Working for the Good of For Profit

It’s commonly understood that nonprofit organizations are working for the good of the community providing programs and services that benefit the public. Their charity feeds the hungry and houses the homeless. They uplift us spiritually and challenge our thinking. They inspire us with arts and culture that make our cities livelier places to call home.

Yet few of us are likely to make the immediate connection that a nonprofit can also be good for for-profit businesses, as well.
In the case of Lansing Community College, the college provides educational programs and resources that contribute to creating a diverse, talented and relevant workforce within our community. However, one of the best kept secrets about LCC is that the college also plays a major role in helping local for-profit businesses start up, grow and, most importantly, become thriving and profitable enterprises. Within the Extended Learning and Professional Studies (ELPS) division there are two departments working every day with businesses, large and small, to help them become more profitable.

The Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC), situated at the edge of the main campus in the heart of downtown Lansing, helps small businesses at every stage of the business lifecycle through counseling services, business education and information-based planning. 

With a range of sophisticated business intelligence tools at their disposal that the typical small business doesn’t have access to, the SBTDC consultants are able to help business owners hone in on some of the critical issues needed to improve financial performance. Profit Sense, for example, is an analysis tool that can help benchmark past financial performance against other business and find opportunities for improvement. 

“We can demonstrate how making X adjustment in their business will result in X dollar savings,” said SBTDC Regional Director Tom Donaldson. 

Companies that may be trying to better reach their target customers can mine the many resources for secondary market research.  This information can be eye opening for business leaders — it can inform them who their best customers are, what those customers are thinking, their customers interests and purchasing habits and even generate a list of potential customers. A high-level search engine optimization (SEO) analysis, on the other hand, can determine what’s keeping potential customers from finding the company online and recommend improvements for better searchability.

Located in LCC’s West Campus, The Business & Community Institute (BCI) is playing a vital role in transforming business though quality improvements, helping companies grow at all levels and across all industries by enhancing their workforce. BCI works with employers to increase productivity and reduce operational inefficiencies that in turn contribute to long-term sustained profitability for our companies and job retention, and job creation for our regional workforce.

According to Kevin Mehigh, president and CEO of Airlift Company, “BCI played a significant role in educating, training and coaching our people to higher levels of performance. Whether it’s ISO-9001, Six Sigma or Lean, BCI worked with us to identify projects and activities that could be completed as we learned.” 

Over the past five years BCI has had an ongoing relationship with the Lansing automotive aftermarket manufacturer. Mehigh believes it was a cost-effective way to improve the knowledge and skills of the company’s people.  “I’m proud to say with the extraordinary effort of the people at Airlift and help from BCI, our sales for 2012 will easily be the highest in our 63-year history.”

Author: Laurie Lonsdorf

As Dean of ELPS at Lansing Community College, Dr. Jean Morciglio understands that developing the workforce is only one part of the equation needed to maintain a robust and viable economic region. “We are fortunate to be in an area where there are active and forward-thinking community leaders who recognize the vital role education plays in creating a robust economy.”
For more information about how to connect to the colleges resources for business, visit the new LCC website at








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