In Brief Featured

10:00am EDT July 22, 2002

Want to get ahead? Talk to your peers.

Networking with others in the same field is instrumental in achieving professional success, say a vast majority of 1,400 CFOs queried in a 1998 Accountemps survey.

The survey, conducted by an independent research firm, shows 80 percent of respondents list networking as "very important" or "somewhat important" in furthering their careers.

Not only can networking be a source for locating job openings, but trade associations and community groups can provide avenues for executives to prove their leadership ability, expand their skills and knowledge and increase their visibility in the community, says Menlo Park, Calif.-based Accountemps Chairman Max Messmer.

"Networking opportunities can be uncovered by conducting research on the Web, reading local newspapers and business journals and contacting associations for event schedules," suggests Brad Beach, area manager at the Worthington Accountemps office.

So go ahead, fatten that Rolodex. Maybe it really is who you know.

But how does the view measure up?

The parade earlier this winter celebrating John Glenn's return from space sent one downtown Columbus hotel on a mission of fun.

DoubleTree Guest Suites human resources director Janetta Tischer let her lighter side get the better of her when she and some staff devised a "Welcome Home Senator Glenn" banner to flash along the parade route. At Tischer's suggestion, the group added a second, arguably more attention-grabbing banner reading: "Our suites have more square feet than NASA's space shuttle."

"We just wanted to have fun with it. We weren't trying to sell the hotel. We just wanted to get a smile, and we did," Tischer says.

Not only were passersby visibly amused by the banner, but when Sen. Glenn and his wife rode by, they apparently saw it, too.

"Annie read the sign and turned around and gave us a thumbs up," Tischer says.

Although Tischer didn't research the claim on the suite's dimensions, SBN checked it out and, for the record, the hotel's biggest suites, with more than 1,200 square feet, would far surpass the shuttle's three-level crew compartment. It has 224 square feet on the forward and aft flight decks and middeck, which accommodated Glenn and six other Discovery crew members, according to NASA's Web site.

In fact, if the suites had no gravity, Glenn might think he was in a palace, comparatively speaking. The 26,700 cubic feet in DoubleTree's largest suite is 10 times the volume of the 2,625-cubic-foot crew compartment cabin.

Now that's traveling in space.

Tricks of the trade

The magic continues for a local business owner whose retail sales are growing-even without a storefront.

It's been a year since Steven Kline, president of The Magic Connection, closed his North Columbus retail store after seeing the response garnered from an online catalog added to his Web site [See "The magic touch," SBN, February 1998]. Since then, retail sales have increased 27 percent and make up more than half of his $350,000 to $450,000 in annual revenues, which also come from his magic performances. This time last year, retail sales accounted for only a quarter of his business.

"We are shipping [products] overseas every other day-today to Portugal, tomorrow France, and we just shipped to Hong Kong and Egypt," Kline says.

The Web site-which receives 40,000 hits per month-enables Kline to run his retail business while he's performing, a plus considering he's often out of town. He was scheduled to do 29 shows in December alone.

"When I'm on the road, my product will ship from my vendors," he says, noting that he'll use his laptop to notify them of orders when he travels to El Salvador this month and Hong Kong in March. "I send e-mail to the vendor; he ships for me. It's an extra cost to me, but I don't lose the sale by not being in Columbus, Ohio."