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s I sit here this Father’s Day weekend writing my Publisher’s Column for the July issue of the magazine, I guess it is only natural to reflect on my parents’ words of wisdom that are still with me today and hopefully have been passed on to my sons. There is no question that I am my dad’s son. My ethics, my passion for helping others, and my personality have been passed down to me by him.

First, a little about my dad, Eugene Levine. He grew up in Upstate New York and was the only son of Nathan and Ethel Levine who migrated to the U.S. from Poland to escape Nazi terrorism and sure death in a concentration camp. They came through Ellis Island and eventually became U.S. citizens. They opened a small fabric story in Nyack, New York and Pearl River, New York and recruited my dad to come to work for them. My dad had every intention of using his college money given to him through the G.I. Bill to make something of himself but accepted his parents’ invitation under one of the promises made to him that they would pay his college tuition. To please his dad and mom, he kept working in a business that he did not want to be in even though his parents never did pay his college tuition. I knew that this business was not my father’s choice but he worked it six days a week and chose to keep it open long after my grandparents passed away. This business fed and clothed my sister and me. So here is what I learned from my dad about business and entrepreneurship: • Treat everyone with honesty and integrity. • Give back to the community whether it is with your money, time, or resources. • Always remember that there is a reason why you are on this Earth. • Always leave places better than you found them. • Life is short. Make yours a meaningful one. This month’s cover honoree, Dr. Leonard H. Goldberg, must have been cut from the same cloth (pardon my pun) as my dad. Dr. Goldberg, Director and Founder of DermSurgery Associates, runs his practice and lives his life the same way as my dad ran his fabric stores, with a caring heart, a jovial nature, and a smile that lights up a room. I know that you are going to enjoy Dr. Goldberg’s story and find the great advice at the end of his story quite helpful in running your business! Success to you.

Steve Levine Executive Publisher

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FEATURES 03 Publisher’s Column 12 Avoid the Pitfalls and Be Very Successful. 14 Victory Isn’t for Everyone 15 Your Next Step  The C.A.U.S.E.

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A New Employer Healthcare Arrangement – Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA)

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Financial Astrology July 2017   






Dr. Leonard H. Goldberg DermSurgery Associates

Enlightening the World with his Knowledge; Illuminating it with his Smile BY NICK DARLINGTON


f anyone can illuminate the room with a smile, it’s Dr. Leonard H. Goldberg. Positive, exuberant, dedicated, generous, and caring are all words that aptly describe him. Perhaps it’s no surprise that his mother told him that he should be a doctor because his personality was perfectly suited for it. Following his mother’s astute advice, Leonard first became an internist but was looking for a sub-specialty. Eventually choosing dermatology, that decision has lead him to a long, illustrious career. Not only has he acquired voluminous amounts of knowledge through his studies and his research, he firmly believes in sharing what he has learned by teaching others and publishing his medical discoveries. Becoming the first Mohs surgeon in Houston and eventually establishing DermSurgery Associates, Dr. Goldberg not only enlightens the lives of others through his knowledge and teachings, but through his generous, caring nature that is reflected in his smile, he illuminates the world in how much he gives back.

Not only is Dr. Leonard Goldberg a skilled physician and surgeon, he is alsoa warm hearted, generous man. Photo by Gwen Juarez 06 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JULY 2017 ]

Presently, Dr. Goldberg is the Clinical Service Chief of Dermatology at Houston Methodist Hospital as well as Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Methodist Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell. He is a Clinical Professor in Dermatology at University of Texas Health Medical School, Houston and a Professor of Clinical Medicine, Institute for Academic Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital. In addition, he is the Medical Director and President of DermSurgery Associates. Founded in 1997, DermSurgery Associates now employs 12 physicians. Leonard grew up in Pretoria, South Africa with his two younger sisters, Barbara and Valda. His

Dr. Goldberg feels very fortunate to have such a great staff that shares in his philosophy of education and helping others. Photo by Gwen Juarez

mother was also born in Pretoria but his father was born in the south of South Africa in a place called Robertson located in the wine country. His paternal grandfather was a grape producer who sold his grapes to wineries and his maternal grandfather was a soft drink maker in Pretoria. Leonard’s father was a lawyer and his mother was a teacher, a mathematician, and an art connoisseur. “She did lots of things,” stated Leonard. It was his mother who had a profound influence on Leonard’s career. She knew that her son’s warm, loving nature would make him an ideal doctor and told him so. Like so many mothers, she was right. “I became a doctor because my mother said that I should be a doctor,” remarks Leonard. “She thought my personality suited me being a doctor.” Not only did Leonard pursue a career in medicine, he developed a passion for it. After graduating from the School of Medicine at the University of Pretoria in 1967, Leonard interned at Pretoria General Hospital, now Steve Biko Hospital. He studied Internal Medicine for an additional four years in Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg.

What followed was a great deal of work experience as an Internist in the Baragwanath Hospital at a time when apartheid was in full force. The country was divided between blacks and whites with two smaller side groups, the Indians and the mixed whites. Dr. Goldberg’s time at Baragwanath Hospital taught him a great deal. He recalled, “It was a hospital for black people; it was segregated in those days. There were 2,000 patients in the hospital at any time. It was a very busy hospital. There was a huge variety in the diseases and pathology that we saw. It was very interesting and very academic.” Despite Dr. Goldberg enjoying his time there and making many good friends, the political situation motivated him to move elsewhere. In 1973, amid growing fears of civil war between blacks and whites, Leonard decided to leave his homeland and go to Israel where he spent three years starting his dermatology career. He had a wonderful tune there, but in 1976, he moved to the U.S. to do research and his boards in dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine. After Stanford, Dr. Goldberg moved to New York City to do his fellowship in Mohs surgery under Dr. Perry Robins,

M.D., the Chief of the Mohs Micrographic Surgery Unit at New York University Medical Center. Little did Leonard know that his move to the Big Apple would take his life in the exciting new direction of dermatologic and Mohs surgery. It was Dr. Robins who introduced Leonard to Dr. John J. Knox in Houston. Dr. Knox was working at Baylor College of Medicine and looking for a Mohs surgeon. Dr. Knox’s friend, Dr. Melvin Spira, found out about Dr. Goldberg through Dr. Robins and told Knox about him. In addition, Mel encouraged John to invite Goldberg to come down to Houston. Recalled Leonard, “So, John Knox invited me down. When I came to Houston, I wanted to thank Mel so I made an appointment to meet with him. I got an appointment at 6 o’clock on Sunday morning in his office. After having a lovely, long chat for half an hour, Mel, who was a plastic surgeon, said something interesting, ‘Actually, you are my opposition in that we cut out skin cancer and you cut out skin cancer. But even though you are my opposition, we need you in Houston for your technique.’ Spira also said that he hoped I would work with his department!” [ JULY 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 07


Dr. Goldberg considers Cecilia Ardila to be his right hand person! Photo by Gwen Juarez

Linda, Heidi, and David comprise Dr. Goldberg’s supportive management team and help him run the business. Dr. Goldberg focuses his attention on educating others and being a doctor. He explained, “We have weekly meetings. I have a strong group with Heidi, Linda and David; the four of us make the decisions. I meet with Heidi, Linda, and David separately and we discuss business issues. I spend about a half hour a day on running the organization.” Dr. Goldberg was thrilled by the opportunity to work with Dr. Knox and became the Chief of Dermatologic Surgery. In addition to opening the first Mohs surgery unit in Houston at Baylor College of Medicine, he split his time working in the ER at Ben Taub Hospital. The most important thing of all to Dr. Goldberg was that he could teach and share his knowledge, something that has always been close to his heart. “You have to keep the education going. You have to help the next generation coming up. You can’t keep it all to yourself. I believe in teaching and helping the next generation of doctors to reach the highest standards of care for patients,” states Goldberg. After 16 years of working and teaching at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Goldberg transitioned into private practice with the establishment of DermSurgery Associates. DermSurgery is part of the biggest medical center in the world, the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The Texas Medical Center is home to many noteworthy medical institutions including Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston Methodist Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Woman’s Hospital, and MD Anderson Cancer Center. The State of Texas recognizes the important, real work MD Anderson does and provides close to a billion dollars a year for research and infrastructure upgrades. “We should be very proud of our medical center,” says Leonard. “The medical center supports Houston and Houston supports the medical center, so it is a wonderful symbiosis that is going on there.”

Leonard and his management team understand the importance of the personal touch for employees as well as patients. They pay their staff of 90+ as well as possible, create a comfortable work environment, and do their best to keep everyone happy. “We pay salaries as high as we can,” says Leonard. “We are giving people solid jobs. They have a place to come where they are safe, and they can do what they need to do. They all have housing and homes. They live a good life. I am very proud of that. It’s good for employees, good for patients, and good for business. There are very few people I employ who don’t give back to me more than I pay them in salary,” Leonard explains. “My team appreciates what they are being paid and because of that, they give back. If you will just have a positive attitude, things will go well.”

Dr. Goldberg is also proud of the many advanced procedures DermSurgery has to offer including the classic technique for Mohs surgery that helps them cure three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. He elaborated, “It’s a technique of excision of the tumor and doing frozen section control of the margins. That is the gold standard that has been develAt DermSurgery Associates, Dr. Goldberg continues the tradition of healing patients, oped over the last 90 years and it works teaching, doing research, and enlightening others. “I usually have residents and students very well.” with me and I teach Mohs surgery and dermatology. I encourage the people in my pracBy constantly practicing and refining tice to teach as well.” Leonard has a thriving practice that has evolved around him. “I have wonderful people helping and supporting me,” he stated. “I support them and they their techniques, DermSurgery Associhelp and take care of me. It’s a wonderful symbiosis. Working with wonderful people ates has achieved a close to 100 percent cure rate for squamous cell carcinoma, together is an amazing and uplifting experience.” DermSurgery Associates plays an important part in this symbiosis. It specializes in state-of-the-art skincare and cosmetic services, including laser surgery, dermatologic surgery, and Mohs surgeries for treating skin cancer. When asked about how this transition happened, Leonard says, “When I changed to private practice, my old patients asked for me and wanted to know where I was. They followed me over. I didn’t do anything to bring them over. They just came. I like people. People are attracted to me, and so we get on well together.” As his mother knew when he was little, Leonard’s warm, caring personality and illuminating smile is the perfect formula for the ideal doctor.


basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma if the cancer has been identified early on. “If you come late and the tumor is big and has spread around the body, then it’s more difficult to treat,” explains Goldberg. Thankfully, the melanomas they see today are much less developed than they were in the past when they were frequently metastasized. As a result, modern skin cancer treatment is superb, especially in the Houston area, where there are now 30 doctors specializing in Mohs surgeries. This is a far cry from the early days when Dr. Goldberg was the only one! “People need to be more aware of the early warning signs of skin cancer,” states Dr. Goldberg. “Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma appear as a bump on the skin or as an ulceration in the skin, one you can see that something has changed. If that bump becomes ulcerated, starts bleeding, or becomes painful, those are clear signs that you really need to have it looked at and biopsied if necessary.” Dr. Goldberg explains, “There are classic signs of melanoma and can be remembered by ABCDE: Asymmetry, irregular Borders, change of Color to dark brown or black, a lesion that is larger than 6 mm in Diameter, and a lesion that Evolves such as getting bigger, ulcerating, or bleeding. Those lesions need to be seen as soon as possible.” While identifying the warning signs helps, prevention is still far better than the cure. Avoiding direct exposure to the sun and protecting yourself is the best solution. Houstonians are in the Sun Belt, so this is even more crucial. “Ultimately, no amount of sun is a normal amount of sun; it is all too much,” states Dr. Goldberg. “So, we recommend avoiding the sun and using sunscreen every day.” If you are going to the beach or are going to be exposed to the sun, Dr. Goldberg

recommends going to the beach early in the morning or late at night. He also says, “Wear a big hat and put on your sunscreen regularly. If you are sweating, put it on every hour, every two hours, or whatever it takes. Know that it’s not just the rays from the sun, it is the rays of the sun shining up off the sand and also the rays coming directly from the side. The rays are reflected by the molecules in the air, so you’re getting radiation even when you are under an umbrella.” While the sun is the major cause of skin cancer, some people get it due to genetic predispositions. Explains Goldberg, “One of those is the basal cell nevus syndrome. I see a number of patients with BCNS and they develop basal cell carcinomas for no reason at all except their genetic predisposition.” He adds, “People with red hair, freckles, and very light blue eyes have an increased incidence of having skin cancer due to their sensitivity to sunlight.” When asked about children, Dr. Goldberg replied, “Interestingly enough, children and babies usually don’t get skin cancer. I rarely see skin cancer on people under the age of 20. But the basis of forming skin cancer later on is formed then.” Goldberg also advises against the use of tanning booths. “We see skin cancers of different and unusual types on young people who have been in tanning booths. We have tried to stop that. We have had laws passed in Texas and other states preventing children from getting into tanning booths without parental consent.” It is this kind of expert advice that Dr. Goldberg gives his patients, empowering them with knowledge to protect their health. He’s always researching and contributing to the subject of skin cancers, has written over 300 scientific papers and, as soon as he makes a new discovery, he shares it with the world.

As a pioneer in Mohs surgery, Leonard has also developed many new techniques and discovered and described various new conditions. He openly shares everything. “There is a skin cancer condition called keratoacanthoma, a benign form of skin cancer found on sun-exposed body parts,” explains Dr. Goldberg. “I found some of my patients were developing keratoacanthomas in the vicinity of previous skin cancer surgery. Everybody always thought that those were recurring instances of the skin cancer surgery. I realized that this wasn’t the case because I thoroughly examined these tumors and found that I had removed them completely. In fact, this was a tumor that was caused by trauma in the area, and people got skin cancer from the trauma of the surgery. I wrote that up as postoperative keratoacanthomas.” Another condition that Goldberg is proud of discovering is a proliferative actinic keratosis. It is a type of superficial carcinoma and is now recognized as an early form of squamous cell carcinoma. If Dr. Goldberg discovers something new, he publishes it immediately to educate as many as possible. Only recently, he developed a new technique for administering injections that cause little pain and he’s been teaching and lecturing on that. Not only does Dr. Goldberg teach residents, but he also lectures worldwide. Aside from illuminating people’s lives through teaching and mentoring, he has also published many white papers over the years. Another way Dr. Goldberg helps others is by attending at the VA Hospital where he teaches. “We have patients come in and we teach the residents. That’s a lot of fun being with the residents, both the University of Texas Residency and the Baylor College of Medicine Residency, and also the medical students at Baylor College of Medicine.” Dr. Goldberg is also molding the next generation of doctors. He is one of the most [ JULY 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 09


Dr. Goldberg is seen here with pictures of his family and most prestigious awards. Photo by Gwen Juarez

prolific teachers of Mohs surgeons in the country. He trained Deborah MacFarlane, the first Mohs surgeon at the MD Anderson Group, and has trained close to 40 others in the U.S. plus a similar number in Central and South America. Leonard’s focus extends far beyond the Americas. He collaborates with doctors in Israel where he has trained four Mohs surgeons. He visits Israel once a year to lecture and the Israeli surgeons come regularly to the U.S. to visit with him. Goldberg remarked, “At the moment, I am evaluating a special new scalpel that has been developed in Israel. There are new things being created or discovered in Israel all the time. The Israelis are very innovative; they like to do new things.” Aside from helping patients, teaching, and sharing new knowledge, Leonard’s generosity is exemplified in how much he gives back to the community. As a devout Jew who attends synagogue services regularly, he supports his Jewish community financially. “I give ten percent of my income to charity every year,” explains Leonard. “Most of it goes to Jewish institutions because I realize if you don’t support your Jewish institutions you won’t have Jewish institutions. The money has to come from somewhere.” Goldberg’s strong belief in giving money to charity is best described in his own words, “I once gave a speech about charity in which I said, ‘Of all the money I have given away, and I have given away a lot, I don’t miss any of it.’ You are never sorry that you gave money to charity. You never say, ‘I wish I had that money back; I could have done this or that.’ I’ve never had that situation. So, I like to support certain Jewish schools and synagogues.” Dr. Goldberg’s plans for the future are simple, just doing more of the same. He exclaimed, “I love doing what I’m doing! I come to work every morning with a smile on my face. I am happy to be here. I meet new people every day. I meet old friends

who keep coming back to see me. Everything is done with a good spirit. People come back for the good spirit. It is so much fun doing what I am doing. I couldn’t imagine having more fun than right now. I didn’t realize when I was young that life could be so much fun later on!” Given how much he enjoys what he does in a profession that demands so much time, it can be hard to find a balance. Dr. Goldberg’s current average of ten-hour days, sometimes more, is a testament to this imbalance, though he is trying to reduce his working hours. He deals with the long hours by taking frequent, brief vacations, often with his wife, June. He recently returned from lecturing in Argentina and is going to Santiago, Chile in two weeks to lecture again. If he’s feeling burned out, he goes somewhere to take time off and comes back refreshed. Leonard’s devoted wife, June, is very supportive of his demanding career. “She realizes that I work hard and that I need a lot of support on the home front,” remarked Goldberg. “She is very smart, business-wise. I trust her and I discuss all my business dealings with her. She gives me good advice; sometimes advice I don’t want to hear, but good advice” Leonard and June met in Houston after one of Leonard’s students invited him to a dinner. Goldberg did not know it was a


setup. “I didn’t realize what was going on. We had a good dinner together, and then I said goodbye and went home. The next day my friend called up and asked, ‘How did it go?’ I replied, ‘How did what go?’ My friend then clarified, ‘You and June,’ and I commented, ‘Oh, there is nothing special. Why? We got on well together.’ Then my friend explained, ‘We thought that there should be something special.’ So, I finally caught on and said, ‘Ah, okay, why don’t you arrange another dinner?’ Another dinner was arranged and things took off after that.” It has taken off and then some! Leonard and June have now been married for 22 years and have three wonderful children, two sons - Josh and Guy - and a daughter, Maya. They also have four beautiful grandchildren. Although June and Leonard are now empty nesters, they stay in regular contact with their children. Goldberg elaborated, “I visit them three times a year and we are on the phone constantly. I am always in close touch with them.” Dr. Goldberg sums it all up quite well. “Being in Houston has been very good for me from a career point of view. I have been able to build a big practice. I have got on well with the people, I understand the people. They’re a lot like the South African people who are also farmers and ranchers. I understand the farmers and ranchers over here and we got on well together.

Photo by Gwen Juarez

I built a practice. I stayed at Baylor College of Medicine and they gave me the opportunity to write papers. I came into contact with students and residents and also fellows that I taught. I have taught people for all the time I have been here, I wrote a lot of papers, and I have given a lot of lectures around the world about the techniques I use and was able to improve on through the years. I left Baylor College of Medicine after 16 years of being there and I have been in private practice now for almost 20 years. I have continued the tradition of teaching. I always have residents with me and I always have fellows with me. Sometimes I have students with me and I teach the Mohs surgery and I teach dermatology. Most of all, I encourage the people in my practice to teach as well.” Dr. Goldberg has come a long way. As a warm, loving, and caring individual, he was indeed the perfect candidate for a career in medicine. He continually enlightens the world with all the knowledge he has gained over the years through teaching, mentoring, and publishing papers on new discoveries. Regularly giving back to his community and donating a significant portion of his earnings to charity, he will continue to illuminate the lives of others, long into the future, and always with his smile. SBT

Dr. Goldberg’s Astute Words of Wisdom 1. Find a model to produce an income. Improve on that model until it works. Repeat it and use it to grow and make your company financially stronger. 2. Be honest with people. 3. Tell people what is important for you and what you expect of them. 4. Treat all people fairly; don’t be unkind. 5. Don’t open yourself up to misconduct. Stay straight, stay honest, and pay your taxes. This is the only way to do business. Fail to do that and you will go under eventually. Something will happen. 6. Give people what they want; don’t do what they don’t want. 7. Surround yourself with successful people, people who know their business, and people you can trust and enjoy life with. Most of your life is spent in the office and you see those people daily, so you must enjoy their company. 8. Educate yourself and teach and help other people. 9. If you want your spirit to live on, teach people your spirit. 10. Share your knowledge with people. 11. Give back to the community. [ JULY 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 11


Avoid the Pitfalls



ompanies come and go. Not every startup is destined to make it. I have advised many companies during their gravy years. I tried to warn them about the things that would get them into trouble:

• Focusing upon technology...not upon running a business. • Maintaining too much of an entrepreneur and family business mindset. • Branding before being a real company. • Their system’s inability to deal with any kind of disruption. • Each side picks their favorite numbers for “success” because they really do not know. • Not comprehending the business you’re really in.Very • Venturing too far from your areas of expertise. • Thinking that the rules of corporate protocol did not apply to them. • Misplaced priorities and timelines. • Making financial yardsticks the only barometers. • Wrong relationships with investors...letting angels call too many shots. • Getting bad advice from the wrong people, mainly other tech professionals. • Rationalizing excuses, “the rules have changed.” • Feeling entitled to success and exemptions from business realities. • Copycats of others’ perceived successes. • Working long and hard, but not necessarily smart. • Failure to contextualize the product, business, marketplace and bigger picture. • Inability to plan. • Refusal to change. Companies are collections of individuals who possess fatal flaws of thinking. They come from


different backgrounds and are products of a pop culture that puts its priorities and glories in the wrong places...a society that worships flashand-sizzle over substance.

Reasons why some want to grow beyond their current boundaries: 1. Prove to someone else that they can do it. 2. Strong quest for revenue and profits. 3 Corporate arrogance and ego, based upon power and influence (as well as money). 4. Sincere desire to put expertise into new arena. 5. Really have talents, resources and adaptabilities beyond what they’re known for. 6. Diversifying as part of a plan of expansion, selling off and re-growing subsidiaries. 7. The marketplace dictates change as part of the company’s global being.

Circumstances under which they expand include: 1. Advantageous location became available. 2 Someone wanted to sell out...a great deal was tough to pass up. 3. Can’t sit still...must conquer new horizons. 4. Think they can make more money, amass more power. 5. Desire to edge out a competitor or dominate another industry. 6. Create jobs for existing employees (new challenges, new opportunities). 7. Part of their growth strategy to go public, offering stock as a diversified company.

This is what often happens as a result of unplanned growth: 1. The original business gets shoved to the back burner. 2. The new business thrust gets proportionately more than its share of attention. 3. Capitalization is stretched beyond limits, and operations advance in a cash-poor mode.

4. Morale wavers and becomes uneven, per operating unit and division. 5. Attempts to bring consistency and uniformity drive further wedges into the operation. 6. Something has to give: people, financial resources, competitive edge, company vision. 7. The company expands and subsequently contracts without strategic planning.

To those successful companies, AYkcqgmlg[gflafm]j]Ă›][laf_2 1. What would you like for you and your organization to become? 2. How important is it to build an organization well, rather than constantly spend time in managing conflict? 3. Who are the customers? 4. Do successful corporations operate without a strategy-vision? 5. Do you and your organization presently have a strategy-vision?

6. Are businesses really looking for creative ideas? Why? 7. If no change occurs, is the research and self-reflection worth anything? Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function. The same analogies apply to personal lives, careers and Body of Work. Greater business awareness and heightened self-awareness are compatible and part of a holistic journey of growth. SBT

Contact information for Hank Moore. Website: Email: Phone: 713-668-0664. Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations, including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations.

Companies are collections of individuals who possess fatal flaws of thinking. They come from different backgrounds and are products of a pop culture that puts its priorities and glories in the wrong places...a society that worships flash-and-sizzle over substance.



I built my talent on the shoulders of someone else’s talent”- Michael Jordan.

One of the most important things when looking for success in anything is to find someone you can look up to. Someone who might have done what you’re trying to do or is an inspiration in some way, shape, or form. Michael Jordan as well as anyone who has ever been successful at anything will tell you that they drew inspiration from somewhere outside themselves. This inspiration doesn’t have to mean that you emulate or try to copy someone. In fact, your inspiration for success could be from someone that has accomplished something in a completely different field. Bruce Lee changed martial arts, he would look to other individuals and forms of martial arts that led him to be so creative and revolutionary. I will always look to others for inspiration while trying to achieve personal accomplishments. It’s evident in the sports I compete in, jobs I’ve had, and the friends I associate with. It’s also evident in how I train. Primarily my training regimens are benchmarked from top athletes in various sports. From boxing and MMA, to football, basketball, and soccer, the idea is to highlight a small portion of what it takes to get to that elite level in hopes of continuing to inspire others as well as myself. I’ve had the privilege of not only training at high levels but also being around those who do. Being that close to the action, you adapt the mentality of what it takes. You then realize that victory isn’t for everyone. Sun Tzu in his infamous Art of War put it best when he said “Victory is reserved for those willing to pay the price”. That price is simply too high for some people.


1. Imperfect action. No individual, spends too much time worrying about insignificant details. Scientific methods states for anything important to start, begin imperfectly and work towards perfecting 14 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JULY 2017 ]

it versus waiting till the time is just right. The time will never be just right for anything. You can read all you want to about it, but I promise you that you’ll be ahead of the game if you take a basic understanding and put it to use rather than sitting on an idea. I’m guilty of this. However, I’ve learned that if I just get started, even if it’s not perfect, I can correct actions along the way. Even if I’m wrong, I’ve gained experience that can’t be taught in books. 2. Patience. This one gets everyone. It happens when you watch or see something or someone that inspires you to begin. Maybe it’s a sports figure or movie, whatever it is, it makes say “I’m going to do that”. Then you start doing it and you start to realize after a few days that it sucks. People that reach the highest levels of anything realize and appreciate the process. They understand that nothing happens overnight and that the “grind” is the best part of the process. 3. Intensity. If you were to see how some of the top Olympic or sport athletes train, it would blow your mind. Just the thought of 2 to 3 training sessions a day that last at least 2 hours a piece is hard for some people to wrap their minds around. Pushing yourself to the apex takes a commitment and desire that most will never understand. However, if you’re going to pay the price for victory, get used to pushing yourself to the limit. Find comfort in the discomfort. 4. Focus. Training is like being on a hill with a pair of skates. If you aren’t going forward, you’re going backwards and fast. When you’re competing at the highest levels of sport or business, there is no off season. Everything you do revolves around the goals you place for yourself. This isn’t to say you can’t take breaks every now and then, you must allow time for mental and physical rest. With clear understanding it’s to make you better, not a license to do whatever you want.atively quickly. Be safe and go hard. Let me know how it goes SBT Archibald C Elliott is Founder of Symmetry Fitness (404)307-3421


Your Next Step

The C.A.U.S.E. Behind Your Success: On-Purpose Passion BY JACK WARKENTHIEN


n the book, CAUSE! A Business Strategy For Standing Out In A Sea of Sameness, by Drs. Jackie and Kevin Friedberg, the authors make the case for what can happen when a business is defined as a cause. Furthermore, for businesses that rally around a heroic cause, they tend to attract a higher level of employee talent. A critical part of any employment engagement has been missing. If you haven’t watched THE most viewed TED Talk of all time, by Simon Sinek, you should invest twenty minutes in doing so. His message is all about the “Why”, and how an effective one will allow you to soar, and separate yourself from your competitors. Companies seem to spend too much time focused on “How” and not the “Why”. Consider this message as your invitation to change the world, and transform why people will want to buy from you--for their reasons, more than yours. THE DEFINITION of CAUSE Let’s dust off that ol’ Oxford Dictionary (I know you still use one!), and look up the definition of Cause--A person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition; a principle-aim or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate. When the business becomes a cause, what follows is a movement. Dr. Friedberg states, “When people find something noble and heroic to be part of, their lives and work take on greater meaning and significance”. Another tangible benefit of this theory: your employees will think more like owners and become more committed to the growth of your firm.

THE ACRONYM--C.A.U.S.E. C: Conviction Equals Passion--It’s hard for anyone to harbor conviction without applying a degree of passion for the cause. Remember, all decisions are based on emotion, and justified with logic. Said another way: when the heart is sold, the mind will follow--it’s not the other way around! A sale is actually a transference of emotion, from one party to another, and there’s nothing more convincing that a person with deep conviction. Jack’s Snack: The depth of one’s conviction is more important than the length of one’s knowledge. A: Assume the Desired Outcome(s)-When you’re selling your product, service, company, opinion, or even yourself, a sale is always made. Either you’ll sell the other party on YES, or they’ll sell you on NO. In your mind, and as you visualize, assume you’ve already made the sale, and it’s amazing how many times you’ll win the conversation. With enough conviction, it’ll always be more difficult for anyone to talk you out of your YES. U: Understand Their End Game--The late, great Stephen R. Covey, taught us to begin with the end in mind--one of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, from the best-selling book, originally published in 1989. Your job in any Sales conversation is to ensure both parties agree on the definition of The Winner’s Circle. There must be room for both of you, in that circle, and all recommendations should support long-term, mutually beneficial, prosperous relationships--and outcomes.

S: Stand Out!--Being outstanding is no longer good enough--if fact, today’s that’s just the ante. If you don’t want to continue swimming in the Sea of Sameness, you must identify your Unique Value Proposition. Once you do, you can create your own Value Equation, that highlights the 5-10 reasons that your Customers do business with you--and not your competitors. Hone the answer to the statement, “We’re the ONLY ones that...................”. It’s up to you to fill in the blanks. E: Enjoy the Journey--Ya gotta have fun at work! Find ways to make work more like play, and above all, learn to keep score for fun and profit. Having an enjoyable atmosphere, with a modicum of competition sprinkled in, your people will enjoy participating and coming to work. When you’re selling, if you can get the other party to smile, or better yet, to laugh, you can get them to buy--and see “it” your way. FINALLY.......... Companies that are motivated by a core reason, prime passion--or cause, perform better, have more fun, develop strong leaders and attract more followers. Am I describing your company? SBT

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



Pro Steps to Become

a Compelling Speaker BY PAM TERRY


veryone experiences nervousness & anxiety whether it’s because the audience is too large, too small, or they are speaking to people they know or people that they don’t know. We all have a particular situation that would tend to make us nervous.

The keys to overcome nervousness or anxiety are to: • • • •

Understand that your thoughts cause the fear/nervousness/anxiety not the reasons. Understand that those thoughts are all about you. Public speaking is not about you – it’s about the audience, without them, there is no presentation. When you notice any nervousness, you must acknowledge that you’re thinking about and focusing on yourself. As soon as you recognize that you are focusing on you, shift your focus off of you and focus on the value that you are providing for your audience. (Get to work on your research, your outline, your practice.) Keep repeating this process. You will develop a habit of it and it will become second nature!

There are 4 Pillars to be a Compelling Speaker: 1 - Be Passionate about 3 Things • Be passionate (1st pillar) about your topic, your audience, and improving your speaking skills. Your passion is the fuel that will drive you and keep you going. 2 - Be Powerful about the Same 3 Things • Be powerful (2nd pillar) which is being knowledgeable about your topic, audience, and improving your speaking skills.

• Practice (4th pillar) your talk before each presentation – even if you have given the talk before. Record your talk so that you can time it and make necessary adjustments to stay • within the allotted time frame. Never stop learning about your topic. Investigate intensely about your audience (super important) before you prepare your talk. And, lastly, always be learning about speaking skills. 4 - Prepare Your Talk (Even if you’ve given it 100 times) • Prepare (3rd pillar) your talk even if you’ve given it 100 times. Your talk needs to be fresh not only because every time you give it, it’s a new set of circumstances and a new audience, also because it will invigorate your passion. Preparation should be done in specific, tangible ways, with an opening and close that relate to the objectives of your talk. Write out your talk in outline format with 3 main points and as many sub-points that time will allow. 4 - Practice Stirs Your Passion • Practice (4th pillar) your talk before each presentation – even if you have given the talk before. Record your talk so that you can time it and make necessary adjustments to stay within the allotted time frame. Video your presentation (or at least part of it) so that you can see what you like and what you don’t like to improve your delivery.

Improve Your Speaking Skills •


Stop saying nonsense utterances, such as, “um”, “uh,” “like,” “you know,” “basically.”

Learn how to engage your audiences by getting them involved – ask questions, call out their names, talk to them not at them. Watch talk shows to get a feel for how to engage. The Ellen DeGeneres show is a great example. Use the power of the pause. Take a breath. Pausing can actually engage your audience. Look your best and feel your best and stand with authority and conviction. Don’t pace back and forth or rock. Everything you do should be an intended gesture or movement, yet authentic. This is just a skill and anyone can learn it. Other speaking skills include making eye contact, using inflection, projecting your voice, speaking clearly, having fun, using props, and being inspired. You’ll get there!!

Start Speaking at Every Opportunity •

Hold your own workshops regularly to guarantee speaking opportunities. Although hosting your own workshops can be a lot of work, they have a tremendous upside as they will establish your authority and credibility in the marketplace. Offer to speak at networking groups, Kiwanis, Optimist, Rotary Clubs, and to other groups that meet regularly and need speakers. “Waive your fee.” The more you speak, the better you will become. And, if you bomb, great! You will have learned a lot. Don’t give up. 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 www. Pam can be reached at 832-276-4153 or


Four Companies Who Disrupted Their Industries and How You Can Do the Same BY TIM HAMILTON


hen you hear the term “disruptive innovation,” does it conjure up thoughts of rare engineering geniuses who spend years developing some unprecedented product? Sure, there are those geniuses and their stories, and we have them to thank for many of the products we use today. But they’re not the only ones with the power to make waves. Industry disruption also comes from businesses that simply embrace today’s already-available innovative technology, and then apply it in new and creative ways. With platforms, smart products, asset-leveraging, and staff-on-demand, business leaders solve their current problems and improve processes. In doing so, many of them set a new bar for their industries or re-define them entirely. While the examples below highlight (now) large companies, small businesses have one key advantage: the ability to quickly adapt their strategies and exploit new opportunities. How can you apply the growth strategies highlighted below to your business?

Feeding America Feeding America is a national hunger-relief group that organizes the collection and distribution of donations to food banks all across the country. Now number three on Forbes’ 100 Largest U.S. Charities list, the network previously struggled with a hefty set of logistical challenges. Food banks across the nation have unique shortages and surpluses of different foods. But Feeding America workers were having problems keeping track of changing demand. They didn’t know where to send which supplies.

To solve this problem, Feeding America tapped into the concept of disintermediation. They removed the middleman from their organization by creating a platform to connect their producers and consumers directly. Key application: Is there an inefficiency in your industry that you could solve with a platform (and multiply your revenue in the process)?

John Deere John Deere has enjoyed incredible payoff from integrating smart product technology with existing offerings. They installed sensors in their tractors to capture diagnostic data, detect weather and soil conditions, and communicate with other farming equipment. By offering diagnostic tools for farming equipment and automatic shut-off of irrigation systems, John Deere attracts and retains customers, saving them time and money. Perhaps most significantly, these smart products set a new standard for farm equipment, making John Deere an industry leader. Key application: Are there any opportunities to improve your products with smart capabilities?

Airbnb Airbnb is a platform-based business that connects people who rent out their guest rooms with people who are looking for a room. Because they don’t actually own the properties, Airbnb is able to avoid all of the costs associated with owning and maintaining the rooms. This has resulted in the company reaching or exceeding the success of traditional hotel chains at an unprecedented speed.

Airbnb’s asset-leveraging technique stands out next to a business like Marriott, for example. It’s taken 90 years for Marriott to reach an estimated value of $26 billion, whereas Airbnb reached $24 billion in 9 years! If that isn’t impressive enough, Airbnb was able to reach their current value with approximately 5,000 employees, while Marriott currently employs around 200,000. Key application: Is there an opportunity in your business to leverage assets that you do not own?

Prudential Life Insurance Prudential Life Insurance seized an opportunity to solve a major hangup their customers were experiencing: the length of time it took to get a quote. Instead of seeking out specialists to create quotes full time, Prudential worked with Kaggle, an existing platform for data scientists. By hosting a competition on Kaggle, Prudential was able to incentivize 2,619 data science teams to offer 45,000 potential solutions to the problem! The result? Their customers went from having to wait 30 days for a quote to now getting one instantly. Prudential would have been much less likely to acquire such a fantastic solution had they restricted their talent pool to a small, full-time team. Key application: How could staff-ondemand save your business resources and widen your talent pool? SBT Tim Hamilton CEO & Founder, Praxent 512-553-6830 [ JULY 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 17


A New Employer Healthcare Arrangement – Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) BY MELISSA SHIMIZU, FISHER PHILLIPS


n late 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes a provision that permit small employers to reimburse eligible employees tax-free for medical care. These QSEHRAs can be useful for small employers who wish to provide their employees additional benefits and help their employees obtain medical care, but do not necessarily want to incur the costs of offering employer sponsored health care coverage. Employers can offer QSEHRAs as of January 1, 2017. How do QSEHRAs work? If an employee incurs a medical care expense like health insurance premiums or eligible medical expenses under IRC Section 213(d) (i.e. dental treatment, eye exams), the employer can reimburse the employee for fees incurred up to $4,950 for single coverage or $10,000 for family coverage. Employees may not make any contributions to QSEHRAs. The maximum amount must be prorated if the employee has not been eligible for an entire year. For a complete list of medical expenses covered under IRC 213(d) see https:// Employers may tailor what expenses are reimbursable to a certain extent and do not have to reimburse employees for all eligible medical expenses. Much like other health care reimbursement arrangements, employees may have to provide substantiation before reimbursement. Even though reimbursement may be provided tax-free, any amounts reimbursed will have to be reported on the employee’s W-2 in Box 12 with the code FF.

Which employers can offer QSEHRAs? To offer QSEHRAs, an employer (1) must not be an applicable large employers (ALE) under the ACA and (2) cannot offer group health plans to any of their employees. As such, an employer who offers group health coverage to some employees cannot offer a QSERHA to other employees. ALEs are subject to the ACA’s employer mandate and employers cannot avoid penalties simply by offering QSEHRAs. This means that only employers with less than fifty (50) full-time equivalent employees can offer this benefit. Which employees are eligible for QSEHRAs? Typically, if an employer wants to offer a QSEHRA, it will have to offer it to all employees who have completed at least 90 days of work although there are certain groups that can be excluded. Interaction between QSEHRAs and health exchanges Eligible employees must disclose to exchanges the amount of QSEHRA benefits available to them. The exchanges will account for the amount of the available benefit, even if the employee does not utilize it, and will likely reduce the amount of the subsidies available to employees. Employers should consider this before adopting a QSEHRA. Other administrative issues In order to establish a QSEHRA, employers will have to set up and administer a plan. Group health plan requirements, such as ACA reporting, and COBRA requirements do not apply to QSEHRAs.


Employers will likely have to establish reimbursement procedures. Additionally, any eligible employees must be notified of the arrangements in writing at least 90 days before the first day they will be eligible to participate. For this current year, the IRS is giving employers who implement QSEHRAs in 2017 an extension until March 31, 2017 to provide a notice. The notice must provide: • • •

The amount of the maximum benefit; That eligible employees inform health insurance exchanges that this benefit is available to them; and That eligible employees may be subject to the individual ACA penalties if they do not have minimum essential coverage.

Next Steps If small employers are interested in QSHERAs, they should ensure that they are not an ALE and that they are not offering health care coverage. If they are confident that they are able to establish QSHERAs, they should seek assistance from a third-party service provider who can establish the arrangement and perhaps assist in administering the reimbursements. SBT

Melissa Shimizu is an associate in the firm’s Irvine office. She advises clients with respect to all aspects of employee benefits, including retirement plans, health and other welfare benefit plans. She can be reached at


What Your IT Services

Provider Likely Isn’t Telling You BY CHRISTOPHER BUONO


f your business is evolving beyond your own handling of its IT, you know that it’s a lot for one person to manage. Many businesses, especially those in smaller markets, turn to small IT shops, getting the benefits of many hands and many minds. In fact, a survey by Clutch disclosed that within the U.S., roughly two-thirds of all small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) hired an IT services provider (also known as a managed service provider or MSP) during 2016. But customer satisfaction falls short. Recent customer satisfaction survey results (by SWC Technology Partners) suggest that only one-third of respondents would recommend their IT services provider to a friend or colleague. How do you tilt the scales more in your favor, with the goal of finding that exceptional IT firm to engage in a winwin partnership? Cutting through their assortment of promises (even the occasional “alternative fact”) is essential. Herein are seven misconceptions or obfuscations to avoid, or at least understand.

24x7 Doesn’t Always Mean 24x7 Any IT firm will have tools to remotely monitor your IT devices around-theclock (servers, workstations, network equipment). This is not 24x7 support. A true always-on service provider should have a capable technician available at all times. Scheduling a system administrator for on-call after-hours support is the industry standard for 24x7 availability. Although rare, true 24x7 (“always on” or “always there”) active operations is the gold standard.

You Will Be Assimilated IT service providers have been gaining efficiencies by forcing customers to conform to one standard package (vendor, model, architecture, and process)—one size fits all. But one size doesn’t fit all. Each industry is unique, and each business within it is unique. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need. ROI: All the Cool Kids Are Doing It Beware the boast: “We use the latest technology.” It’s human nature to want the latest/greatest thing, but that isn’t always best for your business. You must be concerned with your return on investment as well as your tolerance for risk (the newest products will have the most bugs). Ensure that the provider maintains a focus on your business and its goals, not technology. There is No ‘Perfect’ Pricing Model There are lots of pricing models: hourly, flat-fee, per person, per device, etc. Each has its pros and cons. • Hourly billing is good for clients who only want to pay for exactly what they get, who already have stable IT systems, and who are okay paying variable amounts as issues arise. The biggest downside: the IT company makes more money the more problems you have. • Flat-fee: you pay a regular (typically monthly) fee, and your IT company supports your systems. IT services providers following this model are called managed service providers (MSPs) because they agree to manage your systems for one consistent price. Before agreeing to an MSPtype agreement, make sure you understand what’s included, and

what’s not. The biggest benefit of a flat-fee engagement is that the service provider is motivated to get it right the first time. Hardware Has Become a Commodity Don’t choose a provider based on the brands they carry (computers, workstations, servers, and network equipment). The differences among brands are minor, and a year or two from now, those will leapfrog and be shuffled differently than they are today. Choose your next IT services provider based upon their service, not on the hardware they resell. Plan for the Worst You will have technical issues; they are unavoidable with software. Every device on your network will require regular maintenance (e.g., weekly or monthly); the complexity of IT systems dictates that problems will occur whether or not anyone has done anything wrong. It’s More Expensive, But Is It Better? Some service providers believe they add prestige by overcharging (“choose the most expensive wine, it must be good”). While some psychological studies support this technique (human nature being what it is), don’t be fooled. Read the service agreement, understand it, and weigh your options on their merits, not price alone. SBT

Christopher Buono is Chief Information Officer at Anteris Solutions, Inc., an IT service provider in western Massachusetts.,, 413551-4596 [ JULY 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 19


A Small Business Guide

to Customer Connection BY CHIP R. BELL


ustomers are favorably attracted to small businesses when they get a positive emotional connection. This means heart-touching encounters filled with spirit, caring and a positive attitude. Whether in line, online or face-to-face, customers recall the experience long after they’ve forgotten you met their need. Below are eight rules for building customer loyalty through emotional connections.

Listen to Learn, Not to Make a Point One challenge I had as a parent was listening with no agenda. When my son expressed any concern, I felt the need to make a point, teach a lesson, or offer advice. Most parents have that challenge. When I stopped trying to be a smart daddy and simply listened, my son began to trust me because he felt heard and valued. Customers are the same; give them your undivided attention.

Be the Attitude You Want Your Customers to Show We all enjoy serving happy customers. You can help them act pleasant by showing them how. Aim your best smile and warmest attitude toward your customer. Then, deliver a warm greeting that says: “I can’t wait to give you really great customer service.” Optimism and joy are contagious.

Find Customers, Don’t Make Them Find You Staff costs can be the most expensive item in the company. It can sometimes mean too many customers for the number of people to serve them. It also means being more assertive in finding customers to serve. Never let customers have to search for assistance. And, let your “how may I help you” sound like you mean it.

Never Let Customers Leave Disappointed Even if you can’t always give customers what they want, you can always give them a great service experience. Find a way to help. When you are not the best resource, help them find one that can meet their need. They’ll remember you cared and will come back. And make sure they leave remembering your upbeat disposition.

Fix the Customer, Not Just the Customer’s Problem It is not enough to fix a customer’s problem when things go wrong. Just as important is “fixing” the customer’s feelings. Give the customer a sincere apology, show you understand the concern, and let them see how fast you are working to get them back to normal. Follow-up after their disappointment to make sure they are okay.

“The Answer is ‘Yes,’ what’s Your Question?” This “we’ll figure out a way to do whatever you need” tells customers your utility has a “can do” attitude. Go out of your way to help. Show customers your pride. Try to never say “no” to customers unless their requests are inappropriate or unethical. Be optimistic you can meet their need. Great Manners Make Customers Loyal Customers enjoy good manners—the type your mother taught you. Even the crankiest, most challenging customer deserves your respect. Customers may not always be right, but they are always the customer. Your job is help them feel right. Remember: If they all decided to not return, you’d be out of a job or out of business! 20 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ JULY 2017 ]

Thank Customers Like You Really Mean it Customers love it when you tell them you appreciate their business. Sound enthusiastic! If you sound like a mechanical “thank-you-for-shopping-at-J-Mart” robot, they will remember your insincerity and not your gratitude. Give customers the best you have, the best will come back to you! SBT

Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several best-selling books. His newest book is Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles. He can be reached at


Negotiating Success: Turning A Negotiation Into An Opportunity BY GAIL STOLZENBURG


ne of the best examples of utilizing networking techniques is the business model of Relationsihp Marketing or as it is cometimes called Network Marketing, Direct Marketing, or MLM. We can learn so much from this business model. For over 30 years BNI, the world’s largest business referral organization called it “word-of-mouth-advertising”. Recently all of the wording has beenchanged to “Referral Marketing”. The law of reciprocity is the philosophy used in Relationship Marketing. The title on Robert Kiyosaki book The Business School says – For People Who Like Helping People. Paul Zane Pilzer, noted entrepreneur and economist, says Network Marketing will be the next trillion dollar industry. When Donald Trump was asked what he would do if he had lost everything and had to start over said, “Network Marketing.” Robert Kiyosaki says, “The wealthiest people in the world join or build networks. The rest of the people just look for work.” Warren Buffet owns a number of network marketing companies. Would you agree business is all about relationships? As Bob Burg says, “People do business with those they know, like, and trust.” When you attend an informational session for most direct marketing companies, the speaker will always talk about how important networking is developing a business. These sessions are great opportuniies for learning effective methods of building your business using networking. Go Pro, the bestseller written by Eric Worre discusses the 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional. They

are the exact same skills you will learn at many of the educational sessions of a business networking organiation.

and educsaation sessions where they can learn more. People love getting together. There is a yearning for belonging.

Here are the steps:

We teach in networking groups to never expecting overnight success. Anything worth while takes time. There is no Silver Bullet. Networking is all about building trust and rapport, so florists may generate income quicker than financial advisors. Network Marketers learn it is never Geting Rich Quick.

Step 1 is meeting people, having conversations, or finding prospects. Tom “Big Al” Schreiter has written dozens of books on that initial meeting describing “what you say and what you do.” Step 2 is inviting them to a meeting, what we call a 121 to learn more about them. Never try to sell someone when you first meet them. Step 3 is a presentation or sharing information on how you can help each other’s business. Most presentations are just a series of questions to learn. Step 4 is follow up, the part most people miss in networking. Network marketers use contact management systems to follow up. See how closely these first four steps follow what we teach beginning networkers? The last three steps complete the process. Step 5 is helping them to become a customer or client or at least helping them with their business. They remember how much you care. People buy how you make them feel. Step 6 is gettting them started right. Education is the key to becoming good networkers. Good networkers read at least one non-fiction book as week. Step 7 is promoting events, workshops,

In Dean Graziosi book on Millionaire Success Habirs he devotes an entire chapture on The Power of Story. Every successful network marketer has a great story. We have all heard Facts Tell and Stories Sell. The only thing people remember about your conversation is your stories. Other similarities between Networking and Relationahip Marketing include positivity, personal growth, accountability, personal and business relationships, low start-up costs, economy proof, enjoying people, quality products or services, being international, and fun. “Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for” – Christine Comaford-Lynch See you at the next networking event! SBT Gail “The Connector” Stolzenburg Author of “Connections Now – Contacts to Clients” 281 493 1955 [ JULY 2017 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 21


Three Ways to Maximize Success



et’s be honest: most small business owners like yourself are experts on your businesses, not your finances. Yet 40 percent of business owners still do their own accounting. It explains why more than a quarter of entrepreneurs in a recent survey have admitted to making a big financial mistake.

It’s difficult to completely understand the meaning behind company stats when you’re busy with other things like staffing and inventory management. This is where an accountant can help beyond the typical tax season visits. Accountants focus on one thing: your business’ financial health. They translate the numbers behind your business to help you better manage and grow your company. That’s why it’s important to find an accountant who uses cloud-based accounting software. With cloud-accounting tools, both you and your CPA can share, update and view data in real time. This gives you the right amount of control and visibility, and instills a checks-and-balances system to prevent any mistakes. Your accountant can then focus more on providing you proactive financial advice instead of spending hours correcting errors. So, what does this mean for you? Here are three ways you and your company can benefit by working with accountants year-round.

Discovering New Growth Opportunities The best accountant-entrepreneur relationships stem when you think of them as business partners, not another vendor. Working together beyond March and April, accountants can keep an eye on your books and manage your compa

That’s why it’s important to find an accountant who uses cloud-based accounting software. With cloud-accounting tools, both you and your CPA can share, update and view data in real time. ny financials. This gives them a deeper understanding of your business, which enables them to help you make and keep more money. You’ll receive more actionable insights on topics like tax deductions, budgeting and revenue projections. Most importantly, with a better knowledge of your books, accountants can find new areas of expansion to help grow your business.

Expecting the Unexpected Many business owners have a vision of where they want to take their company, but few have fully baked plans. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 50 percent of small businesses survive their first five years. It’s a daunting statistic, especially when you first start a company. This makes it even more important for you to map out a path to success. Accountants can revise your business plan to help you maintain a steady cash flow during the slow seasons. They can even develop contingency plans for unexpected problems. With a strategic partner at your side, you can improve your chances of surviving through difficult times.

Eafaearaf_Af]^Ú[a]f[a]k to ensure survival and growth As a business owner, money is constantly churning, whether it’s from an increase


in revenue or more spending to manage inventory. That makes it hard to pinpoint what’s draining your resources. While a lack of a new business pipeline is an important cause for business failures, cash flow is a bigger contributing factor. According to a US Bank study, 82 percent of businesses fail because of poor cash management. Working with an accountant enables them to monitor your cash flow and share timely advice about your business. By reviewing your invoices and other financial data, they can point out a slow collection of receivables and optimize the scheduling of bill payments. Additionally, accountants can alert you of unnecessary spending, minimize costs and recommend other ways to maximize your finances that you might not have considered. Running a business is hard, and finances and bookkeeping are often the worst part of owning a business. Despite being known for tax season prowess; accountants can do much more than file tax returns. By partnering with the right accountant year-round, you can discover new growth opportunities, prepare for unexpected risks and minimize any inefficiencies. SBT

Dr. Chandra Bhansali is the CEO of AccountantsWorld, the pioneer in cloud-based solutions designed exclusively for accountants. For more information, please visit


8 Ways To Avoid Confusion In The Workplace BY FABRICE DUMANS


e’ve all had bad experiences in the workplace caused by confusion or misunderstanding. The problem comes when the message you think you are sending is different from the message the recipient has understood. Confusion creates more confusion, and a lot of preventable conflict and stress can pile up before things get resolved. It’s much better to communicate clearly in the first place and avoid the unnecessary drama. Here are eight ways to do just that.

1- Choose the right channel Every communication you send should start with a simple question: “what’s the right way to send this message?” Faceto-face meeting? Instant messaging? Email? Video conference? They all have their strengths, and using the best one for each situation goes a long way toward clear communication.

2- Respect work-life boundaries A lot of clear communication comes down to respect. Respect that your colleagues, coworkers, and employees have their own lives outside of work, and their time is their own. So, unless it’s life-ordeath important, don’t expect them to reply asap to an email you send on the weekend, and don’t schedule a two-hour meeting on Friday at five.

3- Always answer “why?” In many cases, people misunderstand what you are asking in a message because you are not clear enough on your final goal. They might listen/read care-

fully to your detailed communication, Unfortunately, we are confrontbut as the “why” is not clear, they won’t ed with the feeling that speed be able to figure out the exact purpose is key for execution of your message. Telling people “why” is essential to giving them ownership over ed” for an action/reply is rarely very clear in an email. You know who sent it, and a shared project. maybe what it’s about, but not when (or even if) the sender wants an action or 4- Be clear on “what” you are expecting It’s easy to be inaccurate in our commu- reply. This leads people to feel like they nications, because of course we know need to respond to everything asap. Beexactly what we mean 100% of the time. ing clear on “when” is essential to preThe key is to look at every message you serving other people’s time, and yours. send with fresh eyes and ask yourself “if I had no idea what this was about, would /%<gflZ]Y^jYa\lgZ]kmZklYflan] I be able to get all the information I need Unfortunately, we are confronted with from this message?” Another trick to the feeling that speed is key for execumaking sure we say “what” is to make tion. Too often this rush creates sloppisure we’re not spending too much time ness and inaccuracy, and a ton of wasted just describing the context/problem time and clutter as a chain of follow-up without specifically highlighting the ac- messages tries to clear everything up. When substance is called for, feel free to tion required. take your time and get it right.

5- If you work with experts, leave the “how” to them If you work with experts, don’t tell them how to do something. They are supposed to know better than you—that’s why they have the job. If you get involved in the “how”, your experts might consider your advice as an order and will do it your way to avoid conflict. Much better to point the way toward the destination and show your team that you are confident they will find the best way there on their own.

6- The “when” is absolutely crucial Time is our most precious resource. In the workplace, we always feel under pressure. The same is certainly true with email and other communications. But if you look carefully at the current situation, you will discover that “time expect-

8- Sometimes, to avoid confusion, do nothing! A simple rule is sometimes to wait one or two days before sending a message to your team, especially if it is something that you decided on in an emotionally charged moment. You will see that it is better to wait, so your ideas become more clear and more rational. A good idea will never go bad after a couple of days, but plenty of not-so-good ones that seemed brilliant at the time will benefit from a little waiting period and revisiting down the road. SBT Fabrice Dumans, Founder & CEO of Timyo 310-777-7546



Financial Astrology July 2017 BY CHRISTI RUIZ

olar Eclipse on 8/21/17 effect begins up to 90 days prior to actual event. This will be only over the USA and will bring possible military mobilization and/or natural disasters. Possible political peace agreements as well, I will explain more details in August.


very cautious about your comments even if they are well intended. Conflicts can erupt very easily during this moon phase. New Moon will have you spending more on satisfying a yearning or an urgent emergency. Initiate new projects/change and renew influential contacts.

Full Moon on the 8th will be in Capricorn and have us focusing on income, investments and security. New Moon on the 23rd will be in Leo and we will be able to set intentions related to creativity, performance, developing talents, and public recognition.

Leo July 23rd to August 22nd – Full Moon will bring up your recessed feelings that can affect your business or relationships. Remember emotional reactions lead to poor decisions. New Moon will be energizing, motivating action based on heart-centered desires. Work on overcoming sensitivity.

Aries March 21st to April 20th – Full Moon will bring emotional difficulties seek self control and provide security and stability options in your office or business. New Moon will give you the opportunity to set things in motion to manifest positive change in your business. Do not provoke or initiate challenges with others at this time. Taurus April 21st to May 21st – Full Moon warns of relations with others that can become explosive in conversation or negotiations. Do not push things to extremes, because there will be no going back. New Moon Focus your attention on activity and fresh starts. Avoid mental strain over business and use caution on signing of documents. Gemini May 22 to June 21 – Full Moon will bring your attention to recent financial dealings which may be unsettling. Don’t allow your emotions to overrule your head on matters of income or credit decisions. New Moon will give you the opportunity to use your assertive personality and talents to win over new business negotiations. This is not the time to make hasty business moves. Cancer June 22nd to July 22nd – Full Moon do not get on any one’s bad side, be

Virgo August 23rd to September 23rd – Full Moon will be accompanied by Pluto brining power dynamics that will create all or nothing situations. Keep things in perspective. New Moon will have you focusing your attention on contemplative matters. The emphasis this month is on your business income and any changes needed. Libra September 24th to October 23rd – Full Moon will set off emotional complications, competition, or problems between work and home, balance your priorities. New Moon will allow you to set your intentions for social engagements, your hopes, and dreams. Take care of financial obligations this month as well as solidifying your credit rating. Scorpio October 24 to November 22 – Full Moon two options a positive side is to focus your determination on succeeding at all costs or your negative side can be as an extremist and take things past the point of no return. New Moon you will need to take dynamic action for your business/job, and goals. The emphasis this month will be on your plans for future business, income and all that is important to you.


Sagittarius November 23 to December 21st – Full Moon is all about money and resource management. Put in order your credit and debt accounts to create a leaner future budget. New Moon sets free all of your creative juices use them to make money. Watch legalities and inheritances documents. Capricorn December 22nd to January 20th – Full Moon will bring any lingering tensions between you and a partner or adversary to a head. Avoid giving ultimatums unless you are really done with that situation. New Moon can bring a question involving finances or investments to a head in the coming month and a decisive action will be needed. Aquarius January 21 to February 19th – Full Moon may force you to focus on the balance between getting your work done and tending to your health. Take time to recharge your energies and your ambitions. New Moon will be in your commitment zone secure your ties with all those you deal with in your business. Keep up to date with all the new things in your business, which will bring more income. Pisces February 20th to March 20th – Full Moon can generate plenty of drama. Be careful not to surrender to extreme reactions, because it can take you to the point of no return. New Moon the more confident you are, the more you will be able to accomplish. This is the month to highlight your social activities for they can bring you income. Do not take hasty or risky financial actions.SBT Love & Light, Christi Ruiz Business and Spiritual Life Coach O: 713-773-0333 C: 281-904-2658

Small Business Today  

July 2017 | Houston

Small Business Today  

July 2017 | Houston