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first quarter 2012

The Official Publication of Latin Business Club of America

www.latinbiz.net

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy Creating Your Own Job Stimulus

Staying in the

money Stop Cash Flow Problems from Putting You Out of Business first quarter 2012

latinbiz 1


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The Official Publication of Latin Business Club of America

EDITOR Editor Monica Puig Monica Puig editor@latinbiz.net

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editor@latinbiz.net

MAGAZINE DESIGN PublishEr BusinessRise The Official Publication of Latin Business Club of America Latin info@businessrise.net Business Club of America publisher@latinbiz.net www.businessrise.net

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MagazinE dEsign

PUBLISHER

Cris Ascunce, CAT Graphix, Inc. of America TheLatin Official Business Publication ofClub Latin Business Club of America info@catgraphix.net

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info@latinbiz.net

Contributing WritErs

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gavin Berkey, Daniel Burrus, Salah Abdalla, E/The Environmental Luz Canino-Baker, Jennifer DelCamp, Magazine, Jessica James, Dave Kahle, Voss Graham, Mika Hamilton, Laine McKenna, John Mitz, Sierra Robert Heber, Paul A.Eddie Herman,

Mark Holmes, David Leonhardt, STAFF Aurelio PHOTOGRAPHERS Mark Sandate, Salah Abdalla Tamara Vaughm, Amy Wells William Bruce Franklin Joshua Stier staff Modern Studios PhotograPhErs JohnAscunce, Christie Photography Cris Joshua Stier,

Rodolfo Barandiaran COVER PHOTO CovEr: Eti Swinford

©Norman Pogson ADVERTISING SALES onlinE at: sales@latinbiz.net

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305-573-1369 sales@latinbiz.net latinbiz is the• official quarterly

latinbiz is the of official publication publication Latinquarterly Business Club of of Latin Business Club of America, a networking America, adedicated networking organization organization to promote businesses within theto Latin community, unite Latinos in dedicated promote businesses within ourLatin business efforts, andunite fosterLatinos understanding the community, in our between Latinos and other Americans.

business efforts, and foster understanding Printed in the U.S. between Latinos and other Americans.

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INSIDE. . . 8

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Staying in the Money: Stop Cash Flow Problems inside. . . You Out of Business from Putting 10 Saul Gonzalez 7 Ana Remos: Brings her high power Circulo to Television 12 Ruben Campbell 8 BecomeYour a sales superstar: 10 skills to Master 14 Creating Own Job Stimulus 10 The seven Failures of Business Growth 16 Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs 12 Latin Business Club ofthe America Turns Seven and Strengthening U.S. Economy 14 Quality, ComfortPower and Style In Outdoor 18 The Incredible of an ElevatorFurniture Speech 15 16 21

Empower Yourself Through Any Setback HACE Launches A Latino Career Forum in Miami What is Social Entrepreneurship?

IN EVERY ISSUE. . .

7 in every Message from the Editor issue. .. 20 Marketing 21 Security 6 Message from the Editor 22 Finance 18 Media Survivor 23 BizSecurity Ethics 19 24 Real Estate 20 Finance 25 Small Biz 22 Real Estate 26 Sales 23 small Biz: small Business Prosperity in a down economy 27 Travel 24 Auto Talk/Coffee Break 28 25 Earth Talk Travel 29 Technology 26 Biz Announcements/Earth Talk 30 Biz Community 27 Technology/Law 31 latinbiz Networking Events 28 Networking

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messagefromtheeditor

Wednesdays 11:30am • WZAB 880 AM The Biz role and blaming circumstances or people in our lives for our shortcomings. If we do not trust ourselves to do what we feel in our guts is our life mission, why should anyone else trust us, believe in us, or do business with us?

Artist: Liz Queeny at her Gallery

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that “selftrust is the first secret of success.” Self-trust is an evident quality in small business owners and entrepreneurs who have taken the plunge to work for ourselves, which for some not always means gainful employment. For entrepreneurs seeking the realization of our vision is not an option. It is a belief so ingrained in our core that we simply must act on it. I truly believe that without self-trust, we can not succeed at our dreams. Self-trust is about self empowerment. It means being accountable by maintaining power over our own lives and what happens to us and our businesses, rather than giving our power away to other sources and then playing the victim

Small business owners do not go through the challenges, and at times uncertainties, that come with running our busines ses, just because we want to bring home a paycheck; rather, we are passionate about our contribution to the world, about the services and products we offer, the jobs we create, the ethical decisions that we are free to make, the close relationships we build with our clients, and those we inspire along the way to follow their dreams. (Immigrant-owned businesses continue to create jobs and strengthen the U.S. economy. See page 16.) Running a successful business day in and day out undoubtedly requires self-trust, and accountability always stops with us. This is why entrepreneurs and small business owners do not dwell on the state of the world or the economy. Rather, we focus on transforming things as we want them to be by creating products and services to fill existing voids, discovering the right conditions for our businesses and when necessary, temporarily adjusting our businesses to those conditions while never losing sight of who ultimately decides the fate of our businesses: our customers.

Providing excellent personalized service and products to our customers becomes our priority, making the temptation to work around the clock very real; so much so that sometimes, we forget to just take some time off from work. So this year, let’s make a resolution to continue to strive at excellence for our customers, but also to make time for ourselves. I recently did, and visited the Florida Keys which shamefully, I had not been to in years (see page 27). The greatest resolution I invite you to make this year is to stop living in a state of fear. Fear begets doubt and doubt begets chaos. Continue or start trusting yourself to be who you are meant to be, to follow your dreams and have the self-trust to know that whatever challenges arise in your life, you will be perfectly capable and equipped to manage them. My grandmother always said “Dios aprieta, pero no ahoga,” (God will grip you, but will not drown you). You will be amazed how chaos will disappear from your life, when you replace self-doubt with self-trust and move confidently through life. As, we, at Latin Business Club of America, start our 12th year in business, I want to say “Thank you” to each and every single one of you for being part of this amazing journey. Have no doubt that it has not always been easy for me (as it will not always be easy for you), but I swear to you it has ‘always’ been worth it. Believe in yourself, follow your dreams and keep shining! And keep networking!… I look forward to seeing you at our next event. In unity, Monica Puig President and Founder, Latin Business Club of America

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Staying in the Money: Stop Cash Flow Problems from Putting You Out of Business

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very small business owner knows the trouble that comes with managing the ins and outs (pun intended!) of cash flow. You can have tons of loyal customers and be an expert at getting new business and still be kept awake at night with cash flow worries. Authors Tage Tracy and John A. Tracy commiserate. They know cash flow is an issue that can send good businesses to their graves. “Cash flow problems have a habit of sneaking up on a business, especially in a rocky economy,” says Tage Tracy, coauthor along with John A. Tracy of Cash Flow For Dummies®. If a business is earning a profit, many business managers simply assume that cash flow is satisfactory. But even if profit is good, cash flow can be bad.” Cash flows pose an unending challenge to business owners and managers because they have to be carefully managed. 2011 is almost gone but you can still make 2012 the year of the cash flow reboot for your business. Here’s how: Respect and understand financial statements. According to some surveys, 25 percent of businesses don’t even maintain accounting records (let alone produce financial statements). “The bottom line for small business owners is simple,” says Tracy. “If you don’t make an effort to prepare, review, and completely understand your financial statements, then you need to ask yourself why you’re in business in the first place. And this especially holds true for the statement of cash flows, because an abundance of invaluable information is available from this most commonly overlooked and mismanaged financial statement.”

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Be creative to generate cash. The following three areas offer significant opportunities for creativity when looking to improve cash flows: Turn your assets over more quickly. The more quickly you can turn over assets, the more quickly they turn into cash. It’s as simple as that. Leverage your vendors, suppliers, and financing sources. They don’t want to lose your business, so placing just the right amount of leverage on these groups can result in enhanced cash flows because liabilities offer a source of cash. Manage external sources of cash proactively. Proactively manage your relationships with banks, leasing companies, and even the federal government to ensure that cash is made available when needed. Balance the balance sheet. Many businesses overlook the concept of properly managing the financial structure of their balance sheet, which has gotten more than a few businesses in trouble. Plan, do projections, and plan some more. Proper planning is essential to the launch, growth, management, and ultimate success of your business as measured by the ability to generate profits and, just as important, to avoid running out of cash. According to Tracy, “Having access to sound financial plans structured for different operating scenarios is an absolute must.” Focus on capital and cash—the lifeblood of your business. One of the most common reasons small businesses fail is that they lack adequate cash or capital, not only to survive difficult times, but also to prosper during growth opportunities. “Remember, one of the greatest losses a small business can realize is that of lost opportunity, which has its roots in not being prepared to properly capitalize on market opportunities,” explains Tracy. “The harsh reality is that this great loss is never accounted for or presented in any way, shape, or form on the business’s financial statements. Rather, missed market and business opportunities lurk in the torturous thought, Imagine what I could have achieved!” Understand your selling cycle. The length of the complete selling cycle is often much longer than the aspiring entrepreneur projects and/or wants to believe. “The selling cycle in its entirety spans the time from the very start of the process when a product or service is first visualized and developed to supporting customers after the sale and developing additional products or services that may be in demand,” says Tracy. “And if not properly managed, the selling cycle generally becomes one of the largest consumers of cash in a business. Without fail, almost every aspiring business owner, at one point or another, will experience delays in the selling cycle.” Manage your disbursements cycle. To counteract the selling cycle cash consumption machine, businesses need to understand that the disbursement cycle (managing expenditures and cash payments to vendors, employees, and other creditors) can be leveraged and managed to be a primary source of cash for your business. “Invoke what’s called the matching principle,” advises Tracy. “That is, similar to properly matching revenue and expenses to ensure that an accurate measurement of a business’s profit or loss is obtained, you should be able to match cash inflows and outflows.”

“Your business needs to strike a proper balance between making sure that current assets are financed or supported with current liabilities,” notes Tracy, “and making sure that long-term assets are financed or supported with long-term sources of capital such as a five-year note payable or equity. Every business should strive to achieve a financial condition that ensures constant maintenance of adequate levels of both solvency—the ability to pay all just debts—and liquidity—the ability to quickly access cash to support business operations.” Understand external capital markets. When it comes to external capital markets, think well ahead. In today’s economic climate, it takes a long time to identify external sources of capital and to secure them. So plan well ahead to make sure that you’ll have cash available when needed, because it’s not a process you can rush. Protect cash at all times. Cash has a unique characteristic unlike other assets that makes it highly susceptible to additional risk of loss: Cash is an extremely liquid and marketable asset. Always think of CART. CART equals complete, accurate, reliable, and timely. Your company’s financial and accounting information system needs to produce complete, accurate, reliable, and timely financial information, reports, data, and so on, which management can use to make informed business decisions. “When you have the proper systems in place and know what to look for, you can keep cash flowing, helping you to grow a successful business,” says Tracy. “Let 2012 be the year you place a renewed focus on properly managing your cash flows.”

Tage C. Tracy is principal owner of TMK & Associates, an accounting, financial, and strategic business planning consulting firm. John A. Tracy is professor of accounting at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the author of Accounting For Dummies®. Cash Flow For Dummies® (Wiley, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-1180-1850-7, $26.99) is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or directly from the publisher by calling (877) 762-2974.

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bizfiles

SPONSOR

SAUL GONZALEZ President of Zeta Entertainment

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dreamer and a visionary, Saul Gonzalez has a need to envision how certain events are going to go. He loves to see people dance and having a good time; thus, decided to play an important role in getting any party started, by combining his passion for music, for being a disc jockey and his enjoyment for creating event lighting. It is the quite, conservative side of his personality that makes him a very observant person and it is his humanity that allows him to relate well with all different types of people. These combined allow him to really know how to read a crowd and play the music that will keep them dancing all night long! What made you get into the production business? I have a passion for music and I really enjoy seeing how special effects can enhance and create a beautiful ambiance. As a kid, even when my parents first took me to Disney World, as I was on the rides, my curiosity was more on how they put it all together and where the music and lighting was coming from. Now as an adult, I find very exciting that I have the ability to change an entire room through special effects, music and lighting to create the WOW factor. What made you create Zeta Entertainment? Zeta Entertainment is a result of many years of collecting music and creating an extensive music library. The passion I have for music goes back when I was in junior high. My parents used to give me lunch money and I would try to save it, grab a cookie or something from a friend and then have money to buy a vinyl LP of someone I really wanted. This exercise went on for a long time and I slowly became the cool kid with a great record collection. I wasn’t much of a dancer and still have two left feet so it worked well to become a Disc Jockey. I would get everyone going on the dance floor, was part of the 10

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party and had control of the music being played. I was a disc jockey for a while in my college days. After I got married and wanted to start a family, I stopped but continued my music collection and knowledge. In 2006, I decided to follow my dream and create Zeta Entertainment. I figured if it’s something I love, then it’s not work. Although everything requires hard work, I love what I do and enjoy very much the fact that I am following my dream. What services does Zeta Entertainment offer? Zeta Entertainment is a full entertainment company offering services such as Disc jockeys for all types of private and corporate events, event planning and coordination, full lighting effects including ambient lightening, dance and stage lighting, theatrical effects. AV services for small and medium business, video projection and production, live musicians “Hora loca” (The name says it all), carnival style costume dancers, and stilt walkers which is a great way to close out any event. We also have specialty items from themed props and decorations, to a human strolling table filled with hors d’oeuvres. What is the greatest value you bring to a client? We offer a good product at a good price. We have a high level of expertise coupled with a passion and dedication to deliver exceptional and reliable entertainment. We work closely with the client to capture their vision and be able to set the right ambience for a successful event. Since we are a complete entertainment company, we can take care of many different needs to provide a better price. What are some of the toughest challenges that you’ve faced as a professional and how did you overcome them? Due to the situation with the economy, many disc jockeys who do this as a hobby have severely

undercut their prices. It’s been challenging to make customers understand that I run a business with expenses, licenses and insurances. It’s not a hobby and it shouldn’t be treated or priced like one. I have overcome the tough challenges of not undercutting my prices by proving the overall value and helping clients understand the value of my service for their event. I am all for giving them a good competitive deal and bundling some special effects to enhance the event, but it’s important for the client to understand that we are trained professionals with extensive knowledge, and are licensed and insured with back-up equipment for the unforeseen circumstances. Almost every venue requires for the entertainment company to be license and insured and to provide proof before an event. What is the greatest advice that you’ve ever received? To follow your dream and follow it relentlessly until you see it come alive. If it’s something you enjoy doing, you will do it with passion and dedication and success will follow. What advice, from your experience, would you like to offer other professionals? Find something that you enjoy doing and have a deep passion for it. The passion will carry your through the tough times as there will be many. Success requires a lot of dedication and hard work. However, if you can believe it, you can achieve it. How do you define success? I believe that if you set goals and apply dedication, hard work and believe in yourself you will be successful in whatever you put your mind to do. It’s important to maintain a balance life while reaching your goals including health, family, profession and spirituality. www.zetaentertainment.com


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bizfiles

MEMBER

RUBEN CAMPBELL Singer, Model, Actor, Entrepreneur, Volunteer, Humanitarian Founder of Music For Your Heart Foundation

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panish born, Ruben Campbell gives multitasking in life a new meaning. After he earned his business degree in 1997, Ruben volunteered at NATO forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina for five months to complete his military service. He then returned to Madrid where he worked as a successful business consultant for seven years, only to leave everything behind to follow his dream of becoming a singer songwriter. Lucky for us, this dream brought him to South Florida which he calls ‘home’ today. What truly defines Ruben are his genuine human values, his passion for music and his determination to give a better life to people around him and our future generations. This brought him to create his non-profit organization MUSIC FOR YOUR HEART FOUNDATION which buys instruments for kids and supports their passion for music by helping them achieve their dreams. What made you get into the music business? My grandfather made my grandmother fall in love singing Flamenco to her, and my father made my mother fall in love singing French classics to her; so I guess, I had to follow the family tradition. Since I was a little child, music was my way to express my feelings and sometimes even a way to escape from tough times. Singing made me extremely happy. Later on, I understood that music is a universal language and a very powerful way to communicate. Tell us about your foundation Music for Your Heart and what moved you to create it? As a singer songwriter, my passion has always been music and as a child nothing would have made me happier than to see my dream come true of becoming a recording artist. This is why Music for your Heart Foundation was created, to help other children achieve their dreams. I want to provide the resources for them to develop their pas-

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sion and their talent. Not only we are keeping those children away from the streets and the wrong influences, but we are using a fun and healing way to improve their self-development and social integration. I guess it is the mission I was born for and the legacy I would love to share with the world. (www.musicforyourheartfoundation.org). Ruben, you give so much of yourself to others.  What would be your wish for Ruben Campbell?  Actually, you may not think it, but when I give to others I feel 100% fulfilled. I think I was born blessed and God gave me health and a good heart so I could share it and some talent to inspire others. I could only wish that my mission ends up touching more people’s hearts everyday. What would you like your contribution to be to the world? I would like my contribution to be that thanks to music and my foundation, our future generations get more access to education, discover the bene-

fits of playing an instrument or sing, write, compose a melody about what they feel expressed freely and beautifully. I want our children to understand, through music education, the importance of values like respect, dedication, teamwork, passion, humanity, solidarity, humbleness and freedom. I believe through my foundation and with the collaboration of parents, friends, individuals, institutions and government, we can really make a difference and building a better world for all.  What is the greatest advice that you’ve ever received? Always listen to your heart! Ever heard the expression “I’m happy as a kid”? Why do you think we say that? Because kids are spontaneous, truthful to their feelings, they are free because they just do what their heart is willing to do. Then when we grow up, society make us protect ourselves, be more reserved, be competitive, be dependant and we limit the moments of expression and sharing. Of course there is a risk that someone will take advantage of your honesty; but are we really evaluating the risk of not sharing? Where would be the excitement in our lives? Where would be our contribution to this world?   What advice, from your own experience, would you like to offer others? To be patient and keep believing in yourself. Show the world who you really are and work every day to be the best version of yourself. How do you define success? Waking up every morning with enough health and motivation to follow your dream. Keep in mind that if you work hard, you might get three or four days of recognition a year, but you have to learn how to enjoy the whole journey. When I see a smile on a child’s face because of anything I did or said, then I think I’ve succeeded. 


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cover story

Creating Your Own Job Stimulus D

ebt-ceiling debates, credit-rating crises and international economies teetering on a double-dip recession might just be more than enough to scare would-be entrepreneurs out of the risky business of pursuing their ambitions. But not all of them.

Self-made success story Melissa Evans believes innovators who have come to know their true strengths and align their business with their purpose and natural abilities will succeed even in turbulent times. “Entrepreneurs and companies who have a clear understanding of who they are operate with certainty and confidence, which are the two things businesses and customers want most in these troubled times,” said Evans, a healthcare industry consultant and author of Sole to Soul: How to Identify Your Soul Purpose and Monetize It (www.soletosoulbook. com). “Everyone is not broke in this economy, some are thriving. Monetizing your purpose is the best way to have an abundant life.” Hers is a modern, spiritual take on a classic economic theory: Countries and individuals are most successful and efficient when they know what they do best and focus on it. Aspiring entrepreneurs seeking more control over their financial futures or those looking to remake their careers after a layoff aren’t out of luck if they look inward and define their natural talents, she advised. Evans offers these points for those looking to swim against the economic undertows:

Entrepreneurs must start by looking inward: They must know, love and be themselves to be successful.

They must inspire people to become aligned with their strengths and natural abilities and to put those skills to good use and to work for the good of their community.

Business people and companies must understand and assess the importance of being clear about their service so that customers can find them.

That clarity and forthrightness, in turn, will help people and companies monetize the talents and skills they offer, while removing limits to their growth.

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As legions of both the unemployed and working people face the prospect that the overall economy will not improve soon, Evans believes a defeatist attitude is the worst possible path to take for individuals and the nation at large. Having interviewed scores of successful business people who succeeded despite the odds against them, Evans said the path to prosperity is clear: Those willing to work toward a single-minded, soul-inspired goal are successful and in turn create abundance for others, she said.

“You can monetize your ‘soul’ purpose, but it’s not all about the money – it’s about your gift and what you offer to others,” - Melissa Evans

“These are times that call out for individuals and business – and even our nation – to clearly define what makes them powerful, unique

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and able to move forward,” Evans sa id. “The greatest eras of economic growth occur when individuals, communities and countries embrace their gifts, talents and purpose and come from a place of genuine service - then they will be financially successful.”

“You can monetize your ‘soul’ purpose, but it’s not all about the money – it’s about your gift and what you offer to others,” she said. “Those who understand what skills and traits make them special, who then develop a purposeful business plan and know how to remove the barriers that stand in their way – even a barrier as big as a recession – will and do succeed.”

Melissa Evans, MHA, PMP, Master Coach, self-made millionaire at age 31 and “The Guru of Implementation,” founded The Broshe Group in 2001 in Atlanta, Georgia. With her focus on the healthcare industry, Evans helped numerous companies improve patient care, safety and service while growing profits. Her privately-held company serves clients worldwide.


bizfiles


cover story

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy

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mmigrant entrepreneurs create jobs and strengthen the economy, and the U.S. should tailor immigration laws and policies to encourage the best and the brightest to create businesses on U.S. soil, according to a new joint report issued recently by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Immigration Policy Center (IPC). The report, Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy, examines immigrant entrepreneurship in many different sectors, including neighborhood, growth, transnational, and science and technology firms, and demonstrates how these immigrant businesses create jobs for U.S. workers and contribute to America’s economic growth. “Immigrant-owned growth businesses are hugely important to strengthening local economies, as well as providing jobs essential to economic recovery,” said report author Marcia Drew Hohn, director of the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. “The U.S. Small Business Association estimates that small businesses have generated 64% of the net new jobs over the past 15 years and credits immigrant businesses with a significant contribution to this job growth.” “Regardless of one’s school of thought, there is very little disagreement among researchers and experts that immigrant entrepreneurship is a powerful and valuable asset to America’s economic future,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council. “There has been a lot of attention paid to the high tech, highly educated immigrant entrepreneur, this re-

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port reinforces that it is less about your degree or the product you produce, and far more about recognizing a need in your community and having the skills and commitment to bring a dream to life.” “The Chamber has a longstanding commitment to championing improvements to federal policies that would create lawful status for immigrant entrepreneurs and permit foreign talent to work in the United States,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits. “We hope that the report’s findings will spur positive discussions regarding immigration reform, but also provide new fuel for those already ongoing.” The report features profiles of immigrant entrepreneurs and shines a light on some of the difficulties they face. Current immigration laws make it difficult for many immigrant entrepreneurs to contribute to the nation’s growth. The report contains administrative and legislative proposals that taken together could create an atmosphere that fosters growth:

Create an entrepreneur-friendly culture—The Department of Home-

land Security (DHS) should create more business-friendly policies, promote and streamline entrepreneurship programs, and launch further engagement opportunities to seek feedback in how to address the unique circumstances of entrepreneurs, new businesses, and startups.

Cut red tape—DHS

should not demand excessive documentation or dismiss the achievements of well-qualified appli-

cants who could start businesses or create jobs in the United States.

Create or modify existing visa categories specifically targeted for immigrant entrepreneurs—

Congress should be urged to create access to permanent resident status for those who establish a business that produces jobs for U.S. workers. Current law typically only permits foreign nationals who can invest $500,000 or more to stay.

Remove hurdles for foreign students with desirable skills—Immigration law should permit foreign students in graduate programs (especially science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to remain in the United States after graduation.

Recognize that immigrant entrepreneurship occurs across the spectrum of businesses—Immigration policy should address this phenomenon by establishing visa categories that provide opportunities for talented individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life.

The report can be viewed in its entirety at: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports/immigrant-entrepreneurs-creating-jobsand-strengthening-economy


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bizfiles

The Incredible Power of an Elevator Speech By Dave Kahle

“Why should someone spend time with you?” That was the question I asked the six sales people who were the subjects of an intense week-long training session. The response? Blank stares. Some uncomfortable fidgeting. Nothing anywhere close to a coherent, persuasive response.

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hat experience made me realize the need for what I call a “value-added proposition,” and what many people refer to as an “elevator speech.” It is a well-thought-out, meticulously prepared, and memorized set of ideas that ultimately answer the question above. It should exist in several different versions:

1

There should be a one-page (250 words or so) description of

who you are what you do why your customers and prospects should care.

2

That should be reduced to a 30 word version that should be memorized by everyone who has contact with the customer.

3

Finally, that should be further reduced to a four-to-eight word version that can accompany every communication, from web site advertising to face-to-face interactions.

Why this is important “Five minutes or it’s free.” That was the banner hanging over the fast food restaurant near my house. I noticed it as I drove past one day. Interesting. In a mini-environment of intense competition (there must be a dozen fast-food options within a mile of this road) they chose to focus on one aspect of their offering – speed – and turn it into a “value-added proposition.” In a world of other options for the customer, they chose to take their strength, turn it into a benefit for the customer, and boil that down to say to the customer, “Buy it from us. We’ll guarantee quick service. “ It had its desired impact. I noticed the banner, and decided to stop in for breakfast. The waitress took my order, noted the time on the order pad, and handed me a stop watch! I took up the challenge, clicked it on, and waited to see if they would perform. The order arrived within five minutes. I noticed the waitress look at her watch and note 18

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the delivery time on the order pad. Let’s consider what we can learn from this experience. First, the value-added proposition consolidates some of the strengths of the organization, and turns them into benefits for the customer base. Then, it translates those benefits into a “proposition” which challenges the customer to become involved. It reaches out into the world and says “Consider me. Here’s why.” It serves, then, as a proactive way to interest and attract potential customers. Just as importantly, it helps refine who you are as an organization. You will become who you tell people that you are. For example, I suspect that the restaurant did not have a quantity of stop watches in their inventory prior to deciding to toss “Five minutes or it’s free” into the world. I suspect that the order forms were modified to accommodate the claim, that the wait staff was trained in the processes to implement it, that some items came off the menu and others were added, and that there were some cooks who don’t work there any more because of their inability to be who the restaurant said they were. Once you say that you provide “outstanding customer service,” or “the highest quality products” for example, you have to back that up. You must become who you say you are, and actually do what you claim you do. The valueadded proposition, then, brings with it tremendous power to focus your image to your customer base and, at the same time, organize your internal operations to deliver what you say you will. From the point of view of the sales force, the value-added proposition gives them a focal point -- a place to hang their claim for uniqueness. But it also gives them a wedge into the doors of the prospect, and an appropriate topic of conversation with every contact. That’s why the 30-word version should be memorized and practiced until it can be delivered accurately, fluently and persuasively.

How to do it

The creation of a value-added proposition can be much more significant than it may look at first glance. Once you understand the power of this set

of words to attract customers, equip sales people, and shape operations, you will realize that this can be a “bet the business on this” strategic initiative. Get it wrong, and your organization’s very survival may be in jeopardy. Get it right, and it can provide fuel for your growth for the foreseeable future. So, it ought to be treated as a major strategic initiative in your organization, and given the allotment of resources that accompany such efforts. Gather your best people for a brainstorming session. Capture the output, and bring it to a more analytical group to refine. Put it in the hands of your best communicators to create the three versions mentioned above. Then, test it before you commit to it. Put it in the hands of some sales people and gather their comments. Float it by some of your customers whose honest opinion you expect. Run it through the search engine optimization folks. Refine it until you are ready to live with it. Then, publish the short version in every conceivable place. On business cards, letterhead, voice mail messages, web sites, email signatures, etc. Bring the sales people in, require they memorize the 30-word version, and train them in persuasively presenting it. Lots of role-play and practice here. Do the same with anyone who has regular customer contact. Finally, publish the one-page version. Make it into a hard copy leave-behind for the sales force. Publish it on your web site. Hand it to every vendor. Distribute it to everyone who has an interest.Then, watch as it begins to flow into every aspect of your business, stimulating and shaping your growth.

Dave Kahle has trained tens of thousands of distributor and B2B sales people and sales managers to be more effective in the 21st Century economy. He’s authored nine books, and presented in 47 states and seven countries. Sign up for his weekly Ezine. For a limited time, you can purchase his latest book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, and receive $534 in FREE bonuses. More info: www.davekahle.com or 800.331.1287.


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marketing

Facebook for Businesses DOING IT RIGHT

By Joan Lazarou & John Mits

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hen Mark Zuckerberg and his friends developed Facebook™ from their dorms in Harvard in 2003, they could not have truly grasped the huge impact in internet history their social networking website would make or the frontrunner in social media that Facebook is today. Social networking websites like Facebook have made the internet more than just a source of information and communication. Social media is redefining how the internet influences our lives. It is imperative for any company to understand the role social media plays on how consumers are make purchasing decisions, and to get their social media campaigns right. Social media has its roots in different kinds of platforms. What started from simple web-logs (or blogs as they are popularly known as today) have expanded into a multitude of platforms that have totally gripped the internet world such as: Facebook, Twitter™, and Linkedin™. The numbers of users registered and regularly using different social media sites are not only mindboggling, but also represent an immense opportunity for companies in almost every sector to better interact with their customers. Among different social media platforms, Facebook is the frontrunner boasting 800+ million worldwide registered users, with over 150 million users in the United States alone. Facebook and businesses Creating space for your business on Facebook. Facebook’s growth and progress in part is propelled by its wide variety of products and services it extends to businesses. How far businesses can enrich their own space and how interactive they make it for their customers depends to a large extent on the resources deployed in developing and managing their space. Standard pages without any customized features are not eye-catching in a plethora of Facebook businesses pages. Successful pages would leave no stone unturned to make it highly interactive and user friendly. Managing Facebook page and exploiting the virally spread communications. It is not enough for a page to be developed in a user-friendly way. It’s the ‘managing’ part of the puzzle that many businesses fail to understand. Facebook doesn’t automatically advertise or 20

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promote pages. It is all about internet based social networking, a concept founded on real-life networking. Businesses (or even individuals) desiring to get their message to other users need to make it attractive in order to stand out. If they are successful in creating messages at a decent frequency, they will be able to attract followers to their page in form of ‘likes’. Thus, a fan base to a business page is established and a network of fans continues to grow because of the viral nature of social media communications. The powerhouse of messages spreading virally on Facebook is the fact that any new update (or a marketing message) by a business will be automatically added to the news stream of all of its fans. The best part is that not only a message is shown to the fans themselves for free, but it also gets immense visibility to the fans’ friends, some of whom are likely to visit the business’ page. Such visit may also generate more fans out of these new visitors and thus, the fan base continues to grow. However, it must be remembered that following are some caveats to all this: • Facebook as an organization has been historically criticized for not careful about privacy of individuals (consumers). In recent years, Facebook has added and continues to add more privacy features to allow its users to control what content will be visible to them, what gets shown on their newsfeed and wall etc. This means that if content is not of interest or provocative even slightly, it may not be spread as virally as expected. Although the fan base remains, but it doesn’t help the purpose of spreading the message. • Facebook allows users to comment as well as share communication by businesses in easy ways in the way they like with their own comments. So if users do not like the content or had a bad experience with a company’s products or services, it can all backfire and that means also virally! Hiring an expert is inevitable. These facts while provide an exciting opportunity

for businesses to be on Facebook also highlight the inevitability of engaging experts in developing and managing Facebook presence. Fortunately, there are many expert individuals and organizations, which are doing it professionally for their clients. Businesses can easily outsource both development and management of their Facebook pages to these experts. Although, creating a business page on Facebook is free of charge and may not be very cumbersome, it is imperative for any business that it is done right and therefore hiring an expert is always recommended to any business. A social media expert will facilitate the upkeep of Facebook pages and manage the company’s interactions on Facebook. The idea is to develop a dynamic and vibrant ecosystem for the businesses and customers that will eventually lead to increased revenue per customer and low marketing costs. If done right, the biggest advantage, which many successful businesses have been able to achieve through Facebook, is to promote products/services at extremely low costs. In a highly competitive marketing environment, platforms like Facebook continue to make the marketing activities all that more exciting. Joan Lazarou & John Mits are the Founders of BusinessRise, a social media and web marketing company based on Hollywood, FL with offices in Miami-Dade county and Europe (info@businessrise.net). Traditionally, in the business of developing websites and marketing materials, BusinessRise has successfully channelized their experience and expanded its services to professionally develop and manage corporate Facebook pages. Their clients have been able to increase the depth and breadth of their online presence beyond basic websites and as a result, have been able to communicate much more solidly with their customers. www.businessrise.net


security

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or any business, organization, and government agency, keeping documents containing sensitive and confidential information out of the hands is vital to security. If sensitive documents are stolen, the consequences can be severe. For instance, with the right information, criminals can commit such acts as fraud, identity theft, and even corporate espionage. The most common ways to steal documents are rooting through the trash and dumpster diving. Such documents criminals are looking for include: bank statements, credit card statements, social security/social insurance numbers, personal address and financial information of customers and clients, business operations information such as transactions, sales, and inventory lists, and much more. Ensuring paper shredding security when destroying documents should be a high priority for any organization or agency that disposes of sensitive documents. The best way to do ensure protection of confidential waste is to use the services of a paper shredding company. Protect your orgianization from identity theft by hiring a paper shredding company. Identity theft and fraud are on the rise. Document destruction companies have created a highly secure shredding process to ensure document waste is never viewed, lost, or stolen by criminals. They provide their clients with special locked bins to place the documents that will be shredded. They will come out to the location on the prearranged shredding day and either perform on-site shredding or take the documents to their facility for off-site shredding. With onsite or mobile shredding, an industrial shredder is brought to the location on the back of a truck. The company’s security representatives take the bins of documents and dump them through the

The Importance Of Paper Shredding Security When Destroying Documents shredding machine. The shredder thoroughly and permanently tears and grinds the documents into fine confetti pieces.

When you hire a document destruction company, you will rest easy knowing your sensitive documents are secured and they will never be lost or stolen. You and your company will remain protected and your business reputation will remain intact.

With off-site document destruction, the papers are taken to a secure facility where they are put through the industrial shredder. In both on-site and off-site shredding services, the documents are completely secured and never left alone. Once shredded, the document pieces are taken to a recycling facility. You will be given a Certificate of Document Destruction as legal proof your sensitive documents were destroyed in the most secure manner. When you use the services of a document destruction company, you will be meeting and even exceeding

government laws regarding the proper disposal of sensitive documents. This will ensure you will not face lawsuits and government fines for failing to properly secure your document waste. In addition, the reputation of your organization will be maintained ensuring that you do not lose business as a result of document theft. Part of any business security plan should be to create a program that prevents security breaches. Document destruction companies should be a part of the security plan. The services offered by paper shredding companies are both affordable, convenient, and saves time. You will not have to spend thousands of dollars creating a space and the infrastructure to run an efficient and secure shredding program on-site. A company’s document shredding process is highly secure and fast. It only takes a couple of minutes to shred high volumes of papers. You can focus on your business operations and growing profits and not have to worry about the security of your document waste. When you hire a document destruction company, you will rest easy knowing your sensitive documents are secured and they will never be lost or stolen. You and your company will remain protected and your business reputation will remain intact. Looking for shredding companies in Toronto? Then visit Absolute Destruction & Recycling Corp. proudly offering shredding services and mobile shredders in Toronto and across the GTA. http://absolutedestruction.ca. Source: http:// www.submityourarticle.com/a.php?a=226988

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finance

Looking for 2011 Tax Relief? Tips for Saving on Your Income Tax If you’re just beginning to think about your 2011 income tax return, you’ve got a late start – but it’s still not too late to cash in on some savings.

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lot of the deductions associated with the economic stimulus package will disappear in 2012, so if you want to take advantage of them, you’ve got only until December 31st. Now is also a good time to resolve to start earlier in 2012 to minimize that year’s tax bill. Here are a some tips for both 2011 and 2012 savings. Contribute to retirement accounts. If you haven’t already put money into your traditional or ROTH IRA account for 2011, you’ve got until April 17, 2012 to do it. If you have a Keogh or SEP (Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangement for businesses), and you get a filing extension to Oct. 15, 2012 you’ve got until then to make your 2011 deposits. The maximum IRA contribution for 2011 is $5,000, or

$6,000 if you’re 50 or older by the end of the year. For self-employed people, the maximum for SEPs and Keoghs for 2011 is $49,000. Don’t fear the home office deduction. In the past, many tax filers didn’t claim a home office deduction because it was seen as an IRS red flag. But the requirements and forms have been clarified so people can do that properly – and not make mistakes that can lead to an audit. Also, the rules have been expanded so more people can claim the deduction. If you use a home office exclusively for business, even if you don’t meet your clients there, you’re eligible. For instance, a handyman who does his work other people’s houses can claim the deduction if he does his paperwork at his home office. Another change is that, in the past, if you claimed 10 percent of your home as an office, that amount would not be included in the $250,000 taxfree profit from the home’s sale that’s allowed for an individual by the IRS. Be sure to make your claim reasonable, or it will get questioned; a $25,000 home office deduction for a business with $50,000 annual gross revenue is not reasonable. Maximize your Flexible Spending Account. The Health Care Act will limit the maximum you can

By Jessica James

put into these pre-tax medical expense accounts in 2013. So 2012 is the last year to use an FSA to pay for orthodontics and other large medical expenses using pre-tax earnings. A medical expense flexible spending account, or FSA, allows you to use beforetax earnings to pay for medical or health care expenses not covered by your health insurance. Assuming a 25 percent tax rate, you avoid $25 in taxes for every $100 you spend from your FSA. Need to sell an investment? Next year may be the time. The Tax Relief Act maintains the tax rate cap on capital gains and dividends at 15 percent through 2012. In 2013, the cap for capital gains will increase to 20 percent and for dividends, 39.6 percent. The Health Care Act also created a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on investment income, effective in 2013. Given those scheduled increases, plan to take advantage of the rates next year. About Jessica James Jessica James is a CPA and author of Justice for None an insider look at IRS tactics in a tax fraud investigation and trial. More info: www. AuthorJessicaJames.com)

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bizethics You might have the training and the experience, but do you have the looks?

The Ugly

Truth About

‘Lookism’ By Salah Abdalla Recent studies document that people blessed with good looks are not just more likely to get hired and promoted at work, but also earn about 10% more than their average-looking colleagues. Physical beauty comes with remarkable advantage and extraordinary benefits that go beyond career advancement.

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The real challenge for a business when making employment decisions based on physical appearance should not be whether they can legally get away with lookism. Rather, don’t ask “What can I get away with legally?” but “What does ethics ask or even require of me?” NOTE: Merriam Webster Definition of LOOKISM: prejudice or discrimination based on physical appearance and especially physical appearance believed to fall short of societal notions of beauty. Salah Abdalla C.R.S.S., is a Certified Recovery coach, spiritual life coach, mentor, meditation teacher, author and motivational speaker and Founder and President of Recovery Coaching Center Incorporated, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people in our world. More info: www.serenityroom.org

he rise of reality TV shows, cosmetic surgery, and celebrity culture have contributed to our culture’s overall obsession with being beautiful. Appearance doesn’t only has its impact on career, but also on romance, family dynamics, performance in school, courtroom proceedings, and even politics and government. Awkwardly, you might have the training and the experience, but without the ‘Looks’, it seems you’re unlikely to be the right choice for the increasingly airbrushed world of “corporate fit.” Most business managers would say that it is not so much about recruiting a good-looking staff. They would argue that it is more about keeping up with the appealing image and it’s about finding the right ‘corporate fit.’ Even though there are no states or federal laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on personal appearance, nor any federal and state laws that prohibit making employment decisions and creating workplace policies, identifying when this ‘corporate fit’ becomes outright discrimination is still a challenge. Lookism is like racism, classism, sexism, ageism and the other –isms, in that it can create what may be unjust barriers to equal opportunity in the workplace, and often can be challenged in courts if physical characteristics can be linked to protected categories such as race, age, religion, national origin or disability.

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realestate

Statistics Nationwide Show 2012 Real Estate Is Moving Upward It is no secret that the real estate market was hit hard economically. But recent statistics show that the real estate industry is moving back up, making things look promising for 2012. -In the state of Florida, the total number of homes sold for 2011 were up by 8 percent compared to numbers from 2010. -According to the Nashville Business Journal, Nashville, Tennessee office vacancy continues to decrease. In early 2010 it was 14.4 percent. By the end of 2011 it was 12.7 percent. By the end of 2012, it is anticipated that office vacancy will drop even further, to 11.9 percent. -Median list prices for all homes for sale, nationwide, went up 5 percent from 2010 to 2011. In Miami, median list prices in 2011 rose a whopping 32 percent! In Naples and Fort Myers, nearly 22 percent. In Punta Gorda, nearly 20 percent. These particularly high numbers in Florida show that the entire state is on its way back up. -According to the National Association of Realtors, industrial vacancy rates are projected to fall from 12.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 11.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Cities with the lowest vacancy rates include Los Angeles, California (5.2 percent), Orange County, California (5.7 percent), and Miami, Florida (8.4 percent). -Current apartment vacancy rates are at 5.9 percent nationally, a level that matches that of the real 24

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While the growth in home ownership for national households, year over year, has grown 1.5 percent, the number of people renting homes, apartments, and condominiums is up 3.4 percent

estate market boom from several years ago, with rent rates expected to increase significantly over the next few years. -While the growth in home ownership for national households, year over year, has grown 1.5 percent, the number of people renting homes, apartments, and condominiums is up 3.4 percent, suggesting there could be growth opportunities for multi-family commercial real estate investors. -Adjustable and fixed mortgage rates are up in terms of affordability, in 2011 were rated an A-plus by the U.S. Building Market Intelligence Report. -Job growth has increased in some cities in the United States, including Phoenix, Arizona; Orlando, Florida; Washington DC; and cities throughout Texas. -In Austin, Texas, the number of single-family homes sold in in 2011 went up 7.5 percent from 2010, with a 1.4 percent increase in the prices of homes sold. There is also a 10.5 percent decrease in the amount of time it took in Austin to sell a home in 2011 compared to 2010. In November 2011 compared to November 2010, there was a 26 percent decrease in the number of homes actively for sale. Are you looking for a Tampa Commercial Real Estate Broker? Gulf Coast Commercial offers Sarasota Real Estate Acquisition and Tampa Commercial Real Estate Advisory services. Contact Gulf Coast commercial at (727)8231605 or www.gulfcoastcommercial.net. Article Source: http://EzineArticlescom/6844885

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Cell. 786.355.6352 soraya@rmhcsouthflorida.org www.rmhcsouthflorida.org


smallbiz

What Individuals and Businesses Need to Know. By Eddie Sierra

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n March 23, 2010 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) became the law of the land. Signed into law by President Barack Obama the law is the principal health care reform legislation in more than four decades and was faced by defenders, as well as, opponents from both sides of the aisle. The reality of the day is that something was done in a way to fix a dysfunctional system that affects literally every human soul (legal or not) that walks the United States of America. For starters, PPACA reforms certain aspects of the private health insurance industry and public health insurance programs, increases insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions, while expanding access to insurance to over 30 million Americans. It also increases the projected national medical spending while lowering the projected Medicare spending, which is already a moribund and out of control entitlement program in great need of restructuring. The Affordable Care Act, also known to many as the Obama Health Care Law or PPACA offers comprehensible choices for consumers and provides new ways to hold insurance companies - accountable. Some key parts of the PPACA are Insurance Choices - If you need insurance coverage or have been rejected due to a health condition or disability, you may be eligible for coverage through one of these programs. Insurance Costs - your health insurance policy can significantly affect your monthly budget. The law helps you get the most value for your premium dollar. Employers - incentives such as innovative tax credits and new programs are available to small businesses to help make care more affordable for employers, employees, and early retirees. Rights and Protections - If you have insurance,

these consumer protections can help you get the most out of your plan. 65 or Older - provisions within the law strengthens Medicare and provides access to preventive services and prescription drug discounts for seniors. While it would be very lengthy to cover the Act in its entirety I have highlighted the issues I feel are most important to you as a Small Business operator or Sole owner that can certainly take advan-

PPACA offers comprehensible choices for consumers and provides new ways to hold insurance companies accountable.

tage of the provisions that can assist you in obtaining adequate health insurance when the cost of seeing appropriate care by a doctor or hospital seems like a derailed train. Some provisions like the “guaranteed issue� and partial community rating will require insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and geographical location without regard to most pre-existing conditions (excluding tobacco use). In addition, health insurance exchanges will originate operation in each state, offering a marketplace where individuals and small businesses can compare different policies and the costs of various premiums, and be able to buy insurance with some government subsidy if eligible.

Those small businesses employing 50 or more people but not offering health insurance will also pay a shared responsibility requirement if the government has had to subsidize an employee’s health care. Very small family-owned business can be able to get subsidies if they purchase insurance through an exchange. Insurance companies are required to spend a certain percent of premium dollars on medical care improvement - meaning that if an insurance company fails to meet this requirement, a rebate (or discount) must be issued to the policy holder. Lastly, but not least co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles are to be eliminated for select health care insurance benefits considered to be part of an essential benefits package. Americans need coverage for health, life, dental, car, home, business and literary every other need in a society like ours. Therefore, taking the steps to ensure an affordable means of obtaining health insurance is and will be a critical decision whether the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear arguments on certain provisions of the law that some have decided to label it unconstitutional. I encourage you to learn more and become a more educated consumer and consult with a registered health insurance broker to discuss how you and your business can take advantage of this landmark legislation. To learn more on this and other areas of this law click on the links below: http://www.naic.org/documents/index_health_reform_general_ppaca_section_by_section_chart.pdf http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/index.html Eddie Sierra is a Registered Insurance Broker for the State of Florida, MBA-Finance Candidate at Nova Southeastern University and insurance consultant for private organizations. Disclaimer: latinbiz magazine and Latin Business Club of America assumes NO responsibility for the financial or health care products discussed in our columns. We strongly urge to seek advice from a Certified Financial Advisor or Certified Financial Planner.

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sales

Spend the greatest amount of time with the highest potential customers By Dave Kahle It is so easy to do that which is comfortable and easy as opposed to that which is smart. It’s a common temptation to which every sales person succumbs at least some of the time.

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his applies most dramatically to the fundamental decisions that every sales person makes over and over again every day:

Where should I go?

In both cases, you chose to do that which was comfortable and easy, as opposed to that which was smart. You succumbed to the temptation. This is such a common thing among B2B sales people that those who “focus on spending the greatest amount of time with the highest potential” stand out on the basis of this one best practice alone.

Who should I see? What should I do? Those sales people who consistently make those decisions most effectively rise to the top of the sales profession, and those who don’t, don’t. Here’s an example. It’s Monday morning, and you must make those decisions. You could attempt to see a high potential prospect, or you can go see a small customer. You know the customer will probably see you – he likes you. And you’ll spend an hour or so in friendly conversation. You also know that the likelihood of increasing the business with this customer is next to nothing. But, since it’s comfortable and easy, you choose to see the customer. You rationalize it by claiming to be “building relationships.” Or, you are all set to visit that high potential, but challenging prospect, when you receive a call from a “C” account who has a question. You are not too distant from them, so you change plans and drive to see the “C” account. Why? Because you know that he’ll see you, and you’ll be able to answer a question, and that makes you feel important, and gives you a sense that you are actually accomplishing something. 26

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Those who consistently implement it routinely report dramatic increases in sales. Most commonly, they report tripling their business in two years.

That doesn’t mean that you totally neglect smaller customers. But it does mean that you define, with some rigor, the highest potential customers in your territory and you then, with discipline and willfulness, spend more time with them. My recommendation? Fifty percent of your time with the top twenty percent of your territory, and fifty percent of your time with other eighty percent. Note that the definition of the top twenty percent

is based on potential, not necessarily the amount of the current business. So, in other words, an “A” account is a high potential account, even though they may spend nothing with you now. This is such a crucial practice that it is a part of almost every seminar and training session that I do. Those who consistently implement it routinely report dramatic increases in sales. Most commonly, they report tripling their business in two years. While that sounds almost too good to be true, it isn’t. It is predictable and almost routine for those who consistently practice it. That’s why it’s a best practice.

Recommended reading: Chapter Six of Dave Kahle’s book, Ten Secrets of Time Management for Sales People, or the video training program, “Prioritizing your customers to dramatically increase your sales.” Members of The Sales Resource Center™ should consider Pod-55: The most powerful time management strategy for sales people. Dave Kahle has trained tens of thousands of distributor and B2B sales people and sales managers to be more effective in the 21st Century economy. He’s authored nine books, and presented in 47 states and seven countries. Sign up for his weekly Ezine. For a limited time, you can purchase his latest book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, and receive $534 in FREE bonuses. More info: www.davekahle.com or 800.331.1287.


travel

Ocean front at Postcard Inn

Around the Corner Stress Relief:AMORADA

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by: Monica Puig

Blissfully situated between the saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park in one direction, and North America’s only coral barrier reef and the deep blue waters of the Florida Straits in the other, Islamorada is evidence that South Florida’s professionals don’t have to forfeit enjoying life over a busy schedule. Less than 100 miles away for most Broward and all Miami-Dade county residents, Islamorada is the perfect weekend getaway.

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hether you are planning on visiting alone, with your significant other, friends, or family, this Floridian delight has something to offer everyone on any budget: eco trails, romantic sunset beach walks, snorkeling and diving, historical museums, sunrise beach meditations and yoga, local artists exhibits, great live music, deep sea fishing adventures or just some layback fishing in just inches of water, and more. Of course, if you want to do nothing and just yearn for a quite change of scene, Islamorada is also a perfect place to just exhale. The only regret I had when visiting Islamorada for just one weekend was not having more time to explore and breathe in this Florida treasure comprised of six islands: Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key and the offshore islands of Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key. On a positive note, its proximity to my home allows me to visit many more times, even on the spur of the moment. If you are an art lover yourself, the numerous artist studios and galleries located from one end of the Keys to another will keep you coming back for more.. Be sure to visit Morada Way Islamorada’s Art & Cultural District, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to increasing awareness, knowledge and support of the arts and the unique culture of the Florida Keys. Starting this year, they will be offering classes and workshops in pottery, figure drawing, painting and gardening. Below are a couple other recommendations of things to do while there. Keep in mind that there still a lot more to see, as I was only there for two days: The History of Diving Museum. Not being a diver myself, I never thought that a diving history exhibit would capture my interest and curiosity with the intensity that this cozy museum has. Welcoming you to the museum is its store featur-

ing unique diving related gifts. From there, the first thing on the museum’s tour is the new Bauer Diving History Research Library (named after the museum’s founders, Drs. Joe and Sally Bauer) which upon completion will house thousands of books and archival materials related to the history of diving. The opening and dedication of the Bauer Library will be held in February. Featuring the world’s largest international collection of diving helmets and artifacts, The History of Diving

Bauer Diving History Research Library Museum walks the visitor through a unique learn ing experience. Every item in the exhibit has been painstakingly placed to capture the imagination of the visitor and the challenges by divers at the time, from historical breath hold divers in 2,800 B.C. to today’s diving techniques that include SCUBA. The Museum contains hundreds of military, commercial, and homemade helmets, hand-operated air pumps, armored suits, lights and other accessory gear, and sunken treasure plus memorabilia, prints, photographs, books, film and video. Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park. What a gem and a must visit! Filled with well marked trails hosting over 40 kinds of trees that will evoke serenity in even the most stressed of executives, Windley Key is one of the highest in the chain Keys formed of “Key Largo Limestone”

over 125,000 years ago. The eight-foot-high quarry walls serve as a reminder that the water level was approximately 25 feet higher at one time and dropping at times as low as 300 feet; and about 5000 years ago, the water level stabilized exposing the ancient coral reef crest and creating the land that we know today as the Florida Keys. Worth mentioning is that The Florida East Coast Railroad bought Windley Key in 1908; as this year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Over-Sea Railroad conceived by Henry Flagler. Historians credit the evolution of the modern Florida Keys to the inauguration of this railroad on January 22, 1912. Pack a lunch or pick up some conch fritters at one of the local restaurants. This is a great place to spend the day. Dogs on a leash are welcomed. Some recommended places to eat are the newly remodeled Kaiyo Grill. With excellent sushi, fish and great vegetarian options, you will enjoy the awesome atmosphere and great service (request Christina as your server) at Kaiyo Grill and be sure to check out the tile mosaic by the bar when you are there. Featured on the Food Network and hosting the 2011 Conch Fritter Eating Contest on the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food Nation show, the Conch House restaurant is a must even if you go just for the conch fritters appetizers. If you are ready to have some fun stop by the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar. Located at the edge of the Postcard Inn Resort’s marina, this famous open air bar is a concoction of fun times, great live music, creative Keys style drinks and a combination of locals and tourists that might include a celebrity or two from time to time. Hope by now you ran out of excuses why you should not take some time to exhale and are packing your flip-flops to go enjoy Islamorada and others of our neighboring Florida Keys. To get the full scoop, before you visit the Keys be sure to visit: www.fla-keys.com.

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earthtalk

How does mercury get into fish?

By the Editors of E The Environmental Magazine earthtalk@emagazine.com www.emagazine.com/subscribe

Mercury in the fish we like to eat is a big problem in the United States and increasingly around the world. Mercury itself is a naturally occurring element that is present throughout the environment and in plants and animals. But human industrial activity (such as coal-fired electricity generation, smelting and the incineration of waste) ratchets up the amount of airborne mercury which eventually finds its way into lakes, rivers and the ocean, where it is gobbled up by unsuspecting fish and other marine life.

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nce this mercury gets into the marine food chain, it “bioaccumulates” in the larger predators. That’s why larger fish are generally riskier to eat than smaller ones. Those of us who eat too much mercury-laden fish can suffer from a range of health maladies including reproductive troubles and nervous system disorders. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that human fetuses exposed to mercury before birth “may be at an increased risk of poor performance on neurobehavioral tasks, such as those Human industrial measuring attention, fine motor function, language skills, visual-spatial abilities and verbal memory.” Up activity ratchets to 10 percent of American women of childbearing age up the amount of carry enough mercury in their bloodstreams to put their airborne mercury developing children at increased risk for developmental problems. which eventually In partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the EPA issues determinations periodically in regard to how much mercury is safe for consumers to ingest from eating fish. State and tribal environmental authorities and/or health departments issue fish consumption advisories for water bodies in their respective jurisdictions based on federal guidelines. The EPA consolidates these local and regional advisories on its website, where concerned consumers and fisher folk can click on a map of the states to find out which advisories may be in effect in their area.

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finds its way into lakes, rivers and the ocean, where it is gobbled up by unsuspecting fish and other marine

As for which fish to avoid, the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which runs the handy Seafood Selector website, reports that people with mercury concerns should steer clear of bluefin tuna, walleye, king mackerel and marlin. Bluefish, shark, swordfish, wild sturgeon, opah and bigeye tuna carry a proportionately large mercury burden as well. Also of concern, but to a slightly lesser extent, are orange roughy, Chilean sea bass, blue crab, lingcod, Spanish mackerel, spotted seatrout, wahoo, grouper, snapper, halibut, tile fish, rock fish and sable fish, as well as blackfin, albacore and yellowfin tuna. Beyond what individuals can do to avoid mercury, the U.S. government and states have begun working together to reduce mercury emissions from power plants. Earlier this year the EPA proposed new “Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” regulating mercury emissions from utilities across the country, with the goal of reducing the amount of mercury emitted by coal burning by 91 percent by 2016. Elsewhere, representatives from 140 countries signed on to reduce global mercury pollution at a 2009 United Nations Environment Program’s Governing Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. The agreement commits signatory countries—including the U.S.—to cutting back on the use and emission of mercury. A legally binding treaty mandating just how much each country will have to cut back mercury emissions takes hold in 2013. More info: EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, www.epa.gov/airquality/ powerplanttoxics


technology

Getting Custom Software For Your Business By Mark Etinger Your business is run by technology; in fact, every If you use an outside development company, you will get continued support your software. If anything should go wrong, or if changes need to be made, business today is run by technology. With the way for they can come in and work on setting up a solution. It’s important to have this things are, you couldn’t have a company run on kind of backing, especially if you don’t have the sort of IT professionals in house to make these fixes. anything less than great computer software and a computer (or two) per employee. If you have been considering custom softBut, running a business on pre-made and ware for some time, now is the time to make the move. If your business is small, it’s easy provided software sometimes means sacriThe most important to start now and then build later, as opposed ficing quality because it doesn’t have all the to trying to install it when you’ve already aspect is your input features you need, or doesn’t run exactly grown to a sizable business. Once you get into what you think it all installed, you’ll see how much more to what your company does. You may find is best, so you know smoothly things will run. yourself installing dozens of programs just it’s going to turn out to do everything you need. Or, you can get Pick Professionals can help you with custom to be exactly as you software and Microsoft exchange support. custom software created and installed that Go to http://www.pickpro.com to check it envisioned. has everything you need in one place.

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aving custom software is a benefit in a few ways. One, you have software that is for your company only. It’s unique to you and how your business works. It gives your employees the tools they need at their fingertips that work with how you do things, instead of having to find programs and trying to work within their limits.

out. Source: http://www.submityourarticle.com/a.php?a=248134

There’s a better way to compensate your IT staff. Download your FREE 2011 Salary Guide or use our salary calculator at rht.com/SalaryCenter.

It also saves you money in the long run. Buying multiple pieces of software is expensive. Many programs cost hundreds of dollars and the ability to install multiple copies across many computers can cost you even more. Having custom software means having someone come in, create what you need and set it up for all the computers in your office. While it may be pricey upfront, over the long term you will be saving money. Because it’s uniquely made for your business, you get to have say on what you need, how it should work, and who will be using it. After all, the most important aspect is your input into what you think is best, so you know it’s going to turn out to be exactly as you envisioned.

Coral Gables • 305.774.7860 © 2011 Robert Half Technology. An Equal Opportunity Employer. 0910-4301

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bizcommunity

LISTA South Florida Technology Council luncheon

St. Thomas University 50th Anniversary Planning Committee Reception

Diego’s Andalucia Tapas Anniversary

Iris’ Toy Drive Rumba in honor of Kristi House Chef To Go 12th Anniversary 30

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latinbiz networking events Brazaviva, Doral, FL

Viceroy, Miami FL

Latin Business Club of America 11th Anniversary, Grove Isle Hotel and Spa , Coconut Grove, FL

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Institute for Communication, Entertainment & Media

ART MANAGEMENT GRADUATE PROGRAM

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Latin Business of America, 1st Quarter, 2012