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, November 30, 2011

Tips for attending business holiday parties

by Doug Brown of ASTI Environmental of Brighton.I would like to share  some helpful tips on how to attend a Business Holiday Party and what pitfalls to avoid.  I am a bit of an expert as I have broken just about every rule I will cite:
Notice the first word in Business Holiday Party is Business. Your goal is to get a business opportunity not "win the party."

1. Leave the cellphone/Droid/iPad/Blackberry/iPad/iPhone/iMac/.
2. Bring your own name badge. Yes this sounds a little weird, but if the adhesive or clamp on the back of your name badge has ever ruined your clothes you know what I mean. Your name sloppily handwritten with a heavy black sharpie does not make a good first impression either.
3. My mom always said to stay away from religion, cars and politics when trying to be a good conversationalist and my mother was always right.  Quoting Rush Limbaugh or Rachel Maddow will not win you many friends.
4. Watch the drinks — no one does business with the life of the party they are merely amused by them. If it's cocktails only, drink ginger ale or club soda and let 'em wonder what's really in your glass.
5. Unless you are Will Ferrell don't try to be funny — you are at a business meeting trying to make a professional connection that can help grow your business.
6. Arrive early/leave early. The host (or your desired target) will be accessible early in the evening and you will have access to a decision-maker before it gets crowded.
7. Forget what your mother told you and talk to strangers. Engage the first person you make eye contact with in a conversation and see where it takes you. Their is nothing worse than hovering around "Mr./Ms. Big" waiting to lay your witty line on them along with everyone else.
8. As for eye contact, don't let your eyes wander around the room looking for a "better" contact — have the courtesy to give your undivided attention.  Excuse yourself politely if the conversation is strained or they are not a suitable target for business.
9. Be a good listener — people are often more impressed and will open up when you pay attention to what they have to say (feign attention if they are boring the bejesus out of you).
10. If an opportunity presents itself, wait until your conversation ends then find a quiet place to write down as many details from your conversation as you can on the back of the individual's business card or a index card, yes it sounds crazy but it works. If you do not recap the conversation at that moment you will mess it up the next morning when you try to reconstruct the conversation.
While you are at it try to write down the folks you chatted with even if you didn't get their business card.
11. Drop all contacts a hand written note (not an email) the next day and include your business card (assume they lost it or "mistakenly" pitched it).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holidays may not be slow for jobs

Plante Moran Director of Recruiting notes uptick in hiring trends for its professional practices             
“The Holidays are Not a Slow Time for Job Offers”

Southfield - Plante Moran, the nation’s 12th largest public accounting and business advisory firm, is seeing an uptick in hiring, according to Paula Frerichs, the firm’s director of recruiting.
“We are seeing increased hiring needs at Plante Moran and hearing about growing employment demands from peer firms as well. This corresponds with recent national statistics pegging unemployment among accounting professionals at only 3.5 percent,” notes Frerichs.
Plante Moran has 135 firm-wide accounting, tax and management consulting interns and entry-level staff, hired from on-campus spring and fall recruiting, scheduled to begin in January 2012. This is not a record number according to Frerichs but is closer to peak recruitment levels than recent years. From an experienced hire perspective, the firm openings are at a three year high and Frerichs senses a positive employment trend overall. She adds that there are several opportunities in the specialized management consulting fields, in addition to the more traditional audit and tax roles. 
“The majority of our open positions are for experienced personnel with highly specialized knowledge in niche accounting, finance and consulting areas,” offers Frerichs. “These openings are the result of continued firm growth and new or expanded areas of business expertise that are seeing demand increase nationally; they include technology, strategy, enterprise risk and investments.” 
Heading into the holiday season, Frerichs debunks the myth that companies don’t hire over the holidays.
“For companies in active hiring mode, recruiting doesn’t take a holiday. The only difference may be a longer lapse between acceptance of the offer and the actual start date. Most December hires do not come on board until the new year,” explains Frerichs.

About Plante Moran, PLLC
Plante Moran is among the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with tax, audit, risk management, financial, technology, business consulting, and wealth management services.  Plante Moran has a staff of more than 1,600 professionals in 21 offices throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois, with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico and Mumbai, India.  Plante Moran has been recognized by a number of organizations, including FORTUNE magazine, as one of the country’s best places to work. For more information, visit

Submitted by Barbara Fornasiero
EAFocus, Inc.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Landing a job at 50 and up

 If you're over 50 and job hunting, you know that it can be particularly tough sledding, and you need a thick hide.
Here are five key steps for snagging a potential employer's interest and landing an interview. They come from Tucker Mays and Bob Sloane, who are the principals of OptiMarket, an executive job search coaching firm.

They also are co-authors of the book, Fired at 50: How to Overcome the Greatest Executive Job Search Challenge.

   1. Address the age issue and don't be defensive. Offer examples in your career history that reinforce your “agelessness" by offering examples of your ability to solve problems, manage people, exercise good judgment and offer leadership.
   2. Show you are flexible. Describe how you have modified your approach to fit different challenges and varied business cultures. Talk about the times you've had to adjust to changing priorities, make quick decisions with limited information, produce with fewer resources, and manage individuals on a team that did not report to you.
   3. Cite your success working for a younger boss. Talk about times when you enabled a younger boss or bosses to succeed, grow and advance their careers. You will be less likely to be considered a threat when you demonstrate that you respect authority and are committed to advancing the career of younger supervisors -- as well as advancing your own career.
   4. Be flexible about pay. Be willing to accept less salary up front in exchange for a greater performance-based bonus and or equity. When asked what your salary requirements are, mention that once you learn more about the job requirements and the company’s full compensation structure (salary, bonus, profit sharing, perks, equity etc) you will be in a better position to answer. Also, say that given your strong interest in the job, you will be flexible and are confident that you will reach an agreement comfortable for both parties.
   5. Demonstrate that you are entrepreneurial. Stress your ability to combine large company experience with small company skills.

From the Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Thursday, November 17, 2011

5 ways to show thanks to your employees during holidays

Foxboro, MA—In a perfect world, we’d all be looking forward to the holiday season without anxiety. Unfortunately, for most employees, that isn’t even close to being the case. Times have been tough, and for several years, workers have been stretched thin as they try to do more with less. They’re feeling discouraged, tired, and perpetually stressed, and to make matters worse, many individuals are worried about the higher-than-usual personal expenses associated with the upcoming holiday season. As an employer, you might want to thank and reward your people for their hard work with a raise or holiday bonus…if only you had the funds.
While you can’t distribute money you don’t have, according to Todd Patkin, you can take decisive steps to make your employees feel happier and more appreciated. And all you have to do is tap into the Thanksgiving spirit.
 “People will never admit it, but money is not the thing they desire most from their work. Instead, showing appreciation, respect, and, yes, even love are the three most important ways to make your people feel great about their work,” points out Patkin, author of the new book "Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In."
 Five of Patkin’s show-the-love strategies that you can use to say “thanks for a job well done!” to any employee, any time…without spending a cent:
1. Writing and sending a thank-you note
is standard practice when you receive a gift. When you notice that an individual has done an excellent job or has achieved an important goal, send a specific handwritten (not typed!) note conveying your most sincere appreciation and admiration.
“When you’re a leader, you’re busy and often overwhelmed,” Patkin acknowledges. “It’s understandable that you might overlook saying the words ‘thank you,’ much less writing them. Remember, though, that positive reinforcement and sincere gratitude will increase the respect your team has for you and will improve their opinion of your entire organization. Also, it will encourage them to likewise say ‘thank you’ more often to their own subordinates within your company.
2. Distribute inspiration. Our society tends to think of work as a place of drudgery, obligation, and boredom, as exemplified in the now-iconic movie Office Space. People certainly don’t think of receiving inspiration and rejuvenation between nine and five. According to Patkin, though, buoying your team’s spirits should be one of your daily goals. If you help them to see the world as a sunnier place and to improve their attitudes and ways of thinking about their entire lives, their professional and personal productivity will increase too.
3. Tell success stories. Even if they brush off praise or downplay their achievements, everybody loves to be recognized and complimented. When someone in your organization has done something great, tell her that you noticed her outstanding work, and tell the rest of the team, too! Whether correctly or incorrectly, many employees feel that their leaders take them for granted and only point out their mistakes, so make it your daily mission to prove that perception wrong.
4. Identify stars. According to Patkin, identifying stars is taking the concept behind telling success stories to the next level. Yes, recognize achievements whenever you see them, but also make celebrating your stars a regular event. Sure, some team members will roll their eyes at “Employee of the Week/Month” programs, but you can rest assured that no one is going to turn down this honor. “Instead of singling out just one person, you might even consider recognizing multiple individuals every month,” Patkin suggests.
5. Make it a family affair. Whenever possible, engage your employees’ families when praising them. Having a leader validate all the hours each team member spends at work will be remembered far longer than a bonus (really!). Plus, when spouses and kids know what Mom or Dad does at work and are “on board” with it, your employee’s performance will be buoyed by support from the ones he or she loves the most.
“For example, if an employee did something really tremendous, I would call his home, generally trying to get the answering machine and not a person,” Patkin shares. “Then I’d leave a voicemail like this one:

About the Author:
Todd Patkin grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. After graduating from Tufts University, he joined the family business and spent the next eighteen years helping to grow it to new heights. After it was purchased by Advance Auto Parts in 2005, he was free to focus on his main passions: philanthropy and giving back to the community, spending time with family and friends, and helping more people learn how to be happy. Todd lives with his wonderful wife, Yadira, their amazing son, Josh, and two great dogs, Tucker and Hunter.

About the Book:
Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In (StepWise Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-9658261-9-8, $19.95, is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and at

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oakland County chambers come together, Nov. 30

The Troy Chamber of Commerce is hosting a county-wide chamber networking event, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at Tre Monti Ristorante, 1695 E. Big Beaver Road in Troy. The event, sponsored by Paesano Akkashian, P.C., includes appetizers/cash bar. The cost is $10 for members of Oakland County chambers and $25 for non-members. For reservations, call 248-641-8151, email or

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Top Ten Fundraising Tips

by Darian Rodriguez Heyman, former executive director of the Craigslist Foundation. He will speak at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at Nonprofit Enterprise at Work Inc. (NEW), Get Connected event in Detroit. 

1. How to get your board involved in fundraising:  Stage a board member thank-a-thon.Tons of nonprofits experience frustration with getting their boards to fundraise; in  fact, it’s the second biggest reasons why executive directors  leave their posts according to CompassPoint’s “Daring to Lead” study. Any easy way to give board members a chance to dip their toes in the waters of donor engagement is staging a thank-athon. The key is to make it easy for board members to participate, and to help them understand that fundraising is much more than making an ask. This will also help to improve relationships with your donors, who will be delighted to receive a thank you call without an attached ask.

2.  How to increase your chances of getting a grant: Never apply for a grant without contacting the foundation first
As much as you might want to believe that grants are awarded simply due to the fit of the program and the excellence of the application, it simply isn’t true. In fact in our experience the odds of getting a grant that you send in without contacting the foundation are about 5-10%. Just as in individual (and all!) fundraising, developing relationships is critical. Program officers care deeply about the work they are funding and consider it an advantage to be able to scope out potential grantees.

3. How to secure a donation: Make specific and direct asks for moneyPeople give because they are asked –- if you don’t ask, the answer will always be “no.” It can be tough to look someone in the eyes and ask for money, but somewhere in your pitch, some variation of the words, “I’d like to invite you to invest $100 in our work” need to find their place, ideally followed by as long a pause as it takes to get an answer.  Ask with pride for the cause you are so committed to raising money for, and be honored to be the potential bridge for that donor from need to impact -- donation to solution.

4. How to build loyal, happy donors: Map donations to impactPeople don’t give to you because you have needs; they give to you because you meet needs. Donors and prospects don’t want to hear about the woes of the economy or your organizational struggles — no one wants to join a sinking ship. Instead, they want to know exactly where their donation will go, or has gone, and what impact your work is having on their community and the issues they care about. Use the power of personal stories to demonstrate how critical and important their support is to your work. Emphasize impact and stories in all your communications with donors, both in person and in your written materials.

AFP National Philanthropy Day Dinner is 5:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 at Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center – Renaissance Ballroom 400 Renaissance Dr., Detroit.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 20th annual dinner to recognize award recipients for exceptional philanthropic contributions and commitment to enhancing Southeastern Michigan. 

Detroit4Detroit is a movement of Detroit citizens, each committed to leading a critical community project in Detroit. Every project is 100% Detroit and defined by the needs of Detroit. Over the next year, Detroit4Detroit will bring 150 passionate Detroit citizens together and give them the tools and support to mobilize their friends, family, and social networks to complete 150 high-impact community projects. Detroit4Detroit is currently looking for five non-profit partners to provide these projects.
Partners need to be registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits who have been working within the city limits of Detroit for at least three years. For information, visit

For more information, visit Nonprofit Enterprise at Work Inc.

(These tips are excerpts from handbook edited by Heyman:  Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Auburn Hills chamber seeks nominations for awards

The Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce will join with local business leaders to celebrate 20 years of community engagement with an awards dinner at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Lake Orion 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. As a part of this event, the Auburn Hills Chamber is currently accepting nominations for six awards including:
Blue Cross Blue Shield Business of the Year Award- Honoring a business of any size that has demonstrated substantial growth, prosperity, distinctiveness or leadership this year.
Employee of the Year Award- Celebrating the best and brightest in the community; demonstrated through hard work, accomplishment and contribution.
OU INC and the School of Engineering and Computer Science Innovator of the Year Award- Provide the best example of innovation among the membership as expressed through cutting-edge technology or creative processes, systems or products.
Crittenton Hospital Best in Community Award- Recognize the organization that has contributed the most to the Auburn Hills community.
Legacy Award- Open to one of our 20-year members, honoring their long-term support and contribution to the Auburn Hills Chamber of Chamber.
Ambassador of the Year Award- honoring a part of our own ambassador team who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to better represent their company and the chamber.
Nominations will be accepted through Thursday, Nov. 10. Self-nominations are welcome. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
To register, visit or call the Chamber at 248-853-7862. Tickets are $45 for members and $60 for non-members.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Panel discusses joint ventures, Tuesday

Association for Corporate Growth Detroit Chapter will host a meeting on the pros and cons of joint ventures, 7 to 9 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Glen Oaks Golf Club, 30500 W. Thirteen Mile Road, Farmington Hills. A panel of experts, including Bob Coury, managing director, Deloitte Corporate Finance, LLC. will provide real world experiences in organizing domestic and international joint ventures. The cost is $25 for Corporate Growth members and $45 for guests. The cost includes a hot breakfast. To register, contact Sharon Kimble at 877-894-2754 or visit

Building customer loyalty
A seminar titled “How to Measure & Build Customer Loyalty” will be presented by Robert Carlstedt, President of Birch International Ltd. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 8 at Rochester First Assembly of God, 4435 North Rochester Road, Rochester. The seminar is free and includes a pizza and soft drink meal. For information, call 248 652-3353 ext 322. Visit

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Helpful business workshops held in Troy

Nov. 8: Sales seminar
Automation Alley hosts a sales seminar called "Fill your pipeline, feed your success," 8:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Automation Alley Headquarters, 2675 Bellingham, Troy. The cost is $20 in advance and $30 at the door $30 for members. It is $40 in advance and $50 at the door for nonmembers. Call 800-427-5100 or visit

Nov. 16: Writing press releases
A workshop on writing effective press releases presented by Matt Friedman of Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications is 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Automation Alley Headquarters, 2675 Bellingham, Troy. Call 800-427-5100 or visit

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Upcoming business events

Nov. 2: Social media

A workshop to help businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals develop social media programs is 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Nov. 2 at Vogel Social Media, 1500 N. Stephenson Highway, Suite 235, Royal Oak. Eric Vogel, president of Vogel Social Media, and Colin McConnell, president of Biz Match Connect will conduct the workshop's three sessions. The first will be an overview of social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It will be followed by two detailed sessions on how to use Facebook and LinkedIn. Refreshments will be served. The fee for the workshop is $60. Register in advance at or call 248-562-7685 or at the door.

Nov. 2: Walsh College president to speak at Influential Women

 Stephanie Bergeron President and CEO, Walsh College will be the featured guest speaker for the Influential Women Series is 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2, at The Community House, 380 South Bates Street, Birmingham. Her topic is “Shifting gears from ‘car guy’ to college president: Recognize the signs on your career road—and enjoy the ride!” Influential Women is sponsored by Raymond James & Associates. The series is open to the public. The event charge is $16 in advance, $20 at the door, and includes a light breakfast. For reservations, call The Community House at 248-644-5832, or visit

Nov. 3: Chamber holiday extravaganza

The Women’s Business Forum of the Troy Chamber presents its annual Simply Shopping event at The Somerset Collection, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3. Start the day on the north side where you can drop off donations of clean, gently-used business attire for charity. This year, men and women’s professional clothing will be accepted by Jackets for Jobs, Inc. (a Michigan WORKS! affiliate). The cost to attend is $50 per shopper. As a part of the morning program, attendees will receive valet parking, breakfast and fashion presentation—all compliments of Nordstrom. Each shopper will also receive a Simply Shopping signature bag, free gift-wrapping compliments of Somerset Collection, discounts/giveaways throughout the day, and 4 to 6 p.m. networking, prizes & hors d’oeuvres in the South Rotunda. To register, call 248-641-8151 or e-mail:

Nov. 3: Luncheon awards

Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Community Awards Luncheon is noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 at Prestwick Village Golf Club, 136 Inverness, Highland. The cost is $20 per person. Reservations are required, call 248-685-7129.

Nov. 3: Pre-business research

Pre-Business Research is 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 at Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, Building 41 West, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. The workshop is free. Register at 248-858-0783 or visit

Nov. 4: Turkey drive

The Michigan Homeland Security Consortium is accepting donations to support the Michigan State Police's efforts to provide Thanksgiving turkeys to families in need, throughout Michigan. Each CST will present turkey certificates to families in need within the communities they serve. They are accepting donations at the next Lunch & Learn event, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, in which the police will be conducting a special robotics demonstration. at Altair Engineering, 1820 E. Big Beaver Road, Troy. Visit 

Nov. 8: Sales seminar

Automation Alley hosts a sales seminar called Fill your pipeline, feed your success, 8:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Automation Alley Headquarters, 2675 Bellingham, Troy. The cost is $20 in advance and $30 at the door $30 for members. It is $40 in advance and $50 at the door for nonmembers. Call 800-427-5100 or visit

Nov. 10: UHY LLP hosts manufacturing outlook discussion

UHY LLP, a leading certified public accounting firm providing professional services to domestic and international companies, is hosting its Manufacturing Outlook 2012, 8:15 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 at 27725 Stansbury Blvd., Suite 100 in Farmington Hills. The forecast will also be available via live webcast beginning at 8:35 a.m. EST. Attendees will learn how the current economic landscape impacts the outlook for manufacturing companies in a variety of key sectors.