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Monday, 26 May 2008 20:00

Servicing needs

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Like soothing oil on a sunburned back, a good merchant banker can help a company take the sting out of managing its revenue stream. “Merchant services goes beyond the acceptance of credit cards,” says Rebecca Myers, merchant account executive at FirstMerit Bank. “Merchant services means forming a business partnership with someone who can help you optimize the way you take payments for your goods and services.” Myers adds that it’s important to find a partner who will take the time to understand the needs of your business and help you not only look at the costs associated with accepting payments…
Friday, 25 April 2008 20:00

The Tunney file

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Birthplace: Phoenix Education: B.S., Brigham Young University; graduate, Harvard University’s Executive Management Program Childhood career aspiration: Growing up, I was always fascinated going to the airport and seeing all the people travel. I always thought I wanted to be a business guy who travels. Now that I travel every day of my life, I realize ... you’ve got to be careful what you ask for. First job: Cutting fiberglass — it was the worst job of my life. What was your greatest business challenge? Cultures of companies. I think it is easy to change strategy, it’s easy to strengthen your…
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 20:00

Market survival

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It is impossible to open the Wall Street Journal or watch CNBC without seeing news about the financial, stock and housing markets. While there are some disturbing reports, it is not necessarily all rough sailing for all businesses, according to Bob Friend, senior vice president of commercial banking at FirstMerit Bank in Columbus. Still, it pays to be aware of what your bank might be going through. “As much as your bank keeps an eye on your business, you should keep an eye on your bank’s business,” Friend says. Smart Business spoke with Friend about what companies should think about…
Sunday, 24 February 2008 19:00

The Heasley file

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Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio (East Side) Education: B.A., Harvard-Radcliffe; MBA, University of California at Los Angeles First job: In college, I worked in health care on the Navajo Reservation doing public health. I drove a converted school bus that was turned into a health care clinic around Arizona bringing teams of physicians and nurses to areas that normally wouldn’t get that care. It was a great experience for me. I learned so much. Greatest business challenge: Getting the right talent. What I’ve always found in all the things I’ve done is you have to focus on people and make sure you…
Tuesday, 29 January 2008 19:00

Measuring up

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Bob Webb depends on his past customers to draw new ones to his custom home-building business, so he knows he’d better treat people right. As president and founder of the $50 million Bob Webb Group, he understands that customer satisfaction is the lifeblood for his company to survive and grow, so he strives to satisfy each and every customer so that they’ll spread the word. Smart Business spoke with Webb about how he now gauges customer satisfaction through surveys instead of just assuming people are happy. Measure yourself. How do you measure your business if you don’t have that information…
Tuesday, 29 January 2008 19:00

The Davis file

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Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wis. Education: MBA, marketing and finance, University of Chicago; B.S., business administration with an emphasis on marketing and economics, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee First job: Paperboy; I was an early entrepreneur. My first professional job was as a junior in college when I interned at Northwestern Mutual Life as a computer programmer. It made me appreciate how important systems are in an organization. Greatest business challenge: Leading and motivating franchised-based organizations. You’ve got corporate strategies, but franchisees are independent businesspeople who may see the world differently at times. You have to emphasize and appreciate their point of…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 19:00

Investing assets after the sale

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After the sale of a business, an owner “cashes out” with a lump of wealth that can be quite overwhelming. For the lifetime of the business, the majority of an owner’s wealth is tied up in that venture. Liquid assets were always poured back into the business for investment in capital improvements or to finance growth. “It’s daunting to think about investing your life’s worth and your family’s entire fortune,” says Joel J. Guth, an advisor in the Citi Family Office at Smith Barney, a division of Citigroup Global Markets. “Owners must adopt a completely different mindset once the business…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 19:00

Power 100: 51-75

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  51. David Meuse Principal Stonehenge Financial Holdings (54) Meuse is vice chairman of the Columbus Foundation and a member of the Columbus Partnership. He is also the former CEO of Banc One Capital Holdings and holds the purse strings on this powerful investment firm. 52. Robert M. Eversole Principal Stonehenge Partners Inc. (33) Eversole left his job as president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank’s Central Ohio division last May to join Stonehenge and offer his vast financial acumen at the region’s premier private equity firm. He is a key player around town, serving on the boards of the…
Sunday, 25 November 2007 19:00

Estate plans: a three-step approach

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Last month, we discussed how owners can devise cash-flow planning strategies to fund their lifestyles and long-term goals after their business is sold. The next step is planning how to transition the rest of the estate to other entities, whether they are future generations, charitable organizations or a family foundation. But, estate planning includes more than mitigating taxes or deciding how to distribute wealth. “Whether owners plan for it or not, the emotional and social aspects of their capital are part of the estate they pass on to future generations,” says Joel J. Guth, an advisor in the Citi Family…
Sunday, 25 November 2007 19:00

Dealer’s choice

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For George W. “Buddy” Byers Jr., management is like professional football: You’ve got to pay to put the right players in place. Once you do, treat them right, and they’ll stay and play their hearts out for you. Premium wages, autonomy and a literal open-door policy form the platform for an enviably low turnover rate and a winning team at Byers Auto Group. It’s a club that’s never had a losing season in 110 years of operation. From days of the horse and buggy to the era of the space shuttle, the company’s never ended a year in the red.…
Friday, 26 October 2007 20:00

Post-sale cash flow planning

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Adjusting to life after the sale of a business requires a mindset shift. First, there is no longer a paycheck if the business was sold in its entirety — and if owners are still collecting a salary, it is likely modest in comparison to previous earnings. Secondly, time dedicated to company matters — which was most of the time — is now free and open for fresh pursuits. Expenses that were once run through the business now fall on personal tabs. Now that the business is sold, owners need a cash flow plan for life. “There are transitions that are…
Friday, 26 October 2007 20:00

Maintaining integrity

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The honesty of business leaders has become a front-page story and a topic of discussion in boardrooms worldwide, and Larry Hilsheimer strove to make that value a priority for his team at Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. “There are a lot of examples within the business world where integrity has failed,” says Hilsheimer, former managing partner of Deloitte’s Columbus regional office. “Compromising our integrity for even one client is not worth the damage that it would cause to our brand.” Before leaving in October to become executive vice president and chief financial officer of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Hilsheimer managed…
Friday, 26 October 2007 20:00

Continuing a tradition of excellence

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Ohio and PricewaterhouseCoopers are proud to host the 2007 Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame ceremony. For the past 21 years, the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame has recognized more than 60 distinguished business leaders in the local community. Please join me in congratulating this year’s honorees — Larry Hilsheimer, Jack Kessler, Charles Penzone and Jay Schottenstein. Each of these gentlemen sets a great example for all of us in his passion and leadership. From each man’s passion and drive to his true entrepreneurial spirit, these businessmen are a key part of the fabric of the Central Ohio business…
Tuesday, 25 September 2007 20:00

Business valuation: What’s it worth?

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Whether you are planning an exit or simply want to motivate employees to drive profit, a business valuation is a key tool that will help you implement a strategic plan to meet short- and long-term goals. Simply put, a valuation is an independent appraisal of what a business is worth in the marketplace. Though a valuation ultimately gives you a number — a worth for your business — the process of reaching this value is more art than science. There is no single value for any business. It depends on the acquiring party, circumstances in the market and the dynamics…
Tuesday, 25 September 2007 20:00

Loud and clear

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Bob Irwin will tell you the path to becoming a $2 billion company is paved with good communication. In just two years, Sterling Commerce Inc. has grown from more than $460 million in annual revenue in 2004 to $650 million projected for 2007, and there are no plans to slow down. Tripling those numbers will require a clear and simple plan and great communication, but fortunately, that is Irwin’s specialty as president and CEO, as well as his top priority. The AT&T subsidiary is surging forward, tasked with helping 80 percent of the Fortune 500 thrive in a global economy…
Sunday, 26 August 2007 20:00

Private equity recapitalization

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A few years ago, private equity recapitalization was a small percentage of the way owners exited their businesses,but today, its popularity is growing fast. “Sixty to 70 percent of what we do now involves private equity firms,” says Joel J. Guth, an advisor in the Citigroup Family Office at Smith Barney. “It is a very attractive option. You can continue to work for a few more years but also secure your financial future by taking a good amount of money out of the business today.” Smart Business asked Guth questions about the best way for an owner to exit his…
Sunday, 26 August 2007 20:00

The Glimcher file

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Born: Columbus Education: Arizona State University, bachelor of arts degree, political science What is the biggest business challenge you have faced? Our industry is constantly changing. We’re retail landlords, and real estate is always changing. For us, the challenge is really watching the trends and staying ahead of them. We have several thousands of retail tenants within our portfolio. Understanding which new concept is coming out and trying to be on the front end of the growth curve is important. What is the most important business lesson you have learned? Nothing stands still — we live on the notion that…
Thursday, 26 July 2007 20:00

Absolute audacity

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As sole owner of EXCEL Management Systems Inc., Curtis Jewell couldn’t be happier. “I’ve been married three times, and having a business partner is like being married,” he says. “I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life, and I’m very comfortable managing what I decide to take on. I don’t need partners for money because I believe in a light debt as opposed to investors.” Jewell also serves as president and CEO of his Columbus-based company, which provides systems engineering and management services to federal, state and local government agencies, as well as commercial clients. The company reported $13.5 million in…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Richard Cottingham

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Richard Cottingham sees no reason to micromanage his employees. Instead, the president of the $39.8 million Cottingham Paper prefers to spell out his company’s goals and let his 81 employees do their jobs. When you hire employees with independent spirits and the attitude and work ethic to be good decision-makers, you don’t need to be a micromanager, says the leader of the disposable, industrial and chemical products company. Smart Business spoke with Cottingham about how he successfully manages his company. Perform assessments. Over the years, we’ve tested (potential employees). You can have them take (an assessment test) on a computer…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Healthy, wealthy and wise

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Most people get a physical checkup at least once a year. Such things as blood pressure and heart rate tell a lot about one’s health and the direction it is going. Why not do the same with your business’s financial health as well? Sue Zazon, president and CEO of FirstMerit Bank in Columbus, says the idea of a fiscal — rather than physical — checkup is not a new one. However, it is typically overlooked in the rush-rush to meet other deadlines. “Many business owners get regular medical or dental checkups,” Zazon says. “Yet, when it comes to evaluating their…
Saturday, 26 May 2007 20:00

Fear factor

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The need for dramatic change was evident the moment Tom Hoaglin walked into the room. An enormous stain on the carpet greeted the new chairman, president and CEO of Huntington Bancshares Inc. the first time he visited the executive office in the bank’s downtown Cleveland branch. “It was a very prominent stain,” says Hoaglin, who was traveling to several branches outside his Columbus-based headquarters shortly after being named CEO in February 2001. “It would have been in view for any customers who were coming in. So I said, ‘What are we doing about the carpet?’ The answer was, ‘We can’t…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 20:00

After retirement, what’s next?

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After dedicating years to growing and nurturing your business — more than half of your lifetime, in many cases — how do you step away from the 24/7 role of chief executive officer and back into just being “you”? Many business owners struggle to reclaim their identities after retirement. “There is a very odd feeling when you wake up in the morning and you do not have anywhere to go for the first time,” says Joel Guth, an advisor with Citigroup Global Markets Inc.’s Family Office in Columbus. “When you think about why you created the business and accumulated wealth,…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 20:00

Hot jobs

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Which accounting and finance professionals will have the most promising career prospects in 2007? Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance, identified five jobs positioned for growth this year. The information is based on research from the company’s 2007 Salary Guide, actual candidate placements and discussions with hiring managers throughout the United States. “Today’s marketplace lends itself to many opportunities for experienced accounting and finance professionals,” says Andrea Dunn, division director for the Columbus office of Robert Half Finance and Accounting. “Those that get the best compensation tend to be professionals…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 20:00

The Mitchell file

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Birthplace: Columbus Education: Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y. First job: Washing dishes at a local steakhouse Greatest business challenge: It’s two things, really. It’s always been undercapitalization. This is a very capital-intensive business, and we chew through capital like crazy trying to build the business. The second is this is such a people business that having the right talent on board is always one of the challenges. We have 28 restaurants, and if I had 28 great chefs and 28 great general managers, I’d have no problems. Not that I’m not surrounded by great people, but ultimately, some…
Monday, 26 March 2007 20:00

What’s the plan?

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You have probably been setting and reaching business goals for some time, marking your progress by market share, sales or percentage growth. Regardless of your stage in business, you set targets for performance and reaching them assures your success. But what about setting goals with the business? How will you exit the business five to seven years from now? Your immediate goals for your business should align with these plans for the future. “If you want to pass the business to family or key management, do they have the skills or will you need to train them?” asks Joel Guth,…
Monday, 26 March 2007 20:00

Your best investment

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Promotions give employees the opportunity to be leaders, but they don’t make them into leaders.   “Someone can be given a leader’s title, but effective leadership is much more than a title or a position,” says Dr. Paul Otte, executive director of the Franklin University Leadership Center and president of Franklin University. “It’s an ongoing process that requires leadership development.” Effective leadership at all levels is incredibly valuable because it maximizes the potential of every person in the organization. Just like financial analysts make great efforts to increase the return on monetary assets, skilled leaders work diligently to leverage the…