Adding a new voice to Smart Business Pittsburgh

Several years ago, Smart Business added a new feature called Building Stronger Communities. We wanted to highlight nonprofit organizations that make a difference in our communities, especially since the tie between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds is strong.

Telling nonprofit stories

Starting in 2017, Building Stronger Communities will be included in the Pittsburgh magazine. I plan to feature business leaders who are successfully leading their nonprofit organizations through challenges.

As much as nonprofits are adopting for-profit business-like management, such as diversified revenue streams, the for-profit community can take a few lessons, too.

Nonprofit leaders are, in general, experts at stretching their resources and being efficient. They also are usually very transparent and mission focused with highly engaged employees.

With its strong foundation base, Pittsburgh has such a unique history of philanthropy that I hope I can find some great stories. If you know of any nonprofit organizations that are truly making a difference, please reach out and let me know.

Appeal to the emotions

This month’s cover story is with David Stern of Paris Cos., who runs a uniform rental and health care linen services business. Not only does Stern have a unique view, Paris uses cutting-edge technology like RFID tags to track its garments and automated machines, which Stern says surprises many.

One thing that didn’t make the story was Stern’s recommendation of a book called “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely, which explains how 95 percent of all decisions are emotional.

While many people know this instinctively, it was a revelation to Stern.

It’s important to Stern, and many CEOs, to have the best product, but he says if your competitors who are inferior with a higher price are beating you, then if may come down to marketing and perception.

That’s why this book will help you understand that it’s always important to touch on the emotions of your clients.

Also, on the topic of emotions, don’t miss the Uniquely Pittsburgh on Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, an animated light display that brings child-like wonder to western Pennsylvania.