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Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

Lessons of success

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The history of a successful company often reads like those tense moments from a baseball game: With the team locked in a tight contest, the hero steps to the plate. After fouling off a flurry of nasty pitches, the hero figures out the hurler and starts a rally. Unfortunately, that’s when the opposing manager lumbers out to the mound and calls for an ace like Pedro Martinez to come in, snarl a bit and throw a vicious curveball to end the threat. In Ed Iacobucci’s case, the Cy Young Award winner facing his company, Citrix Systems, was the business equivalent…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

High tech or high touch?

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Your customers want it better and faster. Your employees want your undivided time and appreciation or they will take their services elsewhere. Your family wants you to spend that quality time with them that you promised. How do you keep up with the ever-demanding pace without losing your mind? The answer is in developing a 21st century game plan that combines high tech and high touch. It’s a blend of techniques and skills that will prepare you — and your company — for business in the next millennium. When developing high-tech strategies, consider these five to improve your time management…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

Fine art of the entrepreneur

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Strains of Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” blare from overhead speakers while Denny Dent frenetically splatters paint on a large canvas. The song changes to “Moving Out,” then “We Didn’t Start the Fire” as the image of a determined, perhaps enraged, Joel slowly takes shape on the canvas. As the final musical bars fade and the image is complete, the paint-stained artist turns to the crowd and explains, “It’s not what you do. It’s the way you do it.” Dent delivered his “two-fisted art attack” to hundreds of business owners at Ernst and Young’s National Entrepreneur…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

Business Notes

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The offices of Group Transportation Services have been moved to 2307 East Aurora Road, Twinsburg. The employees of KraftMaid Cabinetry collected more than 24,000 pounds of food for local churches and food banks for Thanksgiving last year. A new branch of Great Lakes Bank has been opened at 4012 Erie St., Willoughby. KeyBank has joined the FirstEnergy Corp. Advantage Small Business Savings Program as a new partner. Springco Metal Coating has been awarded QS900 certification. The International Management Assistance Corp. has acquired OK’s Cascade Co., a mobile-support provider of kitchen, laundry and food services. The Northeast Ohio Council of Carpenters…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

A gathering of the tribes

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It was a frenetic time in American history. Political and cultural upheaval, war and a mammoth generation gap. All of it defined the late 1960s. But perhaps nowhere was the clash between the establishment and the counter-culture so clearly delineated than in the ideas of a few 20-somethings who planned a rock concert in Bethel, N.Y. The passage of time, 30-plus years, has painted that concert, Woodstock, with a romantic sensibility, an oasis of peace, love and tie-dyed T-shirts in a society that some feared was unraveling at the seams. Woodstock has established a lasting impact that even its original…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Virtual phone system

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Voice and data are converging not only in cyberspace, but also on your desk. Nearly 90 percent of companies with multiple locations will begin switching from their conventional phone systems to Internet Protocol telephony over their LANs within the next five years, according to a study from The Phillips Group-InfoTech. This study also foreshadows an all-out battle between incumbent equipment leaders, including the likes of Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks and Siemens, against data networking leaders Cisco and 3Com, along with a host of start-ups. “Research of nearly 500 multisite enterprises revealed that Internet Protocol telephony is the technology that will…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

There’s a will ... but is there a way?

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We sat in the conference room for what proved to be one of the last times. The father, in his late 70s, looked across the table at his three sons and in a weak voice said, “How could you have done this to our business? What took me a lifetime to build up, you brought down in less than 10 years.” He paused, looked remorsefully around that somewhat neglected conference room, and continued, “I built a successful family business. It provided us with a great life and it represented a great future for you three. That future and my dream…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

The eyes have it

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Corrective eye surgery using a laser has become a fairly common procedure in American medicine. There is a long list of doctors who perform the operation, which is considered very safe. But before you let someone shoot a laser into your eye,s make sure you are asking the right questions. There are three main areas to evaluate before choosing a doctor to perform the procedure: the surgeon, the clinic and the staff. The surgeon. “Ask the surgeon if they are board certified in opthamology and where they went to school,” says Kerry Assil, international medical director for Aris Vision Inc.…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Selling to your future partner/employer

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It was just a decade ago that a Cleveland-area investor paid Alan Groedel, at the time a 30-year-old former buyer for Victoria’s Secret, to write a business plan for him. The investor had only one nonnegotiable demand: that the business be focused somewhere in the geriatric sector. “I probably spent half of the two months [allotted] fumbling. Then I wrote the plan,” Groedel recalls. That company became Provide-a-Ride, one of Cleveland’s biggest entrepreneurial success stories of the ’90s. A three-time member of the Weatherhead 100 list of fastest-growing area companies, by the end of the last decade, it had grown…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Raptor rapture

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Executives at Cedar Point face that challenge every few years in their endless quest to build bigger, better and faster roller coasters along the Lake Erie shore. Even with 14 existing roller coasters with names such as Mantis and the new 310-foot high Millennium Force, Cedar Point Vice President of Marketing James Hildebrandt says coming up with that elusive name never gets any easier. Hildebrandt recently told a crowd gathered for a Sales and Marketing Executives of Cleveland luncheon that the name Raptor — inspired by the legendary bird of prey — was one of the most popular choices to…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Opening a door to the world

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There is no such thing as an international market. At least not to Bill Sanford. “We in the United States are often so arrogant,” says Sanford, president and CEO of Steris Corp. “We (think we) are the focal point and everything else is international.” That centrist attitude is a reason many companies aren’t more successful exporters. There is a German market and a Japanese market and so on, Sanford told a gathering at the World Trade Center Cleveland annual meeting last month. Having a clear plan and an understanding of the needs of foreign customers is essential. When Steris executives…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Moments of truth

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If you’re committed to service excellence within your business, develop an ability to look at yourself as your customer does. Looking at your business through the eyes of the customer sounds easier than it is. It’s akin to trying to see your children the way their teacher does. Because you are so close to your children, it’s easy to assume everyone sees them the same way you do. It’s the same with your business. As a former teacher, I can assure you, teachers see your children differently than you do — just as your customers see your enterprise in ways…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Making HPP work

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Make sure employees know what to do if an injury occurs. Give employees identification cards, provided by the managed care organization (MCO). All employees should have cards in case they are injured, so the treating physician will know which MCO to notify and bill for services. In emergencies, injured employees should go to the nearest emergency room. However, for ongoing care, employees must go to a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation-certified health care provider. Report the injury to your MCO immediately, by calling the organization or faxing a First Report of Injury. Doctors and hospitals are required to report work-related injuries…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Fearless flight

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Does just the thought of boarding a plane make you nervous? Do you start to sweat when the boarding call comes? Do you start envisioning the plane going down in flames? The fear of flying is more common than you might think. An estimated 25 million adults — about one out of every six — are afraid to fly. Fearful flyers are classified into two types: phobic and panic. “Phobic flyers are the people who are afraid of crashing and dying,” says Robert Butterworth, a psychologist and president of International Trauma Associates, a counseling and research organization in Los Angeles.…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Computer cures

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Computer technology has been applied as a timesaving tool to almost every industry in almost every conceivable way. It has cut down on the number of people needed to perform certain tasks, and the amount of time needed to complete complex calculations. The field of medicine has been no exception. The evolving field of bioinformatics is helping researchers test theories in much less time than was ever possible before. The reason is simple: DNA is a simple four-letter code, and there are 20 amino acids that are the building blocks of life. “Biology in general is computer ready,” says Alex…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Block that call

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The more you use your cell phone, the more you wonder what it might be doing to you. The nightly news talks about EMFs, microwave radiation and radio frequencies and how they might be affecting your brain. The device looks harmless enough; after all, it’s just a box with an antenna on it. But it’s the things you don’t see that might be causing the damage. Several studies, including one by Wireless Technology Research, a cellular industry-sponsored group, suggest a possible correlation between cell phone emissions and a slight increase in brain tumors, cell growth in human blood micronuclei and…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Back on the job

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Most employers say they are satisfied with the managed care organizations (MCO) they work with through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Health Partnership Program. But for those who aren’t, the chance to change providers is coming up in May. Employers can switch their MCO with one simple phone call to the bureau between May 1 and May 31. HPP, Ohio’s managed care program for workers’ comp, was mandated by the legislature in 1993, but didn’t go into effect until March 1, 1997. “It took quite a bit of time to build the system,” says Jim Samuel, director of corporate…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Walking away

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Some would say Mark Albion was sitting on top of the world, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Harvard Business School professor was losing his passion for his work, although he found it hard to argue with the financial success he had achieved. Then, on the same day he bought his first Jaguar, he received a phone call that brought crushing news. His mother had been diagnosed with cancer. Albion calls that day “the wake-up call from hell,” and in the months that followed, he began to seriously ponder whether he indeed was living what he really…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Ups and downs

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(Ups) to the recent influx of telecom companies in Northeast Ohio. Not only do they drive innovation in Internet services and high-speed data connections, they’re also snatching up once-vacant downtown office space. Don’t be surprised when “telecom hotels” start popping up. Consider the irony — the growth of virtual companies may help fill brick-and-mortar locations. (Ups) to payday loan companies. The businesses are making out like bandits. In principle, the idea sounds good to consumers — get an advance on your regular paycheck and pay a small fee for the service. But the companies charge what amounts to annual rates…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Time to grow

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Few issues are more daunting to a business owner than when his or her company outgrows its brick and mortar accommodations and it’s time to search for larger quarters. You can’t just page your Webmaster or contact the company that hosts your server and buy a few more megabytes to satisfy your growing needs. When it’s time to expand your building or move to a new location, there are dozens of issues that arise. So what are your options? In this special section, SBN provides an A to Z look at what you’ll face when it’s time to consider how…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Scratch those banner ads

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The final results from 1999 e-tailing are in, and no matter who you ask, the results are astounding: 39 million U.S. consumers shopped online in 1999, averaging 13 purchases each, according to an Ernst & Young LLP global online retailing report. That’s double the 1998 figures. The value of those purchases skyrocketed as well, rising fourfold from a 1998 average of $280 per household to $1,205 last year. These numbers will only rise as more households are connected to the Net. Currently, 34 percent of U.S. homes are online, with about 17 percent of those being online shoppers. As businesses…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Promise of the Internet

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The Internet used to be a distinct experience. You’d dial out to it, surf for a while, then log out. But for more and more people — especially business users — the Internet is becoming an always-on presence. People are beginning to hop onto the Net the way they hop on the phone. This always-on presence is a sign that the Internet is starting to deliver on its three big promises: usefulness, speed and applications. There’s no question the Net has proven itself useful. Most people in businesses large and small are using or have used the Internet to perform…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Newsclips

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Time to get your CPA on the horn So you think you can breathe a little easier now that the IRS has announced efforts to slow down its pace of auditing tax returns? Don’t get too comfortable. The state of Ohio and many local municipalities plan to step up their pace of auditing business tax returns, warns Al Taddeo, senior manager with the Tax Services Group of Cleveland-based Meaden & Moore. That’s because federal spending cuts continue to impact state and local governments, and as the cash squeeze increases, those groups are becoming more aggressive with audits as a way…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Market thyself!

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When it comes to growing their practices, professional service firms of attorneys, accountants, financial advisers and consultants spend a good deal of time, effort and money building their images. Since clients usually retain individuals instead of firms, this makes sense. The creation of an aura around individuals delivering expertise is critical and reinforces credibility. Traditionally, professional service firms market their image mainly through promotional means such as seminars and forums, public relations and image advertising. The problem with these efforts is that many firms assume this is marketing. The reality is that these seminars may be informational, but they can…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Learning the telecom lingo

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When the time comes to expand or move your business, you’ll have to address your company’s telecommunication needs. If you’re like the rest of America, you’ve either added a laundry list of new acronyms to your vocabulary, or terms such as IXC, ISDN, CLEC, RBOC and PBX make you cringe in fear and confusion. In the old days, a company shopping for business-to-business telephone services had no choice for its provider — AT&T was the only option. The federal government changed that in 1984, when it forced divestiture of AT&T and created one long distance entity and seven Regional Bell…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

In the air

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Percy Bhathena is your typical Internet CEO. With short-cropped hair, glasses, a goatee, a penchant for video games and casually clad in a button down shirt, there’s little to distinguish him from other 20-something Web gurus. Like many of his peers, Bhathena exhibits an easy, friendly manner, despite the grueling hours and quick pace that are commonplace for fledgling netrepreneurs. And like his contemporaries, Bhathena is open about his business, WISP (Wireless Internet Solution Providers), its operations and his plans to position WISP to compete from a geographical location not exactly known as a hotbed for Internet start-ups. While WISP…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Footing the bill

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David Lansaw helps orchestrate the financing deals bank officials write off as too risky to handle by themselves. As a manger of business finance for the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, business owners routinely call upon him to help line up the government loans needed for building and expansion. When it comes to securing the money to keep up with the physical needs of a growing company, Lansaw says there is no standard formula that breeds success. Much of it depends upon the industry, a company’s balance sheet and how much money business owners need to meet their goals. The journey’s…