PRIVATE LENDER THE OFFICIAL EZINE OF AAPL JULY/AUGUST 2014
IVAN OBERON On Moving Forward & Giving Back Back To Basics: Business Planning 101 How To Avoid Being Blacklisted by Google JOBS Act Crowdfunding and SBRE Funds
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Private Lender July/August 2014
Editor’s Note By: Matt Benson
Chairman’s Corner Tales from the other side By: Larry Muck
Private Lender Photo Gallery NoteSchool Summer Summit Photos provided by Kristen Repass
JOBS Act Crowdfuning and SBRE Funds Critical issues still need resolved for crowdfunding providers to prove they can be viable. By: Matt Burk
Investing in Real Estate Find out why real estate investing may be the best choice for private lenders By: Bruce Silverman
Lender Limelight Ivan Oberon: Moving Forward by Giving Back
Back to Basics: Business Planning 101 Every business needs a plan to be successful By: Elizabeth Morales
Wave of Maturing CMBS Loands Spells Out Opportunity for Private Lenders The next several years should bring a steady flow of deals your way. By: Corey Curwick Dutton
10 Key Leadership Qualities for Today’s Entrepreneur Going further by blending theoretical, practical, and common sense. By: David Javitch
How to Avoid being Blacklisted by Google Being added to a blacklist is a death sentence for marketing your business. By: Chrissey Breault
AAPL Member Directory
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR “To succeed in business, to reach the top, an individual must know all it is possible to know about that business.” -J. Paul Getty
t’s now time, more than ever, for innovative managers and entrepreneurs to come up with ideas that lead to opportunities to launch new ventures. As our economy continues to recover from the financial crisis, the timing may seem inauspicious. In fact, the odds on success of an appropriately directed venture has higher chances of a bust than in a competitive boom. However, we have all recognized how the last few years has created new needs in the financial real estate industry. Getting to a break-even point in a new venture and then to profitable growth is crucial. We know it is even more difficult to grow without the right resources at the right prices. It’s only fitting for recovery to precipitate a fresh round of entrepreneurship and innovations that will help shape the future of the real estate industry. We all will prosper if we are able to fulfill basic business needs. Success in today’s unstable economy is about discipline and disciplines. Acquiring knowledge is the first discipline you should do on a regular basis - that will help you succeed in any market or career path. With that always in mind, we continue to work some initiatives that we feel like will dramatically impact our members and their business. This issue is focuses on our entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t mean that those seasoned professionals shouldn’t take a minute to get back-to-basics. Taking a step back and evaluating where you are and how you got there has the potential to be amazingly motivational. It’s extremely important that you spend at least an hour a day gaining knowledge about everything happening in the markets and industry. Use AAPL as a resource! Not just for education resources, but a way to reach out to colleagues and talk to them regularly so you can gain a consistent impression about what is happening around you.
PRIVATE LENDER July/August 2014 CEO Michael Wrenn Executive Director/ Matt Benson Editor-in-Chief Production Manager Chrissey Breault Art & Design Emily Bowers Advertising and Sales Linda Hyde David Lang
Private Lender is published semi-bi-monthly by the American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL). AAPL is not responsible for facts or opinions as presented by authors and advertisers. For Subscriptions: Visit www.facebook.com/aaplonline; email email@example.com, or follow at www.issuu.com For Back Issues: Visit www.issuu.com, email info@ aaplonline.com, or call 913-888-1250. For Article Reprints or Permission to use Private Lender content including text, photos, illustrations, logos, and video: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 913-888-1250. Use of Private Lender content without the express permission of the American Association of Private Lenders is expressly probibited. Copyright © 2014 American Association of Private Lenders. All rights reserved.
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Bankerâ€™s Report Tales from the Other Side
By Larry Muck
ecent conversations with lending professionals have centered on declining pricing in some overworked markets, particularly California. As prices continue to rise in that stateâ€™s major cities, I think we can see the beginning of a capping out of values or at least a slowing down of increases. In the Bay area, prices are defying gravity. It really is only a matter of time before we see some lenders overreach. Most of the lenders say that they continue to actively lend but that there is an increasing level of competition. They have increased vigilance and many are at the point where they would rather walk from a deal than accept current pricing.
at a rate of 6 month Libor + 500bps, or roughly 5.5%. They will do an 80% advance rate on the note amount and are committing funds for up to 3 years. Other money is flooding in that including large Wall Street firms that are providing long term financing for portfolio loans on long term holds. The rates are highly attractive and it would seem that there is an unlimited supply. Wall Street must be very well hedged or they think they can get the Fed to hold down interest rates forever.
This pressure is being caused by the flood of funding being forked over by the capital markets to the largest players. I met one of those capital providers in Boca at the IMN Conference. His firm is providing funding to lenders
Feel free to email me at lmuck@ aaplonline.com and check our radio show, Community Investor Radio, on BlogTalkRadio. com. To your health and success.
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JOBS Act Crowdfunding and SBRE Funds Critical issues still need resolved for crowdfunding providers to prove they can be viable. By: Matt Burk
hot topic of conversation lately that I’ve been asked about many times over the last few months is crowdfunding. What do I think about it? Do I think it is applicable to real estate funds? How do I see it impacting the small balance real estate space? Is there a good way to use it? If so, how? These questions and more have been posed to me by clients and others I know in the business. I know people who are passionate about it on both sides of the argument, some thinking it is the greatest thing ever and some thinking it is going to be a disaster. As our business model has evolved and these questions keep coming up, we have looked more and more at the subject and what role it can play in the universe we focus on, that of small balance real estate pooled investment funds. And the more we look at it and consider it, the more interesting the opportunities available via crowdfunding in this space appear to us. Here are some of my observations around the topic in general and how I think it may impact the way in which capital is raised by players in the SBRE pooled investment space.
Crowdfunding is coming to real estate My first observation is that the crowdfunding wave is clearly coming to the real estate space in general, and coming hard. The internet has already demonstrated that it can fundamentally change the way people do business and the way people buy. With the recent passage of the JOBS Act that allows general solicitation and advertising of private investment offerings, I think similar upheavals are
10 Private Lender
in store for the way capital is raised in real estate deals. Entire industries have been altered and in some cases eliminated. What has been accepted as standard practice for decades has been turned completely upside down in a few short years. Think about what Amazon, for example, has done to book pu b l i s h i n g , to how goods are stored and distributed, and to how people purchase products and from whom. It would be naïve in my opinion to think that similar changes are not in store for the real estate business. Crowdfunding sites provide people (investors) with access to information in the way in which they prefer to consume it. Using the internet means they don’t need to deal with a salesperson in order to research something. This fact certainly doesn’t ensure a better decision, but it does afford people the ability to check something out at their own pace, without direct pressure. This is perhaps the most important component to understand in terms of why it is likely to be a popular way for investors to be involved in real estate.
It’s still early in the game My second observation is that it is still very early in the game. People who are trying to build a business around crowdfunding for real estate are in the midst of trying to figure out a viable model. There are a lot of players jumping into what is perceived as a very sexy and attractive space and there will be some winners and some losers. Many of the platforms will not be able to survive as it will take too long for them to create a revenue model that also strikes the right chord with both sponsors and investors.
In many ways, crowdfunding for real estate is still in beta stage which can make it a gamble for the sponsors who are paying money to put their investments on a given platform (not to mention the venture capitalists who are putting up the money to capitalize the infrastructure of many of them). The pioneers are venturing out across the horizon not knowing what they will find and not all of them will make it there alive. To my mind, there are some critical issues that need to be figured out in order for a crowdfunding provider to prove they can be viable and these issues are not quickly or easily solved.
Questions need answered • How does a crowdfunding provider attract quality business (good deals) on an ongoing basis? What is their source of deal flow?
• What level of diligence do they need to do to
them when they invest? How do the investors interface with the platform and the sponsor? Who has what level of access to this group of people?
• What back end services are provided to sponsors
and is there any real value to the sponsors for these services?
These and other questions are going to be very important components of success or failure and of what direction many platforms are going to take. A few weeks back, I attended the IMN Private Real Estate Fund conference in New York. There were several companies there who are heavily involved in the real estate crowdfunding arena and there were some lively panel sessions on the topic. I came away with the distinct impression that this is going to be a subject in the real estate marketplace that gets a lot of attention over the coming years and will have a big impact on the industry, but that people really
vet the viability of the investment? How much responsibility do they think they have to perform this function, either ethically or simply to enhance chances for long term business viability?
continued on page 19
are the consequences if the investments promoted on a given platform do not perform and investors lose money? Of course the platform will disclaim any responsibility or liability for underwriting and will not explicitly recommend or endorse any particular deal. Investors will be required to acknowledge they are making their own decisions, but some crowdfunding platforms will undoubtedly be more diligent than others about making sure the investments they allow on their platform have fundamental merit. To what extent will they do this or not?
• How do they charge the sponsor who is
putting the investment up on the site? What is their revenue model and does it fit with the needs of the sponsor? Much of this is limited, influenced, and determined by legal limitations around how people can be compensated. Platforms are having to compromise and try to get creative to devise revenue models that make sense to the sponsor and which can still ultimately make things financially viable for the provider of the crowdfunding services.
• How will they attract investors to the site and what, if anything, do they charge
IVAN OBERON Moving Forward by Giving Back Ivan Oberon started his insurance career as a dually licensed independent consultant in 2003 and after eight years in the business he began his real estate investing career, in San Diego. His passion for real estate investing and desire to work with and help other investors grew quickly. After nearly ten years, he resigned from his consultant position to fulfill his desire to help other real estate investors and partnered with the National Real Estate Insurance Group (NREIG.) He is a devoted father of three amazing children and a doting husband, a full-time entrepreneur, speaker, Co-Founder of Coast to Coast REIA, and radio talk show co-host of Investing Coast 2 Coast with Pete Asmus and Ivan Oberon on Bloomberg Radio. During his last visit to Kansas City, we had a chance to talk to him about his life, career, and his new role as the exclusive insurance consultant for the American Association of Private Lenders with NREIG. After he entered the office and we all finished with the round of hugs (he is a big hugger) we got down to business: PL: Thanks for taking some time to hang out with us. We know youâ€™re busy with a new project. What can you tell us about what you are working on now? IO: While working in the private lender and investor space, we realized there is a need in the industry to address the specific and unique Professional Liability or E&O needs of the private lender. Although there is coverage out there in the industry it is very restrictive in nature as it relates to Private Lenders. Combine that with an improperly priced
policy for the true coverage afforded and you have a real issue. So, in an effort to cure this problem, we are working on actually scripting a policy from scratch; based on direct feedback from our private money lenders specific to what they feel their actual exposures and concerns really are. The ultimate goal being the creation of a much needed policy offering which does offer the correct set of coverage, at a fair price, for that coverage with reasonable retention options. PL: Why (do you think you) were you chosen? IO: I believe our private lenders and varying investors in our industry need and deserve to have someone who is dedicated to add value to their businesses and investing activities. I have also been networking in this industry for several years and I have an absolute level of conviction regarding the programs we can offer via NREIG and the value AAPL offers to their member base and the real estate investing community. PL: We certainly think you were a great choice and are glad to be able to work with you! What made you choose this business as one to be in? IO: Even though my original background is in insurance, I have been an active real estate investor for several years now and I love the people in this industry. I have been out there networking and connecting with other real estate investors, private and hard money lenders for several years and my goal has always been to find ways I can add value to others. When I was offered the opportunity to work with a company of people that is by investors for investors and who share my same philosophy
of adding value to this industry, I jumped at the chance. PL: You’ve spent quite a bit of time working within real estate and insurance, what kinds of mistakes have you seen professionals make when it comes to their investments? IO: I have seen a variety of mistakes made across various investment strategies. Everything from rehabbers purchasing homes in the wrong location or using incorrect comparables, cash flow investors purchasing properties that do not technically “cash flow” and the deadly mistakes of investing in their own names instead of a proper entity or using the wrong type of insurance, which could potentially wipe someone out. PL: What do you think are some of the biggest mistakes you made and how did you overcome them? IO: Some of the biggest mistakes I believe I’ve made are: Trusting too blindly at times, not performing adequate due diligence on either a person, organization or project and ignoring a “gut feeling” for the sake of getting a deal done. The only way to really “overcome” those mistakes is through the endurance of some pain, time and by making sure I focused my attention to the lessons that were contained in and by going through those experiences.
IO: Of course! I was awarded the Agent Consultant of Distinction Award in 2008 and Pete and I were just awarded Best Breakout Radio Show of 2014 by Icon Builder Media for our radio show on Business, Entrepreneurship and Real Estate Investing called Investing Coast 2 Coast with Pete Asmus and Ivan Oberon, on Bloomberg Radio. PL: Our computers are always streaming while we work (hard). We sing along on good days and pretend we are rock stars. If you could sing one song on The Voice, what would it be? IO: Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead of Alive. I chose this song simply because it is a great song and I can actually hold the tune. PL: If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children? IO: I would tell them how proud I am of them, how amazing they still are and that I still love them bigger than the sky. I would remind them of the lessons I taught regarding integrity, being diligent, always believing in themselves and the importance of being a good steward with every blessing they have come their way. I would encourage them to continue to write down their goals and affirmations and to make sure they are passing on successful habits to their own children.
PL: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently? ! PL: After making you’re own day, Ivan h irt B IO: This was probably more y p p a H mistakes, what motivates or even funny for others than it was influences you? for me but when I arrived IO: Other successful people in at the last AAPL event in Kansas City, my life and the true champions Missouri, a nice group of friends from AAPL and 3rd of success and continual self-improvement out Story Communications had a nice birthday surprise there, like Brian Tracy. I make it a daily practice to for me in the form of a random photo shoot with study and implement their teachings and of course, pink balloons and tiara. My business partner, Pete, write my major goals down daily. had a great time watching! PL: If you could do it all over again, what would you PL: (Laughing) You took it in stride! What type of do differently? things do you complain about? IO: I would have begun my financial literacy and IO: I make it a standing rule in my life not to complain education and put my long-term financial plan in about anything. Every experience and situation motion much earlier in life. carries with it a value of some kind. In addition, when we take responsibility and accountability for PL: What you’re really saying is that people should everything that happens in our lives, the only one’s join AAPL to start their education earlier, right? we’d have to complain to is ourselves. What kind of recognitions have you received? continued on page 19
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Back to Basics: Business Planning 101 Every business needs a plan to be successful. By: Elizabeth Morales hether you are a small or large business, or you have been around for a few years, or the idea just popped in your head, there are key strategic factors you must have to move forward. Formalizing how you are going to run your business will keep you focused and lead to a more successful business in the long-run.
new visions as their individual business goals have evolved. They continue to be powerhouses in their individual markets year after year.
Mission and Vision
them all the time.
It is a great idea to include your employees as part of your mission statement. Even if you only have a handful of employees, you cannot do the work of all of
Mission: Your Business creates, provides, develops, and constructs X Service/Product to solve an issue.
Example: If your mission is to provide your customers, investors, borrowers, and lenders with up-to-the-minute information on their investments, why not give your employees the tools needed to provide your customers, investors, borrowers, lenders, brokers the up-to-the-minute information they need and be their trusted partner for all their needs? Remember your employees are your greatest resource.
Vision: Your Business will be operating in 10 cities/states/countries, employing x number of folks, doing X number of things.
If you are having a hard time with the vision, keep in mind Disneyâ€™s, â€œTo Make People Happy.â€? One-liners make good visions too!
Start by developing a mission and vision for your company. What is the difference? Think of it as the mission is what you do and the vision is where you are going. Tap into your heart, love what you do, and look at the following template:
Once you reach your vision you must change it, they change every five years or so. Let me give you a couple examples to put it into perspective: Vision from two big companies circa 1995: Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home all running Microsoft software. Wal-Mart: Become a $125 billion company by the year 2000. They achieved their visions and have developed
16 Private Lender
Once you have a mission and a vision, do an analysis of your business, idea, product, etc. A common and helpful tool is a SWOT Analysis. Make a column for each letter and list the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If your strength column is not the longest of the four, you need to work on the weaknesses right away. Threats are not always under your control and your goal is to strengthen your product and create opportunities.
What are the long term goals of your company? What
key initiatives will you put in place to achieve them? What specific, attainable goals will every employee have to reach them? Share the business objectives with ALL departments, if you don’t your employees will never know what you goals are or how to achieve them. Why? Because everyone is on board not just top management. Communicate your ideas and goals to your team, have meetings, let them hear it directly from the CEO, and let them know they matter. Have marketing and advertising plans even when money is low. Research shows that companies that invested in advertising during recession times stayed afloat and did better than their counterparts who chose not to. Why? Because people buy what they see. Be social and do it right! Pick a couple social media tools and run with them. Make sure you’re keeping up with the times. Remember the craze about MySpace? Do you know anyone with a MySpace account these days? Exactly, keep up with the times! How do you that? Do some quick internet research to see what others are using... or ask a teenager! If you are going to put anything out there through social media use the right language and strive to be the leader in your industry. Please remember people don’t have time to read meaningless stuff.
If Gandhi was still among us what do you think he would have tweeted: @Gandhi: #OMG! I am so hungry, when will these people ever get that things have to change so I can go eat something. or @Gandhi: #be the change you wish to see in the world.
Keep a monthly dashboard and hold weekly meetings. Everyone’s goals need to be aligned with the business objectives and key strategies. Assist those in your department draft their own goals, it will be their accomplishment. If they don’t make their goal there is always next month, quarter, or year. Make a big deal when a companywide objective is reached, it is everyone’s win. Everyone put in their little grain of sand and it is reflected in the company moving forward. Remind your team they are the soul of the business and make them feel appreciated.
Elizabeth is the Business Development Director for Applied Business Software, the leader in private lending loan servicing software and creators of The Mortgage Office software and The Loan Office software. You may email Elizabeth at elizabeth@ absnetwork.com
do not know how at this point. My personal opinion is that niche players will do better than generalists. A dominant generalist is likely to emerge and many will be forced to consolidate, sell or disappear. Many more niche players are likely to succeed, I believe, simply because of the way people like to buy. There are not too many who compete with Amazon successfully, but there are plenty of specialty online retailers that do very well on a smaller scale. This will likely be the landscape going forward, after a lot more bleeding edge players blaze the trail in this frenzied post JOBS Act marketplace. Matt Burk is the founder and CEO of Fairway America, a boutique real estate finance advisory and investment firm providing strategic business planning services nationwide to select private money lenders around the structure, architecture, and administration of proprietary mortgage pool funds. He is also the Chief Investment Officer and Manager of Fairway America Fund VI, LLC, a nationwide real estate based mortgage pool fund. This editorial was originally published on FairwayAmerica.com, July 2014.
(continued from page 14) PL: Who’s your hero and why? IO: My Dad. He has lived a life unlike most and seen terrible things most could never imagine and yet he always remained true to himself and his family. His actions have always shown his commitment and love for us and his love for my Mom has always been unquestionable. PL: What did you want to be when you grew up? IO: I am still unsure of what I want to be when I grow up! I mostly like helping people and I am not even certain I want to grow up. Where is the fun in that? PL: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? From whom? IO: My Dad once told me, “Take everything in stride. Learn from every situation and try not to dig a hole so deep that it becomes to difficult to dig oneself out of.”
19 Private Lender
Wave of Maturing CMBS Loans Spells Out Opportunity for Private Lenders The next several years should bring a steady flow of deals your way. By: Corey Curwick Dutton
f you are a private money lender who lends on commercial properties, pay attention. An estimated $1.4 trillion in commercial loans are set to mature between 2014 to 2017. Approximately 25% of all maturing commercial loans are CMBS loans, approximately $346 billion. (Source: Trepp Report 2013). This avalanche of maturing commercial loans represents a huge opportunity for private money lenders who will step up to refinance many of them. Because the ten-year CMBS loans were originated during 2005 to 2007 when commercial property values were at their highest, these same loans may have difficulty meeting the LTV requirements of conventional lenders when seeking out refinances. The property types that will be most affected by LTV issues like this are retail and industrial, with multifamily properties being less affected. Because commercial bridge lenders and other private money lenders will lend at much higher LTV ratios than conventional lenders, many of these commercial refinances will enter the private money lending space seeking commercial bridge loans. Another reason private money lenders will see tremendous opportunity in this wave of maturing CMBS loans has to do with a propertyâ€™s location.
Banks are only lending in the top-tier markets, whereas commercial bridge lenders are far more flexible and are willing lend on properties in second and third tier markets. Private money lenders who lend in the Northeast will see the most opportunities for refinances between 2014 to 2017. The largest number of commercial loan refinances, approximately 30% of all maturing loans, are in the Northeast region. Private money lenders who lend in the Pacific region and Southeast will see close to 20% of all maturing loans during this same time period. If you are a private money lender who focuses on commercial loans, the next several years should bring a steady flow of deals your way.
Corey Curwick Dutton is a private money lender and Founder of Private Money Utah. Corey is from Austin, Texas and is an MBA Graduate of the prestigious Thunderbird School of International Management. In her spare time, Mrs. Dutton enjoys skiing and mountain biking in the beautiful Utah outdoors.
Manage and Lead
10 Key Leadership Qualities for Today’s Entrepreneur Going further by blending theoretical, practical, and common sense. By: Dr. David Javitch 1. The successful leader has a vision: Think things through and know where you want to go and how you want to get there. Work with others to ensure a vision is followed through. Direct the actions and resources toward making it a reality.
2. The successful leader communicates well: Articulate a vision clearly to others. Encourage two-way communication between managers and non-managers and always be available to others. Strive to be succinct and specific about directions and instructions. Above all, a good leader avoids generalizations and ambiguities that can lead to misunderstanding, conflict and poor performance.
3. The successful leader supports and guides the employees: Start by helping others clarify and achieve goals by identifying and removing any obstacles. Provide the resources (time, money, people, information and equipment) needed to complete the task. Don’t reprimand others who make mistakes when taking a well-calculated risk. Instead, critique and analyze what went wrong and what went right. Next, work with the employee to correct the error. Decide whether another attempt at a previous goal is necessary, and offer encouragement if it is. During the entire process, provide appropriate feedback to ensure positive attitudes and actions. Serve as a model of good attitude and use approaches that others can emulate.
4. The successful leader believes in his/ herself: A good leader possesses a strong sense of confidence, built upon years of learning, experimenting and at times failing — but always growing. Be aware of personal strengths and limitations, and demonstrate those skills and talents without boasting. Assume responsibility for faults and personal errors without hiding them or blaming others, and know that if a mistake occurs, it does not equate inadequacy. A successful leader believes that he or she can turn around a negative situation by re-examining the variables and other circumstances — with input from others, when necessary.
5. The successful leader creates the atmosphere that encourages others to grow and thrive:
Know that no one individual possesses all of the answers. By appreciating the role that motivational techniques can play in improving employee performance, you can work with others to increase organizational productivity and improve individual job satisfaction. Here are some tips on how to create a motivational atmosphere:
• Ask people their opinion rather than telling them yours.
• When people ask you for solutions, have them
come up with answers or options rather than telling them the best way to resolve a situation. Discuss the merits of their views and how to make them successful.
• Provide positive feedback when employees 22 Private Lender
Manage and Lead
voice their opinions. Offer suggestions or try to resolve challenges. Reinforcing behavior on your part will encourage more spontaneity, thinking and innovation on their part.
• Ask questions, even when you don’t know the
answer. Ask employees challenging questions that encourage them to think, plan and react. Above all, encourage employees to challenge themselves.
• Encourage employees to take appropriate
risks. Support them when they do and also when the outcome of risk-taking isn’t positive. In those cases, evaluate what went wrong and encourage other, more appropriate risks.
6. The successful leader manages by walking around:
10. The successful successes:
By getting out of the office and walking around the department, plant or building to interact with other employees, you get an opportunity to see people on the line doing daily tasks. Create an opportunity to informally chat with employees and learn something more about their work challenges and lives.
Know that positive outcomes are rarely the result of only one person’s attempts or input. A self-confident entrepreneur shares the limelight and accolades with others who contributed to the final product or service.
7. The successful leader acts and reacts in an honest manner:
Dr. David G. Javitch is an organizational psychologist, leadership specialist, and President of Javitch Associates in Newton, Mass. Author of How to Achieve Power in Your Life, Javitch is in demand as a consultant for his skills in assessment, coaching, training and facilitating groups and retreats.
Authors and creators of The Leadership Challenge program Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner report that honesty is the No. 1 characteristic of superior leaders. Honest leaders easily build trust and confidence. Their employees are more apt to work harder, ask questions and respect leaders who come across as honest. Employees will also accept critiques, whether positive or negative, from leaders they trust and believe.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur. com, August 2008.
8. The successful leader creates and fosters a learning environment: Recognize that increased knowledge, more job experience and challenging different mind-sets increases worker satisfaction, motivation and productivity. Frequently encourage others to think outside-the-box and see issues from alternate perspectives.
9. The successful leader perseveres: Don’t deflect from achieving goals simply because obstacles exist or no answer is readily available. Continue in your pursuit of excellence despite barriers and criticism, and encourage the same attitude in others.
Passionate? Experienced? Compentent?
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How to Avoid being Blacklisted by Google Being added to a blacklist is a death sentence for marketing your business. By Chrissey Breault
e all hate spammers and we do everything in our power to not get labeled as spammers, right? We choose to avoid the blacklist; the death sentence for our websites because Google and other search engines stop crawling or even listing it in search results. No blacklist is good to get, because ISPs and many content filtering services access Internet blacklists to figure out not only what email to block, but also what website to lock or mark as potentially dangerous. Scratching your head as to whether your site has ever made the database of blacklisted sites? There are thousands of databases that list “abusive hosts” for email filtering services as well as ISPs. They’re looking for a list of “bad” URLs and IP addresses to block in order to protect against viruses, malware, and generally any nasty online stuff. You could go through every single database and search for your domain, but a much easier approach is to use a service such as BlackListAlert that conducts a search across multiple databases. It’s also the most popular blacklist service available. The odds are that if you’re on a blacklist anywhere out there, this sit will find it. However, not all blacklists
are public. Many of the larger ISPs have their own internal blacklists they use in conjunction with public blacklists. There is no 100 percent complete blacklist monitoring tool out there for that reason. So we are clear: Being added to a blacklist murders any marketing campaign, regardless of how awesome your intentions are. Sometime little things, like overloading your email with graphics, results in immediate blacklisting. Spam filters don’t know that you’re intentions are good. They see you as you are and make a snap judgment. One of the best things you can, other than subscribing to a monitoring service, is to process all email bounces - they usually have indicators of which private blacklists you might be on. Completely avoiding being blacklisted can be mindboggling. No one knows all the answers, each blacklist can have different requirements that could get you listed. But there are some things you can do to help avoid being listed. To get you started:
• Follow the CAN-SPAM Act • Do not allow unsolicited ads and other bulk •
• • • •
e-mails to be sent from your server, by the hosted accounts; Do not run pro spam services like: spam websites, drop mail boxes for replies to spam e-mail ads, DNS for junk mailers, payment processing services for the products advertised in spam messages, junk mail tools (like lists of e-mail addresses); Make sure all your hosts are as secure as possible; Make sure you do not have any spam bots on your systems; Make sure your mail server is not an open relay; Make sure your proxy server is not an open
• Make sure the information provided in the • •
• • • • • • •
domain registration service (whois) is updated and complete; Make sure all your mail servers accept mail from: <> delivery notifications (NDR); Don’t use an ISP that has a bad reputation when it comes to spam. Doing so may get you blacklisted just because your IP address is part of their allotted subnet; Make sure your DNS is properly set up and that you are complying with the RFC rules regarding service configuration; Make sure your mail server does not send poorly-formatted messages; Deploy Domain Keys and SPF for outgoing messages; Use secured connections (SSL/TLS) as much as possible; Do not allow unauthenticated users to send e-mails neither locally nor remotely; Never ever use UPPERCASE for any words n your emails whether its in your subject line or body - those are flags for spamming; and Swear on your life: you will never BCC your list.
But what if you didn’t do anything wrong and still ended up on a blacklist? The many different reasons to get you listed can be surprising. One of the more common issues is that your assigned IP address was recycled and the previous owner of that address abused email. While you can request details from providers that have blacklisted you, they may not always provide them. Before politely requesting that you are removed from a blacklist, be sure that you have resolved any problems that could have led to you being blocked or you’ll end up blacklisted again. Once you’ve dealt with any potential issues, you may be automatically removed from a blacklist after a week or two - you may need to contact the postmaster for the domain that blocked you. A Google search of “postmater domainname.com” will help you locate the contact information for that person or group. Now don’t you feel better just knowing what you should and shouldn’t do? A Pittsburgh native, Chrissey started a part-time photography and design business in 2008, while working full-time in local government communications. She currently is the Director of Marketing and Education Services with the American Association of Private Lenders. Follow Chrissey @CBExpressions on Twitter.
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The American Association of Private Lenders reaches the most tightly targeted audience of Lenders, Fund Managers, Brokers, Investors, Property Managers, and Service Providers in the peer-to-peer lending community. It is the voice of the private lending industry. As such, advertising with the American Association of Private Lenders is an excellent investment and the ideal medium to reach anyone in the private lending industry. Contact us today for more information!
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July/August 2014 American Association of Private Lenders.