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Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:50

Missing out

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Women still lag behind men in many nontraditional occupations -- those in which women make up 25 percent or less of the total work force, according to the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor. While women make up 98.6 percent of secretaries, 92.9 percent of registered nurses, 90.8 percent of hairdressers and 83.8 percent of elementary school teachers, they make up only 1.4 percent of automobile mechanics, 5.7 percent of welders, 13.2 percent of telephone installers and repairers and 15.7 percent of architects. Reasons women might want to consider nontraditional occupations include: Better pay -- Nontraditional occupations tend to…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:50

Dimon makes an exit

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Undergoing quadruple bypass surgery would cause anyone to view life differently. In Dimon R. McFerson's case, the February 1999 operation certainly opened his eyes -- to the world outside his corporate duties as chairman and CEO of Nationwide. "I enjoyed the break," he says of the six weeks he spent away from the office recuperating. A leadership position, he points out, stays with you 24 hours a day. "I would say the time I had in '99 was the only time my wife and I had in eight years," adds McFerson, who spent more than 20 years with the company,…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:50

Bet your bottom line

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Every November, Ross O. Youngs, president and CEO of Univenture Inc., takes a look at the future. By April, the start of his fiscal year, he'll have forecasts of the company's financial well-being through that year -- and the next three to five. How good are his predictions? In 1993, he told SBN his company would reach $20 million in sales by 2000; that goal was reached at the end of his 1999 fiscal year. By the beginning of November 2000, the company was running less than 1 percent off that year's sales forecast. His secret: information overload. He looks…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:50

That's news to me

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The newly completed labor and delivery unit at The Ohio State University Medical Center has received a national award for architectural design. NBBJ of Columbus was the project architect. From a field of 208 entries, Ohio State's maternity center was one of two facilities to receive awards in the competition, sponsored by Modern Healthcare magazine and the American Institute of Architects' Academy of Architecture for Health. Sales at Sophisticated Systems Inc. are expected to reach $28 million in 2001 after the company acquired Shared Resources Inc. With this acquisition, Sophisticated will employ a team of about 120, plus 70 full-time…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:50

We've moved!

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Moving is traumatic and expensive. But moves have afforded Young Isaac effective opportunities to communicate with our constituents. Here is what we've learned -- and how you can plan ahead to express yourself when you move. First, make sure that someone is in charge of how you communicate before, during and after the move. Otherwise, everyone will be consumed by the physical activities, such as culling files and packing. Communication needs to be someone's first priority. When Young Isaac moves, I move the message, while my business partner, Michael Regan, and our general manager, Shelley Holloway, move the company. Next,…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:50

Stop organizing!

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Organized labor is on the offensive, in Ohio and around the country. Employer advocates are offering this advice to business owners and top executives: Don't wait until you've become a target. "Union avoidance can be practiced by anybody and everybody" throughout a company's hierarchy, says Matthew Goodfellow, executive director of Chicago's University Research Center Inc., a not-for-profit group dedicated to union and strike avoidance. "The basic trouble," Goodfellow says, "is that the employer, the owner or the president normally doesn't really care what takes place inside the plant. His interest is always outside, in the market, where the opportunities are.…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:50

Starting over with style

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These days, Suzanne Stilson Edgar says she feels like she is starting over in business -- and loving it. For nine years, Edgar, owner of Surface Style, a distributor of medium- to high-end floor and wall tiles and stone products, had split her time between two companies, Surface Style and Epro Inc., a tile manufacturing business in Westerville. But in April 2000, Edgar sold Epro to Seneca Tile Co. of Attica, Ohio. Since the sale, she has found concentrating on just one business to be much more manageable. "I used to think that I could do it all, but suddenly…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

Room for improvement

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It's likely not a report card Gov. Taft will put on his refrigerator. After all, it gives a failing grade to state government's service to small businesses. The Governor's Small Business Advisory Council has spent more than a year examining ways to create a more positive small business climate in Ohio and evaluating the government's past performance in this area. "We view ourselves as customers to state services," advisory council chair Joseph Jeffries told Gov. Bob Taft when he visited one of the advisory council's meetings late last year. Jeffries owns Reisbeck Food Markets Pharmacy in St. Clairsville. "Everybody has…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

Bill Heifner

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Last year, Bill Heifner was on a 3,200-mile, cross-country trip on his Harley -- which he calls his "self-propelled battery charger" -- when he joined several motorcycle friends at a late morning stop for food. The eating establishment grew strangely quiet when a 6-foot-8-inch man -- towering over Heifner's 6-foot-3-inch stature -- entered. He had massive biceps covered with tattoos and wore a black vest and a black hat pulled down almost covering his eyes. "He was the kind of guy who'd be your worst nightmare to see in a dark alley," says Heifner, president of Renier Construction. "There were…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

Picture the profit

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Perhaps like many business owners, Jeff Burt's biggest challenge in the six years since he founded Eclipse Studios has been keeping up with technology. It's especially important to Burt, however, considering he started the commercial photography studio with a distinct vision of having a cutting edge reputation. Indeed, technology is what Burt credits for the Northwest Columbus company's fast growth, averaging more than 40 percent annually and expecting to surpass the $1 million mark this year. It hasn't been without cost: Burt has spent as much as 50 percent of his annual budget on technology advances. "Whenever I buy anything…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

Making dollars out of sense

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Her income had been cut by 80 percent. Yet her expenses remained largely unchanged. Suddenly single after her divorce in 1988, Angie Hollerich knew she had to make ends meet -- without sacrificing the quality of life for her children, ages 10 and 12. She found a two-bedroom condominium for $485 a month and decided to take it, despite the fact that she'd already figured she could only afford $395. She had to; she and her ex-husband had agreed neither would move from the Westerville area, where their children had been attending school. Somehow, she'd make the rent payments. But…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

Newsclips

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Milt Lewin, chairman of Hamilton Parker Co., has named his son, Adam Lewin, president, and daughter, Connie Lewin Tuckerman, vice president of the Columbus-based distributor of domestic and imported tile, brick, fireplaces and garage doors and other building supplies. The Lewin family has owned the company for 65 years; this marks the third generation of the family to take the reins. The Ohio Department of Development's Small Business Development Center, Women's Business Resource Program and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP will recognize the accomplishments of successful women business owners in Ohio at the Governor's Awards for Women's Excellence in Enterprise Oct. 3, 2001.…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

Talent manager

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Imagine trying to manage Jesse Ventura, the flashy, outspoken professional wrestler-turned-politician whose upset victory in the 1998 Minnesota governor's race shocked the nation. Steve Konrad, program director for 610-WTVN radio, doesn't have to imagine. He's done it. In fact, Konrad brought the job of managing "Jesse the Mouth" upon himself. When Konrad was program director of a talk radio station in St. Paul, Minn., he personally recruited Ventura to host the morning show there. "I knew he had things to say and that he was a beloved guy," Konrad explains. "Those are two things you're always dying to find, and…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Young Entrepreneur Of The Year

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He's built a 60-employee firm servicing 1,200 clients, including Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. This year, he's expecting more than $50 million in capitalized billings. Those numbers, however, might not be the most impressive behind Matthew Grossman, especially considering that he started the firm when he was just 21 years old. When asked if his age has in any way been a problem in growing The Axis Group, Grossman, 28, is quick to reply, "Age to me is not a deterrent, but age to others sometimes is." It could, for example, surface when Grossman is trying to…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Newsclips

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Joel Kingsley, president of Apex/M&P Construction, has been appointed to the board of directors of Goodwill Columbus. "I'm looking forward to providing management expertise to an organization that lifts people with special needs to greater heights," says Kingsley. In other Apex/M&P news, the firm has been awarded a $2.6 million contract to perform work for the New Albany Middle School; a $1 million-plus contract by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to construct a new church and offices for the Madison Lake Meeting House in London; and a $939,805 contract to work on the new Gahanna Lincoln High…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Nothing ventured ...

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Two years ago, Bob Shelton repositioned Ultryx Corp., his then-14-year-old business, in order to exploit e-business opportunities. His challenge was to get his repackaged products to market before his competitors. To do this, he had to move fast. To move fast, he needed outside investors. He turned to the venture capital community for financing to develop, market and sell his product, as well as to get business advice and connections that will help him sell the company when the time is right. In doing so, he handed over control of the business to a board of directors and hired a…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Building a business without trying

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In 1986, when Brenda Stier, president of Marketing Works Inc., found herself without a job after her then employer, Turner Communications, went out of business, she had no plans to start a business of her own. "I was in the middle of some projects with several clients, and I just decided to continue those projects until I could find another job," Stier says. "I didn't really think I would do this permanently; it just came out of a need for a job. Then referrals kept coming in, and that's how it happened." So many referrals came in, in fact, that…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

The reversal of 'dress down'

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Attitudes are changing dramatically when it comes to "dress down" attire in work settings. According to research by the INCOMM Center for Research & Sales Training, only 45 percent of customers visiting a trade show exhibit responded favorably last year to the casual attire of the salespeople staffing it. That's down from an 86 percent approval rating for such work clothes in 1998. The reason: Casual dress became too casual. Exhibitors moved from golf shirts to denim work shirts and even Hawaiian shirts and football jerseys. What was meant to be a friendlier look became so relaxed that it created…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Right to your door

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Frank Ciotola, owner of Da Vinci Ristorante in Columbus, has a message for his peers. "I always tell other small business owners that we manage so many aspects of our business like payroll or accounts payable, and managing the legislative issues and taking time to do that is every bit as important as managing those other aspects of your business," he says. "I feel government is definitely in our business, and if we don't stay involved and tuned in to what's going on, it inevitably affects our bottom line." The National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio is making an effort to…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Letters to the editor

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Count me out When I read your spiffy article on Jay Dascenzo ("Who to know," SBN Magazine, May 2001), I said to myself, "Now, here's an organization (SBN) that is willing to do whatever is politically correct."Yes, here's a magazine that will definitely be encouraging its readers to increase their business expense by initiating partner benefits for their homosexual employees." I also said to myself that here's an organization -- Preferred Resource -- that no longer wishes to be on your mailing list. So, with all due respect and haste, kindly remove my address from your monthly speak. Jim Harrison…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Michael Dell in person

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The story of Michael Dell's decision to drop out of college to start a business that has grown into a worldwide industry leader has fascinated many, but the chairman and CEO of Dell Computer Corp. readily admits his company's ascent to sales of $32 billion wasn't entirely smooth. And he's not just talking about having to cut approximately 10 percent of his work force to keep operating expenses in line during the recent tech slowdown. There was the time, for example, when Dell ventured into the retail channel instead of selling direct to consumers. "That turned out to be a…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

What are they afraid of?

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We've created a government by the people and for the politicians. Sad but true. Nothing has made that more clear than the attempts earlier this year by certain state GOP-types to keep under wraps their communications with staff members, and even each other, as they work toward legislative agreements. That certainly isn't being done for the people. It's being done for the handful of state officials who want to cut deals behind closed doors and not have to explain how they arrived at these deals. These officials don't want the public to know what favors got swapped to reach a…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Handling unruly customers

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No one likes to do it, but if you know how, the job can be less painful. Occasionally, every business has to deal with an unruly customer. It is part of doing business. No matter how carefully you explain your position, there is one customer in 1,000 who will misunderstand and take great offense. If your establishment is facing an unruly customer, try to maintain a clear mental difference between you and your role. Keep in mind that the complaint is not made against you personally, but rather against the policy, the product or the service the customer has received.…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Three women you should know

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Each year the Columbus chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners honors selected female entrepreneurs in Central Ohio for the challenges they've overcome to get where they are today. Here's a look at this year's honorees. Lynda Bryant Lynda Bryant, founder of L.B. Trucking Co. Inc. in Hilliard, started her business nearly 13 years ago with a single dump truck and "absolutely no construction background," she says. "I knew straight out that I was a woman working in a man's world." In the early years of her business, when Bryant visited a contractor to take measurements and prepare…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:47

Gender imbalance

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Women hire more women. Men hire more men. It's not just an observation. The National Foundation for Women Business Owners has the statistics to prove it. The delayed release of some findings from a 1997 survey conducted by the foundation show the gender composition in companies owned by female and male business owners have significant differences. For example: * The work forces of women-owned businesses are typically 52 percent women and 48 percent men, while men-owned businesses employ 38 percent women and 62 percent men. * Regardless of the size of the business, women business owners consistently employ a more…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:47

Looking past the recession

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In a time of increasing economic uncertainty, why would anyone willingly increase employer expenses? That's exactly what J.R. Glenn, president of Biltmore Personal Fitness Centers, is doing these days -- and he couldn't be more excited about the direction his business is heading. Biltmore Personal Fitness Centers, a one-on-one and small-group fitness training facility in Powell, recently underwent a $50,000 remodeling project to enhance the services it offers to clients. Now Glenn wants to provide additional benefits to his employees as well, so he's adding a qualified retirement plan. Despite the additional $4,000 to $5,000 per year it will cost…
Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:47

Editor's column: They ain't misbehavin'

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People skills are hard to teach employees. Yet how well employees read customers and interact with them leaves a lasting impression. You might think the best insurance against poor customer relations would be to hire chatty, bubbly employees to staff your front line. They'll come across as friendly and interested. Not necessarily. You still have to train them so they know when to turn on the charm and when to keep their heads down and simply do their jobs. Not long ago I went shopping at a new supermarket to see how it compared to the store where I usually…