SBN Staff

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Movers & Shakers

Karen M. Moore, a partner of Bricker & Eckler LLP, has been appointed to serve a five-year term as state chair for Ohio of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

Joel Korte, president of Urban Environments Inc., a Columbus-based professional landscape contractor, has been appointed to the Franklin Park Conservatory Joint Recreation District board of trustees for a three-year term.

Michael Huntley has been named president and COO of King Thompson, Realtors. Huntley, former executive vice president and general manager of the company, was president of the Columbus Board of Realtors in 1998 and named Broker of the Year in 1999 by the 5,000-member trade association.

Michael Collins, president of Promotions One and vice president of Collins Studios Inc., has been named the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce 2000 Community Service Award recipient. His involvement in community service includes the executive board for the Columbus Race for the Cure Foundation, the Westerville Rotary Club and the board of the Westerville Community Reinvestment Housing Council.

Wayne Lin, partner and president of Columbus-based golf companies Mars Golf Supply and Red Planet, has been chosen by Golfweek magazine for its “40 Under 40” list. The list names 40 golf industry people under the age of 40 who are expected to shape the business and the future of the game.

Jane A. Blank has been named principal of The Knowledge Group, a new comprehensive communications network design and consulting firm. In 1989, Blank founded Telecommunications for Health Care, which merged with The Knowledge Group earlier this year. Also at The Knowledge Group, Martin McMurray has been appointed president and managing principal.

Westerman Inc. of Bremen has hired Scott Carpenter as executive vice president and CFO. Carpenter, a certified public accountant, will be responsible for the company’s finance, accounting and other administrative functions.

Lord, Sullivan & Yoder Inc. has promoted Pat Smith and Mark Placenti to the position of vice president/director of client services. The two share the title and take on the responsibilities of Nancy Barr, who was promoted to president of LSY earlier this year. Smith joined LSY in 1993 as vice president/account supervisor after a distinguished career in marketing communications and advertising. Placenti joined LSY in early 1999 as vice president/group account director. Before that, he was president and co-owner of Whole Brain Films in Phoenix.

Renier Construction has hired Edward Rice as vice president, project development, and Steven Wolf as vice president of operations.

Mark Shy, vice president and co-founder of the Columbus-based general construction and construction management company Renovators Inc., has been elected to the executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America, Simon Kenton Council, as senior vice president of programs.

LifeCare Alliance has elected Kamilla Sigafoos, COO of The Ohio State University Hospitals, as president of its board of directors. Other officers elected are John Ennis, director of benefits administration at Battelle Memorial Institute, as vice president; Maryann Ingram Kelley of White Castle as secretary; and William P. Zox, partner at Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn, as treasurer.

Ohio Credit Union System has named John R. Florian COO of the Ohio Credit Union League. Florian joined the league in 1991 as director of government affairs and has held the position of vice president of advocacy since 1997.

Larry L. Dunn has been promoted to Columbus region president of Croson-Teepe Mechanical Contractors.

The YWCA of Columbus has promoted six senior staff members. They are Kathy Lansberry to vice president of finance and COO; Carol Trowbridge to vice president of childcare and youth programs; Linda Kanney to vice president of human resources; Beth Morrow Lonn to vice president of development; Sue Phillips to vice president of development; and Barbara Pratzner to vice president of planning and business enterprises.

Seven local public relations professionals were elected to the 2000 executive board of the Central Ohio chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The new executive board members are president, John Kompa, Edward Howard & Co.; president-elect, Denise Baker, Lord, Sullivan & Yoder; treasurer, Susan Merryman, UUNET; secretary, Laurel Johnson, School Employees Retirement System; vice president of planning and procedures, Julia Bradley, Wexner Heritage Village; vice president of membership, Maureen Miller, Ohio Consumers’ Counsel; and past president, Douglas Frazier, Clary Communications.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Getting seed money

The Ohio Department of Development’s Office of Housing and Community Partnership makes funds available for housing construction and renovation, as well as for necessary improvements to existing or new agriculture labor camps.

Here’s the scoop:

  • Labor camp owners may receive grants of up to $25,000 through the Agriculture Labor Camp Improvement Program.

  • For every $1 of state funds committed, the applicant must match at least $1.

  • Applicants must develop a three-year plan for addressing the housing and infrastructure needs of the camp.

  • The deadline for grant applications usually falls in January each year.

  • To apply, contact the Ohio Department of Development’s Office of Housing and Community Partnerships, 77 S. High St., 24th Floor, Columbus, 43216-1001.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Eye on the prize

You know where you want to go, but the road ahead is shrouded in fog. Setting goals along the way can make the path more visible.

“Goals help you lead a balanced life by keeping you focused on what is important to you, your family and your business,” says Donald Fletcher, president of May International, a Chicago-based management consulting firm. “Goals aid in planning, development and help you improve performance within your business.”

Here are some tips Fletcher says may help you identify and set realistic goals for you and your business:

  • Make sure your goals reflect your company’s values or mission statement.

  • Be creative and open your mind to new possibilities and out-of-the-box thinking.

  • Make your goals measurable.

  • Make your goals attainable and appropriate.

  • Prioritize goals as to their importance.

  • Be specific and don’t generalize.

  • Consider relationships and how they will be affected.

  • Challenge yourself to achieve your goals. Don’t settle for the easy ones.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

The right fit

The right fit

Who is a good candidate for the Western Pennsylvania Adventure Fund? President and CEO G. Richard Patton offers some advice to would-be early-stage venture capital seekers. You must:

  • Be a Western Pennsylvania-based entrepreneur.

  • Have a business proposition that is similar to others the fund has invested in.

  • Be specific about why you are looking for financing. If you say you need $1 million to finish a prototype and verify market acceptance to prepare for a $10 million follow-up round, you're more likely to get the fund's attention.

  • Recruit advisory board members and professional services that will bring credibility to your company. Investors like to see names they recognize associated with investment opportunities.

Patton suggests entrepreneurs should research potential venture firms. Don't do mass mailings of your business plan and, he adds, get someone with some clout to make introductions."Find someone who can be a reference," says Patton. "Anything you can do to get away from cold-calling will add a lot of credibility."

Ray Marano

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Business Notes

Compuvisions Inc., a Pittsburgh-based developer and designer of Web sites, has been acquired by FullTilt Solutions Inc. of King of Prussia, a provider of business-to-business e-commerce solutions.

Pittsburgh Demolition has been contracted to dismantle and remove the building from the site of the former Phoenix Materials Corp. on Route 422 in East Franklin Township.

National City Bank has introduced a five-year line of credit for small businesses that allows business owners to user their commercial real estate, in addition to their residential real estate, as collateral. Credit lines range from $25,000 to $100,000. It can be used as a revolving line of credit or a portion can be converted to a 36-month term loan with a fixed rate.

Adroit Computer Technique, an India-based company, has moved its U.S. headquarters from Boston to Pittsburgh. The company says the move largely resulted from a strategic partnership it formed with Technosystems Service Corp., a Pittsburgh-based company.

The law firm of Vogrin & Reister is joining its practice with Meyer Darragh Buckler Bebenek & Eck. The merger adds the practice of criminal law to Meyer Darragh's general civil practice while supplementing the firm's practice in municipal law.

Hastings Realty Co. Inc. has acquired 625 Stanwix St. from Chicago-based Urban Growth Property.

Fidelity Bancorp Inc. has acquired two branch offices of Pennwood Savings Bank, located in Kittanning, from the Farmers National Bank. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

Pitt Ohio Express has installed equipment designed to warn truck drivers of potentially dangerous levels of drowsiness on one of its 18-wheel trucks. The truck will be used in an over-the-road pilot test to gauge the effectiveness of the equipment in alerting drivers in order to prevent accidents.

PWCampbell has been awarded the design/build contract by Clyde-Findlay Area Credit Union in Clyde, Ohio, to construct a 3,700-square-foot new branch office facility.

White and Williams LLP, a Philadelphia law firm, has opened a Pittsburgh office.

MassMutual has launched a disability income insurance buy-sell contract, a product designed for partnerships and professional corporations composed of two to five business owners between the ages of 18 and 60.

Krakoff Communications has relocated from the Benedum Trees Building to a larger space in the Arrott Building.

The University of Phoenix has opened a campus in Penn Center West Four. Initial offerings will be bachelor of science degrees in business management, business administration and business information/technology. A master's degree in business administration will also be offered.

Woodmont Corp. and its partners, Creative Real Estate and Colony Holding Co., have leased 31,000 square feet of space in Cranberry Commons to Linens 'n Things, making it the final anchor tenant in the 550,000-square-foot retail center in Cranberry Township.

Law firm Bernstein Bernstein Krawec & Wymard P.C. has been awarded a five-year contract to perform debt collection services on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice.

TriLogic Corp. has relocated its offices to a new headquarters building in Southpointe.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

Funny business

In the press package commemorating its 75th anniversary, Bruner-Cox LLP includes an amusing timeline that juxtaposes the accounting firm's milestones against other historical events.

For example, Charles Lotz joined the firm as a partner in 1931 -- the same year Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison for income tax evasion. A disclaimer clarifies that Capone was not a client of the firm.

Noting that Steve Pittman became a partner in 1987, the narrative reads, "Based on his portfolio, Steve feels slightly responsible for the Black Monday Stock Market Crash."

Another notation declares that managing partner John Finnucan joined the firm in 1978 -- the same year "the first official Elvis sighting was recorded."

Says Finnucan, "Our goal is to make Bruner-Cox a fun place to work."

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

That's a good question

What to ask instead of just blabbing to prospects about the greatness of your product or service Selling Solutions by Larry Lewis

You frequently mention that you should avoid telling prospects about the features and benefits of your product or service and focus instead on asking the right questions. Can you tell me what types of questions to ask early in the selling process?

I am frequently asked by clients to spell out the questions they should be comfortable asking on a sales call. This is a dangerous task, because it presupposes that every prospect is the same and every sales call is going to go perfectly.

Good salespeople have a system for selling that encompasses a specific strategy and set of tactics designed to further that strategy. However, the manner in which that system is implemented is more of an art than a science.

Most entry-level salespeople are taught a set of scripted or canned closes. While they are easy to learn, they are often ineffective. Effective selling strategies and tactics are more difficult to learn, but they are far more powerful than canned scripts and closes.

Remember also that how you ask is often more important than what you ask. Questions by themselves can be abrasive. Make sure you sprinkle your questions with plenty of nurturing statements and have an empathetic tone in your voice.

With these precautions in mind, here are 24 fundamental questions which you need to be comfortable asking during the early stages of the sales process to begin to master the art of selling. The questions are part of what I call "Lewis' Essential 44" -- the 44 fundamental questions you need to consider asking.

The initial phone call

1) Does my name or company sound familiar? (To be used when making a sales call to get the prospect to disengage from what he or she was doing before you called.)

2) I know you weren't waiting for my call and you're very busy, but if you will give me 30 seconds, I can tell you why I am calling and you can decide whether we should continue this conversation. Will you give me 30 seconds? (To gain permission from the prospect on a cold call before delivering your 30-second commercial.)

3) I am a (fill in the blank) specializing in (fill in the blank). Typically I work with successful (fill in the blank) just like you, who are basically very happy with (blank), but they are frustrated or concerned that (blank, blank or blank). I don't suppose you share any of those concerns?

This is your 30-second commercial, designed to describe what you do in terms of the problems you solve to determine if you can do anything for the prospect.

4) And you've never had a problem with (fill in the blank)?

5) Nobody is perfect, not even us. If there was one area in which you would like to improve on your current situation, what would it be?

6) Would it make sense for you to invite me in to talk with you about these issues in greater detail to see if I can help you in these areas? (To get the appointment.)

Setting expectations

7) How much time have you set aside for our meeting?

8) What would you like to accomplish during our time together?

9) Would it be okay if I asked you some questions first?

10) If, in the course of our meeting, you don't see a fit between what you need and what I offer, would you be willing to tell me "no?"

Uncover pain and create a sense of urgency

11) Why am I here? What caused you to invite me in?

12) Tell me more about that ...

13) Can you be a bit more specific? Can you give me an example?

14) How often does this happen?

15) How long has it been a problem?

16) What have you tried to do about this?

17) Did that work?

18) What impact is this having on your company?

19) How does this affect you personally?

20) How does this make you feel?

21) What were you hoping I could do?

22) Is there anything else you would like to tell me about these problems?

23) How important are these issues?Are you really committed to fixing these problems?

Next month, Larry Lewis will address the remainder of the 46 questions. Larry Lewis is president of Total Development Inc., a Pittsburgh-based consulting firm specializing in sales development and training. Send your comments and questions via fax at (724) 933-9224 or see his Web site at Reach him by phone at (724) 933-9110.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

It’s in the cards

Think your senior citizen customers just ask about Golden Buckeye Card discounts after they’re in the check-out line?

In reality, some may be checking out what perks you offer before they even walk through your door — and using that information to decide where to shop.

If you already participate in the Golden Buckeye Card program, the Ohio Department of Aging now has your company — and your discount — listed on its Web site,

If you’re not participating but want to, the site tells you how.

It might be worth your while. Consider the following, courtesy of the Web site:

  • America’s older adult population will more than double between now and the year 2050.

  • By that year, as many as one in five Americans will be older than 60.

Looks like seniority really does rule.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

The judges

Daniel Austin

Vice chairman

McDonald Investments Inc.

Carol Latham

President and CEO

Thermagon Inc. (former winner)

Thomas McKee


Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLC

Larry Roth

Cleveland chapter president

Young President’s Organization

Loyal Wilson

Managing director

Primus Venture Partners

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Web watch

Easy-to-use Web sites with free information to help you manage your business

The name just about says it all. This site displays all of the URLs posted within the last 24 hours, organized by topic and category. And you can subscribe to an e-mail newsletter to receive information in your areas of interest. Subscribers receive a free weekly newsletter notifying them of new Web sites being launched . The search engine accepts URLs and filters new Web site submissions by date and/or category.

The Service Corps of Retired Executives has beefed up its site, offering a revised version of its online counseling, success stories and a content-rich resource center that doles out information on business planning, human resources, legal matters and more. Online counseling puts you in touch with seasoned business pros who answer questions via e-mail. Business professionals, authors and entrepreneurs offer their wisdom and comment on the latest trends in the guest feature section.

Entrepreneurs offer advice on topics from business valuation to marketing to growing your company. The site provides a free e-mail newsletter, a Top Advisors in which experts give valuable how-to information, and discussion groups that connect entrepreneurs, academics and service providers.

Arranged like many of the popular search engines, offers hardware and software reviews, Web site building information, the latest pricing information on equipment, Internet tools and more. TechNews offers the latest scoops in the technology industry. Investors can get stock quotes, product recommendations and how-tos.