Who Are YouWe

July 21, 2003
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Inquiring minds want to know. So we asked.

The results of the Business Journal’s 2003 Subscriber Study, done in conjunction with The Network of City Business Journals, show some interesting tidbits.

First, who are you?

According to the study, which sent surveys to 500 subscribers (and of which 259 responded), the average reader is well-educated, well-planned and, basically, well off.

How so? Well, here are some interesting personal facts gleaned from the survey.

The “average” Journal reader might look something like this: A 49-year-old (mean score) male (74 percent) who is a business owner (43 percent) with a job title of president or CEO (combined 40 percent).

On the financial side, readers indicated they used checking accounts (98 percent), credit cards (91 percent), savings accounts (82 percent), 401(k) plans (77 percent), IRAs (63 percent), mutual funds (62 percent), stocks (59 percent), debit cards (57 percent), money market funds (55 percent) and whole life insurance policies (51 percent). Other popular investments and banking services included real estate, other than the primary residence (41 percent), annuities (28 percent), bonds (28 percent), certificates of deposit (28 percent), and education/tuition accounts (20 percent).

The total value of those investments/bank services, on a household basis, reached a mean score of $726,000 and a median score of $269,000. Those households also reported a mean total annual income of $168,000 and a median income of $125,000. The net worth of those same households was $1.26 million (mean) and $630,000 (median).

On the education side, 33 percent of Journal readers reported having graduated from a four-year college, 24 percent attained a master’s degree, 19 percent attended college for less than four years, 14 percent did postgraduate study without getting a degree, and 5 percent earned a doctorate while an equal amount listed “high school or less.”

How’s your company doing?

According to the survey, most readers work at firms with 20 to 99 employees (combined 36 percent), but 5 percent work at firms with more than 1,000 employees and another 5 percent work at one-person shops. Total gross annual sales listed a mean of $104 million and a median of $4.58 million.

But those companies also report growth over the last three years. The mean growth was 11.3 percent while the median level reached 7 percent for each of the past three years. Thirty-three percent report relocation or expansion plans for the next three years while the rest plan on staying put. Speaking of staying put, 31 percent of respondents said their company has been in business for 50 years or more, while another 33 percent listed business longevity of 20 to 49 years.

Just a few more quick facts: Most of you bank at Fifth Third (30 percent) and most of you have Blue Cross Blue Shield as your health insurer (43 percent), but Priority Health (38 percent) isn’t far behind.

Finally, you list your top three business concerns as the economy (70 percent), employee benefits costs/health services (59 percent) and foreign and domestic competition (28 percent).

But enough about you, what about us?

Well, readers seem to be generally happy with the Journal.

During the past 12 months, 13 percent said the overall value of the Journal increased while 84 percent said it remained the same and 2 percent said it decreased. As a source of business news, 30 percent rated the Journal “excellent” while 61 percent listed the rating as “good.” No one gave us a “poor” mark.

In terms of primary sources for local business news and information, the news (from our perspective) was even better. Thirty-five percent listed the Journal as their primary source of local business news, followed by The Grand Rapids Press (24 percent), local TV (5 percent), local radio (3 percent), Business Direct Weekly (1 percent), Grand Rapids Magazine (1 percent), Mi Biz West (1 percent), Internet sites (0 percent) and Business Update (0 percent).

For quality of writing, the Journal scored 78 percent as very good or excellent and 77 percent gave the same marks in the accuracy of reporting category.

Finally, 87 percent of those responding said they listed the Journal as an “important” or “very important” source of local business news and developments.

That’s good because, after all, that’s what we’re really here for.

  • In an interview with the Business Journal last week, Stu Kingma, a sales associate for S.J. Wisinski & Co., said he sees more and more positive signs that the economy is poised for a jump. “Firms are starting to hire temporaries, which is always a sign of recovery.”

In commercial real estate, he said, deals are being made, “but not at the pace of two or three years ago, of course.

“But right now, I think we’re in kind of a summer lull — which is not untypical of this business — because so many people are on vacation. After Labor Day,” he said, “I think we’re really going to see things start jumping.”

  • Speaking of jumping, there’s a little career-hopping going on locally.

For the first time in 32 years, since 1971, Davenport University does not have a Maine on its roster. DonMaine, longtime president and chancellor, retired from Davenport three years ago. He started with the school in 1971 and became president in 1977. After Don retired, his oldest son, MichaelMaine, recruited for Davenport, based first in Detroit before moving to the Fulton Street campus. But last Monday, July 14, Michael began a new position as director of international recruiting and marketing for St. Michael’s College in Vermont. St. Michael’s is a Catholic school with an enrollment of 1,000 and is situated a few blocks from the University of Vermont.

Don told the Business Journal that he was pleased with Michael’s move, and felt that having the opportunity to run his own program was a good career move for his son. Don added that St. Michael’s has taught international business for roughly 25 years.

The only thing that would have made this story more compelling was if St. Michael’s was located in Maine instead of Vermont.           

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