Contributors
Founder and Chair – LMFC
Vice Chair – LMFC
President and CEO – LMFC
President & CEO – The Bank of Holland
SVP of Shared Services - LMFC

Hear from the founder of Lake Michigan Financial Corporation, Rich Lievense, and his insight on what this blog encompasses.

I admit it.  In my heart of hearts, I am a ‘peddler’.  I think sales are the best part of any business and as my friend John says, ‘Nothing happens without a sale’. 
 
I have been puzzled over the years about people’s concern (and in some cases, dread) about sales and particularly cold calling.  I have attended more sales training program than I care to remember but I just came across a short article by Jeffrey Gitomer describing how to have a successful cold call.  It is the best thing I have seen and will save you the time and money of attending a sales seminar.  This works.  I have done it for years and it takes all the mystery out of successful cold calling.  Try it tomorrow.  
 
I hope you and your people find it useful. 

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As companies grow, they worry they will lose the culture that allowed them to be successful in the first place.  This concern is registering in many of the big name technology that have experienced significant growth and we hear about it from our local customers who have grown successfully.  A common concern is that people don’t want to grow into something they don’t want to be.  The author of the attached article articulates six key drivers that every organization needs to foster to encourage an effective culture that encourages everyone to do their best work and help drive business innovation.  I think you will find something that will be useful to you as you think about your company culture. 

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The iconic American single-family home was a housing model for a different era, when Baby Boomers were raising their kids, gas was cheap, and suburbia beckoned. But today, Boomers are preparing to retire and downsize, while many of their children are eager to live elsewhere, trading homeownership for rentals, two-car garages for more compact living.  Can the housing market alter course in time to accommodate everyone?  What will happen to the Boomers’ dream homes in the suburbs if on one lines up to buy them?
 
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Ever heard of B Lab or B Corps?  These are groups of companies that choose to legally bind themselves to meeting social and environmental objectives in addition to making a profit.  They arose in response to the concern of the Western middle class that capitalism, as it currently operates, isn’t delivering for a broad swath of society.  There is also emerging research that shows companies pursuing profits in a sustainable manner will perform better over time as compared to the slash and burn companies we see on the nightly news or in business publications. 
 
One of the factors that drew me back to West Michigan was the balance of entrepreneurship, innovation, superior business performance, employee partnership efforts, and commitment to the community that reflect many of our most successful companies.  We have shown that a broader and longer term focus on our businesses is good for business, ourselves as owners, our employees, and our communities.  Perhaps we are showing leadership yet again as the broader business community looks to the future in a changing world.     

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