Archive Search

Advanced Search

Search results
Sunday, 26 August 2007 20:00

The benefits of a temporary employee

Written by
As recently as 12 months ago, it was not difficult for companies to find employees willing to work on a temporary basis. At the time, it did not matter what the salary was or how long the assignment would last. Temporary job opportunities were limited, and there was little risk that the temporary would leave for a full-time job. With a thriving job market, things have changed and temporary employees now have multiple temporary job opportunities from which to choose. Consequently, recruiting firms and companies that rely on supplemental work forces are having to educate themselves on how they can…
Sunday, 26 August 2007 20:00

Technology-based entrepreneurship

Written by
Any individual or business looking for a way to access the research and technological resources of The University of Texas at Dallas need not look further than the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas. “We’re a business-friendly university. The Institute serves as a gateway for accessing the products, research and technology developed here,” says Joseph C. Picken, Ph.D., executive director of the institute. “We strive to provide real opportunities to turn ideas into products and businesses that add value,” says David Deeds, Ph.D., the institute’s academic director. Smart Business asked Picken and Deeds for their input on the…
Sunday, 26 August 2007 20:00

In case of emergency ...

Written by
Most businesses at one time or another need to manage cash flow issues, which may include finding ways to survive a shortfall in cash. Even something as simple as a late payment from a major customer could cause problems. “Savvy business owners need to prepare today by arranging for a line of credit with their financial institution or bank,” says Yvonne Stewart, assistant vice president and senior business relationship manager with ViewPoint Bank in Plano. “Business owners need to assume that someday they will need to bridge the gap in their cash flow. If they wait until there are problems…
Thursday, 26 July 2007 20:00

Open architecture

Written by
Peter Beck was intimately familiar with the company his grandfather founded when he took the helm in 1991. The Beck Group, a general contracting firm, had a strong reputation and had done great work to build the team concept of working well with clients. But it had problems — some big ones. Beck, who had worked at the company since 1978, knew the company needed to change, and fast. “There were years when we lost money,” says Beck, managing director and CEO. So Beck gathered up the company’s 15 senior leaders for a retreat, getting as far away from the…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Sue Trizila

Written by
Sue Trizila has a sign in her office that reads, “The real leader has no need to lead. She is content to point the way.” This guides her daily as she empowers her team to achieve together, and she can’t even remember doing anything solely on her own in recent years. As president and CEO of Wyndham Jade LLC, a corporate travel and event company, her style has helped propel the company to $150 million in sales last year. Smart Business spoke with her about how she’s always right — unless her employees convince her otherwise. Plant real people in…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Hedge your bets

Written by
The adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try again” could be the motto for companies involved in patent proceedings. In legal terms, the process is known as re-examination. “It can be a valuable tool and legal strategy,” says Daniel E. Venglarik, a patent attorney for the Munck Butrus PC’s Intellectual Property Section. “As a bonus, re-examination is less costly than typical legal proceedings.” Smart Business asked Venglarik to explain when re-examination is suitable as part of a patent litigation strategy. What is patent re-examination? Companies sued for patent infringement use re-examination either to slash the costs of defending against…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Your banker as a partner

Written by
Bankers are no longer those faceless people potential business owners go to see when they need capital to start their business. And the bank is no longer the place potential business owners went to in the past wearing a suit and with a business plan in hand, ready to beg for money. In today’s business world, a bank needs to be more than just a place people go to when they need money. It needs to offer business owners its regular services as well as be a partner with those business owners as they help to make their businesses a…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

The Darling file

Written by
Born: Tucson, Ariz., 1952 Education: Bachelor of science degree, business, University of Arizona, 1974 What was your first job, and what did it teach you? Sports promotion in the soccer industry. It taught me how important sales, marketing and promotion are to business. What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned? You have to be well capitalized. So many people starting out in business think you can run it on a shoestring budget, and there is always something that happens you can’t anticipate. I have a saying around the office that stuff happens, and you have to be well…
Saturday, 26 May 2007 20:00

Surviving desperate times

Written by
Rob Carringer can recite the vision statement of just about any company without ever being in its office to see what’s hanging on the lobby wall. “I want to have a quality product, at a low price, at the service levels my customer expects, blah, blah, blah,” he says. As managing partner of the Corporate Revitalization Partners LLC, a business turnaround consulting company with 52 employees, he often asks clients what visions mean to employees. He says that using both written and oral communication to explain specific goals tied to the vision is critical to success. Smart Business spoke with…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 20:00

Winning the war on talent

Written by
With average employment tenure less than four years, contemporary wisdom suggests that companies cannot succeed in today’s business environment if they do not improve and create new programs to attract and retain employees. Companies that have experienced extensive turnover costs are starting to bend over backwards. Receiving a paycheck each period is not enough to bond today’s employees to a company. So finding the creativity to connect employees with their companies for long-term relationships is vital in today’s work force management. Smart Business spoke with the vice president of Delta Dallas Staffing, Kim Follis, to gain some insights into how…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 20:00

Global strategy

Written by
What do CEOs need to do strategically as their customers become more global? “Adapt or find new customers,” says Mike W. Peng, Ph.D., Provost’s Distinguished Professor of Global Strategy and executive director of the Center for Global Business, School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas. “It depends on the bargaining power of your customer and your firm,” adds Peng, author of the market-leading textbook, “Global Strategy.” “If the customer says follow us to China or lose our business, you may feel compelled to chase them. It’s somewhat like playing chess. For instance, Wal-Mart is a major customer of P&G.…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 20:00

Closing air gaps

Written by
The last thing any company wants or needs is a technology train wreck — a disastrous failure of its information processing systems. After all, a company’s success is based to a great extent on how efficiently and how rapidly it can process and disseminate information. Fortunately, companies can avoid technology train wrecks if they work with the proper mix of internal and external business and information technology (IT) specialists to design, install, implement, enhance and maintain state-of-the-art systems that are within their budgets and on schedule. Companies should recognize that it is communications, issues handling and conflict resolution that dictate…
Monday, 26 March 2007 20:00

A difficult find

Written by
Old sayings such as “An army marches on its stomach” and “Behind every good man (or woman) there stands a good woman (or man)” suggest that no one can succeed without a good support system. That same idea applies to the relationship between staff-level executive assistants and the executives with whom they work. Identifying and hiring the best qualified staff-level executive assistant is not something that most employers should do on their own. Rather, the process should be facilitated by an executive search firm, preferably one that specializes in hiring candidates who best meet the specified criteria. Smart Business spoke…
Monday, 26 March 2007 20:00

Corporate ethics

Written by
If written properly, corporate ethics codes demand business-related decisions that are socially acceptable, reasonable, morally responsible and beneficial to the corporation in the long run. Unfortunately, history shows that not every company possesses strong ethical standards. “Ethical problems have always been around,” says Amy Troutman, assistant director of the Accounting and Information Management programs at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). “Before the recent high-profile scandals, it wasn’t something that was focused on. But everybody today has a heightened sense of awareness regarding corporate ethics.” Charles Solcher, graduate tax director of UTD’s Accounting and Information Management programs, agrees. “In…
Monday, 26 March 2007 20:00

Tax as a management tool

Written by
Organizations often view taxes as a necessary evil. And, indeed, business taxes are considered unwieldy, complex — even frightening. As a result, they are often relegated to the corporate tax department. However, when a business decision is made — invariably a tax decision has also been made — albeit unwittingly at times, says Jamie B. Fowler, partner and Tax Practice leader for the Dallas office of Grant Thornton LLP accounting firm. “An organization’s true tax burden is embedded in operations and throughout the company’s supply chain,” says Fowler. Smart Business spoke with Fowler about how tax planning can and should…
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 19:00

Exhibiting growth

Written by
Don Freeman’s company started to feel the effectsof an economic downturn back in 2000, and theevents of Sept. 11, 2001, only exacerbated theproblem.Freeman, CEO of Dallas-based Freeman, had to re-evaluate everything the company did. Its bread-and-butter in2001 was producing trade shows and creating exhibits forfirms renting booth space at events, but the terroristattacks forced the company to re-examine everything.Revenue dropped between 7 and 8 percent the next year,and there were no signs the market would recover anytime soon.“It really got our attention,” Freeman says. “We had toget serious about our budget costs and keeping costsdown.”Freeman knew the company needed to…
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 19:00

Technology’s role in M&A success

Written by
Corporate mergers and acquisitions occurred at a frantic pace in 2006. In a report issued Nov. 6, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas stated that deals for the year had totaled 9,461 and were valued at $967 billion. Though final figures were not available at presstime, the number of mergers and acquisitions in 2006 almost surely surpassed the 2005 year-end total of 10,309 deals valued at $1 trillion. M&A activity has been fueled by a large influx of private equity, and many mergers are undertaken for larger profits through increased operating efficiencies or the addition of complementary product or service…
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 19:00

Looking for Clara Bow

Written by
Afilm actress in the 1920s named Clara Bow was known as the “It Girl.” Audiences loved her. She had many qualities, but the ones that made her most captivating were simply indefinable. She was charismatic and a thorough professional, but more precisely she had “It.” Executive search consultants find themselves constantly in pursuit of “It” when executing projects for their clients. As important as finding “It” is in the search process, though, it is not easy to identify. Montana had “It” on the football field. Patton had “It” on the battlefield. John Wayne had “It” on the big screen. Warren…
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 19:00

Time + technology = success

Written by
Millennia ago, as the last of three ancient oceans drained from what is now North Texas, layer upon layer of carbonaceous sediment lingered. At some point equally unrecorded, that sediment began to seethe inside a massive geologic pressure-cooker. Fast-forward to the 1950s when George Mitchell of Mitchell Energy began to uncover and unlock the energy potential in the layers beneath North Texas — an unconventional natural gas hotbed known as the Barnett Shale. Barnett winds beneath 17 counties in the Fort Worth basin. By 2005, it was America’s second-largest land-based oil and gas field, producing more than 492 billion cubic…
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 19:00

Profitability from within

Written by
There is much to consider when presented with the challenge to increase company profits. Many financial tools are available to help break down the numbers, and that’s a good place to start. It’s natural to inspect the budget in search of costs that, when reduced or eliminated, drop directly to the bottom line. But a number of key strategies for profitability might be hiding in plain sight within a company’s available resources — resources that are not tracked on the typical financial statement. “A budget is a basic financial tool, but it doesn’t allow for nonfinancial assets or resources,” says…
Sunday, 31 December 2006 19:00

SOX and nonaccelerated filers

Written by
This is the first year in which nonaccelerated filers (companies with market caps below $75 million) will need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) legislation, specifically Section 404. An added weight is that implementation costs are disproportionately larger for smaller companies, according to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). “Some accelerated filers thought they would handle this thing easier than they did,” says John Gutierrez, a founding principal of Avvantica Consulting LLC in Dallas and the company’s SOX Practice leader. “They thought they had good controls for financial reporting already in place. The thing that is new about SOX is that…
Sunday, 31 December 2006 19:00

Closing the deal

Written by
Identifying and recruiting a top-tier executive for your management team can be problematic and, at times, exhaustive. As with most arduous endeavors, project success makes even the most painful process worthwhile. Closure is the key, however, and the final step of the search process is fraught with pitfalls and hazards. All the efforts of both the search executive and client to recruit the successful candidate hinge on closing the deal with an appropriate offer delivered in the most professional, efficient and effective manner. Smart Business spoke with Craig C. Neidhart, a partner with TNS Partners Inc., to gain an understanding…
Sunday, 31 December 2006 19:00

Energy stocks

Written by
By 2030, worldwide energy sectors will require $16 trillion to maintain the current trend of energy usage, according to a recent World Energy Outlook report. The oil and gas industry will make up about 20 percent of that total, creating huge investment opportunities. The oil and gas sector relies heavily on emerging technology. This technology has improved the prospects on wells drilled, helping to reduce costs and maximize production. When you add into the mix the available federal tax incentives on oil and gas investing, savvy investors can reduce risks and find good buying opportunities. “To maintain its growth, a…
Sunday, 31 December 2006 19:00

Fraud in the business world

Written by
The savings-and-loan industry is closely monitoring news about how a loan officer for a national bank in Cleveland allegedly stole $29 million during the past decade. Despite comprehensive internal and external controls, companies continue to suffer substantial losses from a multitude of fraudulent schemes. Edwin Sutherland coined the term “white-collar crime” in 1939. White-collar crime, he said, was a “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” Since that time, technology, extreme financial pressures and opportunity have combined to entice once-respected employees into financial scandals. Smart Business recently spoke with Felix…
Sunday, 30 April 2006 20:00

The case for SOX compliance technology

Written by
December 2005 marked the second anniversary that accelerated filers with a Dec. 31 fiscal year-end were required to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX Act or SOX). The act was passed to help ensure that the “creative accounting” practices that led to the sensational financial collapses of Enron, WorldCom and other large companies could never be repeated.“The SEC filing deadline for companies with a Dec. 31 year-end has just come to pass,” says Blake Sellers, president and CEO of Avvantica Consulting, LLC in Dallas. “As a result, information will soon be available to begin to assess the actual…
Friday, 24 November 2006 19:00

Optimizing the value of IT

Written by
Make no mistake: many business units are less than satisfied with the value produced from their Information Technology departments. The solution? Better alignment of IT assets with business objectives. “That’s something that most business executives want to believe their company is doing,” says Richard Mitschke, a project manager with Avvantica Consulting LLC. “In reality, many organizations simply do not have the right structures and/or strategies in place to optimize IT value.” Project portfolio management (PPM) can improve the business value delivered by IT, Mitschke claims. “A strong PPM approach will help align your IT portfolio such that it supports your…
Friday, 24 November 2006 19:00

Evaluating background checks

Written by
Businesses often retain executive search firms to identify candidates to fill leadership positions. Once the search firm presents its top candidates, it becomes the client’s responsibility to assess their credentials. The final evaluation of candidates often raises some questions as clients analyze and weigh each individual’s qualifications and assess how well they match the organization’s needs. For example, they must consider how much emphasis to place on a candidate’s ethics, how much faith to put into references, whether to overlook some desired qualifications, or what might be “deal-breakers.” Clients appreciate the value of a well executed “due diligence” and reference…