Sales & Marketing

Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) is a multi-billion dollar public/private initiative developed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2011 that introduces Michigan companies to opportunities that help them grow and expand. 

PMBC’s mission is to help Michigan businesses grow by:

  • Connecting local, national and global purchasers to Michigan suppliers by offering customized procurement or joint venture matchmaking searches, summits and buyer tours.
  • Partnering with local and national purchasers to organize dedicated buyer-supplier matchmaking events.
  • Delivering full concierge services to businesses to help find the right connections.
  • Offering dedicated international trade services for Michigan businesses who want to start or expand export activities.

More Details on Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC)

pmbc.connect.space

See how PMBC can help you forge partnerships and grow your business by creating an account in the “PMBC Community”.  The PMBC Community is an online and mobile business-to-business platform linking Michigan companies with private sector procurement opportunities and business services available from other Michigan companies.  Michigan businesses may learn more about the platform and register at no cost. 

Here are a just few benefits to joining the PMBC Community:

  • Connect with other businesses in the Community
  • Apply to attend and participate in matchmaking procurement events
  • Add your own company’s procurement needs
  • Schedule 1:1 meetings with other companies

Instructions on Creating an Account:

  1. Go to pmbc.connect.space and click “Sign Up Now”.
     
  2. Complete the registration steps to create your personal and company profiles. Please note that if anyone from your company has created an account before you, your company may already be created. In that case you’ll simply select it from the options that show up when you begin typing your company’s name.
     
  3. Don’t forget to download the mobile PMBC app from the iOS App Store and Google Play stores by searching for “PMBC”, allowing you to access your account from your phone and interact with other businesses during events!

EasyDNNNews

Hot new social media tips for small business owners. Monday on Business Next!

Michael Rogers talks with Sharlan Douglas, president of the Douglas Communications Group, and gets state-of-the-art advice on how small business owners can tap into the tools of social media to grow their sales and business visibility. Also, Michael interviews Christa Chambers-Price and Jeanne Ballew, co-founders of the June 28 Entre-Slam in Ann Arbor. Entre-Slam give small business owners a public venue to talk about their small business successes and challenges.

Listen Monday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page.  

Entrepreneurial insights from the National Economic Gardening Conference in Grand Rapids. Friday on Business Next!

Reporting from the National Economic Gardening Conference in Grand Rapids, Michael Rogers talks with Mark Lange, executive director of the Edward Lowe Foundation; Gerald Moore, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration/Michigan; Carl Erickson, president of Atomic Object; Robert Waugh, president of Cygnus Incorporated; James Turner, State Director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Cynthia Martin, content manager for a federal information website called Business USA.

Listen Friday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Promote stars. Milk cows. Watch question marks. Retire dogs

(Marketing perspectives for small business owners. Contributed by Perry Ballard, owner of Manage Perceived Value and a past chair of SBAM's Strategic Communications Advisory Committee) 

As in your business, my marketing communications firm was a blend of service (creating the plans and messages) and product (providing a tangible tool to use -- brochures, ads, manuals, etc.).

The Internet nearly eliminated the brochure business.  Prospect requests of “I need a brochure” became a solid client income source -- updated at least annually due to depletion via sales distribution or outdated by new/modified products.

But who needs a 36-page printed brochure when the customer can print the exact page they need?  And why reprint when a web site update corrects your “brochure”?

The Internet changed our staffing, pricing, product offering, support systems, training, and company marketing efforts.  It also turned cows into dogs.

Cash Cows, Stars, Question marks and Dogs are the shorthand terms used in the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Growth/Share matrix to help you evaluate products or clients and take action based on rational market analysis.

Products or clients, cash cows have a high market share in a slow growth industry.  They produce excess cash with little added investment.  Dogs have low market share in a slow growth industry; they “break even” or lose money and need to be replaced.  Question marks have growth potential but low market share.  They could become stars, but need time/dollar investments and close monitoring.  Stars are high-share, fast growing business segments.  Knowing how each client or product fits lets you make the best use of your limited resources.

The Business Next audio semnar and Focus magazine (see below) list steps to identify categories. It isn’t easy, but a tight BCG matrix evaluation can mean the difference between a profit and a lot of wasted resources.

(Hear an interview with Perry about the BCG Growth/Share Matrix today on Michael Rogers' Business Next audio seminar. And read a detailed article about the Matrix in SBAM's member-only Focus on Small Business magazine, in member mailboxes beginning July 6.)

Steven Strauss: A great idea needs to be more than just a great idea

Question: Mr. Strauss – I have an idea for a product that will revolutionize the food industry. My question for you is how do I go about protecting this idea and making sure no one steals it? Also, how do I sell this idea to a company in this industry and what should I charge? I would be happy to give you a finder’s fee if you can help me locate the right company. This idea can make us both rich.

Answer: I probably get variations on this question a few times a year, so let me state this unequivocally:

Ideas cannot be protected. Period.

An idea is just that - an idea. That’s it. An idea is not a product. An idea is not a business. An idea cannot be patented or trademarked or copyrighted. An idea is an intangible thing that is not given legal protection.

A patent is protection that is given to a product or invention. A copyright protects creative expressions of authorship such as a song or a book. A trademark protects things like logos and brand names. The difference between all of those types of intellectual property and an idea is that with the former, someone has taken idea and given it shape and form, but the latter is nothing real or proprietary.

The fact is, ideas are a dime a dozen. In reality, usually, the idea is the easy part. The challenge, and the thing that is protected, is when someone puts sweat equity into an idea, gives it form and function, and turns that idea into something tangible. 

No company will pay you, or give you some sort of ongoing royalty, for your idea. Having something tangible to share is the key. Companies do buy ideas that are patented or trademarked. In that case, you have something real and exclusive to sell. But an idea alone is neither.

The other problem with folks who think that their brilliant idea is enough to earn them a million dollars without having to do any work is that, at least in my experience, rarely does someone actually want to steal your great idea, for two reasons:

1. They are not as enthused about it as you. Now, you may think you have come up with the greatest idea since sliced bread, and maybe you have, but without actually taking that idea and turning it into something, it’s really nothing. And getting someone excited about an intangible nothing, even if it is a clever nothing, is difficult.
2. They know it takes work. Even if your idea is as great as you think it is, other people know that taking an idea from inspiration to market typically takes years and a lot of money. Most people are so busy with their own things that they cannot be bothered to steal yours and hope that their toil and trouble will eventually be worth it.

Now with that general rule in place, let’s note that there are times when you may need to share an idea with someone or some entity and you want everyone to know that you thought of it first. In that case, here is what you can do:

Have them sign an NDA. Non-disclosure agreements are documents that state that you are sharing proprietary, non-public information and that the other party cannot share it without your prior, written approval. NDAs usually cover business proposals, information, products, or ideas in development.

Other than that, remember the famous words of Thomas Edison: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” 

Steven D. Strauss is a lawyer, writer, and speaker, and is one of the country's leading experts on small business as well as an international business speaker. The best-selling author of 17 books, his latest is the all-new 3rd ed. of The Small Business Bible. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success Powered by Greatland, 
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How to grow your customer base -- innovative lessons from the non-profit world. Friday on Business Next!

Bill Seklar, president and CEO of the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, talks about how his association (a small business!) has been successfully utilizing social media to expand their customer base, and how those lessons can be utilized by small business owners. Also on today's show, Sue Schweim Tellier of JetCo Solutions has great advice on how you can successfully sell your products to government agencies.

Listen Wednesday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page.  
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