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Monday, 22 July 2002 09:49

Finding direction

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Three years into the landscape architecture business he started in 1993, Gary Schmidt was frustrated. Administrative work — which he hated — increased as he added employees. He grew disenchanted with his business. The Ohio State and Harvard grad even turned down work and considered selling his firm, Schmidt Land Design. Then he stopped to take another look. What he discovered was a way to see the entire picture of his life and the way all aspects mesh together. By clarifying his life’s goals, he was able to make critical decisions about the direction of his business. “I’m not afraid…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:48

Who to watch

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Harley E. Rouda Sr., founder of HER Inc., Realtors, calls his longtime family friend Patrick Grabill a “lousy fisherman.” Grabill, president and CEO of King Thompson, Realtors, is quick to return the jab: “It’s pretty hard to have a contest in fishing,” he points out. “The fish like me better than him.” Fish tales aside, the friendship between competitors is just one example of Grabill’s skill in the relationship business. “Both of us have gone fishing together for years, and we have a ball, knowing full well the next day both of us will go out and beat each others’…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:48

Sorry, we don’t have that

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I recently received a letter from my 13-year-old nephew in New Jersey. He was asking for help with a class project. What I got, in the course of helping him, was an unexpected lesson in customer service. Everyone in his English class was writing to someone in a different state, requesting information about the climate, history and attractions, as well as a small, inexpensive item depicting something special about the state. Of course my husband and I were more than willing to share all we knew about the Buckeye State. My husband quickly typed up some state trivia, while I…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:48

May he laugh last

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Curt Caffey is trying to keep a sense of humor, but his situation is getting frustrating. Caffey, president of Capital-Plus Inc., wanted to open a multicultural, upscale, “clean” entertainment comedy club in the city, originally by April 1 of this year. Building renovations first caused delays, but now he’s had to stop the process to work on replacing an investor who dropped out recently. Once he has new money on board, the project, The Last Laff World of Comedy, still will be at least three months away from completion. Caffey wants the club to add to the nightlife of the…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:48

It’s no accident

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Less than two years ago, a worker injury at Cheryl&Co. meant a trip to a hospital emergency room. The trip resulted in a long wait for the employee’s treatment and return to work. The treatment was high cost, and often Cheryl&Co. and the employee were not able to track the status of necessary follow-up care. Now, the picture’s changed. Thanks to a new approach aimed at preventing injuries and more closely managing those that occur, the Westerville gourmet foods and gifts company has, in one year alone, reduced its accidents by more than half, says Tim Horn, vice president of…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:47

Wary of the bandwagon

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The number of small businesses with a Web presence has nearly doubled since 1998, and millions more are projected to come online next year, according to a nationwide survey of small businesses [fewer than 100 employees] released late last year by Prodigy Biz Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Prodigy Communications. According to the research, approximately one-third of small businesses has a Web presence — vs. 19 percent a year ago, reported by International Data Corp. The study, conducted by International Communications Research, was commissioned by Prodigy Biz, a small business Web hosting company. The results provide new data on the…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:46

Newsclips

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Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates Inc. has formed a strategic alliance with PharmedicaResearch Inc. of Lexington, Ky. “The alliance with PharmedicaResearch broadens our scope of services to our clients, giving them a great reason to bring GSW in earlier in the drug or device marketing continuum,” said R. Blane Walter, GSW’s president and COO. Shadowbox Cabaret has signed a five-year lease on a Short North facility, 790 N. High St., that will be home to the arm of Shadowbox called 2Co’s Cabaret. This branch will feature dramatic works, acoustic music, gallery exhibits, dance and poetry. The opening is expected Feb. 3.…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:46

Lending assistance

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Ohio’s lenders are getting ready to decide if there really is strength in numbers. If they agree, they could set up an economic development lenders network to share ideas and resources — with the potential to provide more capital to businesses. The idea was broached by Andrea Levere, vice president of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, at the Ohio Economic Development Financing Conference last fall. The Corporation for Enterprise Development, a private, nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., has been active in economic development for 20 years providing policy, consulting and research service. “In my view, Ohio has always been a…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:46

Catch ’em while they’re surfing

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Sending a serious signal to online businesses and countering conventional wisdom, 25 percent of experienced Internet users said that banner advertising drove them to shop online, according to a nationwide survey of nearly 1,500 experienced Internet users by Andersen Consulting. The response to banner ads beat out newspapers or magazines ads [14 percent], television commercials [11 percent], radio spots [4 percent] and billboards [4 percent], Andersen Consulting reported. While most Web site banner ads are price-oriented, less than half of experienced Web users cite price as the primary factor driving their Web purchases, according to the survey. Instead, consumers rank…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

Linda Hondros

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Linda Hondros makes things happen. That’s the analysis Paul Otte, president of Franklin University, gives of the president of Hondros College. “I was always taught there are three different kinds of people in the world: people who can make it happen, people who can’t make it happen but can stop it from happening, and people who can do neither one — they’re nonplayers,” he says. “Linda’s in the first group. She is one of those people you can sit with and agree to something and know it will be accomplished.” Hondros is also a committed mother, Otte says, something that…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

Power to the people

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Twice a year since November 1998, Sam Grooms has been attending a meeting with more than 20 of his valued customers — but he hardly says a word. It’s not because the president of Hy-Tek Material Handling Inc. is shy or preoccupied. It’s because the Customer Advisory Board is the creation of General Manager Jim Ripkey, and that means it’s not Grooms’ place to butt in — even if he is the president. “He gives me two minutes to go up and do my thing,” Grooms says. “It’s his program. He runs it.” The concept is typical for Grooms, who…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

Making your work force smarter

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Roughly 91,000 individuals in Greater Columbus are considered illiterate by the national definition, according to the most recent statistics available from the national census report. That means they can fill out a bank deposit slip and read basic signs, but they are unable to read a bus schedule well enough to determine where they want to go and how to get there. Perhaps more startling, another 36,000 Columbusites cannot read or write at all. Some of them may be working for you. “Being unable to read is not a recognizable sign. You can’t see it on someone,” says Gina Ficociello,…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

Let your voice be heard

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Dee Aufuldish, executive director of the Wickliffe Area Chamber of Commerce in Lake County, thought she knew the concerns of business owners in her area: work force development, transportation and daycare, for example. Through the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, however, she gained a tool to help validate her thoughts and begin assisting business owners to take action on those issues. GROW, or GrassRoots Ohio Works, is a cooperative effort of the Ohio and local chambers to seek out business owners who have the desire, but not the time or resources, to make their voices heard on legislative and regulatory issues.…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

If they want to leave, let them

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Noncompete agreements don’t appeal to Mike Moran. They never have. And despite being in the highly competitive computer consulting business, Moran, president of Affiliated Resource Group, has found his dislike for such legal restrictions to be a competitive advantage in recruiting top-notch technical workers. That, in turn, has helped him boost sales at his Dublin-based company from $400,000 to $5 million in six years. Moran credits national consultant, speaker and author John Haskell with helping to show him the hidden value in not using noncompetes. According to Moran, Affiliated has always had low employee turnover, but in 1997, the company…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

That’s news to me

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Kent Oliver, founder, president and creative director of Oliver Advertising, and Paul Carringer, a producer of video, audio and live events for retail, direct-to-consumer, business-to-business and charitable organizations, have merged their businesses to form a new partnership, OC Advertising, a full-service marketing communications company serving clients nationwide. The Ohio Housing Finance Agency Board has approved a loan for Hotel St. Clair for a $1.3 million compensating balance loan, a $1.3 million equity bridge loan and a $73,600 seed money loan to renovate the historic St. Clair Hospital and two buildings in Columbus. Grove City-based Byrum Lithographing Co. has completed the…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Letters to the editor

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Local is still better I found your thoughts on not taxing Internet business interesting [“Get over it,” SBN, February 2000]. I believe you are right when you say the prospect of saving 5.75 percent on a purchase will not, by itself, drive consumers to the Internet en masse. I am considering purchasing a Hewlett-Packard 4500 color printer. MicroCenter sells it for $2,495 and the tax on that would be $143. I have a source on the Web who will also sell it to me for $2,495 and there would be no tax, but there would be shipping and handling. All…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Follow the leaders

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Leadership philosophies can be found just about anywhere — even in the children’s book, “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel.” Just ask students in the organizational leadership major at Franklin University. At the request of program chair and Franklin President Dr. Paul J. Otte, students Steve Gammill, a Columbus police commander; John Schmitt, Air National Guard logistics training instructor; Brett Holtegel, vice president of Gahanna construction company Mark-L Inc.; and Marcy Depew, full-time student and part-time Franklin employee, familiarized classmates with leadership principles and processes and then assigned Virginia Lee Burton’s 1939 book as required reading. Leadership qualities unearthed in…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Are you ready?

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Sooner or later, it happens. You’re sailing along with everything under control, business is booming, and your major concern is how to keep existing customers happy while you respond to all of the new business. Then, it happens. Your company suddenly faces a crisis. A crisis can hit any organization, from the largest multinational corporation to the smallest of companies. The objective is always the same: Quickly contain a negative situation and keep it from turning into a full-fledged public relations disaster. Consider these three phases of response in crisis communications: the initial response, ongoing communications and follow-up activities. The…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Worth another look

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Imagine a city where the mayor manages to save taxpayer dollars — hundreds of millions of them — and creates a boon for private business. That city exists. It’s called Indianapolis. And as much as I hate making comparisons between Columbus and that Indy car mecca to our west, we do share many demographic similarities — and they’re lapping us for at least the ninth time now on government efficiency. Their secret? Privatization. When Mayor Lashutka was in office here, he “studied” privatization of some city services and decided it just wasn’t right for Columbus. His reasoning: Citizen satisfaction might…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

When petting at work is OK

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Sandy Fekete doesn’t worry when pressure builds at her marketing communications firm, Fekete + Co. She has a CEO — chief emotional officer, that is — to ease the tension. “She has a very calming influence,” explains Fekete, speaking of her 3-year-old golden retriever, Colby, who accompanies her to her offices in the Busch Corporate Center each day. “She knows when stress levels are high, and she’ll just come and put her chin on your leg, even in the middle of a meeting.” Having a pet around the office, while perhaps a bit nontraditional, helps Fekete in other ways, too.…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Taking the leap

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Two years ago, Melody K. Borchers was 14 years into a career with the Ohio Department of Development, where she’d worked her way up to associate director of the Small Business Development Center. Then came an awakening: Wasn’t there something else she could be doing? Something she’d enjoy more? A self-proclaimed golf nut, Borchers began to look for a way to follow her passion — and make money at it. After more than a year of research, she quit her job to start her own company, My Turf, a golf training and promotional company. Leigh McGuigan’s turnaround wasn’t so rooted…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Learning curve

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COSI may be teaching its visitors, but even businesses involved in the new building’s construction learned a thing or two. Take, for example, Reitter Stucco & Supply Co. Inc., contracted to help construct the Learning World Progress exhibit in the new museum. In the exhibit, which spans approximately 10,000 square feet, visitors stroll down a replica of an 1898 city street complete with 14 building facades. Passing through a “time tunnel,” they then view the same street with the same buildings updated to the styles and trends of 1962. “When we were first approached in late 1998, we were hesitant…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Don’t get robbed

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Fraud and theft at a business often involves someone with cash disbursement responsibilities. The risk of embezzlement is high if you allow one person to be responsible for placing an order with a vendor, authorizing a purchase order and check requisition, and writing and signing the check. Segregating duties, establishing a system of checks and balances, and properly implementing policies and procedures can alleviate risk. Evaluate existing controls The first step is to evaluate existing controls. It is usually more effective to do this by separating accounting functions into individual cycles. By focusing on one specific activity, such as disbursements,…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Women in Business Advocate of the Year

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The value of promoting local business owners is not lost on Karen McVey, the Columbus district and state Small Business Administration’s Women in Business Advocate of the Year. Every day, in fact, she works to help women find resources for life or career transitions through WINGS, Women in New Growth Stages, which she founded in 1995 with her husband, Michael McVey, as a project of their nonprofit organization, New Paths Unlimited. In earlier years, when she was an account executive and special projects coordinator at Cheryl&Co., she often heard women speak of how they looked up to company founder Cheryl…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

To the extreme

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Coming 4,000 feet short of reaching the earth’s highest point does not mean failure to Don M. Casto III. Climbing 25,000 feet to the South Col marks his Mount Everest adventure as a success, even though he didn’t reach the much-sought-after summit. For Casto and other businessmen who are extreme sports enthusiasts, the process is the experience, a mindset that is reflected in their business life, as well. It is their personalities that make them want to achieve more. “These are men who are very successful, who seek a challenge in their workday world,” says Roger Hall, Ph.D., a psychologist…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Small Business Person of the Year

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Three months after starting her business, Ohio Full Court Press President Paula Inniss sat quietly in her downtown warehouse. She had just sent her production employee home for the day. She had never expected instant success in her first venture as an entrepreneur, but business was disappointingly slow. Then, drawing upon her family history, she gave herself a pep talk: “You can give up now, 90 days into it, or you can do what you’ve always seen your family do and you can pick up your briefcase and do what you do best, and that’s market it.” Five years later,…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Letters to the editor

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A true value Nationwide does deserve kudos for extending benefits to its employees’ extended families, including domestic partners [“It’s reality, folks,” SBN, March 2000], as do the almost 3,000 other businesses and organizations in the United States that have already done so. It is good to see businesses in our area starting to recognize the value of treating and compensating all employees fairly and equally no matter what kind of family they have. You mentioned in your editorial that enrollment in these benefits tends to be low (generally less than 1 percent of the group), but I also wanted to…