A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF THE LEWISTON TRIBUNE яБо JAN. 18, 2010
An Interview with
Judy and Tom Hobson Owners of Valley Car Sales in Lewiston ~ PAGE 8
CALENDAR Jan. 19 — Lewis-Clark Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, noon, Elk’s Temple, Al Reagan, (208) 7435441. Jan. 20 — Orofino Chamber of Commerce, noon, Ponderosa, (208) 476-4335. Jan. 21 — Port of Whitman County, 10 a.m., (509) 397-3791. Jan. 21 — Lewiston Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 3 — Orofino Chamber of Commerce, noon, Ponderosa, (208) 476-4335. Feb. 3 — Grangeville Chamber of Commerce, 1:30 p.m., Oscar’s (208) 983-0460. Feb. 3 — Kamiah Chamber of Commerce, 7 p.m., chamber building, (208) 935-2290. Feb. 4 — Port of Whitman County, 10 a.m., (509) 397-3791. Feb. 5 — Lewiston Chamber of Commerce general membership, 7 a.m., Red Lion, (208) 743-3531. Feb. 9 — Port of Lewiston, 1:30 p.m., (208) 743-5531. Feb. 9 — Pullman Chamber of Commerce, noon, location TBA, (509) 334-3565. Feb. 9 — Grangeville GEM Team, Oscar’s (208) 983-0460. Feb. 10 — Clarkston Chamber of Commerce general membership, noon, Quality Inn, (758) 7712. Feb. 10 — American Business Women’s Association, 6 p.m., Rowdy’s Steakhouse, Carol Pretz, (208) 750-7251. Feb. 11 — Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, 8 a.m., Coffee Mill Creations, (208) 962-3231. Feb. 16 — Lewis-Clark Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, noon, Elk’s Temple, Al Reagan, (208) 7435441. 2
A possible dream? Starting a company in a recession NEW YORK — While much of the business world struggled with cutbacks and layoffs during 2009, many people saw opportunity. Undaunted by the recession, they started their own companies. Entrepreneurs are by and large an optimistic lot, with faith in their ideas and their ability to execute them. So it’s understandable that they would find reasons why it made sense to start a business in a sickly economy. Among them: It’s easier to rent commercial space at a discount when landlords are hungry for tenants. Still, many had some scary moments as customers stayed away or money ran low. A look at how four new business owners fared last year:
Waiting For The Consumer To Spend Mike Sweeney had what he thought was a great idea for a new product: Clipa, a hook that people use to hang pocketbooks and other bags from restaurant bars or counters. The recession didn’t faze him. “I thought it was actually a good time,” said Sweeney, who saw advantages in starting a company during a recession. Rental space was cheaper, suppliers were hungry for business and there was a pool of good job candidates. But when the Irvine, Calif.-based entrepreneur began selling Clipa in April, he discovered how hard the retail business had become.
Some consumers were willing to spend the $20 for his product, “but not in the volume we expected.” “We went to some trade shows and the response was less than we expected,” Sweeney said. By August and September, he was feeling uneasy because “we were burning through money,” the personal funds he raised to start the company. Since then, business has gotten better as consumers have started feeling better about spending. “It’s been growing every month. We’re getting up to where we expected to be initially,” Sweeney said. He’s selling Clipa online and his sales reps are getting it into stores. And he’s feeling optimistic enough to start selling another product later this year.
separate ways as 2008 ended. On Jan. 2, 2009, his new firm, Feintuch Communications, opened for business. “It was very scary,” Feintuch said, recalling that at first, he didn’t know which of the old firm’s clients would migrate to his new venture. “We lost money consistently for the first half-year, as you’d expect in a new business.” There were several times when “we literally did not have funds to make payroll,” Feintuch said. So he and his new partner dipped into their own funds, and their employees never knew there was a problem. He also had encouraging signs: “Each month would show more billings than the month before.” But, Feintuch added, “we never knew if we were going to grow into the black.” Feintuch said he and his current partner helped the New York-based company grow by partnering with companies on projects and accounts rather than expanding the current staff of four people. In June, “we literally broke into the black,” Feintuch said. This month, the company expects to hire two more people. “It looks like we weathered the worst of it.”
Working Through The Bad Times
Timing The Real Estate Market
After more than 27 years co-owning a public relations firm, Henry Feintuch and his partners went their
It might seem counter-intuitive to start a real estate
See ROSENBERG, Page 4 MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
January 2010 VOLUME 11, ISSUE 1
Business Profile is compiled by Target Publications of The Lewiston Tribune. Business Profile is inserted in The Lewiston Tribune the third Monday of every month.
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On the cover Judy and Tom Hobson of Valley Car Sales By KYLE MILLS of the Lewiston Tribune
Our favorite quote “It’s always been our life.” — Judy Hobson (story Page 8)
MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
48 years on the same corner Valley Car Sales has seen much change since Hobby Hobson opened it at 18th and Main PAGE 8
2 SMALL TALK: Daring to be great in a recession 4 BUSINESS ON THE GO: Who’s doing what 5 WORKPLACE WELLNESS: 2010 is all about the basics 6 BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU: Tweet softly to start 7 THE NEXT LEVEL: Good customer service can last a lifetime 12 BUSINESS ANSWERS: So much depends upon the workforce 15 ASK IDAHO LABOR DEPT: Personal loan can’t be garnished 16 THE JOB COACH: Plant those seeds now BUSINESS PROFILE
BUSINESS ON THE GO USKH promotes Clarkston High graduate Greg McCrackHe has been with the en, a 1982 graduate company since 2005 of Clarkston High and is a member of School, has been the board of directors. promoted to a seHis projects have innior position with cluded high schools USKH, an engiand middle schools in neering and archiWashington and Alastectural firm based ka and the Spokane Greg in Alaska. County Southside McCracken McCracken lives Aquatic Facility. in Lewiston and McCracken is a as head of the architectural member of the American department supervises 36 Institute of Architects and is employees in Lewiston, Spo- graduated from Washington kane, Walla Walla, Anchor- State University with a B.A. age, Fairbanks and Wasilla. in architecture.
This could be you ... Read about professional accomplishments every month in ...
“I believe poor economic climates From page 2 sometimes breed opportunities.” — LISA business in a recession that started with the collapse of the housing market. But Joe McMillan and his three business partners went ahead and started their real estate development company during the first quarter of last year. “When you’re entering real estate when the market is correcting, you have more significant upside potential,” said McMillan, CEO of New York-based DDG Partners. “From our perspective, it has been a very good time to enter the market.” DDG was able to get properties that were wellpriced because the market was weak. The company has several projects under way, including a building under construction from the ground up in lower Manhattan. Perhaps because of DDG’s good timing, McMillan said his company hasn’t had the uncertain moments that many other startups did in 2009. The company is also self-financed, so “we haven’t had to battle the banks,” he said. “There was never any point that I had a lack of conviction in what we were doing and the business model,” McMillan added. He said 80 percent of the company’s projects are expected to be in New York, with the rest in Boston and San Francisco.
Going In Search Of Sales Lisa Michelson says, “I believe poor economic climates sometimes breed opportunity.” So she came up with a product that targeted 4
fashion and budget conscious women — those who could no longer spend $500 or $700 on a handbag, but would be willing to spend $100 or $200. Michelson started her New York-based company, Lisa David Designs, a year ago, and found that along with opportunity, the economy presented many challenges. She went to trade shows to try to sell to retailers, but found that attendance at the expos was below expectations, which meant fewer chances to make sales. She also found it wasn’t so easy to hire the workers she needed, although layoffs had greatly expanded the pool of job candidates. Michelson also ran into some of the frustrations that many small manufacturers experience in the best of times. Like suppliers who wouldn’t sell her less than 1,000 yards of a particular fabric, much more than she needed. She learned she needed to be creative in order to bring in more sales. So instead of trying to sell to some retailers, she’ll run a trunk show where she takes her handbags to a store and sells them herself, giving the merchant a cut of her sales. She also has her product line on an online handbag Web site. But business is getting better now, and she’s optimistic enough about 2010 that she’s planning to take on a fifth sales rep. Rosenberg covers smallbusiness issues for the Associated Press. MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
Back to basics in 2010 We’ve all seen those diet pill commercials that promise you’ll lose 20 pounds without any work and heard about those magical diets that let you eat all the foods you love and still lose weight. Maybe you’ve even bought an exercise product from an infomercial guaranteeing washboard abs in only five minutes a week. Such shortcuts are powerful lures that sell lots of products, but as they say in the fine print, those results are not typical. The reality of weight loss is there’s no substitute for the tried-andtrue method of eating less and moving more. Focus on the basics! And that same basic premise — focus on the basics — can be applied to workplace wellness. Managing an employee wellness program can seem overwhelming when you start thinking about budgets, employee involvement, health risk assessments and staffing needs. The good news is that some of the most successful workplace wellness programs are the simplest ones. Here are five steps to help you focus on the basics. 1. Evaluate your company’s needs. Every workplace is different, so it’s important to consider the health needs of your employee population. What percentage of your employees smoke? How many of them exercise on a
Justin Jones regular basis? The best way to answer these questions is by simply asking. Create a confidential employee survey or use an online health assessment tool (example: www.fittogethernc.org). 2. Set realistic goals. Based on the health needs of your company, set two or three concrete, measurable goals for your wellness program. It’s unrealistic to think that in one year, 50 percent of your employees will lose 20 pounds, stop smoking, get seven to nine hours of sleep each night and eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. When a program has too many goals, or undefined goals, simplicity is lost and success is elusive. 3. Implement your program. You’ve narrowed your focus and set a few manageable goals. Now it’s time to set your program in motion — whether that means discounting healthy food at
the cafeteria, working with a health coach through your insurance company, starting a walking group at lunch, offering discounted gym memberships to employees or inviting a speaker from the American Lung Association to talk about smoking cessation. 4. Encourage employee involvement. The more employees who participate in a workplace wellness program, the bigger an impact it’s likely to make at your company. While some employees might simply be motivated to be healthier, most companies find that they need to offer an incentive to get employees onboard. This can be anything from a discount on insurance premiums to gift cards. 5. Keep it up. Remember that it will take time, likely several years, to start seeing significant results from your wellness program. With careful goal setting and a commitment to wellness, you can expect to see measurable effects such as decreased absenteeism, savings on health expenditures and increased productivity. According to the Wellness Councils of America, small businesses
report a $24 return for every $1 spent on a comprehensive company wellness programs. If this list still looks daunting, remember you don’t have to go it alone. Great online resources include the Centers for Disease Control Healthier Worksite Initiative (www.cdc.gov/ nccdphp/dnpa/hwi/), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Health Workforce program (www.uschamber.com/as sets/labor/2010hwforce.pdf) or the Small Business Wellness Initiative (www.sbwi. org/employers.asp). Potential community resources include workplace wellness programs through your insurance company, Weight Watchers at Work, and nonprofits such as the American Heart Association or American Diabetes Association. Like any other business function, workplace wellness takes planning, measurement and persistence. It’s a new year, a new decade and a great time to start. Jones is the Wellness Program Coordinator for Regence BlueShield of Idaho. He welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
Small businesses should twitter and tweet cautiously this year One New Year’s resolution many small business owners made this year is to increase their business online promotion through sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The Better Business Bureau recommends small business owners ease into the waters thoughtfully when planning to launch a social media strategy; otherwise, you risk abandoning the ship in frustration. Social media engagement makes sense as a relatively inexpensive marketing strategy when compared to expensive ad buys. According to a recent survey by VerticalResponse,
Holly Doering Inc., 70 percent of small to medium-sized businesses are planning to increase their use of social media in 2010. At the same time, 79 percent say
they will not run television ads and 70 percent say they will not make radio buys. “Small business owners are taking a hard look at their marketing budgets, and traditional advertising is becoming too much of a burden in these lean economic times,” BBB spokeswoman Alison Southwick said. “Adopting a comprehensive, but manageable, social media strategy can be an inexpensive yet effective way to improve customer relations and spread the word about your business.” The BBB offers the following advice to small business owners who want to start promoting their company online through social media:
Don’t Get In Over Your Head If you’re a small business owner who is also the marketing department, the worst thing you could do is launch a large, unmanageable strategy that takes up too much time and ends up neglected. You don’t have to do it all at once. Instead, try to set aside a few
minutes every day to engage one or two aspects of social media promotion. Start small, such as with a Facebook page or by commenting on blogs or connecting with customers on Twitter. Let your social media strategy grow and evolve as you learn what works best for your time constraints and business goals.
Create and Share Information Social media is about engagement, and creating and sharing content is key to connecting with customers and other industry leaders. You may not realize it, but you as a small business owner are an expert and have sound advice and informed opinions to share. When writing your own content, always maintain an appropriate and professional tone and use plenty of links to other sites, blogs or news articles to help illustrate your point. You can share this content on any number of places such as on
SEE DOERING, PAGE 7
Jeremiah Wynott 254954AR-10
Inspiration At Your Feet FLOORING FOR YOUR LIFE
MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
the next level
A few steps toward boosting the bottom line
From page 6
your own blog, a community blog or on your Facebook or MySpace page.
Keep Everything Connected Once you’ve created your page on Facebook, or established your blog or Twitter account or other online presences, cross-promote your content so that the same message is going out across every site. For example, Tweet about your blog post or send a link in a message to your LinkedIn group. Many social media tools can be integrated; you can display a Facebook badge or a Twitter widget on your blog or Web site.
Engage In The Conversation An online conversation is taking place right now about your business, your indusMONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
at the Crescent in Spokane. They were trading stories about how much fun they had dressing up and how it was such a fine and memorable experience. Most of us have had wonderful experiences that have shaped our lives. It’s no different with customer service. You either experience a lovely interaction or you’re sorely disappointed. Customer service is an experience and those memories, good or bad, stay with us. The power of the childhood tea room memories
try or issues affecting your community. Inject yourself and your opinions into the conversation by following opinion leaders on Twitter and social networking sites and commenting on blog posts. Whenever possible, include a link back to your content or Web site.
Engage With Customers Your customers are talking about you online whether you like it or not: On their blogs, consumer-focused Web sites and on review sites such as Yelp, Yahoo! Local and CitySearch. While you can’t take control of the conversation, you can help steer it by listening, engaging with customers and working to resolve any problems. For more advice you can trust on running a small business, visit www.bbb.org. Doering is the charity review and grants coordinator for the BBB serving Washington, northern Idaho and Montana. She may be contacted at email@example.com or at (800) 356-1007.
Rene’ JohnstonGingrich made me really think about the importance of customer service from the experiential perspective. What do we have today that compares? Have we lost the value of the truly fine experience? Are we embracing mediocrity and expecting it to deliver us a disproportionate level of success? I strongly believe part of providing outstanding customer service involves providing a total experience. It is all the more important in this day and age when we are hyper-connected electronically but lacking in human connections. Our customers
are also seeking out that personal interaction and want to be treated as individuals and not as a transaction. I believe it is worthwhile to stop and consider every aspect of what our customers or clients experience from the time they enter our place of business to the time they walk out our door. Are they treated like a guest? What do they hear? Does our place of business look clean and well-kept or does it look like we are hanging by a thread? What atmosphere does the lighting create? If appropriate, are they offered something to drink? Give me a cappuccino and you just gave me a reason to browse for at least 20 minutes whereas without it, I may grab what I need, make a lap around the aisles, and walk out the door. There are many low-cost measures we can take to provide the type of experience that makes our clients comfortable, secure in doing business with us and inclined to continue. First we have to design a well-thought-out customer experience. The misconception here is that designing such an experience is costly. Certainly there are many worthwhile investments we
See GINGRICH, Page 12
Where Your Image Is Everything EMBROIDERY – SCREENPRINTING Direct to Garment Printing
The world is changing and so is the way we, as business owners, interact with our customers. Although technology can open new avenues of communication and revenue, there is no way to truly replace one-on-one interaction and experiences. The other day I was drawn into a conversation with some co-workers. They were reminiscing about experiences they had as children. Those childhood memories included special trips with their mothers to the tea room
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Judy and Tom Hobson, owners of Valley Car Sales in Lewiston, talk about the history of the dealership that was started by Tom’s father Hobby Hobson in 1962.
The driving force Valley Car Sales owners Tom and Judy Hobson reflect on history of dealership started by Tom’s father, and a tough year for car businesses 8
By Mary Tatko
and Judy Hobson. “You’re sitting at the stoplight, you look around,” Judy If you’ve driven through said. The dealership specializes the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, you’ve probably driven in pickups, which make up about 75 percent of its invenpast Valley Car Sales. Its location at a busy inter- tory, and that niche market, section on Lewiston’s Main along with its plum location, Street, which also doubles at has helped carry it through that point as U.S. Highway 12, difficult times. Business licenses from 1962 undoubtedly has contributed to the business’ success over to today are displayed in a the years, said owners Tom frame behind Tom’s desk. It’s a of Target Publications
visual testament, begun by his father, the late Hobby Hobson, to the years the family weathered the ups and downs of the used car sales business. “2009 was a brutal year for the car industry,” Judy said, noting several valley car dealers went out of business during the past year, something she said any small business owner hates to see.
See DRIVING, Page 9 MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
Tom and Judy Hobson
From page 8
Occupation: car lot owners Age: Tom, 47; Judy; 46 Residence: Lewiston Family: daughter Shawna, 28; sons Brad, 24; Nick, 20 and Mark, 20; three grandchildren Education: Tom, Lewiston High School graduate; Judy, Nez Perce High School graduate Civic: Lewiston Chamber of Commerce members
At Valley Car Sales, the slowest months seemed always to be followed by enough of an upswing to make up the difference. “Our business was average or better than the year before,” Tom said. “We’ve had slow times,” Judy said. “But we didn’t have to lay anybody off.” That’s a point of pride for the Hobsons, who know from the surprising number of people who walk through their door looking for work — at least one a week, Tom said — how valuable employment is right now. “We’ve had a lot of people looking for jobs,” Judy said, shaking her head.
A Flawed Fix Tom pinpoints the start of the recession to the sharp rise in gas prices, a situation, he emphasized, that affected everyone, not just the automotive industry. But the auto industry’s role in the nation’s economic situation continued to be highprofile, through the struggles of U.S. auto manufacturers to the Cash for Clunkers program designed to spur auto sales and improve the environment. With fewer vehicles coming out of Detroit the past year, Tom said, new car dealerships haven’t had the number of new model-year cars they’ve traditionally had to display on their lots. Whereas new cars for the next year once were promoted midway through the current year, some new car dealers have only recently received shipments for 2010. This effectively made new MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
Judy Hobson handles the bookkeeping and paper work for the family business. car dealers into used car dealers, he said, noting most local new car dealerships put their used cars front and center. The resulting competition from a new set of businesses was unexpected, but at the same time not surprising, Tom said. “It’s an aggressive business, and it changes a lot every year,” he said. Another temporary change they dealt with came from the federal government’s Cash for Clunkers program. “I’m sure it got some cars off the road that shouldn’t have been there,” Tom said of
the program, through which car owners could get a substantial credit for trading in gas guzzlers for more efficient vehicles. But he questions whether, on balance, it was a wise move, in part because many of the trade-ins were for vehicles with only marginally better mileage. “Cash for Clunkers was great for the government on paper,” he said. As a used car dealer, he was particularly concerned about the ramifications of disabling cars that otherwise could have been used for parts.
When a “clunker” was traded in through the program, it had to be destroyed, meaning an engine, no matter how well it ran, deliberately was ruined. “I think it was very wasteful,” Judy said. But it’s not something they dwell on. “It’s over,” Tom said. “It’ll never happen again.”
Making The Old Like New The vehicles the Hobsons sell, whether they’ve come from auctions (Tom buys at auctions in Boise and Spokane), classified advertisements or trade-ins, are meticulously examined from the inside out. Except for those with especially high mileage sold as-is as discount vehicles, most cars get at least a few new parts, and many require much more. “We have a ton of expense in buying parts and fixing
See DRIVING, Page 13 9
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Work force is key to successful businesses Q: How and what can we do to strengthen or grow our business in these difficult economic times? A: Needless to say, 2009 was a challenging economic year for our nation, businesses and the men and women who, through their labors, create the products and services of our country. A nation’s economic and social welfare depends not only upon the employment of its population, but in compensating, benefiting and caring for our work force. Sustainability of our families, communities and nation depends on the capacity, competency and commitments of our work force, business leaders and national political and economic leaders. Minimumwage jobs, no benefits and waning job security compromise economic sustainability. There are no panaceas or formulas to build and sustain profitability. However, successful industry leaders who use key business practices enhance probabilities of profitability. Innovation, creativity and employee empowerment are vital fac-
From page 9
Leslie Rist tors for building economic viability in this decade. Not only must leaders exercise these dynamics with precision, they must consistently and systemically connect these practices. Building a viable business can feel tantamount to building the Great Pyramids. Any great endeavor must begin with principled, passionate and purposeful strategic leadership. Effective leaders communicate desired values, beliefs and vision in every effort, shaping their culture into a performance powerhouse.
See RIST, Page 14
Happy New Year! We encourage your resolutions to help a neighbor in 2010. Opportunities are listed weekly on The Monday List. www.interlinkvoluntees.clearwire.net
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can make in the workplace to create an outstanding experience, but many of the elements that make or break the customer experience are simply a matter of time, thoughtfulness and imagination. Interestingly, some of the most delightful experiences I have ever enjoyed in a customer service setting were created with very little expense to the business owner. I fondly remember a Valentine’s Day dinner at a local restaurant. To our surprise when we arrived, the path into the restaurant and the linen-covered table tops were sprinkled with rose petals, a simple bud vase with a rose was placed on each table and they were offering a special valentine-themed cocktail. The point here is the entire concept and experience was created with minimal investment from the business, and the experience had maximum impact on the customers. I took friends there the next weekend and raved on and on to people about how great it was. Secondly, we have to deliver that experience. We have to execute this wellthought-out plan and follow through on delivering that experience to our customers consistently. We have to have employees in place who are well trained, empowered and believe in the importance of delivering this exceptional experience, one that exceeds our customers’ expectations. This is a key way to retain customers, build customer loyalty and create customers who will advocate for the growth of our business. Thirdly, we want to come up with systems and procedures that enable us to de-
liver exceptional experience to our customers over and over again. Our businesses have to be dynamic and not stagnant in our operations. We must constantly be obtaining and responding to customer feedback and adjusting accordingly, adapting to meet their needs. In the day of tight budgets an intense competition, it is not enough that we deliver an exceptional experience once; we must prove to our customer over and over again they have made the right choice in doing business with us. I challenge all of us to consider the overall experience from the customer’s perspective. What do they experience from the moment they drive up to the time they walk out your door? If you truly want your business to succeed, it’s important to design, develop and deliver a customer-focused experience. When you aspire to over-deliver and exceed your customers’ expectations, your customers will remember the overall experience of doing business with you. Your business will reap the benefits and you’ll see the results. Businesses that uphold the tradition of excellence in service not only stand apart from the masses, they earn customer loyalty and outshine their competitors, which translates into increased revenue. Creating total customer experiences is another key strategy to continued growth and prosperity. Johnston-Gingrich has been a business owner in the Lewis-Clark Valley for 15 years. She works as an independent trainer and consultant and is an adjunct faculty member with Lewis-Clark State College’s business division. She may be contacted at www.rjitac.com. MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
Valley Car Sales
From page 9
cars,” Tom said. A thorough cleaning, oil change and brake inspection are standard. Then, there are any number of repairs to make before a car goes on the lot. Since fixing even minor problems can be expensive for a car owner, the used cars he buys usually come with at least a few quirks their previous drivers had decided just to live with, Tom said. That leaves his team of employees, including a full-time mechanic, repairing malfunctioning radios, door locks, power windows — you name it. “Everything but maybe engine overhauls,” he said. Sometimes it’s the smallest parts that cause the biggest headaches. The electrical components today’s vehicles rely on come with their own challenges. “That’s the biggest gray area,” Tom said. “Fifteen years ago, we were battling computers that didn’t work,” he said, noting that’s not the case so much now as the technology has become more reliable. It’s still a wild card, though, Tribune/Kyle Mills since fixing power windows or dashboard computers can inTom Hobson pretty much grew up on the car volve expensive components lot, eventually taking over the family business for which there is no substitute. About every three years, he started by Tom’s father, Hobby Hobson, whose photo graces the office wall. buys a new machine to read car computers. Though the machines can be updated, technol- personal vehicle choices. Tom has a weakness for ogy changes so much a new one Tom’s going to auction, and older pickups, especially 1970s is necessary at least that often, generally keeping up with the Custom Fords. When asked he said. used car market, lets him keep how many pickups he owns, he an eye out for particular cars. flashed a sheepish smile. When their children were “I don’t know how to answer younger, Judy said, she drove that question,” he said. What Do You Drive? her share of minivans and SubWith a lot full of cars and urbans. Now that the kids are pickups just outside the office grown, she can have more fun Family Time where he oversees the dealer- with her choice of ride. ship and she does the bookkeepLike many small business She gets a “new” car about ing, Tom and Judy have plenty every six months; her latest is a owners, Tom and Judy said, their professional and personal of opportunity to mull their next Pontiac GTO. MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
Location: 1801 Main St., Lewiston Products/Services: used car sales, primarily vehicles between three and 10 years old; vehicle rentals Employees: nine, full and part time History: The business was founded in 1962 by Tom’s father, Hobby Hobson. It has always been at the corner of 18th and Main, starting across the street from its current location, where Black Sheep Sporting Goods is now. It moved to the other side of the intersection, now George’s Lock and Key, then to its current address where it has been since 1973. Tom started buying into the business in 1983 and took it over in 1995 when his father retired. “I’ve worked here my whole life,” he said. lives are intertwined. All four of their kids have worked at the dealership. Currently, twins Nick and Mark work in the shop when they’re not in classes at Lewis-Clark State College. “It’s always been our life,” Judy said. They also enjoy being outdoors: camping, four-wheeling, boating and snowmobiling. When they were in school, the kids were active in 4-H, a program Tom and Judy continue to support by buying animals at the livestock auctions each year. Photos from 4-H members of the animals the Hobsons have purchased dominate the wall behind Judy’s desk. The rest of the walls are dedicated to photos of the dealership. 13
From page 12
Recruiting, hiring, training and mentoring employees is the cornerstone. Nurturing principled high-performance employees is the foundation of any business. If all work gets done by people, then our people are the momentum of our businesses. People seek significance, meaning and purposefulness in their work. Leaders who understand how to align and energize their employees’ motivations to strategic vision capture pure power to achieve strategic goals. Aligning principles, passion, purpose and people sets the stage for strategic execution. All results are contingent upon how we execute our processes. Empowered employees execute every process and thus ultimately control the power of production. If leaders invest in their people, people will buy in and own their work process. Empowered employees are intimate with process, performance and product, and they are more likely to correct deviations in process and performance as they occur. They innovate and create as a natural process of their work. They become first-line problem-solvers, creating a lean company, conserving valuable time, energy and resources.
Our performance is a direct result of how well we lead and manage our processes. Ultimately, the quality and potency of our products and services are contingent on how well leaders promote and carry out the previous steps of the pyramid. Far too often, our focus is on profit and not the processes that create performance; profits are a direct result of organizational performance.
If our businesses are not profitable, we need to work back through the pyramid to identify and rectify factors that attribute to less than ultimate performance. The quality of our products and services is our competitive power in an increasingly competitive global economy. In lean times, effective leaders perpetuate internal power in their organizations as a means of profiting against competitors.
Look for the next issue of
Business Profile 14
Pyramid practices predict the strength or weaknesses of our products and services. Effective leaders capture profitability and market predominance prefaced in pyramid practices. We don’t want to build modern-day pyramids to bury our dead. Rather, we want to build them to survive the test of time and the ravages of our competition. The Egyptians believed their pyramids were accumulators of power and by aligning them to the forces of the universe, captured the power of the universe. Successful businesses speak to our principles, people and products. Motivational speaker and self-help guru Tony Robbins says “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.” Together, we can concentrate our national economic power by building businesses on principled foundations, stone-by-stone and hand-byhand. Our effort will be as monumental as building the pyramids. Individually, none of us possesses the power required to accomplish this. Together, we can amass the power to accomplish the seemingly impossible, to rebuild our national economic prosperity. Leslie Rist is a lecturer in the business division of LewisClark State College on the Lewiston campus.
Monday, February 15
MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
RECORDS: december Lewiston.
Artisan Massage — Randall Moser, massage therapy, 1018 Idaho St., Lewiston. Ayrocom Technologies — Jason Frawley, telecommunication, 833 Burrell Ave., Lewiston. A Quick Taxi — Scott Taylor, taxi service,
Chief Joseph Dental Clinic — Steven Zollman, dental office, 3509 12th St., Lewiston. DK Development LLC — Dan Yonge, Kathy Yonge, real estate development, 247 Thain Rd., Suite 107, Lewiston. L&B Chinese Massage — LiPing Carmack, massage therapy, 746 21st St., Lewiston.
ASK IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Q: I loaned an employee some money a few months back and he has not paid me back as we verbally agreed. Can I withhold the money he owes me from his paycheck? A: You may not withhold any portion of your employee’s wages, unless you are required to withhold by state or federal law, or if your employee gave you written authorization to make deductions from his paycheck. In most cases, even if you have written authorization
to make deductions, the deduction cannot reduce the wages below minimum wage. If you give the employee an advance or draw against future wages, you can withhold the entire amount of that advance or draw from any future paycheck. For more information on these and other Idaho wage and hour requirements, please visit our Web site, www.labor. idaho.gov or contact your nearest Idaho Department of Labor office.
A — Asotin B — Clearwater
4 C — Garfield D — Idaho
MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010
6 E — Latah F — Lewis
Sandi’s Organics — Sandra Litzebauer, health food store, 816 Main St., Lewiston.
Pita Pit — Triapita LLC, restaurant, 908 16th Ave., Lewiston.
Whimsey Signs — Kim Gilmore, specialty signs, 1132 Fourth St., Clarkston.
RGU Architecture & Planning — Robert Uhrich, architectural and planning,
Call me today!
Steve Donovan (208)
housing market update 3. Average sales price of those homes sold in the last six months: $161,491. 4. Average days on the market in the last six months: 120.
Papa John’s Pizza — Mountain View Pizza, restaurant, carry out, delivery, 1024 16th Ave. Suite A, Lewiston.
Ruggles Painting — Samuel Ruggles, painting contractor, 1620 18th Ave., Lewiston.
1. Number of homes on the market as of Jan. 5: 347. 2. Number of homes sold in the last six months (July 1 to Dec. 31): 334.
FOR DECEMBER, BY COUNTY
635 Main St., Lewiston.
lewiston, Clarkston and asotin
INDIVIDUAL BANKRUPTCIES A B C D E F G H
LC Photo Pro — Shannon Taylor, photography, Clarkston.
Newly licensed businesses
G — Nez Perce H — Whitman
1. Number of homes on the market as of Dec. 31: 355. 2. Number of homes sold in the last six months (July 1 to Dec. 31): 156. 3. Average sales price of
those homes sold in the last six months: $194,604. 4. Average days on the market: 192. Source: Multiple Listing Service
Sponsored by: Steve Donovan (208) 413-0494 15
the job coach
Winter is perfect time to prepare At the start of this New Year, many of us are hoping the economy will pick up and it will be easier to find a job. Some are at home waiting and waiting or have given up trying to find a new job. Winter and these dark rainy days tend to put many individuals into winter doldrums, funk, or maybe Seasonal Affective Disorder or full-blown depression. Other individuals welcome winter as a season of exercise, outdoor activities, gathering of friends, parties and planning for the days ahead. It is a choice. Goal setting and brainstorming an employment strategy is a wonderful activity for a winter day. Remember while brainstorming to write down all of your ideas; no idea should be discarded. Maybe your spouse, children or a friend can help add to the list. Just talking or thinking about something is not as effective as committing it to paper. During this recession and recovery, many employers are looking for ways to streamline their workforce, their inventories and their ways of doing business to reestablish their profits, and in come cases, just to stay in business. Some of them are consciously (or maybe unconsciously) looking for fresh, new employees with innovative ideas, recent up-todate training and clear visions that may be able to assist in the restructuring of their office or shop. They may not always share those thoughts with their staff or family. That is why it is imperative that you do some active networking during the dark days of winter. What a wonderful time to attend events, political meetings and talk to people. This is the time to network or 16
process while looking for that job or a change in your career. If you have access to a computer and are into detail organization, this is an opportunity to use a spreadsheet program. If not, get a notebook and a couple of pens, preferably in black ink. Be prepared to write down commentary names, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers that your friends, family members and other contacts are going to give to you. One easy way to get a current list is to write down make it known to your past all those names and addresses co-workers, supervisors or and e-mails of people who anyone you see on a regular sent you a Christmas greetbasis that you are looking for someone to give you a referral ing. Some people are eager to assist or help, some people to someone in your field of feel special in being asked interest. and others get a kick out of Recently, I asked you to being well-connected and define your Dependable sharing information. Strengths, skills you use Thank them graciously, and automatically and over and make that call or write that over again to find satisfaction note to ask for an appointand put a smile on your face. ment for an informational Now is the time to talk about interview. The first contact those strengths. Check that should be for information brainstorming list: Are you only to learn about the comgoing to use those dependable pany, what do they do, who strengths in those activities? do they know, what is on their In 1929, Hungarian author minds for the future. RememFrigyes Karinthy published ber, everyone you meet is cona book of short stories titled nected to many other possible “Everything is Different.” contacts and employers. One of these stories dealt with When I was looking for the idea that as the world work several years ago, the grows smaller because of clerk in the grocery store technology and transportation where I shopped had a advances, world communica- brother who worked at the tion and the ability to connect nearby college. He was an grows larger. Karinthy beadministrative assistant to the lieved that any two individudean, who knew of a position als in the world could be conin the social services departnected through, at most, five ment that had not yet been acquaintances. Since then posted. They were looking for mathematicians, sociologists funding, which they got soon and scientists and the enterafter I had an informational tainment fields have used the interview with the departconcept of “six degrees of ment director. You can, and separation.” You can use this should, use a network of theory in your networking contacts to talk to the person
in charge of hiring decisions, instead of going to the personnel office and filling out the standard application form. Your chances of getting hired are much higher, and you cut out all of the competition. Remember, the application form is a way to screen you out, not to get you in. The paperwork can be done easily after you are offered the job. After any interview, whether informational or in response to a job opening, a short business-like Thank You card or note is worth every cent you pay for the paper (no flowers or kitties, please), envelope and stamp. This is to be done by hand the oldfashioned way, with proper business-letter format and put in the mail, not e-mail. Please make sure you have the person’s name, position and address correct. I have had employers tell me many times that the Thank You note made the difference in the hiring decision. One lady even kept her notes under her desk calendar, and those individuals received gracious attention during their period of employment with her. You never know when the smallest thing you do will make a big, positive impression. When you find that positive connection and get the position you were seeking, do not forget your network or those who helped you along the way. Maybe next time you can help them or someone they know to reach that sixth and final connection. It is a small world and getting smaller all the time. Keep in touch! Larson is a retired employment specialist and job trainer. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010