Five-Member Panel Includes Experts in Finance, Human Resources, Marketing and Communications, Psychology of Motivation and Emotion, and Hospitality and Tourism Management   

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Small business owners and the general public are invited to a one-hour, no-cost MI-SBDC webinar at 11 a.m. Thursday, August 25, to discuss rising tensions between entrepreneurs and customers.

The live panel discussion will feature experts from academic and business perspectives discussing ways to allay frustrations and foster civil discourse and understanding. A question-and-answer period will follow the panel. The webinar will also be available on demand after the live event.

“The topic is all over the news,” said Jim McLain, MI-SBDC Growth Team consultant. “Customers are fed up with their buying experience, staff are ready to quit, and entrepreneurs are exhausted since the pandemic. Tempers are running high, and the emotion is palpable.”

The five-member expert panel will include:

  • David Beeson, SBDC Growth Team consultant in human resources
  • Patty Janes, professor, hospitality and tourism management at Grand Valley State University
  • Brooks Kindel, MI-SBDC Growth Team consultant in finance
  • McLain, whose expertise is in marketing and communications
  • Joe Weaver, associate professor, psychology department at Saginaw Valley State University (host institution to the MI-SBDC Lake Huron region)

“There’s a much bigger societal issue going on here since the pandemic,” Weaver said. “My research interests focus on the intersection of cognition and emotion for topics such as emotion regulation and decision making, so while it’s been a fascinating phenomenon to observe, ultimately my role is to help people better understand each other.”

According to Janes, tensions are particularly high between small business owners and their customers. “We’ve all seen it at restaurants – the irony of long waits and empty tables – which speaks to a problem and a labor shortage,” said Janes. “In this new environment, clarifying expectations and mutually beneficial solutions is critical to rebuild empathy and improve the experience for all.”

More information and registration for the webinar is available at:

GVSU’s Seidman College of Business is the host institution for the MI-SBDC and the MI-SBDC Growth Team. The MI-SBDC provides no-cost consulting, business education, market research and technology commercialization to new and existing businesses throughout Michigan’s 83 counties. Michiganders looking to start or grow a business can connect to free export services, market research, cybersecurity resources and business education through the MI-SBDC.

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About the Michigan Small Business Development Center 

The Michigan Small Business Development Center’s mission is to provide no-cost consulting, business education, market research and technology commercialization to new and existing businesses throughout Michigan’s 83 counties. Michigan SBDC services are available through the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The MI-SBDC is committed to fostering and sustaining a culture of inclusion through equitable outreach and service to Michigan’s diverse business community. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest Michigan SBDC office by visiting

The MI-SBDC is hosted on a state level by Grand Valley State University. Regional hosts include Saginaw Valley State University, Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University, Mid Michigan College, Michigan Technological University, Kettering University, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College and Lansing Community College.


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