Page 4 - Upper Peninsula Busines Today -- December 2019
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 PAGE 4 UPPER PENINSULA BUSINESS TODAY DECEMBER 2019
 Small Businesses Strengthen Communities
Year-end Vacation Crunch? Tips For Business Owners
The Sault SmartZone currently has spaces available for start-up companies in the Sault Ste. Marie region. Located at 2345 Meridian Street, the Sault SmartZone is one of 21 loca- tions across the state that serve as business incubators for start-ups and small businesses, providing Michigan-based entrepreneurs with the space and resources to grow their company under the guidance of local economic devel- opers and business experts. Alumni of the Sault SmartZone include the Wicked Sister, Capstone Leadership Solutions, UP North Wilderness, and Quansor. Current tenants include Osprey Technologies, Omni Metal- craft, I2P, DPenz Tech Consulting, SIS Man- ufacturing, Cardinal Plumbing, and Norpro.
Michigan’s SmartZone program began in 2005. Each zone is a hub of technological development and entrepreneurship,
offering resources to help guide entrepre- neurs to the realization of their endeavors and provide a local launchpad for business. These centers also foster collaborations between business owners, universities, government entities, industry, and the community. Smart- Zone tenants have unique access to communi- ty partnerships, business workshops, and net- working
opportunities. All businesses housed within the Sault SmartZone have 24/7 access to full office amenities, including a conference room, reception area, high-speed internet, and their own private office. Leases are designed with small businesses in mind — rates are reason- able and leases are tailored to suit business needs. Current availabilities include both fur- nished offices and light manufacturing space.
“The Smartzone team has helped me with everything from securing a very respectable
office space and large industrial shop space to face-to-face introductions with the local, state and federal leaders, as well as businesspeople throughout the region,” said Allan Watson, who began his tenancy at the SmartZone when Norpro moved in during the summer of 2018. “The Smartzone team has supported me with administrative duties, coaching and mentor- ship, LSSU internships, job postings, and much more.”
In addition to leases for long-term occupan- cies, the SmartZone also provides “cowork- ing” space that is ideal for freelancers, remote workers, and individuals who travel frequent- ly for work. “Coworking” allows individuals to utilize SmartZone space on a drop-in basis hourly, daily, or weekly depending on their schedules. Current rates are $10/hour, $25/day, or $80/week.
The Sault SmartZone is managed by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Cor- poration, a non-profit organization that fosters economic growth in the community through its dedication to helping entrepreneurs estab- lish and expand their businesses. The Sault EDC is located within the SmartZone, and also heads the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Resource Alliance and Brownfield Redevel- opment Authority.
For more information on taking your busi- ness to the SmartZone, or to schedule a tour, please contact the EDC at (906)
635-9131 or e-mail Genevieve Smith at gsmith@saultcity.com . For more information on EDC projects, programs,
partnerships, and upcoming events, visit their website at SaultEDC.com or follow them @SSMEDC.
By JOYCE M. ROSENBERG AP Business Writer
NEW YORK — One of the biggest jug- gling acts small companies face is a surge in business during the holiday season just when there’s an increase in staffers’ vacation requests.
It’s a problem companies can contend with even if they’re not the retailers, restaurants and caterers that make a significant portion of their revenue between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Companies as diverse as accounting firms, graphic designers and payroll providers have business cycles that ramp up at year-end and require employees to work.
Human resources and staffing professionals say owners can avoid stress and resentment by setting expectations early with staffers — as early as the interviewing process before they’re hired. Making a good hire — an employee who’s on board with a company’s needs — is critical, says Kate Zabriskie, pres- ident of Business Training Works, a company that offers management training.
“If you don’t have a good team and you’re not a good manager, this is the time of year
when you begin to see the cracks,” she says. Owners should also create a formal, written vacation policy detailing how many employ- ees can be on vacation at the same time during
the holidays and how conflicts are resolved. The year-end crunch/vacation collision course is particularly a problem when it’s not feasible for a company to hire freelancers to help out. That’s the case at firms that have ongoing relationships with customers or clients; for example, an accounting firm is unlikely to be able to bring in per diem accountants to help small business clients with
year-end tax projections.
Companies that do want to get help will find
a hard time finding it if they’re just starting their search now. While in the past employers started recruiting for the holiday season 90 days ahead of time, “now they’re looking as much as six months or a year out,” says Ellis Norman, head of sales at Adia, maker of an app that helps businesses find freelance work- ers.
Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com.
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