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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How entrepreneurs can increase profit with a hands-off approach

Submitted by Ginny Grimsley, newsandexperts.com

It’s a common occurrence in the corporate world – highly skilled and qualified workers make the leap from valued employee to uncertain business owner.
Unfortunately, rather than becoming a master of their own business, many of these entrepreneurs work twice as much as they did in their safe corporate job, unwittingly committing themselves to becoming the lowest rung on the ladder, says Zenovia Andrews, founder and CEO of The MaxOut Group, a company devoted to empowering and teaching entrepreneurs development strategies to increase profits.
“People believe that starting a new business is supposed to mean they’ll have to work much longer hours, and that’s why most new businesses fail early,” says Andrews, author of the new book “All Systems Go – A Solid Blueprint to Build Business and Maximize Cash Flow,” www.zenoviaandrews.com.
“Entrepreneurs need to be the brains and oversight of the operation. It’s not wise to work for your own business. Sixteen-hour days get entrepreneurs lost in the minutiae. The lose perspective and burn out.”
Business owners need distance for perspective, and the best way to create that is by knowing how to delegate duties to employees, she says.
“Owners need to be the strategic visionary who hires, trains and develops the best talent available, and then delegates work,” says Andrews, who discusses the five keys of delegation.

1. Understand that your team is made up of human beings. No one can work nonstop, so get your timing right. Know what each employee can handle, and never overwork them. Most people perform at their best when they are consistently busy but not rushed or pressured.

2. Focus on the strengths of your team. Delegation is not a dump-and-run tactic. Know your employees and how they fit into your business puzzle. Allow them to do what they do well, and give them responsibilities and authority. They’ll be happier and so will you.

3.  Focus on your own strengths, then plug the holes. Few of us are great at everything! If bookkeeping’s not your thing, hire an accountant. If you don’t have marketing experience, find someone with proven skills. Trying to perform jobs that you don’t do well will require twice as much effort with less-than-satisfactory results.

4. Be the resource king or queen. Your employees are only as good as the resources they have. Make sure that they are equipped to always do the best work for you on a daily basis. Running out of stock, not having new software and not shelling out for that desperately need printer is NOT good delegation.

5.  Become the fire, ice and motivation behind your team. When they need guidance, give it to them; when they need appreciation, offer it to them. Inspire, motivate and lead by supporting your delegated decisions and following up on them often.

“Business owners need to be the big thinkers: to identify patterns both good and bad; to become an idea machine and testing fanatic; to fill out details from outlined strategy; to be aware of market trends; to always have one eye on the competition; and to develop an instinct for the people with whom you like to work,” Andrews says.

About Zenovia AndrewsZenovia Andrews, www.zenoviaandrews.com, is a business development strategist with extensive experience in corporate training, performance management, leadership development and sales consulting with international clients, including Pfizer, Inc. and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. A sought-after speaker and radio/TV personality, she is the author of “All Systems Go” and “MAXOut: I Want It All.”

Monday, June 23, 2014

Oakland County Job Expo boasts 500 job openings

Job Fair Giant is hosting Auburn Hills/Pontiac Job Expo at the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac, 3600 Centerpointe Parkway, Pontiac, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, June 27. More than 50 Michigan employers want to fill 500 positions. The expo, will feature a free job workshop and job fair - potential candidates can connect with employers to experience the perfect job interview. Job applicants will participate in 20-minute interviews with local and national recruiters. Throughout the day several free job workshops will be held. Participating companies have positions available in several career fields including but not limited to Engineering, Information Technology, Skilled Trades, Manufacturing, Production, Industrial, General Labor, Customer Services, Retail, Management, Restaurant, Accounting, Banking, Office Support, Clerical, Data Entry, Call Center, Installation, Technical, Machining, Electrical, Mortgage, Financial Planning, Insurance, Education, Truck Driving, Real Estate, Nursing, Rehabilitation, Human Services, and more.
Register at JobFairGiant.com.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It pays to play dumb sometimes

Submitted by Dottie DeHart, DeHart & Company Public Relations, dehartandcompany.com

Communication consultant Geoffrey Tumlin explains why the best thing to say can sometimes be nothing at all and how you can use this tool to your advantage.

New York, NY —It’s difficult to watch the evening headlines or scroll through a news website without seeing that a politician, celebrity, athlete, or business leader is in the spotlight for saying something stupid. Sure, you might laugh—or wince—at these gaffes and wonder aloud why anyone would ever think saying that was a good idea. But secretly, a part of you may sympathize with the clueless celebrity or the foot-in-mouth politician.

Yes, dumb statements are a fact of life—but according to communication consultant Geoffrey Tumlin, you can reduce the negative impact of someone else’s dumb statements by playing dumb yourself.
“Playing dumb means that you pretend like you didn’t see it or hear it when another person does or says something ill advised,” says Tumlin, author of the new book Stop Talking, Start Communicating: Counterintuitive Secrets to Success in Business and in Life (McGraw-Hill, August 2013, ISBN: 978-0-0718130-4-4, $20.00, www.tumlin.com). “This strategy benefits you, the other person, and the underlying relationship.”
Specifically, Tumlin explains, playing dumb allows your conversational partner time to self-correct (e.g., “That’s not what I meant” or “I can’t believe I just said that, sorry”) after an ill-conceived statement. 
Tumlin shares seven rules to help you smarten up by playing dumb when you see or hear something stupid:
Put on your best poker face… When an I-can’t-believe-she-just-said-that moment happens, your first instinct is probably to react physically: You might roll your eyes, sigh, raise your eyebrows, or even throw your hands in the air. But remember: Actions speak just like words, so if you’re serious about defusing the episode instead of escalating it, you’ll need to pretend that you’re competing in the World Series of Poker.
…but don’t overplay your hand. Making an effort not to react to a dumb statement is considerate—but don’t take the act too far. Remember, you’re in the midst of a real-life interaction, not an after-dinner game of Charades, so you need to make sure your “performance” is believable.
“Be inconspicuous,” comments Tumlin. “If you oversell your dumbness by acting totally clueless or befuddled like one of the Three Stooges, you’ll draw unwanted attention to your actions. You may even cause the other person to double down on her unproductive words, repeating them in an attempt to help you understand. Remember, dumbness works best when you subtly allow the other person to walk back from her ill-advised words.”
Muzzle your inner know-it-all. It’s human nature to want to be right. However, the urge to prove another person wrong often gets people into hot water and torpedoes conversations. Correcting another person can spark arguments, damage the way he perceives you, and harm the underlying relationship. Remember, nobody likes a know-it-all, and nobody likes being contradicted.
“Unless something crucial hangs in the balance, if you hear someone misquote a statistic, mangle a story, or make a logical error, don’t whip out your smartphone and start searching the Internet to prove her wrong,” instructs Tumlin. “And when someone lays a goofy conspiracy theory or profoundly loopy worldview on you, don’t treat it as your moral obligation to set him straight. Playing dumb means letting go of the need to be right about everything.”
Don’t expect it to be easy. Playing dumb sounds simple: Just don’t react. And it yields compelling relational benefits. But despite its usefulness, don’t expect playing dumb to be easy. According to Tumlin, it’s often difficult to override your instincts—and your desire—to respond with comebacks, criticisms, and corrections.
“Playing dumb is challenging because we feel obligated to respond when spoken to or to reply when we receive a message,” Tumlin comments. Playing dumb requires us to resist the urge to reply.
“Playing dumb is also difficult because, frankly, we like to pin the tail on the donkey. We get guilty pleasure when we hold someone to their illogical and goofy words, even though this is totally counterproductive.
Don’t play dumb too often. There’s a line between playing dumb for relational harmony and playing dumb because you are in denial about a clear and present relational problem. If you find yourself playing dumb frequently, it may be a warning sign of a larger issue that you need to address.
“Fundamentally, playing dumb involves a tradeoff: We sacrifice part of a conversation in the short term in order to preserve an underlying relationship,” explains Tumlin. “Don’t misuse the technique to avoid important relational issues. There are other communication tools to help you handle relationship problems.”
Don’t feed the fire. Tumlin says it’s easiest and best when your silence and intentional gaps provide enough room for someone to self-correct. But you can play dumb and still talk, as long as you don’t add anything to the conversation that redirects attention back to the offending words. If you feel like you need to say something after your conversational partner says something stupid, you can use neutral continuers like um-hum, I see, okay, or I hear you.
“There’s a danger that the other person will hear your neutrality as a tacit approval of his statements, so use them selectively and exert your right to remain completely silent when you hear something so offensive that you don’t feel comfortable being neutral,” Tumlin advises. “If your conversational partner asks about your lack of reaction, you can say you have nothing to add, politely request a topic switch, or just start talking about something else.”
Pick and choose your targets. Tumlin advises you to build a mental list of people with whom you might need to make a special effort to play dumb, so that when you interact with them you can remind yourself beforehand to keep your reactions on a leash.
“You might find that it’s beneficial to play dumb more consistently with bosses, key clients, and important colleagues, where you have less leverage to alter their behavior,” Tumlin suggests. “You might also choose to play dumb with older relatives who have a penchant for saying things that drive you crazy but don’t really harm you.
“In these cases, your long-term strategy might be to listen and comment when necessary, without adding anything substantive, or you could change the underlying conditions to limit the instances of problematic communication,” he says. “If a key client tends to make off-color jokes after a couple of happy-hour cocktails, start inviting him to breakfast instead. Or if Aunt Sarah can’t resist criticizing your housekeeping every time she comes over, try to visit at her home instead.”

About the Author:
Geoffrey Tumlin is the author of Stop Talking, Start Communicating: Counterintuitive Secrets to Success in Business and in Life. He is the founder and CEO of Mouthpeace Consulting LLC, a communication consulting company; president of On-Demand Leadership, a leadership development company; and founder and board chair of Critical Skills Nonprofit, a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to providing communication and leadership skills training to chronically underserved populations.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Auburn Hills chamber to host ‘Sharpen the Saw’ on social media trends

ROCHESTER HILLS — Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce’s Sharpen the Saw event is 8 to 10 am. Wednesday, June 25 at OU INC,Golfview Lane, Rochester. Sharpen the Saw, presented by Media Genesis President Antoine Dubeauclard, will educate members about the top five social outlets, social media trends and patterns, best practices, and content management strategies. This event is free for members and $10 for non-members. Program sponsors include Faurecia, DBusiness, Oakland University, and Cornerstone Community Financial. Waterhouse Photography is the Hospitality Sponsor. Visit auburnhillschamber.com or call 248-853-7862 or email info@auburnhillschamber.com.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Report: Tips for college grads with debt

The Pew Research Center of Washington D.C. released a report indicating that college-educated young adults without debt have a median net worth that is seven times higher than those with college debt.
Here's the report: pewsocialtrends.org/

Dennis Fiore, General Agent at MassMutual Michigan Metro, of Farmington Hills offers these tips for recent grads to consider:

* Make a budget that includes all expenses – Expenses fall into three categories: fixed, flexible and discretionary. Sit down and review all of your monthly costs, from meals to rent payments, and identify which category they fall in. From there, you can allocate funds to each area.
* Borrow or swap – Before making a purchase, ask a friend or relative if you can borrow or swap for a similar item. This especially holds true for items you may use only once or very few times. Looking to update your wardrobe? Ask a friend to swap outfits, doubling each other’s wardrobes instantly.
* Keep living at home – Rent is a huge expense. If you’re moving away from your home town to work, it’s unavoidable. But if your first job is close to home, consider asking if you can move in with your parents for the first year or two to save on expenses. Use the money you’re able to save during that time to make larger payments toward your student loans to pay them down quicker.
* Avoid credit card debt – Post-graduation is a crucial point that will help determine your credit-score for years to come. Younger generations have close to $5,000 in credit card debt, according to a MassMutual study. To keep credit card debt in check, only use one or two cards at a time with limits that aren’t high, and pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest.
* Ask for a raise – Once you have established a solid foundation at your job, usually around the one-year mark, raise your hand and ask for a raise. Be sure to approach your supervisor prepared, both with how much more you want and why you deserve it.

For more information, visit www.massmutual.com/

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Troy chamber to host business expo, June 24

TROY — The Troy Chamber continues its CEO Series in June with United Shore Financial Services’s President/CEO Mat Ishbia delivering the keynote address at its membership luncheon on Tuesday, June 24 at the Somerset Inn. The event will begin with a mini business expo and networking at 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch and keynote address from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost to attend this luncheon is $28 for Troy Chamber members, $38 for non-members. To be an exhibitor at the event, the cost is $100 and includes one lunch. To register, call 248-641-8151, email theteam@troychamber.com or visit www.troychamber.com/events.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Women in Leadership summit is June 20

WATERFORD TWP. — Oakland County Employment Diversity Council and Michigan Works Oakland are hosting Women in Leadership Summit, 9 a.m. Friday, June 20 at The Oakland Intermediate School District Conference Center, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. The Forum will feature a special civil rights presentation by historian and author Judith Levin Cantor. Keynote speaker is Nipa Shah, founder and CEO of Jensys Group, LLC. The event fee includes lunch. Single tickets are $50 each. For more information contact Joi Cunningham or Willetrea Washington at 248-736-8865 or email washlwocedc@gmail.com or register online at www.ocedc.net.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

51 years later, still unequal pay

LANSING - It was 51 years ago today, June 10, when the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed. Despite the decades of progress on demanding equal pay for equal work, women still make 77 cents for every dollar that men earn at the same job. 
Democratic activists are rallying for a day of action, today, by holding a bake sale where women will be charged 75 cents while men will be charged $1.00. Proceeds will go to a local charity.
It is called a Day of Action on Equal Pay: (Not)Equal Pay Bake Sale, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Amici's Gourmet Pizza and Living Room, 3249 12 Mile Road, Berkley.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

How to get your business featured in The Oakland Press

The Oakland Press is seeking Oakland County businesses to feature. To be considered, send an email with a photo of people at your business (owner, manager, etc.) to kathy.blake@oakpress.com.
Please include information that identifies all people in the photo from left to right and where the photo was taken.
You will receive a reply with a questionnaire to fill out and submit.
Next, your business Q&A and photo will be considered for publication in The Oakland Press newspaper and on the website, as space permits.
You may also fill out and submit questionnaire here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Oakland County hosts free Capital Raise workshop

Capital Raise, a workshop for startup or early-stage growth-based businesses looking for funding, presented by capital expert, Mike Brennan is 9:30 am-11 a.m. Thursday, June 5 at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. The workshop is free. Registration required, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/expand or call 248-858-0783.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Women business owners to host fashion show at Somerset Collection

TROY — The National Association of Women Business Owners – Greater Detroit Chapter (NAWBO-GDC) and sponsor Macy’s team up to provide women business owners with a runway experience to remember. The organization’s 2nd annual meeting and fashion show entitled “Runway To Success” will be held on Thursday, June 12 at the Somerset Collection, starting at 5 p.m. The evening of fun and fashion will feature the latest fashion trends, introduce the 2014-2015 board of directors as well as recognize outstanding member contributions for the 2013-2014 year. The event festivities will take place at the Somerset Collection Mall Community Room third level - north side of the mall, at 2800 West Big Beaver Road in Troy.
The program will also feature representatives from NAWBO 2014 corporate sponsor’s — Comerica Bank and Sam’s Club — among others, modeling the latest fashion trends. The event starts with a networking reception, followed by the fashion show from 6-7 p.m, which will be located on the 2nd level of Macy’s at Somerset Collection. Tickets for NAWBO-GDC Members are $60 and for non-members $85. With the purchase of admission, each attendee will receive a $25 Macy’s gift card. A private store shopping experience will conclude the evening’s program. Registration is required, visit www.nawbogdc.org. Sponsorship opportunities are available, contact Adriene Bruce at abruce@180degreesnorth.com.