Category Archives: Events

Avoid being laid off or downsized. Make an entrepreneurial decision today

Tired of what you see and hear at work? Maybe it's time to make your own call.

Tired of what you see and hear at work? Maybe it’s time to make your own call.

A friend of mine told me recently that he had turned down a good job to keep his own business going. “Excellent!” I said, especially since this is Detroit Entrepreneur Week 2014. This made me think of W. Edwards Deming, the father of Total Quality Management, who said: “Put a good person in a bad system and the bad system wins. No contest.”

You all know that I was laid off or downsized four times early in my career, which totally irked (insert stronger word) me. In all those situations, my termination was because some person above me had either made a bad decision to add my function to the company, or they made many bad decisions that led to cutting staff and me.

After the fourth termination, I vowed to never let it happen again. I began an unrelenting quest for more knowledge, I built my network to the point where I had more contacts than my bosses, and I committed myself to always doing the best possible job in my volunteer work as well as my professional work. These steps helped me become the best professional I could be, while establishing and always growing my network, and building my reputation as a person who gets things done.

Still I was about to be laid off or downsized a fifth time because of an acquisition (and some incompetent person above me in the org chart). So, I started my own firm, finally realizing that the only way I can be sure not to be cut from a payroll is to maintain the payroll.

It is not easy for sure. But, you have control of you. You “own yourself and your career” when you own your own business. My friend told me that he knew he made the correct decision to keep his business but, “it is scary,” he said. I told him that fear is a great motivator.

So, keep this in mind as you build your career and future. If you are in charge of you, you make the decisions, not someone else.

Make an entrepreneurial decision today.

Light summer reading: “The Power of Ownership” by John J. Bailey available on Amazon; reviews, press and more

A reader poolside with 'The Power of Ownership' available on Amazon, now shipping

A reader poolside with a new copy of ‘The Power of Ownership’ available on Amazon, now shipping

Warm weather is here, and so is my book! At last, “The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business” is available* on Amazon for $14.95 $13.09. See, this saves you the trip to the bookstore! Buy online from poolside or anywhere on the planet. While honest and good business is hard work, purchasing my book is very easy!

And yes, I will be signing books in the coming weeks, first with the Troy (Michigan) Chamber of Commerce on June 25, then after my Corp! Magazine “Economic Bright Spots” symposium keynote in Metro Detroit on June 27, and later at the Detroit chapter of the Public Relations Society of America on July 16. I will be sure to keep you posted of appearances in other cities and markets. It would be an honor to autograph your personal copy!

Things are busy here, as I humbly continue to honor interview requests and work hard to keep people informed. I will appear on “The BIG Show” in Grand Rapids, Mich. with Michael Patrick Shiels on June 19. I’ll soon recap my interview with Tom O’Connell of Business Wire, and will link to other press coverage as it becomes available.

Also, the reviews for “The Power of Ownership” are coming in! I am thrilled that Joseph Serwach, a respected public relations expert, has offered his opinion of my book in the popular book recommendation network Goodreads. And reporter Rick Haglund, freelance journalist and former business writer at Booth Newspapers (now the MLive Media Group) offers his own kind words:

“I thought the section on how you started, grew and sold your business was great. You explained the challenges well and gave a lot of inside detail on the operation of your business. Your views on ethics and on trading off some profitability for employee well being were fascinating. I think this will be valuable reading for anyone who is thinking of starting a business or who is currently running one.”

Lastly, I can’t thank enough all of you that have purchased or intend to buy my book, as well as my 600-plus (and growing!) Facebook fans, blog subscribers and Twitter followers. You truly inspire and amaze me, and I am glad to see that so many of you are ready to take your career and business to the next level.

Happy reading!

* Currently available in paperback. Hardcover and Kindle availability arriving this summer.

Whatever happened to Stroh’s beer?

Five trucks driving Stroh's beer from Detroit to begin sales in North Carolina.

“18 Wheels of Love.” Five trucks driving Stroh’s beer from Detroit to begin sales in North Carolina. The name “18 Wheels of Love” comes from a song performed by The Serfs, which included my friend Frank Buscemi.

From 1975 until 1989, I helped promote Stroh’s beer regionally, then nationally. The Stroh Brewery Company, a Detroit icon, began expanding its flagship brand Stroh’s in about 1973. When I began working with them through Anthony M. Franco, Inc. Public Relations, Stroh’s was sold in 11 states. Goebel, another Stroh Brewery Company beer brand, was in seven states. At the time, Stroh was the eighth largest brewing company in the United States, producing 5.1 million barrels of beer annually.

(To be clear, “Stroh” refers to Stroh Brewery Company, while “Stroh’s” is the beer brand. You worked at Stroh; you drank Stroh’s.)

From 1975 through 1985, Stroh expanded into all 50 states. At the same time, it acquired the Schaefer brand in 1981 and much larger Schlitz—the beer that made Milwaukee famous—in a hostile takeover in 1982. Stroh then grew to be the third largest brewing company, behind only Anheuser-Busch and Miller, brewing 24.3 million barrels of beer annually at its peak.

Stroh also added Stroh’s Light and Stroh’s Signature to its beer line, plus all the brands of the newly acquired companies. Eventually there were 22 brands of beer owned and marketed by the company.

As one Stroh executive put it, I had earned my “advanced public-relations degree” during my years working with them.

Working with the Stroh marketing team, we promoted the brands (mostly Stroh’s beer) in a series of special events and sponsorships, from regional snowmobile races to national venues like the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn. Also, major racing series such as Formula One, NASCAR and Indy Car, and teams, music concerts, Toughman Contests and more.

Ultimately, Stroh could not compete against the “big boys” at A-B and Miller in the long term. In my book, The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business, there are 61 pages with photos telling, sadly I feel, the ending of a Detroit success story. I spoke with and interviewed numerous former Stroh execs to gather the information for the book. I also detail the closing of the original brewing facility on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit, and feature photos of the plant, including when it was imploded.

My experience working with the Stroh Brewery Company was the key to building my career and set the stage for the rest of my time in PR and in business. As one of the Stroh executives put it, I earned my “advanced public-relations degree” during my years working with them.

“Power of Ownership” book tour kick-off with Leadership Oakland on April 24

leadership-oaklandI am excited to start my book tour bright and early this Wednesday, April 24 with Leadership Oakland, a very respected civic organization in Metro Detroit dedicated to shaping today’s leaders for tomorrow’s communities.

My talk is part of their “Breakfast of Champions” series focusing on “Policy for Success.” Per their website:

What is the single most important policy for success as an individual or a business? According to John Bailey there is one policy that stands out among the rest: Honesty. And he ought to know. John built a successful public relations agency from scratch and grew it into one of the state’s leading firms by being honest; with himself, with employees, with clients, and with the media. Make sure that people see you and your business as one they can trust and want to do business with again and again. Find out how you can learn from the experiences of a guy who has ‘seen it all’ and build your personal brand and the brand of your company. We can honestly say this will be a great session!

The session starts at 7:30 a.m. at the MSU Management Education Center in Troy, Michigan and costs $32 for LOAA members and $36 for non-LOAA and general public. To register (and please do!) please visit the Leadership Oakland website or call (248) 952-6880.