Dustin S. Klein
Twenty-one years later, the Shibleys own and operate a chain of six restaurants across Northeast Ohio, in Beachwood, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Mayfield Village, Shaker Heights and Mentor. A seventh will open in Medina in September.
Growth is never an easy part of business, but it's especially challenging when it includes expansion to numerous locations.
At one time, each sibling ran his or her own restaurant, but when the number of restaurants exceeded the number of Shibleys, the company's overall management structure required a change.
"Developing the infrastructure of the company -- the different systems and supervisory people -- has been difficult," says Larry Shibley. "Going from a couple of guys operating a couple of restaurants to a functioning chain where things happen automatically and you have sophisticated, high level training which shows everything documented ... that's been the challenge."
The group redefined the partners' roles. Today, Darlene deals with all of the store managers and interviews and hires them. Larry oversees much of the administrative and financial duties from the Chagrin Falls headquarters, manages the facilities and is the lead in the selection of new sites.
Arthur spends the bulk of his time at the Hudson store and handles tasks such as in-store training and public relations. Jeffrey splits his time between the Mayfield Village location and Mentor. He develops targeted training for employees and oversees the Web site and newsletter.
To fill out the management team, the Shibleys promoted one of their restaurant managers, Dixie Jerdon, to streamline the corporate structure. Jerdon computerized the restaurants, then took every aspect of the business and documented it in detail, Larry says.
"She created a form that would walk a manager through the tasks of each day," he says, adding she did what was necessary for the group to expand beyond four restaurants. "(She) played an extremely significant role in providing the management tools for Yours Truly to grow into a seven-restaurant chain." How to reach: Yours Truly Restaurants, (440) 247-8338
TEI is comprised of leaders from nearly two dozen business service provider organizations in the Greater Cleveland area. Every other month, we meet to discuss the current state of affairs within our respective industries.
It's a unique opportunity to gain insight about what's happening across the business spectrum and share ideas of how each of our organizations deal with common issues that arise during the normal -- and not-so-normal -- course of business. It's also a great place to pick up prospective client referrals or, in my case, trend story ideas for SBN.
Business experience is valuable. It provides the ability to quickly analyze and deal with different situations because you've seen them in various forms before. But the continuous acquisition of knowledge and experience from external sources and the subsequent understanding of how to apply it is even more critical to long-term success.
A key initiative of TEI is an annual conference designed for presidents and CEOs. Last month, more than 120 senior executives attended the President's Forum to hear a slate of speakers that included former TRW chairman Joseph Gorman, Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell and TravelCenters of America CEO Ed Kuhn.
The speakers shared strategies, case studies and pearls of wisdom about how they run their organizations, tackling such topics as transforming management styles as your company grows, how to maximize alliances, the value of mergers and acquisitions, and what it takes to steer a business through a difficult turnaround.
I was lucky enough to moderate three breakout discussion groups during the course of the day-long conference. It's amazing what can happen when you put diverse business owners and leaders into a room and let them swap stories, problems and solutions in a friendly, noncompetitive atmosphere.
Simply put, networking with your peers in any form is a surefire way to develop and implement ways to improve your business and develop that all-important competitive edge.
Downs to Rep. James Traficant. The convicted felon says he plans to run for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives as an independent. Traficant should resign, sparing his constituents the embarrassment of his actions, and leave a modicum of respect in Congress for all the good he actually did for his region.
Ups to Flight Options CEO Ken Ricci. First, Ricci pioneered the concept of fractional jet ownership for pre-owned jets. Then he engineered a merger with Raytheon Travel Air. Now Ricci has developed a unique pricing structure that reflects the real cost of operating airplanes. Ricci's Flight Options is a true Cleveland success story that's rarely reported on.
Ups to OfficeMax. After more than two years of corporate and strategic restructuring, CEO Michael Feuer says he expects the office supply retailer to show a profit with its first quarter results. Coupled with the sale of more than 2 million (of about 15 million) shares of stock by Orient Star Holdings, which had been accumulating stock for what many believed a potential hostile takeover, it appears the company has finally turned the corner.
As business leaders, it's imperative to recognize the impact your company can have upon the neighborhood, the environment, the residents and even your industry.
This commitment stretches beyond writing checks, organizing volunteer days and other corporate philanthropic missions. It includes personal involvement, either self-generated or through activities such as COSE's Serve-A-Day on May 11, when business leaders and their families are invited to pitch in and help improve Cleveland's neighborhoods.
As the annual reports of regional nonprofit organizations reflect, many of you sit as trustees on nonprofit boards, lending your business expertise and acumen to the efforts of those groups. But the number of young executives taking leadership roles is small compared with the efforts of the traditional, more established guard.
It's time that changed.
A few months ago, I decided to put my money where my mouth was and find a way to increase my involvement in the community -- beyond my monthly columns, SBN's coverage of corporate philanthropy and our annual Pillar Awards.
I met with Alice Korngold and Shawn Nemeth at Business Volunteers Unlimited, an organization that matches executives from its member companies with nonprofit boards. After learning more about BVU, I began the process of placement on a nonprofit board of trustees.
My goal is twofold: To use my background and expertise to make an impact upon an organization whose mission I believe in, and to share my experience with SBN readers, whom I hope will decide to step up their personal involvement.
Beginning in June, I will chronicle my experiences in the pages of SBN. My diary will appear every few months in the features section of this magazine to provide you with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it's like to get involved with a nonprofit organization. More important, I hope to offer concrete examples of how you, as business executives, can do more to help the Cleveland area community.
(Downs) to AccuSpray. The Bedford Heights paint spray equipment manufacturer's recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing was due, in large part, to expensive warranty-related issues surrounding a defective product. While investors believe the company should emerge from bankruptcy, they also admit the mistake could have been avoided by extensive pre-market release testing.
(Ups) to Athersys founder Gil Van Bokkelen. As biotechnology begins to take center stage as a key component to Ohio's business future, Van Bokkelen's firm is getting endorsements from high places including Ohio Gov. Bob Taft. Let's hope the thumbs ups sparks greater investment and leads to new industry jobs.
(Downs) to U.S. Rep. James Traficant Jr. No matter what the outcome of his bribery trial, voters in his newly redrawn district should send a message on Election Day. Despite the maverick politician's outlaw charm, something doesn't smell right in Denmark, I mean the Mahoning Valley.
(Ups) to Southwest General Health Center. The UHHS-member hospital received the top five-star rating for treatment of heart attacks by a consumer health rating service. HealthGrades compared Southwest's services against more than 5,000 hospitals nationwide.
So what can you do to ensure the best chance possible of finding cash for a new venture or business expansion? Make sure your funding proposal includes the following:
High growth rate With today's economic conditions, venture capital groups look for projected annual sales growth of 25 percent or more if your company is either launching a new product line or expanding into a new marketplace.
Clear strategy for commercialization Just because your business currently is successful with its sales and marketing approach doesn't mean you can simply duplicate the formula. However, if your market research backs up the contention that you can, show it. If not, develop a strong strategic plan.
Barriers to entry Be sure to show potential capital sources that your company can discourage competition in the new market you're entering. It can be as simple as being several years ahead of any competitors or as complicated as a trade secret, patented product or proprietary process.
Buffy Filippell didn't know what to expect when she hopped a plane to Houston to meet with Bob McNair, owner of the newly established NFL franchise, the Houston Texans, and Steve Patterson of NFL Holdings, the organization that helps new franchises through the transition from idea to the playing field.
The pair originally hired Filippell to help find a general manager, but it wasn't long before she discovered they were also desperate for help in filling other front office jobs.
''They had no staff and lots of people who wanted jobs,'' she says. ''The team was small. There were two secretaries and then Patterson and McNair. There were hundreds of resumes and no way to go through them all. It was overwhelming.''
So Filippell, who'd spent more than 10 years in the executive recruitment field, found herself in a unique bind -- she knew technology would solve the problem, but that approach would drastically alter the personal process she says is at the core of executive recruiting.
''This is a company based on more than simply finding someone a job,'' she says about TeamWork. ''It's about helping someone find a place where they can have their own success.''
Undeterred, Filippell enlisted two Houston-based software engineers to help develop proprietary software that facilitates and streamlines the recruiting process. More important, it maintains the personal touch.
Once launched for the Texans, the software-driven Web site caught on quickly -- more than 75 people each day began submitting resumes for consideration. That's when Filippell knew she was on to something big. In February 2000, she spun off the software product into a separate business, TeamWork Online, which licenses the software to sports organizations.
In the world of recruiting, hanging on to that personal touch is imperative to success. Filippell says the process is comprised of transitions. She considers each successful placement a part of her extended and ever-growing family.
So how did she take a traditional, people-oriented business and integrate technology successfully without losing that personal touch?
It wasn't easy, she admits. But its success is at the very core of what sets TeamWork Consulting apart from its competitors. Here's how Filippell and her staff have put together a system that's attracting such big name clients as the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball.
Filippell founded TeamWork Consulting Inc., an executive search firm for the sports and event management industry, in September 1987, shortly after her father passed away.
''It's ironic that often, after a tragedy, someone starts a business,'' she says, referring to incidents that spurred creation of organizations such as M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).
Filippell predicts the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania will spur another wave of new business ventures once the dust clears and people begin to rebuild, heal and move forward.
An experienced recruiter who worked at Mark McCormack's International Management Group (IMG) and worldwide executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International, the bulk of Filippell's background focused on searches for senior executives in banking, manufacturing and insurance. But she had a special interest in sports executive recruiting, and while at Korn/Ferry, conducted searches for such high-profile clients as the Women's Tennis Association, LPGA and the U.S. Cycling Federation.
After her father's death, Filippell wanted to focus on sports executive recruiting, but Korn/Ferry wasn't interested in devoting an entire practice to it. So she opted to go it alone, founding TeamWork Consulting out of her Shaker Heights home. One of the company's first placements was Tim Leiweke, president of the Los Angeles Kings and the Staples Center.
In 1988, Leiweke was placed by Filippell to run the expansion NBA franchise Minnesota Timberwolves. He has been a client ever since.
Over the past 14 years, TeamWorks' client list has included NASCAR, the PGA Tour, three NFL teams, six NHL teams, six NBA teams, six MLB teams, CART, Major League Soccer, the Olympic Governing Bodies and the now-defunct XFL.
As her client list expanded, Filippell realized she couldn't go it alone. In 1999, she brought in Jennifer Proud Mearns as a partner. Mearns began her career as a public relations assistant at Madison Square Garden, and over the next several years worked as a media liaison for the Men's International Tennis Tour (now the ATP Tour), as an agent for Ohlmeyer Communications (now International Sports and Entertainment Strategies) and at Cyrk Inc., where she developed and managed merchandising programs including MasterCard International's World Cup soccer and NASCAR's 50th anniversary.
One thing that made Mearns a good fit was that her philosophy was in line with Filippell's.
''You learn by listening to people,'' Mearns says. ''It's simply a philosophy that says we help our clients through the transition of a job change by being with them every step of the way.''
So when the Houston Texans came calling later that year, Mearns and Filippell knew they would have their hands full integrating technology without straying from their core beliefs.
''When we first looked at the option of putting together an online business, we recognized it wasn't as human as the traditional business had been,'' Filippell says. ''But we also knew it served needs to have information quickly available.''
With that in mind, Filippell and Mearns set out to combine the efficiencies of the Internet with the personal touch they didn't want to lose. They designed a product that streamlined the recruiting process and empowered sports organizations to manage it themselves.
''Our challenge was how to make this process as personal as possible while still teaching the sports business executives how to recruit,'' Mearns says. ''It's more than just a technological tool for the sports industry.''
TeamWork's software allows professional sport teams and leagues to recruit entry-level to mid-level executives through their Web sites. By clicking an icon on the site, for example at the NBA's www.nba.com, a prospect can review available positions and apply online. TeamWork Online's software then screens the resumes, organizes them and allows the team's management to communicate with prospects they want to interview.
''When you go to either our URL address or the individual teams' addresses, you can get a job board,'' Filippell says. ''But, you're not at a job board and it doesn't feel like a traditional job board. It's truly a part of the organization's Web site information.''
Among the clients using the software are the NBA, WNBA, WWF, NHL and MLS, as well as the Staples Center and the Houston Texans.
''We're teaching the sports industry how to recruit,'' Filippell says. ''We license out our technology tools and process to the teams. With the boom in sports business, it's making the job of working through a pile of resumes that much easier for our clients.''
Mearns says one of the key elements of the software is its ability to create better lines of communication between the teams and applicants.
''We've built in automatic e-mail notification alerts so that when you post a new job, anyone who checked off skills in the areas you've outlined gets an e-mail,'' she says. ''That eliminates the need to look over every application each time a team posts a new job opening.''
While at first glance, such software could potentially remove the need for TeamWork from the marketplace it serves, Filippell says it's just the opposite. A closer inspection of the model reveals that the software actually increases TeamWork's business opportunities.
By helpi ng clients do some of the heavy lifting themselves, it maximizes the potential for TeamWork to concentrate on upper level sports executive recruiting while the software handles middle management and lower echelon positions. Filippell says it strengthens existing business relationships and has opened opportunities to forge new ones.
TeamWork hosts the job board sections of its clients' Web sites on its server. The company generates revenue by licensing the software out to its clients and collecting royalty fees. This is in addition to any straightforward recruiting fees TeamWork picks up if it does the actual recruitment work.
''We're simply using technology to be more efficient for our clients,'' Filippell says. ''And now, by licensing the software out to teams to use themselves, the recruiting becomes a team service function.''
For Filippell, the innovation of TeamWork online is the second significant impact she's had on the recruiting industry. It's an impact she understands, though with a touch of humbleness.
''It's interesting,'' she says, reflecting on her still evolving career. ''I'm pleased to think I helped change how people were recruited into the sports industry. Then, 15 years later, I was part of a group that developed another tool to make the process even better.
''You have to understand our business, the business of transitions, to truly understand how to make it work,'' Filippell says. ''And then, when you look at the acceptance by the teams and other sports organizations, you recognize they do understand it.
''It's become another transition, but this time combining people with a technological process. And it still requires that personal touch.'' How to reach: TeamWork Consulting, (216) 767-1790, www.teamworkconsulting.com
Dustin Klein (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of SBN Magazine.
I've read a lot about heroes and leaders over the past month and a half.
One story that particularly impressed me was that of Patrick Tierney, CEO of Thomson Financial, a company that had 200 employees in the World Trade Center and another 1,800 workers spread across downtown Manhattan.
Tierney was in London for a board meeting at the firm's parent company when the planes hit the buildings, and was suddenly thrust into a crisis management situation an ocean away from home.
He set aside all business concerns and focused on determining which people were safe and which were lost. Through a mad scramble of phone calls and e-mails, he and his top managers accounted for all but 11 employees.
More important, Tierney recognized the need to be visible and stay in constant contact with his employees and their families. He called in a favor and got onto a flight to Toronto. Then he drove 10 hours to Manhattan to be with his staff and begin the recovery process.
Crisis management isn't readily taught in business schools, at least not this type. Instead, it is something people either have or don't have in their mental make-up. Only during a crisis of this magnitude do those skills rise to the surface.
Recently, I stumbled across a letter from Chicago-based management consultant Gregory P. Smith, who sent a list of action items he's developed for managing, motivating and leading employees during a crisis. Here are a few of his suggestions that I found particularly appropriate.
Keep communication open. There is nothing more powerful than information. People use it as an energy source.
Tierney kept up a steady flow of e-mail and communications over the days following the attacks that allowed his employees to feel connected with efforts to recover and rebuild.
Educate managers and supervisors. If you equip key management with information, resources and the authority to assist employees, you've expanded your leadership umbrella by enlisting others who can duplicate your efforts.
Tierney put his top people in charge of various aspects of the recovery process and empowered them to make crucial decisions without first securing traditional approval. This helped move recovery along quicker and get Thomson back up and running within days.
Target fears and anxiety. Few things inspire loyalty more than a manager or supervisor who listens. In a crisis, people are most concerned about their safety and the safety of their families.
Employers who provide a supportive workplace typically boast some of the highest retention and loyalty rates.
Accept the fact that performance and productivity will drop. It's a hard truth, but one that must be recognized. Expect to see employees who have difficulty concentrating and are forgetful. Also expect increased absenteeism.
Being a leader is more than making the crucial day-to-day business decisions that affect cash flow. It requires compassion and understanding.
If you are able to recognize the human side of your business, you'll find that in a time of crisis, your employees band together and your company could actually emerge stronger than before. Dustin Klein (email@example.com) is editor of SBN Magazine.
There is little question that success in business is built on smart ideas, those brainstorms in the middle of the night that become great new products and services.
That's the reason SBN Magazine and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield created the Innovation in Business Conference.
This year's event, also sponsored by Andersen, Nextel, LaSalle Bank, Divine and Hughie's Audio Visual, honors 12 individuals -- four Master Innovators, five Visionaries and three Rising Stars -- for their smart ideas.
Picked by a panel of judges that includes Dr. Stephen Gage, president of CAMP Inc., Dorothy Baunach, director of NorTech and Cleveland Tomorrow, Jeffrey Dollinger, executive director of business development for the National Inventors' Hall of Fame, and Don Philabaum, president of the Internet Association Corp., this year's honorees represent a wide berth of innovative strategies, products and services.
In addition to the 12 honorees, whose stories you'll read on the following pages, this year we have designated 14 others as Finalists. Our judging panel found their stories enlightening and deserving of mention for their innovative ideas:
Dennis Barba Jr., e2Grow. Combines local content and online enabling services for small businesses to develop revenue-generating Web presences.
Ernie Hawk and Marcia Harris, KraftMaid Cabinetry. Designed a unique multimedia training program to educate resellers of built-to-order cabinetry.
Nancy Diller-Shively, Cambridge Home Health Care. Home health care provider that employs a philosophy of "happy staff = happy clients."
Dr. Frank Seidelman and Daniel H. Quigg, RIS Logic. Radiology information system software developers.
Doug Weintraub, Centerprise Information Solutions. Provides back office accounting and front office technology solutions with effective implementation and training.
Philip Wenk, Creative Playrooms. Child care centers that provide parents with service rivaled only by mom.
Deb Janik, Village Capital Corp. Since 1998, Janik has helped commit more than $14 million in loan and grant financing to inner city projects.
William Ryan, Master Consulting Group. The impetus behind the creation of the Northeast Ohio Area Chambers of Commerce by providing employee benefits and human resources expertise.
Rachel Torchia, Gateway Title Agency. Developed a proprietary service that helps people who sell their house "by owner."
James Fisher, IdeaStar. Designed two proprietary products -- GalaxyBuilder and CorpMeetings -- to solve clients' back-end needs for front-end problems.
Packy Hyland Jr., Hyland Software. Hyland's OnBase enterprise software integrates document management capabilities in a single Web-based application.
Dr. Ronald Copeland, Dr. Allan Khoury, Kaiser Permanente. Electronically linked its 10,000 physicians and other care providers in 19 states through a proprietary Medical Automated Record System (MARS).
Ed Hollinshead, Websprocket. Designed "smart packet" technology that paves the way for second generation computer architectures and smart networks.
Barbara Brown and Margaret Flynn, BrownFlynn Communications. Full-service strategic communications company that specializes in community education and outreach.