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The Welsh Wire: Best of 2019

Sheri Welsh talked to many outstanding business leaders on The Welsh Wire podcast in 2019. Listen to this week’s show to hear top insights from some of her best guests.

When you’ve been around for over four decades and been known by the same name that entire time, it’s a bold decision to reboot with a new company identity. But Lake Michigan Mailers, a Kalamazoo data document and distribution services company now called Marana Group, believed that a new name was needed to reflect the fact that in 2019 the company doesn’t just mail stuff — it provides a broad range of data, document, and distribution solutions, according to David Rhoa, company president and son of the Marana Group founders. “Our biggest concern, and we vocalized this in the very beginning, [is] we do not want to give the feeling that we’ve been sold or purchased,” Rhoa said.

One way to handle risk in your family-owned business is by being a turtle — huddling under a shell for protection. But a leading expert on risk management says a better approach is to be willing to stick your neck out. Matt Rampe, senior manager of the Forensic, Valuation & Litigation Services Group at Beene Garter in Grand Rapids, says one of the best ways to mitigate risk is by being innovative. “You can tactically do things like trying new product lines, looking at new geographies, looking at new customers, new products,” he says. “You can’t get caught off guard if you’re always looking.”

When someone owns the company, it’s easy to get immersed in the day-to-day minutiae of running the firm. But leadership expert and professional facilitator Dr. Dino Signore says a more valuable use of a company leader’s time is to step back and focus on setting the vision. “Once they’ve set that vision, then they start building the management team around that. Then they have to orchestrate change. That could be the hardest part for them is that now something’s going to change — their role, their people’s role, all has to change. And then what comes after that is dealing with managing conflict. How do they manage through conflict is what they kind of look at.”

Recent cybersecurity disasters around the country this year underscore the importance of having layers of security for your business assets. “A cloud layer so somebody’s watching the dark web or any of my passwords out there, let’s have a firewall so the bad guys don’t get in, let’s protect the desktop with antivirus and patching and then let’s educate our people,” says Mike Ritsema, President of i3 Business Solutions in Grand Rapids. And lastly, let’s have a backup so that if something bad does happen, I can go back two or four hours, get all the information I lost or was encrypted. Let’s make sure we’ve got layers of technology security, and it’s updated every day, every week [so] somebody is keeping an eye on it.”

Learn to the Best of 2019 Welsh Wire podcast.

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