I happened to see your Akron editorial about dot-coms (SBN, October 2000). One thing you failed to point out was that whenever you are approached by a start-up, do two things:
1) Analyze the revenue model.
Take two minutes and ask yourself: Is this a simple idea? The simpler the idea the better. Take Hotmail, for instance. A very simple idea. Give free Web-based e-mail to people to drive traffic and sell banners. If the revenue model is too complicated, chances are, the business won't do well.
2) Ask to see the business plan. I've been approached by headhunters looking to staff start-ups. I ask to see the business plan. There isn't one. Sorry, not interested.
If a start-up fails these two simple tests, then pass on it.
Dot-coms aren't the only businesses to go belly up in a strong economy. They've just been the "sexy" ones which get all the press lately. You can apply these two simple tests to any start-up.
Internet System Specialist
Penton MediaBad taste or bad timing?
I just received my October issue of SBN Akron and was very disturbed by the title of an article on the cover.
On the cover is Bill Crocker and the article inside describes how he is overcoming a tragic shooting and murder at his restaurant, and right next to Mr. Crocker's picture is a promotion for another article in the magazine entitled "Shoot All The Lawyers?"
I feel this is in bad taste or, in the very least, bad timing on the part of your magazine. I am an avid reader of this publication, and I don't understand why an article had to be given such a violent title, especially in this day and age ... and quoting Shakespeare does not make it right.
The same story can be written with a more sensitive title.
I personally found the headline offensive, and I hope that in the future, your headlines will reflect the positive outlook of all business professionals, promote the positive trends in business and focus on the growth of business in this area.
Connecting Touch Therapy & Wellness Center Inc.
A local husband-and-wife technology team recently told SBN that, as a result of having a successful business in Akron, their most cherished "possession" is freedom.
"More important than any house, car or prized possessions, we have freedom," says Barb Vasaris, CEO of the anderson group. "We live in a nice home, not an estate. We drive a nice car, but not a Mercedes. But I would have to say our freedom represents 'The Good Life' for us."
A.J. Vasaris, her spouse and the company's president and chief technology officer, agrees.
"Our freedom is something we're really unable to put a price on," he says.
The couple does confide, however, that they have differing views of what 'The Ultimate Good Life' might be when they retire.
"My husband wants to live downtown in a big city, on the 15th floor, with a TV in every room. He wants to have his groceries delivered and have a chauffeur drive him around everywhere he goes," Vasaris laughs. "But I want to be nestled in a log cabin on 20 acres of woodland, growing my own food and driving my own Jeep."
The dream they do share is the desire to have a fabulous library.
"Who knows -- maybe our dream lifestyle will be chosen by a computer program one day," says A.J. Vasaris. "But on second thought, I hope not."
FedEx Custom Critical has announced it is in negotiations to construct a new headquarters in Green. The proposed site is on Boettler Road, across from Green High School.
Class Act Copywriting, formerly of Kent, has opened a new office on Barlow Road in Hudson.
Sequoia Financial Group of Akron, and Cohen & Co., a Cleveland-based accounting firm with offices in Akron, recently finalized an agreement in which they will share similar ownership interest and act as preferred service providers for each other.
Williams & Stevens Inc., an advertising firm based in Stow, was recently named a winner in the category of brochures/collateral material in the 2000 American Graphic Design Awards competition sponsored by Graphic Design: USA.
Ferry Industries Inc. has purchased the assets of the rotational molding division of FSP Machinery Inc. of Canada. Ferry has formed a new company called FSP International Inc., which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ferry Industries Inc. of Stow.
The Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce has recognized the following companies for their contributions to the city's economic growth and development: CVS Pharmacy on State Road, Cuyahoga Falls Public Schools, Katherine's Collection, FirstMerit Bank of State Road, Sunrise Assisted Living and LeFever's River Grille.
Lougheed Home Furnishings, owned by Doug and Deborah Lougheed, has opened a new location in the Medina Shopping Center.
D&D Desktop Publishing, founded by Nardella Owens and Donna Carter, has opened on Kenmore Boulevard in Akron.
Pinnacle Communincation Group Inc. of Stow, has been named the public relations agency of record for the DynoMax Performance Exhaust and Rancho Suspensions brands of Tenneco Automotive Inc.
October Research Inc. of Richfield, publisher of The Title Report, has launched a new publication, The Legal Description. The publication takes an in-depth, analytical approach toward deciphering legislation and legal news from a title insurance and real estate settlement services industry perspective.
DigitalDay of Fairlawn has launched a Web site for National City Bank, www.national-city.com.
Jim Hackbarth has been named president and CEO of Virtualintern. Based in Columbus, Virtualintern is an online internship community focused on providing college students with internship opportunities and helping companies expand their recruiting channels to address the needs of college recruitment. Co-founders Jason Kuder and Nathan Kuder have been named vice president of international operations and vice president of product management, respectively. Also, Phillip Solomon has been named vice president of marketing, and Don Campbell has been named vice president of finance and administration.
John Havens, retired chairman of Banc One Corp., and Robert Massie, director and CEO of Chemical Abstracts Service, have been named by Gov. Bob Taft to the newly created Biomedical Research and Technology Transfer Commission. The commission will make strategic assessments of the types of state investments in biomedical research and biotechnology in Ohio that would be likely to create jobs and business opportunities and produce the most beneficial long-term improvements to the public health of Ohioans. One area of focus will be tobacco-related illnesses. The commission was created through Senate Bill 192, which established funds to receive annual payments from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.
The Columbus Coal and Lime Co., a provider of pavers, bricks and other building supplies, has named Gary Buty as its president. Buty takes over the helm from Larry Borror, who is retiring after 34 years with the company.
Lois Griggs, president of Courtesy Ambulance Inc., has been reappointed to the Ohio Ambulance Licensing Board for a term ending July 5, 2002. Griggs is representing owners/operators of private emergency medical services on the board.
Several local executives have been named officers and members of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra board of trustees. New officers of the board are president Peggy L. Schwartz, free-lance project consultant; vice president Geoff Chatas, vice president of corporate finance at AEP; treasurer Milton Baughman, senior vice president of finance at The Huntington National Bank; and secretary Richard G. Smith III, executive vice president of Executive Jet Inc.
New members of the ProMusica board of trustees are Ron Barnes, COTA president and CEO; Rebecca Breuning, Scotts Co. vice president, corporate treasurer; Andi Wobst-Jeney, founder and president of H.D. Living Enterprises Inc.; and Saundra Dombey Cooke, investment adviser for Banc One Investment Advisors.
Tom Schultz has been promoted to president of Permedion, a health care quality measurement and improvement company in Westerville. Also at Permedion, J. Robinson McCormick, chairman of the Frank Gates Service Co., has been re-elected treasurer of the board of trustees.
Thomas E. Wilson has been appointed CFO of Croson-Teepe Mechanical Contractors. Prior to joining the company, Wilson was CFO of a regional cable operator.
Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates Inc. has named Joseph Soto senior vice president. He will be responsible for leading several global and U.S. pharmaceutical account teams.
Interactive Ink Inc., a Columbus-based new media design and programming firm, has named Mark Whitman vice president of sales and marketing. He will oversee and direct all sales and marketing activities.
Jennifer Feucht has joined Creative Medical Marketing in the position of vice president. The full service agency markets medical and dental practices, products and services in Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.
Elford Inc. has promoted Jay Matson to vice president of field operations. His responsibilities will include participating in the preconstruction process and acting as project executive.
Ultryx Corp. has appointed Russell S. Frazee vice president of professional services. He will be responsible for managing all professional services associated the Ultryx's software products, lead the company's project management and project engineering teams and oversee related customer-facing processes. Also at Ultryx, Mary L. Murtha has been promoted to vice president of marketing.
Mencken Communications Group Ltd. has named Amber Blackwell as vice president of editorial services.
A jet plane may be the only escape from Central Ohio's orange barrels, but be prepared for a final send-off by construction at Port Columbus International Airport.
In the past 10 years, seven passenger records have been set; more than 6.5 million travelers passed through the airport in 1999, an increase of 1.9 percent from 1998 and 79 percent since 1990.
The airport's current terminal building, once it's expanded completely, will have the capacity to handle 10 million passengers annually. However, passenger forecasts for Port Columbus reflect a projection of 18 million passengers annually over the next 20 to 25 years.
To accommodate this growth, the airport has updated its master plan to ensure long-term viability, with $1.1 billion in facility and related improvements.
Here's the rundown of recent and upcoming changes:
- Federal funding has been secured for a new air traffic control tower at the intersection of Sawyer Road and International Gateway. Design is to be complete this year, with groundbreaking in the spring of 2001. The $18.7 million project will take three years to build and equip. Land is reserved for a third parallel runway, south of the existing south runway and identical in length -- 10,250 feet.
- The final, significant development of the terminal building, including a five-gate expansion of Concourse C, realignment of gates in Concourses A and B, an additional baggage claim device and expansion and renovation of the international gate and related facilities, will enable the airport to handle 10 million passengers a year.
A new terminal will be built west of the current one in phases as demand dictates, eventually giving the airport 65 gates and the capacity to serve more than 20 million passengers annually.
- A major roadway improvement in the planning phase would lead to the elimination of the traffic signal at Stelzer Road and International Gateway and creation of a grade-separated interchange, resulting in airport traffic exiting I-270/670 to pass under Stelzer Road.
- Virtually all shopping and dining venues in the terminal building are new or remodeled.
Nearly $25 million was spent on basic building improvements to facilitate the concession development, with an additional $10 million for individual tenant finish work.
Focus was placed on Columbus-based companies, with the concession program providing airport users a glimpse of the city's rich business base, including Wendy's, Bath & Body Works, Damon's, Charley's Steakery, Cup O' Joe and Max & Erma's.
- The new parking garage and terminal atrium was essentially completed this year.
The airport now offers 3,400 close-in parking spaces, more than twice as many as before. For the first time, long-term parking, in addition to short-term parking, is available immediately adjacent to the terminal building.
A special section of the garage is reserved for the Executive Parking Program for companies or individuals who wish to have a dedicated parking space just steps from the ticket counters and gates. The spaces cost $350 per month.
- Customers who rent cars can now pick up and return vehicles directly to the garage, eliminating the need for remote shuttle transportation. New rental car transaction counters and office space are located on the first level; rental car fleets for eight companies are housed on the first two levels.
Information courtesy of the Columbus Airport Authority
What a great piece ["The Thinking Tree," SBN September 2000] on a topic one would not expect to find in a business magazine.
I think I'm even more impressed with your reaction and reflections. When we are humbled by a child, we are truly blessed.
Please take a picture of your son and his thinking tree. It will serve as a reminder for both of you that life is more than meeting deadlines, chasing dollars and letting others decide what is important.
I enjoyed reading your magazine and am looking forward to the next issue.
Roadway Pharmacy Inc.
MC2 knows how to net new projects during the slow holiday season: Give clients a good laugh. The downtown firm's 1999 holiday "card" was an exercise plan to ward off unwanted calories.
"Last year we tried to come up with something fun and lighthearted and poking a little fun at ourselves and how much people eat around the holidays," says Brock Poling, the interactive marketing agency's president.
The company's CD-ROM holiday greeting, "Season's Eatings," allowed 500-plus clients, community VIPs and prospects to burn "FOUR whole calories" by clicking on treats such as cheese, cake and cookies as they flew across the computer screen.
"Now simply repeat this process 875 times for every pound you've gained," reads the greeting, "and the weight will be gone."
"Our intention is certainly to say, 'Thank you,' to people who've helped us through the year, and obviously to reinforce that we do a good job of multimedia and interactive work," Poling says, noting the greetings, produced in house for less than $500, generated eight or 10 new projects for the company.
This was the second interactive holiday message by MC2; its 1998 CD-ROM allowing recipients to "download" peace, love and joy won the company an ADDY.
Look for a repeat performance for 2000; MC2's creative types begin work on the greeting this month.
Our October story "It's not a typo" turned out to have a typo of its own. The article gave an incorrect phone number to call for more information. The correct number for AASF Publications is 899-8999. We apologize for the error.
Women business owners have been slow to seek out equity investors -- those who fund businesses for a share of the company's ownership.
However, 44 percent of equity investors interviewed in a study conducted by The National Foundation for Women Business Owners earlier this year say they have seen an increase in proposals from women business owners in just the past year.
Although these equity investors are beginning to back businesses owned by women, this funding source remains largely untapped. So where are women business owners turning for equity capital? According to the study:
- 73 percent of women business owners receive initial investments from family members or friends.
- 73 percent have received equity capital from individual angel investors.
- 25 percent have received equity capital from corporate investors.
- 15 percent have received equity capital from venture capital firms.
The study shows it pays to be persistent. Women entrepreneurs who have equity financing contacted an average of more than 15 funding entities, while women still seeking equity financing have contacted fewer than 11. Source: The National Foundation for Women Business Owners, www.nfwbo.org
The International Telework Association & Council completed a study this year that covers the growth and characteristics of telework in the United States. Here are some of its key findings:
- There are 16.6 million regularly employed teleworkers in the United States who work at least one day a month and are at least 18 years old.
- About 9 million U.S. workers telework at least one day a week. In 1995, according to FIND/SVP, there were 8.5 million teleworkers. While 9 percent of U.S. workers telework, 41 percent believe their jobs could be performed in their homes.
- While a few years ago most teleworkers worked for small- to medium-sized organizations, half now work for organizations with at least 1,500 employees.
- Of all teleworkers, 54 percent are employees, 13 percent are contract workers, 9 percent are operators of home-based businesses and 27 percent are self-employed teleworkers.
- The highest proportions of teleworkers are in the New England, Mountain and Pacific states.
- Males make up 65 percent of the home-based work force. The average teleworker is in his or her early 40s, slightly older than the average nonteleworker surveyed.
- Four out of five teleworkers commute to work on days they are not telecommuting. Their average commute distance is 19.7 miles, vs. 13.3 miles for nonteleworkers.
- One out of every five telecommuters reports that his or her direct supervisor is in the same state.