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www.fluenthustle.com Vol 1 • Issue 1 June 2020


Robinson Custom Cleaning on Sanitizing the City, Facing Fears and How a Team Can Change Your Business


How Denver’s Entrepreneurs are Staying Positive and Succeeding

Denver’s Bar Helix Answers Big Questions & Pushes Through Amidst Uncertainty

Ink Monstr On Face Masks, Emotional Strength and Pivoting Your Business


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The Commons on Champa was founded in 2015 by the Downtown Denver Partnership in partnership with the City and County of Denver, Colorado Technology Association and nearly 20 community partners. The Commons is a nonprofit entrepreneurial community hub in Downtown Denver where entrepreneurs can find the resources, programs and community they need to start and grow a business.

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CIRCUITOUS ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY HELPS ANSWER THE BIG QUESTIONS Kendra Anderson of Bar Helix reflects on the hardships of restaurant ownership and looks forward at the future.


ALL IN THIS TOGETHER Jason Robinson of Robinson Custom Cleaning leans on his team to lead his business in the face of COVID-19 fears.

ON THE COVER www.fluenthustle.com Vol 1 • Issue 1 June 2020


Robinson Custom Cleaning on Sanitizing the City, Facing Fears and How a Team Can Change Your Business


How Denver’s Entrepreneurs are Staying Positive and Succeeding

Denver’s Bar Helix Answers Big Questions & Pushes Through Amidst Uncertainty

Ink Monstr On Face Masks, Emotional Strength and Pivoting Your Business



Fluent Hustle | June 2020


FACE MASKS, EMOTIONAL STRENGTH AND PIVOTING YOUR BUSINESS Reed Silberman of Ink Monstr talks about hardship, positivity, and moving forward in the face of uncertainty.

DEPARTMENTS ‘Frontline Fighter’ from the series called ‘Walls of Gratitude’. Austin Zucchini is a Denver street artist. His current public work aims to spread Gratitude across Colorado by highlighting different professions and people. He works in a unique pointillism style mixing in spray paint and acrylic brushwork.


Key Considerations for Master Service Agreements in the Time of COVID-19


The Secret to Improving Employee Engagement


Received SBA Funding? It’s time to get your books right.



ENTREPRENEURS, PROFESSIONALS, AND ASPIRING LEADERS: This magazine is for you! Our goal is to empower, educate, and entertain you. We want to highlight the communities throughout the Denver Metro featuring local stories and resources to support navigating your business journey, no matter where you are in the process. It has been a long time dream of mine to share the stories of entrepreneurs. When I started Fluent Hustle in 2017, the vision of cataloging stories of brave entrepreneurs came to life. As I progressed in my business, I saw more opportunities to share stories and resources with the entrepreneurs I know and love so much.

 Publisher Ira Coleman Editor Leah Rybak Graphic Design Corporate Imagination Contributing Writers Leah Rybak Steven Crawford Kaleigh Canavan Becky Stifter

And thus, Fluent Hustle Magazine was born. Like many of the entrepreneurs featured here, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken my sense of security and the future. Yet, as I look around me at the community here in Denver, others perseverance and perspective drives me forward every day. This inaugural issue is dedicated to all of us that are holding on during the uncertainty of this pandemic. All of us are dreaming of a day when our businesses will be running at full capacity again. And all of us waking up every day continuing to push forward, regardless of circumstance. I hope these stories and resources lift your spirits, as they did mine. If you would like to be featured or have any requests for future issues, please reach out to me.

© 2020 Fluent Hustle. All Rights Reserved. Printed in U.S.A. Published 12 times a year by IrBiz, LLC. Fluent Hustle and IrBiz, LLC neither endorse nor take responsibility for products or services advertised herein. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without permission from the publisher. IrBiz, LLC makes no warranty, representation or guarantee as to the accuracy or timeliness of its content. The publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertising at any time. To submit a news item or offer a feature story idea to Fluent Hustle, email speak@fluenthustle.com. To advertise in Fluent Hustle or to receive a media kit, email speak@fluenthustle.com.

Here’s to the future. Sincerely,

Ira Coleman


Ira Coleman Founder and Publisher

June 2020 | www.fluenthustle.com


Circuitous Entrepreneurial Journey Helps Answer The Big Questions Kendra Anderson of Bar Helix reflects on the hardships of restaurant ownership and looks forward at the future


enver’s RiNo Art District Bar Helix owner Kendra Anderson reflects on the hardships of restaurant ownership and looks forward to the future with Fluent Hustle Magazine.


The Beginning

Restaurant and bar ownership is a unique kind of entrepreneurial journey. That’s why, after years of waiting tables throughout college, when Kendra Anderson graduated from college, she went straight into the corporate world and didn’t look back...until her mid-twenties. Feeling unfulfilled and disconnected with the corporate world, Anderson started waiting tables at nights and on weekends for some extra spending money and to add some passion back into her life. She also fostered an extreme passion for hosting parties and cooking for friends and family throughout this time. After three years of waiting tables part-time, she decided it was time to pursue cooking and took night classes to get her culinary degree. The idea of her own catering company came into play at this time. All while still holding her corporate job, she catered and pursued one of her other true passions, wine, and became a sommelier. In 2012, the vision of a brick and mortar bar became Kendra’s main goal. At this time, the landscape of the Denver bar scene was much different from what it is now, almost eight years later. There were dive bars and craft bars, but nothing in-between. “Nothing that I could feel was grown up and yet approachable,” Kendra says of her bar journey. “As a sommelier, there was no bar that had a great negroni AND a great wine list. Thus the vision for BarHelix (it wasn’t originally called that) was born, and five years later, it came to fruition.” Now, the RiNo community and Anderson have had three years of cocktails, culinary creations, and a sophisticated yet approachable bar that specializes in Negronis, a specialty cocktail, with a killer wine list to boot. Bar Helix is the only Negroni cocktail specialty bar outside of New York City. Yet, it hasn’t been easy, Anderson explains. “Lots of businesses are difficult, and certainly, most entrepreneurial endeavors have their challenges, but running a bar and restaurant is right up there with one of the more challenging,” Anderson says. “We were never in a great position, just given the


Fluent Hustle | June 2020

dynamics of the economy and the industry in Denver. So it has been an uphill battle since the minute the doors opened.” The beginning of 2020 was marking an uphill curve for Bar Helix. The bar was on a positive trajectory, seeing higher numbers than ever before, and Anderson was optimistic about the future. Anderson and their team had made tweaks to their business plan, and their cocktails were selling, the community was engaging, and even in the high-density RiNo neighborhood, the bar was improving their business.

Screeching Halt

While Anderson’s first three years of business with Bar Helix were far from easy, nothing could have prepared her for the typhoon of emotions and challenges that were to come her way.

The Vision for the Future

Now, with no opening date for restaurants or bars set, Anderson is wondering how long her entire industry can withstand this uncertainty and sustain in the future. Anderson describes the “ragtag” group of restaurateurs coming together, with support from Eat Denver, a group that supports bars and restaurants in the Denver-metro area. “One lesson I would take away from this, even though we are independent operators, we have a lot more in common than not,” she says of her. “The whole tagline of this pandemic is alone together, and it’s true of the restaurant industry. We are all independent with our unique concerns and challenges, but we have each other.” For Bar Helix and Anderson herself, the shining light throughout all of this is the restaurant community and their resilience.

On March 16th, along with every other bar in Colorado, Bar Helix was forced to close its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the shutdown occurred, Anderson describes a sense of shock. “Simultaneously heartbreaking and soul gutting,” Anderson says. “It’s easily the most surreal experience I think I’ve had in this journey. I thought I had seen a lot and experienced a lot, but nothing prepared me for this.” After two weeks of evaluations, figuring out plans, and then finally getting the go-ahead from the state to sell alcohol, Anderson was prepared to open for takeout and sell her batch cocktails with recipes and packaging that she had already created. Their signature cocktails became cocktail kits for takeaway in addition to small snacks and some food. Without any data or direction, Anderson and her team have stepped up to the plate. On deciding to move forward and push through, Anderson says: “So much of being an entrepreneur is about pivoting, adapting and surviving all the random surprises that come your way, so in some ways, it’s not that different,” she states. “It’s very different but not the muscle memory of having a weird set of circumstances thrown at you, and you have to with not very much time or information, figure out how you are going to solve it. It’s certainly a lot more frightening but doable.”

“I’m part of something that matters,” she states. “And we are all asking what do restaurants do in the future? How do we gather as a community to celebrate or cry, or be together, if this model can’t sustain itself? Even if my bar doesn’t make it to the other side, I know I want to be part of the solution to see how this, how some aspect of what restaurants and bars do sustains.” As Anderson pushes for a sustainable future for the restaurant industry, she is simultaneously keeping her bar afloat and remembering her passion for food and wine that brought her here.

Still, due to the shutdown and the restrictions, Anderson’s sales are only at 20% of last year’s revenue. She is applying for grants but is sustaining on sales from amazing regulars, and support from her two staff members and her restaurant industry community. June 2020 | www.fluenthustle.com


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All in this together

Jason Robinson leads his team in the face of COVID-19 fears BY LEAH RYBAK


fter twenty years in business, Jason Robinson of Robinson Custom Cleaning is shifting his business model and leading his team to persevere through these challenging times. Robinson Custom Cleaning is located in Arvada and serves the Denver Metro Area. They specialize in carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, pet & odor issues, wood floor rejuvenation, 24/7 water extraction, and much more. Robinson usually services businesses and individual homes but, most recently, has shifted to almost solely commercial disinfecting services. “We can’t control the virus,” Robinson comments. “But I’m grateful to be in the cleaning industry and restoration world for this piece of the puzzle. It is some of our only hope, besides science with a cure, for being able to facilitate decontamination of buildings and public spaces.” Right now, most of Robinson’s business is shut down, except for decontamination services and cleaning at commercial buildings and for construction sites. As businesses open up, he anticipates a shift back to cleaning restaurants and offices.


Fluent Hustle | June 2020

This shift may sound minor to some, but for Robinson, COVID-19 had shifted the entirety of his business. During all of this, however, his spirits, faith, and his team have stayed strong. Part of this is due to Robinson’s leadership, calm and centered business approach, and years of growth while enduring hardship. Robinson has learned a lot in twenty years of running his own business, alongside his family. But one thing holds to be most prevalent: Robinson surrounds himself with the best team imaginable and supports that team no matter what.

His Banker

In the middle of this crisis, Robinson sought assistance from his bank, only to be left high and dry. His personal savings was initially acting as the full support for his business. “The first negative experience throughout this all was with my bank,” Robinson says. “I banked with the same credit union for 22 years, but they totally failed me. I needed help and someone to talk to, and they shut their doors and sent their phones to an automated system. I feared not only for the business piece but also for my finances.”

But, through his years of networking, he found the help he needed. A banker named Annie Hammond from Sunflower Bank, who Robinson had met through the Applewood Business Association was the missing piece to the puzzle. Hammond not only encouraged him to apply for the loans and grants but checked in on him. She reminded him to put down his ego and do what it takes to help his business. “I’ve been that guy before where I turned down help, and my business didn’t grow the way it needed to, he said. “So I put down my ego and applied. It’s going to create a cushion to help me continue to do my business.” After a few tries, Hammond helped Robinson receive both the paycheck protection program loan and the economic injury disaster loan.

committed to keeping his staff paid and as positive as possible.

a personal touch is added by every team member.

“We pay our people well,” Robinson said. “We are just trying to keep them positive and taken care of because it’s a scary thing going into homes and restaurants during this pandemic.”

Now, with distancing, the team has adapted to verbal appreciation, talking over fears with clients, and distanced support for all parties involved. His team is still working hard every day and supporting each other.

A few of Robinson’s staff members have weakened immune systems or complications throughout all of this. He has worked hard to continue to keep them on the payroll and continue to support them. His team is also volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House on their own time because they feel the heart and passion behind Robinson. Robinson mentions that the most challenging part of this has been the shift in customer interactions. In regular times, Robinson and his team are connecting deeply with their customers, giving hugs when needed, and sharing in their homes and offices. He calls these “positive moments of truth,” which he defines as all the moments that we have with people. From start to finish in his business,

His Faith & His Family

Throughout all of this, one thing has remained for Robinson: faith and perseverance with the support of his family. Robinson has four kids with his wife and business partner, Cynthia. Throughout 20 years of business, his family has stood by him and understands the big vision they have for their business. “I’m a faith-based person, and always with our team, we uplift one another and encourage one another,” Robinson says. “As we move forward here, they help me not to give up. I’m a fighter and will get up every day and keep pushing forwards.” Pushing forward is Robinson’s theme, and he has the support surrounding him to continue to do so.

“She didn’t give up on me,” Robinson said. “She was fighting for me. That’s what we do for our customers, and that’s what she did for me.”

His Team

Employees come first for Robinson. No matter what, Robinson has

June 2020 | www.fluenthustle.com


Face Masks, Emotional Strength and Pivoting Your Business BY LEAH RYBAK

Reed Silberman of Ink Monstr talks about hardship, positivity, and moving forward in the face of uncertainty.


Fluent Hustle | June 2020

Perseverance. Perspective. Emotional Growth.


eed Silberman of Ink Monstr credits his success to these three things during these trying times.

“Your perspective of the situation and how you choose to react to it is crucial,” Silberman, Founder, and CEO of Ink Monstr says. As a business owner and a person, Silberman is no stranger to hardship. He recalls coming close to shutting Ink Monstr’s doors 100 times. He never let it happen before, so there was no option but to stay open and running during COVID-19 times either. Within a week of the pandemic, Silberman lost every single one of his clients and future projects. Locally owned and operated close to Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High, Ink Monstr specializes in custom graphics, large format printing of stickers, banners, wall wraps, vehicle wraps, and installment all over the United States. After a record year in 2019, three months into 2020, and like most businesses in Colorado, all work came to a crashing halt.


So when Silberman and his team were faced with losing all their work, he credits staying calm and remaining creative. One team member applied for loans and grants, while the rest of the team pivoted their entire workforce to 1 product in just four days. That one product? Face masks. Ink Monstr had a small portion of its business that focused on private

label manufacturing, which used to be around 12% of its gross sales. Now, with facemask production it has grown to 90% of gross sales, the team has increased fourfold, and Ink Monstr had a record April. Not to mention that overhead has increased, new machinery and staff were added to the roster, and the team is on their third iteration of mask design. All while social distancing, working remotely, taking staff temperatures multiple times a day, and abiding by all of the statewide restrictions. “We are doing the best we can to shift and be nimble to navigate the restrictions and keep up with the ridiculous demand,” he says. Now, Ink Monstr is up to designing, printing, and shipping over 20,000 masks a week. Silberman projects that by mid-May production will be up to 50,000 masks a week with the addition of a pop-up shop in Denver. Ink Monstr’s face masks are locally designed, produced, and high quality. Not only are they breathable, moisture-wicking and have UPF-50, but they are stylish, well-fitting, and can be customized for businesses, corporations, or even the state of Colorado.


“It’s a win-win,” Silberman says. “Everyone on my team stays employed, I get to stay in business, and we are servicing a need in the community not just locally but nationwide.” About the future amidst the changing times, Silberman echoes what so many Denver local business owners know to be true. Things won’t return to “normal,” but this too shall pass. In the face of COVID-19, your goals remain paramount. “Nothing is forever,” Silberman says. “When you have a big picture vision and a big picture goal. Anytime you have negativity or fear, you always

get to connect to your goal, your motivation, your passion. Whether it’s this pandemic or speed bumps, it’s always going to be something. Keep pushing forward.” Silberman credits so much of his success to his fantastic team. They have been working day and night, literally adding a night shift for production, to keep the business afloat. “Seeing everyone come together, working hard, staying positive, putting in the effort and making it happen,” Silberman says. “They are doing whatever it takes.”


After 35 days of working straight himself, Silberman is more than determined to see his business succeed no matter what as well. Personally, the culmination of years of emotional growth, harnessing perspective to remain positive in the light of it all, is how Silberman credits his success during all of this. “All the work I’ve been doing emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually has all prepared me for this moment,” Silberman states. “This is the Superbowl for a small business. All the mistakes, pitfalls, and experiences I’ve had over the past 20 years has prepared me for this. These past few months have shown me how far I’ve come.” Speaking again of perseverance, Silberman encourages other small business owners around Denver to not be afraid to make mistakes or pivot during this uncertain time. “The faster you make mistakes, the faster you have the chance to be successful,” Silberman boldly states. Ink Monstr’s vision may have shifted, but their core has remained the same. They will always offer their traditional products and keep design at the forefront of their business, but at this time, facemasks are the name of the game. June 2020 | www.fluenthustle.com



Key Considerations for Master Service Agreements in the Time of COVID-19 BY BECKY STIFTER THESE “NEW NORMAL” TIMES DURING COVID-19 HAVE PRESENTED EMERGING GROWTH COMPANIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO HARNESS THEIR STRENGTHS OF CREATIVITY, SCRAPPINESS, AND HIGH-RISK APPETITES TO HELP STABILIZE AND CONTINUE GROWING THEIR BUSINESSES. In some cases, businesses have pivoted to help serve ancillary markets that have experienced increased demand during COVID-19 (e.g. education, emergency and healthcare supplies, and grocery). At the same time, the challenges facing emerging growth companies and small businesses cannot be ignored, including a sense of uncertainty around business contracts with service providers and customers. This outlines a few general trends that service providers and customers have taken to help combat some of the uncertainty during these times. 1. Force Majeure. “Force majeure” (aka the Acts of God) clauses have made the legal news headlines throughout COVID-19. This clause aims to exclude party liability for breach of contract where the delay or failure to perform is due to an external event that is outside of the reasonable control of the party who would otherwise be in violation of the agreement. This provision may specifically call out pandemics or include language likely encompassing a pandemic (e.g. public health crisis). Service providers or customers who have found it impossible or impractical to perform under a services agreements due to COVID-19 may consider trying to exercise their rights under a force majeure provision to terminate or suspend a service agreement without being in default. 2. Time Extensions. If the services aren’t impossible or extremely difficult to perform but will take additional time to complete, the service provider and customer can discuss whether a time extension is appropriate. For example, if the original term of the agreement was 12 months, and due to the pandemic 18 months is a more reasonable timeline for completion, the parties could amend the MSA to reflect an adjusted term. In some cases, a time extension will be favorable for both the service provider and customer because the service provider will have more time to perform its obligations and the customer will have additional time to pay the associated fees. 3. Fees. As mentioned above, some customers may appreciate additional time to pay the service fees, however, this is not generally the most favorable outcome for the service providers. Due to the ever-evolving times 14

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and uncertainty around fee collections, service providers could give their customers both extensions on payments and incentive to pay early or on time. For example, some service providers may consider a 5-10% discount or credit for customers who pay on time or early. 4. Covenant Waivers. Most master service agreements include restrictive covenants, such as non-competition, non-solicitation, and insurance requirements that may have become additionally burdensome on either party due to COVID-19. For example, the insurance premiums may have increased for some highly affected industries, and because of this reality, the insurance requirements under the service agreement might become burdensome for the service provider stay in compliance with the originally agreed to insurance limits. In such an instance, the parties can agree to waive or amend the applicable restrictive covenant to provide the service provider with some relief during these uncertain times.

“ ” As a result of COVID-19, a handful of industries have seen a shift towards working from home.

5. Notices. As a result of COVID-19, a handful of industries have seen a shift towards working from home. Although most startups are used to working remotely, this sudden change may require updates to the notice provisions in service agreements due to the unavailability to receive notice at the addresses originally included upon execution of the agreement. Generally, notice provisions provide each party with the option to send updated contact information to the other party via written notice. As a protective measure, service providers and customers should consider sending their counterparties a notice via email (or as otherwise available under the agreement) with the updated contact information. The above list is certainly not an exhaustive list or necessarily applicable to every service provider or customer, however, it provides a general insight and overview of key provisions of master service agreements considering COVID-19. THIS MATERIAL IS INTENDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. FOR LEGAL ISSUES THAT ARISE, THE READER SHOULD CONSULT LEGAL COUNSEL

June 2020 | www.fluenthustle.com



The Secret to Improving Employee Engagement BY STEVEN CRAWFORD

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT RATES ARE HIGHEST THEY’VE BEEN IN NEARLY TWO DECADES, AND IF YOU ASK ME, THERE’S A GOOD REASON FOR THAT. According to Gallup, 26% of employees were engaged at work in 2000, but in the most recent 2018 study, that number has risen to 34%. The main reason that employers should be concerned about employee engagement is because organizations with high engagement rates have a 21% higher profitability than those with low engagement rates. So, what has led to this new rise in employee engagement? Well, employers are changing the way they operate, and they’re implementing new programs that support the physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing of their employees. Take Bank of America for example— they’ve rolled out a new brand positioning that focuses on the impact individuals can have when they believe in their power. Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, believes that “when companies focus on employees first, effectively, in the end, shareholders do well, the customers do better, and your staff remains happy.” Simply put, 16

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the secret to increasing employee engagement is putting employees first, and prioritizing their happiness and well-being above the actual work they’re doing. For any organization trying to improve their employee engagement and satisfaction rates, these are the four key areas they should be focusing their time, energy, and money on.

Recognizing Performance

Employee recognition plays a critical role in employee engagement, yet one study found that 40% of employees believe that it’s not a priority in their organization. In order for employees to feel engaged with the work they’re completing, they need to feel like the work matters. According to a Canadian workplace study, when employees were asked where their managers could improve their engagement, 58% responded with “give recognition.” Why? Because when employees feel valued and appreciated, they’re more motivated to do their job effectively, which leads to a higher employee output and eventually increases organizational profit in the long run. Increasing employee

recognition can be done internally within an organization, or it can be done through a third-party to ensure every employees’ input is heard and validated.

Increasing Leadership Development

It was recently determined that 70% of the variance in employee engagement is determined by the quality of the manager. Team leaders have the ability to influence the work that employees are doing, and if they are not properly trained on how to use that power, they could negatively impact employee satisfaction. However, it’s important to realize that not all development programs are built the same—if you want to have a high ROI and truly change the way your managers lead, it’s vital to invest in a developmental training experience that is customized to your organization. Rather than the generic one-program-fits-all development strategy, customized trainings are catered to your organization and employees, meaning the training is specifically created for your specific needs and goals. For example, Take Back Your Life! 1:1 Coaching sessions

are never the same, as each one is specifically built for the leader going through the program. If you want to make sure that your employees are happy and engaged with their work, developing the individuals who lead them is a great place to start.

Creating Opportunities for Growth

As stated in Forbes, “Employees will always perform at their best when the environment is conducive to growth.” It’s as simple as that. Many people assume that growth is indicative of promotions, which frankly, isn’t always the case. There are many different ways that managers and organizations can offer growth opportunities to their employees without offering them a new title. For example, offering employees financial growth or personal growth are often just as effective as offering them career growth. When employees feel like they have something to work towards, and they don’t feel stagnant in their current position, they’ll be much more invested in their role. One of the best ways to offer opportunities for growth is by investing in an organization or departmentwide training, which will hone in on each person’s strengths, and show them how they can grow in their role and in the company.

Focusing on Physical and Emotional Well-Being

A recent study found that two-thirds of full-time employees experience burn out at work, which essentially translates to low engagement, poor performance, and decreased job satisfaction. Employee burnout can trigger a downward spiral for both the individual and organization, so companies should always take precautionary measures to avoid it. For starters, companies can implement well-being initiatives that teach employees how to better manage their workload, which leads to a greater work-life balance. Additionally, they can urge employees to use their paid-time-off, as it allows them to disconnect from work for a while, and come back refreshed and reenergized. Individuals that are living balanced lives are often the most successful ones, which is why organizations should always prioritize improving the physical and emotional well-being of their employees. When it comes to improving employee satisfaction and engagement, sometimes simpler is better. Focusing on these three initiatives will not only make employees feel more valued and secure in their role, but they’ll also feel better about themselves in regards to their personal lives, too. Not every organization can offer Google-level perks like nap-pods and massage rooms, but every organization can make it a goal to improve the way employees feel about their work. If your organization could use assistance in improving or focusing on any of these three areas, contact me at Steven.Crawford@McGheePro.com to learn more about our Accountability, Alignment, Workflow, and Wellbeing programs.


Received SBA Funding? It’s time to get your books right. BY KALEIGH CANAVAN IN RESPONSE TO THE GIANT ECONOMIC IMPACT, THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA) HAS ROLLED OUT A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT FUNDING OPTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES TO PROVIDE SOME RELIEF DURING THIS TIME. However, each of these programs comes with some very specific guidance on what you are and are not allowed to spend these funds. For many entrepreneurs, this means they are going to have to carefully track these expenses in real time where they have never done that before. It’s time to admit that a shoebox and a spreadsheet aren’t enough. So, what’s next? Hire a bookkeeper. A real, qualified bookkeeper. When you’re considering hiring someone to do your books, you should ask them how much experience they have (specific to accounting), how long they have been doing this kind of work, what education they have in accounting and what resources they have available to them should they get stumped. There’s going to be a cost to hiring someone who knows what they are doing and can do it well, but the cost of having someone who is NOT qualified to do it could be far greater. The SBA is going to be wanting proof of how you spent the funds during certain periods of time. They will want to see detailed reports about your commercial rent or mortgage, payroll-related costs, business-related utilities, and overall sales and expenses for your company. If you have those reports at the ready and are able to provide the amounts, dates, and vendors for your qualified expenses, you should be in really good shape. If you’re not able to quickly and readily provide the information the SBA is requesting at the time of the request, you run the risk of having violated the terms of your loan or grant and could have all or a portion of the amount that normally could have been forgiven converted to a loan. June 2020 | www.fluenthustle.com


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