Deans of Business


The health care challenge for small business

on July 20, 2012, at 2:26 p.m.
The National Federation of Independent Business recently reported that small businesses identified increasing health care costs as their No. 1 problem. While escalating costs hurt all employers, small business has been particularly disadvantaged by the way health insurance is paid for in this country. Short of more dramatic reform, Maine’s …

Perfecting the art of promotion

By Ronald A. Nykiel on July 06, 2012, at 9:44 a.m.
In today’s competitive environment there is one marketing weapon that has application to most all businesses. Consumers are responding to “value,” and value is what promotions convey. It was recently reported that more than 80 percent of consumers will not purchase unless an item is on sale or they have …
Contestants plow through a puddle in the University of Southern Maine's 2012 Into the Mud Challenge in Gorham, Maine, May 5, 2012. (Photo courtesy USM)

Using social media, entrepreneurship and creativity to sell mud

By Heidi M. Parker and Joanne Williams on June 29, 2012, at 10:44 a.m.
In 2009, Harvard Business School student Will Dean thought that he could attract 500 people to enter a challenging race which included mud pits and man-made obstacles. Dean submitted his proposal to the annual Business Plan Contest and made it to the semifinal round. Why didn’t he win? Harvard business …

Business, education must raise the bar

By Ronald A. Nykiel on June 15, 2012, at 1:22 p.m.
Major issues can emerge which disrupt everything from our business to our personal life. Recently, we have been dealing with the issue of security, one of a number of major concerns for the corporation and the individual. And, while security is a huge issue for many, it is perhaps about …

Pay attention to today’s Willy Lomans

By Joseph McDonnell on June 08, 2012, at 4:41 p.m.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Death of a Salesman” has returned to Broadway — the fourth revival on the New York stage since its debut in 1949. This generation of theatre-goers will see the play through the prism of today’s financial crisis, high unemployment, global competition and the backlash from the …

Use a customer perception audit to watch the signals your business gives out

By Ronald A. Nykiel on May 25, 2012, at 2:55 p.m.
When a business needs help with accounting, a certified public accountant often is retained for their expertise. When things do not add up — cash flow isn’t what it is supposed to be, inventories are too low or too high — we see the signals right away. Unfortunately, business owners …

Would Warren Buffett buy your business?

By Joseph McDonnell on May 18, 2012, at 4:24 p.m.
The recent spike in the number of companies being purchased in Maine led me to wonder how many Maine businesses would be attractive to Warren Buffett, the well-known acquirer of businesses. Buffett turned Berkshire Hathaway, a nearly bankrupt New England textile company, into a $200 billion conglomerate by buying businesses …

Franchising for Maine business growth

By Ronald A. Nykiel on May 11, 2012, at 5:28 p.m.
One way to improve and accelerate economic growth is to provide a regulatory and tax environment that encourages investment. Eliminating “red tape” and providing incentives that stimulate growth are some positive steps. Given these assumptions, what is the fastest and most likely strategy to succeed in achieving the economic growth …

Competitive advantage: The business case for helping workers and communities become healthier

By Dr. Andrew Coburn on April 27, 2012, at 12:29 p.m.
Employers typically view health and health care as costs to be managed and have been changing the structure of their health benefit programs to create incentives for employees to seek better value in the health care they consume. And many larger employers such as Maine Health, Bath Iron Works, Cianbro …

The search for job creators

By Joseph McDonnell on April 06, 2012, at 3:44 p.m.
Where are the jobs? That’s the question every young person — and many who are not so young — are asking. The Occupy Wall Street movement and the Arab Spring were ostensibly protests about corporate greed and oppressive regimes, but they not surprisingly arose when young people throughout the world …

A new approach to economic growth for Maine

By Ronald A Nykiel on March 30, 2012, at 2:27 p.m.
If you have been watching television this season, you would have noticed a top-rated series named “Once Upon a Time.” The blockbuster series takes place in the fictitious town of Storybook, Maine, and is based on famous storybook characters. It appeals to a broad market and age group. Do you …
Dr. James Bennett, CFA, is an associate professor in the University of Southern Maine’s School of Business.

Facebook’s unfriendly $100B valuation

By James Bennett on March 09, 2012, at 11:49 a.m.
Last month, Facebook took the much-anticipated next step in its corporate life by filing for an initial public share offering with the intent to raise $5 billion. Facebook’s registration statement made public a wealth of previously private information about the company and its finances. The raising of the veil confirmed …

Business lessons from the Bard

By Joseph McDonnell on Feb. 17, 2012, at 4:32 p.m.
Shakespeare on business — really? Shakespeare’s plays provide timeless insights for managers because so many deal with the dynamics of leadership — themes of power and its abuse, character and its flaws, ambition and its destructiveness, loyalty and its betrayal. Macbeth, Othello and Lear offer lessons in failed leadership by …
Dr. Nory B. Jones

To improve business, take a look at weak ties

By Dr. Nory B. Jones on Feb. 03, 2012, at 1:16 p.m.
There is a lively debate going on about the best way to stimulate Maine’s economy. This article suggests that innovation, enabled by knowledge management, represents a good way to do so. One example is Maine’s tourism industry. Tourism is an important industry in our state. According to the University of …

Bloomberg’s bold bid: Lessons in economic development

By Joseph McDonnell on Jan. 27, 2012, at 6:01 p.m.
After a yearlong competition involving 17 major universities, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced that Cornell University and its partner, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, had been selected to build a graduate applied science and engineering school in the city. The project, estimated to cost $2 billion, with as …

What makes a great place to work?

By Ronald A. Nykiel, dean of the College of Business at Husson University on Jan. 20, 2012, at 7:46 p.m.
We all have seen businesses recognized as a “great place to work.” We have heard people say, “they take good care of their employees.” There are contests, checklists, questionnaires, surveys and many other methods used to determine which businesses receive “great place to work” recognition. What lies underneath are “great …

Discovering the entrepreneurial opportunity

By Ivan Manev on Jan. 06, 2012, at 6:04 p.m.
The discovery of the entrepreneurial opportunity is the first and most important phase of the entrepreneurial process. In this stage, the entrepreneur identifies a possible new product or service to introduce to the market at a profit. An idea is developed into a business form, which often involves serving customers …

The endrepreneur in every entrepreneur

By Nancy Forster-Holt on Dec. 23, 2011, at 4:18 p.m.
There is an endrepreneur in every entrepreneur. Endrepreneur (end-ruh-preneur) is a phrase I coined that replaces “ent” in entrepreneur with “end.” I’ve defined endrepreneurship as the progression of time, effort and risk toward exit, and underlies the entire period of association the entrepreneur has with the business as its primary …

Looking at the building blocks of leadership

By Joseph McDonnell on Dec. 09, 2011, at 12:21 p.m.
Is there any surprise that behind the rise of a successful company there is a visionary leader? In our own generation, leaders like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page saw the possibilities of new technology to create innovative companies that have transformed our society. Meg Whitman, Mary …

Co-ops and consortiums: Are they right for you?

By Ronald A. Nykiel, dean of the College of Business at Husson University on Dec. 02, 2011, at 10:16 p.m.
Co-ops and consortiums are two ways for businesses to band together, share functions and achieve efficiencies. Both have their strong points, as well as potential pitfalls of which to be aware. A co-op is usually defined as an agreement between two or more businesses providing funding for marketing and advertising …