Category: Business - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Here’s a wellness question most small business owners never thought about at all in 2012: Did you give yourself enough time to recharge? In other words, did you take a real vacation?
According to an American Express survey of 500 small business owners, 59 percent did not take a vacation last summer. And of those who did, 68 percent said they checked in every day.
That’s not a vacation. It’s just temporarily moving your “office” to a remote location.
Many business owners can come up with plenty of reasons why they can’t afford to get away from their businesses for an extended length of time. They worry that important customers won’t get good service and will leave for a competitor. Or that they’ll miss opportunities to pick up new business. And what would happen if there is a crisis?
Besides, vacations are for sissies, right? Wrong. They’re one of the best things you can do, not just for your personal health but also for your company.
Here are five reasons why you should make taking a vacation a priority on your schedule:
■ Avoid burnout. If your mind is fried and you’re running on fumes, your body and your business will pay the price. Debra Condren, who has a Ph.D. in psychology and owns a New York executive coaching firm, notes in a New York Times article “If you don’t get a break, you’re going to burn out, and you’ll never achieve the level of success you’re aiming for.” But if you do take a breather, she says you’re likely to return refreshed and better able to run your business.
■ Allow your employees to grow. Do you micro-manage? Are your senior-level employees comfortable making decisions on their own knowing they won’t be second-guessed? Preparing and giving them more responsibilities while you’re gone will give them confidence and added skills to benefit your company.
■ Clear your mind. Veteran entrepreneur Norm Brodsky writes in Inc. magazine “I would come back from a vacation feeling rejuvenated and able to take a fresh, uncluttered view of the business. I could see issues and problems with a clarity I hadn’t had before.”
■ Gain perspective on your business — and your life. It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day fire fights that you can’t see the forest from the trees. Getting away enables you to step back and think about what you’re doing and what really matters to you and your business. As an added bonus, the team handling your job can give a fresh view and ideas about your company’s operation. Returning from a vacation is a great time to talk about systems and processes.
■ Increase the value of your company. What would happen if you were unexpectedly forced to be away from your business? Could your company run just as efficiently without you? These are the kinds of questions investors will ask to assess your company’s value. Taking a vacation gives you a chance to test the capabilities of your second in command. Brodsky sums it up best, “It was obvious to me that I was a bigger asset to the company on my return than I had been when I left.”
Editor’s note: Ken Dallafior is senior vice president, Group Business and Corporate Marketing, at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). He leads BCBSM’s group sales force, oversees corporate marketing and product development, and develops and implements key corporate strategies. He also provides leadership to critical sales operations such as agent relations and commissions, sales incentives and complex issue resolution for group customers and sales agents. In addition to working in the insurance industry for nearly two decades, Dallafior played professional football from 1982 to 1992. He is founder and board member of the Detroit Lions Courage House.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 15:39
Category: Business - Original Written by Donald James
Some people dream of success; others wake up and work for it. Monica G. Anthony is the latter. Since 2002, she has been on an entrepreneurial mission of excellence as founder of the Detroit-based Gian-Chris, Inc., a company that began as a commercial real estate consulting entity. Through the years, however, her 11-year-old company has evolved, and now serves as the umbrella component for many of Anthony’s other innovative business, community and social ventures.
Anthony’s latest endeavor, launched last March under the auspices of Gian-Chris, Inc., represents a business partnership with Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry. The jewelry company is a Black-owned direct sales company that sells to national and international customers. Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry was started by Philadelphia born, Detroit raised Dr. Traci Lynn.
Anthony, through a travelling sales module called Lady MgAnthony Boutique, sells the beautiful, unique, affordable, high quality fashion jewelry, including rings, bracelets, earrings, necklace sets, watches (men and women) and sunglasses. She sells the jewelry online and at an array of locations, including home shows, churches and other places throughout metropolitan Detroit. Anthony has also put on jewelry shows in Illinois and Missouri. The fashion jewelry, according to Anthony, fits every taste, budget, and occasion. “Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry is a wonderful and phenomenal company,” said Anthony. “Traci is a dynamic woman and leader who is motivating, inspiring and changing the lives of so many Black women who have become partners and entrepreneurs under her company. It is an awesome company…and I’m on fire.”
On fire with successful entrepreneurial endeavors is nothing new for Anthony. She has amassed many success stories as they relate to spearheading empowering projects and initiatives in civic, community and faith-based sectors, the latter of which represents some of her best and most cherished work.
As first lady of Fellowship Chapel on Detroit’s west side, Anthony is the wife of Rev. Wendell Anthony, pastor of Fellowship and a strong stalwart in civil and human rights activism. He holds leadership positions with several progressive empowerment organizations, including the Detroit Branch NAACP.
Monica Anthony is the current director of Fellowship’s James E. Wadsworth, Jr. Community Center, as well as director of the Freedom Institute for Economic, Social Justice, and People Empowerment. She mentors young girls ages 6-17 through Fellowship’s Intonjane Training Institute, which offers a rites of passage program.
In addition to her faith-based activism, Anthony is socially committed, having served on the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee Executive Board, Detroit Public Schools’ Local School Community Organization Committee, United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Fashion Fair Committee, and as a precinct delegate. Additionally, in 2008, she started the Lady MgAnthony Life of Excellence Scholarship whereby she awards $1,000 scholarship annually to one high school male and female who are college bound.
“I started my scholarship program at the same time that Oprah Winfrey began her school For Girls in Africa,” said Anthony. “Oprah has always inspired me when it comes to entrepreneurship and excellence.”
Born in Chicago and raised in Detroit, Anthony has always aspired to do great things to help empower people. After graduating from Mumford High School, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in African Studies, Public Policy from Wayne State University. What followed was a succession of executive administration, directorship, and event planning positions with such organizations as Fellowship Chapel, Neighborhood Services Organization, Data Consulting Group, and ACLU of Michigan.
While Anthony was extremely effective and impactful with each organization, the spirit of entrepreneurship kept calling her name. She finally answered the call in 2002 when she formed Gian-Chris, Inc.
For Anthony, the call was easy to answer as she knew the caller was God, giving her an assignment. In order to adhere to the call, according to Anthony, one must be connected to God.
“Some people get the call and respond to it; others just ignore it,” said Anthony. “I believe when something is your passion, when something is your journey, when something is your purpose, gift and assignment, you are constantly on it.
“Everyone must find out what his or her passion is.”
For more information on Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry offered through Lady MgAnthony Boutique, log on to www.tracilynnjewelry.net/mganthony.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 10:17
Treasury announces $277.1 million increase in small business lending by Michigan participants in the small business lending fund
Category: Business - Original Written by Amber Bogins
The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released a new report showing that, nationwide, participants receiving capital through the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) boosted small business lending by $9.0 billion over baseline levels since the depths of the recession. Michigan-based SBLF participants have increased their small business lending by over $277.1 million, also over baseline levels, including a $56.2 million increase in the first quarter of 2013. Last month, Treasury released the First Annual SBLF Lending Survey, which estimated that SBLF participants have increased small business lending by an estimated 38,000 additional loans through the end of 2012, across all industries and in every region of the country.
"The Obama Administration's Small Business Lending Fund is supporting credit to tens of thousands of American small businesses as they invest, expand and hire in every region of the country," said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin. "The program has supported increases in small business lending by Main Street banks to Main Street small businesses, helping to power the economic recovery in communities across America."
Community banks participating in SBLF have increased total business lending by 41.5 percent, versus a 5.5 percent median increase for a representative peer group of similar banks across median measures of size, geography, loan type, and financial condition. Increases in small business lending have also been widespread across SBLF participants, with 91 percent having increased their small business lending over baseline levels. In the first quarter of 2013, SBLF participants increased their lending by $206 million nationwide.
Small businesses play a critical role in the U.S. economy and are central to growth and job creation. In the aftermath of the recession and credit crisis, small business owners faced disproportionate challenges, including difficulty accessing capital.
The SBLF program, established as part of the Small Business Jobs Act that President Obama signed into law in 2010, encourages community banks to increase their lending to small businesses, helping those companies expand their operations and create new jobs. Treasury invested more than $4 billion in 332 institutions through the SBLF. Collectively, these institutions operate in more than 3,000 locations across 48 states. This report includes information on the 317 institutions that continued to participate in the program as of April 30, 2013, including 267 community banks and 50 community development loan funds.
SBLF encourages lending to small businesses by providing capital to community banks and CDLFs with less than $10 billion in assets. The dividend or interest rate a community bank pays on SBLF funding is reduced as the bank increases its lending to small businesses – providing a strong incentive for new lending to small businesses so that these firms can expand and create jobs. Individual community banks can reduce the rate they pay to one percent if they increase qualified small business lending by 10 percent over their baseline.
To view the report, including a list of the change in lending at banks receiving SBLF capital, please click here.
The SBLF program is one part of the Obama Administration's comprehensive agenda to help small businesses access the capital they need to invest and hire. Treasury also administers the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which allocates $1.5 billion to state programs designed to leverage private financing to spur $15 billion in new lending to small businesses and small manufacturers.
For more information on the Obama Administration's small business initiatives, please visit www.sba.gov. For more information on SBLF, please visit www.treasury.gov/sblf.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 11:54
Category: Business - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Travelocity Founder Shares 3 Ways CEOs Can Benefit
by Thinking Like a Manager
"In baseball, you can fail 70 percent of the time and still be considered a strong player," says Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and founding CEO of its competitor, Kayak.com.
"Why is it that businesses give an employee with a new idea just one chance?" asks the author of "On Innovation," (www.jonesoninnovation.com), a new book filled with 72 deceptively simple ideas for stimulating innovation.
Pitchers lose games, batters strike out, fielders make errors. Instead of firing them or sending them back to the minor leagues, managers study what went wrong. CEOs need to do the same thing, Jones says.
"Kill the project, not the person," he says. "Instead of telling Bob, 'You're done,' they should tell Bob, 'The project's dead. What do you want to do next?"
To succeed today, businesses absolutely must be innovative, and they can't be if they're unwilling to have some failures, Jones says.
"Too many companies punish failure and fail to adequately reward success. How does that motivate the employees with great new ideas?"
Jones suggests these other baseball analogies that will help any business score on innovation:
• Most games are won with singles and doubles. Home runs are great. They are that 10 percent of innovation that is transformational, exciting, and extremely rewarding. But the 70 percent of innovation that involves improving core products, and the 20 percent that represents adjacent changes -- pulling together existing innovations in a new way, like the iPhone – are the singles and doubles that can win games.
• Know that your home-run hitters will strike out a few times. The people coming up with the radical new ideas that account for big, transformative innovation aren't going to hit a home run every time – and neither did Babe Ruth. In fact, Babe Ruth had more strike-outs than home runs. While radical successes, like Dyson using its vacuum technology to create restroom hand-dryers, account for only 10 percent of innovation, they produce about 70 percent of a company's future revenue. So allow your home-run hitters their swings and misses.
• Watch the game tapes. Sports teams fanatically analyze every aspect of losing games with the same process and vigor they use for winning ones. The Federal Aviation Authority has a painstaking process for analyzing every airline incident and crash. As a result, its safety record gets better every year. Look for solutions when something goes wrong -- not where to lay the blame. Inspect the process, find the defect, and strategize how to make it better. (Note: If the same people keep making the same mistakes, arrange for training, counseling or, if that fails, a bus ticket out of town.)
Innovation is about responding to needs instead of trying to dictate them, Jones says. Companies need to listen to their customer service complaints: What are customers saying that can help improve your product or process? And they need to talk about the crazy ideas -- including those that seem too simple to succeed.
"Proctor & Gamble made diapers and cleaning products," Jones notes. "Someone suggested putting a diaper on a mop handle and voila! The Swifter!"
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 15:30
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Oakland Community College Chancellor Tim Meyer has named Dr. Gordon May, 63, President of the Auburn Hills Campus, effective immediately.
While continuing his duties as President of the Highland Lakes Campus, Dr. May also served as Auburn Hills' Interim President since the untimely passing of President David Mathews in February 2013.
"Gordon May has proven himself as OCC's versatile 'utility infielder,' filling in with excellence in whatever role the college requires," said Chancellor Meyer.
Dr. May's most recent role as Auburn Hills Campus Interim President, from March to the present, was his third such assignment. He was Interim President from November to December 2012 and in 1998-99. He has been Highland Lakes Campus President since September 2002.
Dr. May began his career at OCC as business faculty adjunct in 1986. At various intervals from 1987 to 1999, he was Director and later Executive Director of the Pontiac Center. In the late 1990s, he was an Interim Dean at Auburn Hills and Highland Lakes, and served as Executive Director at Royal Oak/Southfield prior to his appointment to the Highland Lakes presidency.
He holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from Indiana University, a Master's of Education degree, Education Specialist certificate and PhD in Educational Leadership from Wayne State University. He has taught graduate classes in higher education at both Wayne State University and Oakland University.
Dr. May and his wife, Patricia Shipp May, an educational counselor at OCC, reside in Rochester Hills and are the parents of two adult daughters.
With campuses located throughout Oakland County, OCC is the largest of Michigan's 28 community colleges and the 23rd largest in the nation. The college offers degrees and certificates in more than 160 fields including university transfer and general studies degrees.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 11:43
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