SBN Staff

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:36

Web Watch

www.entreworld.org

This site is full of information for entrepreneurs, with feature articles, links to other sites and a free e-mail newsletter. The Biz Info Center helps you find people and businesses, office equipment, aids with making travel plans and offers tips on locating top-notch employees.

www.att.com/telework

This is AT&T's online guide to telecommuting. It includes an introduction to telecommuting and sections for companies, managers and employees. The section for companies has sample teleworker agreements and a description of how to put together a pilot program.

The site has a library of articles about telecommuting that cover topics from how to design the home office to types of Internet connections. It also offers examples of how AT&T telecommuting projects work and a calculator to figure out how much air pollution can be eliminated by telecommuting.

www.claritas.com

Claritas is a provider of marketing information and solutions to companies in the media, telecommunications, retail, financial services, restaurant and automotive industries. While most of the information is geared toward selling Claritas services, the site also includes a feature that allows the user to analyze individual ZIP codes for demographic characteristics.

Built with 1990 U.S. Census data, current-year demographics and data from millions of consumer purchase records, the PRIZM ZIP Code Look-up Program contains 62 clusters across 15 social groups -- from the affluent executives of "Blue Blood Estates" to the remote rural families of "Blue Highways." Each query reveals the top five groups within a ZIP code.

www.dismal.com

Despite its name, www.dismal.com is an engaging site that provides a wide variety of economic information and insight. It includes articles that cite slowing recreational vehicle sales as a harbinger of a slowing of the economy and articles that warn political leaders of the need to counter antitrade tendencies.

It offers a bevy of calculators that measure everything from capital equipment costs to future inflation. Get GDPs for the major economies or detailed economic information for individual states and metropolitan statistical areas. You'll also find a glossary of economic terms and up-to-date key economic indicators, such as consumer confidence, employment cost index and factory orders.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:36

International trade's

China and the other Pacific Rim countries receive a lot of attention as markets ripe for U.S. companies' products, services and technology, but you may want to consider another region that offers excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs in the States. And it's a lot closer to home.

That's why the World Trade Center Pittsburgh is sponsoring a trade mission to Argentina, Brazil and Chile from Nov. 26 to Dec. 6.

Latin America has the highest Internet growth, according to Jupiter Communications, with deregulation of state-owned operations creating numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs. The number of Internet users is expected to grow about fourfold by 2003.

The electric industry also offers considerable opportunities, with demand for energy driving the demand for upgrades in generation, transmission and distribution facilities. Other hot markets are medical and environmental products and services.

The participation fee is $1,500 for the three countries.

If that's not enough to get your attention, while it will be fall and winter in Pittsburgh, it will be late spring and early summer there. How to Reach: World Trade Center Pittsburgh, www.wtcpa.org or (412) 227-3189

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:36

A mall on the fly

Stuck in Pittsburgh International at 3 a.m. with nothing to read? No problem.

Airport Airmall retailer WHSmith has just the ticket: a book vending machine.

Book.machine, a bank of vending machines on the outside of the WHSmith store, dispenses bestsellers like candy bars. The store offers touch screens inside as well that provide business and travel information, travel reservations, maps and directional information, and e-mail access.

Not to be outdone, Staples has opened its fourth location in the airport, offering traditional retail, a kiosk linked to Staples.com and direct phone lines. The hot items are hand-held organizers, built-to-order computers and precharged phone replacement batteries.

Not nearly as high-tech but offering products that can be just as high-priority, the Bath and Body Works has opened in the center core of the AirMall to offer travelers last-minute access to soaps and lotions in travel or full-size packages.

Ray Marano

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:35

Pay-per-use

If you don't think that classic car you've had your eye on for years can be a legitimate business expense, Ronald Wesley is out to prove you wrong.

Wesley, who owns Select Leasing in Hudson, just arranged a lease for a local business owner who had been searching for the perfect 1967 Corvette. After Wesley located the car, he leased it to the business owner, who now writes the car off as a business marketing expense.

The catch? He drives it for business purposes, and included a picture of it on his business card to help promote his company as a "classic business."

Wesley says the leases he arranges are designed so that the lessee can write off up to 100 percent of the use of the auto. He says that 80 percent of his customers are business owners who are looking for cars for themselves and fleets for their companies.

For companies, leasing makes more sense than purchasing, he says. For one, there's no recordkeeping for the IRS: If you use the car 80 percent of the time for business, you can write off 80 percent of your monthly payment.

He says that's why larger companies like Kinkos and IBM, for instance, lease their fleets. Wesley should know: He's not only a car enthusiast, he's also an accountant.

"You don't have to prove depreciation, as with a purchase," he says. "You have an instrument that shows exactly what your depreciation is. And you don't have to monitor fleet usage."

In addition, you don't have to tie up capital on the front end, because you're paying as you go, only for what you use. With the average cost of a new car today at $21,000, companies that need fleets of 20 or 40 cars can be looking at a huge up-front expense.

Wesley says that 79 percent of all cars costing more than $28,000 are leased. This year, Mercedes-Benz is leasing 88 percent of its cars; Cadillac is leasing 96 percent.

But even with the growing popularity of leasing, Wesley cautions against getting trapped into a vehicle you really can't afford.

"Everybody's using it as a catch-all, low payments to get people in. But that's not what it's all about," he says.

He advises that before you negotiate a lease, you should know how much you'll be driving and the amount of wear and tear you normally put on your vehicles. He says the ideal lease arrangement has no down payment and no end-of-lease charges, so the lessee is literally paying month by month for exactly what he or she is using.

But if you find you can't afford the payments on your dream car, there's still hope, he says. Try looking into a lease on a used vehicle. Wesley says he recently arranged leases on several year-old Cadillacs for one company, at about $250 less than the monthly cost of leasing a new Cadillac.

That's because most cars depreciate about 25 percent in the first year, and another 15 percent in the second, he says.

"Some cars, after two or three years, almost don't depreciate," he adds.

"As an independent leasing company, my interest is in assuring that my customers are driving the car they want or need at a price they can afford with the service they deserve," he says. "Obviously, a satisfied customer continues to lease and is the single greatest source of new business.

"Customer referrals account for nearly 75 percent of all of our business." How to reach: Select Leasing (330) 650-9900

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:35

Business Notes

Canton-based Innis Maggiore Group has acquired HUB Communications, an agency in Uniontown. HUB's founder, Linda Hubbard, will be an account supervisor in IMG's public relations group. IMG has also hired Megan Hartong as account coordinator.

The Canton office of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs has merged with law firm Richard J. Lolli Co. Richard Lolli will join the firm as a shareholder in the Business and Real Estate and Construction Practice Groups.

Robert J. Blackburn has been promoted to senior vice president, information systems, of United National Bank & Trust Co. in Canton.

Hall, Kistler & Co. of Canton has promoted John J. Skakun to manager, Karen M. Moss to supervisor and Scott E. Bonvechio to senior accountant.

The American Door Co. of Canton has been purchased by Zen Industries of Cleveland.

The employees of Schumacher Homes Inc., Canton, are building a home for Habitat for Humanity this month. They hope to dedicate the home Oct. 6.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:35

Movers & Shakers

Emmet Apolinario, president and COO of Caspian Software, has been named to the development board of the Heinzerling Foundation.

John J. Krimm Jr. has been promoted to partner at the law firm of Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn. Krimm spent almost 10 years with a Cleveland-based labor and employment firm before joining Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn in October last year. He will continue practicing in the labor and employment department in the firm's Columbus office.

Chip Chapman, president of ADC Information Technologies, has been elected chairman of the Heart of Ohio Tech Prep Consortium, an organization of high schools, colleges and businesses dedicated to preparing the technology work force of the 21st century. Tech Prep is a college prep program with hands-on technology applications that begins in high school and continues through a two- or four-year college program in the technology-related area of a student's choice.

Longanbach Giusti Kuck & Hornberger LLC has appointed two new partners. Alvin "Jamie" McKenna Jr. has provided expertise in real estate and construction to the firm and its clients since 1989. Jay R. Meglich joined the firm in 1988, providing his services to rental real estate projects, the oil and gas industry, the manufacturing industry, the insurance industry and nonprofit clients.

Edward M. Rainaldi, vice president and secretary of Hanlin-Rainaldi Construction Corp., will be honored next month with the 1999 Cornerstone Award from the Builders Exchange of Central Ohio. The award is given annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the Central Ohio community and construction industry. Rainaldi served on the Builders Exchange board for eight years and was association president in 1990. He also is a past board member of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

Frank "Rocky" Morris Jr., a partner in the Columbus office of the law firm Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, has received the American Bar Association Business Law Section Chair's Award. The award was created to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions to the Business Law Section.

Bruce A. Lucia, president of the Kroger Co.'s Columbus marketing area, has been elected to a one-year term as a national vice president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association's voluntary health organization. Also, Samuel S. Stallworth, vice president and general manager of WSYX-TV Channel 6, was re-elected as an MDA vice president. MDA vice presidents provide counsel in their areas of expertise and assist the association through advocacy and staunch support of its lifesaving programs and activities.

Ultryx Corp. has named Dheeraj Kulshrestha as its new vice president of product development. Previously, Kulshrestha was vice president and business technology officer of first Union National Bank/TMS in West Sacramento, Calif.

The board of trustees of Edison Welding Institute has selected S. Theodore (Ted) Ford as president and CEO to succeed Karl Graff, who has retired. Ford was previously senior vice president for University Advancement at Northern Arizona University and executive director of the Northern Arizona University Foundation. Prior to moving to Arizona, Ford was director of development at EWI from 1993 to 1997. In addition to positions at EWI and Northern Arizona University, he has served as a principal in an environmental development consulting firm, director of institutional relations for the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Sciences, executive assistant to the Governor of Ohio and in several senior policy and administrative positions in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Avalon Consulting Group, a marketing management firm in Columbus, has promoted Annice Graves to vice president and creative director.

NGDA Interactive Communications has named Ron Poliseno vice president, client services. Poliseno is responsible for overseeing management of all NGDA's current accounts. Previously, he was senior director of new business development for Pathlore Software Inc.

Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates Inc. has named Jack Dupps vice president of human resources. Dupps is responsible for management of the agency's human resources department. Prior joining GSW, he was vice president of human resources for Evenflo Co.

Randy McKitrick has joined Sports Management Inc. as vice president of marketing. McKitrick's experience includes nine years in branding, promoting and developing products and services for two large U.S. manufacturers and brands, Macklanburg-Duncan and Schlage Lock Co.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:34

Money where your mouth is

Do you dread making financial presentations to board members or senior executives? Here are a few tips to make them less of an ordeal.

Kimberly Griffith, a CPA with Alpern, Rosenthal & Co., says there are ways to make these events less traumatic for you and more meaningful for your audience:

Prepare thoroughly. You'll find that adequate preparation will have the added benefit of giving you more confidence.

Hold yourself to a time limit and keep track of the time. Avoid racing to finish.

Avoid early mornings, after lunch or the end of the day for your presentation.

Demonstrate energy and enthusiasm. Spice up your presentation with graphs and charts.

Don't overwhelm the audience with detail. Less is usually more, says Griffith.

She also suggests you explain financial terms your audience may not be familiar with. Also, make educational tools, such as videotapes, study guides, books and pamphlets, available to senior staffers.

Ray Marano

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:34

(Tax) Free parking

If you're scratching your head looking for ways to attract and hold onto employees, you might want to try the tax-exempt transportation program.

Although it won't have the allure of stock options or health club memberships, it has one definite attraction: It will cost you almost nothing to offer it.

An IRS regulation implemented this past January allows employees to reduce their gross income and federal income tax, according to Mike Schneider, a tax partner at Sisterson & Co. Specifically, the regulations allow employees who pay for parking to reduce their taxable income by up to $175 a month. And those who take the bus to work can have their gross taxable income reduced by as much as $65 a month.

Employers who choose to take advantage of the reduction can collect and credit employees' parking receipts weekly, twice a month, monthly or quarterly, whatever the company's preference.

Now if they can just come up with a way to offer a free lunch.

Ray Marano

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:34

Movers & Shakers

The Akron SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) chapter has elected C. Frank Swain as chairman. Swain is the former owner of Frank Swain Associates Inc.

Dr. Mamdouh Dayem has joined Portage Path Behavioral Health as a psychiatrist in the Akron Clinic Intake Department.

David E. Scott has joined The Old Republic Network Residential Services of Fairlawn as a national account representative.

FirstMerit Bank of Akron has made the following promotions: Elizabeth A. Barber, Susan Whiddon Knights and Gregory P. Zink to senior vice president; Pamela J. Cooksey and Robert L. Gooden to vice president; and Stacey A. Snow to controller/vice president. FirstMerit has also added the following to its staff Lloyd W. Hagenbuch, James Giarrano, Mark Hanna, Rick L. Hershberger and Joseph E. Vincent as vice president.

Joseph K. Oldham, an associate with the Akron law firm Oldham & Dowling, has been appointed to a substitute magistrate position with the Akron Municipal Court.

BCG Systems Inc. of Akron has hired Raymond L. Moss as senior Web developer.

Eric J. Waser has joined Bruner-Cox as an associate in the firm's Akron office.

Bober, Markey & Co., Akron, has named Michael R. Lee as a partner. The accounting firm has also made the following promotions: Lynn Whorley to controller, Kim Martin to manager and Stefanie Marusiak to practice management administrator.

DigitalDay of Fairlawn has added to its staff Jack Ondeck as director of client services; Dennis Vari as business analyst; and Lou Paine as technical lead.

Hitchcock Fleming and Associates Inc., Akron, has made the following promotions: Sandi Fellmeth to director of production services; Chuck Repede to senior art director; Jeff Staples to senior computer graphics specialist; Tony Fanizzi to copywriter; and Fran Cossin to accounting supervisor.

Joseph S. Kodish, director of the Legal Defenders of Summit County, Ohio, Inc., is the recipient of the Akron Bar Association Professionalism Award.

Jeff P. Schad has been named assistant vice president, commercial lender, for Chippewa Valley Bank of Rittman.

The Medina County Land Conservancy of Medina has hired Chris Bunch as its first executive director.

Nancy Lynn Reeves has joined the Medina law firm Walker & Jocke as a patent attorney.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:34

Simplicity online

Lehman's hardware store in Kidron -- "the gateway to Amish country," as marketing director Glenda Lehman Ervin calls it -- is one of those stores that surprises even the most seasoned shoppers, a place that can best be described as the 19th-century equivalent of a Home Depot.

There are whole departments in the 15,000-square-foot store devoted to decorative Old World hardware, oil-burning lamps and accessories, wood-burning stoves, grain mills, water pumps, garden tools and housewares such butter churns, cast-iron pots and pans and wooden spoons.

The store sells its wares to people in all 50 states and 162 countries through its 24-hour, toll-free order line at (800) 438-5346 and its Web site at www.lehmans.com. The clientele, which Lehman Ervin describes as a combination of "the serious and the curious," includes hobbyists, nostalgia buffs, campers, boaters, vacation homeowners, ranchers, missionaries, doctors in Third World hospitals, environmentalists, self-sufficient individualists Lehman Ervin calls homesteaders and even celebrities.

"Julia Child owns a stove from us," she says. "Martha Stewart has purchased from us before. And Burt Wolf (host of the CNN-produced "What's Cooking with Burt Wolf") was just here. He cooked on a wood cookstove, interviewed my brother and spent the day with us."