It isn’t so intimidating to be successful
A part of the The Green Bay Packer Mentor- Protégé Program established in 2011 to pair emerging minority- and woman-owned companies (protégés) with established, knowledgeable, and committed companies (mentors) that can provide exposure, appropriate training, resources and experience not readily available to the protégé companies.
The Packers and AFF Research, LLC, administrators of the Mentor-Protégé Program, are committed to the continuing success of the program and to the community of businesses that benefit from it.
After working as a graphic designer for 10 years, which included many hours of sitting and staring at a computer screen, LeeAnn Laes of About Body realized she had very bad posture.
“The chiropractor said I had the spine of a 70-year-old woman,” said Laes. “The doctor sent me to physical therapy.”
A good friend had recently graduated from massage school and needed business cards, so the two traded services. Laes saw the benefit of massage and decided to change her career.
After that Laes attended Blue Sky School of Massage and graduated with a degree in medical massage. Laes began her company, About Body, to provide people with massage therapy. “I saw the need and went for it,” said Laes.
About Body, LLC primarily does Neuromuscular Massage Therapy. “We also do postural analysis and corrective exercise to help people correct the soft tissue or muscle deficit problems. We do cancer, pre-natal and post-mastectomy massage. We use aromatherapy as well as salves,” said Laes.
Laes applied for The Green Bay Packer Mentor-Protégé program because her business was in a state of growth and she hoped this program would give her the guidance she needed. “I had many different aspects of being a business owner to learn,” said Laes, “From being a one person business to having many people on staff.”
Laes mentor is Julie Musial with The Growth Coach and because of Musial’s help Laes has stayed focused on growing her business. Musial gave her new ideas and tools to use and continue to grow.
From the program, Laes hopes to continue to keep the connections she has made with other business. “I still have a lot of growing to do and can always use the guidance,” said Laes.
About Body, LLC is going into a new building and will expand into two other areas in Green Bay. Laes has gained contracts with schools to help students get internships through her business. Also, Laes is working with NMT Midwest Inc. to help students become certified in Neuromuscular Massage Therapy.
As a protégé, Laes believes The Green Bay Packer Mentor-Protégé Program is important because it gives single or small business owners an opportunity to grow their business and have experts around them at all times.
Laes has two children and three grandchildren with another grandchild on the way. She enjoys the outdoors, especially kayaking adventures around the U.S. and she enjoys the journey of being a business owner and the profession of massage.
Written by Claire Westlie, DPACC Intern 2012, St Norbert College Student
The Growth Coach, Green Bay, Wis. and Door County Interiors and Design, Egg Harbor, Wis.; Wiplfi, LLP, Green Bay, Wis. and IProcureDirect, Green Bay, Wis.; Wiplfi, LLP, Green Bay, Wis. and Bowman Performance Consulting, Shawano, Wis.; Score, Green Bay, Wis. and Key Elements Healing Arts Center, Green Bay, Wis.; and Strategic Management Associates, Green Bay, Wis. and Sabamba Alpaca Ranch, LLC, De Pere, Wis.
Julie Musial, a Growth Coach from The Growth Coach in Green Bay, is a mentor for the Green Bay Packer Protégé-Mentor Program. She has a simple mission: to help small business owners, sales people and managers to live their dreams and have a balanced life.
Musial has a broad range of experience in business, business coaching, advertising, sales, buying and Corporate Management. She currently owns “Media Ad Buying/How to Advertise and The Growth Coach” and recently finished writing her first book Media Ad Buying/How to Advertise in Traditional Media.
As a Growth Coach, Musial helps business owners gain clarity and focus by looking at what is and isn’t working in their businesses and lives. The Growth Coach offers a series of one-day workshops, which are 90 days apart. With each workshop, topics of importance and interest pertaining to the group of participants are presented.
In between each workshop, The Growth Coach stays in touch with each participant and provides support and advice. This unique method helps participants improve while reaching their goals.
Musial believes The Green Bay Packer Protégé-Mentor Program is important for businesses. Not only does the program lend a hand to minor and women-owned businesses, but it also allows businesses to give back to the community through support and guidance. Giving back to the community is important to Julie Musial and The Growth Coach. The Green Bay Packers Mentor Protégé program has allowed them the opportunity to do just that.
“The program allows minority businesses an added support system to contribute to their success,” said Musial.
“Because of what we do, The Growth Coach was perfect for this program,” said Musial, “Going into our second year in the program, The Growth Coach was able to add a lot of coaching knowledge to the overall program.”
Musial and The Growth Coach look forward to continue working with the Mentor-Protégé program.
the Green Bay Packer Protégé-Mentor Program is administered by DPACC member, AFF Research LLC
No, I didn’t take yesterday off, I just oops’d! I thought I had a post ready to go for yesterday, and well, the day got away from me!
But! Back with it today. Today’s post is both a story and a lesson! Here at the Chamber, we talk to and work with businesses of all sizes and types; many are start-ups and others are businesses that go through challenges. While our primary organization role is to foster community & economic development, we do everything we can to give advice, support and resource lists and almost naturally become somewhat invested in their success. It can be emotional on all of us when things don’t go according to the original plan! Today’s guest article is written by one such member, David Rovinski. If you are a regular reader of Chamber Notes, you may recognize David’s name from his former company, Fluidity Business Planning Group. He has recently ended Fluidity and begun a new venture … no. Wait. I’ll let David tell you his story in his words with a postscript from me!
Over the past 3 years, I have taken up the challenge of starting my own business and have realized many things.
First off, when you start a business you are excited for the challenge and opportunity to make it a successful business. You create a business plan with products and services that you feel are marketable and profitable leading to success.
Over time, you realize that your assumptions on: the market opportunity, target customers, and ability to realize sales quickly, can all be in question. The struggles of a new business, low operating capital, and a small marketing budget can make “hanging in there” challenging.
I believe it is critical to provide a service that is marketable. It is necessary to look honestly and clearly at your services and make adjustments along the way.
I have recently started a new business called Business Growth Resources, LLC, that is focused on business development services that provide solutions to business growth problems. Prior to this venture, I was focused primarily at writing business plans for new businesses seeking financing, or existing businesses looking to expand.
What I found out over time was that the need for a business plan for financing was secondary to what banks look at. Personal financial statements, cash on hand, personal investment, and collateral are a major part of getting a loan.
Thus recognizing the demand for a business plan was limited, the need for strategic planning, new product development, and growth strategies was in greater demand for businesses looking to grow. This is what Business Growth Resources, LLC is now offering businesses in the area.
Looking at your new business honestly, recognizing shortfalls, identifying market opportunities, and having the courage to make changes for long-term growth is scary but can be rewarding and on the path to future business success.
Hope you enjoy some insight on starting and growing a small business.
I “like” David’s story, not because of his challenges, but because it is so REAL. Many, many entrepreneurs end up on the same path as David but a good percentage either don’t recognize where the path leads in time to make a course correction or recognize it but are just unable to adjust.
We’ll check in with David from time-to-time, both as interest and in thought that others can learn from his experiences. I’d love to know what you think and what your experiences have been with business growth and patterns.
When you pay for business meals and entertainment, keep in mind that generally only half of otherwise allowable meal and entertainment expenses are deductible on your federal tax return. This includes 50% of all business meal and entertainment expenses, including those incurred while attending professional seminars and traveling away from home. If a hotel includes meals in its room charge, a reasonable allocation must be made to determine the portion of the expenditure subject to the 50% disallowance.
Taxes and tips related to meals or entertainment are included in the amount that is subject to the 50% limit. Also subject are expenses for cover charges to clubs, room rental for a dinner or cocktail party, and amounts paid for parking at an entertainment location. However, transportation costs incurred getting to and from the entertainment activity are not subject to the 50% disallowance. In addition, when a self-employed taxpayer uses a per diem method for travel expenses, the federal meal and incidental expense rate is treated as an expense for food and beverages and, thus, is subject to the 50% disallowance.
If an employee adequately accounts for these expenses and the employer properly reimburses the expenses under an accountable plan arrangement, the employer is also subject to the 50% limitation on its reimbursement. An ac-countable plan is a reimbursement or other expense allowance arrangement that requires employees to substantiate covered expenses and return unsubstantiated advances. The employee has nothing to report since the reimbursement offsets the expenses incurred.
Conversely, an employer gets a 100% deduction if meal expense reimbursements or allowances paid for or to an employee under a nonaccountable plan are treated as compensation to the employee. Of course, the employer must then pay FICA taxes and the income is subject to normal withholding, but this rule basically allows employers to shift the 50% disallowance to employees. Similarly, meal reimbursements and allowances that are included in the taxable income of independent contractors are also 100% deductible by the service recipient.
Last year, DPACC member AFF Research began administering a program with the Green Bay Packers organization, in a partnership with local business development leaders, has established the Packers Mentor-Protégé Program to foster business growth, economic development and job creation in Brown County.
The program, now in its second year, matches mentor companies from the Green Bay area that can provide technical, managerial, financial or other guidance to protégés seeking to improve their competitive standing. The mentor-protégé relationship requires at least a 12-month commitment.
Initially, protégé companies were minority- or woman-owned businesses located in Brown County or on the Oneida Nation Reservation. The goal also is to reach veteran-owned and other small businesses with the opportunity to participate as the program develops.
Mentor companies must be established companies with the appropriate resources and the ability to commit to the program and the needs of the protégé. Organizations serving as mentors include Alliance Construction and Design, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Schenck Business Solutions, Schreiber Foods, UnitedHealthcare and Wipfli.
The program is administered by AFF Research LLC (AFFR), Anna Steinfest, President/CEO, and overseen by a board of directors that includes John Hartmann, M.D., CEO of Visonex; Tammy Hawkins, Sourcing Manager, ROMO, Inc.; Lorri Kieff, CEO of Bay Area Consultants; David Martin, Business Development, H.J. Martin and Son; and Quasan Shaw, Business Development Planning Specialist, City of Green Bay. Consultants to the program include Jason Wied and Aaron Popkey, Green Bay Packers; and Greg Kuehl, Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District.
“We felt this would be a good opportunity to help establish a program that can help companies take the next step in their own business development,” said Jason Wied, Packers vice president of administration/general counsel. “We know many organizations in our area have the expertise to assist in developing the various skills needed by small businesses to grow and become more successful companies.”
AFFR assists their clients in designing and implementing comprehensive supplier diversity. They also provide guidance to entrepreneurs. AFFR has consulted in the field of supplier diversity for 10 years, and has worked on both the Lambeau Field redevelopment project and post-redevelopment projects.
Questions and requests for mentor or protégé applications should be directed to AFFR by telephone at 920-884-5006 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be profiling the first year’s participants and also doing before, during and after interviews with this year’s participants. Stay tuned, I bet you’ll learn something useful AND be inspired. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to be a mentor or protege or simply pass the word. At the very least, I think you’ll be fascinated by the journey and experience from both sides of the relationship.
A recap! Tuesday was trends in business; Wednesday was customer service tips; yesterday tax implications of opening a small business, and today is an important topic to help you stay in business. After all, isn’t that the point?
In my current life, I run a non-profit. A note on non-profits. “Non-profit” is a tax status, not a business model; or as a mentor of mine used to say, “with no margin, there is no mission.” In other words, even non-profits have to have some! But, most of you reading this are in business to actually MAKE a profit. Doing so isn’t easy – not in any time frame; but you have to plan to make a profit. The adage of “most businesses don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” Today’s entry is about one aspect of planning, knowing your break-even point, brought to you by our friends at Fluidity Business Planning Group.
One of the most common remarks we hear is that business owners seem to be waiting for the economy to return to 2008 levels, the way things used to be. We hate to burst the bubble, but that is not going to happen! Our economy has changed, and those businesses that are going to survive now understand they need to adapt to the new economy or close their doors.
Many business owners found ways to reduce costs and overhead to retain employees. They wanted to demonstrate they were more concerned about their people than profits, and that was a smart move as they hoped to hold on until the economy improved and down-sizing could be stopped or reversed. Now the realization is settling in that an economic turn-around may be a long time coming. Other action needs to be considered, such as expanding product lines or adding services to meet changing demands.
Tough choices are being made every day, and if the business has trimmed to the bare bones already, it is now a matter of what moves are the wisest to make. Banks need to see business plans and roughly 20% collateral before they issue or extend loans. Gas prices and consumer prices are increasing, raising concerns about inflation. Tax scenarios are changing and incentives are becoming more stringent. Yet some businesses succeed while others fail.
Cash is ruling the economy through the first quarter of 2011. Cash flow is the major concern for accountants, bankers, and business owners. Expect more aggressive pursuit of delinquent accounts than we are already seeing in the consumer marketplace. Companies can ill afford to carry accounts past 60 days. They are getting pressure from creditors to stay current on the other side of the equation. Cash is King!
One of the best ways we have found for business owners to understand their position is to get a firm grip on their break even status. It is part of the planning process and involves knowing what your expenses are (rent, utilities, insurance, labor, inventory, interest payments, etc.) so you have an accurate picture of what goes out on a monthly basis. If you operate five days a week, you divide those costs by 20 work days a month to come up with your daily break even numbers.
This does two things: 1) it tells you what you need to generate in revenue every day to break even, and more than that means profit; and, 2) it clues you in to the potential changes you need to make if you fall short on a daily or weekly basis. It is important, too, to be honest with yourself. You are in business to make a profit, and a price increase may be in order so you can continue to serve your customers and fulfill your dreams for being in business.
As of 4/16/10, in the Main Street District of De Pere:
Confirmed Existing Business Locations (Main Street D.): 217
Current Known Vacant or For Lease Properties (Main Street D.): 33
Current Vacancy Rate: 217/33 = 6.58%
If you want to site your business in this area of superb demographics, great traffic, wonderful neighbors and tremendous plans for the future – you’d better hurry!
Check with our Buildings & Business Inventory to find the spot for you.
Heard on the street we need: a book store for the 18+ set (no! not an adult bookstore!), sporting goods, shoes, health and personal care, jewelry, and electronics and appliances
An interesting article sent to me:
It’s déjà vu all over again for many of the world’s leading companies as vertical integration suddenly becomes fashionable again.
“It is back to the future” said Larry Ellison, the billionaire chief executive of Oracle Corporation, as he describes his firm’s expansion beyond its core software business. Ellison is leading the revival with his planned acquisition of Sun Microsystems which will make the firm a source for software, computers and computer components. Other companies that are becoming more vertically integrated through strategic acquisitions include steelmaker ArcelorMittal, PepsiCo Inc., General Motors Company and Boeing Company.
Vertical integration was widespread 100 years ago as companies sought to control all aspects of their operations –– from materials to manufacturing and distribution. Today’s move toward vertical integration represents a dramatic change from just a few years ago, when major corporations jettisoned non–core operations in an effort to increase efficiency and quality. In the 1980s, for example, steelmakers sold their mining operations. More recently, major auto makers spun–off their parts suppliers. As recently as two years ago, Oracle’s Ellison vowed to focus solely on software.
“The pendulum has shifted from disintegration to integration” summarizes Harold Sirkin with the Boston Consulting Group. Sirkin cites three factors for the change in strategy: unpredictable commodity prices, financial pressures at suppliers and the need for new sources of revenue. The recession, Sirkin notes, has accelerated the trend from specialization to integration.
Much of the impetus is being driven by manufacturing companies that want to control their supply chains and product quality. Case in point: Boeing which pioneered an extensive outsourcing strategy for production of its new Dreamliner aircraft. While Boeing insists that it is committed to outsourcing, it has been acquiring key Dreamliner suppliers over the past two years in response to quality problems. Last month, Boeing acquired the fuselage subassembly operations in Charleston SC from Global Aeronautica. Another example is General Motors which recently assumed a minority stake in Delphi Automotive LLP to maintain supply after originally shedding the parts supplier in 1999.
Vertical integration also can generate cost savings. By purchasing a major scrap–metal processor, steelmaker Nucor Corp. will be able to better control inventory, saving $100 million per year.
The trend is now becoming more commonplace in the technology industry. Leading tech firms are seeking to “vertically re–integrate,” after a long period of innovation and specialization according to one analyst. With its 2008 acquisition of a chip maker, Apple is moving back into the semiconductor business in an attempt to protect key technology from reaching its rivals. Hewlett–Packard and Dell Inc. have also made strategic acquisitions to control more of their market.
After years of promoting what he called the “horizontal computer industry,” Oracle’s Ellison is perhaps the leading proponent of vertical integration in the tech industry. Ultimately, he wants Oracle to become a one–stop shop for corporate customers who don’t like to deal with multiple vendors.
Both the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Justice Department closely scrutinize vertical acquisitions. Nonetheless, the economic development community should recognize that corporate strategy is shifting again in response to changing global economic conditions.
“Companies More Prone to Go ‘Vertical’,” by Ben Worthen, Cari Tuna, and Justin Scheck. The Wall Street Journal. December 1, 2009.
“Boeing cements its hold on Charleston 787 complex” by MarketWatch. As seen in the Seattle WA Times. December 22, 2009.
It’s nice when you can open a business and attract new customers the next day. It’s great when a web site
guarantees your profitability. But none of those things happen without good planning. Without a good plan, and
the proper execution, businesses die very quickly.
3-RULES TO ATTRACT NEW CUSTOMERS
- Let people know you exist – Advertise and market yourself — don’t forget social media. If people don’t know where you are and what you do, they can’t buy from you. Advertising and marketing greatly increases your chances of success.
- Don’t scare the customer – Make the customer feel comfortable with your product, service or services.
Provide an environment that they will feel safe in. Make them feel good about spending their money.
I walk by stores all the time that are open, but look very dark inside. That doesn’t make me feel like going inside. You can’t attract new customers if they are not comfortable with you.
- Look the part – Businessmen wear suits. Policemen carry guns. You are reading this article because we look the part. We effectively display our ability to attract new customers. You can do the same when you look the part. If you were going to buy tools, you would expect a guy with a tool belt and a smock to help you out right? After all, he looks like he knows what he’s talking about. What if you went to go buy a power saw and a lady in a clown suit asked if she could help you? Exactly. Look the part and you can attract new customers without any problems.
From Barbara Wold’s newsletter