August 2007

Hey Presto! Local Inventor – National Recognition

SCL Biz heard about a communication device on the Clark Howard Show (a nationally syndicated consumer information radio program broadcast locally on KSRO) that is of special interest to anyone who doesn’t have Internet connections. The printer is called a Presto, sold by Hewlitt-Packard, and through a regular phone line it will allow you to receive email and photos – no computer or online access needed.

How wonderful to find, in a Press Democrat article on August 16, that the Presto was invented by Martin Mazner – a resident of our own Franz Valley. Here’s part of what Clark Howard had to say about it in his show notes: “It’s a simple device that prints out photos and email automatically, three times a day. It’s like having the mailman come several times every day. Clark got one for his 83-year old mom for her to get photos, emails and calls from family without touching a computer. This is such a wonderful, simple device.”

Congratulations to Mr. Mazner! If you have an idea or invention The Sawyer Center, in Santa Rosa, can help you bring it to market.

Ever Curse at Your Boss?

ugly.jpgSCL Biz knows that your employees are your most important asset, and the most difficult to manage. Ruth King, author of The Ugly Truth About Managing People: 50 Must-Get-Right Management Challenges and How to Really Handle Them, [Sourcebooks 2007], outlines real-life situations from an employee cursing at the boss to realizing you have just fired your star employee. She also offers survival strategies for managers and a very interesting section, “The Seven Greatest Management Myths,” starting with Your Employees Can Read Your Mind.

Visit the SCL Biz Guide to Managing a Business for more help.

Third Annual North Bay Growth, Innovation, and Venture Forum

The City of Santa Rosa and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, with support from the Golden Capital Network, are looking for startup companies – if you would like to be one of the eight to make a presentation at the Forum, which will be October 18, be sure to apply by the September 14 deadline. Organizers are particularly interested in clean tech and video game companies. Brad Bollinger, the North Bay Business Journal Editor in Chief, will present the opening remarks: “North Bay – Prospects for Entrepreneurs.”

Information and registration

Best Places to Work in the North Bay

The North Bay Business Journal presents a gala awards reception honoring the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the North Bay.

September 13, 2007, 5:30-7:30pm
Sheraton Sonoma County
745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma, California 94954

Online Reservations

Grantseeking for Nonprofits

SCL Biz begs your indulgence – knowing that many Sonoma County business people are also involved in local nonprofits we are using SCL Biz to spread the word about a free Library workshop for nonprofit organization grantseekers – learn how to get started in the grantseeking process; find grants on the Internet and from the government; and use the Foundation Center database of 250,000 grants at the Central Santa Rosa Library. (For more information, please call 545-0831, x517.)

The next workshop is Wednesday, September 12, 10:30-Noon, at the Central Library.
Schedule of upcoming workshop dates/times

Tired of the Corporate Hamster Wheel?

anti.jpgThe Anti 9 to 5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube, by Michelle Goodman, Seal Press, 2007. “Snappy and practical, this guide to quitting your job at the “e-mail-saturated, meeting-happy cube farm” will prove indispensable to any young professional itching to strike out on her own. Goodman, a successful freelance writer, aims her book at women between 25 and 35, but young men will likely find her advice (always send a thank you note after an informational interview; play it cool if you snort coffee out your nose) just as relevant. From “sussing out the gigs” to guidance on taxes and health insurance to battling “the inertia that binds one’s derriere to the sofa like a tongue to a frozen flagpole,” Goodman covers all the aspects of going solo. A “Show Me the Money” section at the end of each chapter gives readers money-saving tips (eat all the food in your fridge before it “liquefies or grows spores”), and checklists covering steps readers must take before becoming self-employed. Goodman’s advice is applicable to a broad range of careers, though the non-profit and international travel chapters are useful primarily for pointing to other, more in-depth sources. Goodman’s tone is realistic-taking into account the obstacles facing a generation burdened early by debt-but she retains a sense of humor, making this information-dense guide an encouraging, buoyant lifesaver.” Publishers Weekly 2007.

How to Start & Manage a Small Business – SCORE Workshop

“If you are an entrepreneur just starting out with your venture, or if you are struggling through your first year of operation, there’s nothing more helpful – and encouraging – than this 4-hour workshop.You will receive expert advice about all aspects of starting and operating your business: Getting yourself into the right mind set, differentiating your product or service in a competitive environment, and promoting them through skillful (and cheap) guerrilla marketing. Other topics are: Legal business formation, financing, and taxes.”

September 8, 2007 8:30am – Noon
SRJC, Emeritus Hall on Elliott Avenue, Room 1597

Information & online reservations.

Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands?

Traveling abroad on business (or fun)? Getting Through Customs is a collection of articles to help business travelers negotiate cultural differences. Clothes, calendar differences, drinking and toasting customs, business card practices, hand gestures, gifts, special advice for businesswomen, and how to say hello are only some of the many topics covered.

Preparing Your Business for the Unthinkable

The Sonoma County Economic Development Board, as part of its ongoing seminar program, presents: Preparing Your Business for the Unthinkable: Practical Tools to Help Your Business Survive Disaster. 43% of businesses without a plan never reopen after a disaster – don’t be one of them.

Wednesday, September 12, 7:30-10 am
Redwood Credit Union, Sonoma Community Room
3033 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa

More information and to register online or call 707-565-7170.

Harvest Expo on the Windsor Green

Show off your product or service at the Harvest Expo On the Windsor Town Green. Businesses and Nonprofits are invited to reserve a booth and join the Expo – lots of exhibitors, local restaurants, and wine and beer booths guarantee a great turnout.

September 6, 2007 5-7:30pm
Windsor Town Green

To reserve a booth call the Windsor Chamber 838-7285 or email info@windsorchamber.com

Chocolates on the Pillow

chocolates.jpgSCL Biz recently heard someone on a radio show mention that Nick Swinmurn, founder of online shoe retailer Zappos.com, describes his online site as a customer service business that happens to sell shoes. Jonathan M. Tisch, author of Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience, John Willey & Sons, 2007, would no doubt agree. “According to Tisch, ever-increasing consumer expectations mean that service-based industries have to go beyond the realm of good service to provide an experience that’s truly exceptional–and thus, truly memorable.” Publishers Weekly.

More materials on customer relations.

Congratulations to Local Wineries & Grape Growers

The Press Democrat [August 11] reported that “Four environmental groups recognized wineries and grape growers for excellence in water quality protection and improvement.”

SCL Biz congratulates award-winning Sonoma County operations that include Peter Michael Winery, Simi Winery, Clos du Bois Winery, Ferrari-Carrano Winery, and Robert Sinskey Winery; grape grower recipients are Ridge Vineyards, Beringer Vineyards, Green Pasture Vineyards, and Redwood Vista Vineyards. Well done!

Free Online Sample Business Plans

BPPlans.com sells a business plan software package with over 500 sample plans, by type of business, that you can modify if you purchase the software, and they also have 100+ sample plans that you can view for free. From Aircraft Equipment Maker to Wine Store, read professional business plans for ideas to make your plan the best it can be.

Check the SCL Biz Guide to Internet Resources for more great sites and our catalog for books to help you write a business plan.

The State of Renewable Energy

Hosted by the Hanson Bridgett Sustainable Business Forum: “…thought-provoking discussion on the latest developments in renewable energy policy and outlook, led by industry and government thought leaders.”

Speakers include US Congressman Jerry McNerney; Severin Borenstein, Director University of California Energy Institute; Ralph Cavanagh, Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Dian M. Grueneich, a national expert in energy and environmental issues appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission in January 2007.

August 29, 2007, 7:30am registration
The Bar Association of San Francisco
301 Battery Street, Third Floor

Information & Registration

Joining the Family Business – Right for You?

parents1.jpgThere are still many family-owned businesses in Sonoma County and children of these families face this important decision. Greg McCann, founder of the Family Business Center and a Professor at Stetson University, helps with his new book, When Your Parents Sign the Paychecks: Finding Career Success Inside or Outside the Family Business, Jist Works, 2007. Lots of good information, too, if you are running a family business now and look forward to bringing the younger generation on board.
The book has five parts:

  • Part 1 Understanding Your Family Business includes chapters on growing up in a family business and understanding relationships in the family & business.
  • Part 2 Meeting the Lifelong Challenges in a Family Business
  • Part 3 Facing the Challenges as a Young Adult in the Family Business includes a chapter on earning credibility instead of feeling entitled
  • Part 4 Confronting the Ongoing Challenges in Your Career includes a chapter about avoiding the golden handcuffs
  • Part 5 Becoming a Professional

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