Tag Archives: W.P. Carey School of Business

Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Handling Dissatisfied Customers

If you are in business, you’ve had unhappy customers. No matter how excellent your services or products, at some point someone will have issues. Customers often experience buyer’s remorse — it’s a simple fact. And because nothing is perfect, even the best businesses make mistakes. So, how can business owners handle the inevitable?

Douglas Olsen, associate professor of marketing, says businesses often “abandon the customer after the sale” — that is, they don’t follow up. And because only four percent of dissatisfied customers speak up, chances are there are folks out there who interacted with your company and don’t feel warm and fuzzy about it.

Olsen, who is teaching the marketing class in the W. P. Carey School’s Small Business Leadership Academy, says there are practical steps that any company can take to respond to customers who are unhappy with their experiences. Research — much of it pioneered at the Center for Services Leadership at W. P. Carey — shows that dissatisfied customers can be turned into loyalists if the service breakdown is addressed wisely.

For starters, Olsen recommends developing a system for keeping in touch with customers. This can be as simple as a phone call or email. Second, make sure customers you’re your policy on dispute resolution, and where and how to complain.

Here are a few things to remember when the news isn’t good — and handling dissatisfied customers:

  • Other stresses in your customer’s life are probably affecting his feelings about your business.
  • Listen actively: What are their thoughts? What’s their rationale? Focus on solutions.
  • Step outside yourself and don’t make assumptions; try to see the situation through your customer’s eyes. Be empathetic. Show your customer that he/she has your full attention.
  • Restate the problem so that you can be sure you have understood correctly.
  • Make sure your customer knows what the next step is, and when he/she will hear from you again.

Training may be needed to assure that your employees know how to handle an unhappy, sometimes angry, customer. They should have some flexibility to offer resolution, and they should know who is responsible for implementation. Olsen says there is rarely a reason to be defensive — a stance that only aggravates the situation.

A customer who lets you know that something is amiss gives you the opportunity to improve your business — and ultimately increase the number of happy loyal customers.
Looked it that way, Olsen says, a complaint is a gift!


Listen to the podcast: “Why Complaints are Good for Business”


The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U.S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

Top Business Leaders will speak in the New ECP Season

Top leaders from the NFL Network, Harkins Theatres, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), and the Arizona Diamondbacks are among those who will take the stage during the new season of the Economic Club of Phoenix speaker series. Every year, Phoenix-area audiences are invited to attend the club’s luncheons and hear from some of the biggest names in the business world.

“We want Valley businesspeople to be able to hear from the heads of major local companies and top executives from international firms,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “This series brings leaders from a variety of industries to talk about what’s happening in their own companies, as well as in the business arena as a whole.”

The Economic Club of Phoenix (ECP) was founded by a group of prominent business executives called the Dean’s Council of 100, in conjunction with the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The club is now the preeminent Arizona forum for the exchange of ideas about business and the economy. Its monthly luncheons and other activities offer business leaders and others opportunities to network and engage.

This season’s speaker lineup (subject to change) is:

Thursday, Oct. 11 – Dan Harkins, owner and chief executive officer, Harkins Theatres
Thursday, Nov. 8 – William Toler, president and chief executive officer, AdvancePierre Foods
Wednesday, Jan. 23 – Derrick Hall, president and chief executive officer, Arizona Diamondbacks
February – TBA
Wednesday, March 13 – Kim Williams, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, NFL Business Ventures/NFL Network
Thursday, April 25 – Maj. Gen. Josue Robles Jr., president and chief executive officer, United Services Automobile Association (USAA), Dean’s Council of 100 Executive of the Year
Thursday, May 16 – Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon

All luncheons run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The first event will take place at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, with the rest of the locations still to be announced.

Non-members are welcome for a $75 luncheon fee. Funds in excess of the cost of lunch are used to support scholarships and faculty research at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

For more information about the club or to reserve seats, call (480) 727-0596, e-mail wpcarey.ecp@asu.edu or go to www.econclubphx.org.

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ASU honors two for economic forecasting

They correctly predicted one of the most volatile times in the history of the U.S. economy. For their incredible accuracy, a counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. economist are about to receive a high honor. Dr. Richard Berner and David Greenlaw will accept the prestigious Lawrence R. Klein Award for economic-forecasting accuracy in New York on Oct. 18. Greenlaw will also provide his highly regarded 2013 forecast.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Lawrence R. Klein Award for forecasting accuracy with my good friend and former colleague, Dave Greenlaw,” Berner said. “This award has special significance for me because Lawrence Klein was my mentor and dissertation advisor.”

“I am honored to receive this award and am especially gratified to share it with my former colleague Richard Berner,” said Greenlaw. “The market uncertainty of the past few years has presented forecasting challenges for our economics team, and our hope is Morgan Stanley’s clients have benefitted from these calls.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University sponsors and judges the Lawrence R. Klein Award, regarded as one of the best-known and longest-standing awards in the economic profession. The annual award, named for Nobel Prize winner Dr. Lawrence R. Klein, goes to the individual or team with the most accurate economic forecast among the Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey participants for a multi-year period. The Blue Chip newsletter, edited by Randell Moore, has been published for more than 30 years and is regarded as the “gold standard” of business forecasts.

Berner and Greenlaw worked as a team at Morgan Stanley to earn the award for their 2008 to 2011 predictions. They beat out about 50 of the nation’s other top economic forecasters.

“The biggest challenge of the forecasts from 2008 to 2011 was to project the depth of the country’s economic contraction and then anticipate how the recovery would unfold,” explained Research Professor Lee McPheters of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Berner and Greenlaw saw the downturn would be deeper than most analysts thought, and that set their forecast apart. They also had very small forecast errors on the unemployment rate, correctly expecting it to stay high into 2011.”

Dr. Henry Kaufman, president of Henry Kaufman & Company, who is well-known for his 20-plus years of work at Salomon Brothers, is scheduled to present the award to Berner and Greenlaw at a special event at the University Club in New York on Thursday, Oct. 18. The event starts at 6 p.m.

Berner is currently counselor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and is helping the Treasury Department to build the Office of Financial Research (OFR), which was created in 2010 to collect and standardize financial data, perform essential research and develop new tools to measure and monitor risk to the financial system. In December, Berner was nominated by the President to serve as the OFR’s director; that nomination is pending before the U.S. Senate. Before he joined the Treasury, Berner was managing director, co-head of global economics and chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley, where he worked for 12 years. He has also been a top economist at Mellon Bank, Salomon Brothers and Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. He served for seven years on the research staff at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington and was also a member of the Economic Advisory Panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Panel of Economic Advisers of the Congressional Budget Office, and the Executive Committee of the board of directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research, among other impressive achievements.

Greenlaw is managing director and chief U.S. fixed income economist with Morgan Stanley. Before joining the firm, he served on the staff of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington for four years. He currently serves on the boards of several well-known economic organizations, including the Money Marketeers and the U.S. Monetary Policy Forum. Greenlaw was named Best Fed Forecaster in a Bloomberg Markets magazine survey and was the first back-to-back winner of the Dow Jones MarketWatch Forecaster of the Month award. He and Berner also have received forecasting-accuracy awards from the National Association for Business Economics and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

Greenlaw’s forecast for 2013 includes these predictions:

The U.S. economy faces two key challenges in the year ahead – the fiscal cliff and potential spillover of the European debt crisis.
Economic growth is expected to remain quite sluggish in 2013.
The unemployment rate should continue to linger at a high level over the course of the next year.
Inflation is likely to remain subdued.
The housing market is one of the few identifiable bright spots. House prices, sales activity and new homebuilding should all move higher in the year ahead.
Among the VIPs scheduled to attend the awards event this year are Randell E. Moore, executive editor of the Blue Chip Economic Indicators; Robert Mittelstaedt, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business; and Trevor Bond, president and chief executive officer of W. P. Carey & Co. LLC.

Small Business Leadership Academy

2012 Small Business Leadership Academy: A Fresh Look At Marketing

Management guru Peter Drucker said, “the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Business owners in the 2012 Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) are taking a fresh look at marketing with guidance from Douglas Olsen, associate professor of marketing at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

The basis of marketing, he explained, is the knowledge of what customers want, need and will pay for. But many companies, Olsen added, start with a great idea and then expect the customers to find it. The problem is that many of the entrepreneurs never bothered to think about whether anyone needs their big idea. A product can be the best gizmo ever built, but if it doesn’t fulfill a customer’s desires or needs, it won’t succeed. In other cases, even if the product or service is great, the people so close to the product sometimes tend to talk too much about the features and the technical details — to a point where they do not truly convey to the customer the real benefits or identify needs being served.

Nonetheless, many successful companies have this figured out, Olsen said. Michelin famously used images of babies sitting in the middle of a tire as a way of saying that they were selling you safety for your family — not just a tire. Not a lot of jargon, just one very compelling message.

The Michelin ad demonstrates the effective use of segmentation. Once you understand your customers, Olsen said, you can use segmentation to target your marketing to them. Segmentation is the process of dividing the market into groups. Consumers may be grouped based on geography,  demographics, benefits, behaviors or psychographics.

Psychographics, for example, are personality characteristics. Olsen showed the group three ads for a certain style of watch. One featured a close-up of a physically imposing man. The second showed a man sitting alone, reading. The third was Pierce Bronson, leaning toward the camera in an impeccable jacket and tie. The ads exemplify psychographic marketing. The first ad with the macho figure appeals to a market segment of men who want to be physically strong; the second ad would appeal to the “self actualizer”; Pierce Bronson personifies the sophistication and daring that another group desires.

In next week’s class we’ll dive deeper into the competitive advantage that services may provide and students will share some of the blueprints that they developed to apply to their business.


Listen to the podcast on W.P. Carey’s website.


The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U.S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

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Spirit of Enterprise Award Finalists Boast Job Creation, Charity Work, Innovation

Despite the slow economic recovery, Arizona already has many businesses showing impressive growth and even job creation. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is recognizing 10 of the state’s biggest achievers as finalists for this year’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Awards.

The awards, now in their 16th year, honor firms for ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship. Past winners include well-known names like Cold Stone Creamery, Ollie the Trolley and Sundt Construction. Finalists are noted for creating a positive culture both internally and in the community as a whole.

This year’s finalists are:

180 Degrees Automotive, a woman-owned, full-service auto repair center that caters especially to women and minorities. The company has moved to bigger locations four times in six years, provides free car classes to women, hosts an art exhibit, gives free rides home, and leaves a gift in each car with each visit.

CyberMark International, a full-service Internet marketing firm named one of the best in North America by a panel of marketing professionals. CyberMark won a 2011 ethics award from the local Better Business Bureau, offers 24/7 availability for its clients, gives employees flexible hours, and donates service free of charge to several nonprofit organizations.

Daphne’s Headcovers, a novelty golf-club cover business started when the owner was just 16 years old, that once grew 400 percent in just one quarter. Daphne’s now serves fine resorts and golf shops in 75 countries, has covers in the bags of more than 200 touring pro golfers, and offers customers a lifetime guarantee to repair or replace products for free.

GlobalMed, a company that offers telemedicine solutions like innovative cameras, medical devices and software, so health practitioners can provide care to remote patients via telecommunications or satellite. GlobalMed made Inc. Magazine’s 2012 list of the nation’s 500 fastest-growing private companies, and it also made large donations to charity, including the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program.

Hard Dollar, a Scottsdale-based firm that provides software for planning, budgeting and managing big projects in construction, mining and energy. Hard Dollar has more than 200,000 global users, 30-percent year-over-year growth, a company-wide wellness program, and a cost-management system that can increase productivity by 300 percent.

LawLogix Group, a fast-growing provider of immigration, I-9 and E-Verify software. The company boasts a 96.9-percent client-retention rate, low 3-percent employee turnover, a large amount of nonprofit work, and more than 155,000 organizations as customers, including Fortune 500 companies.

NJOY Electronic Cigarettes, a company founded in 2006 that now has a 40-percent share of the electronic cigarette industry, which offers smokers a tobacco-free alternative to traditional cigarettes. The firm sells in most of the nation’s biggest convenience-store chains and offers a recycling program for its products.

Optimal Performance Training, a team of health and fitness professionals started by one man inside a small chiropractor’s office. The company has grown to a large studio, where high school and college Division 1 athletes train, and it promotes a community perspective.

Real Property Management East Valley, a full-service residential property management company that grew to a multi-million dollar business in less than five years. This family-owned firm prides itself on positive client referrals, which have led to about 40 percent of its new growth, as well as involvement with community groups, including the Boy Scouts and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Divers Posse.

Total Transit, a comprehensive mobility management company that runs the Discount Cab brand throughout Arizona. Total Transit has the largest fleet of environmentally friendly Prius cabs in North America and also provides innovative Dial-a-Ride services for Valley Metro and many large Medicaid and Medicare providers, while also donating to the community through its charitable Total Transit Foundation.

Hundreds of Valley entrepreneurs, community leaders, Arizona State University students and others are expected to attend the annual awards luncheon when the winners will be announced Nov. 1 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

These awards are just one focus of the Spirit of Enterprise Center, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business experience. One key program, Student Teams for Entrepreneurship Projects (STEP), matches teams of W. P. Carey School of Business students with Valley companies to help tackle real-world challenges and opportunities. Companies can also use the center to access other ASU business resources. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.

For more information on the Spirit of Enterprise Center, visit www.spiritofenterprise.org. For sponsorship opportunities or awards luncheon reservations, please call (480) 965-0474 or visit www.spiritofenterprise.org.

Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Aligning Strategy With Corporate Resources

The 2012 Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) kicks off with two nights devoted to strategy, and more specifically, competitive advantage and how to achieve it. Emphasis is put on the importance of aligning a company’s activities to create an advantage over competitors.

The cornerstone of the strategy course is analysis. Any business owner can use analysis to determine what their organization offers to their industry as well as to their customers. Determining whether a business’s organizational strategy fits its resources is the first step towards maximizing competitive advantage.

“(Business owners) need to be honest with themselves about their organization, its resources, and whether their current strategy is in need of updating,” stresses Professor Trevis Certo. “A common strategic mistake that many small businesses make is not understanding how common their product or service is, and how easy it would be for another company to imitate.”

Many companies suffer from being a “jack of all trades, master of none” by trying to be all things to all customers. Once a strategy is decided on, not all customers should be pursued and current customers might even need to be “fired.”

Spend some time over the next week thinking about your company’s value proposition. Take the time to really analyze whether all aspects of your business are aligned with that value proposition. Are you pursuing the right clients? Are your compensation models aligned with your goals? Are there operations that you have undertaken that take up more resources than they are worth?

Next, make necessary changes. While this exercise may not currently be at the top of your priority list, it can mean the difference between growing your business and closing your business.

Next week, we’ll explore how to take what you see as your company’s competitive advantage and making sure it is not easily imitated by your competitors.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U.S. Bank.

Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

Home Prices

Soaring Phoenix Area Home Prices Finally Slow Down

Phoenix-area home prices, which had been sharply and steadily rising since last September, finally went down a little this summer.

A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals the numbers for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of July:

  • The median single-family home price dropped slightly between June and July this year – down less than 1%.
  • The median single-family home price was still up almost 31% from last July.
  • Sales of bank-owned homes plunged 73% from July 2011 to July 2012, with fewer foreclosures coming into the pipeline.

The median single-family home price in Maricopa and Pinal counties in July was $149,000, very slightly down from $150,000 in June. Even though this was the first monthly median drop since last summer, the report’s author, Mike Orr, does not think it indicates a reversal.

“This small drop is likely a reflection of both the normal, annual summer slowdown in the Phoenix-area housing market and a natural pause in the soaring prices we’ve seen here,” explains Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “I expect it will continue through August, but prices are likely to resume their upward direction in late September or October.”

The median single-family price was still up 30.7% from last July, when it was at $114,000. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 21.1% from last July. The median price for townhomes and condos was up 17.3% from $69,900 to $82,000.

Activity in the market remains limited by the amount of homes available for sale, with the number of transactions down 7.7% from July last year. As of Aug. 1, the supply of homes for sale — excluding those already under contract – was down 26% from the same time last year. Many homeowners still don’t want to sell, since their homes are worth much less than when they bought them.

Also, so-called “distressed supply,” the number of homes up for short sale or that recently went through foreclosure, went down a whopping 69% from last July to this July, meaning fewer bargains are out there.

“Seventy-eight percent of the existing homes available for sale are priced above $150,000,” says Orr. “That means competition for the other 22% is fierce. Most homes priced below even $250,000 are attracting a large number of offers within a short time, and offers often exceed the asking price. Ordinary home buyers are still struggling to compete with investors who offer all-cash, with no appraisal required.”

In fact, 54% of the homes that sold for $150,000 or less in July went to all-cash buyers. The low supply in this range has many people turning to new-home construction. As a result, new construction permits went up a massive 87% from July 2011 to July 2012. New-home sales went up 58% year-over-year.

Completed foreclosures for both single-family homes and townhome/condos went up 13% from June to July. However, Orr believes this is the beginning of a short, passing wave that came from the February signing of a legal settlement between the states and five of the nation’s largest lenders. Foreclosure starts — homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – went down 14% from June to July.

“Most lenders are strongly encouraging homeowners facing financial hardship to use short sales as a preferred alternative to foreclosure,” Orr says. “Consequently, we have seen single-family short sales grow by 12 percent over the last year, while foreclosure rates have declined sharply.”

Almost all parts of the Phoenix area have seen prices go up since last summer. Even the high-end areas of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley have had average prices per square foot go up 9 and 12%, respectively. The only areas still showing a decline in average price per square foot are Rio Verde and Sun Lakes.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/FullReport201208.pdf.

More analysis is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

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Soaring Phoenix-area Home Prices Finally Slow Down

Phoenix-area home prices, which had been sharply and steadily rising since last September, finally went down a little this summer. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals the numbers for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of July:

The median single-family home price dropped slightly between June and July this year – down less than 1 percent.
The median single-family home price was still up almost 31 percent from last July.
Sales of bank-owned homes plunged 73 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, with fewer foreclosures coming into the pipeline.

The median single-family home price in Maricopa and Pinal counties in July was $149,000, very slightly down from $150,000 in June. Even though this was the first monthly median drop since last summer, the report’s author, Mike Orr, does not think it indicates a reversal.

“This small drop is likely a reflection of both the normal, annual summer slowdown in the Phoenix-area housing market and a natural pause in the soaring prices we’ve seen here,” explains Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “I expect it will continue through August, but prices are likely to resume their upward direction in late September or October.”

The median single-family price was still up 30.7 percent from last July, when it was at $114,000. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 21.1 percent from last July. The median price for townhomes and condos was up 17.3 percent from $69,900 to $82,000.

Activity in the market remains limited by the amount of homes available for sale, with the number of transactions down 7.7 percent from July last year. As of Aug. 1, the supply of homes for sale — excluding those already under contract – was down 26 percent from the same time last year. Many homeowners still don’t want to sell, since their homes are worth much less than when they bought them. Also, so-called “distressed supply,” the number of homes up for short sale or that recently went through foreclosure, went down a whopping 69 percent from last July to this July, meaning fewer bargains are out there.

“Seventy-eight percent of the existing homes available for sale are priced above $150,000,” says Orr. “That means competition for the other 22 percent is fierce. Most homes priced below even $250,000 are attracting a large number of offers within a short time, and offers often exceed the asking price. Ordinary home buyers are still struggling to compete with investors who offer all-cash, with no appraisal required.”

In fact, 54 percent of the homes that sold for $150,000 or less in July went to all-cash buyers. The low supply in this range has many people turning to new-home construction. As a result, new construction permits went up a massive 87 percent from July 2011 to July 2012. New-home sales went up 58 percent year-over-year.

Completed foreclosures for both single-family homes and townhome/condos went up 13 percent from June to July. However, Orr believes this is the beginning of a short, passing wave that came from the February signing of a legal settlement between the states and five of the nation’s largest lenders. Foreclosure starts — homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – went down 14 percent from June to July.

“Most lenders are strongly encouraging homeowners facing financial hardship to use short sales as a preferred alternative to foreclosure,” says Orr. “Consequently, we have seen single-family short sales grow by 12 percent over the last year, while foreclosure rates have declined sharply.”

Almost all parts of the Phoenix area have seen prices go up since last summer. Even the high-end areas of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley have had average prices per square foot go up 9 and 12 percent, respectively. The only areas still showing a decline in average price per square foot are Rio Verde and Sun Lakes.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/FullReport201208.pdf. More analysis is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

Online Real Estate

W.P. Carey School Offers New Online Real Estate Program

From the foreclosure crisis to roller-coaster home prices and a trove of new investors, we’re watching the world of real estate dramatically change. This evolution has some real estate professionals looking to blur the lines between what they do now – and what they can do.

For example, general contractors may see opportunities to complete their own real estate projects, and some realtors are looking into buying homes for renovation and investment. A new online program from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University will help address this.

“We’ve been talking with real-estate industry groups, and they see a need for a flexible, convenient program to provide an overview of the development process for current real estate professionals who want to expand their horizons,” says Mark Stapp, the Fred E. Taylor Professor in Real Estate at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We designed the new online Real Estate Development Certificate program for this purpose. It teaches real estate fundamentals, law, investments and land development, all in an easy-to-use format from a top business school.”

The new online program is essentially a real-estate development education sampler, which lasts nine months. The first classes will begin on Oct. 1. Industry groups, including the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the Valley Forward Association and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), have already taken an interest, and members will be eligible for a discounted tuition rate.

“In addition to the basics, we’re going to focus on responsible community development and themes like sustainability and creating real value for customers,” explains Stapp, an instructor in the new program and a developer himself. “There’s a new era of real estate construction emphasizing fewer cookie-cutter homes and more focus on buyers’ needs. We want to help real estate professionals deliver an even higher level of service to their clients, make better business decisions, and better position their products and their companies for revenue growth.”

Until now, Stapp only taught in the school’s Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program, an in-person, one-year program for mid-level real estate professionals. He’s executive director of that program, which is in its sixth year and enrolls students from eight countries, who learn about design, law, construction and business. Many of the same seasoned faculty members will teach in the new online program.

Applications are already being taken for the new certificate program, and more information can be found at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/REDcert. Additional information about the in-person MRED program is available at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/mred. The school will also soon launching a new online publication about its real estate research and programs called knowRE, which will be available to the public at www.knowwpcarey.com/realestate.

Small Business Leadership Academy

Brandon Taylor: Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participant

Brandon Taylor discusses how his participation in the Small Business Leadership Academy has benefited him and his business, CPR Savers & First Aid Supply LLC.


Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participant:

Brandon Taylor, CPR Savers & First Aid Supply LLCBrandon Taylor
CPR Savers & First Aid Supply LLC

Tell us about your business: CPR Savers & First Aid Supply is a distributor/manufacturer of CPR, first aid, AED, survival and medical equipment. We offer nationwide CPR/AED/first-aid training to corporate clients. We provide disaster preparedness supplies to government agencies.

Year of participation in SBLA: 2011

What was the most important thing you learned from SBLA? The need to work on my business to grow it instead of spending all my time on the day-to-day operations just to keep my business going.

How have you changed the way you do business based on what you learned during SBLA? To some degree, yes. It is difficult to allocate the time necessary to work on my business, but I have implemented many of the ideas learned in the SBLA classes.

How has the SBLA alumni community been helpful to you since you went through the program? To some degree, we have been in contact with a few of our peers and have met occasionally. I need to find the time to participate in some of the activities that have been provided by the SBLA.

What aspects of SBLA do you consider most valuable for other small business owners in Phoenix? The information provided is very helpful for business owners to learn how to grow their business to the next level. It will help you generate new ideas and encourage you to learn more about the subjects that interest you most. One surprising benefit of the SBLA entrepreneurship class is to participate with like-minded peers who are in the same position and want to help one another and share their knowledge.

The next Small Business Leadership Academyprogram will begin Wednesday, August 29, 2012.

For more information about the program, including admission requirements, please visit SBLA’s website.

home prices

Phoenix Home Prices Up, New-Home Sales Coming Back

Foreclosures are dramatically down in the Phoenix-area housing market. This means fewer cheap homes coming onto the market, home prices rising for the sixth month in a row as a result, and many buyers finally starting to turn their attention from bargain resale homes to new-home sales. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals some trends for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of March:

> The number of foreclosures completed this March was down a huge 60 percent from March 2011.

> The median single-family-home price went up more than 20 percent from last March.

> New-home sales rose 35 percent in the same time period.

Mike Orr, the report’s author, says the home-buying season is in full swing and peak activity will last until June. The median single-family-home price in the Phoenix-area was $134,900 in March. That’s up 20.4 percent from a year ago when it was $112,000. Realtors will note the average price per square-foot went up 14.4 percent.

“Prices have begun to rise at a fast pace, and bargains are no longer plentiful,” says Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Most homes that are priced well are attracting multiple offers within a couple of days, and many are exceeding the asking price.”

Orr emphasizes there’s been a dramatic change in the types of transactions happening in the market. Normal resales, new-home sales, investor flips and short sales are on the rise, while lender-owned home sales are down 61 percent from the year before.

Overall, the supply of single-family homes on the market (without an existing contract) went down 64 percent from March 2011 to March 2012. Orr estimates there is only a 23-day supply of homes priced under $250,000 available and that the market is very unbalanced, with far more buyers than sellers. The existing supply is heavily weighted toward the higher-priced end of the market.

“The very low number of inexpensive homes available for resale means more buyers are considering purchasing new homes as an option,” says Orr. “This signals the start of a distinct upward trend in new-home sales.”

When it comes to resales, Orr says all-cash buyers are still receiving preference over those with offers that require some form of financing. That’s because lenders need an appraisal, and appraisers are typically looking at months-old home sales for comparison. Those are priced well below the current market value.

“This puts ordinary home buyers at a severe disadvantage,” explains Orr. “More than 26 percent of Phoenix-area transactions are investor purchases.”

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at wpcarey.asu.edu. More analysis is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at knowwpcarey.com.

carey school - graduate

More Than 2,000 Will Graduate From W. P. Carey School

More than 2,000 students will graduate from Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business next week. This is one of the biggest graduation classes ever for the school, known as one of the largest and highest-ranked business schools in the country. The president of the Phoenix Suns, a group of executives flying in from China, and a student who already started a nonprofit to help foster teens will be part of the ceremonies.

“We have another fantastic graduating class this year,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “These students exemplify why our undergraduate, full-time MBA and part-time MBA programs are all ranked Top 30 by U.S. News & World Report. It’s another batch of high achievers.”

The school’s graduate-level convocation will include more than 900 students, most of them receiving MBAs, but others getting master’s degrees in accountancy, tax, information management, real estate development and health systems management. The event will be held Friday, May 4 at 5 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. The featured speaker will be Brad Casper, president of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, who is known for his community involvement and heavy focus on area schools.

In addition, about 20 of the 120 executives graduating from the school’s executive MBA program in Shanghai are traveling to Phoenix to participate in the Tempe ceremony. The Shanghai program educates some of the highest-level business and government leaders in China and is currently ranked among the Top 20 executive MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times, Britain’s equivalent of The Wall Street Journal. Past students have included the CEOs of Baosteel and Shanghai Electric, three vice governors of China’s major provinces, six city mayors, the chief executive officer of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, several bank chairmen and the chairman of Shanghai Airlines.

At the undergraduate level, more than 1,100 students are eligible to walk the stage, and more than a dozen different types of business degrees will be awarded. The undergraduate convocation is set for Thursday, May 3 at 8 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Arena. The main speaker will be Chris Spinella, chief executive officer of Apriva, which develops and advances smart-card technology and wireless applications for payment processing and secure mobile communications.

The graduates at this ceremony will include the winner of the spring 2012 Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, Christos Makridis. He co-founded the Quanta Foundation LLC, an educational services company that connects high school students with high-profile university projects to produce research and multimedia materials. Makridis is also a McCord Scholar, an economics teaching assistant, chairman of the business school’s Dean’s Advisory Council and editor in chief of an international undergraduate-research journal on science policy at ASU.

Another finalist for the Turken Family award, Priya Nathan, co-founded a nonprofit to benefit young people. Partnered for Success helps foster and orphan youth successfully transition out of the foster care system in the Phoenix area. The program has been recognized by Fast Company magazine and was selected as an ASU Innovation Challenge grant winner twice.

“Many of these graduates are already making their mark well beyond the classroom,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Executive Dean Amy Hillman. “We have students who are small-business owners, working moms, members of the military and lots of others already making us proud. We look forward to their continued success.”

For more information on W. P. Carey School of Business, visit W. P. Carey School of Business’ website at wpcarey.asu.edu.

Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs: Three Key Things To Consider Before Starting Your Business

Three key things for entrepreneurs to consider before starting their own business


The benefit of a challenging economy has been the inspiration for new business. As individuals find themselves out of a job they may have held for decades, they are no longer taking their talents elsewhere. Instead they are choosing to create their own jobs; and in the process, jobs for others.

On a recent visit to the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, I had the honor of meeting a group of enthusiastic future entrepreneurs. Growing up during a time of uncertainty has inspired these students to explore the possibilities of starting their own businesses.

Whether you are a college student with a great idea or a professional seeking to take control of your fate, there are three key things for entrepreneurs to consider before starting your own business and venturing into the world of entrepreneurship.

Do something you’re passionate about

Being in control does not mean more free time. Starting your own business will consume the majority of your time and energy. But if you are passionate about what you do, it won’t feel like work. And when you love what you do, you are more likely to be successful. Think about what you know, what you like and where you may be able to fill a need or provide a benefit to others. This line of thinking most often leads to great ideas that can ultimately become great companies.

The right person for the job

Entrepreneurs wear many hats, especially during the start-up phase. In the beginning, you may be the receptionist, janitor, most valuable employee and CEO — often simultaneously. At a certain point, though, you will be ready to hire full-time employees or need to contract expert help. Running a small operation makes it essential to surround yourself with strong people that fill your weaknesses. While you may be a very knowledgeable about your industry, it does not mean you understand how to execute marketing, public relations or finance.

When hiring, take the time to find people with the right experiences and qualifications to fit your needs. Also, consider personalities, work environments and schedules. As you begin building your team, you want to do your best to find people that you can work well with and will help grow the organization. Finally, consider the qualifications of the team as you reach out to secure potential investors.

Understand the numbers

Entrepreneurs tend to be great idea people or visionaries, but successful entrepreneurs know and understand the financial side of things. If you are still in school and think you may want to launch your own business someday, consider majoring in accounting. If you graduated already, consider taking a few accounting courses. If the thought of accounting repels you, partner with someone or hire someone who understands accounting to serve as a trusted financial adviser. Knowing the numbers and how they are calculated can help to eliminate the risk of fraud. It will also boost your credibility when talking to potential investors because they will realize you know the ins and outs of your company.

Starting a new business is a risk, but the rewards can be great. Taking charge of your own destiny and being your own boss can be empowering and challenging. In the end, having passion for what you do, the determination to make it happen and the dedication to see it through will be what sets you apart from others.

For more information about becoming an entrepreneur, visit fswfunding.com.

W. P. Carey School

W. P. Carey School Earns Award For Children’s Charity Work

People don’t always associate the business world with charity. However, students at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University are taught to understand that charity work is vital to your real, genuine success in life. This week, the nonprofit Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) Parenting Arizona is honoring the school for its extensive work on behalf of the children’s charity.

“We’ve had a never-ending stream of generosity from the W. P. Carey School of Business,” says Julie Rosen, executive director of CPLC Parenting Arizona, a statewide program that works to ensure a positive and safe environment for all children. “Not only have students, faculty and staff provided monetary gifts and special events for the families we help, but professors and students have also done pro bono work, providing valuable business advice to help our organization touch more lives.”

W. P. Carey MBA students have adopted CPLC Parenting Arizona as a primary charity. The group is aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect by providing statewide multi-cultural family support services.

Associate Professor Dan Brooks’ class of consulting scholars recently revamped CPLC Parenting Arizona’s website, so the nonprofit can now offer services like parenting classes online to its many recipient families who live in remote areas of Arizona, including Native American reservations. Professor James Ward’s marketing class did a complete, free analysis of CPLC Parenting Arizona’s donor relations strategy. Rosen says the nonprofit received so much good information, it will take a year to finish implementing everything.

“They have shown us how to make our outreach much more positive and targeted,” says Rosen. “We could never afford to pay for the advice and assistance provided by the W. P. Carey School of Business. They just offer amazing access to business experts and caring students.”

For the last couple of years, the school has thrown a December holiday party for families receiving assistance from CPLC Parenting Arizona. Gifts were provided to dozens of children. Last year, students and staff also threw a Halloween party, complete with trick-or-treating stations and cookie decorating. School representatives and students have also held spring cleanup events to paint and spruce up the charity’s offices. Even the winning team from a recent softball event held by the school donated about $2,000 in prize money to the nonprofit.

“Our students, faculty and staff members are always coming up with ways to support CPLC Parenting Arizona because it represents such a great cause,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “They emphasize healthy parenting and provide services to families at risk for violence toward children. We have the shared goal of improving young people’s lives.”

CPLC Parenting Arizona is part of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Arizona and one of the largest Latino community development organizations in the country. Its chief operating officer, Martin Quintana, is an active board member of several community organizations and a W. P. Carey School of Business Homecoming Hall of Fame member, who graduated from the school’s nationally recognized executive MBA program. Several other top representatives at Chicanos Por La Causa have also been through the school’s executive MBA program, and the school is actively involved in helping to cultivate new board members to ensure the nonprofit’s success.

The W. P. Carey School of Business will be honored at CPLC Parenting Arizona’s “Champions for Children” Luncheon on Friday, March 16 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort’s Grand Ballroom in Phoenix. The other honorees at this year’s event will be Bank of America, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and former Arizona Diamondbacks baseball player Luis Gonzalez.

wpcarey.asu.edu

Phoenix-Area Housing Market

Prices Up & Foreclosures Down In Phoenix-Area Housing Market

Several pieces of good news are trickling into the hard-hit Phoenix-area housing market. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows positive trends for struggling homeowners, as of January:

  • Single-family home prices are moving higher.
  • Fewer foreclosures are coming into the pipeline.
  • The glut of underpriced homes on the market has ended, with a more balanced market now for houses under $300,000.

 

Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business, says things are shifting for the better in Maricopa and Pinal counties. He says the median price for all sales, including new-home sales, in the market was $120,500 in January 2012. That’s an increase from $113,166 (up about 6.5 percent) from January 2011. Realtors will note that the average price per-square-foot for single-family homes increased 3 percent from January 2011.

“Single-family home prices overall in the Phoenix area have been moving up since they reached a low point in September,” says Orr, the report’s author. “Also, looking forward, I expect a declining trend in foreclosures.”

A total of about 2,450 single-family home foreclosures happened in Maricopa and Pinal counties in January 2012. That’s significantly down from almost 4,200 in January 2011. The number of foreclosure starts – homeowners receiving notice that their lenders may foreclose in 90 days — is also down 49 percent from last January.

Orr also believes there is no longer an oversupply of homes for sale in the price range below $300,000. He says investors have bought up and eliminated the excess inventory. However, ample supply remains in the upper price ranges, which were less affected by foreclosures.

“Many people think there’s a glut of homes the banks are hiding somewhere, and that may be the case in other markets, but not here in the Phoenix area,” Orr says. “We’ve gone through so many foreclosures that the system has been working itself out for about five years. Everything is cyclical in housing. The market doesn’t go down forever, and it doesn’t stay up forever.”

Orr says the supply of homes listed for sale went down 42 percent from January 2011 to January 2012. As the supply dwindles, prices are likely to rise. Orr adds fewer homes are reverting back to the banks at auction, as investors snap up what bargains are left in the Phoenix area.

“Buyers from Canada, New Zealand and Australia, in particular, are taking advantage of the exchange rates to purchase investment and vacation homes,” Orr explains.

The market saw about 8,000 new- and existing-home sales in January 2012, up from fewer than 7,500 last January. The peak buying season normally starts in February, so more activity is expected.

W.P. Carey

ASU Business School Community Mourns The Loss Of W.P. Carey

The Arizona State University and Phoenix business communities are mourning the loss of a great benefactor, philanthropist and businessman. William Polk Carey, one of the nation’s most prominent real estate investors and the major donor behind the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU, has passed away at the age of 81.

“The ASU family mourns the loss of our benefactor and friend Bill Carey,” says ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Bill Carey was not only a great business leader and philanthropist, but also a visionary. He knew that metropolitan Phoenix needed a first-rate business school to advance in the 21st century and saw in ASU the potential to develop that school. Through his generous investment in ASU almost a decade ago, the school that bears his name has become world-class and will continue to educate future business leaders for many generations to come.”

The New York-based banker, founder and chairman of W. P. Carey & Co. LLC donated $50 million from his educational and philanthropic W. P. Carey Foundation to ASU in 2003. In recognition of his extraordinary support, ASU renamed the university’s business school in his honor, and the gift has been instrumental in helping the W. P. Carey School to become one of the world’s top business schools. U.S. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times all now rank W. P. Carey School programs among the Top 30 nationwide.

At the time, Carey’s generous donation was the second-largest gift ever to a U.S. business school. Carey’s family has deep connections to Arizona State University. His grandfather introduced legislation that created the university in 1886. Carey also had an honorary Doctor of Science degree from ASU.

Carey has said of his gift to the business school, “The key to future economic growth is quality education, and this school will be dedicated to producing our country’s next generation of business leaders.”

The school’s leadership agrees.

“Bill gave us the ability to dramatically advance the quality and status of the school much more rapidly than would have been possible otherwise,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “He was a philanthropist who believed a primary way to advance our country was through education, and he helped a number of schools, including ours. He was also a student of economics and a great admirer of top-tier economists.”

Mittelstaedt also says Carey was a smart businessman who pioneered a way for smaller investors to participate in large real estate projects with consistent top-tier returns. Carey had an incredible 60-plus-year career in the finance industry and will be remembered as a visionary leader with fierce loyalty and abundant generosity.

For more information about the W.P. Carey School of Business, visit wpcarey.asu.edu.

Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Building High Performance Teams (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Building High Performance Teams (Part II)

Ria Robles, owner of B2B Delivery LLC, was spending the lion’s share of a couple days a week checking and re-checking the complex bills she sends to customers. She reached a point where she asked herself, “Why am I doing accounting?” So, Robles turned the job over to her accountant, but not until the two worked side-by-side, going through the pricing details and the way she scoured the invoices for mistakes.

The story is an important lesson about delegation, explained W. P. Carey clinical assistant professor Ruth Barratt, who taught two classes on how to build high performance teams in the Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) where Robles is a student.

SBLA, taught by W. P. Carey School of Business faculty, is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona.

If you want to build highly effective teams, you must know how to delegate tasks, according to Barratt.

Here are some concepts and pointers from last night’s class:

  • Think carefully about the task and who might shoulder it. Provide lots of background: paint a picture of a successful outcome if you can. Identify the key points of the project.
  • Encourage employees to give you regular progress reports. These are the junctures where the business owner or manager can provide feedback.
  • Be prepared to accept the fact that someone else probably will not do the job exactly the way you would. If you nitpick your employees will be reluctant to do the task again.

 

Robles followed the steps when she delegated the billing. Last night, she reported that the accountant does an even better job than she did, and it’s clear that the accountant enjoys ferreting out errors and saving the company money.

Alex Zuran, owner of Phoenix National Laboratories, Inc. described himself as “the guy who does it right.” A self-admitted perfectionist, Zuran performed many of the tasks at his company personally in the past; not any longer.

“Instead of being the guy who does it right, I’m the one who makes sure it’s done right,” he said. His employees can’t always perform the work as fast as he does, and that does affect profitability, but Zuran says employees do master the tasks, and “it’s pretty cool when it happens.”

Zuran said that delegating has “totally changed his role” at the firm, freeing him to build the business. Robles, smiling, said, “I got my Tuesdays and Wednesdays back!”

Last night’s class was the final session in the 10-week course of study. Students came to the W. P. Carey School every Wednesday for four hours of instruction. Next week they graduate.

Keep an eye on the Small Business Leadership Academy’s website for information on next year’s program.

[stextbox id="info"]The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students. For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.[/stextbox]

 

ASU W.P. Carey School of Business

W.P. Carey School of Business Teams With The Rockefeller Group

Arizona State University is locating its newest W.P. Carey Evening MBA and Custom Corporate MBA programs at Chandler 101, an executive office park to be developed by The Rockefeller Group in Chandler’s prestigious Price Corridor.

This program will be the first of its kind in Chandler, and complement the Price Corridor’s economic development strategy of recruiting high-tech, high-wage employers.

“Chandler has been working diligently to bring an added educational presence to our city,” Chandler mayor Jay Tibshraeny said Monday at a press conference to announce the partnership. “ASU makes a great addition to the Price Corridor, which attracts high-profile businesses and an educated workforce.”

Because the Price Corridor is home to six miles of large-campus, high-wage employers, this location allows ASU to reach a large executive workforce in a convenient location.

“Bringing ASU’s highly-ranked MBA programs to Chandler offers the opportunity for ASU to provide a stellar business education to working professionals in the area that ultimately will benefit the state’s economy,” said ASU president Michael M. Crow.

Chandler 101 will include 844,000 SF on 24 acres with 8- to 10-story office towers, restaurants, retail, and a parking structure on the SEC of Chandler Blvd. and the 101 Freeway. ASU’s presence will help make Chandler 101 attractive to prospective tenants, as it will offer on-site convenience to higher education to their employees. Colliers International, Inc. will be representing The Rockefeller Group for all leasing inquiries.

“The Rockefeller Group is pleased that ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business MBA Programs will be part of Chandler 101,” said Mark Singerman, regional director, Rockefeller Group Development Corporation. “We look forward to securing an anchor tenant so that we can begin development on phase one.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU is one of the largest and highest-ranked business schools in the U.S. The school will offer its prestigious evening MBA program in Chandler that is currently ranked number 17 among all part-time MBA programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. The evening MBA program is an ideal fits for professionals who want to broaden managerial and professional expertise.

The school will also offer its new Chandler location as an option for custom corporate MBA programs. These can be specifically designed around individual company’s strategic objectives. Custom corporate courses create opportunities for businesses to develop future leaders, elevate managers’ knowledge and skill levels, link course content to company challenges and aid in attracting and retaining top talent.

The school will also offer its new Chandler location as an option for custom corporate MBA programs. These can be specifically designed around individual company’s strategic objectives. Custom corporate courses create opportunities for businesses to develop future leaders, elevate managers’ knowledge and skill levels, link course content to company challenges and aid in attracting and retaining top talent.

For more information about The Rockefeller Group visit www.rockgroupdevelopment.com.

SBLA: Building High Performance Teams

Small Business Leadership Academy: Building High Performance Teams (Part I)

Last night, students in the Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) formed two teams and competed to see which could navigate a “minefield” best. The exercise was designed to help students experience the dynamics of high performance teams as they move through all the stages of group development.

“Many of these owners are getting ready to launch their businesses into the next stage, and at some point they will need to form and lead teams,” said W. P. Carey clinical assistant professor Ruth Barratt, who is teaching two classes on how to build high performance teams. “Even the solo practitioner needs to understand team dynamics,” she added, “because they will be interacting with customers who work in teams.”

“One of the common mistakes managers make is to give teams too little time to do their work,” Barratt said. Managers must come in on time and under budget, and in a challenging economy, the pressure intensifies. But teams don’t achieve peak performance unless members have a chance to get to know each other – each person’s strengths, weaknesses, style – and the assignment.

Knowing yourself is the first step to understanding others, so before last night’s class the students completed the Myers-Briggs personality inventory. “It’s a valuable tool for understanding what their stressors are and how that affects the way they interact with other people,” Barratt said. Before class she had already heard from a handful of students: “the extraverts,” she laughed.

The class delved into the stages of team development and management, how to build a culture that leads to achievement, and what it takes to lead a team. “Story-telling is an effective way to build culture,” Barratt said, “so for next week’s class the assignment is to get ready to tell your business story.” In preparation, students heard about Miller Brewing Company’s Norman Adami, and how he used culture to turn around a sluggish company. And for an example of a well-told tale, she showed them Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech.

Next week’s class will be the final instructional module of the 2011 SBLA program.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy and building high performance teams and team development, please visit SBLA’s website.

 

Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Negotiating Skills Build Relationships (Part II)

This week’s Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) negotiating module continued where last week’s left off, with participants using the tenets of the Harvard Negotiation Project (HNP).

HNP combines both theory and practice to develop ideas that are useful and successful in everyday application. These standards of practice involve focusing on interests rather than positions. Using independent standards of fairness, all parties involved can come to mutually beneficial agreements (win-win) rather than cannibalizing the relationship for the sake of more favorable terms for one party (win-lose).

W. P. Carey professor Dr. Alan Goldman guided the Small Business Leadership Academy participants through the use of HNP tenets to establish a framework for a current negotiation within their organizations. One of the small business leaders determined that, despite reservations about a deal she had been offered, she was truly getting a fair deal and should consider accepting it because she had undervalued one particular aspect of the offered deal. For another, the tactic to move forward was to try to rebuild a broken relationship. The main difference between the two negotiations was that for the former person, once she accepts her deal, the relationship would be over; there was no need to protect an on-going relationship. The latter, on the other hand, has a long-term contract with the other entity and needed to protect his interests.

Another exercise the class participated in was a brainstorming session. No suggestions were too far outside the box. More than one participant saw an immediate application for that exercise.

“The brainstorming that we did in today’s session was great,” said Alex Zuran, president and CEO of Phoenix National Laboratories. “The whole process of learning how to brainstorm I can see taking straight into my business.”

A term that came up often in the evening’s discussion was “BATNA” or “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” When determining whether the deal that is on the table is worth accepting, knowing your fall-back plan enables you to make a more educated decision. Is your BATNA better than the deal that is being negotiated? Then it’s time to walk away.

As one of the HNP videos elaborated: “Preparation, know your walk-away alternative.” Another important step is estimating what the other parties BATNA is. Is it a strong option for them or a weak one? Thinking about these aspects ahead of time prepares you for many of the twists and turns that the negotiation can take.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit the Small Business Leadership Academy’s website.

 

Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Negotiating Skills Build Relationships (Part I)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Negotiating Skills Build Long-Lasting Relationships (Part I)

With everything that goes on in the day-to-day life of a small business, learning how to better negotiate everything from employee salaries to vendor contracts might not be top-of-mind for the leaders of the organization. “It is tremendously important for small business leaders to learn negotiating skills,” says W. P. Carey Professor, Dr. Alan Goldman.

In this week’s Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) session, participants were exposed to the tenets of the Harvard Negotiation Project (HNP). HNP was created in 1979 and combines both theory and practice to develop ideas that are useful and successful in everyday application. These standards of practice involve focusing on interests rather than positions. Using independent standards of fairness, all parties involved can come to mutually beneficial agreements (win-win) rather than cannibalizing the relationship for the sake of more favorable terms for one party (win-lose).

There are both hard (adversarial) and soft (people-oriented) negotiating skills. Which skill is most effective “depends on the type of business that you’re in and what type of clients you have,” commented Dr. Goldman. “Your negotiating approach has to be customized.”

Participants watched videos of both successful negotiations and those in which one or both parties left the table dissatisfied. Through these examples, it was stressed that determining the interests of each party is of utmost importance. They also should determine whether they are in a position with their clients where they are supposed to know best or where their clients are more involved in the decision-making. That is the difference between a specialist model and more of a partnership. For their application exercise, participants will put themselves in the middle of a negotiation and determine the best course of action.

“This is a way that I can perfect my negotiations skills,” shared Jeff Campbell of Western Truck Equipment Company.  “I never went to college so everything I’ve learned has been from my father and other managers I’ve worked with.  This session is showing me a more astute, a more polished way of negotiating.”

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

Small Business Leadership Academy, Brandon Taylor - AZ Business Magazine November-December 2011

Small Business Leadership Academy Helps Boost Knowledge Base For Executives

Small Business Leadership Academy Helps Boost Knowledge Base For Executives

Like most small business owners, Brandon Taylor is always looking for ways to boost business.

“I wanted to learn how to be a better manager and entrepreneur,” says Taylor, president and co-founder of Scottsdale-based Small Business Leadership Academy - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011. “I eventually want to get an MBA and I thought the Small Business Leadership Academy program was a great step in that direction.”

Jointly developed by the W.P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business insight, skills and knowledge of small business executives. The 10-week program is now in its fourth year.

“The curriculum is based primarily on courses taught in our MBA programs,” says Trevis Certo, an associate professor at Arizona State University who taught an SBLA module called Strategy for Competitive Advantage. “At the same time, we focus our discussions on  concepts and topics that are most relevant to small companies.”

Gaining a better understanding of those concepts that can impact a small business owner’s bottom line is what benefits participants the most.

“The SBLA program touches on strategy, marketing, procurement, negotiation,” Taylor says. “I have learned some important principles like Porter’s Five Forces (a framework for industry analysis and business strategy development formed by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School), services blueprinting, and procurement techniques that have helped me think about ways to improve our business efficiency and day-to-day operations.”

Certo says increasing a business owner’s knowledge base is particularly important in a turbulent economic environment.

“Business owners are always looking for new ideas, and these searches are amplified during economic downturns,“ Certo says. “Several participants have discussed how competitors have ‘disappeared’ during the downturn. These disappearances provide opportunities for those who remain in the marketplace.”

Taylor is one small business owner who sees education as a way to grow his business and make it stronger

“The more I learn, the better businessman, leader and manager I become,” Taylor says. “Everyone gets caught up in day-to-day operations and your business becomes a job.  Taking the SBLA program has forced me to spend time improving the business operations and growing the company.”

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Learn more about the Small Business Leadership Academy

What it is: Small Business Leadership Academy
Who does it: W.P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor.
What it entails: A mandatory orientation followed by five modules – each consisting of two class periods — taught over a 10-week period. Classes consist of lectures, case discussions, group exercises and simulations, all geared to provide participants with key takeaways to strengthen and grow their businesses.
Requirements: To qualify, you must have a minimum business tenure of three years; have annual revenues between $1 million and $10 million; have fewer than 100 employees; be able and willing to attend all scheduled classes and related activities.
Tuition: $4,000, which includes all instruction, books and materials, parking, and graduation. A limited number of scholarships will be made available.
Web: wpcarey.asu.edu

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Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

 

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corp Procurement Practices (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part II)

One company’s purchasing is another company’s marketing.

If small and mid-sized businesses can keep that in mind, they will have discovered one of the secrets of success for a supplier, according to Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business and instructor for the procurement classes in the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy. Carter, a leading academic in the supply chain field, is also a Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) and Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM), designations granted by the National Association of Purchasing Management.

“The eye-opener for these business owners is self-awareness,” Carter said. “They are beginning to understand the role they play in their customers’ supply base.”

And that’s when procurement meets marketing.

“The owners of small businesses are so wrapped up in surviving that they don’t have the time – or the personnel – to specialize,” Carter said. “As a result many feel that their companies are under-appreciated by their customers.”

A company like SRP wants value from all of its customers, but a purchasing manager may be managing hundreds of suppliers. “A company, because it’s a large company, is not going to understand the supplier’s business and the supplier’s potential for adding value as well as the supplier does,” Carter said. Understanding the buying process and how the purchasing groups at large companies think enables suppliers to figure out what and when to communicate.

Suppliers must show how they add value to their customers’ enterprises. Sometimes that means understanding who the customer is. “The procurement officer is not your final customer,” Carter says. “Your customer is the user.” So small business owners cannot just try to compete on price. When dealing with procurement officers, they must elaborate on the total value that their company brings to the table, including “what’s in it for the procurement officer.” Elaborating on why working with their company will be worth the additional work of changing vendors, adding a new vendor, and the inherent risk of working with a new vendor, will enable that procurement officer to make that difficult choice with confidence.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

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For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

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Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corp Procurement Practices (Part I)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part I)

If you are the owner of a small or medium-size business interacting with a big corporation, you need to know how that company thinks about procurement. That’s what students in the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy are learning from Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Typically, suppliers concentrate on the internal operations of their companies, Carter says, but if that’s their predominant focus, they will miss out on the advantages of optimizing their relationships with the companies that are their customers. Jeffrey Campbell of Western Truck Equipment Company, Inc. had the right idea when he asked, “What can I learn to better service the companies that we work with?”

“Today, the creation of value often requires careful coordination of activities across the boundaries between functions, business units and firms,” Carter explains. “In short, organizations that learn how to leverage procurement collaboration can obtain speed, innovation, dependability, flexibility, cost and/or quality benefits that go far beyond those potentially realized from solely optimizing a single firm’s internal operations.”

Carter is one of the top scholars worldwide in the field of supply management. He has published 60 articles about sourcing and supply management issues, and he has shared his expertise with firms all over the world.

Students are learning to understand strategic sourcing and their role as suppliers. To begin, they need to understand the importance of developing a collaborative relationship with a customer and how to manage it efficiently. Carter is taking the students “inside” their client companies by explaining the various roles and functions of a procurement department.

“Business owners need to understand the primary importance of sourcing when developing their strategy,” Carter says. “We’ll be talking about what they need to know in order to drive success for the buyer’s company as well as their own.”

Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

[stextbox id="grey"]The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. [/stextbox]