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"What are the three major reasons why most strategic partnerships and alliances fail within the first 60 days?"

Response:

  1. The two companies fail to spend adequate time defining the “MOGO” that will define and guide the business relationship.  MOGO is an acronym that Mr. Wallace discusses in his book on “Strategic Partnerships.  An Entrepreneur’s Guide To Alliances and Partnerships.”  MOGO stands for mission, objectives, goals, and opportunities.
  2. The companies that are engaged in the partnership or alliance did not spend adequate time “courting” one another prior to the engagement of the partnership or alliance.  Adequate time must be invested in getting to know your prospective partner in an intimate way.  This step must be taken far in advance of any tangible and real business opportunity that may require the two companies to work together.
  3. The third reason is that companies often get their attorneys involved too soon into the partnering opportunity.  If you engage your attorneys too soon, you will often scare away your prospective partner.  Spend time up front building the relationship with your partner first, then bring in the attorneys to put a legal framework around the relationship model.

"I want to take full advantage of government contracting opportunities in the State of Maryland, but there are so many different government MBE programs (e.g., State agencies like the Maryland Dept. of Transportation, and local governments like the City of Baltimore, Prince George's County, and Howard County), with each seeming to have different certification requirements for participation, that I just don't know where to begin.  Why can't I just get certified once and be done with it?   And if I must go through the time and expense of  completing so many different MBE certification application processes, and where is the best place for me to begin? "

Response:  There is a legal reason why each local jurisdiction has its own MBE certification requirements and application process.  The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that minority business programs that use racial classifications must satisfy what is referred to as a 'strict scrutiny' standard.  This means that each local government must establish a strong basis in evidence that tends to show its MBE program is necessary to remedy identified discrimination within the relevant marketplace, and that the scope of the program is 'narrowly tailored' to provide benefits only to those firms that the evidence indicates are in need of remedial assistance.  Because of this fact, if you look closely at many of these programs, you will see that the definitions of what constitutes a "minority" that is eligible to participate in the program may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  This is because, depending on the local markets and the particular industries involved, any given ethnic group may be over-utilized, underutilized, or not available.  Therefore, the scope of the remedial relief (and thus the definitions of what constitutes an 'MBE') may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.   While it can be a significant hassle and expense for an MBE to have to file multiple certification applications within a single State to take full advantage of the local MBE programs, it is the heightened scrutiny of the courts that has resulted in this patchwork quilt of MBE definitions and eligibility standards.   Accordingly, individualized inquiry is required to justify the remedial relief that is provided to certified MBEs.  Without it, the MBE programs could be found to be too broad in their scope and therefore unlawful. 
 In deciding where best to begin the certification application process, an MBE applicant should take the following factors into consideration:
 (1)  Which jurisdiction provides the greatest dollar value of contract opportunities for the kinds of goods and services that the MBE applicant sells?
 (2)  Which MBE certification is most widely accepted by other jurisdictions through reciprocity?
 (3)  Which MBE certification application is the most comprehensive in the information and documentation requested?
 If an MBE expects to be competing for most of its work with one jurisdiction, then it probably makes sense to begin by completing that jurisdiction's MBE certification application.  If, on the other hand, the MBE intends to vigorously compete for business with all State and local governments, then in the case of Maryland, it generally makes sense to first seek certification with the Maryland Department of Transportation.  This is because the State of Maryland has one uniform application process whereby an applicant can simultaneously be certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (for purposes of participation in federally-funded DBE contracts), and as a Minority Business Enterprise (for purposes of participation in its State-funded contracts).  Moreover, the Maryland DOT certification is the most comprehensive in the State in terms of information and documentation requested, thereby making any subsequent certification applications to other subdivisions far less burdensome.  Accordingly, the MDOT certification also tends to be accepted in more local subdivisions than any other.
 CAVEAT:   As individual circumstances may vary, the information provided here is intended to be of a general nature only, and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice to any individual firm or viewer.  As with all important business matters, viewers are strongly urged to retain and consult with an attorney or other knowledgeable professional to obtain specific advice related to your business.  

"Describe the modern entrepreneurial woman?"

Response: This woman has passed many tests.  First, she understands that work is a key path to success in business, quality of life, and self-fulfillment.  She has already had considerable managerial exposure in corporate life and has decided that she possesses the requisite business skills, leadership abilities, contacts, stamina, and drive to leave the traditional corporate environment and strike out on her own to build her business. (At the point of deciding to leave, she was experiencing career confusion and finding corporate life stultifying and confining. She was also being exposed to organizational barriers to her advancement.) This woman possesses a burning desire to be her own boss, to exercise her educational and technical skills and, yes, to make money.  While a woman in business, she strongly values family security, personal accomplishment, freedom, and self-respect.


"When should I use a recruiter to help me find the talent that I need for my company?"

Response: You should work with a recruiter when you need top talent, when the talent pool is small, when you don't have the time, energy or experience to conduct the search yourself, or when you need to conduct a confidential search to replace someone currently on the staff or to keep your competition from learning of your strategic move. 

"Can a recruiter help me find a job?"

Response: Recruiters work at the direction of the company that has hired the recruiter to find people for a specific role within that company.  A recruiter may help you by networking or giving you advice, but unless the recruiter has a specific assignment that matches your talents, the recruiter will probably not be able to place you in a job.  However, recruiters always like to know about talented people for future opportunities.

"How can I get my 401K Plan back on track?

Response: For most 401K investors, the economic and market turmoil has had a sobering effect on their employer-sponsored plans. Still, as difficult as it may be to review your 401K, now is an important time to take a hard look at the way your plan is constructed. A careful review of your 401K can help you identify changes that can strengthen this important retirement vehicle. Here are six ways to help you correct any imbalances in your plan that the market may have created, and position your retirement plan for better times ahead.

1.      Check your diversification
2.      Rebalance
3.      Indentify poor long term performers
4.      Assess Fund fees
5.      Implement changes carefully
6.      Evaluate the features of your plan

"I want to expand my business to the Northeast region of the country. During these highly competitive and economic challenging times, how can businesses afford to provide personal visits to customers?

Response: I want to expand my business to the Northeast region of the country.  In these  highly competitive and economic challenging times, how can businesses afford to provide personal visits to customers?

Email, webcasts, faxes, cellphones, and other technology that is being developed as you read this question, can provide warp speed responses and connect us instantly in more ways than one.  Yet, the personal, face-to-face visit is unmatched.  To build a mutually beneficial relationship for both partners, the opportunity to meet, chat, high five, hug, shake hands, and eat together can be accomplished in several ways.

  • Southwest Airlines will start service to/from New York LaGuardia on June 28, 2009. The Dallas-based airline will offer a total of eight daily nonstop departures--five daily nonstop flights between Chicago Midway and LaGuardia and three daily nonstop departures between Baltimore/Washington and LaGuardia. Southwest is offering these new flights with fares as low as $89 one-way for Chicago flights and $49 one-way for Baltimore/Washington flights with a 14-day advance purchase. 
  • Southwest Airlines will begin service with ten daily nonstop flights to/from Boston Logan on August 16, 2009.  The airline will begin with five flights to Chicago Midway and five flights to Baltimore/Washington International. Southwest is offering these new flights with fares as low as $89 one-way for Chicago and $49 one-way for Baltimore/Washington.  To view a complete list of Southwest's flights from LaGuardia and Boston Logan, visit www.southwest.com.
  • Southwest Airlines announced its intent to begin service from Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport (MKE) late this year. The carrier has not released specific service details, but said it will offer multiple destinations from the airport of choice for business and leisure travelers who work and live across the vibrant and growing region. The new Southwest service from MKE will commence after new service to New York LaGuardia and Boston Logan.

"How can businesses ship marketing materials to conferences, seminars, events on the same day to cities across the country?

Response: How can businesses ship marketing materials to conferences, seminars, events on the same day to cities across the country?

  1. Southwest Airlines Cargo recently launched a redesigned website, swacargo.com, which offers easy, one-click navigation and real-time flight status, along with shipment tracking. Southwest Airlines Cargo currently serves more than 70 cities and has more than 150 million pounds of available cargo lift per month. Southwest Airlines Cargo was recognized as Airline of the Year by the Express Delivery & Logistics Association (XLA) and is an industry leader, winning numerous awards for ontime performance, value, Customer Service, and communication.

"How can businesspeople maintain productivity while away from the office?

Response: How can businesspeople maintain productivity while away from the office?

Clearly, technology allows businesspeople to stay connected with their partners while in or away from the office.  Many businesspeople seem in a frenzy without their wireless device.  So, just because a business traveler is on the road or in the air does not mean productivity is lost.

    • Southwest Airlines has announced a fresh new look to http://mobile.southwest.com. To see the new application in action and to view Southwest's blog post on the mobile site check out: http://www.blogsouthwest.com/blog/proud-be-a-mobile-junkieand-luv-our-new-mobile-site. The mobile site is available among a variety of web enabled devices including the iPhone and Blackberry.  Previously, Southwest mobile Customers had the ability to checkin for flights, cancel reservations, contact Southwest Airlines, and view Southwest's terms and conditions. Now, Southwest Airlines mobile Customers can also book a flight, log on to Rapid Rewards, view schedules, and check flight status.
    • Southwest is the first to test new aircraft to satellite technology (wi-fi) on commercial aircraft. Southwest Airlines, in conjunction with Row 44, has equipped one aircraft with the technology and equipped three more in March 2009. Southwest is also partnering with Yahoo! to offer an in-flight homepage with destination-relevant content. Southwest will be testing the technology for the next few months. To view a photo of the wi-fi equipped aircraft visit http://gallery.swamedia.com/photos/value=open/type=jpg.  When Southwest Customers board the wi-fi enabled aircraft, they will be greeted with wi-fi placards and onboard instruction sheets. Those interested in using the service during the test period will have the opportunity to log on to the service free of charge via their own personal wi-fi enabled device (laptops, iPhones, wi-fi enabled smart phones, etc.). Cellular technology will not work with the wi-fi service. The service is being offered on a trial basis, and has not yet received final FCC approval.
    • Southwest Airlines is also teaming with Yahoo! to offer an in-flight homepage that includes a one-of-a-kind flight tracker, as well as daily programming of local news and information. The new flight tracker will allow passengers to follow the plane's flight path, and view "fly-over" points of interest along the route, with images from Flickr. The Yahoo!/Southwest homepage will be maintained by Yahoo!, and will include destination-relevant content such as local events, weather and news, as well as destination guides that highlight top restaurants, attractions and shopping. Also featured are a number of Yahoo! Games, perfect for wiling away the hours.
    • Southwest Airlines offers work stations, plenty of outlets for charging wireless devices and utilizing laptops, and features CNN on flat panel televisions in the gate terminal while waiting for boarding instructions.  So, productivity can be at an all time high on the ground or in the air!

    "What is Web 2.0 and how is it different from Web 1.0?

    Response: What is Web 2.0 and how is it different from Web 1.0? Web 2.0 is the interactive version of the web. Web 1.0 is the information presentation version of the web. With 2.0, users can exchange information and even add value to the site, while Web 1.0 allows the user view-only capabilities. Therefore, you may think of Web 2.0 as the participation platform and Web 1.0 as the information source platform.