Bruce Schwartz- Making a dollar out of 15 cents

July 9, 2007 at 2:04 am (Buisiness Wisdom, Dan Izzo, Homework)

Bruce Schwartz, President of In House Realty, is a natural born hustler and he always has been. Bruce was exposed to hustling at a young age by his father who was a Nine Ball champion in the 1970’s, and he got the luxury of watching his old man in action. I believe Biggie Smalls said it the best when he said “Either your slanging crack rock, or you got a wicked jump shot”. Obviously Bruce is not a street drug dealer, but it’s embedded in his genes to be a natural born salesman and know how to get business done.

Bruce’s sales skills and leading skills can be quantified by his numbers that he produced over his twelve year career at Rock Financial and Quicken Loans. For twelve years straight, Bruce was in the top one percent in sales amongst all the mortgage bankers. In one month, Bruce had 109 deals, which is still in the Hall of Fame for most deals closed in a month. Currently, Bruce is the president of In House Realty which is a partner of Quicken Loans assisting clients throughout the country in the home buying and selling through process in alignment with Quicken Loans. They started off by only servicing the Quicken Loans team members (friends and family of the company), and then quickly offered their services throughout the country.

Bruce has owned and operated companies ranging from Sports betting, to home improvements, and for the most part, with the exception of In House Realty, he has done it with his family. Bruce is an avid believer of treating your employee’s right and treating them with the utmost respect and dignity. Watching Bruce speak was very motivating and I look forward to watching In House Realty continue to grow and gain market share throughout the country.

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Bill Emerson- Natural Born Leader

July 3, 2007 at 4:03 pm (Buisiness Wisdom, Dan Izzo, Homework)

Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans defines someone with a vision and truly climbed within an organization. The classic story of the mail guy to CEO (even though he was never the mail guy). Bill started as a mortgage banker at Rock financial and never stopped growing within the organization. He has held multiple leadership roles and is very good at leading and inspiring his employees. You can tell immediately when he opens his mouth that he is a natural born leader and that it is innate within his genes.

Emerson lives and breathes the ISMS day in and day out. He is a firm believer of “Doing the right thing” and “acting with a sense of urgency”. There are certain things that just cannot fly within an organization, especially Quicken Loans according to Bill. Not returning phone calls, emails, or anything else within a time frame is unacceptable. Emerson has a sports background and you can see it in him with his competitive nature and powerful tone in his voice.

 Bill is always looking for a better way to improve the company and truly is very close to his employees. He is involved with every aspect of the business and once again is a natural born leader, and will continue to grow Quicken Loans to where he envisions it to be

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Small Plates making Big Moves

June 25, 2007 at 10:45 pm (Buisiness Wisdom, Dan Izzo, Homework)

 Todd Stern, owner of Small Plates restaurant in Detroit, is the true definition of a successful entrepreneur. Us fellow Bizdomites had the opportunity to hear Todd’s magnificent story of rags to riches, and the trials and tribulations he faced on his journey. Small Plates is a Tapas style restaurant with an array of foods from across the world. Tapas s is simply small portions of food (comparable to appetizers) that are traditionally shared family style around the whole table. In addition they serve oven brick cooked pizza that is absolutely incredible and full of taste. Stern has been in the restaurant industry for years, and is planning on taking his restaurant Small Plates to the next level.

 

Ever since Stern was a child, he has had the burning desire and bug to own his own restaurant. He got the idea to open up a Tapas restaurant while he traveling through Spain when he was 19 years old. After returning from his travels, he became the youngest manager ever at The Rattlesnake Club in Detroit at the young age of 20. What was so impressive and inspirational about Todd was his passion and dedication he has for Detroit, and the risk he took when he opened Small Plates in Detroit.

 

Small Plates is located off Broadway Street, right across from the Detroit Opera House. Todd decided to gut out the old Eureka building (a portion of it), and put his restaurant in that area. People called him crazy. There were no street lamps at that time there, not much foot traffic aside from the Opera House, and overall was a depressed location. It didn’t matter to Todd. He had the confidence and vision of what his restaurant would become, and he got it there. He is now opening his second location in downtown Royal Oak, and continuing to expand in Michigan before he takes it over State borders. I truly admire his dedication and passion that he has for his business, and I look forward to Small Plates expanding.

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Google and Salesforce join forces

June 14, 2007 at 1:04 am (Best In The Biz, Dan Izzo, Homework)

Two of the largest web-based applications have joined forces to dominate the internet even more. Those two sites are Google and Salesforce. So, the next issue, how it works. It’s broken down as follows: businesses advertise through Google adwords, potential customers then click on the advertisement, you capture leads on your website, and then businesses convert the leads into new customers. It’s absolutely genius and I am confident that their business model will be mutually beneficial for them, and the businesses that use this service.

 

 If you are a small to mid-sized business, attracting new customers can often be a difficult challenge. On top of that, figuring out the most efficient way to stay organized with potential leads and customers can also be a challenge in itself. This collaboration will help these types of businesses and will in turn generate more revenue for them.

 Here’s how www.techcrunch.com breaks it down (just in case I wasn’t clear enoughJ

“Businesses will handle their Adwords campaigns through Google, as usual, but Salesforce takes over from there. When potential customers click through to the businesses site, Google tells Salesforce what search terms brought the user to the page and where they navigate throughout the site”.

 

The application is going to cost $600 for 5 user accounts and will come with $50 of adwords credits. I am personally excited to watch this monster grow and to be driving force for businesses to grow.

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Sam Gerace and Flashseats

June 14, 2007 at 12:30 am (Buisiness Wisdom, Dan Izzo, Homework)

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“For Flashseats to succeed it MUST make history”. Those were some wise words spoken by a true entrepreneur named Sam Gerace, CEO of Flashseats. Flashseats is an online ticketing company that allows consumers to buy tickets without receiving the actual ticket and checking in at the game. The process is similar to E-Tickets when you fly. You go to the airport, swipe your credit card, and they print your ticket. Same with Flashseats. Customers go the sport venue and the folks at Flashseats print out a small ticket to get in the stadium. Along with that convenience, Flashseats does much more. They allow consumers to transfer tickets, trade tickets, and sell tickets on their website. It reminded me of a legitimate way to scalp tickets and to allow the sporting team to track every single ticket.

 

Sam Gerace, CEO of Flashseats came to speak to us Bizdomites about the vision of the company and about his background. Currently Flashseats has twenty two employees and are growing. Sam told us a very interesting fact about ticket holders inside sports venues. The fact is this; “fifty five percent of people inside stadiums, aren’t the original ticket purchaser”. That fact was crazy to me. 

 

Gerace has quite an extraordinary and impressive background. Sam received a B.S. from Harvard University has been successful ever since. His passion is in start ups and taking them from one level to the next. Gerace taught us many great business concepts such as the four main types of businesses (growth, operating, lifestyle, and cash cow). Gerace likes to take his profits from business and put them right back into the company to help it continue to grow. Sam Gerace was extremely informative and was a very impressive speaker.

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Mentorship-The Forbes Company

June 7, 2007 at 11:52 pm (Buisiness Wisdom, Homework)

The best way to learn is from observing. Bottom line. In Bizdom U, the program directors partnered up us fellow budding entrepreneurs with mentors to show us the ropes and to guide us in the right direction. They tried to partner up each individual with someone that compliments them well, and is involved in a particular field of interest of the students. For example, my background and interest is in Real Estate. I know Real Estate well in regards to brokerage, but I have always wanted to get into the development side. I find that side of the business to be extremely interesting and have always aspired to be a Real Estate developer. So, Bizdom linked me up with Nate Forbes, owner and developer of Somerset Mall in Troy, the Mall at Millenia in Orlando Florida, The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens Florida, and the Waterside shops at Pelican Bay in Florida. Nates malls are in a class all by themselves. They are one of a kind in design, beauty, and elegance. They have extremely high end tenants such as Burberry, Gucci, Armani, and Cartier. That is what sets Nate and his malls apart. The second you look at one of his developments, you know it’s his right away.

 

I feel extremely fortunate and lucky to have been partnered up with Nate. He is a great person to learn from and has a wealth of knowledge in the Real Estate development industry. So far, I have met with Nate twice; both times very exciting in there own regard. The first time was a two hour sit down with the two of us getting to know each other. He told me about his company, how he got started, the direction they are headed, and much more. I told him about my background, what I want to get out of the mentorship, how I got to where I am today, and much more as well.

 

The second meeting was very cool. I can’t disclose too much information about the meeting, but what I can say was that it was an incredible experience. Seeing someone of that power and stature interact with people about business and development is astonishing. I look forward to our next meetings and learning all I can from him.

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Magic Johnson

June 4, 2007 at 9:34 pm (Buisiness Wisdom, Homework)

“Outwork everyone, over-deliver every time” Those were some words of wisdom from the one and the only Magic Johnson. Us fellow Bizdomites had the opportunity to meet Magic last week and discuss business and how he got to where he is today, and we hashed out some misconceptions that people have of him. Simply put, the Man is a freaking Business genius and knows how to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. Here are some of Magic’s business adventures (prepare to be blown away): over 110 Starbucks across the world (he is the only person to ever franchise a Starbucks), 31 Burger Kings in the South, six movie theatres, a dozen 24-Hour Fitness centers, and about $1 Billion worth of real estate projects. His is a no nonsense, well rounded articulate business man that found his niche and drills down on his target market.

 

A common misconception that I had of Magic was that he was a rich athlete that invested money in business ventures. A real life example of this was when tried raising money from 10 business people and instead of working with him, they asked for his autograph. Magic was truly inspirational and was a phenomenal speaker. Even Dan Gilbert who has seen his share of speakers said that Magic was the best speaker that he has ever seen.

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Glass half full or empty?

May 17, 2007 at 11:34 pm (Best In The Biz, Dan Izzo, Homework)

There are always different ways in which a person can view things. They can either take a negative approach or try to find the ugly in situations, or they can try to make the best of things and learn from experiences.  I recently read in Crain’s Detroit that Michigan unemployment rate jumped in April to 7.1% from 6.4% in March according to the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth. Michigan’s unemployment rate is the highest in the country with the exception of Mississippi which is at 7.5%. The lowest unemployment rate in the country is in Hawaii with unemployment being 2% followed by Utah at 2.6%.

I look at all of these horrific stats, and instead of it making me depressed about our economy; I use it as a motivator to change the number and to make a difference. That percentage won’t change over night and it won’t be easy. But with enough people that have passion about changing our economy and actually doing something about it, I have hope that it will turn around. Jobs aren’t going to be magically created by someone else. People have to have the mentality that now more than ever you have to go out there, work hard, and do something about this economy whether it be to start your own business, or take a pay cut temporarily, now is the time. Its sink or swim, and I’m swimming.

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Meeting of the Minds…

May 17, 2007 at 11:08 pm (Buisiness Wisdom, Dan Izzo, Homework)

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 A powerhouse entourage came to Bizdom U last week with members consisting of Dan Gilbert, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and
Detroit real estate mogul Gary Torgow. We discussed issues regarding Detroit’s economy, the initiatives and efforts lined up to fix it, what we could personally do to help, and much more. It was an honor to be surrounded by such important and influential people to discuss real problems and hear their input. One common theme that was discusses was the notion of business moving down to
Detroit, small or large, to help revitalize the downtown area. Mayor Kilpatrick discussed how great it would be for Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans to come to
Detroit and how great it would be for the city.

Another issue that we discussed is how businesses, retail shops, residential etc. are all so spread out over the city and the problems behind that. If there was a centralized location where businesses opened up, new homes and condominiums were built, and a more centralized area, that would be much more efficient than having random pockets of all of these dispersed all over the city.  

A question that I asked the Mayor was regarding the recent deal that Detroit and
Windsor are going through to lease our half of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel to them. I asked him “Is leasing our half of the tunnel to them now, a short term solution to a long term problem receiving the funds immediately? And moreover, once our economy does bounce back, won’t we have lost one of our greatest assets to the city?” In a nutshell I asked if it was a good deal. With a firm and powerful response he said “It’s absolutely it’s a great deal for the city of
Detroit!” He then went into further detail and spoke about the numbers and why it made sense for us to pursue this deal.

Kwame stressed multiple times the importance of Dan Gilbert in the process of revitalizing the city of
Detroit. He has already taken some substantial steps in this process ergo Bizdom U, but I am excited to see what the future holds and when Dan does decide to move down to Detroit.

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Andy Meisner-Entrepreneurs are the future!

April 20, 2007 at 3:41 am (Buisiness Wisdom, Dan Izzo, Homework)

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Andy Meisner…A State Representative who really cares about making a difference on issues that matter. Meisner, living in Ferndale Michigan is a Democrat who truly cares about boosting entrepreneurism in Michigan and providing incentives for small businesses to be the future of our State. Meisner joined us along with State Representative Gabe Leland to discuss these issues and receive feedback from our class. Andy is desperately striving for a State that supports Entrepreneurs and will provide the necessary resources for individuals to start businesses. His proposal is the “Michigan Spirit of Entrepreneurship Initiative” which includes incentives such as the following:  

o       The proposal would provide a personal income tax credit for the health care coverage of a new business owner and their immediate family for the first two years

o       Make research and development tax credits transferable

o       Allow for an income tax credit for any personal income used to start up a new business

o       Open the state’s bulk purchasing program to businesses for a small fee

o       Creating grant and reimbursable tuition programs for students who take entrepreneurial classes

o       Provide state universities with $250,000 to create entrepreneurial degree programs

o       Use tourism promotion funds to advertise the tools available for small business owners

o       Set up a statewide center for entrepreneurs within the Michigan Economic Development Corporation 

Andy’s initiatives and proposals hit close to home with our class in regard to Entrepreneurs starting businesses in Detroit and the importance of this. Andy is a strong believer that forming people into becoming business owners starts at a young age and needs to be stressed into the educational system to students at a young age. I’m a huge supporter of Andy Meisner and I think that he will be an integral role in the redevelopment of the city of Detroit and that he has a vision of the success of Detroit, and he will execute on that vision.

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