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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Venture Plan Online series provides pipeline of business resources

Venture Plan Online is an 8-week online workshop on the business planning process sponsored by the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center. This 8-week online program offers online access to small business experts, business planning software, and a valuable pipeline of resources to help business owners complete a business plan. The course is offered several times through the year. The next series starts 11:30 a.m., Feb. 4 and includes a one-hour webinar. The cost is $149. The course is available free to Veterans by calling 616-331-7370. For more information, visit misbtdc.org/venture-plan-online-webinar-series. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Detroit job fair hosting 50 companies, Jan. 30

JobFairGiant.com is hosting Hired in Detroit Job Fair, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30 at the Doubletree Hotel. 5801 Southfield Expressway, Detroit. More than 50 companies will be ready to interview experienced job seekers, veterans, college graduates, industry professionals and entry-level candidates for immediate job placement. Participating companies will hire in the following career fields: Engineering, Manufacturing, Sales, Finance, Banking, Restaurant, Driving, Customer Service, Management, Retail, Information Technology, Machining, Medical and many other career fields.  Candidates should prepare to interview with recruiters onsite interview clothing is mandatory, bring at least 50 resume copies. Companies includes: Morgan Stanley, New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, Match RX, Waddell and Reed, New York Life, Global Information Technology, Rxtra Solutions, H and H Wholesale, Titan Solutions, L&W Group, VED Software Services, WeatherGard, The Art Institute, Dorsey Schools, Rent-A-Center, Speedway, C*Mac Transportation, Walden University, Hendrick Automotive Group and many other local and national employers. Resume writing experts will be onsite to provide free resume evaluations. Visit www.Blog.JobFairGiant.com.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Troy chamber annual meeting to feature session on branding

The Troy Chamber of Commerce annual breakfast meeting is 8 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 30 at the MSU Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake Road, Troy. The chamber will present an informative session on branding, featuring a keynote address, “Helping Your Brand Stand Out from the Crowd,” presented by Jamie A. Michelson, President, Simons Michelson Zieve Advertising. Troy Chamber President Ara Topouzian will share new changes and initiatives for the year. Also, the gavel will be passed from 2013 Board Chair Peter Arvant of Stark Reagan, P.C., to 2014 Board Chair Jordan Kotubey of Area Agency on Aging 1-B.
The cost to attend is $19 for members and $29 for nonmembers. Add $5 on the day of the event. To register, call 248-641-8151 or visit www.troychamber.com/cal.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Automation Alley Global Economic and Industry Outlook conference is Jan. 30

Automation Alley, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the East Michigan District Export Council, will host Global Economic and Industry Outlook for 2014 and Beyond, featuring international business experts discussing the shifting dynamics of globalization. The event is 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at Automation Alley Headquarters, 2675 Bellingham, Troy. The event will include how companies can best position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges of doing business overseas. It will feature case studies from company executives, who will share their firsthand insights about the industries and countries or regions around the world where growth opportunities for small and medium-size companies are particularly strong. Registration begins at 8 a.m. The cost is $20 for members and $40 for nonmembers in advance. Register at www.automationalley.com or call 800-427-5100.

ACE technology business conference is Jan. 30

The 14th annual Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship, (ACE) conference will be held Thursday, Jan. 30 at Burton Manor in Livonia. It is regarded as a prominent technology business conference and is known for its education and engagement of innovative entrepreneurs in the bioscience and technology industries. The conference will host a variety of informational forums focusing on start-ups, one-on-one consulting meetings with industry leaders, and panels highlighting innovation in the state’s urban areas and financing strategies as well as exhibitors. The event will also include an elevator pitch competition, in which innovative start-ups will compete. Admission is $25 in advance. The cost to enter the pitch competition is $25. For more information, visit www.ace-event.org.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mentors in Motion dinner set for Tuesday

STERLING HEIGHTS — Mentors in Motion is 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28 at the Macedonian Cultural Center, 43133 Ryan Road, Sterling Heights. Business development mentors will meet with groups during dinner. The five-course meal includes Chicken Coq Au Vin and Rosemary Roast Beef. The cost is $50 per person and includes the meal and gratuity. For reservations, visit the Quintessential Event Company or call 248-809-9644.

Mentors include:
Don Zavis, Sales Growth Mentor
Don Zavis is an executive with a successful history of taking private and public organizations to new levels of sales and profitability.

Eric J. Vogel, Social Media Mentor
Eric J. Vogel is President of Pillar Social Media (www.pillarsocialmedia.com), a social media marketing agency that started in 2009. They connect businesses with their target market, increase brand awareness, and create customer loyalty through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Wordpress. Eric has been featured as a social media expert by Fox 2 News and more.

​​Terry​​ Crous​o​​​n, Leadership and Business Planning Mentor
Terry Crouson is the owner and head coach at the Growth Coach of West Metro Detroit. He has more than 30 years of experience in working with key business owners in the sales, marketing and direct advertising arena. During his 25 years with the United States Postal Service, he worked with some of America’s largest corporations including General Motors, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, and Amway.

Joe Romero, Business Financing Mentor
Joe Romero is a Senior Business Development Officer with Hennessey Capital, a division of Hitachi Capital America Corp. Romero is an Investment Review Board member of the Macomb-OU Incubator and serves on the Finance Committee for Automation Alley.

Linda Kleist, Branding and Marketing Mentor
Linda Kleist is co-owner of Identity Graphic Design, a graphic design and advertising company since 1993. She has a B.A. from GVSU in Grand Rapids.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Clarkston chamber presents Women in Business luncheons

The Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce presents a series of motivational, educational and inspirational speakers as part of their Women in Business programming luncheons. While designed for women business leaders, these luncheon events held 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. are open to all.
Jan. 28: The first program is Team Building and Training with ComedySportz, to be held Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Fountains Golf & Banquet.
Feb. 25: The next is an interactive training program hosted by one of the region’s leading Improv performance and corporate training troupes. It is Feb. 25 at Andiamo, (formerly Mesquite Creek) in Clarkston. The speaker is Joan Kotcher, author of “Donut Dolly, an American Red Cross Girl’s War in Vietnam.”
March 25: Make the Most of Your Marketing Efforts (And Dollars)  with speaker Cande Tschetter, Ph.D. is March 25 at Deer Lake Athletic Club in Clarkston.
April 29: Cause Related Marketing - How volunteering can build company identity and brand, inspire team work and creativity, market and promote your business is April 29 at Oakhurst Country Club in Clarkston.
Registration is $40 per event (with prepaid reservation) or $50 at the door or purchase all tickets to all three events for $120. Ticket prices includes lunch, and are available from the chamber office at 248-625-8055 or www.clarkston.org.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Nemeth Law P.C. hosts employer labor law awareness series

Raising the Bar, an educational series raising employer awareness of current issues in employment and labor law and and what employers need to do to remain in compliance offered by Detroit-based management side labor and employment law firm Nemeth Law, P.C. Raising the Bar will be held 8:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the Southfield Westin, 1500 Town Center, Southfield. Continental breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. The cost of the event is $60 per person and pre-registration is required. To register, email Pamela Perkowski at pperkowski@nemethlawpc.com or call 313-567-5921.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What to do with unused gift cards

More than $44 billion in gift cards have gone unredeemed since 2005, according to TowerGroup research.
CardHub – the marketplace that allows people to sell any gift card, regardless of denomination or store affiliation – has released its list of 5 Valuable Uses for Unwanted Gift Cards in order to help people make efficient use of their money as well as pay off some of the roughly $33.4 billion in new credit card debt added in 2013.

1.   Sell Them for Cash: An online gift card exchange enables consumers to sell gift cards for cash and fetch up to 95 cents on the dollar in return. CardHub’s gift card exchange is the allows people to sell any gift card at any price without charging any fees. The ability to sell to individuals or respected gift card companies also increases the chance of finding a buyer.

2.   Re-gift: The holiday season isn’t the only time people give gift cards. In fact, holiday sales only account for around a quarter of the gift card market’s annual sales. Most stores allow people to trade in old gift cards for new ones, so there is no need to worry about giving a card bearing outdated branding.

3.   Pay Down Debt: The average household owes roughly $6,700 to credit card companies. And while starting to rack up debt at a slower pace, consumers still added more than $30 billion to the tab in 2013 and are on pace to do the same this year. Any extra money that can be allocated to building an emergency fund or paying down debt should therefore be welcomed, and you can sell unwanted gift cards for cash through a gift card exchange such as that offered by CardHub.

4.   Swap Them: CardHub offers a gift card exchange that incorporates Facebook, thereby allowing consumers to simply swap gift cards with friends, neighbors or colleagues if they so choose.
5.   Donate to charity: Charity organizations usually accept donations in a variety of forms, which may include gift cards. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

4 tips to picking a business meeting place

According to getwist.com CEO Aigerim Shorman, an expert on how to pick the best meeting spots in *|GEOTAG|* and around the U.S., there are four simple steps to pick the best location for a client meeting, prospect pitch, or networking get-together:

1. Gain the home field advantage - Instead of leaving the question of where to meet open-ended in your initial invitation, suggest a meeting place up-front so that it's on your turf.

2. Minimize the hidden cost - Pick a venue that minimizes transportation and parking time (walking is preferable) so that you don't waste your day getting to and from the meeting.

3. Avoid obvious distractions - Steer clear of venues with loud clientele, annoying wait staff, excessive eye candy, or anything else that impedes the focus of the conversation.

4. Break down business barriers - Pick a place that's relaxed, conversational, and friendly, yet still professional. Think artisan coffee shops over mahogany steak houses.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Southfield chamber hosting annual awards breakfast

The Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of Southfield will be hosting “Excellence in Southfield” Awards Breakfast, 7:30 to 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10 to honor those who have demonstrated “best practices” in business leadership and community service. Doug Davis, President of Southfield Chamber Southfield said “As Southfield’s business community gears up for the North American International Auto Show, we’re pleased to announce that our keynote speaker David DeMuth, President and co-CEO of Doner Advertising, will offer his insights on advertising and its impact on re-energizing the
automotive sector of Southeast Michigan.” The cost to attend is $20 per person for members and $25 per person for non-members in advance. For reservations, visit www.southfieldchamber.com or call 248-557-6661.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tips to overcome fear of public speaking

By Marsha Friedman, author of "Celebritize Yourself "
Recently, I was asked to be a panelist for a webinar about using the power of publicity to achieve your goals. The participants asked great questions.
The first: “How do you step into the spotlight when you don’t like the spotlight?”
Getting media attention and speaking engagements goes right to the heart of my book, “Celebritize Yourself.” By boosting your visibility and your credibility, you set yourself apart from your competition and become a trusted authority in your field.
Should you abandon that avenue if you don’t like the spotlight?
Absolutely not.
I was – and still am – that person. I had no desire to seek the spotlight, and even had trepidation about it, but eventually I realized I had to for the sake of my business. 
First I had to figure out why I was so uncomfortable with the idea of being in the spotlight.
The answer for me was simple: The thought of public speaking terrified me. I’d seen wonderful speakers, including my own brother, who could captivate huge audiences and have them hanging on every word. I knew I didn’t have that kind of talent so why bother even trying?
Because, as I came to realize, I had to. I needed to do it in order to grow my business and, on a deeper level, I needed to do it for me. My fear was holding me back – an admission that became increasingly painful as time marched on.
I talked to my brother about the problem. “It comes naturally to you and the other great speakers I’ve seen,” I told him. “But it doesn’t come naturally to me!”
His response surprised me.
“No, it doesn’t all come naturally,” he said. “I had to work at it.”
For years, he spoke to small audiences at seminars. They proved an ideal training ground. He critiqued himself and got feedback from others so that he could constantly polish his delivery.
So, first tip: Start small. Give yourself time to get used to the spotlight.

Here are a few more tips for public speaking.
• Know your material. You won’t feel comfortable speaking if you don’t thoroughly know your material. How do actors and Olympic athletes make their feats look so easy? They practice. That doesn’t mean memorizing a speech, which can lack enthusiasm and leaves little room for spontaneity. Know your key talking points, the anecdotes or other means you’ll use to illustrate them, and how you will smoothly segue from one point to the next.
• Energize. Positive energy is contagious – if you’re upbeat, excited and passionate about your message, chances are, your audience will be, too. And you’ll be surprised about the positive cycle that creates: An enthusiastic audience can pump up your energy even more. Use hand gestures to illustrate points and, when appropriate, smile, smile, smile.
• Make eye contact. Find friendly, receptive faces in the audience and speak to them. Making eye contact with individuals helps prevent you staring off into the distance or reading from notes. It also helps make you feel like you’re engaging in a conversation rather than speaking to a group. I’ve found that visually touching base with engaged audience members gives me little shots of confidence that help propel me through my presentation.
• Look your best. When you look great you feel great and that makes you stand taller and exude confidence. Speaking engagements aren’t the best place to break in a new outfit (who knows what wardrobe malfunctions might surprise you?) Instead wear clothing and shoes you feel good in and that are appropriate to the setting – you can’t go wrong with business formal. Simple is fine, but you should look crisp and polished from head to toe.
A fear of the spotlight shouldn’t prevent you from getting the visibility and credibility that can build your brand and your business. Remember – you’re not alone. The fear of public speaking is said to be one of the top 10 worldwide.
If I can overcome it, so can you.

About Marsha Friedman: Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to businesses, professional firms, entertainers and authors. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3 p.m. EST. Follow her on Twitter:@marshafriedman.

Submitted by Ginny Grimsley, News and Experts of Wesley Chapel, Fl, www.newsandexperts.com




Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dale Carnegie leadership training to offer sample sessions

Dale Carnegie's leadership training teaches professionals to sharpen skills and improve performance. The organization is hosting free sessions to sample the Dale Carnegie experience, 6 to 10 p.m. Monday Jan. 13 at Dale Carnegie's Novi Training Center, 41650 Gardenbrook Suite 190 in Novi or 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday Jan. 23 at the Embassy Suites, 850 Tower Drive in Troy. 
Call Lynda Berge at 248-380-7000 to register. Visit dalecarnegie.com/