The Oakland County area has an abundance of opportunities for existing businesses and new ventures.
When the going gets rough, the entrepreneurial spirit gets creative and resourceful.
The Oakland Press has gathered upcoming events, news and links to help business owners and professionals succeed.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is it still a man's world?

While women have succeeded in getting jobs almost everywhere that men work, there is still a gaping wage discrepancy between the two genders. Michigan has the 10th worst wage gap in the U.S. with women earning an average of 74 cents for every dollar that men make, or $12,540 per year less, according to The National Partnership for Women & Families,

The Equal Pay Act, which took effect in 1964, has helped but progress has been slow. It didn't solve society's attitude that a man should get paid more than a woman, even if they are doing the same job.
It's not just men that have this attitude. Women defer more to men as well.
Women are often overlooked for promotions in favor of men.

Worldwide, four out of ten businesses don't have any women in senior management, according to  Collegetimes.us/10-surprising-statistics-on-women-in-the-workplace/.

 Car dealerships are a good example. While women purchase more than 50 percent of new vehicles and influence the purchase of 80 percent of vehicles in the U.S., 95 percent of dealerships are owned by men, according to an article in The Oakland Press,

According to The National Partnership for Women & Families, in the U.S., minority women are paid the least with African-American women earning 64 cents per dollar of Caucasian men and Hispanic women earning 52 cents per dollar.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Email or phone, it's your call

Using email cuts down on phone calls, but sometimes relying on it, can turn a simple exchange into a week of back and forth conversation. First of all, emails messages should be short and easy to understand.
It is sometimes hard to determine when it is better to either pick up the phone or walk to someone's desk. Even if they sit 50 yards away from you, it can sometimes save you a ton of time and aggravation. (It's also a nice diversion).
Many people are multi-tasking and only giving their email correspondence a portion of their attention span. This creates extra work for themselves and those they are emailing with. If you find that someone is giving you half answers or creating confusion, it's time to talk.
 Also, if there is a personal issue or potential conflict, there should be a verbal conversation. And if you have an item that helps explain your communication, visit the person's desk.




Monday, April 16, 2012

Make your press release count

News people receive hundreds of emails daily, so here are some tips to help your submission get covered.

First, give a hint as to what your email is about in the subject line. If it's about an event, you could write, "Hot dog race Sept. 4 in Pontiac" in the subject line. It doesn't need all the details in the subject, just an idea of what it is about. "Exciting news" or "press release" aren't very informative.

If you send photos, please send in jpg, jpeg or tiff format. The size needs to be at least 100 KB, larger is better. We love pics with PEOPLE in them. In the email message, include their names listed in order from left to right and titles or companies, or schools if applicable. Also note where they are and what is happening, if it's an event.

If you send mass emails, blanketing the media universe using blind copy, don't be surprised if you receive two or more replies from the same place. This is a big time-waster and annoyance for journalists when they don't know someone else received the same email and is working on it. If you don't know who should get your press release, send a personalized email asking one person or call that person and ask them. We realize that you want to make sure your news gets in, but try to be considerate.

If you've waited until two days before the event and you are in a panic, don't expect it to become every journalist's emergency too. Most of us work really hard to cover everything that we know about, but there is a limit to how much time we have and how much space is available for stories.

To send press releases to The Oakland Press, email local news to julie.jacobson@oakpress.com, for business-related news, send to kathy.blake@oakpress.com. We prefer to have releases either pasted inside the email message or attached as a Word document. We don't like pdf files as much because they are sometimes difficult to extract the information from.

For calendar items and events, be sure to enter it at theoaklandpress.com/calendar so those who visit the website will see them there. We print events from the calendar as space permits.

If you have any questions, feel free to call The Oakland Press newsroom at 248-745-4619.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Upcoming business events

April 17: Healthy Habits for Managing Workplace Stress
The Healthy Habits for Managing Workplace Stress event is from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 at the Automation Alley Headquarters, 2675 Bellington Drive, Troy. Speakers will discuss how to transform unhealthy workplace habits into healthy ones that will benefit your body, mind and spirit. Screenings will be available throughout the day and are free of charge: blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, stress and depression self-assessment. Call 800-427-5100.

April 17: Intermediate Facebook for Business
Facebook for Business Intermediate is from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 at the Oakland County Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. In this Intermediate session of Facebook for Business you will establish your social media objectives and goals for Facebook, create your Facebook social media marketing strategy and schedule, integrate Facebook into your marketing strategy. The cost is $40. Contact Karen Deaver-Lear at smallbusiness@oakgov.com or call 248-858-0783.

April 17-18: Greater Detroit Engineering and IT Career Fairs
Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, has partnered with WRIF radio, 105.1 FM, and WCSX to present the Greater Detroit Engineering and IT Career Fairs, powered by hiredMYway.com. Companies seeking qualified engineers, automotive designers and information technology professionals are invited to participate. The IT Career Fair is Tuesday, April 17 and the Engineering Career Fair will be Wednesday, April 18. Both events will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Troy Marriott. There are no charges for admission or parking for job seekers. Companies interested in participating in the career fairs should register at www.careerfairdetroit.com/register. All Automation Alley members receive a 20 percent discount on booth packages. For more information, contact the Automation Alley Resource Center at 800-427-5100 or info@automationalley.com.

April 18: Nonprofit Management Conference
The 7th Annual Nonprofit Management Conference is from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, April 18 at Walsh College, Troy Campus, 3838 Livernois Road, Troy. This day-long educational conference is for staff members, board members and volunteers of nonprofit organizations. Includes breakout sessions in 7 core areas: Leadership; Technology; Marketing; Strategic Planning; Human Resource Management; Finance & Accounting. Continental breakfast and lunch included.The cost is $50 for Troy Chamber members or $95 for nonmembers. Contact Jody House at jody@troychamber.com or call 248-641-3694.

April 18: Fundamentals of writing a business plan
The Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan is from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 18 at Oakland County Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. Designed for individuals who want to increase their chances for successful self-employment, the course covers business planning in detail. Contact Karen Deaver-Lear at smallbusiness@oakgov.com or call 248-858-0783. The cost is $40 per person.

April 18
Quarterly Financial Book Series
The Community House, 380 South Bates Street, Birmingham, offers a unique book series which focuses on popular books dealing with the economy.  The next book discussion will feature “Switched: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18.   The group will be led by Nathan Mersereau, Planning Alternatives, Ltd. There is no charge to attend. RSVP requested at 248-644-5832 or email marcm@tchserves.org.

April 18
Nemeth Burwell’s Raising the Bar Series presents Legal Strategies for employees’ Internal Complaints
 Nemeth Burwell’s Raising the Bar, an educational series raising employer awareness of current issues in employment and labor law and presented by Detroit-based employment law firm Nemeth Burwell, P.C., will address strategies for responding to employees’ internal complaints at its April 18th presentation. Raising the Bar will be held on Wednesday, April 18 from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the Troy Marriott, 200 W. Big Beaver Road.  Continental breakfast will be served at 8:00 a.m.  The cost of the event is $60 per person and pre-registration is required.  To register, e-mail Amanda Galletti at agalletti@nemethburwell.com or call 313-567-5921.

April 19: Advanced Mediator Training
The 4-Hour Advanced Mediator Training is from 1-5 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at the Oakland Mediation Center, 550 Hulet Drive # 102, Bloomfield Hills. We offer advanced training to individuals who wish to enhance their mediator skill set and who need to meet the circuit court roster requirements of advanced mediation training. For more information visit www.mediation-omc.org.

April 20: Toughest Sales Situations Solved
The Toughest Sales Situations Solved seminar is from 8-11 a.m. Friday, April 20 at The Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake Road, Troy. Douglas Finton, managing director of VitalSkills International LLC, will discuss sales conflict situations and solutions in a presentation titled, “When Negotiating Isn't Enough: Overcoming Silence and Violence in Sales”. The cost is $60 for MSED members and $75 for nonmembers. To register, call 248-643-6950 or visit www.msedetroit.org.
For more events, see the Business calendar in the right column of this blog.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Star Jones tips to be a successful businesswoman

Submitted by Emily Forrest, Laforce-Stevens of New York, NY, www.laforce-stevens.com 

 Star Jones is a successful lawyer and businesswoman. A leading legal and social issues pundit, she is most well known for her national television appearances on programs such as the Today Show. Star was recently named national spokesperson for the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), a network of 300,000 female professionals, executives and entrepreneurs. She has traveled across the country offering her advice to NAPW chapter Presidents. Here are her top tips for being a successful businesswoman.  
 
  • Attend seminars, conferences and events – Seminars, conferences and events provide opportunities for women to meet other like-minded professionals and listen to speakers discuss their experiences. They are great for networking as well so remember to bring business cards and copies of your resume and follow-up with everyone you meet
  • Become/Find a Mentor – Mentorship programs are gratifying for both the mentors and the mentees. Younger professionals should take advantage of opportunities to connect with more experienced businesswomen. Mentors can feel rewarded by watching their mentees’ careers grow as a result of their advice and guidance  
  • Embrace Your Feminine Management Style – In a world where male CEO’s outnumber female CEO’s, women should never feel the need to fit into the dominating, competitive stereotype that we often see in the media. Although gender does not define success, women are by nature excellent communicators who embrace interpersonal relationships and teamwork.
  • Join a group/network such as NAPW to interact, exchange ideas, educate and empower – Professional groups, such as NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) provide working women with a platform to feel empowered. NAPW specifically is the most rapidly growing association for professional women in the United States. Members range from aspiring business students, to CEO’s of major corporations. NAPW provides these women with an opportunity to connect, exchange ideas and educate one another
·         Set Goals for yourself and Actively Pursue Them – Whether you are looking for a new job, or trying to excel within your current position, setting attainable goals for yourself and proactively pursuing them gives individuals something to strive for and ultimately provides them with determination and motivation to move up and get to the next level

  • Modesty Only Goes So Far – Being modest is an important trait to have in business, but do not be afraid to be your own advocate and voice your opinion.  Nothing can change if you don’t speak up, so promoting yourself and your ideas is extremely important  
  • Stay Abreast of the Latest Developments Within Your Field – Watch the news, read the newspaper and be actively engaged on social media as news today travels instantly.  Staying one step ahead by always knowing what is happening around the world and in your field is critically important and can catapult you ahead of your peers and competitors.
  • Celebrate Your Success – Reward yourself to keep your professional momentum going. Celebrate not only when something major happens, like a raise or a promotion, but when you achieve something smaller like a complimentary email from a client or business associate. This is imperative to staying encouraged to reach your ultimate goal.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Use social media networking to find a job

While recent news has questioned whether employers should be asking applicants for Facebook passwords, applicants are finding social media networking sites to be increasingly helpful in searching for employment. 
LinkedIn is the most traditional work-related networking site. While it started out pretty much like a Rolodex, it has evolved into a business connection site with groups to join and recently become more Twitter-like, only not so REM fast. LinkedIn is good for connecting with people that you have worked with or clients and associates. People can view your profile with links to your website, blogs and your resume.You can also search companies in your desired area, they often post job openings.
Twitter is more of a brief connection, but it can get you connected. If you don't know many people, start building your Twitter followers by location, (using advanced search). You don't need to know people to follow them. You can follow people who work in the industry that you're interested in. You can find out who works where you want to work and then find them on Twitter. You may need to go to the company website to get the Twitter handle. Direct message people that work at a place you would want to work and request to meet with them or just ask if they know if they are hiring. People are sometimes really helpful.
 If you have a lot of friends or family, particularly in the city that you want to work, focus on Facebook. It is still the top networking site. Become very conversational on your Facebook friends' posts. Like businesses that you want to work at. Make sure you have utilized all the features and post once a week about your job search. Stay positive, maybe slyly brag about your accomplishments.
As with all forms of networking, you should do what you're comfortable with, unless you're shy, then you need to push yourself out there.