Resources

MichiganBusinessNetwork.com radio, live from “Buy Michigan,” Sept. 22 9 a.m. – 11. a.m.

microphoneSBAM’s Vice President Communications Michael Rogers and MichiganBusinessNetwork.com founder Chris Holman will be broadcasting live from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Thurs. Sept. 22 from the Crain’s Second Stage “Buy Michigan” event in Troy. Hear about procurement opportunities for your company! Go to MichiganBusinessNetwork.com to listen.

The guest lineup includes:

  • Mary Kramer, publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business
  • Mike Finney, President & CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Rob Fowler, President & CEO, Small Business Association of Michigan
  • Jeff Brownlee, the State of Michigan’s Purchasing Director
  • John Eley Jr., Sr. Supply chain manager for DTE Energy
  • Cynthia Kay, owner of Cynthia Kay and Company and the immediate past chair of SBAM’s board
  • Brian Smith, President & CEO, ISM of Southeast Michigan

Go to MichiganBusinessNetwork.com to listen, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Thurs. Sept. 22.

Buy Michigan is planned in partnership with SBAM and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Huntington Bank is the title sponsor.


Fall Forecast for Capitol News Coverage: Thursday, Sept. 29, 8 to 9 am, Capitol Issues Forum at SBAM

Three veteran Capitol Press Corps speakers- Chris Christoff of Bloomberg News, formerly Detroit Free Press; Paul Egan of The Detroit News; and Rick Pluta of Michigan Public Radio- will talk about what they are covering this fall and what they see ahead as key issues at the Capitol Issues Forum on Thursday, Sept. 29 8 a.m. -9 a.m. at the Small Business Association of Michigan.

  • Christoff joined Bloomberg News as its new Lansing correspondent in July, after 28 years at the Detroit Free Press, most of that time as Lansing bureau chief.
  • Egan is the Capitol reporter for The Detroit News and covers Michigan government and politics.
  • Pluta has been MPR’s managing editor and state Capitol bureau chief since 1996, covering the Legislature and courts, as well as environmental and legal issues. 

Complimentary coffee and bagels will be served at the meeting. There is no charge to attend. 

Capitol Issues Forum meetings are informal gatherings of Lansing area public policy, communications and public relations professionals held about every-other-month. They are a joint project of Lezotte Miller Public Relations Inc. and the Small Business Association of Michigan. For more information and to get on an email meeting notification list, contact Michael Rogers at michael.rogers@sbam.org or call (517) 267-2209. 


Almost sold out! Register today to learn about procurement opportunities for your company, Sept. 22 in Troy

SBAM is partnering with Crain’s Second Stage and Pure Michigan to present Buy Michigan, an opportunity to learn more about procurement opportunities for your company. The event will be held Thursday Sept. 22 from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the MSU Management Education Center in Troy. Speakers include Jeff Brownlee, the State of Michigan’s Purchasing Director; John Eley Jr., Sr. Supply chain manager for DTE Energy and Cynthia Kay, owner of Cynthia Kay and Company and the immediate past chair of SBAM’s board. 

SBAM members can use the code SBAMCDB for a 10% discount off the regular $35 per person registration fee. Click here to register

The event is planned in partnership with SBAM and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Huntington Bank is the title sponsor.


Three Big Reasons to be Optimistic About the Future of Michigan

In a recent interview I was asked what are you excited about? I said “Michigan’s future.” The interviewee was surprised, which bothered me. There are lots of reasons to be optimistic about Michigan. Optimism begins with you, the small business owner: your success and attitude. By now you’re really strong. New leadership in Lansing is showing to be more supportive and in alignment with your roles as key job creators. Michigan and the Midwest are attracting the attention of the coasts. It’s no longer just a fly-over country. There’s a re-birth of Michigan underway. As for the world, well, it’s growing. There are now 7 billion of us. It’s time for a new attitude of thinking globally. We have a growing population in a smaller world. Choose your attitude.

By now you’re really strong. To have survived here in Michigan, whether you grew or not, during the past 10 years is no small feat. There were many headwinds, mostly macro-economic, that made doing business extremely difficult. That difficulty, though, creates strengths and abilities. 

You’ve figured out how to manage cash in tough times. I’m impressed by the number of companies who sought out and met new demands as sales waned. You’re an entrepreneur and you’re now probably in a position of strength thanks to your tenacity. You’re the sapling who grew into a full grown tree against all odds. You’ve likely down sized your own personal life. Now it’s time to leverage that strength into growth. That just got easier.

The leadership in Lansing understands job growth. Our state leaders say they intend to invest in second stage growth companies already in Michigan rather than solely investing in recruiting companies from outside Michigan that are seeking lower costs. The former is called Economic Gardening, the latter is classic Economic Development. We think they can work together by recruiting businesses that can help Michigan companies grow. What we hear is encouraging and should make business owners optimistic.

There’s a re-birth of Michigan underway. There is a renewed interest in returning to the Midwest. Adults who grew up in Michigan are returning from the coasts for a more reasonable, better quality of life. Organizations such as MichAgain, Global Michigan and Detroit Venture Partners are working to rally the momentum from that interest into measurable economic results. They are selling our strengths instead of enticing with tax breaks. They know you can grow meaningful, global companies right here in Michigan.
Growing population in a smaller world…chose your attitude. More people = more demand; combine that with a flatter world and you can tap that demand everywhere from just about anywhere. That’s opportunity.

But it begins with you and your attitude. Gov. Snyder uses the term “Relentless Positive Action” as his theme to rally his troops to solve problems. It’s a great culture for growth. When is the last time a governor (of any state) was creating a growth culture like ours? It’s so different – it creates hope. If the positive attitude doesn’t incite optimism for business owners and leaders in Michigan, I don’t know what will. 



SBAM Praises Governor’s Health and Wellness Message, Supports Market-Oriented Focus

The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) today praised the direction of Gov. Snyder’s health and wellness initiatives. “We appreciate his understanding that improving health and wellness will have an important positive impact on the cost of health care, which is one of the top problems facing small business owners,” says SBAM’s President and CEO Rob Fowler. “We look forward to working with the governor in implementing wellness in the small business community, where the return on investment is not as direct as it is for big firms.”

Fowler also says that the association supports the governor’s plan to begin reviewing the decades-old statutes and regulations governing the operation of Blue Cross and other insurance companies in the state. “This review is urgent because of the still-scheduled implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” he says. “We look forward to working with policymakers to modernize Michigan’s health insurance regulations to create jobs, help hold health insurance costs in check and move the economy forward.”

In regards to the MI Health Marketplace, Fowler says that “given the fact that Washington is saying that Michigan must implement its own exchange or one will be imposed, basically giving Michigan no choice in the matter, we think Gov. Snyder has it about right in his guiding principles. The governor deserves great credit for proposing a lean, market-oriented, non-bureaucratic vision for a competitive insurance marketplace. But we caution that it’s important that this project proceed in a deliberate fashion that does not destroy Michigan’s non-exchange insurance marketplace,” he says.

Finally, Fowler reiterates SBAM’s continued opposition to mandated benefits. “Due to the ERISA exemption enjoyed by big businesses, the entire cost of mandated benefits is foisted on small businesses and individuals. This has a detrimental impact on the small business economy while failing to fundamentally address the ongoing problem of the high cost of health insurance,” he says.


How to Help Your Employees Sell More

By leadership management consultant Tom Borg

The other day I walked into the local Kroger grocery store in my hometown of Canton, MI. I picked up a few grocery items and decided to treat myself to real service and go through the check out lane and have my order rung up by a live person – the cashier. Quite frankly, I was a little disappointed. Here’s why. After he rung up my purchase and I gave him the correct change, I thanked him. His response: “No problem”. Excuse me, I didn’t know my purchase was potentially classified as a problem.

A few weeks later I was making a purchase at one of the General Dollar stores. This time the clerk’s response after I thanked him was simply the word “yeah”.

Here is where a small business owner can set him or herself apart from the rest of the competition at the point of sale and can clean up big time. What they must do is train all employees to consistently use the magic words “please” and “thank you”. 

By having employees look the customers squarely in the eye and sincerely thank them for doing business with them, they will sell subconsciously to that customer’s built in expectations of being appreciated and valued. Charles Lamb, the great English essayist said it best when he was quoted, “Damn it, I like to be liked”. Your customers like to be liked, so why not teach and expect your employees to treat them with care and respect. It will help your business become more profitable.

Of course it cannot be forced. For example, there is another very well-known retail chain that has a small printed sign by the cash register that reminds the cashier what to say to the customer when the sale is completed. At one time, this retail chain even had a campaign giving the customer five dollars if the cashier didn’t say “thank you.” Unfortunately, it didn’t work. The result was a cashier who sounded like a robot and avoided making sincere eye contact with the customer at the close of the sale. What the management of this retail chain did not understand was that it was not possible to force its cashiers to be sincerely courteous to the customer.

Since you can’t force your staff, co-workers and managers to treat the customer courteously in person or on the telephone, what do you do to get that kind of consistent behavior from them? One way to make this hope a reality is to hire people who have three important qualities:

1. They like themselves.
2. They like other people.
3. They have a sincere desire to help and serve other people.

You have to hire people who have some of the above qualities. From there you educate, train, and reinforce them positively for consistently demonstrating sincere courtesy to the customers.

What we are talking about is helping staff, co-workers and management learn how to be more authentic; helping them develop their self-confidence to the level where it is easy for them to treat others with courtesy and respect. The example you set is the most important aspect. The way you treat your staff, co-employees and managers lays the groundwork for how they will treat the customer.

Therefore, in summary, hire the right people, teach them how to be consistently courteous and watch your customer retention and purchase rate go up. You will be glad you did, and so will your customers.

Follow Up Questions to Answer

1. What types of traits do you look for in the staff and managers you seek to hire?
2. What are two things you, your staff, co-workers and managers can do for each other to set an example of how to treat the customer?
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Find more customers! Register today to attend Crain's Detroit Business Sept. 22 workshop on procurement opportunities

SBAM is partnering with Crain’s Second Stage and Pure Michigan to present Buy Michigan, an opportunity to learn more about procurement opportunities for your company. The event will be held Thursday Sept. 22 from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the MSU Management Education Center in Troy. Speakers include Jeff Brownlee, the State of Michigan’s Purchasing Director; John Eley Jr., Sr. Supply chain manager for DTE Energy and Cynthia Kay, owner of Cynthia Kay and Company and the immediate past chair of SBAM’s board. 

SBAM members can use the code SBAMCDB for a 10% discount off the regular $35 per person registration fee. Click here to register

The event is planned in partnership with SBAM and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Huntington Bank is the title sponsor.


University of Michigan Law School launches entrepreneurial law program

A rare program in entrepreneurship and law launching this fall at the University of Michigan Law School will steep student lawyers in the arts of entrepreneurial businesses and also lead to groundbreaking entrepreneurial opportunities for students University-wide, according to the school

The Zell Entrepreneurship and Law (ZEAL) Program establishes a clinic to offer free legal advice to Michigan's burgeoning number of student entrepreneurs, while simultaneously boosting the Law School's curriculum to train law students to better serve both start-up and existing entrepreneurial businesses. This dual approach, combined with the depth and scope of resources involved across the full spectrum of the University, makes the ZEAL program unique.

Together the two parts of the program will encourage law students to offer legal advice to—and ideally, to join forces with—the growing number of student enterprises bubbling up as a result of U-M's campus-wide culture of entrepreneurship.


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