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 31, 2013

Hiring for the best fit

Guest Blog
by Curtis L. Odom, Ed.D.  
Recruiters are on the front lines of the workforce, trying to bring talent into organizations; there are a lot of qualified people out there from a credential standpoint. Fit is where the true challenge lies. Will this person fit our organization? There are many meanings to that. Does the person look and feel to others like they belong here?

The answers to those questions play a huge role in the talent acquisition success. Unfortunately, recruiting and staffing is seen by the organization as an easy thing, as a lower level skill. On the contrary, it is probably one of the hardest things under the umbrella of talent management to find the right match of talent to the organization and the hiring manager that needs that talent.

Organizations sometimes shy away from being very definitive about the type of person they want, commonly because they don’t want to be viewed as being biased in some way. Personally, I think this is erring too far on the side of political correctness. As a culture and a society, we’ve carried it way too far.

One of the biggest things that frustrates hiring managers is that recruiters take too long to get the talent the company needs. In reality, the business doesn’t understand what the recruiter is doing.

When the hiring manager says,“I need a human factors engineer. I want them to have 10-12 years worth of experience. I want them to have worked for one of the big five consulting firms. I want this person to be in the local area, because I’m not paying for relocation.”
All of these unique factors not only shrink the candidate pool and restrict the options of what the recruiter has to work with, but also increases time to hire.

The recruiter takes this information and has to create the job requirement if it doesn’t exist. That might take two or three days to write it, review it, post it, and start to field resume submissions from applicants. It might be three weeks or a month before the recruiter even starts to get candidates in for interviews from when the posting went up based on conversations with the hiring leader.

I think we’re coming to a point where things are going to stabilize, because nothing lasts forever—even the downturns, even the bad times. We’re going to reach a point of stability. And when that does happen, you will find a lot of organizations that are going to start to think differently. They’re not going to ever want to return to talent firefighting, and they’re going to turn to thinking, “We never want to go through that again. We want to at least be able to mitigate our exposure to the whims and vagaries of the markets and economics.” The only way to do that is to literally have as lean and as flexible an organization as possible. That means do more with less. To do more with less, you have to have top talent and processes to enable that talent to do their jobs while pioneering a new paradigm.

You can’t do more with less if the people that you’ve got do not have the capability to pull it off. The best way to find those people is to grow them. You can’t hire them; because if you hire them that means that you had to go out and poach them, which costs money and is not a long-term solution to a recurring problem.

Corporations and organizations over a twenty-year period have had to resign themselves, to hire and replace, hire and replace. If you don’t have talent management that gives Gen Xers comfort enough about their career with your organization, they will go elsewhere, and you will consistently hire and replace. A properly structured talent management strategy such as a “talent farming” strategy can dramatically cut the cost of that impact and can guarantee you, perhaps, a seven-figure savings over the long run to the company in recruiting and staffing agency costs.

“Do we want to invest in ‘talent farming’ now so that we can have the best talent in house to deal with whatever organizational challenges come next?”

Admitting that this would require people that are self-driven, that have self-confidence, that are willing to get out there and lead.

Talent management is about sourcing candidates for knowledge, skills, and abilities to accomplish the organization of today’s goals. It stresses the importance of hiring based on the right fit for the individual and the organization.

Being stuck in the middle between having employees who are able to do the job, and in a place where they can do the job well is somewhere many organizations often find themselves. However, many are learning to recognize the warning signs, and know now how important it is to get it right when hiring for the best fit.

Curtis L. Odom is Principal and Managing Partner of Prescient Training Strategists, LLC, a consulting firm focusing on integrated talent management. Author of Stuck in the Middle: A Generation X View of Talent Management, Dr. Odom has recently been a featured expert in/on’s “Ask Annie” column, Wall Street Journal’s FINS blog,, Huffington Post and a number of other regional and national outlets. He has over 15 years of experience in talent development, performance consulting, training, and instructional design as a practitioner, researcher, author and speaker.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Business events planned this week

Jan. 29
WATERFORD TWP. — The Oakland County Business Center presents Legal and Financial Basics for Small Business. 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph in Waterford Township. This workshop outlines the key legal considerations for entrepreneurs operating Michigan businesses. This workshop is free, but registration is required. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Jan. 29
TROY — Miller Canfield is hosting “What Does Right-to-Work Mean for Michigan Employers?” 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 29 at MSU Management Center, 811 W. Square Lake Road, Troy. This program has been approved for 1.50 (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. The cost is $25. For information, visit Virginia Herrick at 313-496-7548.

Jan. 30
ROCHESTER HILLS — SBIR/STTR 101: Introduction and Overview is 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Jan. 30 at One Golf View Lane, Rochester Hills. Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program basics will be discussed for those considering grant or contract proposals. Topics include program purpose, eligibility, sources of funding and tools for proposal development. For information, visit

Jan. 30
TROY  —  US Commercial Service IncoTerms Workshop, covering the latest revision of the International Chamber of Commerce Incoterms rules will be presented by Frank Reynolds, author of INCOTERMS for Americans at 8:15 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Automation Alley, 2675 Bellingham, Troy. For information, visit

Jan. 31
LIVONIA —Global MIT Enterprise Forum and SAE Auto Innovation Competition is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31 at Burton Manor, 27777 Schoolcraft, Livonia. The event features an audience of supervisory or manager level engineers from Tier 1 and OEM companies. Applications to compete are due Jan. 17 to Admission is $35. For information, visit

Jan. 31
LIVONIA — ACE’13, the 13th Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship is 2 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31 at Burton Manor, 27777 Schoolcraft, Livonia. Register for a display table and a chance to be selected for the ACE’13 Elevator Pitch Competition, a fast-paced program with six entrepreneurs presenting three-minute pitches to win awards and services. Entrants must be registered for an entrepreneur display table to be considered for the Pitch Competition. Entrepreneurs who are looking for investment and have a startup oriented in technology, web or intellectual property are sought for this competition which was founded in part by MIT Enterprise Forum. The cost to attend this event is $13. The exhibit table registration deadline is $225 by Jan. 17. For information, visit or email

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Writing a book can help your business

By: Penny Carnathan
Creative Director/Lead Writer at EMSI Public Relations (, in Tampa, Fla.
Professionals share tips
Writing a how-to business book or CEO memoir has become a recognized tool for business professionals to market and brand themselves and their companies. It helps them establish their expertise while sharing useful information appreciated by readers. Plus, it can introduce them to a vast new audience of potential customers.
It’s a phenomenon public relations professional Marsha Friedman first noticed years ago.
Friedman wrote her own book, “Celebritize Yourself,” explaining her three-step process for developing and using a book to get publicity.

Today, more than 11,000 business books alone are published each year - and that doesn't include self-published e-books, according to the authors of “The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.”

"Whether you're using your book to generate media, speaking opportunities or new customers, it is the most powerful marketing tool in your arsenal," says Adam Witty, CEO of Advantage Media Group, an international publisher.

"When you consider that the average book sells less than 2,000 copies, getting rich off of book sales becomes a far away fantasy. But if you use your book to get a feature in your industry trade journal, what is that worth? If your typical customer is worth $5,000, and you use your book to attract and generate new leads into your business, how much more valuable does your book become?"

You don't have to be a great writer to produce a great book. But, as New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin, CEO of Business Ghost, Inc., explains, you do need to make sure the end product is clean and professional.

  If you don't have the time or skill to tackle a book on your own, you can hire someone to put your ideas into words.

Levin offers these tips for selecting a ghostwriter:

• Make sure ghostwriting is their primary business. Many writers list ghostwriting as one of the services they provide, but if you dig deep, you may find that they have never written a book or have only written a few. Don't let them learn how on your dime!
• Read the blurbs on the ghostwriter's website. Are they from famous people, top business leaders, celebrities, and the like? Or is there a run-of-the-mill feeling to the testimonials? Or worse, are there no testimonials at all?
• Contact at least three prior book clients of the ghostwriter. If the ghostwriter can’t give you three names of satisfied customers, game over.
The next step is publishing. While e-books are an inexpensive self-publishing option, Friedman says printed copies are best for marketing.

"As an author, you simply need to determine which publishing model best helps you reach your goals," says Witty of Advantage Media Group.

He offers these thoughts to consider:

• Ownership of rights and intellectual property:  If you plan to re-purpose the content of your book into articles, blog posts or other products like home study kits, ensure your contract gives you that freedom. Typically, traditional publishing contracts don't; self publishing or working with co-publishers (where the publisher and author or investor share expenses) oftentimes do.
• Speed-to-market: How quickly do you want your book to be published? With self publishing, it is really a matter of how fast you work! The traditional publishing process can take the better part of two years. Co-publishing options often turn a book around in three to six months.
Friedman concedes that the idea of writing and publishing a book can be daunting, but it’s worth the effort for its marketing value, she says. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Business events planned for next week

 Jan. 22
BIRMINGHAM — The Community House has assembled a group of subject matter experts for seminars. The first seminar, “Fundamentals of Michigan Entrepreneurship” is 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 at The Community House, 380 South Bates St., Birmingham. Michael Witzke and John Carter, Witzke Berry Carter & Wander, PLLC and franchise placement specialist Mark Cory, FranNet of Michigan will offer to help entrepreneurs deliver their products and services to various customers, help them identify and secure their intellectual property and teach them how to minimize the many risks associated with hiring employees and independent contractors. There is no charge to attend, light refreshments will be served. To register, contact The Community House, 380 South Bates Street, Birmingham, 248-644-5832, or

Jan. 22,23,24
BIRMINGHAM/TROY — Steven Case of Financial Independence, LLC in Bloomfield Hills will give presentations on Social Security income planning. The three presentations will be at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the Management Education Center in Troy; 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23 at The Community House in Birmingham and 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Management Education Center in Troy. In the seminars, Case will discuss the fundamentals and little-known claiming techniques for individuals to maximize their lifetime Social Security income and survivor benefit. The seminars are free, but space is limited. Call Laura at 248-282-9905 or email by Jan. 17.
— Staff writer Kathy Blake

Jan. 23
TROY — Nemeth Burwell’s Raising the Bar, an educational series raising employer awareness of current issues in employment and labor law and offered by Detroit-based employment law firm Nemeth Burwell, P.C., will present its 2013 Labor and Employment Law Update, 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23 at the Troy Marriott, 200 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy. A continental breakfast will be served at 8 a.m.
The beginning of a new year provides the perfect opportunity to consider recent rulings and trends in employment law and a forward look at where this sector of the law is going, according to Patricia Nemeth of Nemeth Burwell.
Topics will include developments in discrimination law; wage and hour law; disability, family medical leave and workers compensation law and labor law including at-will provisions in jeopardy and Michigan’s new right to work law. The cost of the event is $60 per person and pre-registration is required. To register, email Amanda Galetti or call 313-567-5921.

Jan. 23
FLINT — ORBIT Start-up Launch Training. ORBIT Launch! is the introductory workshop series Kettering TechWorks offers to help technology entrepreneurs plan and start their ventures. This highly popular program has graduated more than 400 Michigan startup leaders, employees and advisors.  It is made possible through the support of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Kettering University and the C.S. Mott Foundation.
Wednesdays, January 23-March 20, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Kettering University, Campus Center, Room-A, 4th floor, Flint. For information, visit

Jan. 24
TROY - Doing Business in Mexico information meeting is 8-11:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 at Automation Alley, 2675 Bellingham, Troy. Looking to learn how your business can benefit from expanding beyond Southeast Michigan to reach customers, partners and clients in Mexico? Speakers include Eve Lerman, senior international trade specialist at US Commercial Service. Kurt Saldana, President of Quality Metalcraft, Robert Ruffini, President of Fluxtrol, Consul General Vicente Sanchez from Mexico and Jeanne Broad, international trade manager for MEDC. For information, visit

Jan 24
STERLING HEIGHTS - The Mobile Explosion – How Can Your Business Take Advantage of Mobile Technologies to Increase Productivity and Profitability?  Lunch and Launch is noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 at Macomb-OU INCubator at Velocity, 6633 Eighteen Mile Road, Sterling Heights. Linda Daichendt, executive director of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan will conduct a presentation regarding the surge in mobile technology, and how it is impacting businesses today in more ways than just the next new "app."

Jan. 24
AUBURN HILLS - Auburn Hills Mayor James McDonald will present the State of the Community address to residents and business owners, 8 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 in the Piston’s VIP Lounge at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
The State of the Community includes a presentation from the Mayor, and an update from Chamber leadership who will also introduce the 2013 Board slate.  New this year is the inclusion of a Community Expo, sponsored by the Palace’s Come Together Foundation. Through the expo, several non-profit organizations will present their community service offerings.
The ticketed event is open to the public and includes breakfast and local entertainment. Registration is required at The cost is $35 for chamber members and $45 for non-members. Corporate sponsorships are available from $250 and include tickets and varying levels of recognition.  For more information, contact the chamber at 248-853-7862 or

Jan. 25
CLARKSTON - It will be a Mad Men-themed party on Jan. 25, when Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce celebrates the Chamber’s 25th Anniversary at Deer Lake Athletic Club, 6167 White Lake Road in Clarkston.
The party begins at 6 p.m. with a martini bar cocktail hour sponsored by Bowman Chevrolet. Guests will enjoy Rat Pack song favorites sung by local artist TJ Craven courtesy of LaFontaine Automotive Group, entertainment sponsor. Along with a celebration of the Chamber’s 25 years, the Gala will include special guest and keynote speaker Dan Gilmartin, Michigan Municipal League. His topic is “The Economics of Placemaking.”
Contact the chamber at 248-625-8055 or visit for tickets. The cost is $75 per person or $500 for a table of eight. Proceeds from the gala will be used for Chamber economic development initiatives.

Jan. 25
TROY — The Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit (MSED) will host a professional development seminar, “Locking Out the Competition: Ten Ways to Build Customer Loyalty,” on Friday, Jan. 25 at the Management Education Center located at 811 West Square Lake Road in Troy.
Gerry Weinberg, founder and CEO of Gerry Weinberg & Associates, will discuss the dynamics of customer relationships. The program will explore ways to keep customers from looking at the competition and ensure customer loyalty, and limit competitors’ advantages to price only. The event will begin with registration, networking and breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by the presentation at 8:30 a.m. and ending with a question-and-answer session at 10 a.m. The cost is $45 for MSED members and $60 for non-members and includes breakfast. To register, contact Meeting Coordinators at 248-643-6950 or visit

Jan. 26
BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Better Health Market to host a free seminar, “Winning the Sugar Game” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at the market, 2053 South Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Hills. Renee Heigel, a weight loss coach will discuss how to quit sugar cravings, tips to help you kick your sugar addition and lose weight in a 60 minute speech with Q&A at the end. Renee Heigel, CHHP, AADP is an international No-Diet Weight Loss Coach, Lifestyle Coach, writer, speaker, cook. For reservations, call 248-334-9500 or visit

Monday, January 14, 2013

Business events in the mix this week

Jan. 16
WATERFORD TWP. — The Oakland County Business Center presents Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan, 9 a.m. to noon, Jan. 16 at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph in Waterford Township. This workshop is $40. For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Jan. 16
TROY — Automation Alley’s lunch 'n' learn session “Improving Your Trade Show Performance,” is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 16 at Automation Alley in Troy.
To register to attend or exhibit at IMPACT 2013, or to sponsor the event, contact Events Manager Jennifer Chinn at or 248-457-3228.

Jan. 17
STERLING HEIGHTS —  To kick off the Macomb-OU INCubator's Lunch and Launch series in 2013, Lori Bianco, CPA and CGMA with BiancoCPA, will present "Are All Your Ducks in a Row?: How to Set Up a Bookkeeping System to Efficiently Communicate with Your CPA,"  noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Macomb-OU INCubator, Velocity building, 6633 Eighteen Mile Road, Sterling Heights. This free lecture will include a question and answer period. Attendees should bring their own lunch, though beverages and dessert will be provided. Register by contacting Joan Carleton at 586-884-9324 or For more information, visit

Jan. 17
AUBURN HILLS — The Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce will host its first Young Professionals Mixer, Thursday, Jan. 17. The first event will be held at Applebee’s in Auburn Hills on Brown Road from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Professionals working in North Oakland County are invited to attend. Tickets are $10 ($15 at the door), and include networking and refreshments. A cash bar is offered. To register, call the Chamber at 248-853-7862 or visit

Jan. 17
DETROIT — Xconomy’s Mobile Madness Motor City is 2-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at Compuware World Headquarters, 800 Woodward Ave., Detroit. It’s a half-day forum of interactive talks and chats that will showcase the top investors, entrepreneurs, and executives tackling the next big ideas in mobile computing—from media and advertising to commerce, finance, big data, analytics and entertainment. For information, visit

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What to do after job loss

First, if possible, take some time to mourn the loss of the job and reflect briefly on events preceding the loss. Think about your strong points and focus on them. Look forward to all the possibilities that are open now that you are relieved of previous duties. Although you will have more free time, managing it is still important.
If you don’t have an exercise plan, it’s a good opportunity to carve out time for that. It will help you feel better and more capable.
Think about the job situation that you were in and how it was right and what about it was wrong for you. Not everybody is suitable for every job.

 If you have money, invest in career counseling, it could be worth it.
Keep a positive outlook, you may end with a better job.
 Roberta Chinsky Matuson, Monster Contributing Writer wrote this article, Bouncing back after being laid off

Monday, January 7, 2013

Laid off but not forgotten

Workplace layoffs are stressful for everyone: mostly the targeted employees but also the bosses and the surviving employees who feel bad for the laid off workers. The survivors wonder if they'll be next and who will be assigned the task of picking up the pieces and filling the void? The effects of layoffs on surviving employees is reduced productivity and low morale.

I had a teacher in high school who posted a poem on his bulletin board: "Indispensable Man" by Saxon White Kessenger. It goes on to say that there is no indispensable man, (or woman). Although humbling, it is only partially true, because like when Freddie Mercury of the rock group Queen sang, "The Show Must Go On" as he was dying from AIDS -- the world or workplace will never be the same without that person and the skills and gifts that they contributed. Yes, the show will go on, but like with Queen, it won't be the same show.

  Here's a link to "Indispensable Man":

 Unemployment in Michigan peaked at 14.1 percent in October 2009. It was a very dismal time as so many people became jobless at once and the housing situation was swinging into crisis. The rate improved in 2012 dropping to 8.9 percent in November. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 411,000 people unemployed in November in Michigan.

 The most recent unemployment figure is 7.8 percent for the United States.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas, provider of executive outplacement services, reported the number of layoffs in 2012 was 523,362, the lowest since 1997.
To the contrary, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nearly 800,000 jobs were cut in layoffs in the United States in the first three quarters of 2012.
 The Bureau statistics show there were more than 1 million layoffs in the U.S. in each of the previous four years and there were more than 2.1 million in the peak year, 2009.

Many people are still unemployed or underemployed but in general things are getting better, or else we're just getting used to it.

It looks like unemployment is not biased by age except the rate is higher for teenagers. In spite of the statistics, I've heard of more older people in professional jobs being laid off than younger people. Here's the employment and unemployment statistics:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Get more out of employees

  To start with, it's tough to boss people around. Some workers are attitudinal, some are just lazy, while others are neurotic, over- or under-conscientious or have other things going on in their lives that appear to be more important than the job they're being paid to do.

The first step is to hire employees very carefully. Finding talent that is not overpriced, over confident and overqualified or the reverse is the first challenge. Being sure they reside in the realm of reality and checking their work history are paramount.

Hiring young people, means restocking the staff often. Older people are sometimes over-qualified and expect higher wages plus there's the healthcare pool concern. Older people are more likely to need expensive healthcare. But older workers are more likely to know what to do in new situations, where young people fall short. Older people are usually more loyal and have a better work ethic also. (Yes, this writer is an older worker).

Teaching workers how to work with you is key to organizational success. Once employees are hired, there is still the chore of getting them to do what you want, how you want it. By investing time with employees, you are more likely to get what you want from them. 

Find a happy medium in management style. If employees are left to twist in the wind because their boss didn't give them enough direction, there is likely to be some personal interpretation of the job duties. On the flipside, the micro-manager boss doesn't give the employee any freedom to improvise as necessary and doesn't let the employee take ownership of the job. Allowing the worker to take responsibility, frees up the supervisor's time and contributes to the worker's success, thus success for the organization.

There are many ways to motivate employees. Fear seems to be the first choice in the current job market. However fear does not usually produce desirable results. It makes people play it safe and not step outside the lines to innovate or rise to challenges, such as sales quotas.
Fear also causes workers to be more competitive and less cooperative with coworkers, often doing things that are counterproductive to the company's objectives.
Two-way dialogue is important to help keep workers motivated and aware of the expectations. Evaluate employees based on their productivity and other factors, such as overall contribution and achievement, not just sales quotas or other numbers.
Another contributor to worker productivity is an enjoyable work environment and healthy company culture.