Chinese professionals present their business cards with reverence, holding the card with both hands so it can be read by the person receiving it. But Americans oblivious to Chinese business customs might shove the card in a back pocket and continue talking, a gaffe sure to sour any business meeting.
Some of your employees are perhaps going more than a little overboard to please customers.
A new statewide coalition aims to make its case to legislators on a familiar issue: electric utility competition. Energy Choice Now formed last August to encourage the State Legislature to pass bills raising the cap on electric suppliers in the state and effectively create more competition for the regulated monopolies — and in theory, at least, reduce costs for ratepayer.
After he left the investment world in Chicago, Mark Sellers came back to Grand Rapids to start BarFly Ventures LLC to open bars and restaurants in downtown. Sellers owns HopCat, The Viceroy, Stella’s, and McFadden’s, and is a partner in The Pyramid Scheme. MiBiz spoke with Sellers at Stella’s to discuss the downtown business scene, what’s needed and what’s next.
Michigan wants to put its foot on the gas when it comes to helping small businesses developing advanced technologies, particularly in energy. In a statewide effort, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center have partnered to facilitate the Business Accelerator Fund.
WEST MICHIGAN — Time is money to small businesses.
So the two hours that Jill Remijn saves each week doing paperwork at Woods Landscape Maintenance have value. Spending that time on matters other than printing out and mailing client invoices comes via a new online service offered by Mercantile Bank of West Michigan through Bill.com, a Palo Alto, California technology company.
Gun Lake Casino celebrates its first year of operation on Feb. 10. John Shagonaby, CEO of the Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Authority, talked with MiBiz about the tribe’s experience in that first year. Shagonaby, a 1997 graduate of the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University, spoke recently at the WMU Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Program. He served on the tribal council of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians for 12 years and has worked for the tribe 15 years.
The project is possible in part because of Jean and John Nieuwenhuis, owners of Van’s Delivery Service Inc., a third generation trucking, warehousing and logistics company in Grand Rapids. The Nieuwenhuises serve on the five-member board of directors of Elves & More and provide the planning, facility, logistics and manpower for a successful delivery of bicycles to more than 1,000 youngsters.
State and national economic climates are the top concerns of Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce members in 2012, according to the results of an annual survey.The rising cost of health care and state and municipal budget management rounded out the top five concerns in the survey, which helps the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce set advocacy priorities for the year.
As small business owners adapt to a new tax system in Michigan, a recurring question Dan Lynn hears from clients is whether they should change how their business is organized. Should they switch, for instance, from a c-corp to an s-corp or an LLC?
Cheryl Gilliam, a 1982 graduate of the Michigan State University School of Packaging, has more than 30 years experience in packaging for the food and medical industries. The Portage resident holds seven U.S. patents. Gilliam is senior packaging engineer at the Kellogg Company, where she works on the Tony the Tiger brand. An endowed scholarship in Gilliam’s name is awarded to School of Packaging students. Gilliam, an All-American in track and field and winner of 13 Big Ten individual championships, is also president of the MSU Varsity Alumni “S” Club.
Rather than give up on some of the city’s more challenging pieces of real estate, Battle Creek Unlimited is hoping an innovative incentive program will get developers to take notice.
Entrepreneurs looking to surround themselves with other innovative thinkers take note: TEDx events are returning to West Michigan. TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” that organizes a system of talks, events, and conferences that have become popular in recent years. Recently, independently organized TEDx events cropped up in several cities in West Michigan, including Holland, Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
Returning military veterans have always been faced with the dual challenges of returning to civilian life and finding a job when they arrive home from serving in America’s wars.
Thousands of ex-military people are facing those challenges again as U.S. military action ends in Iraq. Like many of their civilian counterparts, some are deciding to start businesses and create their own jobs rather than trying to find one.
Justin Bajema was “blown up in an ambush” in Iraq. He underwent eight surgeries during six weeks of being hospitalized, and that was followed by some intense rehabilitation and extensive soul searching about “what the next step was going to be.”