by BETH ALTENA A year ago the restructure of the law firm which is now Blakeslee Rop PLC at 240 Northland Drive resulted in additional space. Today the building is brimming with business professionals who are able to offer a wide variety of services from under one local roof. “Jim Scales put me in touch with Tim Caywood, and the others came with him,” Blakeslee described. In the financial offices in Rockford’s “east side” are Caywood’s Ameriprise financial planning and wealth growth expertise, White Insurance, and H&S Companies, three interrelated companies that work together. Ashely Clonan, marketing coordinator for H&S Companies, said her firm saw a move into Rockford as a natural fit. H&S Companies, CPAs and Business Consultants, has other offices in addition to the new Rockford branch. They are providers of services such as tax and accounting, business strategy, marketing, payroll services, auditing, restaurant and brewery specialists, fraud examiners, human resource consultation, and pension administration. The White Insurance Agency was established in 1873—not much different than The Rockford Squire’s start at the Rockford Weekly Register in 1871—and is thrilled to open with their Rockford location their fourth branch. The White Insurance Agency has been providing quality products, excellent service and competitive prices to Western Michigan through their main branch in Fremont and offices in Grant and Twin Lake. With their new location, they are excited to share their wealth of knowledge, experience and customer service with the Rockford community. The new Rockford office represents many well-known and respected insurance companies and can meet all your home, auto, life, health or business insurance needs. Ryan DeVries, the insurance agent at the Rockford branch, has been with The White Insurance Agency for nine years. He resides in Rockford with his wife and daughter and is eager to share his know-how and expertise with the community of Rockford. Blakeslee is pleased with the new opportunities provided by the grouping of business men and women in the building constructed in 2000. Blakeslee is a lifelong Rockford resident, long-term member of Rockford City Council and former mayor of Rockford. He began practicing in 1981 with his first office, located on Main Street. “I’ve seen more stability than change in Rockford,” Blakeslee said of the progress of the town since […]
by BETH ALTENA Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) Executive Director Jeanne Gregory allowed her organization to serve as the example for a class on building a strategic business plan held Tuesday, Nov. 1 in the Rockford Public Schools administrative offices. The class was led by Lynda Nance of Nance Business Solutions. “Whatever is wrong with your business, it’s your fault,” Nance stated, advice she often uses when consulting with business owners on how to improve their operations. She said she softens such blunt statements with the use of humor as she helps managers build a plan for improvement and success. The evening did include humor, but also serious discussion on developing a strategy any business owner or manager can use to promote success in their company. Step one, Nance explained, is a clear vision of a company’s purpose by creating a vision or mission statement. In the example of RCC, both a mission statement and vision have been created. RCC made an appropriate subject for study in the wake of the organization’s own strategic study. For RCC, the process was an intense, six-month job that was completed on November 1. The plan will lead the organization through the next three years and requires revisitation every 18 months. Members of the class took a short-cut version of the process during two hours of instruction, but were also advised that any strategic plan does need periodic review and adjustments as the company evolves. Step two, after developing a mission statement, is creating a SWOT evaluation: identifying Strengths and Weaknesses and Opportunities and Threats. Nance advised it is vital to include members of all levels of an organization, as well as customers and even vendors, to take part. “Who knows your weaknesses better than your customers?” she noted. She also stressed the importance of involving those at every level of the company, rather than from a stratified distance of management only. “If you just go to employees and tell them, ‘This is what we’re doing,’ they won’t be on board.” Third, develop “baseline metrics,” a measurable footprint of where your business is today. In the example of RCC, that could be the number of members. For others it could be a measure of the amount of business taking […]
Lynda Nance and Robin Martin, Rockford residents, opened Nance-Martin Accounting Service, to provide small business owners with bookkeeping and accounting services. They have over 40 years combined experience in business management, and are excited to become active members of the local business community. Nance recently graduated from Universal Accounting Center’s Professional Bookkeeper and QuickBooks Specialist Programs. Nance-Martin’s services include managing financial records such as monthly statements, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and any other bookkeeping needs. They are also available for personal and business tax services, and provide year-round consultations to enable business owners to develop a strategy that will take advantage of valuable tax reductions, and increase their profits. Over 50 percent of small businesses fail due to poor financial planning. Nance-Martin Accounting Service wants to reduce that percentage in Northern Kent County. Their main interest is in helping businesses evaluate their financial standing and improve their returns. Graduates of Grand Valley State University (Nance) and Aquinas College (Martin), the two are long time residents of the West Michigan community. They are interested in helping local business owners improve their profitability during this period of economic decline. If you would like more information regarding Nance-Martin Accounting Service, please call 581-0291, or visit the website atwww.nancemartin.com.