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.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

So you want to write a book?

Submitted by Ginny Grimsley of News and Experts

How to Get Started Marketing a Book 
By: Marsha Friedman
It’s understandable, really. People who have the passion necessary to write a book usually have just one thing on their minds: writing a book. Not marketing a book. Some may think ahead to getting it published, but, tragically, that’s where the planning often ends.
I’m not exaggerating when I say “tragically”! I talk to many people who’ve poured years of effort, money and sacrifice into their books, which wind up sitting in boxes in their garage. They never thought about how they might market their books themselves or budgeted for book promotion services.
When’s the best time to start thinking about marketing a book? Ideally, before you even sit down to begin writing. Because — and I speak from experience here — the first step will help in your writing.
Step 1: Ask yourself, “Who is my audience?”
The answer is the first piece of any marketing plan and it can also help you define what you’ll write. When I decided to write a book about public relations, I had planned to write it for businesses in general. Then I thought, “That’s too broad. Who will my audience really be?”
I decided to write for individual professionals such as doctors, lawyers and financial planners. Not only would that put a face to the people I was writing for, it would also give me the first piece of my marketing plan.
If you want to write a book and you’re a financial planner working for baby boomers chugging toward 65, you might write about planning for retirement after age 50. Another audience might be the boomers’ kids – adults who may be helping their parents. Depending on the expertise you put in the book, you might find other audiences you can target as well.
Here are the next steps to consider in planning your promotional campaign:
• What’s the best way to reach that audience? Where will you find the people you expect will be interested in your book? Will you buy advertising, look for speaking engagements, try to whip up interest from the media? You might hire a publicist or contract with your publisher to handle PR, or put together a promotional tour. You’ll definitely need a website. Will you build one yourself or hire a pro? Research the options that appeal to you and find out how effective they are in terms of meeting your goals. If you’re considering contracting with professionals to help you, get references from people who’ve had successful marketing experiences.
• How much will it cost? Some options are less expensive, others more. Look into the ones that interest you and get an idea of their price. Decide how much you can afford to spend and budget for it. Is there an organization or business that would benefit from sponsoring you? A landscape designer, for instance, might get financial help from a plant nursery or a tools manufacturer in exchange for standing behind a business or product. A chef might find an ally in a food manufacturer.
• Develop a following online. Do you have a database of people already interested in what you have to say? If not, turn to social media and start building it now. The more of a following you have, the more potential audience you’ve created for your marketing message. Big numbers will also turn heads when you try to get speaking engagements or guest spots on radio and TV talk shows. Having a following is everything. The organizations and media that book you for an interview are also hoping all those followers will either buy tickets or stop by their website.
Marketing is too important to be an afterthought, so think about it long before it’s time to get started. Yes, I understand the effort that goes into writing a book. I know it’s hard to think about anything else! But if you have invested your dreams in that baby, you probably want to share it with the world. And that takes planning.

About Marsha Friedman
Marsha Friedman is a 22-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself: The 3-Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3 p.m.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Learn to make money preparing taxes or real estate investing


Sept. 27
The Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) course is designed to help you meet the requirements set by the IRS for Paid Tax Return Preparers.
The first class is 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 at Walsh College 41500 Gardenbrook Road Novi. The class also meets Oct. 11, Oct. 25 and Nov. 8
 To register, call or email,Tara Miceli at 248-823-1256 or tmiceli@walshcollege.edu
According to the IRS, the RTRP test will focus on the ethical responsibilities of federal tax return preparers and the completion of Form 1040 series, along with the basic related schedules and forms.
This course is exam preparation and satisfies 10 hours of continuing education under the "other federal tax law" requirement.
The Walsh Institute blended course is comprised of nine study units containing the information necessary to pass the exam delivered both on site at the Walsh Novi campus and online through the Gleim learning system. Coursework is designed to provide you with the body of knowledge required by the IRS as well as test taking tools to help you successfully pass the exam. On site classes will be conducted on these dates by Eric Skinner, Walsh Adjunct Professor and IRS Associate Area Counsel.
Tuition price is $350 and includes all materials. To register visit http://www.thewalshinstitute.com/taxprep.

Sept. 28
Investing in Real Estate is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28. The keynote speaker is Kevin Thompson for the Q&A format presentation. It is followed by a Mini-Boot Camp. Thompson is a real estate pro who has personally bought, sold, and managed nearly 200 residential and commercial properties. Topics that will be covered include purchasing, inspections, financing, managing, selling, flipping and more.The event is free, bring your own lunch.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Automation Alley to host awards gala

The Automation Alley 12th Annual Awards Gala is 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 at GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights. The Awards Gala honors technology organizations and their leaders. Pure Michigan is the premier sponsor this year.
Automation Alley has named the finalists for the awards gala with the winners to be announced at the gala.
The Member of the Year finalists are: Rochelle A. Black, Oakland University; Rick Darter, Rave Computer and Laura Oliveto, Basso Design Group.
The Educational Program of the Year finalists are: Blackstone LaunchPad (Walsh College/Wayne State University); Fifth Core World Language and Culture Program (Oxford Community Schools) and Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
The Entrepreneur of the Year finalists are: Gary Abusamra, Oxus America; James F. Eliason, Ph.D., MitoStem and Jake Sigal, Livio Radio.
The Global Trader of the Year finalists are: Dan Kocks, Global Impact Group, MFG; Hortensia Albertini and Lisette Poletes, Global LT, Ltd. and Eli Oklejas, Fluid Equipment Development Co.
The Technology Company of the Year finalists are: Billhighway; GalaxE.Solutions Inc. and Pratt & Miller Engineering and Fabrication, Inc. Tickets are $175 for members and $200 for non-members. To purchase tickets and for more information, call 800-427-5100 or visit www.automationalley.com/

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Business events planned

Sept. 17
Attorney Lisa Schmidt, owner of Ferndale-based Schmidt Law Services, is offering a four-part monthly series of lectures starting in September at the Ferndale Public Library, 222 East 9 Mile Road.
Schmidt, a specialist in Civil Rights, Family, and Criminal Law, will present 45-minute lectures and 15-minute Q & A sessions called “Straight Talk” at monthly workshops starting at 7 p.m. The first is Straight Talk on Free Speech, Monday, Sept. 17; Straight Talk on Freedom of Religion is Oct. 15; Straight Talk on Search and Seizure Laws is Nov. 19 and Straight Talk on Miranda Rights is Dec. 17.
For more information, call Lisa J. Schmidt at 248-764-8584 or visit www.schmidtlawservices.com/.

Sept. 18
The Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a Ca$h Mob at ACO Hardware, 5070 Highland Road at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18. For information, visit www.waterfordchamber.org/.

Sept. 19
The Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce hosts Life is a Balancing Act featuring Karen Phelps is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19 at Overtyme's Fireside Lounge, 4724 Dixie Hwy. Waterford Township. Lunch is included. The cost is $18 for members and $25 for non-members. www.waterfordchamber.org/.

Sept. 20
ALSP’s Eastern Chapter is 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 at Kelly Services headquarters, 999 West Big Beaver Road in Troy. Nonmembers pay $20 for admission. Lunch will be provided by Kelly Law Registry. Register at alsponline.site-ym.com/general/register_member_type.asp/. For more information, call 248-952-0539 or alfassy@kellylawregistry.com.

Sept. 20
FastTrac GrowthVenture is 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 20 through Nov. 29, excluding Nov. 22 at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For pre-registration and more information, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/expand/ or call 248-858-0783. FastTrac GrowthVenture is an intensive, 10-week program designed for owners, CEO's and top management team members of small businesses with at least two years of operating experience, minimum of two employees (W2s), and annual revenue of between $100,000 and $749,000. The program is normally $700 per participant, but is reduced to $140 due to sponsor support.

Sept. 21
Women's Business Certification (WBE) Orientation is 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21 at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For pre-registration and more information, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/expand/ or call 248-858-0783. Women's Business Enterprise (WBE) certificationenefits include certification to private sector WBE's and access to procurement opportunities with major national companies. For more information visit miceed.org. The fee is $25.

Sept. 21
Doing Business in the Middle East
In partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Small Business Administration, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, American Arab Chamber of Commerce, U.S.-Qatar Business Council and Michigan State University, Automation Alley is hosting a conference, "Doing Business in Qatar and United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.): Tiger Economies of the Middle East." The meeting is 8 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21 at Automation Alley Headquarters, 2675 Bellingham, Troy.
This event will focus on the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Qatar and the U.A.E.
The Automation Alley reports that Qatar's dynamic economy has tripled in size since 2005, and Qatar has transformed into the world's wealthiest country, with a GDP per capita of $109,000. Last year, Qatar had the world's second-fastest growing economy, with 18.8 percent GDP growth. Today, Qatar is aggressively channeling its energy wealth toward creating a more diversified economy. The U.S. is Qatar's second-leading importing country.
The cost is $20 for members in advance and $30 at the door. Non-members pay $40 in advance and $50 at the door. For more information and to register, call 800-427-5100 or email info@automationalley.com.

Sept. 27
Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan is 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For pre-registration and more information, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/expand/ or call 248-858-0783. Workshop participants discover the elements commonly found in effective plans and develop these for their own business. The fee is $40.

Sept. 27
QuickBooks Essentials is a two-session workshop: 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For pre-registration and more information, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/expand/ or call 248-858-0783. This introduction to small business financial management provides an overview of accurate recordkeeping, report interpretation and utilization, and management of the variety of tools provided in this system. The cost is $40 for one session and $75.

Sept. 27
Leaders from three sectors share insights on how to harness the power of talent to create a high- performance organization at the Auburn Hills Chamber’s next Talent Townhall Luncheon. Speakers from Plante Moran, the City of Auburn Hills and Bayer Science Materials will educate the business community, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Crown Plaza in Auburn Hills.
Talent Townhall high-performance subject experts include: Jeff Antaya, Chief Marketing Officer of Plante Moran, a company winning Fortune Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” year after year; Pete Auger, City Manager of City of Auburn Hills, a progressive municipality recognized for its innovative service model; and Bruce Benda, Vice President of Bayer Material Science, a 100+ year old science and research company known for its strong corporate culture.
Admission is $32 for members and $40 for non-members. Corporate tables are available and include signage and recognition.  Pre-registration is required through www.auburnhillschamber.com/. For information call 248-853-7862 or email info@auburnhillschamber.com.