October 2009

SCL Biz on Hiatus

It has been my pleasure to share over 640 posts with you since SCL Biz started on March 31, 2007, and I would like to thank all of our readers for your support. Stay tuned for SCL Biz to continue in the near future, in perhaps a slightly different form.
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I wish you all health, wealth, happiness, and a prosperous business.

Searching Trademarks

Most of you are probably familiar with TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System) from the US Patent and Trademark Office – now there is a website offering free searching (and also for fee services): Trademarkia.com. Search by company name, trademark, category, filing date, or status. You can also search by Logo Themes (handy if you’re looking for inspiration) or look for a patent/trademark attorney.

2009 Leaders of the North Bay Awards Luncheon

The North Bay Leadership Council is hosting its third annual Leaders of the North Bay Awards Luncheon. NBLC believes that there are many leaders among us here in the North Bay whose efforts pay off by sustaining and improving the North Bay’s quality of life. Now is the time to recognize these innovative leaders.

The 2009 Leaders of the North Bay Awards’ keynote speaker, Paola Gianturcoaward-winning photojournalist, documenting women’s leadership in forty countries.  Her photographs have appeared in New York TimesWall Street Journal, Business Week, San Francisco Chronicle, and in museums around the world. She has been a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, NPR and Voice of America programs.  Gianturco was senior vice president of the first women-owned advertising agency in the United States; co-developed and taught executive institutes about women and leadership at Stanford University and Mills College.  For Women Who Light the Dark, she is giving 100% of her author royalties to the Global Fund for Women, which advocates for and defends women’s human rights by making grants to support women-run groups around the world.

October 30, 2009 • 11:30am – 1:30pm
Doubletree Hotel, Rohnert Park

Information & Reservations

WomenEntrepreneur.com

SCL Biz has mentioned the excellent Entrepreneur Magazine and its website – now they have a website for women with articles, blogs, videos, and more geared toward helping make women successful. Check it out – lots of great information here and it is free.

Womenentrepreneur.com

Hiring the Best – Avoiding the Rest

The Truth About Hiring the Best by Fyock The Truth About Hiring the Best, by Cathy Fyock [Financial Tines Press, 2007]

“Staffing specialist Fyock displays considerable acumen in this guidebook on how to hire the right person for the right job. The critical first step is to know your organizational needs, and whom you need to fill those needs: a risk-taker who embraces change and innovation or a knowledge-hungry, lifelong learner. Fyock then moves on to the practicalities, laying them out with frankness and a propulsive energy in short, bulleted chapters.

The best candidates will likely be passive ones; you have to go get them through talent hunting. There is no shame in rehiring, and it is wise to look in-house first and to tap retirees. Don’t avoid job-hoppers; some spots don’t require long tenures. You have to sell yourself to top prospects, but don’t oversell as you will look desperate (a red flag in both prospects and employers). When it comes to the interview, Fyock notes the importance of probing, though not aggressively so. Don’t put too much emphasis on the resume, for these have a way of attracting plenty of exaggerations, and beware of any incomplete answers on the application. Sharp, necessary words for both employers and prospective employees.” [Kirkus, June 2007]

For more help on hiring and firing see the SCL Biz Guide to Growing a Business.

50 Secrets to Customer Loyalty – SBDC Workshop

The Small Business Development Center at SRJC presents this workshop that will get your managers and employees doing the little things that can make all the difference in business. Put these simple yet powerful concepts to use and you will see impressive improvements in service, customer loyalty and profits.

Let’s face it: customers who have a negative experience with your company can produce devastating ripple effects, and in this economy can quickly drag your business down. But, if you creatively apply a constant flow of small, customer-centered innovations, you will see consistent and persistent strengthening of your customer base.

During this interactive session, you learn the “50 Secrets” and leave with a ready-to-implement Customer Service Plan for your business!

October 22, 2009 • 6:00 – 9:00pm
SBDC Conference Room, 421 Tenth Street, Santa Rosa

Information & Reservations

5 Legal Decisions your Business Needs to Make – SBDC Workshop

What You Don’t Know will Hurt You! Protect Your Business: Make the Right Decisions.

Whether you are just starting a business or have an established one, having up-to-date knowlegde is critical for good legal decisions:

Learn these basic and necessary principles in order to make good decisions:

  1. Choosing your organization structure. What are the choices?
  2. Licenses and permits. What you may need.
  3. Protecting your intellectual property.
  4. Contracts.
  5. Employees and labor relations.

Presented By: Roy Johnston

Roy is an attorney specializing in business law, real estate law, construction law, and estate planning. He brings to the practice of law his background as a successful businessman with strong managerial and marketing education and experience.

October 20, 2009 • 10:00am – Noon

Small Business Development Center
606 Healdsburg Avenue, Santa Rosa

Information & Reservations

5 Keys to Restructure Your Debt

The Small Business Development Center at SRJC is offering a new workshop to help you restructure your debt. Approximately 40,000 businesses close their doors or file bankruptcy each month. Many of these companies had a mountain of debt and didn’t have a plan to work themselves out of it. In this informative session, you will learn to assess your cash flow situation, understand the options available and guide you to forecasting future issues.
This 3-hour workshop includes the warning signs to look for, what to consider before restructuring, which creditors should be restructured, how much you can afford each month and calculating a monthly budget. Completing a payment proposal and dealing with the fallout is also discussed. This is an interactive session with workbook and guidance in defining business strategies for future use and decision-making tips to ensure success.
Who will benefit from this workshop? All product and/or service based businesses of any size, including home-based and start-ups will benefit from the workshop.

October 20, 2009 • 6:00 – 9:00pm
SBDC, 421 Tenth Street, Santa Rosa

Information and Reservations or call 1-888-346-SBDC

Persuasive Presentations

Persuasive Presentations for Business by BlyIn his book Persuasive Presentations for Business, author Robert W. Bly [Entrepreneur Press, 2008] reveals his success secrets for winning a room and closing a deal in any forum: seminars, podcasts, webinars, interviews, or meetings.

He’ll help with planning, writing, and delivering your presentation, practicing (without feeling silly) and audience management. The book also has sample speeches and questionnaires and presentation tips for special situations, e.g., town meetings, eulogies, shareholder meetings, speaking to elementary and high school students, and many more.

Forms, Forms, Forms

No one likes them, but they are a necessary part of doing business. If you need a Federal form, either regulatory or voluntary, try Forms.gov, for over 5,000 citizen and business forms. You can do a keyword search or browse by agency or the name of the form.

Looking for a Commercial Vehicle?

Entrepreneur Magazine has a Vehicle Center website with articles to help you choose and buy the perfect set of wheels for your business, as well as links to manufacturer and fleet websites.

Entrepreneur Commercial Vehicle Center

50 Secrets to Customer Loyalty – SBDC Workshop

The Small Business Development Center at SRJC presents this workshop that will get your managers and employees doing the little things that can make all the difference in business. Put these simple yet powerful concepts to use and you will see impressive improvements in service, customer loyalty and profits.

Let’s face it: customers who have a negative experience with your company can produce devastating ripple effects, and in this economy can quickly drag your business down. But, if you creatively apply a constant flow of small, customer-centered innovations, you will see consistent and persistent strengthening of your customer base.

During this interactive session, you learn the “50 Secrets” and leave with a ready-to-implement Customer Service Plan for your business!

October 8, 2009 • 6:00 – 9:00pm
SBDC Conference Room, 421 Tenth Street, Santa Rosa

Information & Reservations

Going Green 2009

The North Bay Business Journal presents “The Sustainability Movement: no longer a trend, now a reality.” Regional experts from each of the North Bay counties appointed to implement climate protection policies will discuss local government efforts underway, helping businesses understand the regulations and changes coming down the pipe and how they will impact them.

What you need to know to prepare your business for the new rules: A close look at climate protection — how this dominant issue will impact the way business is conducted today. Also, a second panel will explore various funding models for energy-efficiency and green upgrades.

October 8, 2009 • 7:30-11:30am
Doubletree Hotel, Rohnert Park

Information & Reservations

Keys to Buying or Selling a Business – SBDC Workshop

Presented by Al Statz for the Small Business Development Center at SRJC:

“Don’t Let the Current Economy stop You from Successfully Buying or Selling a Business!

Acquiring an existing business with a track record of success, proven products and services, trained staff and loyal customers can provide an excellent return-on-investment with lower risk than starting a business from scratch or expanding organically. In this intense 2-hour session, you learn critical concepts and practical, proven steps to successfully acquire a privately owned business. Business owners will learn to see their business from the perspective of potential buyers and their advisors and financial sponsors. Discussion will focus on challenges and opportunities in today’s marketplace to enable you to make good decisions.

Topic Include:

  • True cash flow
  • Business valuation basics
  • Current financing options
  • Preparing yourself and your family
  • Determining the right business type
  • What can you afford?
  • 10 steps to a successful acquisition
  • Finding a business to purchase
  • Questions to ask the seller
  • Negotiating strategies

And much more!”

October 7, 2009 • 9:00 – 11:00am
SBDC, 421 Tenth Street, Santa Rosa

Information & Reservations

Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing

Profits Aren’t Everything by Cloutier

“This slim but forceful debut by turnaround management expert Cloutier serves as a wakeup call for small business owners who have been hit hard by the recession. “Don’t blame the economy,” he writes. “Recession or no recession, if your small business is failing, it’s your fault!” Cloutier dishes out tough love in pithy chapters that introduce his 15 “Profit Rules” (e.g., “Love your Business More than Your Family,” “The Best Family Business Has One Member” and “Teamwork Is Vastly Overrated”). While Cloutier’s provocative pronouncements seem designed for maximum shock value, each rule relies on practical business principles: maintain tight controls, pay for performance and focus on sales at all times. This blunt work will not be for the timid business owner afraid to re-evaluate operations, planning, compensation or family dynamics. For those ready to focus on profits, though, Cloutier’s book is loaded with valuable advice on how to get back on track and stay in the black in any economic environment.” PW, June 2009

Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing: No-Nonsense Rules from the Ultimate Contrarian and Small Business Guru, by George Cloutier [Harper Business, 2009].