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.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Troy chamber hosting Lt. Gov. Brian Calley

The Troy Chamber of Commerce invites area business leaders to "Breakfast with Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley," on Friday, Feb. 28, 8-9:30 a.m., at Meritor, Inc., 2135 W. Maple Road in Troy. The cost to attend is $20 for chamber members and $30 for nonmembers. An additional $5 will be charged to those registering on the day of the event. Space is limited. To register, call 248-641-8151, e-mail: theteam@troychamber.com or visit www.troychamber.com/cal.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Medical Main Street's INNO-VENTION conference is Oct. 21-22

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP – Medical Main Street’s INNO-VENTION 2014 conference is set for Oct. 21- 22.
Now in its third year, the conference will feature an expansion of the overwhelmingly popular Demonstration Alley, with companies exhibiting the latest medical technology innovations. Also expanding will be one-on-one meetings, where attendees can schedule face-to-face meetings with purchasing agents from major health care providers.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Oakland County and the region have created some of the world’s most advanced technologies. I expect this year’s event will be the best we’ve ever had.”
INNO-VENTION 2013 attracted more than 600 health professionals, clinicians, investors and suppliers.
The event features a networking reception on Oct. 21, the popular Commercialization Competition, INNOVATOR of the Year Award and luncheon, and concurrent industry break-out sessions on Oct. 22.
In 2008, Patterson created Medical Main Street with the area's leaders in health care, research and development, education and industry.
The Medical Main Street board includes Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Beaumont Health System, Beckman Coulter Molecular Diagnostics, Crittenton Hospital, DMC Huron Valley Hospital, Ferndale Laboratories, Henry Ford Health Systems, Housey Pharmaceuticals, McLaren Health Care, MichBio, State Rep. Gail Haines, R-Waterford, Oakland Community College, Oakland University, Oxus Inc., Rockwell Medical Technologies, St. John Providence Health System and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland.
For more information, visit MedicalMainStreet.org.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Free online tool shows how to cut debt

People trying to get a handle on their finances now have access to a free online tool that can help.
The Financial Crisis Analyzer at www.financialanalyzer.net/ lets users plug in details about monthly bills such as mortgages or credit cards and ultimately offers options to help reduce debt. It is the brainchild of Bingham Farms attorney Ken Gross.
After an individual completes the online form, an analysis is provided with recommended next steps.
A graduate of Wayne State University’s Law School, Gross also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from WSU. Gross will host a free seminar “How to Eliminate Your Debt and Build Wealth” 7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 25,  at the law office, 30150 Telegraph Road, Suite 360 in Bingham Farms. Attendees receive a free copy of Gross’s book, “Dump Your Debt.”
For more information, call 248-645-1700 or visit financialcrisistalkcenter.com.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Taste of Waterford with Mardi Gras flavor is Feb. 19

The 16th annual Taste of Waterford is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19 at the Oakland Schools Conference Center, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. The theme of the event is Mardi Gras. It features 30 restaurant vendors, live Dixieland band music, fortune tellers, palm readers, acrobats, contortionists, raffle and 50-50, complimentary shuttle service, children's Mardi Gras crafts and prizes for the best guest masks. Call 248-618-7424 or visit www.wcfytaste2014.eventbrite.com. Sponsorships and raffle donation opportunities available.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Divorce filings increase around Valentine's Day

The divorce rate is highest in January and February according to the courts. Divorce filings peak in the weeks after Valentine's Day, a spike of up to 40 percent, according to AVVO.com. Is this because people have unrealistic expectations for love? Or is it because of stress from overspending on the holidays? Maybe it's because of too much togetherness indoors in the winter. Whatever the reason, the following advice could help couples avoid divorce.
For Success in Marriage, Treat It Like a Business
Submitted by Ginny Grimsley of News and Experts
As an immigrant from India who feels blessed to be an American citizen, Sukhjiwan Singh remains puzzled by the divorce rate in the United States, estimated by PolitiFact.com in 2012 to be 40 to 50 percent.
“I come from a time and place in which arranged marriages were common practice – and there was no dating allowed. It seems to me that our society today should have more successful marriages since singles can date here and get to know their future spouse before taking the plunge,” says Singh, CEO of a real estate firm, a mother of two and a happily married wife to her husband of 35 years.
Singh has extensive experience as a counselor to victims of domestic violence, which has piqued her fascination for what works, and what doesn’t work, when searching for a lifelong partner.
“If you truly want to commit your life to a future husband or wife, but haven’t found him or her yet, there are many things you can do to ensure a successful marriage while testing the waters via dating,” say Singh, author of “Marriage and the Love Myth,” (www.authorsukhsingh.com), who offers tips for committing one’s life to the right person.

• Don’t ignore the parallels between business and dating/marriage. Just like marriages, businesses fail all the time. Both demand your best effort and resources, including an inexhaustible amount of time, dedication and, usually, as much money as you can spare. As the fate of your business or romantic relationship goes, so goes your fate. While the experiences of both are often different, both require self-awareness, sound decision-making, and the willingness to give if they are to be successful. Of course, this means finding the right niche in business, or the right person for love…

• Follow the 80-percent rule in terms of compatibility for the “big stuff.” No two people are exactly alike, so where should a single person start measuring compatibility with another? Define the “big stuff,” which may mean religion, culture and ethnicity for some. Another take on big stuff could be personality traits, physical characteristics, social skills and more. Still another take could mean where two people are in life, such as profession and education. Define the big stuff; if you’re compatible on about 80 percent of the list, you should strongly consider purchasing a warranty for a great relationship. In other words, getting married.

• Communication skill – the glue of a lasting relationship. While establishing a relationship, take note of the conversation. Does it flow and is it enjoyable, or do you find yourself bickering frequently? As with a business, you can have the ideal partner or employee who may look stellar on paper, but if you do not work well together, it’s not good for business. The same follows for a sweetheart who may seem perfect in every other way. Make sure communication is a two-way street, and watch out for frequent sarcasm toward you, which is a sign of disrespect. You should be able to talk and listen with care, respect and proper appreciation.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Oakland University hosting annual internship mixer

Oakland University Career Services and Easter Seals are sponsoring the third annual Internship Mixer, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11 at Oakland Center banquet rooms on the Oakland University campus. It is an exploration and networking event to provide internship opportunities for students. The fee has been waived for all employers to attend this event. Some students will be lower level students in an exploratory stage, while others will be higher level students looking to obtain an internship in the near future. This event is meant to include a range of employers who offer positions in various majors and to service current Oakland University students from all class levels. Shuttle service will be provided. Light refreshments will be provided. Register at www.oakland.edu/?id=28597&sid=523 or call Natalie Iscaro at 248-370-3259 or iscaro@oakland.edu.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Realtor presents real estate sales data for Troy

Nico Krohn, a realtor for Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel of Birmingham invites Troy homeowners to attend a Real Estate Market Talk at which she presents home sales data for many Troy subdivisions, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6 in the Troy Community Center, room 301. The talk will cover detailed home sales data in 2013 and trace median home prices over the past seven years. Krohn said that in the past 12 months, home sale prices surpassed pre-recession levels in many Troy subdivisions. In addition to subdivision level stats, she will outline market trends and their potential impact on home prices in the coming months.
For more information, call Krohn at 248-795-3195.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

7 tips for protecting your identity and money

Submitted by Ginny Grimsley of News and Experts

At least 110 million consumers were affected by the hack involving Target and Neiman Marcus retailers. Whether or not millions more will have their identities manipulated and finances ruined within the coming months due to more breaches of security at other stores is anyone’s guess, says identity theft recovery expert Scott A. Merritt.
“By necessity, I became an expert on identity theft. My information was stolen in 2006, and in repairing the damage, I learned some not-so-obvious ways we can all protect against identity theft in the first place,” says Merritt, CEO of Merritt & Associates (scottamerritt.com) and author of  "Identity Theft Do's and Don'ts."
Merritt’s problems began quickly. While disputing financial charges and dealing with resulting business problems, in 2007 he was stopped for a traffic violation and arrested on a false outstanding felony warrant. He immediately knew why.
“I had to enlist my U.S. congressman and convince the state police, NCIC, FBI and Secret Service that I didn’t commit the felonies. For a few years, I had to prove that the prints did not match the false record in question. After legal action, however, I was able to have this corrected.”
Unfortunately, the millions affected by the recent hacks may be dealing with similar repercussions in the years ahead, he says.
Before you become a victim of identity theft, Merritt offers seven ways to guard against it.
• Understand how and where it happens. Identity theft is like being robbed when you are away from home; most thefts occur in places where you do business every day. Either a place of business is robbed, a bad employee acts improperly or a hacker breaches the office through the computer.
• Secure your wallet’s information. Photocopy everything in your wallet: photos, credit cards (front and back), membership cards – everything. Put the copies in the order the cards are arranged in your wallet, staple the pictures and place them in a strong box or safe.
• Make sure your information is consistent. For all of your identity and financial documents, make absolutely sure, to the smallest detail, that all of your personal information is accurate and consistent. Discrepancies such as using your middle initial on some documents, and not others, or having different addresses, can wreck havoc in proving your identity, and can compromise your credit score.
• Secure your digital habits and data. Change your passwords at least twice a year on a non-scheduled basis – don’t be predictable. Have a strong firewall if you shop online, and only access sites that are protected by a strong firewall and high industry standards. Access accounts of a financial nature only from your personal computer.
• Protect your banking information. While in the bank, keep account numbers and other data out of sight, and avoid stating account numbers, Social Security numbers and similar information out loud. When planning a bank visit, have items such as deposits and withdrawal slips prepared in advance.
• Account for your interactions with vendors. Every time you speak to someone with whom you do business, write down the time, date, name and the purpose or outcome of the call. If an identity theft occurs on the vendor’s end, you will be able to reference these prior conversations effectively. Be sure to note any animosity or reluctance from the vendor.
• Don’t carry around your birth certificate or Social Security card. Unless it’s necessary, keep those vital items in a safe, or at least a firebox. If you know someone is going to need a copy of your tax returns or your driver’s license, for example, make the copies ahead of time. This avoids the need for a firm’s employee to leave the room with such information.
“Of course, you can greatly reduce being a victim of such recent hacks that occurred at the major retailers by using cash more often,” he says. “But if you’re going to use credit, use a card from a national bank or a national credit union and never a debit card, no exceptions.”

Scott A. Merritt is the CEO and sole stockholder of Merritt Ventures, Inc., doing business as Merritt & Associates and author of "Identity Theft Do's and Don'ts." He has more than a decade of experience in the real estate industry, financial planning, insurance and investment service. He has an associate degree in pre-law, a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a certificate in computer information systems. He has personally represented himself and won in court hundreds of times to, in part, clear his record from the ravages of identity theft.

Ginny Grimsley
National Print Campaign Manager 
News and Experts
Wesley Chapel, FL 
www.newsandexperts.com

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Women in Communication to share latest PR trends in politics

The Association for Women in Communications Detroit Chapter is hosting a presentation on the latest PR trends in politics at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 18 at the Automotive Industry Action Group, 26200 Lahser Road, Suite 200, Southfield.
Presenters include Christine Bricker D’Angela, Sr. Consultant for Logos Communications, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, CEO for Truscott Rossman, and Graham Davis, Director of Digital Media for Truscott Rossman. These industry pros will share how savvy messaging, innovative strategies and on-line tools help campaigns sway public decision and realize political relevance.
The event includes a light supper and networking. The cost is $25 members, $35 nonmembers, and $20 for students. The program is sponsored by Logos Communications. Register at womcomdetroit.org/events