BRIDE: It’s OK that you have kept a wedding scrap book for years because we love that! And the more details you have listed in spreadsheets, the better. You know what you want which means you know exactly what you need from Geez Louise. We are here to help you however you need it. You have done all of the legwork, now sit back and enjoy your time. We can take it from here. THE I’LL-KNOW-WHAT-I-WANTWHEN-I-SEE-IT BRIDE: You are probably a dreamer. In a breath, you are starting to imagine a venue, maybe; you sort of know your color scheme, but it depends on the venue; but at least you are pretty solid on the season, and theme and tone, but what you are really looking for is crossbreed of two different styles because they both just speak to your wedding planning soul. Ok, we’ve got you. All you really need is direction. One of our strengths is developing a tangible vision that showcase your ideas. THE SCATTERBRAINED, ON THE
VERGE OF HIVES BRIDE: We are here to show you the way! We know you love every wedding dress in Bride Magazine. You are in love with every venue option: Garden, cathedral, beach in the summer, barn wedding in the fall. Plus, you have no idea where to even start budgeting because who knows how much these things cost! No kidding you’re panicking; it is a lot of stuff to consider. But one step at a time, all you need is perspective. THE PINTEREST BRIDE: You are the revolutionary bride. Pinterest has forever changed the face of weddings, and more importantly, wedding planning. All of the old rules are out. Hints of traditions are interpreted in hundreds of boards, visions come to life in a collection of pictures. You know what you want and what you want it to look like. But if you are finding a starting point is confusing or you have no idea how to actually pull it off, then here is where we shine. We can do it! We can bring that fairy tale to life! THE TAKE IT FROM HERE, LOUISE BRIDE: We love all aspects of the planning process. And you probably do not. It’s not that you don’t care, but you certainly don’t care to do all of the work involved. So you did your part, you stole his heart. We will take you from engagement ring to wedding ring without you having to lift a finger. Well, just the one to show it off. On a scale of Zen to Bridezilla, you fall somewhere between one of these. Some hit right on the nose, and you may find you are a perfect mix of two. Either way, now we know how we can directly serve you, to help you find your perfect vision, and make your Day exactly what you want. Candace Wolke is the co-owner of Geez Louise Special Events and owner of Woah Nuts!, a revolutionary donut shop coming soon to Augusta. She spends her free time at home with her husband, Jonathan, and two little boys, Noah and Liam. Find Geez Louise on facebook for more information.
Willcox to be site of dream wedding The Willcox, the historic hotel in Aiken, will be the site of a wedding sponsored by Southern Living magazine. Southern Living is sponsoring a contest to win a dream wedding, and chose The Willcox as the site for it. At least 10 of the Aiken area’s finest local vendors will donate their services, from the horse-drawn carriage to the venue to the golden wedding bands, with a diamond added for the bride. The total package is estimated beforehand at of a total value of more than $35,000. The sweepstakes runs through Feb. 28. Anyone can win by entering at www.Southernliving.com. The contest on the Southern Living web site can also be reached by going through www.thewillcox.com. The contest is to be conducted by US Sweeps, an independent third party company that runs all manner of professional sweepstakes across the country. All the necessary rules are displayed on the Southern Living web site. The Willcox was built by Englishman Frederick Willcox and his Swedish chef wife, Elise, in 1898 for the entertainment of Aiken’s famous Winter Colony, Northeastern high society who abandoned the snows for Aiken’s mild winter climate where they could play their games such as polo, fox
hunting, race horse training and court tennis before returning to Park Avenue and Newport in the spring. Not many Vanderbilts or Whitneys arrive for the season these days, but The Willcox thrives today with the patronage of the people of Aiken and friends and guests from around the country and the world. In the four years of ownership by Geoff and Shannon Ellis, The Willcox has been the recipient of over two dozen awards that range from the simply astounding to the playfully entertaining. Nationally and internationally: 2012 Top 50 Best Hotel (No. 32) Hotel in the World – Travel + Leisure magazine; Top 20 Best Business Hotel (14) in the World – 2013 Conde Nast Traveler magazine; 2013 No. 12 Best Hotel in the USA – Conde Nast Traveler magazine; 2013 No. 5 in The World Best Hotels of all sizes with a room rate of $250 or less a night. Local Aiken vendors who have joined The Willcox and Southern Living to provide this extraordinary wedding are: All Star Tents and Events, Dianna Tornow Cakes, LLC, Floyd and Green jewelry, Cote Designs, Giving Weddings, 4 Cats in the Doghouse, John Vaughn Piano, and Lionel Smith Ltd, Clothiers.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Roly Poly: Convenient location but food needs work Every December I vow to be more organized than the year before. I consistently start the month with a great plan, seemingly easy to execute, and every year I find myself scrambling the week before the New Year to tie up all of the loose ends. This year proved no different. I got sidetracked by the busyness of the season and pushed deadlines until the last minute. I often work better Nola Bon Viveur under pressure; Power Hour Lunch however, the past month has been absolute madness. In my attempt to “get it all done,” I never left home for a shopping excursion or holiday event without the laptop in tow. Several times I had to force myself to stop for a quick lunch, not so much because I needed food, but because I needed to work. While running errands in West Augusta one day, I saw a sign for Roly Poly, offering free Wi-Fi
36 Buzz on Biz January 2014
to customers. It was an offer I could not refuse. A bit tired of the fast food options and of eating and answering emails in a parking lot somewhere; I loved the idea of a fresh salad and cup of hot soup. Roly Poly is in the Walton’s Corner shopping center, at the corner of Wheeler Road and Walton Way Extension. My first impression was that the parking was atypical for a restaurant. It is a large shopping center parking lot, and there are no spots specified for Roly Poly customers. No big deal, though. Who cannot use a walk of a few extra steps this time of year, right? Because I had several assignments due, and because I know my tendency to be distracted by people in a busy restaurant, I chose to eat outside at Roly Poly. They have a couple of tables outside on the sidewalk that seemed just perfect for a quiet, productive lunch. I ordered the spa salad topped with grilled chicken plus vegetarian vegetable soup. The spa salad is mixed greens, plum tomatoes, green pepper, cucumber, carrots, mushrooms, avocado, walnut pieces, dried cranberries, alfalfa sprouts and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The grilled chicken is an added option. The menu description of this salad sounded wonderful to me; however, I was a bit disappointed with the actual product. I found several pieces of lettuce that looked like it was not washed properly, the cucumber and tomato did not look or taste fresh, and the grilled chicken was almost
The description of the Roly Poly Spa Salad was better than the actual product.
inedible. There was a lot of fat that should have been trimmed before the chicken was served. My soup did not taste bad, but it did not leave much of an impression. This West Augusta location is certainly convenient, especially for those working at the banks, medical practices and other professional offices on Wheeler Road, but being located in close proximity to the Augusta Exchange means that restaurant competition is stiff. I can think of at least three other sandwich shops/cafes within a
mile of Roly Poly. In order for a restaurant to thrive amidst this much competition, its food must be great and make diners want to come back. This was not the case. On a positive note, I liked the overall atmosphere at Roly Poly. I loved that it was away from the traffic nightmare of Augusta Exchange and that it was quiet enough for me to get my work done. Not a great culinary experience, but an adequate pleasant, convenient place to stop for a “work break”.
Check out charities before donating cars, BBB warns With increasing frequency, radio announcements, classified ads, billboards and television promotions are mentioning used car donations as a giving alternative that can result in a handsome, income tax write-off while also providing a simple way for both individuals and businesses to dispose of unwanted vehicles. Better Business Bureaus around the country have reported increasing interest in donating used cars to local charities and affiliates of national organizations. Before you donate your vehicle, the BBB suggests you do some homework. • Ask for a copy of the organization’s Internal Revenue Service determination letter that verifies the soliciting group is tax exempt as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Don’t assume that a charitablesounding organization requesting donations is eligible to
receive tax deductible gifts. • Ask the organization for copies of its latest annual report and IRS Form 990 that specify how they spent their funds in the past fiscal year. Check to make sure that the charity is registered to solicit with your state government’s charity registration office. Also, contact your Better Business Bureau for information it may have on file. • Find out what happens to the donated cars. Some charities may state that donated cars will be used to help carry out the group’s program service activities (such as providing transportation for needy families). However, if the charity is involved in major promotions for such contributions, chances are that the volume donated will result in most cars not being used but, instead, sold to raise funds for the organization. • Cars can be sold directly by the charity or through an
outside seller, such as an auctioneer or used car dealer. If an outside seller is involved, the charity might receive a flat fee (for example, $100 per vehicle), a percentage of the actual sales price, or a combination of both. In some cases, less than 20 percent of the actual sale may go to the charity. Ask the charity for a receipt that verifies a car donation was made. For cars that need to be towed-in, the charity may need to mail receipts and titles to the donor. This is all the more reason to check out the charity before making the donation. It is also up to the donor, not the charity, to place an accurate value on the car donation. If the donated value, as claimed, exceeds $500, the individual or business contributor will need to complete IRS Form 8283 as an attachment to his/ her tax return. If the claimed value is over $5,000, the donor will need to obtain a qualified written appraisal of the car.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz
Good news, bad news
Augusta economy growing, but not at national average The good news is that the Augusta area economy is improving. The bad news is that it continues to lag behind the level of improvement nationwide. According to statistics released recently by the GRU Hull College of Business, the Augusta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Gross Domestic Product was $20.8 million in 2012, an increase of 1.1 percent. However, nationally, the increase for MSAs increased by 2.5 percent. This makes Augusta the 104th-largest MSA in the country. Per capita personal income also rose in
2012 by 2 percent, but that again did not keep pace with the national average of 3.4 percent.
Gross Domestic Product National increase – 2.5% Augusta increase – 1.1% According to a press release from the Hull College of Business, this indicates that the economy in Augusta is growing, just
not at the rate of other areas of the country. Unemployment figures were also higher in Augusta than nationally, a rate of 8.1 percent in October compared to the national rate of 7 percent. But the Leading Economic Index (LEI) did increase by 0.2 percent in October, and by 4.2 percent since October 2012. The LEI combines several national, regional and local indicators into a single variable that may signal changes that could occur in the economy. They are not forecasts or predictions but may signal future
economic activity. The Augusta MSA includes six counties in the CSRA – Richmond, Columbia, Burke and McDuffie in Georgia, and Aiken and Edgefield in South Carolina. The housing market in the area seems to be improving. Quoting figures from Blanchard and Calhoun, the press release states that housing prices were 14.9 percent higher in October 2013 than a year earlier. The length of time that a home stayed on the market declined from 153 days to 145 days during that same period.
January 2014 Buzz on Biz