March 2008

Bring Out the Best

Motivating Employees by Silverstein Every manager needs to understand motivation and how you can use your skills to make sure your employees are working at their peak performance and Best Practices: Motivating Employees: Bringing Out the Best in Your People, by Barry Silverstein [Collins, 2007] can help you. Silverstein is a business writer and consultant and he has loaded this slim, slip-in-your-pocket-sized book with short case study examples, lots of Dos & Don’ts lists, short quizzes, red flags, and power points. This is one of the titles in the Collins Best Practices series.

See the SCL Biz Guide to Managing a Business for more.

SCL Biz is Taking a Short Break

SCL Biz is approaching its first anniversary and will be taking a very short break to upgrade the software that powers this blog. The website will be available, but may disappear for short periods as everything is moved on our server.

We hope you will look forward to SCL Biz News resuming on April 1 (no foolin’).

SCL Returns on April 1

2008 Wine Industry Conference

The North Bay Business Journal is co-sponsoring “Wine Mergers & Acquisitions: Should I Stay or Should I Go? Positioning Your Winery to Sell or Building an Independent Winery.” The keynote speaker is Bill Price, Co-founder of Texas Pacific Group, winery and vineyard owner. Brad Bollinger, Editor, North Bay Business Journal, will moderate a panel discussion with Sam Bronfman, Daniel Duckhorn, Peter Seghesio, Violet Grich, and Katherine Philippakis.

April 9, 2008 • 8 -11:30am, registration starts at 7:30am
Vinters Inn, 4350 Barnes Rd, Santa Rosa

Information & Registration

Ready to Branch Out? Doing Business in China

Doing Business in China by Plafker Doing Business in China: How to Profit in the World’s Fastest Growing Market, Ted Plafker [Warner Business Books, 2007]. “Plafker, an 18-year veteran correspondent living in Beijing, offers advice on all aspects of breaking into and expanding business opportunities in China. Although all businesses should understand the Chinese market and its explosive growth, it is a place only for those with the patience, persistence, and resources necessary to succeed. The author gives tips and insights on the top emerging markets, rules and regulations, cultural differences, and sales and marketing strategies that differ greatly from the rest of the world. He identifies pitfalls, including ethical challenges and power and water shortages, and comments on the areas most resistant to change, which are its media, legal system, and currency, although absolute control of the currency will be difficult to maintain. There are many business books on China, but Plafker offers a unique perspective; his direct observation of the Chinese environment as a long-term resident with numerous local contacts and sources of information makes this a valuable business handbook.” Booklist, 2007.

2008 Sustainable Enterprise Conference – Tools for the Transition

The Sustainable Enterprise Coalition is comprised of a group of Northern California business leaders, University faculty, nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs joined together to promote sustainable business practices.

Sustainable Enterprise Conference: Tools for the Transition is the 3rd annual, one-day Conference that focuses on innovative and sustainable business practices and opportunities for the North Bay. Expert and inspiring Keynote speakers, break-out sessions and workshops address the specific needs of today’s enterprise. Sponsorship and Exhibitor Opportunities are available.

May 2, 2008 • 7am – 5:30pm, followed by a wine reception
Sonoma Mountain Village, Rohnert Park

Information & Reservations – Register by March 31 for an Early Bird discount

Santa Rosa Businesses – Online Database

The City of Santa Rosa Business Tax Directory lists most businesses that hold an active Santa Rosa Business Tax Certificate (required instead of a business license) and have a business address in the City of Santa Rosa. The information is derived from Business Tax Applications or Renewals, is updated periodically, and is ‘self-reported.’ You can search for a particular business name or browse in almost 200 categories, e.g., accountants, junk dealers, pool services, surveyors, etc. Information includes the business name, address, and category, along with email and website link, if available.

Connections – A Forum for Women in Business

Connections is a non-profit organization that serves women in business through networking at monthly breakfast and dinner meetings, education and community service in Sonoma and Marin Counties.

April 2, 2008 • 5:45 – 8:45pm Dinner Meeting
April 18, 2008 • 7:45 – 9:30am Breakfast Meeting

Flamingo Hotel, 2777 4th Street, Santa Rosa

Call (707) 522-9399 or visit for information & reservations.

Sonoma County Innovation Council

We all know that ‘no man is an island’ and it follows that no business is unaffected by its local economic climate. The Board of Supervisors appointed an ad hoc advisory committee comprised of a broad-based group of business and community leaders known as the Sonoma County Innovation Council to oversee the development of an economic strategic plan to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities in our future.

Press Democrat reporter Nathan Halvorsen, writing about the planned model [Calculated Influences, 3/3/08]: “If Sonoma County’s water supply dwindles, or energy costs double, how would it impact your job?” and the importance of assigning actual costs to problem areas to understand the economic cost/benefit of working to solve them, e.g., “The draft report predicts the county’s $18.5 billion economy would grow a half-percentage point faster every year if Latinos graduated from college at the same rate as non-Latinos. That would pump an extra $1.5 billion into the local economy over a five-year period.”

Visit the Innovation Council’s website for more information, including a recently released economic forecast, along with an opportunity to comment on the report.

2008 West Coast Mergers & Acquisitions Conference

The San Francisco Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business present the 2008 West Coast Mergers & Acquisitions Conference. The day will include:

  • Steven Forbes, CEO of Forbes, Inc. is the keynote speaker and luncheon guest
  • Internationally recognized faculty from UC Berkeley providing insights into the economic and financial issues facing M&A participants during 2008.
  • A panel of experts from Top-Tier M&A investors Weston Presidio, Carlyle Group and CapitalSource.
  • The day will conclude with the ACG Capital Connection™ featuring over 50 providers of equity and debt capital to meet the needs of growing businesses. The Capital Connection creates an exceptional opportunity for one-on-one conversations with both local and national firms. Plus, the event includes a wine tasting from some of Northern California’s best wineries.

March 20, 2008 • 8am – 6pm
Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco

Information and registration

Time Getting the Best of You?

There never seems to be enough time – use these books to manage your time more effectively and make your business more successful.

Best Practices Time Management by Hoover Best Practices Time Management: Set Priorities to Get the Right Things Done, by John Hoover [Collins 2007] is part of the Best Practices series that address issues “that matter most to middle managers, the series focuses on dealing with people and communicating. Drawing on the sales history of other management series, the Best Practices line will give managers what they want most: insight into what successful managers already know and presented in easy–to–access lists. The books cover the basics of management; strategies for hiring the best people; proven ways to deal with difficult bosses, workers and customers; how to evaluate and reward employees; ways to motivate the people who work for you; time management; effective communication in person and on paper; as well as, how to set and achieve goals.”
Successful Time Management by Forsyth Successful Time Management, by Patrick Forsyth [Kogan Page, 2007], can help you get organized, learn to prioritize, minimize paperwork, and maximize your performance. “This guide for busy professionals provides an overview of the underlying principles of time management and describes a wide variety of practical tips and techniques. A sampling of topics includes assessing current work practices, scheduling appointments with care, handling telephone interruptions, minimizing paperwork, making use of checklists, and delegating tasks. Forsyth is a consultant specializing in marketing, sales, and communication. ” Book News, 2007.

Check our catalog for books on personal and business time management.

NxLeveL™ Entrepreneur Course – RESBDC Workshop

In her Press Democrat article, “Taking It to the Next Level,” Carol Benfell reported that Marta Koehne, owner of Hot Couture, “made more money in the seven years since Koehne took the NxLevel course than in the preceding 17 years put together.”

If you would like the same boost for your business, this course from the the Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center, has it all: “An intensive 12-session training program designed to encourage business expansion and growth. The course focuses on teaching the art of better business practices while producing a comprehensive business plan to guide business expansion decisions and activities.”

There is a free orientation class (recommended, but not required):
March 26, 2008 • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
April 2, 2006 • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

The course:
12 consecutive Wednesday night Sessions, April 9 through June 25, 6:00pm-9:00pm

Redwood Empire SBDC Conference Room
421 10th Street; Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Information & online reservations

Public Relations: Get the Publicity You Want – SRJC Short Course

“‘PR’ is how you affect the image that others form of you or your business. It’s about what you can do to get more positive publicity to achieve customer/consumer awareness and action. Whether you’re self-employed, working for a small business or charitable organization, planning an event, or getting geared up to promote yourself as author, chef or specialist–this is a key step to creating the image you want. Even if you’re on a budget, you’ll learn to work wonders using your own creative efforts.” Presented by Cathy Balach.

March 22, 2008 • Noon – 5pm
SRJC, 2907 Maggini Hall, Santa Rosa campus

Information and registration

How Much Should You Spend on Advertising?

Advertising Age magazine has published a list of two hundred industries and what they spend annually on advertising as a percentage of their sales and of their margin, as well as the annual ad growth (e.g, Retail stores spent 3.7% of their sales on advertising, 8.6% of their margin, and increased add sales in 2007 by by 6.3%). Comparison data is available from 1997 – 2007.

Advertising to sales ratios by industry

For more help with advertising, public relations, marketing, and expanding your sales, see the SCL Biz Guide to Growing a Business.

Three Keys to Effective Supervision – SRJC Short Course

“The number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their supervisor. This interactive class will help you to be a better supervisor by helping you be more user-friendly to those you supervise. You will learn three key practices that will lower turnover in your organization, improve morale and increase productivity. The three keys are deceptively simple but produce extraordinary results: Key One: Relationships The foundation of all good supervision. Learn the why and how of building relationships with those you supervise and the danger areas to avoid. Key Two: Clear Expectations This key that will save time and trouble. Learn how to be clear about expectations from day one and beyond. Key Three: Effective Feedback This key ties it all together. Learn how to address what is working and what is not working.” Presented by Rita Sever, MA.

March 15, 2008 • 9am – 12:30pm
SRJC, 1596 Emeritus Hall, Santa Rosa campus

Information and registration

What Were They Thinking?

What Were They Thinking? by PfefferWhat Were They Thinking?: Unconventional Wisdom About Management, by Jeffrey Pfeffer [Harvard Business School Press, 2007] – “First and foremost, he calls em as he sees em, showcasing common management errors and building on four years as a Business 2.0 columnist. Trimming employees? compensation and benefits packages? Nothing is gained from that immediate cost savings, except plummeting morale and retention issues?as the airline and auto industries have learned. Thinking about a merger or acquisition? Think again, he urges; it?s an easier strategy than fixing operations?but one that more often than not fails. No function or goal of corporate America is left unscrutinized, from strategy to human resources. Yet he softens his radical and common-sense opinions by offering a range of solutions and companies that practice them well. Pfeffer points to Whole Foods, to Larry Culp at Danaher, and to CEO Gary Loveman of Harrah?s as leaders who have managed to set corporate priorities and agendas that succeed. Short chapters with clear-cut messages and examples allow time to contemplate and copy.” Booklist, June 2007

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

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