Who says art and culture arent big business? Certainly not Northeast Ohios business leaders. Theyre well aware that Clevelands arts and cultural organizations bring money into their companies, but few realize exactly how large an impact those organizations have. The bottom line? Those groups generate about $1.3 billion in economic activity each year, according to a recent study by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. And they impact the work force as well, employing more than 3,700 full-time workers. Maybe that explains all those corporate donations.
Beware old tricks wearing new names
Just when you thought youd seen every multi-level marketing scam in existence, from outta left field comes cycling.
The concept is a repackaged edition of the time-tested favorite send money to people who have already signed up, then add your name to some list and hope some poor fool sends you money.
This scams twist: A company called Fortune Quest International LLC wants you to send it a $295 one-time fee to join as an independent contractor and sell health care products (none of which are even described in the offer). It then wants you to sponsor two people, who in turn sponsor two more people, and so on. That cycles your name onto the top of a list, supposedly assuring that youll reap a fortune.
Any way you look at it, its the same old thing. Whatever happened to earning money the old fashioned way working for it?
A little touch of home
Lets say youre sending a couple of key engineers or management types to Singapore to oversee integration of a new subsidiary for eight or nine months. Or perhaps youre moving them and their families overseas to run the company for a few years. Odds are that your firms human resources department will handle most of the details concerning the move. But what about other, smaller issues, such as advice on local schools, neighborhoods, banking and other aspects of daily life? Your employees will probably be left to fend for themselves.
A new Web site, www.expatexchange.com, is designed to help supplement a businesss involvement and bridge the gap between whats already handled by your company and whats left. The site is a virtual community established as a support network for expatriates and people assigned overseas for any extended period of time. It includes forums on life in 50 countries, advice from volunteers and experts, a spouses network and information on paying taxes.
The British are coming!
With all the rage about merger mania 2,354 M&A transactions (consolidations, mergers and acquisitions) valued at more than $399 billion have been announced in the second quarter of 1999 alone its easy for business owners to let the potential tender offers put dollar signs in their eyes.
So whos doing all these deals? The largest acquirer of U.S.-based companies is England. Its businesses have racked up 58 acquisitions valued at $46 billion so far this year, according to a study by Mergerstat, an M&A trend watcher.
According to the report, 1999 is on pace to be a record year, with consolidations and acquisitions within the broadcasting and communications industries leading the way.
And, as British firms complete more purchases, such as Vodafone Group PLCs acquisition of AirTouch Communications ($62.8 billion), American business owners may have to complete another acquisition of their own acquiring a taste for tea and crumpets.
Women business owners who have experienced difficulties breaching the walls of major corporations as potential clients will see those walls come tumbling down Oct. 21, at Connection 2000.
The fair, sponsored by the Cleveland chapter of NAWBO the National Association of Women Business Owners is designed to give women business owners access to purchasing agents and decision makers who want to spend money with women-owned businesses. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ameritech corporate offices, 6889 Snow Road, Brecksville. For more information, contact NAWBO at (216) 676-9262.
Pulling up the stakes
It wasnt that long ago that savvy opportunists could make a few extra bucks by registering World Wide Web domain names, then selling the rights to them to companies who were a natural fit. Its a practice which has been dubbed cybersquatting, and Flashline.coms Charles Stack made a quick $25,000 when he sold movies.com to Disney that way. Well, dont look now, but the sun may be setting on cybersquatting with introduction of a bill in Congress to make it a crime. That, however, doesnt mean the practice will be outlawed any time soon. Its no secret how slow the process of lawmaking can be. But just in case enough big money pushes this issue through, you may want to consider snatching up those URLs while you still can.
Protective instincts or survival techniques?
Now that Congress has limited lawsuits surrounding the millennium bug, many major law firms are troubled by the limitations on filing against software and computer makers or vendors. But on the flip side, 86 percent of the nations 1,200 largest law firms say theyre already Y2K compliant, according to a recent survey by The Affiliates. That begs the question: If the bulk of them are ready, why are the attorneys so outraged about Congress move? It could be that theyre looking out for the little guys. Or, maybe theyre concerned about fewer billable hours for their Y2K compliant systems.
Healing the walking wounded
Bob Rosner, author of Walking Wounded, will be the featured speaker Oct. 26 at the ERC Annual Conference. Rosner is a nationally recognized observer of workplace trends, and is a former consultant to Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.
The ERC conference is designed to help senior executives, business owners and HR professionals enhance their problem-solving, communication, interpersonal and creative skill sets through one half-day of break-out sessions. The conference will be held at Windows on the River.
SBN Magazine is the events print media sponsor. For more information, contact the ERC at (216) 696-3636.
From a higher authority
Pope John Paul II has named Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Professor David Forte to the Pontifical Council for the Family. He will serve on the councils board of expert consultants. So does that give him insight into which students say little prayers before his next test?
History in the moving
Parma Movers Inc./The Lincoln Moving & Storage Co. has donated two vehicles to the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum. A 1951 Cadillac and a 1960 white truck still showing the Parma Movers name will join the museums collection.
They must be working somewhere
An OfficeTeam survey of interviewers found these unusual responses to the question: What is the most unusual thing you have ever heard of happening in a job interview?
- An applicants reference sheet listed a person with the title Dad. When asked if it was his dad, the candidate replied, No, but he is a dad.
- When asked about her proficiency with software programs, the interviewee pulled out a photo of herself standing next to a computer and replied, This shows my familiarity with todays office equipment.
- One candidate explained several firings this way: Previous employers had conspired to place a curse on him, and he was conducting his own secret investigation.
And sometimes, actions speak louder than words:
- When the hiring manager walked into the lobby to greet the candidate, she was feeding her virtual pets and asked him to wait just a minute.
- A beeping noise was heard coming from a candidates briefcase. He opened it, switched off an egg timer and informed the interviewer he could answer one more question without being late to his next interview.
And we wonder why theres a tight labor market.
As the year 2000 approaches, tensions about the millennium bug are growing. And fear is the primary ingredient necessary for scam artists to prey on desperate computer owners. If youre not Y2K OK, listen up. The Better Business Bureau has put out a publication outlining what to watch out for.
- Opportunists looking for investors to finance phony Y2K solutions.
- Consultants or businesses selling services or software that arent Y2K compliant or dont fix problems as promised.
- Solution providers pitching miracle solutions at too good to be true prices.
- Exorbitant pries for services and so-called survival supplies (i.e. bottled water, candles, canned foods, etc.)
- Y2K specific scams such as the bogus banker, credit card stickers, Trojan book safes; funny money scan; and the bogus bells.
A copy of the publication is available online at www.bbb.org
A good cause
Believe it or not, its time to begin thinking about ordering those holiday cards. The Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic Inc. has a way for you to get those cards and do a good deed at the same time.
Cards ordered from the organization come with the inscription, In the spirit of the holiday season, a donation has been made in your honor to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit organization that fulfills the wishes of children fighting life-threatening illnesses. A good cause, and the cost is mostly tax deductible. For more information, call (301) 962-WISH.
By any other name
Infoworld Enterprise Solutions, one of the 1999 finalists in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program, has changed its name to AdvizeX Technologies LLC.
From the ashes
Do you or your company exemplify the spirit of successful renewal in your corporate or personal performance? If so, you might be honored as one of the Phoenix 50 and earn a trip to Hawaii. Jim Belasco and Ingram Micro CEO Jerre Stead, authors of the book Soaring with the Phoenix: Renewing the Vision, Reviving the Spirit, and Re-creating the Success of Your Company are looking to recognize organizations and individuals for their efforts. For more information, including rules and entry forms, visit the Web site at www.soaringphoenix.com. Deadline is Oct. 31.
Welcome to the machine
More than half of U.S. economic growth is fueled by technological progress in equipment and structures, according to an elaborate study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. That may not come as a surprise, but researchers say no one had ever isolated the various sources of technological advance and their effects on the Gross Domestic Product.
Researchers also wanted to break down how much economic growth is fueled by advances in the production of new equipment and structures compared to disembodied technological advance. The study found 37 percent of economic growth is tied to technological progress in equipment and 15 percent from structures.
Why is this important?
Researchers say public policies such as investment tax credits that reduce the cost of new equipment would likely stimulate output growth and help cut down on unemployment. For more information, visit www.clev.frb.org/ccca
Fastest companies keeping prices steady
The CEOs of Americas fastest-growing companies are keeping a lid on prices, says a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Although most will juggle their prices a bit either up or down, only 30 percent expect to end the year with a net increase. Ten percent say they will likely see a net decrease in prices. But viewed separately, the survey shows service sector companies are pushing prices higher than their counterparts in the product sector. Thirty-five percent of service industries expect a net increase in prices, while only seven percent expect a decrease. In comparison, 30 percent of product sector companies say they will see a net price increase, while 12 percent say prices will be lower.
The jail business
The Ohio Department of Correction and Rehabilitation is negotiating a deal with a Massachusetts firm that touts itself as an industry leader in reducing the chance of a first-time offender becoming a repeat criminal.
The ODCR is working out the details of a contract with Civigenics to manage a new 552-bed prison in Lorain County. The North Coast Correctional Treatment facility in Grafton will cater mainly to men and women doing time for drunken driving convictions. In this case, the firms educational agenda will be focused on public safety issues caused by the return of alcohol and drug-abusing offenders to the community. The company is already working with nine states, as well as law enforcement agencies in Texas and Colorado.
What does a ski lodge do during the dog days of summer to turn a profit? Round up a bunch of classic rockers and blues musicians, of course. Boston Mills, better known for its cold weather entertainment options, will turn its green rolling hills into a mini-Woodstock during two sweltering August afternoons. A Classic Blast, featuring Blue Oyster Cult, John Kay & Steppenwolf and a monster fireworks display is set for Aug. 8th, while the B.B. King Blues Festival, which will include Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Tower of Power, is scheduled for Aug. 22.
Rolling into history
The 51-year-old Greyhound bus station at 1465 Chester Ave. in Cleveland was recently added to the National Registry of Historic places, a move that could allow the owner to qualify for a 20 percent federal income tax credit for repairs and alterations. On the other hand, the recent designation would offer no protection if the owner decided to bring in the wrecking ball.
Nevertheless, the three-story limestone building was added to the National Register because it is an example of the Art Moderne style popular from 1935 to 1950. It was also the first Greyhound station built during the companys post World War II expansion boom. The building was originally nominated to the National Register in 1990, but its owner at the time objected. Earlier this year, the current owner of the building put that nomination back on track.
What does $1 billion worth of golf shirts look like?
Sales of promotional products reached an all-time high last year, topping $13 billion. It is the eighth consecutive year sales of items imprinted with company logos or messages have increased, with 1998 marking an 11 percent increase over the previous year. Since 1990, the industry has witnessed 162 percent growth.
For the 13th consecutive year, wearable items such as T-shirts, caps and jackets were the most popular products, garnering more than 27 percent of all sales. Other chart toppers included writing instruments (11.7 percent) calendars (8.9 percent), and glassware and ceramics (8 percent). The study was sponsored by The Promotion Products Association International. More than 13,000 promotional products distributors in the United States were surveyed.
More companies are leasing more equipment to free up operating capital and bank credit lines for inventory, expansion and the occasional emerge ncy, according to a study by the Equipment Leasing Association. Annual leasing revenue jumped to nearly $3.9 billion in 1997 from $3.55 billion in 1996. Ninety-four percent of those surveyed expect to maintain or increase their leasing activity during the next two years, while 68 percent lease more equipment today than they did five years ago.
Hey, wheres our cut?
SBNs recent cover girl, Custom Edges Carol Herzing (May 1999), attended an early summer meeting of vendors interested in commercial tie-ins to the new Cleveland Browns. A woman with the teams staff took one look at her, and said, I just read about you. Carol walked out with a seven-figure contract to supply Burger Kings in the area with Browns-themed plush dolls. Shes convinced the exposure helped her land the deal.
Wheres our cut, part II
It may or may not surprise you to learn that theres a company in Cleveland that scours local publications and sends feature article subjects a handsomely framed copy of the article. Their pitch is simple: we understand you didnt ask for this, but if youre interested in this as a keepsake wall hanging, keep it and send along $175. But it appears they could use a little editorial help. The company recently sent Ron Copfer a framed article of a piece that appeared in SBN. It looked appealing, we must admit. Only one problem: the plaque attached misspelled his name as Ron Copper.
Who says all the good Internet domain names are taken at this late date in the Internets gold rush? Broadview Heights-based Web developer Tom Roberts was in the market for catchy addresses to support his emerging work on broadcast e-mail. He figured the Italian name for mail had a nice ring to it. Postino.com was already spoken for, as was epostino.com. But he was able to register e-postino.com.
Working to be your poster boy
Northeast Ohio Software Association executive director Jim Cookinham recently got off a good line about NetGenicss Manny Glynias and his unofficial role as the poster boy for area software start-ups. Mannys a little nervous, because he knows that software start-ups work and dont work, and he doesnt want to be the poster boy of not working.