Small Business Today

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Chairman John Cruise



President/Executive Publisher Steve Levine Vice President/Publisher/ Creative Director/Editor Barbara Davis-Levine 'LMIJ *MRERGMEP 3J½GIV Ervin Hughes Publisher’s Assistant Jerome Davis Graphic Designer Genera Media Advertising Designer Malka Levy Photographers Gwen Juarez Contributing Writers Patricia Ciardullo Sonia Clayton Nick Darlington Barbara Davis Johanthan Majak Hank Moore Julie Pukas & Jay

DesMarteau Howard Partridge Scott Reib Gail Stolzenburg Pam Terry Holly Uverity Jack Warkenthien

Chief Advisor Hank Moore Publisher’s Advisory Board Denise Adjei Sonia Clayton Donna Cole John Cruise April Day Dr. John Demartini Maya Durnovo Kathie Edwards Mila Golovine Dory Gordon Greg Grant David Holt Richard Huebner Ervin Hughes Jeffrey Jones Darryl King Sandy Lawrence Craig Klein Wea Lee Bertrand McHenry Hank Moore

Lisa M. Morton Mike Muhney Leisa Holland Nelson Annise Parker Page Parkes Howard Partridge Susan Repka Ingrid Robinson Maria Rios Grant Sadler Tony Samper Rita Santamaria William Sherrill Gail Stolzenburg Pam Terry Linda Toyota Mayor Sylvester Turner Jack Warkenthien Carlecia D. Wright Aaron Young

Phone: 832-419-2814 E-Mail: Or Write: Small Business Today P.O. Box 31186 Houston, TX 77231 See us on the web at


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hoever thought starting a new business would be easy? Whoever expected to get it right the first time? Having faced my share of adversity, setbacks, and disappointments along the way in my business ventures, I can assure you those would be unrealistic expectations. In fact, most of our cover honorees would agree.

The annals of business history are lined with failed attempts that turned into successes. Why are the possibilities of setbacks and disappointments so prevalent when we start a new venture, you ask? I will tell you that you literally would need a crystal ball to foresee how little you knew when you first started that business venture. As we approach the last two months of the year, I am reminded of the setbacks we in Houston have faced in our lives and in our businesses. FEMA estimates that nearly 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. After having 13.5 trillion gallons of water dumped on Houston and the surrounding areas by Hurricane Harvey, I would wager that the percentage of losses to small businesses in Houston were much greater. This month’s cover honorees, Dr, Saam Zarravi, Dr. Yahya Mansour, and Dr. Brian Dugoni, partners of Tarrant County based Rodeo Dental and Orthodontics, have been very successful in the growth of their dental offices throughout the state of Texas, but even they have experienced setbacks. Their South Houston location suffered severe damage due to Hurricane Harvey but thankfully their Cypress, Texas practice was spared. Fortunately, we were able to use that location for our photo shoot for this month’s issue featuring the inspiring Rodeo Dental story. Also in this issue, Jack Warkenthien returns with a terrific column on “Your Next Step” for a new start. In addition, Hank Moore has a great article entitled “Entrepreneurs’ Guideposts to Real Business Success”. I think that you will find both articles very, very helpful. It’s time to get started with this month’s issue! Good Reading, Good Sales, & Success to You,

Steve Levine



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Publisher’s Column


Entrepreneurs’ Guideposts to Real Business Success

How to Book More Speaking Engagements


14 15

Your Next Step

Blockchain Technology Driving a New Form of Change


Marketing Advice for Small Businesses – Make More Money the Easy Way


The Windshield is Bigger Than the Rearview Mirror


4 Signs Your Controller is Stealing from You


Get a Jump on Holiday Planning with Good Business Credit

23 24

Networking & Employment

Getting Organized: My Favorite Outlook Tips


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Six Steps to Avoid Business Litigation

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Dr. Saam Zarrabi, DDS Dr. Brian Dugoni, DDS,MSD Dr. Yahya Mansour, DDS, MS, FICOI Jg\]g <]flYd Yf\ Gjl`g\gfla[k A Passion for Wrangling Up Big Smiles! assion, some have it and some don’t. In the case of Dr. Saam Zarrabi, he was lucky enough to have developed his passion early in life. From the time he was a youngster, every weekend Saam earned a small allowance by cleaning the bathrooms at his stepfather’s dental office. During that time, he would observe his stepfather practicing dentistry and how he treated each patient with great care. Saam was fascinated with the way his stepfather had such a passion building great relationships with his patients and how they had an incredible love for him. This truly inspired Saam’s passion for doing things with the same care that his stepfather did. And it is this passion that he’s carried with him throughout his life and also lead him to team up with Dr. Brian Dugoni and Dr. Yahya Mansour plus other dentists who share the same passion. As a result, Rodeo Dental and Orthodontics was created in 2008 and they’ve been wrangling up big smiles ever since! Growing up in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, Saam spent most of his childhood as the only child. It wasn’t until high school that his two brothers and two sisters were born. At the age of four, Saam’s parents divorced. Even though he had a good relationship with his dad, it was his stepfather who sparked his passion for dentistry. “My stepfather was a dentist,” explains Saam. “I was around the dental practice my whole life. I watched him do certain treatments. He had this endearing way he would work with the patients. It was always about caring for the patients and building relationships. Patients had this incredible love for him which I was always fascinated with. That was my first glimpse into dentistry.” 6 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2017 ]

Throughout high school, Saam had a variety of interests including business and taekwondo. After graduating high school, Saam attended UCLA. Despite a passion for dentistry, Saam studied and graduated with a BS in Economics. Saam also took two years off during his studies to pursue an innovative business idea with a university friend. “I always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” explains Saam. “It was 1999 and the first Internet boom was happening. We had an idea of creating a website that was a hybrid of what would be Facebook and YouTube today. We wanted a platform for sharing video content and photos in a fun environment for Generation Y. This was five or six years before Facebook even began but we needed a way to prove that it could fund itself because back then the Internet didn’t make money.” After raising enough capital from family and friends, they used concerts to promote their idea, make money, and build the website. It seemed like the right decision, especially as his friend was a concert promoter. “We threw our first show in Kansas City, Missouri,” remarks Saam. “It was with Ludacris. We were excited. He was doing the ‘Roll Out’ tour, and things were moving. I was doing everything from the marketing and production to coordinating travel; everything from A to Z.” While it was a great experience and the concert was a success, the concept ultimately failed. It was a hard lesson and, though Saam didn’t know it at the time, the failure provided him with invaluable experience. More importantly, it was a turning point for Saam. “I knew it was a pivot point. I had to make a decision: to continue this path, knowing what had happened, the company had failed, or pivot and go back to where my heart always was, in dentistry.” Saam chose his passion, and his journey to becoming a dentist began. He returned to UCLA to take prerequisite science classes to apply for dental school. But his two-year break from UCLA made reintegration difficult. Thankfully, Saam found a mentor. “I found Dr. Bill Dorfman, who’s a famous dentist. He was on Extreme Makeover and was one of the founders of Discus Dental that

Doctors Saam Zarrabi, Brian Dugoni, and Yahya Mansour are great partners and friends who love to wrangle up big smiles! Photo by Gwen Juarez

created the Zoom Whitening System. He was the founder of all whitening products in dentistry. He was an incredible mentor and I was fortunate and blessed to be able to learn from him and help him. He would lecture all over the country and the world, and I would help him with his slide presentations that he would go speak on.” While Bill was instrumental in helping him reintegrate, what Saam actually gained from the mentorship was a new-found inspiration that, when combined with his lifelong passion for dentistry, fueled his dream of one day owning his ideal practice. “I was so excited about dentistry and the ability to create an awesome patient experience like Dr. Dorfman had in his practice, and then I saw the connection my stepfather had with his patients. That was the initial inspiration behind what I was going to try to do when I became a dentist.” But that would have to wait. First, Saam took his courses and got into the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. For Saam, it was a “dream come true.” There, he met Brian Dugoni and Yahya Mansour who would later become his partners at Rodeo Dental. Both Brian and Yahya also grew up like Saam observing their family members practicing and teaching dentistry. Brian is the grandson of Dr. Arthur Dugoni of whom the University of the Pacific is named after. “My grandfather was such a role model to the three of us,” reflected Brian. “At the time, he was the only acting dean in the country

amongst all institutions, not just dentistry, in which a school was named after him. He was a role model and a great leader who inspired us.” Saam fondly remarked, “He is an icon, a legend. At the age of 92, he is still incredibly sharp, and his leadership is as strong as it was 20 or 30 years ago.” Yahya added, “Through Dr. Arthur Dugoni, we were taught the philosophy of treating people as equals and with kindness, and that philosophy continues as part of the Rodeo Dental principles.” Just like Saam, Yahya and Brian were from California, too. Brian grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and from an early age, he was inspired by his grandfather. “We come from a very large, Italian family where everything is about love for each other and being there for each other,” reflects Brian. “Ever since I was a little kid. My grandfather was always my inspiration and role model just by the way he carried himself in life. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how important of a figure he was in the world of healthcare and medicine. He had this mentality that everyone is equal and treated them so. Whether it was a faculty member, a student, or a teacher he believed that school didn’t have to be a dreaded experience. I can attest that anyone who went to Pacific Dental School would say it was the best years of their life. It was this environment of being part of the Pacific family and every person considered to be so important that made us so passionate about what we do. And this idea spread over into the Rodeo Dental culture. We all have that mentality, the idea that every person should




Doctors Saam Zarrabi, Brian Dugoni, and Yahya Mansour feel truly blessed to have such amazing team members! Photo by Gwen Juarez

terrible. In addition, the office was run down, there were cockroaches running around, and the equipment was old or didn’t work. There were no systems in place in the office. I was the manager, the dental assistant; I was everything in this chaotic tornado.”

be treated with that level of care and love that every patient who comes to us is part of the Rodeo Dental family. And every doctor and every staff member who works with us is part of the Rodeo Dental family.” Growing up in Riverside in the Southern California area, Yahya Mansour is a third-generation dentist. “My grandpa was a dentist, my dad’s a dentist, and my mom’s a dentist,” explained Dr. Mansour. “My dad, Dr. Malek Mansour, is a very brilliant clinician who is very well known and very well respected. And he really taught a strong clinical component when we practiced together. And I still go back and practice with him every month or two or so for a couple of days just because I learn so much in that time with him. Growing up in the dental culture, I saw things that I wanted to do and things that I’d rather have somebody else doing. As a dentist, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the chief marketing officer, the chief clinical officer, the chief executive officer, and all these different roles. When I came out to Texas, I really wanted to incorporate what I knew. We started meshing that component, all the systems, and the strong clinical foundation that my dad was passionate about and put it into Rodeo Dental. We continue to grow by producing quality patient outcomes using this system of investing in people, investing in our patients, and having a strong clinical foundation.” It was at the University of the Pacific, that Saam, Brian, and Yahya first started learning more about the philosophy about growing people. “That’s one of the pieces of advice I have for entrepreneurs,” advises Dr. Mansour. “If you grow and build people they will grow and build the business. And that’s sort

of the secret to success if you pick the right people, invest in them, and give them the time, tools, resources, and trust that they need, they will get the job done. They will help your business succeed, they will help take care of the patients, and help you do those roles that you don’t want to do, the things that you are not good at, or don’t enjoy doing the things that you can delegate. That way you can focus on your core competencies on what you’re really good at.” In June 2008, Saam graduated dental school just in time for the financial recession to dash his hopes of strolling into a job. “That was when the collapse was starting to happen. It was a very chaotic time,” reflected Saam. “Everyone was in a panic. It was crazy. You’d wake up one morning and the banks that had been around for a hundred years were going bankrupt. This affected every job market. Trying to find a job was tough, especially in Los Angeles and California.” Saam was struggling with what to do until an old roommate from UCLA got in touch with him. “He’d moved to Texas the year before,” recalled Saam. “He was a dentist and said, ‘Hey, come to Texas, I can get you a job here in Fort Worth. The cost of living is lower than Los Angeles. Come get the job and see how it goes.’” So, Saam grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He was to start right after the 4th of July and couldn’t contain his excitement. But that excitement was short-lived. The job wasn’t at all what he expected. He loved Fort Worth, but, “It was the office I was shocked about,” expressed Saam. “There was no practice culture. The staff was unhappy which made the patients unhappy, too. There was no love, and that’s what made it


And if Saam thought things couldn’t get any worse, he was wrong. “It was raining one day,” he recalled, “and of course nothing was working. The patient I was working on had their mouth open, and suddenly stuff was hitting me, the patient, and their mouth. I looked up and there was tar leaking from the ceiling.” It was the last straw. Despite his love for dentistry, Saam quit his job. He knew that this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. He longed for creating a practice that valued the patient experience; one like his mentor Bill’s and his stepfather’s; one where patients left with a broad smile and couldn’t help but return, time and time again. Saam began searching for something better. Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait long. His old roommate from UCLA, Dr. Raffy Kouyoumdjian called him and said, ‘I’m opening a practice this Fall.” Saam replied, “I’ve got ideas from watching my mentor. I know we can do better if we can focus on the patient experience and give outstanding customer service. Let’s invest in the practice and make it beautiful and big, and let’s try and offer all the services under one roof. This could do really well.” So, they agreed to join forces. Saam’s experience in Fort Worth had taught him how not to run a practice. His focus was now on changing the perception of dentistry for patients. Putting their minds together, Saam and Raffy devised a mission statement: “To give every family a means to high-end dental care regardless of their demographic status.” Things moved very fast. Real Smiles, which would later become Rodeo Dental, was born in November 2008, only four months after

Saam had started his disappointing job in Fort Worth. His lifelong passion had turned into a thriving business and the partners weren’t the only ones smiling. Saam reflected, “We were a hit. The patients were excited and they loved us! More importantly, the team, which had grown to include partners Dr. Brian Dugoni and Dr. Yahya Mansour, was all fired-up because one year to the day of opening their first location, they opened the second. It was at the stockyards in Fort Worth, which is the home of the rodeo, so they called the practice Rodeo Dental and Orthodontics. By then, they had already gone through their teething phase, had the systems in place, and knew how they wanted to run the practice. It was no longer their first rodeo. “We’d perfected the systems,” Saam reflected. “We focused on the culture, our service values, and our core values. We started building all that content, and again it was a big hit. The patient experience was big, we had all the services under one roof, and the patients loved it. The team was happy and the culture was great.” Their continued focus on delivering a patient experience that wrangled up big smiles produced rapid growth. In 2011, they decided to make a bold move and opened four locations, one each quarter. Word about what they were doing spread, not only among patients but also among doctors who wanted to join. In 2014, they expanded to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, then into Cypress that is northwest of Downtown Houston. Houston had always been a dream for the team, but they wanted to make sure everything was in place to deliver the best product and experience. They are now in South Houston near Pasadena, with a total of 18 locations throughout the state and another two in the works. Growth has been phenomenal, and they have 500 employees across the State. “We have doctors across all specialties,” remarked Dr. Dugoni, who is the Chief of the Orthodontics Department. Dr. Mansour is the Chief Dental Officer. Rodeo Dental has board-certified pediatric dentists and multiple orthodontists under Dr. Dugoni’s leadership. In addition, they have endodontists for

In this photo, Dr. Brian Dugoni helps one of their clients pick out the perfect braces. This particular client started out as a patient and ended up as a team member! Photo by Gwen Juarez

root canals and oral surgeons for implants. If someone needs their wisdom teeth taken out, Rodeo Dental can do that too. The passion of the team and a great company culture has powered their expansion to where they have over 10,000 Google and Facebook reviews from their patients. Dr. Mansour added, “We’ve learned that creating the ultimate culture in your practice is the key to everything. We’ve found that this generation of dentists puts a high value on working somewhere that has a great culture and environment. So, when there’s a great culture among the dentists and employees, then there’s going to be a great culture amongst the patients.” But what exactly is their company culture? “We’ve embraced a set of core values,” explains Dr. Zarrabi. “Eight. They’re posted in every office as a poster; we review them in our morning huddles that we have; we hire based on them; and we fire based on them. They’re the framework for everything we do.” L`] =A?@L ;gj] NYdm]k Yj]2 1. Patient Experience Sets Us Apart 2. Tireless Pursuit of Results 3. A Tech Above 4. Power is achieved through Sharing and Collaboration 5. Perpetual Forward Motion 6. A True WOW Effect. 7. Smile DNA! 8. #DoTheRightThing Every new employee gets a Culture Card with the core values and mission statement

on one side and the service values on the other. It is the size of a business card so it’s easy for the employees to carry it at all times. In keeping with their company culture of creating a friendly and warm environment that wrangles up smiles from their patients, they decided to have some fun with their service values. “We call it the “Bring It,” “Boost It,” and “Bell Yeah!” moments. This is the blueprint for the perfect appointment. You can never achieve perfection, but you can always strive for excellence. We like to focus on the details of the patient experience.” “Bring It” covers smile DNA, black scrubs, name tags, cleanliness, and greet with intent. “It’s all about preparation,” as Dr. Zarrabi explains, “Smile DNA is that natural ability people have to make others smile when they meet them. We want our people to bring that smile DNA when they show up at the office in the morning. If we have a bunch of Eeyores walking around like it’s Winniethe-Pooh, then the patients are going to feel that. But when people feel the energy, fun, and smile DNA, that lifts the energy of the patients.” The black scrubs refers to the beautiful uniforms and how, given the importance of cleanliness in dentistry, the entire team is obsessive about cleanliness in their environment. “Boost It” is listen, include, engage, preheat, and encourage. “As you’re going through the patient experience you get your own private tour,” explains Dr. Mansour. “You get immersed in the Rodeo culture and learn about the story. It’s a quick tour,




spect that time,” remarks Dr. Mansour. “Such is our commitment to reducing wait times that we invested in technology and software that measures wait time down to the minute so that we can make improvements.” Beyond the practice, Rodeo Dental is firmly committed to giving back to the community. “It’s big for us!” exclaims Dr. Zarrabi. “In the Rio Grande Valley, our dentists volunteer for a group called Dentists Who Care. They provide free dental services to individuals who don’t have insurance and need help.” Also, Rodeo Dental is a firm believer in education. Dr. Mansour elaborated, “We’re huge supporters of oral health education. We’ve educated over a million children Dr. Yahya Mansour is seen here administering anesthesia to a patient in a safe, clean, across the state over the last ten years in and comfortable environment. Photo by Gwen Juarez the work we’ve done. We are especially combut it’s fun and informative, and you can get with a great experience, happy smile, and a mitted to educating patients about tooth decay. Caries is the number one disease in your questions answered. You’re going to heart filled with joy.” this country amongst children, yet it’s not meet the doctor and his team. And we really listen. We live in a patient-centric healthAs healthcare and dentistry are changing, spoken about very much. So, creating intercare environment today; it’s all about the Rodeo Dental wants to lead by example. est in brushing and flossing and things like patients. So, we don’t want to talk down to “Healthcare in our country is going through that can be challenging. But we’ve got a great them. We want to listen, we want to engage, a significant overhaul,” remarks Saam. “The team of leaders who go out and speak to varand we want to come up with a game plan solo-practice model like my stepfather’s was ious community partners.” that suits them, and make sure they’re hap- incredibly successful - and there are still sucRodeo Dental is also part of a group called cessful ones - but I see a strong desire from py. We also want to encourage.” all patients for a group practice model with LEAP, an organization out of Los Angeles Finally, there are the “Bell Yeah!” moments specialties under one roof. We want to be that brings in 500 students every year from which encompass celebrate, congratulate, the ones who drive that conversation, who all over the world. These are great student appreciate, capture moments, and fill their create an excellent patient experience, and leaders who sometimes don’t have an opporbags. Brian explains, “We have these cow- give them what they want. And listen to the tunity to go to a program like this. They stay on campus for a week and get immersed in bells; rodeo and cowbells go together. We market.” speakers, leadership, and how to be successshake these cowbells and have fun with Rodeo Dental certainly does listen to the ful in life, outside of reading books. “Every them, so we created the ‘Bell Yeah!’ moments. We define it as the moment that cre- market. They are very proud that they ac- year we have our LEAP scholarship students cept all types of health insurance. This aligns who we commit to,” remarked Dr. Dugoni. ates this happiness and smile within you.” with their mission statement – To give ev- “This year we sent 14 students, 10 of whom The Rodeo Dental team celebrates these ery family the means to high-end dentistry. were from Brownsville and had never been moments daily, whether it’s someone’s first Explains Dr. Dugoni, “We have families that on a plane before.” visit or birthday. “Your first time in a dental have four different insurances. Dad may Perhaps the best example of how Rodeo practice is a big deal, and that’s what we call be working for a great company that’s proDental gives back is a story from 2012 when My First Rodeo,” explains Dr. Mansour. “We viding dental insurance, and mom has one come around and shake some bells. We’ve that she got through the state. So, we never the State of Texas had an orthodontics crialso got a cool My First Rodeo t-shirt, and want to turn anyone away. We know we can sis. There was a total systematic breakdown we’ll take a photo, have some fun with it. If create a great experience that takes care of from top to bottom in how orthodontic cases were getting approved in the state. Pait’s your birthday, you’ll get surprised with a everybody.” tients lost out because some of the providspecial gift that’ll make you smile.” Not only does Rodeo Dental take care of ers that were providing orthodontic surgery To end the appointment, the focus is on everybody, they do so promptly. “We know went out of business. Overnight, thousands “Filling their bag.” For Dr. Dugoni, this is that in today’s world our patients may be of patients had nowhere to go. Some people about one thing, “making sure every con- young children, but our patients are also were taking off their braces in their garages cern has been taken care of so that you leave the parents and they’re busy. We want to re- and breaking teeth. Dr. Dugoni heard many 10 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2017 ]

horror stories like this all the time. Many patients approached Rodeo Dental and the team decided to take them in and do as much as possible for free. “Up until today, we’ve done over 2,000 cases,” Dr. Dugoni proudly states. “It’s a testament to the team and the work they’ve done; a beautiful job on their part.” Dr. Dugoni reflected, “It was a crazy time! We would have a patient drive over four hours just to see an orthodontist because we were one of the few willing to take on any cases. It was just one of those times that we took a stand and said, ‘Let’s not worry about the cost. Let’s do the right thing for the patients, for people.’ I spent three years, basically during that time, traveling to a different city every day just to treat these abandoned kids. I would get on flight and I would work with the staff. I would like to thank the staff because they were willing to come in and we would work like from 8 am to 8 pm every day, six days a week, traveling to a different city. We did this because we share the same beliefs – that these poor kids were suffering and none of it was their fault. They had nowhere to go. It was so heartbreaking! These poor kids were coming from under served families and they didn’t have any means of continuing treatment on their orthodontics.” It’s also a testament to the core value that Rodeo Dental is most proud of - their patients’ happiness. “That’s the number one thing that I’m focused on,” notes Saam. “It’s evident in the incredible support they’ve given us through online reviews, the recognition we’ve received, and the awards that our teams have received. The happiness of our patients will always be our biggest pride and joy.” Saam Zarrabi has come a long way from his first dental job at the cockroach-infested dental office with a leaky roof, but he does not regret any of it. There is nothing he would have done differently because he believes that “you learn from your journey. You don’t call your failures, failures; you call them past experiences that you learn from. That’s how I look at my journey. I didn’t always do things that created success for me – look at my first company. I didn’t succeed the first time I applied to dental school; I had to apply a second time.” Indeed, if things were different, Dr. Zarrabi might not be where he is today, with a beautiful wife who he met at dental school, three beautiful boys, and a dental practice with wonderful, like-minded partners who bring joy to thousands. “That would not have been something that I could have predicted,” reflects Saam. “So, I say, embrace the journey and let it create your path.” That path started with a passion. A passion that Saam, Brian, and Yahya found early in life after watching how their family practiced dentistry. Their family treated their patients with great compassion, built relationships, and provided a patient experience that made patients smile. Saam, Yahya, and Brian developed that same passion and emulated their family and mentors throughout their lives. And, it is this passion that would ultimately culminate in the establishment of Rodeo Dental and Orthodontics - a practice that takes dentistry to a whole new level through an exceptional patient experience that continues to wrangle up smiles daily. SBT

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Read Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why”, which is about finding the purpose behind what you’re doing. Write down what your why is. Treat everyone equally, as a human being and not just a number. Establish your core values, services values, and mission statement. Those values and mission statement should be what guides all the decisions in your company. Read “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber. Constantly learn. Constantly study. Be a student at any level; it’s crucial in today’s changing world. Focus on customer service. Create a great company culture that translates into a positive experience for customers. Invest and grow your people and they will grow the business. [ NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2017 ]




?ma\]hgklk lg J]Yd :mkaf]kk Km[[]kk BY HANK MOORE CORPORATE STRATEGIST™

here are many romantic notions about entrepreneurship. There are many misconceptions.

a society of highly ambitious achievers without the full roster of resources to facilitate steady success.

People hear about entrepreneurism and think it is for them. They may not do much research or may think there are pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. They talk to other entrepreneurs and learn that it all about perseverance and building sweat-equity in companies.

Every company must and should put its best face forward for the public. Public perceptions are called “credence goods” by economists. Every organization must educate outside publics about what they do and how they do it. This premise also holds true for each corporate operating unit and department. The whole of the business and each sub-set must always educate corporate opinion makers on how it functions and the skill with which the company operates.


The wise entrepreneurs have mentors, compensated for their advice, tenured in consulting and wise beyond reproach. Advisers are important to fitting the entrepreneurs to the right niche. Mentors draw out transferrable talents to apply to the appropriate entrepreneurial situation. The corporate mindset does not necessarily transfer to small business. Just because someone took early retirement is not a reason to go into a startup business. People who worked for other people do not necessarily transfer to the entrepreneurial mode. Those who have captained teams tend to make better collaborators and members of others’ teams. Entrepreneur is as entrepreneur does. Make an equitable blend of ambition and desire: Fine-tuning one’s career is an admirable and necessary process. It is quite illuminating. Imagine going back to reflect upon all you were taught. Along the way, you reapply old knowledge, find some new nuggets and create your own philosophies. We were taught to be our best and have strong ambition to succeed. Unfortunately, we were not taught the best methods of working with others in achieving desired goals. We became 12 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2017 ]

Gaining confidence among stakeholders is crucial. Business relationships with customers, collaborators and other professionals are established to be long-term in duration. Each organization or should determine and craft its own corporate culture, character and personality, seeking to differentiate itself from others. Every business, company or organization goes through cycles in its life. At any point, each program or business unit is in a different phase from others. The astute organization assesses the status of each program and orients its team members to meet constant changes and fluctuations. I’ve talked with many entrepreneurs and founders of companies which rapidly grew from the seed of an idea they had. Most admitted enjoying the founding phase but lost interest shortly after giving birth. Over and over, they said, “When it stops being fun, I move on. “ After the initial honeymoon, you speak with them and hear rumblings like, “It isn’t supposed to be this hard. Whatever happened to the old days? I’m ready to move on. This seems too much like running a business. I’m an idea per-

son, and all this administrative stuff is a waste of my time. I should move on to other new projects.” When they come to me, they want the business to transition smoothly and still make the founders some money. They ask, “Are you the one who comes in here and makes this into a real business?” I reply, “No. After the caretakers come in and apply the wrong approaches to making something of your business, I’m the one who cleans up after them and starts the business over again.” The reality is that I’m even better on the front end, helping business owners avoid the costly pitfalls attached to their losing interest and abdicating to the wrong people. Entrepreneurial companies enjoy the early stage of success...and wish things would stay as in the beginning. When “the fun ends,” the hard work begins. There are no fast-forward buttons or skipping steps inn developing an effective organization, just as there are no shortcuts in formulating a career and Body of Work.

Im]klagfk lg Ykc ]flj]hj]f]mjk2 1. Do you have goals for the next year in writing? 2. Are the long-range strategic planning and budgeting processes integrated? 3. Are planning activities consolidated into a written organizational plan? 4. Do you have a written analysis of organizational strengths and weaknesses? 5. Do you have a detailed, written analysis of your market area? 6. Do detailed action plans support each major strategy? 7. Is there a Big Picture? SBT Contact information for Hank Moore. Website: Email: Phone: 346-777-1818. Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations, including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations. His Legends books have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Every business, company or organization goes through cycles in its life. At any point, each program or business unit is in a different phase from others.


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here are some brilliant people who are “between jobs” and they can be yours for the hiring. Now if you’re reading this column and you count yourself among those who are looking for a new career challenge, I’d like to share a path for you—a Map to Careersville—if you will. It’s a simple 10-step journey, but it’s not easy. Are you ready to strap on your hiking shoes? Okay, start stepping::


Step 1: Find Where You Are When I visit a shopping mall, I immediately locate a Directory to find the spot, ‘You are here’. It gives me a starting point for my shopping adventure. In a job search, try to define where you are mentally in the process by using Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ “5-Steps to Grieving”, made famous in her 1969 tome, “On Death and Dying”. Since they apply to any trauma or change we may have in our life, they are as follows: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Your approach to finding “Careersville” depends on your mindset at the outset. Step 2: Know What You’re Selling Before you “shop” your services, you need to identify your unique value or UVP (Unique Value Proposition), that you can deliver to a prospective “buyer”. Perform a S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis on yourself to really understand your internal strengths and weaknesses, and the external opportunities and threats. For those of you who are familiar with sales and marketing, you’re the product and you must execute the proper marketing strategy. Step 5: Determine Where to Find Your Buyers Flesh out the associations, organizations, or events that will have an abundance of the employers or “buyers” that may be interested in buying your dog food. Willie Sutton, the notorious bank robber, when asked why he robbed banks replied, “That’s where the money is.” You 14 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2017 ]

must put yourself squarely in the deal flow and hang where the money is! Step 9: Show Up! Welcome to The Networking Game! This is THE most important activity in which to “invest” your time. If you’re like me, you don’t “spend” time, you invest it, and knowing that more than 60 percent of the jobs are in the hidden job market, you need to be out in public, not hunkering down in your home office, surfing the job placement services online. REMEMBER: It’s NOT what you know. It’s NOT who you know. It’s WHO KNOWS YOU. Networking will build your “resource bank”, one that pays interest and dividends and compounds forever. Remember that old Chinese proverb: A wise man knows everything. A rich man knows everybody. Step 10: Follow-Up and Follow-Through When you meet someone who introduces you to a person who you “need to know” or opens a door for you, make sure you do what you say you’re going to do. This is the number one rule in being referable. Just today, I found out that a gentleman I gave a job referral to NEVER followed up with the person who was hiring. Imagine how I felt when I spoke to the employer and he said, “Sorry Jack. I never heard anything from your friend”. Talk about the height of dullness! That’s the last time I open a door for that person. Follow-up promptly and profusely thank the person who assisted you. If you are looking for your next job or career, try these steps on for size. Your journey will sure to be a much more profitable one and you may just find your way to “Careersville” where you may live for the rest of your days. Good luck on your journey! “ SBT

Jack Warkenthien, CEO, NextStep Solutions. Email him at or call him at 832-344-6998


?]llaf_ Gj_Yfar]\2 My Favorite Outlook Tips BY HOLLY UVERITY, CPO®, OFFICE ORGANIZERS

believe that having a great tool – like Outlook – isn’t much use if you don’t know how to use it. In that light, here are a few more of my favorite Outlook tips. I hope you find one or more that will improve your productivity.


Choose the folder you want the email to be saved to and once you’ve hit send, your reply will automatically be filed into the folder you selected. If you want, you can customize the Save Sent Emails to a Folder Other reply ribbon so Save Sent Item

Than Sent Most people use folders to organize their emails and unless you change it, emails you send go automatically into a general Sent folder. If you want to keep ALL your email correspondence in one place, this means you have to search Sent and manually move your reply from the Sent folder into the appropriate one. Here’s how to make this task easier.

When you hit reply on an email, there are Tabs across the top of the email; on the Options tab, there is an option named Save Sent Item To. Click the small down arrow and there is a list of the folders you’ve created in Mail. If you’ve not used this feature yet, the list will be blank so just click on Other Folder and you’ll see all your folders. Choose the folder you want the email to be saved to and once you’ve hit send, your reply will automatically be filed into the folder you selected. If you want, you can customize the reply ribbon so Save Sent Item To is the first icon on the left of the reply window so you don’t have to click on the Options tab to get it. Turn Off Default Reminders By default, every appointment or meeting you create has a reminder of 15 minutes. This can lead to many, many reminder windows popping up all day and after a while, they are ignored. To keep the re-

minders from losing their meaning, turn off the default and consciously set a reminder time – only if you need it - when you make the appointment. To turn off the default reminder, click the File tab (upper left), then Options, then Calendar. Under Calendar Options, you’ll see Default Reminders. Either set the default to None or deselect the option to turn it off. Removing the default reminders ensures that when a reminder pops up, it’s because you purposely set it. Quickly Add a Person to Your Contacts There are two quick ways to add someone to your contact list; right click an email address from an open email or drag an email to People. Right clicking opens a menu which allows you to select Add to Outlook Contacts. Select that and a Contact window opens that is populated with the name and email address of the person; you can edit it and fill in any other information. Dragging an email to People not only adds that person to your contacts but it also puts the body of the email into the Notes section of the Contact. This can be helpful if there’s specific information in an email you always want handy when you access that contact. You can edit out all the extraneous information form the Notes section and keep only that part of the email you need.

Use The Drafts Folder It’s easy to think about writing an email to Mr. Big Vendor while you’re writing one to Mr. Big Client. What’s not so easy is to remember to actually do it without getting distracted by something else. Rather than try to keep it in your head, just use Drafts. As soon as you think of writing to Mr. Big Vendor, simply open a new email and start typing notes to yourself in the body or subject of the email. Oftentimes, something simple in the subject line like “ask about quantity pricing” will be enough to trigger your memory when you go back later to write it completely. (It’s important that you DO NOT fill in the email address as it’s easy to accidentally hit send.) Once you’ve got your note to yourself written, hit Save and that email goes into your Drafts folder. It will safely stay there until you either delete it or finish it and send it. A number will appear behind the folder name to indicate the number of items in the folder so you’ll always know when there’s something there. It’s also a great place to hold draft emails; if you’re writing a lengthy, complicated or emotional email, saving them into Drafts before sending allows you to review them before you hit sent so you can be sure you’re saying exactly what you want to say. SBT

Office Organizers is The Entrepreneur’s Organizer. Founded in 1993, they work with business people to create solutions to their organizational challenges. Contact them at 281.655.5022, or




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Than the Rearview Mirror BY HOWARD PARTRIDGE

udy Ruettiger, the real guy from the movie Rudy, had a dream to play football for Notre Dame. The problem was that he wasn’t big enough, strong enough, or smart enough to get into Notre Dame, much less play football. But his dream did come true. There are two reasons his dream came true; First off, he never allowed the thought to leave his mind. Second, he worked very hard toward his dream.


Not only did Rudy not abandon the dream, he worked toward that dream every day. He endured many disappointments and faced many discouragements. He worked hard for his dream. movies ever made, but it is one of the most watched sports movies in history.

Then Rudy had another dream. To make a movie about his experience. Making a movie is no easy feat. When I interviewed Rudy at Zig Ziglar’s studio, he told me that he dreamt about making the movie every day. All day. And that is the key. You must put the picture in your mind and never allow it to leave.

When I was about 12 years old, I was flipping through a magazine and came across a picture of people roller-skating down the bike path at Venice Beach, CA. As I gazed at the picture, I began to daydream about what it would be like to go to California.

Remember, that the reaching of the dream comes as a result of seeing it in your mind first, and nourishing that vision every day. Think it. Ink it. Write it. Draw it. Talk about it. Find people to help you. If it’s a worthy dream, don’t abandon it. If it’s something you want simply for your ego, let it go.

Of course that sounds strange today as I might fly to California for a meeting. In fact, I flew to California just to introduce Michael Gerber for his 80th birthday party. You have no idea what is in your future. Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller-Williams, the largest residential real estate company in the country, says, “you’re less than five years away from your biggest dreams and goals.”

Not only did Rudy not abandon the dream, he worked toward that dream every day. He endured many disappointments and faced many discouragements. He worked hard for his dream. Now that he has done the hard work, he has a lucrative career as a public speaker. I would like to note that Rudy’s dream of making a movie was both personal and impersonal. The film Rudy is not only one of the most inspirational

Think about where you were five years ago. Have you come a long way? If so, how did that happen? I bet you had to work hard to accomplish what you accomplished. If you’re stuck, you can look back and see some things you should have done. If you’re worse off than five years ago, perhaps there was an event in your life that caused it. Maybe you did some-


thing to cause that event. Maybe it was unavoidable. Someone once mused, “There’s a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror.” It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, or where you are now, you’re less than five years away from your biggest dreams and goals, as Gary said. It doesn’t matter what kind of difficulties you’ve had. In fact, isn’t it true that we grow more through difficulties and trials than we do successes? It’s true. The question is whether you will create a meaningful dream, whether you’ll nourish it, and whether you’ll do the hard work to get there. Rudy worked hard to reach his dream. Zig worked hard to reach his dream. Motivational speaker Darren Hardy maintains that success is found through true grit.

>gddgo l`ak km[[]kk ^gjemdY lg j]Y[` qgmj \j]Ye2 1. Have a compelling picture of the future. (That comes through prayer, dreaming, and thinking.) 2. Believe that you can achieve it. (Stories of others who have been successful will help you.) 3. Surround yourself with people that have already done what you want to do. (This is the greatest life lesson I could ever share with you.) 3. Take massive action every day. (More on this in an upcoming chapter.) 4. Track your results. SBT Howard Partridge President of Phenomenal Products, Inc. (281)634-0404


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Planning with Good Business Credit BY JULIE PUKAS AND JAY DESMARTEAU

lack Friday is quickly approaching, and organized shoppers are already making their lists and checking them twice. Unfortunately, the holiday season tends to be a stressful time for small business owners who must prepare inventory, staffing and budgeting, while considering taking out loans or lines of credit to ensure a successful holiday season.


The holidays always come faster than we expect, making it critical for small businesses to start early in order to prepare for the busier months that lie ahead. Many small business owners could line up holiday staff and order extra inventory in their sleep, but they might be neglecting an important part of preparation – getting a handle on their current finances so they can pay for the extra staff and add to their inventory. Savvy business owners should determine what they need in terms of capital or credit to keep their shelves full and customers happy during the busy holiday season. The responsibilities that go along with owning a small business are endless, so thinking about credit needs may fall by the wayside, but understanding business credit is crucial to a business’ overall financial planning. In fact, a recent survey found that 85 percent of small business owners said they don’t know or don’t think they have a business credit score. Additionally, three-quarters do not have a financial advisor or dedicated banker to educate them about financing options. SBOs should invest time in meeting with an advisor to check on their financial standing before a busy season. One of the most important and easiest items your advisor or banker can help with is selecting a credit card designed specifically for small business owners. Business credit cards are a great way to track your heightened holiday expenses via credit, while earning cash rewards on increased business purchases in the process. Surprisingly, the survey also revealed that over half of SBOs are leaving cash on the table by not having a designated business card, even though only five percent of respondents had been turned down for a business credit or loan request. Increased holiday spending is unavoidable for many small businesses, so why not earn cash back?

When evaluating credit options, business owners should consider what would work best for their needs. A credit card is a great option for recurring or small expenses that can be paid off quickly, while a line of credit is useful for short-term expenses that can help the business expand, such as purchasing inventory or new equipment. It’s also important to review the available cards and their potential benefits to decide which offers the best opportunity to earn rewards. For business owners who are frequent travelers, a card that rewards on gas could be a smart option, or for those who regularly entertain clients a card that offers cash back on dining may be a better fit. There are a few things SBOs should know when applying for business credit. It is essential to remember that your approval depends largely on your personal credit history. Banks can turn down entrepreneurs applying for credit or for a loan due to poor credit history or simply not having enough of it, or an unfavorable debt-to-income ratio. Factors affecting one’s credit history include: personal or business bankruptcies, prior judgments from creditors, late payments or not having enough business history. For individuals thinking about starting or expanding their own business, it’s important to ensure you’ve already developed strong personal credit for when a loan or line of credit is needed. Once your card is approved, remember that keeping personal and business credit separate is important for the health of the business, as the business credit card will streamline the record-keeping process while simultaneously establishing credit history. This is crucial for business growth and preparing for future financial needs. Although it seems early, preparing in advance will help small business owners maximize consumers’ expected increased spending this holiday season, and position their business for longer-term profitability. SBT Julie Pukas, Head of US Bankcard and Merchant Services, TD Bank Jay DesMarteau, Head of Regional Commercial Specialty Segments, TD Bank [ NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2017 ]



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Speaking Engagements BY PAM TERRY

here are two ways to book more speaking engagements: 1) become an in demand speaker where you are being sought after; and 2) looking in the right places and asking to be booked. The solution for #1 is to already be speaking and be known so you are sought after and the solution to #2 is to know where to look.


You can guarantee speaking and become known by hosting your own live seminar or workshop and promoting your event. Promote your events to your target market which may include Facebook (either advertising or non-advertising and in groups), LinkedIn on your feed and in groups, Twitter, Google+ and any others. You can always use your phone to call your target market too. You only need from 5 to 10 people at your seminar/events to get started. The key is to have a feedback form at your event and include asking to what groups or companies that they could recommend you. By hosting your own events for several months, you’ll build your name and reputation. This has worked very well for me where although I rarely do my own events now, I still get asked to speak and am known for my expertise. This can work for you too. Other ways to get booked and become known are to blog regularly and post your blog in groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Be sure to always follow the rules when you post in groups. Posting your blog articles in groups establishes your credibility and expertise. I have used this technique very successfully. Both hosting my own events and posting my blog in groups have led to paid speaking gigs.

Other ways to get booked and become known are to blog regularly and post your blog in groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Be sure to always follow the rules when you post in groups. Posting your blog articles in groups establishes your credibility and expertise. Knowing where to look and asking for speaking engagements can easily be accomplished when you are clear about where you want to speak. Do you want to do a TED talk? Speak to health care professionals? The key here is for you to be clear and specific. Once you are, your actions become clear. For example, saying you want to speak at colleges is actually vague. But, if you say you want to speak at a specific college like Berkeley or Harvard or the University of Houston, then your next steps become really clear. You can then contact Campus Activities and find out who the people are to talk to and what they are looking for. Clarity is the precursor to action. Clarity gives you confidence to take the next step. It also gives you certainty of your path. Your steps in finding speaking opportunities, rather than you being found, is to a) be clear about who your audience is; b) think in terms of people and events; c) start researching people and events to gather names and info; d) then begin calling on them to ask what their process is to be a speaker; and e) follow their process and then follow up with them.


Let’s say you are clear that you want to speak to marketing managers or experts. Then, you would research “marketing conferences.” Whoever your target market is, you can gather names and events three ways: 1) by researching them online, on Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.; 2) by actually going to hotels and seeing what events are there and connecting with the people at the event’s registration desk; and 3) by subscribing to meeting planner magazines and email lists such as Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Destination Management Association (ADMEI), convention bureaus; International Association of Exhibition & Events (IAEE), and more. Look for names and events and add them to your list for contacting. Serving since January 2, 2010, Annise D. Parker has been elected as the Mayor of Houston three times. She is Houston’s 61st Mayor and one of only two women to hold the City’s highest elected office. In 2010, Time Magazine named Mayor Parker one the 100 most influential people in the world. Mayor Annise Parker is a Steering Committee Member of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and serves on President Barack Obama’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. She is also on the advisory board of Small Business Today Magazine. For more information, go to SBT Pam Terry is a highly recognized speaker coach and marketing strategist. For a complimentary copy of her eBook, “How to Easily Develop an Award Winning Presentation,” visit Pam can be reached at 832-276-4153 or pam@


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have been taken aback by so many rapid evolving technologies. Among them, it is found the Blockchain trend which promotes digital coins trading. A brainchild of an individual or group known as “Satoshi Nakamoto,” who is a person or organization and the world’s “Elusive Billionaire” operating under an alias. Nakamoto is responsible for the development of bitcoin (digital gold), its original implementation and the first blockchain database. The result? they were the first to solve the double-spending problem of digital or internet currency. Since inception, in 2007, the Blockchain trend has evolved into something to watch.


In terms of technology, this new financial frontier represents a new volcanic eruption waiting to happen. On a day-to-day basis, alias Satoshi Nakamoto, manages transactions made with no middle men. In other words, they have eliminated the banks and their transaction fees, as well as the need to disclose identity. Bitcoin and Ethereum or Ether, are the new digital trading “Crypto-Assets” and most merchants are starting to accept these transactions as the norm to purchase any kind of goods in the internet and driving a financial internet market of $48.2 billion. To understand begin understanding Blockchain, we must first define it as the digital Cryptocurrency of a new techno-financial process. Because this is just such a new trend, selecting a Crypto-Asset to invest in depends on whether the investor believes or not the use of a token will provide a positive return. To develop historical data on technical behavioral observations of this trend, potential investors must learn a lot about the technology driving this process. Risk taking investors must know that Cryptocurrency is not an investment but a highly speculative bet. As of now, none of the existing Cryptocurrencies are powering anything important and many are 20 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2017 ]

being used in the black market to purchase illegal goods. Instead, they are being used by financial market speculators who attempt to flip them for a profit. This type of asset is notoriously volatile and high risk because it is speculative in nature and it is too early to tell if this new trend will sustain within our known financial environment.

:]f]Úlk2 1. Human collaboration 2. Will make processes more effective. It is important to have basic knowledge of this new technology because it is indeed revolutionary. This trend encourages human interaction and financial and technological collaboration. Trading is not new to the human race because we have been trading and collaborating for millions of years. According to By Don and Alex Tapscott[1] Blockchain will make real world processes more efficient, will create incorruptible digital ledgers of economic transactions and can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually anything with a price tag. We must not confused Blockchain from the Crypto-Assets. Like paper money and gold used to be, bitcoin and ether allow parties to exchange value. They are digital and decentralized but indeed they facilitate a financial transaction without financial institutions in the middle, meaning greater control of funds and lower fees. Should Bitcoin and Ether fail blockchain as a financial process, there is a lot that can be done with their underlying technology. SBT References: How Bidcoin Transactions work? how-do-bitcoin-transactions-work/ Tapscott, Don & Alex, SXSW Preview: What’s the Next Generation Internet? Surprise: It’s all about the Blockchain! whats-next-generation-internet-surprise-its-all-don-tapscott/


Marketing Advice for Small Businesses –

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ou have decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship and start a business! But now what? You know how to do the job, but aren’t sure where to go from here? How do you get the word out about your products/services? How do you compete in your market and lock in sales? How do you grow this idea into a successful business with a positive return on investment (ROI)?


This is where marketing and its importance play a key role in your success! We have compiled a good list of marketing advice to help convince customer’s to choose you over the competitor!

Al Ydd klYjlk oal` qgmj o]Zkal] The biggest thing about marketing is when sharing information about your business, you need somewhere to lead client back to. This is why having your website sales ready is so critical. It is imperative to the success of your business that your website not only looks as professional as the services you offer, but that it is also sales ready! So, what does a sales ready website look like, and why are these aspects so important?

=Yk] g^ Mk] This is possibly the most important characteristic of a business website. Have you ever tried to pull up a nearby business that performs a specific service on your phone and it was impossible to find the information you needed? Many customers will move forward with another business due to the simple fact that your website was difficult to scroll through. With today’s technological advancements, many people use their

phones to search nearby businesses; therefore, it is crucial that your desktop site transfers fluidly to mobile web access. When configuring a mobile ready website, be sure to include these user-friendly features: • Readable font sizes (ensure the fonts don’t shrink on a smaller, mobile screen). • Correctly sized images for the appropriate device. Large images that load well on a desktop computer will load a lot slower on a mobile device; therefore, ensure your mobile site has fewer images that are smaller. • Ensure important links are front and center on a mobile device. • Pre-fill forms as much as possible – they can get annoying to fill out on a smaller screen.

Claim your spot as a Google business ( free of charge). A Google business profile allows you to do the following: • Respond to customer reviews • Add photos of your business and work • Add store hours and location details • Display phone numbers and other contact information Start a Google Adwords campaign. This will bump your business further up the search page when customers type in keywords - i.e. “roof repair,” “best roofing companies,” etc. if you own a roofing company.

Kg[aYd E]\aY If you aren’t on Social Media sites engaging your customers and getting testimonials, you are leaving money on table due to its massive reach and popularity.

;gflY[l Af^gjeYlagf When selling a product or service, you want to make it easy for current or potential customers to contact you. Including a “contact us” tab on the website that contains contact forms and visible phone numbers are vital. Beyond the “contact us” page, a business should make it effortless for a customer to call at the click of a button. This means the business’s phone number should be present in the header or footer of every landing page. This makes your contact information easy to find. For mobile, call buttons serve the same purpose and make “calling at the click of a button” very easy.

Af[j]Yk]\ NakaZadalq As a small business, you want to increase your company’s visibility on Google (the top search engine). So how do you increase this visibility?

;gflafmgmkdq <]dan]jaf_ Lgm[`]k A large portion of marketing is word of mouth. Claim a spot in the mind of your consumers by staying engaged – thank past customers for their business, send email updates on your company’s community involvement, and send newsletters promoting incentives for bringing in new business. These few simple suggestions could mean the difference between a successful business and one that is run into the ground. SBT Jon Majak is the CEO of Mr. Pipeline Internet Marketing based in South Florida. A veteran in the digital marketing space, he has helped hundreds of home service professionals generate more traffic, better leads and dominate with online reviews. He has a true passion of helping and inspiring people to dig deep find the excellence within themselves. You can reach him directly at or (561) 899-3043




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icture an accounting department employee who regularly works long hours and handles his responsibilities without a lot of oversight or assistance from others. At first glance, you might assume that employee has a strong work ethic and attention to detail. That may often be true, but behaviors like these can also be telltale warning signs that an employee in your accounting department is stealing from the company and committing fraud. Corporate fraud costs organizations an average of 5 percent of revenue annually, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse 2016 Global Fraud Study. Common types of fraud Fraudulent acts like check tampering, skimming, payroll and cash larceny schemes are twice as common at smaller organizations, according to ACFE. It’s often more difficult for small companies with lean accounting departments to segregate duties. If the same person enters the invoice and cuts the check, that creates an opportunity to generate dummy invoices to a fake vendor or a real company the employee created to perpetuate the fraud. Why do employees commit fraud? There are some common factors that motivate individuals to commit fraud. These factors are known as the fraud triangle. In almost all cases of fraud, at least two of the three components are present: • Opportunity – At some point the employee realizes he has the opportunity to commit fraud by forging checks, falsifying invoices, etc.

Pressure – Medical bills or credit card debt are possible financial burdens that could lead an employee to start engaging in fraudulent activity. Rationalization – Many employees who steal from their employers successfully convince themselves what they’re doing is not wrong.

If an employee has the necessary opportunity, pressure and ability to rationalize his crimes, they may soon start exhibiting some of the following indications that they’re stealing from the company. Warning Sign #1 – The employee works long hours with no vacations Employees who consistently come in early and stay late may not simply be hard workers. They may be spending those extra hours creating fake invoices or altering QuickBooks records to cover their tracks. Once they’ve started the cycle of theft and cover-up, they aren’t able to take time off. Warning Sign #2 – The employee refuses to give up control If an employee can’t take a vacation, he certainly can’t let a co-worker take over some of his responsibilities, which will cut off his illegal source of income and increase the chances he’ll get caught.

The disconnect between an employee who wants to handle every aspect of the accounting process, yet can’t answer basic questions when asked directly, is a clear red flag. Steps to Take Before and After You Suspect Something There are several proactive steps organizations can take to prevent fraud from occurring in the first place. Accounting departments should have separate employees initiate, process and authorize transactions whenever possible. Business owners should also have bank statements mailed to their personal residences. The owner should hand the opened envelope to the employee responsible for bookkeeping -- a clear message the owner is paying attention. If you suspect an employee of committing fraud, begin investigating before alerting or accusing the employee. Check financial records for suspicious activity, such as invoices for utility bills paid more than once a month or inconsistent charges for regularly occurring expenses. You may also want to consider bringing in an external forensic accountant unbeknownst to the fraudster to investigate the financial records.

Warning Sign #3 – The employee lives beyond his means For an employee who’s regularly complaining about making ends meet, suddenly driving an expensive sports car or splurging on season tickets should raise suspicions.

You may need to utilize a forensic computer expert as well so that the original electronic records can be preserved for use in court at a later date. Once you’ve identified the fraudulent activity and your forensic accountant has gathered some hard evidence, contact local authorities before the employee has a chance to skip town. SBT

Warning Sign #4 – The employee evades questions and makes excuses

Patricia Ciardullo Partner, PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP




id you know over 80% of all jobs are acquired by networking? A survey done in conjunction with LinkedIn determined that the majority of jobs are unpublished so sending resumes should only be a small part of your plan to acquire a position. Your focus should be on networking.

So how do we start the process of networking to find work? If you were asked where networking begins, you might say, “When you see someone you want to meet or make eye contact or shake hands or say something”. Networking really begins when you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror. Tony Robbins calls is “Peak State”. Jonathan Sprinkles calls it “Position”. It is about your attitude, confidence, and determination. Looking for a job is a project, treat it like one. Every project begins with research. You need to know exactly what you have to sell. The product is you. What are your benefits, what are you good at? What are your specific interests? Next you need to determine who your target market is, the employers who need your talents. Every project begins with research. Next you have to develop a plan. You are looking for a few well connected people. How many next contacts are you going to make each week? How are you going to make the contacts? Who do you know that can assist you? Did you know that most people are hired by people they know? Most people find work from their friends and contacts, so make a list of your current contacts: family, friends, previous employers, current work associations, meetups, chambers of commerce, civic groups, women’s groups, business associations, places of worship, religious events, sports groups, hobby clubs, neighborhood associations,

school alumni, attending talks, coffee shops, charity and volunteer groups, networking groups, and of course online. Start a search online for the best contacts. LinkedIn is one of the best resources for information on companies and people to contact. There are discussion board companies like and that can provide information you need. How important is social media? If 60% of employers are checking prospective employees social media sites, it is very important. The industries like information technology and sales have even higher percentages, as much as 75%. Also, 49% of employers who use social media to screen prospective employees report information found was a reason for refusing employment. So check your social media sites for photos and videos that are inappropriate, comments that are discrimatory, display of bad habits, or even posts about previous employers. Are you average? No one wants a mediocre employee. So how can you be different? In a book that is beneficial to both those who are seeking work and those who are seeking workers, Harvard Professor Todd Rose wrote The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness, and gives this advice “My hope is to use this book to start a conversation that surfaces this basic assumption we’ve made about human potential (like the ideas of the average person), and help people to see that it’s actually the thing that’s holding us back. Lou Adler’s book “The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting is an excellent resource for employees and employers on performance-based hiring. Millions of people are unemployed. Many companies are receiving six times

more applicants for open positions. The average unemployment duration is about eight months. Be open to transitioning from your current or past position to alternate positions. A mentor can be very beneficial in making transitions. And, of course, you can always consider be an entrepreneur and start your own business. Here are a few networking tip for job searches: 1. Do a sample interview with your friends and ask for their feedback. 2. Memorize your accomplishments and also have a written copy 3. Ask for referrals and follow up with thank you notes. 4. Create a log of your contacts, interviews, and emails. 5. Always bring a note book and pen with you and take notes. Here are a few tips for employers: 1. Look for prospective employees at events. 2. Use performance-based employment practices. 3. Make sure your website has opportunities listed. 4. Ask questions and listen for responses that demonstrate the qualities for which you are looking. 5. Look for differences that indicate non-average thinking. Remember, networking is an acquired skill and must be consistently improved, whether you are an employee, contract employee, or employer. SBT Gail “The Connector” Stolzenburg Author of “Connections Now: Contacts to Clients” 281 493 1955



Networking & Employment


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usiness litigation is an expensive use of both time and money and should be avoided whenever possible. Even the most favorable of settlements can cost a business months—if not years—of productivity and focus. To avoid the high costs of litigation, follow these six preventive steps:

1. Don’t skimp on contracts. Instead of spending a fortune on legal fees when facing a lawsuit in the future, make a smaller and smarter investment in solid contracts and getting clear on agreements up front in the present. 2. Audit your insurance policies. Ensure that you have the breadth and depth of coverage your business needs to be protected. Consult with a lawyer to help you decipher how to protect your business best using the right kinds and types of insurance, so that if a lawsuit does happen, you aren’t footing the legal bill. 3. Keep good records. Simply producing key documents can easily thwart expensive, time consuming lawsuits. Keeping excellent records now can help save money on future litigation. We offer a LIFT records binder to support you in keeping the right records, and letting go of the rest. 4. Hire, train, and manage your staff with processes and procedures that mitigate the risk of future lawsuits.



Gwen Juarez Photography

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LiftFund Mercantil Bank

5. Be proactive. Small disputes can quickly turn into full-blown suits. Deal with minor disputes early to avoid a trip to court. Contact a lawyer at the first rumblings of a disgruntled client, vendor, or partner. 6. Only enter into win/win agreements. Commit to caring as much about the outcome with the person you are contracting with as you do about the outcome for yourself. We can help you with that when we are working with you to strategize the documentation of your agreements. With careful preventative planning, you can safeguard your business against unnecessary and costly litigation. Protecting your business and your time is a strategic and valuable practice. If you’re ready to take the next step toward preventative planning, start by sitting down with a legal professional. They can help guide you in making the difficult decisions you face every day as a leader in business, including how to safeguard your business against legal risks. SBT

Scott Reib America’s Legal Coach REIBLAW 1-844-MYACCESS



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