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volume one issue two

Excel Tire Gauge

where INFLATION has a positive meaning

Do You Have a Big BUT A City Built for & Run by Kids:

Education in Action

Business Lessons from a Yoga Practice Take A Break, Will Ya?


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Gil Lantini | FROM THE FOUNDER

from the founder Welcome to Issue #2 of the Rhode Island Small Business Journal. Thank you to everyone who reached out with support and feedback following the release of our premier issue. We’d especially like to Melissa Black, Wendie Tobin, Nancy Thomas and Victoria Arocho for their ongoing commitment to helping us make each issue of RISBJ more targeted, focused and appealing. We welcome back many of our contributors from last month and we are excited to introduce new contributors Robert Beadle of Northeast Public Relations, Dave Marcello of DISRUPTIVE, John Rooke of FraNet and David Lucier of Lucier CPA’s. For those who joined us at the Startup RI Launch Party on January 31, you know what an incredible networking opportunity it was. Over 250 people packed Aspire Restaurant to network and listen to our esteemed lineup of speakers. We heard John Robitaille, Mark Hayward, Josh Fenton, Jim

Bennett and Buddy Cianci talk about Rhode Island and how by working together as small business owners we can help pave the way for economic recovery. Since the Startup RI launch event, we travelled to Miami FL to attend the Startup America Regional Leaders Summit. We spent several days with some inspiring entrepreneurs from across the country as well as representatives from Dell, American Express, Microsoft, American Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange. One of the most powerful experiences of the summit was learning about The Launch Pad at the University of Miami. Working with students and alumni of the University, The Launch Pad serves both beginning and experienced entrepreneurs, assisting with opportunity recognition, feasibility assessment, and strategy for starting and growing companies or non-profits. Since its inception, the program has helped to create 110 new startup companies in Miami. Recently, we have spoken with several Universities locally that have fully supported the concept of a similar program here in Rhode Island. To keep up on our progress with Startup RI, visit http://ri.s.co/. Until next time…

Startup Rhode Island launch Party at Aspire Restaurant

IMAGES COPYRIGHT 2012 VICTORIA AROCHO, ROCKARHO MEDIA GROUP INC

Tuesday, 31st of January, 2012

please continue onto page 46 for more photos of the evening...


what’s inside this issue

36 51

Excel Tire Gauge

Business Lessons from a Yoga Practice

4

44 09

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


Secretary Of State

06

STARTUPS

14

24

26

Mind Your Own Brand W-2 or 1099 Score Tips Owning a Franchise

09 10 11 13

Featured City : Providence

14

Networking and Workshops

16

Government Contracting 101

19

SMALL BUSINESS On Twitter, Now What? Steps To Small Business Success A Sales Success Secret Five Tips To Retain Customers Solving The Retirement Dilemma Tiverton Four Corners Successful Wellness Program Is Radical Management Really So Radical? Become An A+ Employer Educators And Businesses Unconventional Marketing EE = EBITDA Sakonnet Farm How To Attract More Customers Untapped Resources

20 21 22 24 25 26 27 28

Featured Nonprofit

44

Golocalprov

46

30 32 33 34 40 42 43

WOMEN IN BUSINESS

52

Positive Business Take A Break, Will Ya? Questions & Answers Cristiana Quinn TWSS

50 52 53 54 55

Featured Chamber

56

Chamber Chat

58

Commercial Real Estate

60

Directory

66

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

5


SECRETARY OF STATE | Ralph Mollis

Secretary of State Mollis Releases 2011 Business Data

The steady decline in the number of new business starts over the past few years ended in 2011. For the first time since 2007, the number of new filings actually increased year-over-year. But, overall, the growth was modest, 6,846 in 2011 compared to 6,778 in 2010. As a basis for comparison, there were 7,837 start-ups in 2007. “Based on our work with start-ups all year long, we were pretty sure 2011 would be more hopeful. But we were surprised to see such an improvement,” said Mollis. And there have been three straight years of growth in any corporate business classification for the first time since 2007. The number of newly formed limited liability companies (LLCs) rose to 4,202 in 2011, up 4.8 percent compared to 2010 and 5.5 percent since the streak began in 2009. LLCs are a type of business entity that has the liabilityshield advantages of a corporation and the flexibility and tax passthrough advantages of a partnership. For several years, it has been growing in popularity compared to the for-profit corporate structure.

6

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

There are signs that the economic shake-out is not over, though. In 2011, 6,627 corporate entities disappeared in 2011, about 7 percent more than 2010 when 6,183 companies shut their doors. Still, Rhode Island did better than in 2008, when a record 7,071 companies went out of existence. “The state’s economic troubles have taken a terrible toll on Rhode Islanders. We can only hope the worst is behind us,” said Mollis. The Secretary of State’s office is often the first place Rhode Islanders stop when considering starting a business. The First Stop Business Information Center provides custom packages that make it easier to apply for financing, obtain permits and make contacts at every level government. “We cut red tape, offer free consulting services and created e-commerce tools to reduce paperwork. We’re focused on making it easier to start a business in Rhode Island,” Mollis explained.

there have been three straight years of growth in any corporate business classification for the first time since 2007 State law designates the Secretary of State’s office as the place for most types of corporate entities to register. In addition, the office oversees recording commercial liens, protecting corporate trademarks and maintains the records of notaries public. Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier for Rhode Islanders to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.

IMAGE COPYRIGHT SECRETARY OF STATE A. RALPH MOLLIS’ PHOTOSTREAM

Rhode Island’s entrepreneurs may be getting more optimistic about the economy’s recovery, based on new data from the Secretary of State’s office, which tracks yearly corporate filings. “The economy has had a traumatic few years, so let’s be careful about reading too much into these numbers. The pain isn’t over, but there are signs that things may be turning around,” said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.


Gil Lantini President, Founder Ralph Coppolino Vice President, Operations Danny Angeli Vice President, Business Development James Pardee Jr Creative Director and Designer Mike Casale Graphic Designer Aaron Cadieux Video Production Manager Contributing Writers Robert Beadle Melissa Black Lisa Buben Michael Casey Jeffrey Deckman Dan Feiner Josh Fenton Steve Gareau Michelle Girasole Mike Giuttari Adam Harvey Kevin LeBlanc Dave Lubelczyk Dave Lucier Dave Marcello Aileen McDonough Danielle Putier Patricia Raskin Dennis Rebello John Rooke Tim Sullivan Wendie Tobin Jim Wilkinson for a complete listing of our contributing writers and their bios, please visit www.risbj.com/authors

I can help you reach your milestones and all the mile-pebbles I will take the time to listen to you and understand your dreams, then find the appropriate financial solutions that can help you reach your individual goals. Because every dream is personal, and needs a personal plan.

Our Advisors. Your Dreams. MORE WITHIN REACH® Call me today at (401) 824.2530 Danny DeHoney, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CRPC®

175 Hillside Road Cranston, RI 02920

Vice President

www.facebook.com/risbj twitter.com/risbj 401 489 6089 info@risbj.com www.risbj.com ©MMXII Rhode Island Small Business Journal

401-824-2530 danny.p.dehoney@ampf.com www.ameripriseadvisors.com/danny.p.dehoney

Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. Some products and services may not be available in all jurisdictions or to all clients. Ameriprise Financial cannot guarantee future financial results. © 2011 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

7


The Met : Hope Artiste Village

1005 Main Street, Pawtucket, Rhode Island Tuesday, May 1, 2012 6pm-10pm Honoring Donald R. Grebien, Mayor of Pawtucket with Celebrity Host Barbara Morse Silva, NBC 10

Create Peace of Mind™.

Your donation of $50 grants you admission to an evening of live music, great food and drink, and a wide variety of artistic expression throughout the venue. There will be a silent auction, raffle and even a PeaceLoveTini, all to benefit PeaceLove Foundation. Dress is casual so feel free to wear your favorite PeaceLove tee!

For more information visit peacelovestudios.com

get your PeaceLove on! Our clients know we’re here for them year-round, not just at year-end.

JAMES J. PRESCOTT PETER L. CHATELLIER DAVID A. FONTAINE JAMES D. WILKINSON DEBRA A. MITCHELL

AT BRAVER, IT’S THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS.

ROBERT J. CIVETTI

155 South Main Street Providence, RI 02903 401 421 2710 www.thebravergroup.com

NEWTON

8

BOSTON

TAUNTON

PROVIDENCE

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

CONCORD


Mind Your Own Brand | STARTUPS

by Dave Lubelczyk

MYOB

Do You Have a Big BUT My family and I went to a new restaurant for lunch. The food was great, the decor was very nice, the wait staff was friendly, BUT it took forever to get our order. They were extremely under staffed for the number of tables they were trying to serve. This simple problem made a potentially extraordinary experience less than ordinary. To make matters worse the staff did nothing special to alleviate the pain of our unusually long wait and therefore they lost a possible opportunity to gain an advocate. Now if someone asks what I think of this restaurant, I will be hesitant to give a glowing review and if I do suggest this place, there will be a big BUT.

now is the time for you and your team to get off your butts and build a brand culture A person’s perception of a brand is determined by everything that company says and does. Consequently even the most insignificant glitch can create a big BUT in a potential advocate’s mind. Therefore, it is necessary for small businesses to eliminate their BUT’s by reviewing all areas of their business. In doing this, you must remember that eliminating BUT’s does not require perfection. No matter how hard you try, you won’t always be perfect. Things don’t always go as planned and people will make mistakes. Therefore, you must create an organizational culture which strives for extraordinary experiences not perfection. Within this culture your team will be able to handle any situation that arises in a way that is appropriate and extraordinary.

If an experience falls short of customer expectations, your team must be able to make up for it in an extraordinary way. If they only react in the expected way, customers will feel slighted and it will make a bad situation worse. Mistakes can be the best opportunity to create a memorable experience and missteps are often the best time to provide an experience which recruits an advocate. Only if your team understands expectations, lives up to organizational standards, and eliminates the BUT’s, will they provide customers with an experience that is consistent with the brand promise. By evaluating every point of contact between your company and potential advocates, you can then give your team the basic rules, expected outcomes, and the resources to get the job done. Armed with these tools, your team will be able to provide extraordinary experiences which eliminates the BUT’s and therefore recruits loyal advocates. Do you have a BUT? How big is it? What is it doing to the value of your brand? Is it keeping your small business from recruiting advocates and being successful? If so, what are you doing about it? So, what are you waiting for? Now is the time for you and your team to get off your butts and build a brand culture that eliminates your BUT’s on a daily basis.

Dave Lubelczyk Image Identity www.imageidentity.com

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

9


STARTUPS | W-2 or 1099

W-2 1099 OR

It is a well-proven fact that jobs are a cornerstone of economic stability, whether on the national, state or local level. In addition, many metrics that measure the success of your business focus on employment levels; looking at job creation numbers, fulltime equivalent staffing, and growth in payroll dollars, among other statistics. However, recent experience with Rhode Island small businesses has shown that uncertainty surrounding our local economy is causing business owners great reluctance in adding employees to their payroll. This is especially true amongst start-up ventures, where the ancillary costs of payroll taxes, workers compensation insurance, and other employee benefits cause significant impact beyond the level of wages paid. We are seeing more and more examples where potential employers are deciding to classify new “hires” as independent contractors, where the business can attempt to escape the burden of payroll taxes and benefits. This classification decision is one that comes with significant risks; one where incorrect reporting of these positions can quickly sink your venture. So, what are the risks? They are many, and come from regulators like the IRS, U.S. Department of Labor, and state taxation and labor offices, as well as the misclassified employees themselves. While classification challenges brought by the IRS and state taxation offices are examining the proper assessment of taxes on wages and can be very costly, actions of labor regulators deal with compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act along with state wage and hour laws and very often carry the most cost and impact on small businesses and their owners. There is no doubt that over the recent past, we are seeing more regulator action challenging worker classification than at any time in my 27 years working with small business clients. Beyond the intention to save on payroll taxes and benefit expenses, compliance with the laws and regulations governing employee classification can be complicated by the varying levels of rules that can apply to a single position. Although one can correctly follow the rules governing an independent contractor’s eligibility for unemployment benefits under state

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? law, the IRS may separately determine that the individual is an employee for Social Security, Medicare and income tax withholding purposes. Certainly, your evaluation of employee classification must take all relevant factors into account, so it is important to know the rules that will apply to your situation. Years ago the IRS had published a discussion on employee classification that reviewed 20 common attributes which made the evaluation process a relatively objective exercise – based on the answers to the 20 areas, which side of the argument scored more than 10 affirmative answers? While these 20 questions are still a valid tool in the process, they are by no means a safe-harbor evaluation. The key factor under most of

this classification decision is one that comes with significant risks the relevant laws and regulations is the degree to which the business controls the work that is performed by the individual. If the business controls, or has the ability to control, where, when and how the work is performed, then it is more likely that the individual is an employee and should be paid wages subject to customary tax withholdings and reported on Form W-2 at the end of the year. On the contrary, if the individual has control over the timing, methods, and location of where the work can be done (works off-site, uses their own equipment, sets their own hours, etc.), then independent contractor status may be applicable and require reporting on Form 1099-Misc, without tax withholdings, at year-end. In addition to your own, independent analysis, consider reviewing treatment of similar individuals by others in your industry, as common practices specific to your line of business is a factor that should be considered. Also, consulting with your employee benefits advisor, attorney, accountant, and perhaps even an inquiry to the Department of Labor and Training is warranted in situations that are not clear-cut.

James D. Wilkinson CPA/CITP Braver PC

10

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


Score Tips | STARTUPS

Don’t Be Afraid to Try When I bought my first business with my partner - a company manufacturing large farm machinery used for soil preparation and a line of front end loaders used on farm tractors - I spent about six weeks out in the plant. The idea was that fresh eyes might see things that previous observers had not. One day I was working with several guys on a large shear cutting heavy sheet metal to the proper sizes. Everything came and went with the help of lift trucks. Since the parts were large, the trips to remove them and bring additional raw materials were pretty frequent. Even though we had six lift trucks and operators theoretically available at all times, it was rare for one to be nearby when we needed it. The practice was to send someone to find a free one - sometimes we even sent two people. Needless to say, the process shut down while we waited meaning that we lost several minutes for each load cycle. One day I got frustrated, picked up a nearby phone, dialed the intercom number and hollered “lift truck to the shear, lift truck to the shear”. Almost immediately, one drove up. From that day forward, the cycle time was shortened and we quit sending men in search of things that were needed. We eventually replaced the intercom method with radios, but the principal of letting voice communications do the jobs previously done by feet remained. The moral of the story is that you should never assume that the way things are being done is the best way to do them. Often a new method can save time and money, so don’t be afraid to try. Dave Herbst | RI Score Counselor

Board of Directors - Privately Owned Companies Even though your business is privately owned, and probably small in size, you may wish to consider forming a Board of Directors. The Board members will give you direction and invaluable advice. Since an individual business owner cannot be an expert in every business function, growth will likely be stymied if the owner tries to do everything himself. An open minded owner will seek the advice of others who will share their know-how and experience - what better choice than your own Board?

Having the Right Network Makes All the Difference Cisco’s Borderless Networks and Atrion SMB connect anyone, anywhere, on any device, at anytime. By linking together users, devices, and applications, you can connect securely and communicate more effectively. Contact Atrion SMB today at info@atrionsmb.net or by calling (401) 825-4422 to learn more about how they can provide highly secure yet flexible access to your business needs to stay competitive.

The owner would probably be the Chairman, and select 3 to 5 other managers who can provide the expertise the owner may lack (such as legal, finance, insurance, advertising, etc.). The business’s lenders will likely favor the owner who is open minded and uses the Board as a “sounding board” prior to making major decisions. The private company owner who uses a Board will also have a leg-up should he plan on selling the business, or consider selling an ownership interest, or contemplate an IPO to monetize his personal investment. By R Keller | RI SCORE Counselor

Rhode Island SCORE provides FREE, confidential counseling to small businesses in Rhode Island. For more information call 401-528-4561 or email info@riscore.org

Scan or visit http://bit.ly/

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

11


HOSPITALITY AVAILABLE AT THE DUNKIN’ DONUTS CENTER SPORTING EVENTS CONCERTS MEETINGS SHOWS

Contact Providence Sports & Entertainment

401-680-4716 or jeff.guarino@providencebruins.com

401-273-5000 providencebruins.com

Special Offer valid online and by phone only. Not valid at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center Box Office.

12

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


Owning a Franchise | STARTUPS

OWNING A FRANCHISE John Rooke RI District Manager, FranNet

You’ve thought about it, haven’t you? Owning a franchise can be rewarding in many ways. However, the most important question to answer when you are selecting a franchise: Can this franchise fulfill my business dreams? Answering this question takes plenty of self-examination. To choose the business that is right for you and that will fulfill your business dreams, you must know yourself, your skills, and your dreams and aspirations inside and out. That’s why it’s important to begin your process of selecting a business by analyzing yourself. First, catalog your own personal strengths, weaknesses, skills, and personality type. Be honest, and be brutal. Be sure you can answer the following questions: • What do you want to achieve in your business? • What type of business will best allow you to maximize your skills? • What sort of quality do you want? • How will this investment affect your finances? • How will this investment affect your family? • Are the rewards of succeeding great enough to balance the chance that you could lose your entire investment? Next, consider individual preferences that could affect your final choice. For instance: • Do you prefer a business that has a lot of employees of just a few? • Do you like wearing suits to work, or would you prefer a business that is more casual? • Do you want a business that is open only five days a week or one that can do business every day of the week? • Are you a morning or a night person?

Is It Right for You?

• Do you like to work with people, or do you prefer to work on your own? • Are you comfortable selling a product or service, or would you rather be supported by a system that helps send customers to you? Take a few minutes and make a list of the things you really enjoy. Compare that list with the business you are considering. Will it really make and keep you happy? Look beyond appearances. For example - an avid golfer might want to buy a golfing supply store. Sounds like a match - except that retail hours will require a severe cutback on green time. You want to pursue an opportunity that is compatible with your personality and your skills. Use your answers to these questions to create a model of the ideal life and the ideal business. Compare your model of ideal life and ideal business to every franchise that you investigate. By doing so, you can compare different business opportunities, not only with each other, but with their fit to you. A comprehensive model gives you another advantage: a clear goal of what you are looking for. When you know what you’re looking for, you’ll find it faster - and you’ll be much less likely to stray haphazardly into a franchise that looks good on paper but doesn’t help you achieve your dreams. www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

13


FEATURED CITY | Providence

THERE IS NOTHING SMALL ABOUT Mayor Angel Taveras

SMALL BUSINESS

I am delighted to help launch the RI Small Business Journal, as it makes its debut in our state.

As Mayor of Rhode Island’s capital city, I well understand how critical it is to have a vibrant business climate. At its heart, our nation and its military strength depend upon a strong economy that creates jobs, generates revenues, improves neighborhoods and contributes to our quality of life. I also recognize the responsibilities we share, as decision-makers, to do our part to foster business growth.

SMALL IN SIZE BUT NOT IN IMPORT

while they may be small in size, they’re certainly not small in import.

For these businesses to thrive, they need the commitment of the public and private sector to treat them fairly when it comes to regulations, financing and technical assistance. These can be hurdles to growth, particularly during a company’s earliest years.

A CLEAR PRIORITY When I became Mayor, I made clear that economic development would be a top priority.

Experts say and I agree that it is the small business community that drives today’s economy. In Rhode Island, the Small Business Administration reports 98.6-percent of business is so-called ‘small business.’ Other studies show the bulk of our Providence metro economy is made up of small businesses with fewer than nine employees.

I created the first cabinet position of Director of Economic Development to coordinate and leverage the departments working with the business community: Inspections & Standards, Planning and Development, Art Culture + Tourism, Licensing and Workforce Solutions. Individually, they touch many companies every day, and I knew there was a more effective way of respond to them, by working together.

Those companies – from budding entrepreneurs to established companies – are critical to our state’s economy; and

I also appointed a director with strong entrepreneurial experience and one who was no stranger to our state’s business

14

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

community. James “Jim” Bennett wears a double-hat, as Chairman/CEO of the Rhode Island Convention Center and as my director of Economic Development. We are well-served by his solid experience and by his clear passion to serve.

Already he has helped land Jet Blue in Rhode Island, secured the AHL All Star Championships here next year, and traveled to three knowledge districts to see how we can adopt best practices, and lobbied private industry to make their next step Providence. Our city is taking an active role in supporting business, through technical assistance such as site selection, securing


workforce counseling, Enterprise Zone credits, tax stabilization agreements or HUB Zone designation, and through financing – either alone through the Providence Economic Development Partnership (PEDP) or in partnership with banks or other state agencies.

them restructure debt, purchase new equipment and expand their successful operations. Shoppe Pioneer, through a small PEDP loan, was able to create an avant-garde boutique highly popular among college students and professionals alike on South Main Street. And Andrea Valentini – a RISD graduate and designer of high-end handbags, jewelry and home furnishings – will soon expand manufacturing of a lower-pricepoint line, reaching a wider audience, courtesy of another PEDP loan.

With a recently recapitalized $10 million PEDP loan program, we’re making financing a reality to many local businesses, with low-interest, fixed loans for acquisition, construction, working capital and equipment, so they can launch or grow.

JUST ONE JOB

Los Andes restaurant is a case in point. Six months ago, PEDP helped

Understanding how big an impact creating just one job can make, Jim is using resources within his office to reach

out to Providence’s business community, to partner with other agencies and to shine a light on opportunities. From ribbon-cuttings to walking tours to promoting technical and financial assistance, his expert staff is our prime resource to assist you at any time. For information on our microloans, revolving loans, storefront improvement grants and our unique Innovation Investment Program, call 401.680.8400 or visit our city’s website www.providenceri. com/economicdevelopment. The most important job we create is the next one and each will have an enormous ripple effect that create the critical mass from which our city, state and region will flourish. Look for us also to be hosting other services, such as follow-on assistance through the RI Small Business Development Center, bilingual loan and application materials, bi-monthly workshops with the RI Small Business Administration, and financial support with the RI Economic Development Center’s Urban Business initiative. We have the tools and we welcome your involvement. www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

15


EVENTS | Networking and Workshops

upcoming

NETWORKING 01

02

Speed Networking Northern RI Chamber of Commerce

02

Newport County Chamber of Commerce March 2nd from 8:00 AM to 9:15 AM

Cost: $5 Members - $15 Non-Members

Registration Required

6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 402, Lincoln

35 Valley Road, Middletown

www.nrichamber.com

www.newportchamber.com

How To: Obtain Bank Financing East Bay Chamber of Commerce

06

March 2nd from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM

875 Centerville Rd., Bld.2, Suite 5, Warwick www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com

06

Handbooks Seminar East Bay Chamber of Commerce March 6th from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM

Cost: visit www.srichamber.com for info

Cost: Free

Lepre Physical Therapy

East Bay Chamber of Commerce

350 Kingstown Road, # 204, Narragansett

16 Cutler Street, Suite 102 Warren

www.srichamber.com

www.eastbaychamberri.org

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

07

Centerville Seminar Center

www.eastbaychamberri.org

South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce

Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Cost: Free

132 George M. Cohan Blvd. Providence

First Friday Coffee

06

Small Business Loan Seminar March 6th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Cost: FREE

16

Chamber Connections

March 1st from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM

March 2nd from 10:45 AM to 11:45 AM

02

WORKSHOPS

07

Business Planning CWE March 6th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Cost: $550 For 4 Classes CWE Providence office 132 George M. Cohan Blvd. Providence www.cweonline.org

Ten Steps to Starting a Business CWE March 7th from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Cost: $35 For 1 Class CWE Providence office 132 George M. Cohan Blvd. Providence www.cweonline.org

Networking Workshop Rhode Island Small Business Recovery March 7th from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM Cost: Free Centerville Seminar Center 875 Centerville Rd., Bld.2, Suite 5, Warwick www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com

COLOR KEY:

Networking

Workshops


COLOR KEY:

07

Advanced Strategy and Profits Rhode Island Small Business Recovery

13

March 7th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM Cost: Free Centerville Seminar Center 875 Centerville Rd., Bld.2, Suite 5, Warwick www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com

07

Uncle Jay’s Monday Night Networking & Traveling Roadshow Central Chamber of Commerce

RI Business Environment East Bay Chamber of Commerce

15

14

March 15th from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM Registration Required

Stepan Grand Hall

35 Valley Road, Middletown

George E. Bello Center, Bryant University

www.newportchamber.com

Business After Hours

15

East Bay Chamber of Commerce

There will be 10 exhibitor tables available, if

Golden Roads Wealth Management

you are interested please call 401-265-5373

338 Metacom Avenue, Bristol, RI 02809

for details.

www.eastbaychamberri.org

March 15th from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM Featuring Comedian John Perrotta $5 per person Appetizers and Show included Ri Ra Irish Pub 50 Exchange Terrace, Providence

RSVP to jaywhitebiz1@cox.net

14

Start a Profitable Small Business Rhode Island Small Business Recovery March 14th from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Young Professional’s Networking & Comedy YP Connect

Registration required

801 Greenwich Avenue Warwick, RI 02886

March 13th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Newport County Chamber of Commerce

Cost: Free/ Reservations Recommended.

Cost: $5 Chamber members, $10 Guests

Crowne Plaza

South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce

Smartphone / Tablet Workshop

March 13th at 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

March 14th

Cost: $5

07

Workshops

www.eastbaychamberri.org

March 12th at 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM

Woman in Business Networking

Networking

16

Chamber Connections Newport County Chamber of Commerce

Cost: Free

March 16th from 8:00 AM to 9:15 AM

Richmond Country Club

Centerville Seminar Center

Registration Required

74 Sandy Pond Road, Hope Valley

875 Centerville Rd., Bld.2, Suite 5, Warwick

35 Valley Road, Middletown

www.srichamber.com

www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com

www.newportchamber.com

Cost: $25 Per Person Early, $30 Regular

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

17


EVENTS | Networking and Workshops

16

Introduction to Negotiations CWE

21

23

Cowesett Inn

1425 Kingstown Road, #5 South Kingstown

132 George M. Cohan Blvd. Providence

226 Cowesett Ave, West Warwick

www.srichamber.com

www.cweonline.org

www.centralrichamber.com

21

Pricing for Profits Rhode Island Small Business Recovery March 21st from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM Cost: Free

Rhode Island Small Business Recovery March 19th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Cost: Free Centerville Seminar Center

27

20

Rhode Island Small Business Recovery March 20th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Cost: Free

18

Northern RI Chamber of Commerce March 27th from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM

875 Centerville Rd., Bld.2, Suite 5, Warwick

Cost: $15 Chamber Members

www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com

Rhodes on the Pawtuxet 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston RI

23

www.nrichamber.com

Business After Hours Narragansett Chamber of Commerce March 23rd from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Eliot Tatelman discusses... The Experience Economy

Statewide Business After Hours

Centerville Seminar Center

875 Centerville Rd., Bld.2, Suite 5, Warwick www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com

Central RI Chamber of Commerce Cost: $10 Members/ $25 Non-Members

Sons of Liberty Spirits Co.

CWE Providence office

LEADS Luncheon March 23rd from Noon to 1:30 PM

Cost: Visit Website for More Info

Cost: $35 For Lunch & Class

19

South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce March 21st from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

March 16th from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Effective Business Plan Writing & Finance Boot Camp

Business After Hours

Cost: $5 members $10 non-members Cool Beans Café 18 Kingstown Road, Narragansett RI 02882 RSVP  Deborah Kelso, Executive Director Narragansett Chamber of Commerce

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Five Steps to Explosive Business Growth in Difficult Economic Times Rhode Island Small Business Recovery March 28th from 6:30PM to 8:30 PM Cost: Free

Jordan’s Furniture, Warwick Mall

dkelso@narragansettcoc.com

Centerville Seminar Center

Bald Hill Road, Warwick

401 783 7121

875 Centerville Rd., Bld.2, Suite 5, Warwick

www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

COLOR KEY:

Networking

Workshops


Government Contracting 101 | SBA

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING 101:

Five Winning Tips! Mark S. Hayward Rhode Island District Director U.S. Small Business Administration

Can you imagine your small business providing that key product

Get certified. A number of certification programs can increase

or service to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal

your chances of winning a contract. SBA’s 8(a) program

Aviation Administration or the General Services Administration?

provides counseling, mentoring and access to set-aside and sole-source contracts. Service-disabled veteran-owned

All of this can be a reality! The federal government spends

businesses and small companies in Historically Underutilized

more than $500 billion a year in contracts, making it the largest

Businesses Zones (HUBZones) are also eligible for set-asides.

purchaser of goods and services in the world. Small businesses

SBA recently launched the Women’s Federal Contract Program

throughout the country CAN and should take advantage of

which opens up contracting opportunities for women-owned

contracting opportunities so that they can grow, innovate and

small businesses in more than 300 industries where they are

create jobs! At SBA we have a variety of resources to help

underrepresented. Find out more at www.SBA.gov.

small firms navigate government contracting opportunities. Be targeted. The most successful contractors have a specific We want to help entrepreneurs navigate government contracting.

product or service that federal agencies need. Decide what

Here are five winning tips:

you have to offer and target your efforts at the federal agencies that need it most.

Get a counselor. You can get assistance with business planning, access to capital and government contracting

Market your business. Get your foot in the door by attending

matters by connecting with the SBA Rhode Island District

matchmaking events with agency contracting officers, or by

Office at 401-528-4561, the Rhode Island Small Business

reaching out to agencies’ Offices of Small and Disadvantage

Development Center at 401-598-2702, the Center for

Business Utilization (OSDBUs). Visit www.osdbu.gov to find

Women & Enterprise at 401-277-0800, the Rhode Island

out more.

Procurement Technical Assistance Center at 401-2702896 or the Rhode Island SCORE Chapter by calling the

decide what you have to offer and target your efforts

Identify contracting opportunities. Be proactive! Once you’ve determined the agencies most likely to buy from you, you need to find contracts to bid on. Stay in close contact with the agency’s OSDBU and contracting officers you have met, and visit the Federal Business Opportunities Web site (www.fbo. gov), which has a list of all contracts available for bid. Also, look for new tools like green.sba.gov, an online portal that houses all of the clean-energy small-business opportunities across the federal government.

SBA district office. These professionals are standing by to help you get in the contracting game, and most of their

Winning a government contract is hard work, but small business

services are free. Another option is to visit us on-line at

owners are not in it alone. Contact us today to learn how

www.SBA.gov/direct.

government contracting can benefit your small business. www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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SMALL BUSINESS | Twitter

NOW THAT YOU OR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS IS ON TWITTER, by Lisa Buben

NOW WHAT? You are up and running with your logo on Twitter with a rocking profile. You should be aiming to follow at least 5001,000 tweeps or even more. Choose them wisely. Pick those in your niche or in your local area. You can search on the top of Twitter for keywords to find them. Be sure they have tweeted recently (not months or years ago). Here are some other places you can find good tweeps and places for you to register your Twitter name too! Twitter States : This is a directory by states of the top tweeps by followers or friends and gives you some info on them via their profiles. Twellow : A Twitter directory that is based by categories. Twiends : This is a place to grow twitter “seeds”. You follow people for points and then other people follow you. We-Follow : A place to add yourself and find others in your niche. They categorize most people by tags in this directory. Twibs : A business directory for business tweeps. There is a place to display your email; website and blog. TweetFind : A similar directory like the above one. You can add yourself and find others by categories and follow more people. There are many more Twitter listings as well but these the basic good ones to start with. How can you keep track of your followers and who you are following? There are several ways you can track them.

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Lists : One of the best ways is to put people in lists. You can have up to 10 lists on Twitter and 500 people in each list. You can add and delete anyone at anytime. You can have lists protected so others cannot see who is on your list. Twitter Karma : A great app that you log in via your Twitter account and it tells you who is following you back or not; along with the last time they tweeted. If they have not tweeted in months, why continue to follow them? Social Bro : This is an awesome new app that can do a lot for you with Twitter. It can tell you everything about your Twitter community and even give you the best time to tweet to them. It can be used with the Buffer app which I will get into soon. This app tells you who are your most influential tweeps and who are inactive tweeps, etc. It takes a little time to set up but the dashboard is really great with a lot of useful information. Now you must be wondering how will I have time for Twitter? 2 Must Have’s : One is a Smartphone with the Tweetcaster application and the other is the Buffer app. You can use the free versions of both or purchase the pro editions. With Tweetcaster you can have up to 4 accounts for free. I prefer Tweetcaster over the Twitter app itself. (Some people prefer the Twitter app.) I like the Tweetcaster app because it can let you see “conversations”. If someone tweets hours ago and you forget the conversation you can see it with Tweetcaster. You can also retweet with comments on this app vs. the Twitter app itself.


Six Steps To Small Business Success | SMALL BUSINESS

With either app that you use for Twitter on your Smartphone be sure that your settings are set up so that you are not constantly getting tweets or messages. Maybe have it set for every 1-4 hours. Whatever works best for you – you will know in time. Sometimes you can be on Twitter at the perfect time to see someone tweet that they are looking for a product that you are selling. You can either send them a Direct Message (DM) or a tweet back with a special offer. With my favorite app : The Buffer app lets you tweet out 10 tweets per day timed with their Free edition. Buffer is wonderful. You can set up your tweets each morning and they will roll out at the time you set them up to. If you use Social Bro it will tell you the best times for you to tweet! Amazing stuff. The Buffer also has an “inspire me” app that lets you pick out quotes to tweet from it. Love that one! My favorite quote from The Buffer is “On Facebook, you can reach some friends. On Twitter…you can reach the world.” If you want to monitor special keywords on Twitter you can do that with Social Mention. This is another great tool to use. You can have it emailed to you as well. So when someone types a keyword on any of the many social media platforms you will be able to view it and respond to it. It can make you feel like you are working for the FBI. You can send people a message on Facebook or Tweet them a special for them to try your products. Some people will thank you – others will wonder how did you know what they were talking about over on Facebook or Twitter? Another tool I recommend is The Follow Friday Helper tool. Friday is a huge day over on Twitter and if you want to wish someone a Happy Friday but are afraid to miss someone you can use the Follow Friday Helper tool. You may also use this tool on any day of the week. If you are having a special and want to tweet out to your tweeps it will be easier to find your most active ones with this tool. Many people will use it on holidays and days when their Twitter feed is light. And last don’t expect miracles overnight but over a few months you will begin to see a difference with Twitter: The contacts you make, the website visits you get and maybe even some orders and sales along the way.

AS ALWAYS HAPPY TWEETING!

Lisa Buben Fancy Scrubs www.fancyscrubs.com

Six Steps to Small Business Success by David J. Lucier, CPA

Although the United States economy has picked up, including an increase in retail sales at Christmas, it could be many years before business rebounds to pre-recession times. The following is an additional concept discussed in the book “Six Steps to Small Business Success” by David J. Lucier. We hope this concept will help you build your business success. Financial Statements The two main financial statements that a small business owner should understand and review on a monthly basis are the “Balance Sheet” and the “Income Statement”. These statements will give most business owners the information needed to make good business decisions. The formula for the Balance Sheet is “Assets minus Liabilities equals Equity”. Assets are items of value and liabilities are debts. Equity is increased by assets provided by the owner or profits. Equity is decreased by dividends to the owners or losses. A balance sheet is a snapshot in time usually the last day of a month. The formula for the Income Statement is “Revenue (sales) minus Expenses equals Net Income”. Revenue results when you provide services. Sales result when you sell a product. The Income Statement (also called profit or loss or P&L) is for a period of time usually one month, multiple months or a year. Cash basis accounting records expenses when paid and revenue when received and accrual accounting records expenses when incurred and revenue when earned. (ch13) We will continue to write about these concepts in future issues. Please call us anytime with questions and feel free to pass this along to a friend. The book “Six Steps to Small Business Success” by David Lucier CPA is available on Amazon.com or attending the seminar “Six Steps to Small Business Success” or by visiting the office of Lucier CPA Inc. www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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a sales success secret: find your anchors!

Look at a suspension bridge. You may not expect it, but at each cable on a bridge, there are gigantic concrete “anchors” that hold the bridge in place so it won’t get dislodged in a storm. Most people aren’t looking for anchors on a bridge, but they’re vital all the same. It can be the same for people. For a salesperson, the “anchors” are what holds that person in place in the face of rejection, lost deals, cold-calling, and other challenges. This includes your values, beliefs, and the habits they develop.

Honesty, Integrity & Morals One of the biggest keys to my success in business was that the people I worked with could trust what I told them. Honesty, integrity and morals are anchors because they help hold you to the values you need, when you may feel pulled in another direction. They’re a support in that it is an essential part of building your career success.

A Story I know of a company that had a solidly profitable account worth nearly $20 million a year in billings. The vendor’s founder had built strong relationships with the key personnel within the customer company. After the vendor company’s founder had sold the business upon retirement, an executive with the customer company contacted him to say that there was a lack of communication with the

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by Steve Gareau

vendor, and that the new owner of the vendor company failed to address the customer’s concerns. What is surprising is that the customer still feels the loyalty that was built up by the founder, which has left a longlasting impression even though the founder no longer has any involvement or ownership. What is even more surprising is that the founder’s footprint survived beyond his expectations. To top it off -- the new management at the vendor company let their lack of integrity lose them a key account.

Steps to Take To build honesty, integrity and morals into your work as a salesperson, think of the long-term consequences. The right thing is always also the long-run smart thing.

the customer’s concern, and find ways to make sure it never happens again.

Listen to Your “Sixth Sense” We’re all aware of our five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. There’s one more, talked about by many doctors, psychologists and educators. There must be hundreds of books about it, but we still know very little about its use inside us. But I’d bet you’ve come into contact with it. Let’s say you’re with a prospective customer, and you can tell that they need your product or service. But this uneasiness enters the room. If you can feel it, so can they. That’s your cue to bow out of the situation as gracefully as you can. Leave the door open for a return call at a later date, but for now move on to your next call.

If you “think” something is true but aren’t sure, don’t make a firm commitment until you’re able to check. For example, let’s say you’re discussing a possible order with a customer, but you don’t know for sure that your company has inventory to cover the quantity the customer wants. Don’t take the order right away. Say you need to check deliverability first. Your customer will understand, and appreciate your honesty. Just remember to get back to the customer – and then book that order!

Your sales manager may have other ideas – he or she might really want you to close that business. But it is always better to spend your energy on positive sales calls with receptive clients, than on situations that may become a problem. You’ll be meeting hundreds or even thousands of people during your career – you need to know when a situation will be a no-win one for you, so you can put your attention on those that will work.

Everyone makes mistakes. But it’s important to own up to them, deal with

I can’t say that this has happened often in my case, but once, I met with

A Story


A Sales Success Secret | SMALL BUSINESS a prospective client and I had this sixthsense feeling that I’d be best off without the business. I listened to that feeling and backed away. Later, I had the chance to meet this man outside of business, at a tennis tournament we were both playing in. When we both got to the finals, I soon found out why that feeling had come to me in our earlier sales meeting. He was a true competitor. His will to win was all that mattered to him – and mine was about the same. This wasn’t “customer tennis” in which the customer just naturally gets to win. It was hard competition.

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So, guess where that tension in our meeting came from? We both wanted to win. It would have been a competitive relationship, not the kind of cooperative one that succeeds for both companies involved. So no, I never called on him again. It would have been a struggle right from the start. I didn’t need the mental challenge that comes from working with this type of customer.

Benefits If you build a reputation for honesty, integrity and morals, you’ll be in demand. You’ll be the last person let go if times are difficult, and if your employer goes out of business you’ll easily get picked up again right away. One of my friends, who’s built a solid reputation, lost his job when his employer went out of business. Within just 24 hours, he was re-hired by another company, who was aware of his reputation and wanted what he had to offer.

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www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

23


SMALL BUSINESS | Five Tips To Retain Customers

Here

by Michael Casey

To Retain Customers Using Feedback Surveys

Do you know how loyal each customer is? Do you have an early warning system to know when a customer is looking around? Do you just have a gut feeling that you are doing great? This is a dangerous assumption. Things change fast. Don’t wake up and find you lost a customer. Here are five things you may want to consider when setting up an effective customer feedback process.

Tip No. 1

Make It Painless for Both You and the Customer Think short, timely, to the point and easy-to-take surveys. Customers want five or six questions. No more. Online surveys take 30 seconds, if designed right. Go online.

Tip No. 2

Leverage Your Production or Order Management System Contact and invoice information is all there. Use it for timely feedback – real time. It should take less than a minute to get transaction details and customer e-mails.

Tip No. 3

Make It a Process, Not an Event Survey close to the time when purchases occur or service is delivered, but don’t over survey. Survey new and sporadic buying customers, and do it within 30 days of service if not sooner, but do not survey repeat customers more than every 90 days. Too much of a good thing kills response rates and relationships. You can ask one marketing question, but no more. Ask what they buy from other suppliers. They will tell you and then you can expand client share.

Tip No. 4

Shoot for a 25 to 30 Percent Response Rate If done right you will hit that. Monitor response rates, product and service quality and loyalty. Review the info in team meetings. Note: Monitor customer loyalty and set stretch goals. The best businesses are up over 90% customer loyalty.

Tip No. 5

Do Something with the Data Customers gave you a gift by sharing. Cherish it and thank them by following up on leads and correcting problems. The best run businesses have a process for this.

|

| |

Are Five Tips

Michael Casey Survey Advantage www.surveyadvantage.com

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


Solving the Retirement Dilemma | SMALL BUSINESS

Solving the Small Business Owner’s Retirement Dilemma There’s a fatal flaw in the retirement of many small business owners: After pouring a lifetime of sweat, time and capital into building the business, their rough-sketch strategy is to sell out someday for a ton of money… then settle back and enjoy a financially secure retirement. Many business owners are so sure this will happen that they don’t bother to make any other retirement plans.

They fashion golden handcuffs and incentives to ensure that their replacement stays until the baton is passed. An ambitious successor needs and deserves gradually increasing authority and benefits. Options include deferred compensation or the opportunity to acquire partial ownership prior to their retirement. This provides both parties with something to win by sticking to the agreement… and something to lose if it falls apart.

Who is this person who, at just the right moment, is going to show up with cash in hand to buy the company… and pay a fair price? For thousands of small business owners each year, no one steps forward. Perhaps the business is too specialized or is tied too closely to the owner’s unique personality and skills. Or perhaps possible buyers equate retirement sale with distress sale and make only low-ball offers. Whatever the reason, many owners find that their company has suddenly become a white elephant that nobody wants.

They put it in writing, along with the help of their attorney— locking in who does and gets what, and spelling out all details and caveats, including how to establish the final valuation of the business. This formal buy/sell agreement protects everybody.

One Possible Solution Groom your own replacement, someone who will buy your company when you’re ready to retire. Maybe this person is a current co-owner (but be careful if he or she is about the same age as you, who will be counting on retiring around the same time.) Or it could be a son or daughter active in the business, or a younger key employee.

business owners who successfully groom their own replacements leave nothing to chance They realize that there is no room for error at the point of retirement. Here are some examples of steps they might take: They are cautious. They make sure their heir apparent is the right person in terms of temperament, personality, competence and personal goals. They set up a probation period so they can terminate the relationship if they find this person simply will not work out. During that period, they keep everything informal, strictly verbal. At the same time, even when they go to a formal agreement, they make sure it contains a termination provision.

They build in a funding mechanism. This is crucial. No matter how good the terms of the buy/sell agreement, it will be worthless if the money is not there when needed to carry out the plan. Under one option, the successor may be able to purchase the company from ongoing profits. Other options include setting up a sinking fund or allowing the successor to simply borrow the money. These options may work but they leave much to chance. Instead, consider a funding vehicle that protects your family in the event of your disability or premature death, such as life and disability income insurance.* They have a back-up plan. As a business owner, you know that very few things go exactly as planned. What if your business hits tough times or your successor dies, becomes disabled, or—all to common—leaves because of a personality conflict? Or what if there simply is no heir apparent waiting in the wings? Sometimes, it’s simply best to dismantle the business. Whether or not you have a possible successor for your company, you should begin mapping out your retirement strategy today. Your insurance professional or your independent professional advisors can help you develop this kind of business strategy. This educational third-party article is being provided as a courtesy by Jonathan P. Matrullo. For additional information on the information or topic(s) discussed, please contact Jonathan P. Matrullo at 401-276-8788. *Products available through one or more carriers not affiliated with New York Life; dependent on carrier authorization and product availability in your state or locality. Jonathan P. Matrullo, MBA, LUTCF New York Life Insurance Company

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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SMALL BUSINESS | Tiverton Four Corners

It Takes a Village by Danielle Putier

It’s been over 300 years and Tiverton Four Corners is still a relatively undiscovered place. If you ask some locals, they’ll say they like it that way. But amidst the long area history and lush farming landscape is a village of small businesses reaping the benefits of this romantic location for its diversity and connection, not its solitude.

entered to win gifts donated by the businesses themselves. The Merchant’s Association remains focused on similar community-building goals for the future of the town center including promoting arts awareness, enhancing community participation, and keeping up with cosmetic improvements to the area.

Tiverton Four Corners dates back to the early 1700s, and was revamped in the early 80s when a Cambridge couple bought and renovated many of the historic properties. Now over 20 modern shops occupy the buildings along Main Road in Tiverton.

Besides retail, Tiverton Four Corners has a reputation for beauty. It’s situated along the FarmCoast, an emerging label for the picturesque rural villages stretching across the south coast towns of Tiverton, Little Compton, Westport and Dartmouth, MA. This area boasts a vibrant arts and farming community, where Four Corners blends right in. Farms are integral to the village economy and congregate in Tiverton for farmers markets, arts festivals, and special events each year.

Sue Hudson, reigning veteran at Four Corners, has been owner of Little Purls, a children’s clothing shop for over 26 years. Next door, Amy Lund Handweaver’s sells what she weaves on a hand

business owners in four corners have embraced a collective village mentality loom. Just down the road, newcomers Cathi and Gerri Fournier of Milk and Honey Bazaar, offer over 100 varieties of cheese. Anne and Charles Page own Nankeen featuring hand-dyed bags made using an ancient and endangered Chinese art form. Even more stylish is Tiffany Peay, who spends time in Tucson, Arizona each year collecting precious gems to make in her jewelry shop. Other shops include two modern art galleries, an elegant home furnishings boutique, an award winning ceramics business, a fine foods café, and the list goes on. While each holds sacred a different craft, business owners in Four Corners have embraced a collective village mentality. As part of their marketing initiatives last year, the shops banned together to create a holiday raffle where visitors to Four Corners could receive hole punches on a raffle card for shopping. Those who visited at least seven shops were

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Kristin and Adam Silveira purchased Sakonnet Farm in Tiverton Four Corners in 2009 and immediately integrated into the town’s unique culture. Kristin is now the President of the Merchants Association, and Sakonnet farm sells fresh herbs, eggs, and other local produce at the popular Four Corners Farmer’s Market. Adam and Kristin raise pigs, ducks, and chickens along with their four children; one of the most rewarding perks of operating the farm, says Kristin, is being able to bring her kids to work. “They’re learning math skills, people skills…that’s why we did it, to have something to do together, all six of us.” Four Corners remains blissfully rooted in an older time, where family businesses where thriving, neighbors helped neighbors, handmade crafts were sought after, and farms were a staple. Luckily for our small state this cooperative effort is catching on. Learn more about the businesses and events for Tiverton Four Corners at www.tivertonfourcorners.com.


Successful Wellness Program | SMALL BUSINESS

successful wellness program by Tim Sullivan

Starting or expanding a successful wellness program makes good business sense on many different levels. Any steps taken that result in maintaining or improving overall employee wellness will benefit both employee and employer. Many benefits are directly measurable, while others have indirect or less easily measured positive effects on a business. A good way to measure wellness is to establish wellness in terms of overall diet, exercise, habits control and stress relief. In the past, many businesses have looked upon wellness programs as a perk or a nicety for their employees because employees were in better health, and health care costs were relatively low. The combination of various factors including rising obesity rates and health care costs have changed this equation in favor of wellness programs. Today, health care costs are much higher and the relative wellness of the population is much worse.

Obesity statistics from 1988 to 2008 in America: Normal weight went from 44.1% to 32.1% Overweight from 32.7% to 33.6% Obese from 23.2% to 34.3% Morbidly obese went from 3% to 6% If your workforce is typical of the nation, and you have 20 employees: 6 are of normal weight 6 are overweight 7 are obese 1 is morbidly obese Obesity is a leading risk factor in a person’s susceptibility to a wide variety of preventable diseases. As a group’s overall weight drops, so

does the incidence and susceptibility to preventable disease. A wellness program that led to a drop of 10% in health care costs in 1988 would have saved a company $200 per employee per year; the same 10% savings today is over $1,100 per employee per year. The University of Oregon conducted a cost benefit analysis of the Coors Brewing Company’s wellness program in 1988. Using conservative measurements, they estimated that the program would yield between $ 1.24 and $8.33 per dollar invested in the program. The analysis was based on short and long term benefits from health care costs, sick leave costs, productivity costs, and turnover costs. Such results are an impressive testament for wellness programs and when you factor in today’s much higher healthcare costs, it is easy to see that a there are compelling reasons to invest in wellness. A wellness program needs to be seen as an investment in one of your most important assets, your people. They produce products, perform services, and interact with customers and vendors to make your business successful. Taking time to “sharpen their saw” makes a workforce more productive. Studies and experience have shown that a well-designed, promoted, funded and supported wellness program will yield results in the following ways:

Productivity People in better condition are more alert at work, have more energy, and interact with co-workers better, which results in better productivity.

themselves as well as work in general. Improved personal and professional outlook leads to better workplace morale.

Retention Rate An integrated wellness program that emphasizes a balance of diet, exercise, habits and stress relief is a very valuable perks to an employee; all other things being equal, a strong wellness program will influence employees to stay with a current company.

Absenteeism & Presenteeism The better the wellness of an employee, the less susceptible they are to preventable diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and some gastric conditions. Fewer illnesses means that the company will experience fewer absences due to illness, and fewer instances of employees coming to work with an illness that would otherwise keep them home.

Mortality Rate Obesity can cut up to 10 years off a person’s life expectancy. Accidents/Workman’s Compensation Healthier people have fewer accidents at work, and therefore, fewer Workman’s Compensation claims are filed.

Long Term Health Insurance Costs As wellness improves within an organization, managers can strategically re-position the company in terms of health insurance to provide the best value proposition for all employees. Tim Sullivan Life-Panel www.well-track.com

Morale Healthier people have more vitality and a better outlook on www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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SMALL BUSINESS | Is radical management really so radical?

is radical management by Dennis Rebelo

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At first glance Steven Denning’s new book struck me as offering revolutionary suggestions to organizational life-aswe-know-it:  after all, it’s called The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management:  Reinventing the Workplace.  The workplace certainly needs to be reinvented -- and Steven is a wellknown author who has worked with many large organizations.  Recently Steven and I teamed up to launch a study group of organizational leaders in New England to introduce “Radical Management.” It has a strong and important message.  Yet with all due respect to my colleague Steven, all seven core concepts are quite humanistic and perhaps not so foreign to many people.   Given how long these humanistic concepts have been around, why is it that in 2012 we consider “Radical Management” a new and innovative concept to breathe life into workplaces wrangling with survival issues? Steven notes that organizations are in crisis mode today.  I once thought that these crises were driven by marketing pressures that may be at play due to hyper-competition -- an external factor. But I suspect we must also respect the potent influence of organizational culture -- an internal factor -- that shapes and encourages particular leadership and management styles.   “Organizations today face a crisis. The crisis is of long standing and its signs

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are widespread. Productivity is onequarter of 1965 levels. Innovation continues to decline. Workers are disgruntled. Customers are frustrated. Brands are unraveling. Executive turnover is accelerating. In the last 25 years, startups created 40 million jobs in the US, while established firms created almost none. Traditional management is broken.” With such instability in organizational life today, one must wonder “how radical must we be to change the organizational trending?”  In other words, “what must be done to cure the seemingly shortened ‘shelf-life’ of Fortune 500 organizations?”   Well, as Steven and I introduced his concepts, the reinvention of work became closely linked to the concepts we cover at Saybrook University in course work.  Accordingly I have crafted a list of some rules of thumb to offer leaders to expand on (but not replace) Steven’s interlocking principles - bridging his concepts to humanistic studies, topics and approaches.  I posit that organizational sustainability stems in part from moving these philosophies into the daily practices of organizational leaders and followers.  According to Steven: “Focus the organization on delighting clients” (Steve Denning) which means “become more aware of the role of a collaboration culture in supporting the mission you joined to serve fellow human beings” (Dennis Rebelo).

really so radical


Is radical management really so radical? | SMALL BUSINESS edc_bbri_ad_final.pdf 1 1/13/12 “Work in self-organizing teams” (Steve Denning) meaning “focus on natural formation versus control and command styles of the carrot and stick era of management so that you can experience joy at work” (Dennis Rebelo). “Operate in client driven iterations” (Steve Denning) or “engage in a dialogue in the Bohemian-spirit to suspend judgment en route to understanding others” (Dennis Rebelo). “Deliver value to clients” (Steve Denning) in other words “work with honor as you promised you would to serve” (Dennis Rebelo). “Foster radical transparency” (Steve Denning) which is to say “graciously accept the sharing and critical thinking that stems from diversity” (Dennis Rebelo).

We are not simple, but perhaps the answer to “how can organizations thrive?” is less radical than is being reported. Organizations thrive by inspiriting identity-freeing cultures.  These freedom cultures are not willy-nilly, but encourage their members to swim as they wish in the organizational pool, within lanes perhaps, but supportive of each person’s “self.” 

people are naturally inquisitive and so let the human endeavor at work encourage learning To sustain an organization these seven principles need to move from whiteboard to boardroom and beyond.  Embodying these principles may offer fading organizations a new way to “be” at work for existing personnel while signaling respect for the human side of work to vendors, affiliates and recruits.  When persons are not honored, involved or inspired, a new culture of mediocrity is birthed which eventually takes hold of many good persons.  Of course, I suppose we could avoid the notion of personal identity’s importance at work, which unfortunately may reinforce the blind leading the blind routine we witness in constrained organizations. C

M

Y

“Nurture continuous self-improvement” (Steve Denning) because “people are naturally inquisitive and so let the human endeavor at work encourage learning” (Dennis Rebelo).

CM

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CY

CMY

K

“Communicate interactively” (Steve Denning) which is to say “dialogue versus monologue because no collective wisdom comes from watering down the thoughts of another human” (Dennis Rebelo). To be human means to accept, honor and be able to work with ease and grace despite having differences in thoughts and feelings with other people.  To think these concepts are radical is to suggest that we have become subscribers of the carrot and stick management style which doles out rewards or punishments reducing humans to simple creatures.  The cost for this subscription leads to stress and discomfort for people and seems to create an organizational culture ripened for failure. 

Perhaps being human to get a human back is not a radical concept after all.  Let’s not let it be. Dennis Rebelo University Business Consultants www.universitypdc.com

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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12:55 P


SMALL BUSINESS | Differentiate Yourself from the Rest

Become an A+ Employer, Differentiate Yourself from the Rest: In the not too distant past the best employers were able to offer their employees lifetime employment in exchange for good work. Few (if any) employers have that luxury today. In a competitive marketplace it would be difficult for one employer to pay significantly more than the competition or offer significantly better traditional benefits and remain competitive. Given these constraints, what can you do to become an excellent employer, differentiating yourself from the rest? You might be able to offer more flexible working conditions, more interesting work and the opportunity to develop professionally. Flexible working conditions. To offer appropriate flexible working conditions, talk to your employees and understand their needs. Your employees might desire and you might benefit from: • Employees eager to work longer hours some days and work fewer days, enabling the business to be open longer hours. • Having employees work mornings and evenings taking time off in the afternoon for students returning from school, increasing employee availability during morning and evening rush hours. • Employees doing some or all work from home reducing office overhead expenses. Interesting work. Doing the same work repetitively makes a boring day for many people, increasing accidents, encouraging errors and employee turnover. You can make work more interesting by rotating assignments amongst employees, encouraging employees to constantly be thinking about ways to bring in more creative work, work in a more interesting and/or more productive manner, and allowing some variation in the way the work might be done. Additionally, some employees appreciate cash incentives, employee profit sharing and competition to make work more fun. Taking these extra steps should reduce boredom, thereby

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improving business results. Develop your employees. Having more skilled employees should yield improved business results and more satisfied customers. It should also yield having more loyal employees. While larger companies may have teams of people responsible for creating new ways to develop employees and measuring the success of the development efforts, even a small business with only one or two employees should be a learning business. Consider one of your important business objectives to be developing your employees to help them learn new skills, develop personally and professionally in a systematic way. Here is how to do it. • Prepare a development plan. Meet with each employee (including yourself) quarterly or have your management team do this (if your business is large enough to have a management team) to understand and document the employee’s professional goals. If they do not know suggest goals and get their agreement. Help the employees figure out what the first/next steps are to achieving the goal. Write those down. Determine how you can help them to achieve these steps within the next three months. Write these down. Once a month check on progress towards the quarterly development goals. Corrective actions need to be taken when sufficient progress is not being made • Have a development discussion before/after each job or day at work. The discussion can be very brief, perhaps only a minute or two. Outline the new things to be learned at the beginning of the job or day. Review the things learned at the end of the job or day. • Assign work to develop employees. Rotate work amongst employees so that everyone is learning how to do a new task periodically. If you think that you have run out of learning assignments, your business may be turning stagnant. Think of new and better ways to do work or new projects which you can take on. • Online learning. Help your employees to find reading, talks, games and activities which may help them to learn new skills that would be useful on the job. • Bring a learning program to your company. Schedule a speaker to come to your business and offer a


SMALL BUSINESS

program of potential interest to your employees a few times per year. If your speaker is able to convey useful, important information in a manner which is fun, so much the better. • Consider sending employees to college/university. For students without a college degree or students with a degree seeking additional formal learning, employers and employees receive excellent tax benefits when an employer pays for an employee’s community college, college or university expenses. Furthermore, employers may protect their investment in an employee by asking them to sign a legal document that they will pay back all of their university education money if: 1) they resign within a year or two of graduation or 2) their job performance falls so they are dismissed for cause. The investment can be further protected by asking employees to sign a non-solicit agreement, agreeing not to hire their former colleagues for a specified time and a non-compete agreement stating that they will not do business with their former customers, or within a reasonable distance of their former place of employment for a specified time.

It May Be Good for Business Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro Independent Consultant in Human Factors Learning and Human Resources

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www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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SMALL BUSINESS | Bring Together Educators and Businesses

Langevin Leads Effort to Bring Together Educators Following President Obama’s State of the Union appeal for partnerships between educational institutions and businesses that will “train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job,” Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) joined New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) and two Rhode Island companies at the college’s East Greenwich campus to push for Rhode Island to lead this initiative.  Don Nokes, owner of Warwick computer security firm NetCenergy, and John Paige, who serves as Senior Product Test Supervisor at Astro-Med in a West Warwick, pledged to use their partnerships with NEIT to hire students. Langevin said it is critical to increase these relationships among businesses and educators in Rhode Island, where the gap between the skills students learn and the qualifications employers need has posed an especially significant challenge to our economic recovery. “If we use these partnerships to engage our students in expanding fields and offer experiences that are relevant to their

Businesses

future, we reduce dropout rates, increase graduation rates and prepare our students for jobs that will grow our economy,” said Langevin. “Failing to do this has hurt our country’s innovative edge and has left us unable to fill jobs.” Businesses like NetCenergy and Astro-Med are part of the growing high-tech industries that Langevin says are key to boosting the economy, but do not have a well-trained workforce from which to draw, particularly in Rhode Island.  Steve Kitchin, Vice President for Corporate Education and Training at NEIT, highlighted the college’s Center for Technology and Industry as the program that would assist firms with the technical training and retraining needs of employees and clients. Langevin has committed to helping our business and education communities collaborate in this effort. Companies with ideas about ways to improve workforce development in Rhode Island are invited to contact the Congressman’s office at 401-732-9400 or www.langevin.house.gov.

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by Dave Marcello

As small business professionals, we are in a unique and advantageous position. We are limited only by our own mental barriers. Historical boundaries of customer acquisition have been effectively removed thanks in part to the immeasurable reach and depth of online life. Enter unconventional marketing, an effective and valuable approach to connecting your brand with potential customers. We ardently follow these four principles when designing client campaigns: Inside Out Marketing. Brand self awareness is an extremely powerful concept that has the potential to drive everything you do in monumentally impactful ways. Your message won’t clearly resonate with consumers until you determine your brand voice, your personality, your reason for being. From that point forward, let every single action spring forth from your purpose and beliefs. Don’t ever waiver in your adoration for what makes you different. Your customers will recognize and appreciate this. Flexibility & Adaptability. One of our greatest strengths as small business owners is the ability to make fast decisions without all the red tape that most big corporations have to wade through. While long-term campaign planning is always important, we advise our clients to allocate a percentage of their budget and time for “real-time” or “reactionary” marketing. Real-time marketing capitalizes on existing buzz, whether it’s an event (like the Super Bowl), a time of the year (like Cyber Monday) or a buzz-worthy occasion.

Disrupting Expectations. Put simply, disrupting everyday expectations causes awareness. Meaningful disruption plays an extremely vital role in word of mouth marketing. Consumers are hit with thousands of brand messages every single day, so why should yours hit its target? As Andy Sernovitz, the word of mouth godfather, says, be interesting or be invisible. Creativity & Imagination. I like to say that “creativity trumps big budgets”, a foundational belief of unconventional marketers. Monetary prowess is no longer the driving force behind a campaign’s success. With the right amount of research, strategy, elbow grease and imagination, you can produce significantly effective promotions and messaging. There’s a new game in town, folks. The shortcomings of traditional media combined with the ever-evolving maturity and selectivity of the consumer have cleared a path for the courageous. Conventional messaging has failed both the end user and the marketing industry as a whole. By following the principles outlined above, you can be on your way to unconventional marketing success.

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www.bestpracticeenergy.com www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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EE

EBITDA

II

SMALL BUSINESS | EE = EBITDA

The Business Formula That Will Change The Way You Do Business

by Jeffrey S. Deckman

EE = EBITDA is an obscure but interesting formula that, once I came to understand it, has uncovered an exciting new source of increased profits that any business can realize.

their jobs but not much more. The other 16% are considered “actively disengaged”. These are people who are actually working against the best interests of the organization.

The “blow up” of this formula is:

This leaves only 29% of the workforce who are considered “highly engaged”. These are the ones who put in extra time; think about their jobs during off hours and are energized. They are the ones who generate the most per capita profit.

Employee Engagement = Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation Amortization Before going any further I want to say that Employee Engagement (EE) is certainly not the only factor that impacts EBITDA but it does have a significant impact on your bottom line. It just also happens to be one of the easiest ways to increase profitability you will ever come across.

Why? Because, of all the ways to increase profits such as increasing prices; decreasing costs and generating more sales increasing your levels of EE is almost completely within your control. This is because EE is largely determined by the leadership culture of your organization. And you get to control that. In fact, a recent Melcrum Employment Engagement Survey of over 1600 HR professionals found that “The actions of senior leaders and direct managers are the most important drivers of employee engagement by a factor of between 400% and 700%. So not only is this “silent profit driver” largely in your control but the financial impact of increasing the levels of EE in your organization is undeniably real. In fact, I doubt you could find a single CEO of a Fortune 500 company who even questions whether increasing EE increases EBITDA.

The Numbers behind the Science: In an effort to be as informative as possible as quickly as possible let me get right to the math. A recent study done by the Gallup Group in October of 2011 involving thousands of participants revealed that, on average, 71% of people are “disengaged” from their work. Within this group 55% are considered “not engaged”. These people do

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This means that 7 out of 10 people in organizations are not engaged in their work. Imagine the lost productivity and profits that represents! And in today’s economy this can spell death to an organization.

The High Cost of Low Employee Engagement Lets look at how the level of EE in your organization affects your profitability. The following EE vs Productivity numbers are generally accepted throughout the industry, give or take a few percentage points: • “Highly engaged” workers are 90% productive • “Not engaged” workers are 60% productive • “Actively disengaged” workers are 40% productive. When you combine the EE and the productivity numbers the impact on profits becomes clear: • 29% are highly engaged and are 90% productive. .29 * .90 * 100 = 26.1% productivity level • 55% are not engaged and are 60% productive. .55 * .60 * 100 = 33% productivity level • 16% are actively disengaged and are 40% productive • .16 * 40 *100 = 6.4% productivity level This means that your overall productivity levels are: • 26.1% + 33% + 6.4% = 65.5% To make this real lets assume a company spends $2 million on employee compensation. Under this scenario their ROI on that investment is: • 2,000,000.00 * 65.5% = 1,310,000.00. The represents a $690,000 “payment vs. performance” gap.


EE = EBITDA | SMALL BUSINESS

The Big Difference of a Small Adjustment Now lets look at the impact to your bottom line that will occur if you simply increase the highly engaged numbers by only 5% and decrease the actively disengaged numbers by the same amount. And if your company is like most, and if you decide to make EE a priority in your organization, moving your EE numbers 5% in this fashion is not unrealistic at all. WARNING: These numbers are almost un-believable! • 34% are now highly engaged @ 90% productivity. .34 * .90 * 100 = 30.6% productivity level • 55% are still not engaged and still 60% productive. .55 * .60 * 100 = 33% productivity level • 11% are now actively disengaged and 40% productive .11 * 40 *100 = 4.4% productivity level New productivity levels = 30.6% + 33% + 4.4% = 68% New Profitability Calculations: 2,000,000.00 * 68% = 1,360,000.00 In comparison to the previous figures this is an increase of $50,000.00 to your bottom line….annually!

In Closing If you are like I was when I first started looking at these figures, your initial thinking may be that they can’t be right. But I can tell you that study after study from organizations ranging from the Harvard Business School to the McKinsey Group prove them out. So while we have all been trained to increase profits by cutting costs; capturing more clients and negotiating for higher prices few of us have been taught how to activate one of the most significant profit drivers available to us: increased Employee Engagement. And at a time when profits are very tight, competition is tough and the market is demanding it should be very comforting to realize that with just a few internal adjustments you can uncover a source of profits that will not only increase your bottom line but will also increase company morale. During economic times such as these understanding the EE=EBITDA formula can be a real life saver.

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www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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Excel Tire Gauge Although many may believe the local Rhode Island economy is in dire straits, there are some gems out there that are growing at rates that are impressive - even in good times.

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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FEATURED COVER STORY | Excel Tire Gauge

when a product or service is new to your customer or an end-user, it can be difficult to convince them to forget what they’ve known or have been using for so long and to convince them to use your product. Excel Tire Gauge is one of those gems, located right in our own backyard in Warwick, Rhode Island. If you have ever visited a Gulf or Cumberland Farms gas station and have put air in your tires – chances are you have used an air tower manufactured by Excel. Through years of R&D and good old fashioned hard work, Excel has developed a technology that digitally inflates or deflates a tire to a level of accuracy and precision that is unmatched in the industry. As a result, Excel has risen to the top of the air inflation industry by supplying the likes of giant names such as Costco, Discount Tire, Shell, Cumberland Farms, and Gulf Oil. What started out as an idea between two friends to bring a new technology, developed in Brazil, to the US market has turned into an established business consisting of a team of 25 employees. “While it didn’t happen overnight, we have become the industry leader for digitally calibrated air machines” says Jay Nelson, CEO of Excel Tire Gauge. Marrying cutting-edge design with state-of-the-art technology It’s common for entrepreneurs and business owners to initially write their ideas on the back of a napkin, but the actual execution of the idea and its success requires resilience, hard work and a vision. “We saw an opportunity in the marketplace and realized we could fulfill a real customer need with a product that incorporated state-of-theart technology with a cuttingedge user-friendly design. Our products provide the consumer with a

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simple solution to what was formerly an awkward process of filling your tires with the traditional tire gauge”, says Nelson explaining why they went into business in the first place. Nelson explains that it takes passion to create confidence in a potential customer that might consider your new product or service ‘risky or foreign’. “When a product or service is new to your customer or an end-user, it can be difficult to convince them to forget what they’ve known or have been using for so long and to convince them to use your product.” says Nelson. Excel’s digital air machines have chipped away at this mindset by marrying high-tech functionality with a user-friendly head interface. As any entrepreneur can relate to the expression ‘to wear many hats’, Nelson describes how during the formative startup years he took on the role of marketer, technician and traveling salesman all at once. He says it was hard work being on the road for almost half the year, going to trade shows, talking to potential customers, learning what the end users would want to see in the product, and building business relationships. Now that the foundation of the company has been built, his role has since shifted from the ‘Chief Everything Officer” to its current focus on managing the organization, setting strategy and direction, and making sure to stay close to his loyal customer base. Nelson says, “Looking back on the first years of business, it’s hard to believe that we have now sold over fifty thousand machines worldwide and have industry giants like Cumberland Farms and Costco as our customers – it’s proof that good things can and do happen to start-ups like us.”


Playing its part to help the local economy To start and succeed at a business may seem like an impossible task, “it is a rewarding experience to know that you are helping the local economy by creating jobs and employing local people” Nelson says. “Treating people right and providing a product at a fair price is essential to our success and is really something that we pride ourselves on.” Success and growth drives many businesses forward, Roger Audette, Director of Sales says, “keeping the momentum that we have built up over the years is essential. It’s really exciting to play a role in the growth we have experienced and to watch a company grow right in front of your eyes – especially when you see all of the opportunity that we’ve yet to tap.” Even though Excel sells its digital air towers nationwide, it is important to note that their success has had a positive effect on Rhode Island’s business community through its local network of employees, business partners, and customers. The Excel team continues to focus on growing the business and expanding its business network with Jay now setting his sights on breaking into the tire and auto rental industries. We have a hunch that somehow Jay and the Excel team will climb those mountaintops in the near future as well! About Excel America’s leader in digital air inflation equipment, Excel Tire Gauge has manufactured and installed over 50,000 machines worldwide for a Who’s Who list of customers that includes Sheetz, Cumberland Farms, Costco, Discount Tire and Shell New England. With digital air machines as its sole focus, Excel performs all device maintenance and manufacturing in-house – while offering exceptional onsite support and turnaround times.

To learn more, visit exceltiregauge.com or call 888.813.4400.

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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SMALL BUSINESS | Sakonnet Farm

Sakonnet Farm

Howis One Local Family

Getting Back To Basics

by Wendie Tobin

When Adam and Kristin Silveira met twenty years ago, they never imagined their life would take the turn that has led them to where they are today. Adam is employed as an engineer, Kristin as a nurse, and they have four active children. It’s a busy life that requires plenty of balance on its own. In 2009, they added another major undertaking to their lives when they took a leap of faith and purchased Sakonnet Farm in Tiverton, Rhode Island. Today, this charming farm reflects the Silveira’s own belief system of eating, buying and shopping locally as often as possible.

It all began with a few chickens In 2008, after a visit to a friend’s farm, Adam felt inspired to raise chickens. “The idea came to me when we watched the chickens run around and forage,” said Adam. ” I found it pretty amazing to watch their behavior and personalities in action, from feeding, to mating, to the pecking order. Chickens are very interesting creatures.” His daughter Megan, 12, had a slightly different viewpoint on the chicken venture. “The kids thought Dad was crazy in the beginning,” Megan joked. ”We didn’t realize that it would turn into what we have now though!” The chickens were a success and they added to their brood, giving the surplus of eggs to family and friends.

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Encouraged, the Silveiras starting thinking about long-term plans. Kristin was raised by parents that were avid gardeners, whose harvest, along with the fish they caught, would yield enough to freeze for the winter. Her family led a self-sustaining lifestyle. Though the Silveiras weren’t in a position to maintain self-sufficiency, they started to believe that owning their own farm would help advance them toward achieving that goal in the future. Armed with Adam’s construction ability and Kristin’s gardening knowledge, they bought Sakonnet Farm and started working. In addition to the farm stand, they also own the Old Tiverton Four Corners School House No. 1 on an adjacent property. Adam spent the following year restoring the schoolhouse and preparing it to be enjoyed as a vacation rental. It was completed in May, 2011 and has been booked with great success. One guest stayed for three weeks and has plans to return next summer. The schoolhouse has been beautifully transformed into a two-bedroom getaway appointed with period decor, wide-plank pine floors, a working cast iron bell and a wood-burning fireplace. It also offers luxurious modernday amenities such as a gourmet kitchen, large LCD television and whirlpool tub.

Keeping it local The Silveira family is working towards a simpler, more farm-based life. They hope to expand their educational hatching egg program and have plans to add an animal petting area, exotic birds, a picnic area and fire pits. Adam


Sakonnet Farm | SMALL BUSINESS is focused on developing more cost-efficient ways for local chicken farmers to process at the local level. “Eventually, we’d like to partner with other farms, along with the USDA and the University of Rhode Island, on building a mobile processing unit,” he said. ”We think it’s very important to provide farmers with the ability to process their own poultry. Long term, this contributes to the support of local food production and reduces the costs to farmers who, as most people know, make very small profit margins.” The Silveiras also want to employ others locally as Sakonnet Farm continues to grow and develop. Adam said, “We think it’s critical, not just for ourselves, but for others, to begin looking for ways to eliminate long commutes to work. Not so long ago, people used to work on their properties and shop at local purveyors. That’s not the case anymore. We

shop at huge monopolies and spend a lot of wasted time and money commuting. Agritourism is a feel-good type business and has been increasing in popularity over the past ten years. We see an opportunity to provide customers with a unique back-to-basics experience.” Sakonnet Farm is reminiscent of yesteryear with a farm stand that operates on the honor system with unlocked doors from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Offerings transition throughout the seasons, but

currently include peppers of the sweet, hot, jalapeño, serrano, Anaheim chili, Thai, cayenne and habanero varieties as well as tomatoes and eggplant. Herb selections such as parsley, sweet, purple and lime basil, oregano, sage, thyme and catnip abound. Kristin makes jelly from the grapes that grow in the Silveira’s yard and from strawberries and blueberries that grow locally. From the produce, comes a jalapeño jelly and salsa. Last, but not least, lots of farm-fresh eggs! Visitors are welcome to explore the property, though the chickens, ducks and turkey, though be aware they are free-range and will be expecting feed. The Silveira family has learned many lessons since buying Sakonnet Farm. Not only about the best ways to manage plantings, produce and animals, but also about their ability to work side by side as family and farmers. Adam recognized that Kristin’s parents’ “exceptionally supportive, helpful, encouraging and realistic” input has been priceless. Kristin

has enjoyed seeing her children learn the work and reward relationship and seeing how they interact with customers every weekend at the Sakonnet Grower’s Market.

Wendie Tobin

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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SMALL BUSINESS | How to Attract More Customers

how to attract more custo ers by Robert Beadle

As small business owners we all need customers to survive. So where do we find them? Here is a simple three-step process to get you started on the path to growing your business.

Let us revisit our example of the interior designer. If that person wanted to attract law firms, they might offer a free seminar called “How to Improve Your Law Firm’s Value & Image.” Next, a personal letter might be sent to the senior partners at each law firm in Rhode Island with a compelling invitation to attend.

Step 1: Understanding Your Customer

Step 3: Converting Prospects into Customers

The first step to finding customers is to understand the type of customer you seek. The more time and focus you put into this effort before you market your business, the easier it will be to find your ideal customer.

You might be asking yourself, “What? You want me to give away my valuable expertise for free?”

Separate your potential customers into marketing segments, according to the particular challenges they face and the solutions available to them. This requires a shift in thinking. Your business no longer has a single generic marketing program, but rather a series of mini-marketing programs that address the needs of each customer market individually. For example, an interior designer may have corporate customers and residential customers. Within the corporate customer market, there may be banks, law firms, and accounting firms. The interior designer must strive to understand each group and its specific challenges in order to create custom marketing materials. The more we understand about our customers, particularly their problems and challenges, and the better we have segmented them, the more equipped we will be to meet their specific needs and earn their business.

Step 2: Attracting Prospects If you have done the work in step one, you should now understand the nature of your customers, into which market segment they belong and what specific challenges they face. This approach forces a fundamental shift in your thinking. You must take off your “company hat” for a moment and become an educator. If you were a teacher, and your prospects were your students, what would they need to know to solve their problems? And what are the ways in which you could reach your students? You might offer classes, workbooks, videos, articles, e-books, podcasts and many other elements that help resolve a challenge which your prospects are facing.

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Yes I do. Give away some truly valuable gems of knowledge. Why? Because you will fill the room with dozens of wellqualified prospects who are itching to learn what you know. When you have delivered an hour’s worth of great information, many of your well-qualified prospects will want to know more,

the more we understand about our customers... ...the more equipped we will be to meet their specific needs and earn their business particularly about the implementation phase of what you are offering. That is when you present them with a “special offer” for your products or services. Many businesses unwittingly drop the ball at the end of their seminars by not giving their prospects a clear course of action. Once people leave your seminar, the memory and excitement of the experience will be forgotten in a matter of days. Therefore, the key to attracting new customers is to present them with explicit instructions about how to either buy what you are selling or to continue their relationship with you in other ways.

Robert Beadle Northeast Public Relations, Inc www.northeastpr.com


Untapped Resources | SMALL BUSINESS

IMPROVE OUR BUSINESS CLIMATE IN

RHODE ISLAND Gordon D. Fox Speaker, Rhode Island House of Representatives

The General Assembly is focusing a great deal of attention in the 2012 legislative session on efforts to bolster the state’s economy. In order to improve our business climate in Rhode Island, we must create more job opportunities and get people in good-paying jobs. One of the great untapped resources existing in our state is the potential to expand our port facilities. As Speaker, I joined with Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed in appointing members to a Joint Legislative Commission that has been studying this issue for nearly three years. The commission recently issued a final report which shows that development of port infrastructure and growth of maritime industries can result in 1,000 new jobs, $70 million in personal income, $127 million in business revenue, and $8.1 million in state and local tax revenues in the near future. To shore up Rhode Island’s economic future, we need to build upon our state’s strengths, and one of our strengths is our maritime industries. I am committed to giving the ports the tools they need to compete in this global economy and to create jobs.

narragansett bay has the potential to be a major economic engine for the state Among its findings, the commission wrote in its final report that the state’s ports do and can provide economic opportunities for both new and existing businesses, but called on “local and state economic development agencies to devote additional resources to small-business and middle-market loan guarantees in order to further facilitate job creation in this segment of the economy.”

The commission also listed several other findings and recommendations: • The Economic Development Corporation should create a Governor’s Port Economic Policy ombudsperson so that the state can move forward toward creating more than 1,000 new maritime related jobs. • It is critical to address the lack of coordination between various governmental and non-governmental stakeholders with respect to marketing and infrastructure development of the state’s ports, related facilities and maritime trade. • Development of a “Marine Highway System” hub in Rhode Island in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation. • Explore public / private partnership opportunities to further infrastructure investment and business development of Davisville. Rhode Island is already one of the major ports of entry for autos in the Northeast and that Narragansett Bay has the potential to be a major economic engine for the state because it is one of the nation’s largest protected waterways and is close to the most densely populated regions in the nation. During the past six decades, the state’s port and marine activity has fallen behind others along the Atlantic coast. Despite that, the state’s port-related economy today employs more than 3,600 people, generates more than $320 million in economic activity, and provides annual tax revenues exceeding $25 million. The commission’s final report projects that full development in several identified areas – auto import/export, offshore wind farms, container feeder and break bulk – could result in significant growth in new jobs and business and state/local tax revenue. I’d like to thank the co-chairs of the commission, Representative Deb Ruggiero and Senator Bill Walaska, and all the commission members, for their hard work. They have laid out a great roadmap to help Rhode Island take a good step forward in improving our economic climate.

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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FEATURED NONPROFIT | Education in Action

a City Built for Run by Kids

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Education in Action is providing hands-on learning opportunities that educate and inspire youth for real world success.

Experiential learning is the focus of Exchange City where students come to get a taste of the real world as they work alongside their classmates to run a simulated economy. This immersive experiential learning program connects classroom lessons on civics, entrepreneurship and finance with real life experiences. Over 14,000 Middle school students throughout Rhode Island have been participating in this classroom based program and on-site simulation since Education in Action was formed in 2008.

“Exchange City is one of the most effective ways to teach financial literacy to students at a young age as well as improve workforce development within the community,” states Edwin Pacheco, Executive Director of Education in Action. “Project based learning programs such as Exchange City are a successful approach to instruction because they engage the students interest and help them to make connections between what is learned in the classroom and the outside world.”

Schools participating in the Exchange City program integrate the program’s standards based curriculum into their daily lesson plans and the lessons are reinforced by allowing the students to assume real life roles during a one day visit to our state-of-the-art city. Before their arrival, students must create resumes, apply for jobs, prepare budgets and write laws. Inside of Exchange City student citizens apply for a business start-up loan, and then spend the rest of the simulation creating and selling products and services that will generate enough revenue to repay their loans.

Education in Action’s mission is to provide hands-on learning experiences that educate and inspire youth for real world success. EIA is funded by local companies and other organizations that are committed to educating the Rhode Island community. Through their support, they can directly

By participating in this real-life simulation, students are improving their professional skill set as they are required to work together, give presentations and solve typical issues that arise in a professional environment. An additional aspect of realism is given to the program though Education in Action’s many community partners. Each one of EIA’s partners has branded a shop inside of Exchange City where students work in a job that mirrors an actual position in that company. For example, students work as bank tellers in the Exchange City RI Credit Union branch or as toy designers in the Hasbro Global Toy Shop. Other community partners include Verizon, United Way, National Grid, United Health Care and Trusted Choice Insurance.

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students work in a job that mirrors an actual position help to educate students in the basics of economic principles and build their understanding about the free enterprise system.  Ultimately, their investment will help those students to become better prepared as business leaders, employees, entrepreneurs, produce producers and consumers.  To learn more about how you can get involved with Exchange City, RI please call (401) 461-4224 or visit our website at www.EducationInActionRI.org.


Launch Party | STARTUP RHODE ISLAND

STARTUP RHODE ISLAND

STARTUP RHODE ISLAND

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GoLocalProv.com is the “go to” local Web experience that breaks the biggest local stories, sports, high school sports, weather, news, politics, arts, entertainment — and allows users to go as deep as they wish. Branded, credible, and respected contributors from RI create the stories and content. Information is delivered through multimedia, written, and video platforms. All at GoLocalProv.com.

Stock Market Spikes:

What it Means for Rhode Island The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to over 13,000 for the first time in nearly four years Tuesday, giving Rhode Island experts hope that the market may finally be ready to show steady improvement in the coming year. By the time the market closed, the Dow was under 13,000, but breaking the milestone at all is considered a positive sign for all investors. The Dow has not ended the day above 13,000 since May 2008 Tuesday’s spike and actually plummeted was likely thanks to as low as 6,547 to a $170 billion bailout during the great package awarded to Greece recession. by European officials in hopes of avoiding the next global financial meltdown. Market Up 10 Percent in 2012

So what does it mean for Rhode Island? According to Michael Costello, Managing Partner at Endurance Wealth Management, the market has been performing much better in 2012 and a return to traditional market rates could be a major a boost to the Ocean State. Costello said one area in particular that could be helped is the state’s pension system, which underwent a massive overhaul last fall. “[The] market is up almost 10 percent this year and still has some room to grow,” Costello said. “Given that Rhode Island’s number one issue this past year has been pension reform, the market’s recent and future improvement is critical. The markets have just come through a 10 year period of terrible performance which added extra pressure to the structural problems of the

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pension - a return to the markets historical rates of return would be welcomed by all.”

URI Expert: Step in the Right Direction Dr. Edward Mazze, Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration at the University of Rhode Island, said the spike won’t immediately create new jobs or completely turn around the state’s economy, but it is a step in the right direction. “Hitting 13,000 in the stock market will be an important boost to Rhode Island’s economy,” Mazze said. “Individuals who rely on stock returns as part of their retirement savings and income will benefit in the short run as will pension and health benefit programs with stock in their investment portfolios. Consumer and business confidence will improve and capital purchases such as automobiles, appliances and equipment that were postponed may now be made. Hitting a high point is a temporary win because the market still has to deal with international events, national politics and natural catastrophes beyond their control.” Mazze said the market can be a strong motivator for both individuals and companies. “In the long-term, the benefit could be a higher stock value for publicly traded Rhode Island companies and for investors. The stock market is not an indicator of economic development but a strong motivator for individuals and companies to push forward,” he said.


Providence | GOLOCAL

Lullabot Unveils New Sector at Providence Geeks Despite what you may be reading about a shrinking technology bubble, Providence’s tech startup scene continues to flourish. Evidenced by last night’s Providence Geek Dinner, proudly self-labeled “geeks” remain keen to network and learn of new ventures. The monthly dinner took place last night at AS220, drawing more than 100 to come out and listen to Jeff Robbins, CEO of Providence’s Lullabot. Early in the night, drinks were served from the bar, and the room was abuzz with networking conversations and excitement about Lullabot’s presentation. “Empire Street is Providence’s Silicon Valley,” said Bryan Jepson, co-founder of Providence Geeks, about the startup culture that has grown here. Everybody was waiting to hear about the next ground breaking, cool idea. And Lullabot delivered. A Providence-based company headquartered just a few hundred meters from AS220, its main objective is to conduct training sessions about Drupal, an open-source content management system used for building Web sites, dubbed “Wordpress on steroids” by Robbins. The company writes books, articles, and makes videos and

podcasts about Drupal. It has helped the development of Web sites for MTV UK, Sony Records, and Lifetime Television, all of which operate on Drupal. Drupal is used by massive sites such as Whitehouse.gov, Economist.com, Fastcompany.com, and Grammy.com. Robbins explained how his company has helped to keep Grammy.com up and running throughout the annual awards show, where in past years it has ritually crashed.

Introducing: Videola But Lullabot is not satisfied with this success. The front man of the 35-person company unveiled the new sector of Lullabot at this year’s Geek Dinner, a product entitled Videola, which uses Drupal as an operating system to create a video-delivery platform based on the user. The room was electric with interest. “It is Netflix based on Drupal,” said Robbins. What he means is that his new product allows the user to organize any group of video files through an open-source platform, and allows for flexible categorization and searching of video. It also allows for opportunities to monetize the watching of videos, a key revenue question for many Web sites. The CEO pointed out that it could be used for essentially anything from sports videos to company training videos.

It has helped the development of Web sites for MTV UK, Sony Records, and Lifetime Television Jack Templin, who started Providence Geeks with Bryan Jepson 6 years ago, is also a tech entrepreneur who sees “much potential to use Videola on the web, in my startups as well as others.” In keeping with the open-source culture, there is an option for free download on http://videola.tv, or Lullabot offers a hosted and supported version through their company. After Robbins’ short presentation, the excited Geeks asked a series of questions before the event reverted back into the relaxed drinking and networking environment that it began as. Already, Providence’s Geeks were discussing the next great idea.

Providence’s Geek Dinner is held for free at AS220 each month, at 115 Empire Street. www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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GOLOCAL | Providence

Are You Communicating Your Employees’ Benefits Correctly? Most employers who offer health insurance coverage use the annual open enrollment period to communicate benefits details to employees. Typically, this effort consists of distributing a summary of benefits produced by the insurance carriers and communication pieces tailored to the employees and the company’s overall benefits program. But soon, these materials won’t be enough.

Healthcare Reform Means More Benefits Communication Beginning with the first day of an open enrollment period on or after September 23, 2012, employers will need to take extra steps to comply with a new regulation required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Then, group health plans and insurers will need to provide a uniform summary of benefits coverage (SBC) to participants or beneficiaries for each option offered for which they’re eligible. Designed to allow consumers to compare plans with consistent and plain language, the SBCs must: • Be included with any other open enrollment materials • Be presented in a uniform format • Not be longer than four pages (double-sided) • Use a minimum of 12-point font size • Be presented in a “culturally and linguistically appropriate manner,” which requires different languages depending on the employee population

What Must the Summary Include The SBCs must include a lot of information in just four pages, including: • Uniform definitions of standard insurance and medical plans • Descriptions of coverage, including cost sharing for each of the essential benefits offered and any other benefits required • Exceptions, reductions and coverage limitations • Out-of-pocket obligations including copays, deductibles and coinsurance • Renewability and coverage provisions

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• A “coverage facts label” with examples illustrating common benefit scenarios • Whether the plan offered is considered “minimum essential coverage” as defined by healthcare reform • A statement that the plan sponsor ensures its share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan or coverage is not less than 60% • A statement that the SBC is a summary of the plan only and that the coverage document itself (i.e. certificate of coverage) should be referenced to determine contractual provisions While comprehensive, the new SBCs do not replace the need for employers to continue to provide Summary Plan Documents (SPDs) and Summaries of Material Modifications (SMMs), for example, changes to plan designs.

Timeline for Distributing the SBC The employer must distribute the SBC at open enrollment prior to the renewal along with all other open enrollment materials. If an employer requires participants or beneficiaries to renew in order to maintain coverage for a succeeding year, a new SBC must be provided no later than the date the renewal materials are distributed. For automatic renewals, the employer must distribute the SBC 30 days prior to the renewal of the new plan year. Employers must also offer SBCs for any special enrollments and/or upon request.

Fines for Failure to Provide The SBC requirement is a serious one: Health and Human Services will fine employers up to $1,000 for each willful failure to provide the SBC. That means a penalty for every employee, COBRA participant and new hire. This new requirement represents a significant change for employers. And with a deadline just six month away, the time to act is now. For more information, including model templates, employers can visit the HHS Web site.


Providence | GOLOCAL

EDC Approves $500,000 Loan for Up to 15 Jobs Now. 47 Jobs by 2015

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) Board of Directors approved a $500,000 Renewable Energy Fund (REF) loan to provide Spokane, Wash.-based Utilidata, Inc. with the flexible growth capital the energy technology company needs to continue to expand and to secure its relocation to Rhode Island. Accordding to the EDC, Utilidata initially brings 8 to 15 jobs to Rhode Island in 2012 and will create a total of 47 direct, fulltime jobs in the state by the end of 2015. The average annual wage for these jobs is expected to be about $91,000. Over the four-year job growth period, the new positions are estimated to generate approximately $352,000 in state income taxes.

high-paying jobs are key to building a dynamic and competitive business environment in Rhode Island “Utilidata is exactly the type of company we want to attract to relocate and expand in Rhode Island, bringing good, highpaying jobs to our state,” said Governor Lincoln Chafee. “I am pleased to welcome Utilidata to Rhode Island and look forward to their contributions to our growing knowledge economy.”

Braemar Energy Ventures, a venture capital firm, is a lead investor and majority owner of Utilidata and focuses on energy investments in both the alternative and traditional energy markets. As part of its investment and growth strategy, Braemar is relocating the company to the Rhode Island market because of the area’s deep talent pool of the engineers and technicians that the company needs to further develop its product and grow the business and the financing available through the REF. With the development of automated technology to more efficiently manage energy flow across the utility grid, Utilidata is optimizing the delivery of electric energy through the application of advanced signal processing through the electric grid. The company’s AdaptiVolt™ Volt/VAR Optimization System allows electric utilities and energy intensive industries to reduce electricity demand, improve efficiency and increase reliability. The loan is subject to Utilidata executing a lease in Rhode Island and establishing local headquarters in the state.

From Rhode Islanders and for Rhode Islanders: See it. Read it. Share it.

“Strategic co-investments in the development of new energy technologies and growing, cutting-edge businesses like Utilidata that create quality, high-paying jobs are key to building a dynamic and competitive business environment in Rhode Island,” said RIEDC executive director Keith Stokes. “The Renewable Energy Fund is a great tool to help businesses grow, reduce their energy costs and to help Rhode Island attract companies looking to also tap into our hotbed of young talent and high concentration of world-class colleges, universities and R&D institutions.”

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WOMEN IN BUSINESS | Positive Business

by Patricia Raskin

KEYS TO MEETING YOUR CLIENT’S NEEDS Anyone who is an entrepreneur or small business owner faces the challenge of continued momentum and success. The key is to keep your products and services current and your clients satisfied. Let’s be honest, in reality, clients can come and clients can go. Here are some tips to keep client loyalty: Offer high quality product or service: The service or product has to be current, functional and help clients get their desired results. Be available to your clients: You need to be there for your clients when they have questions or concerns, with perimeters. Listen and adapt: As the needs of your clients change, you as the service or product provider need to accommodate those changes. Don’t sell: Instead, share your belief and excitement about your services and products. Focus on customer’s needs and you won’t have to sell. Don’t base your product or service on price alone: I believe that in most cases, cost is not the determining factor to client loyalty. Clients will stay with you because they trust you, feel understood, feel supported and get results. Meeting client needs take passion, persistence and knowledge. In doing so, there is another key to success. YOU. In order to be the best for your clients, you have to be the best for you, which requires balance and self-care.

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Here are some keys for maintaining work-life balance: • Analyze all of the pieces and select what action to take. • Do first what counts most to maintain your business. • Do what you do best in your business. Delegate the rest if you can. • Keep checks and balances through your plan and budget. • Do the things you enjoy in your business so that it does not feel like work. Get into the “zone” where time flies. • Plan your days in advance and leave space for time for your personal life. The cliché, “anything worth having is worth working for,” sounds trite but it is so true. Being successful in your business is like tending a garden. You do it day by day, row by row, paying attention to each sprout and each weed. The results can be so rewarding – a lush garden, full of what you planted.

Patricia Raskin Raskin Resources Productions www.patriciaraskin.com

Patricia Raskin is the nation’s powerhouse personality for live talk radio and the voice behind Positive Living, Patricia Raskin, president and founder of Raskin Resources, is an award-winning media producer and host, media coach, speaker and author.”


Business Lessons from a Yoga Practice | WOMEN IN BUSINESS

Where to Put Your Focus: Business Lessons from a Yoga Practice

by Aileen McDonough

Recently, I went back to yoga classes after a hiatus I created by telling myself that I was too busy to do something that clears my head, enhances my energy, and nurtures my creativity. Crazy, huh? But how we small business owners tend to get off track and stop taking care of ourselves is another article entirely, so let me get to the real story. Yoga is all about balance, which SBOs certainly need. There are plenty of articles about setting boundaries and creating work/life balance, but at that yoga practice, I learned that the secret of balance is very simple. It’s all about here you put your focus. In yoga, there is a position called “tree,” where you stand yourself on one leg, allowing the other foot to come off the floor and balancing for a period of time. Sound easy? Try it sometime. Because yoga is infinitely gentle and non-judgmental, everyone does “tree” a different way. Some keep their toes on the floor, some venture a little higher to their calf (you can’t lean your foot on your knee—that can damage your knee and hurting yourself is NOT part of the intention of yoga), and many longtime yoga practitioners can actually place their foot comfortably on their other thigh. Once your feet are situated, you turn to your arms. Keeping your hands folded in front of you (at “heart center”) is relatively easy, but when you “let the branches grow,” extending your arms outward and upward, you get a lot of “windy trees.” I was one of those windy ones, wobbling to the point of abandoning the pose in frustration when my instructor came over to me and asked quietly, “Where are you putting your focus?” Ah, now that is the question. Where am I putting my focus? As a small business, sometimes, my focus is in so many places that my head spins. I have to think about my 1-, 5- and 10-year strategies. I am President and CEO of my company and I have to act like it, with big picture thinking and big goals. But I also

have to work, day to day, in my business. When I try and split my focus, or look too far ahead, I often come crashing down, overwhelmed by it all. Where will I find the time/ money/help to execute these grand plans? What if I fail? What if I succeed? Goodness gracious, how will I do it all? At my yoga class, when I showed my instructor where I was looking to find my focus (a point all the way across the room) she laughed kindly and redirected me to a point much closer. “Look there, just in front of you, and relax your eyes,” she said, “and you’ll find the balance much easier.” In our businesses, there is a need for a master plan, and goals that thrill and even scare us, and a strategy that provides the framework for our daily efforts. There is a need for dreams, because big dreams carry the excitement and energy we need to bring them into being. But when we lose ourselves in those far-off points, we can also lose our balance. At that point, we need to focus on a point closer—the next attainable goal, the moment we’re in, the task at hand. We need to relax into our projects, connect with our clients, do the work we love. This allows us to grow, to meet the new challenges and fit the new plans. Once I chose a closer point in that yoga class, I followed my instructor’s advice. I breathed, relaxed my eyes, and focused. Slowly, I raised one foot higher, then higher. No wobbles. I stayed focused, cautiously lifting my arms until they stretched, fingers wide, above my head. No wind in this tree—I just grew. Aileen McDonough 3am Writers www.3amwriters.com

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WOMEN IN BUSINESS | Take A Break, Will Ya?

Take A Break, Will Ya? by Michelle Girasole

In small business, you work long hours and you wear many hats. It’s inevitable. The job has to get done, and you don’t have a corporate ladder full of staff members to do it for you. During periods of business growth, you pick up the slack in operations until you can hire people to help. During periods of decline, you work extra hard on marketing and sales to fill the gaps. It is endless, and sometimes it feels like if you worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you would never catch up. Unhealthy Work Habits I’m the worst boss I ever had. When I worked in a corporate setting, if my superiors had told me I’d wake up thinking about my job, get up early to get to the office, work all day long, many times skipping lunch, race to finish the workday, taking calls right up until my kids got off the bus, answer texts while I’m cooking dinner, then get right back to emails after they go to bed AND go to sleep thinking about the next day? I would have told them to go pound sand. But, as a business owner, that 24 hour focus is not unusual. I suspect I am not alone in my work habits as a “mompreneur”. Not to be “master of the obvious”, but you can’t physically or mentally work yourself that hard without taking a break without hitting a wall of sheer exhaustion. That Yankee work ethic of yours is good for getting your business through a growth cycle or seasonal peak, but it is not sustainable. (Teach what you need to learn, they say.) Agreed? OK, then let’s spend some time talking about better work habits. I recently heard a speaker suggest that to be more effective, you must close your door to the world for two or three 50-minute periods a day, and then take a 10 minute break before starting your normal work routine again. Seemed like a luxury concept when I first heard it. With a growing business, I’d give my left arm for one uninterrupted hour every day. And, take a BREAK? Yeah, right.

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Distractions Kill Our Productivity What he said next made a lot of sense. This expert argued that our most productive time is when we are focused, and yet we allow many distractions during the work day. With people knocking on your office door, calling or texting your phone, the ongoing stream of emails, and endless social media posts and Tweets that interrupt you, it’s no wonder your productivity goes down. He went on to cite study results which showed it took 11 minutes for your brain to get back to that focused state after an interruption. So, without setting limits like closing the office door, shutting off the phone and closing the laptop, as the hour draws to a close, you feel like you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do, and you fall behind quickly. And, when you fall behind, you never take a break. Taking a Break So, we agree that setting aside 2-3 one hour periods a day helps productivity. Now let’s talk about that ten minute break. When you’re working “in the zone” It’s easy to blow right through that break and keep working. Or, you may take a mental break by checking your messages. Then, you eat at your desk or decide to skip lunch altogether, before you know it, the end of the day has arrived, and you’re feeling exhausted, because you didn’t give your body and mind the fuel and downtime that it needs. Sound familiar? Not good, and, you did it to yourself! No one told you to work that way. Only you can choose healthy work habits. So, a simple ten minute break after each 50 minute period of focused time makes sense. (Hey, take a five minute break after 55 minutes of unproductive time, if you feel guilty.) But, make sure you break! Turn off the computer or phone, get up and stretch, grab a drink or a snack, go outside and take a breath of fresh air, and disconnect from the task for a bit before diving in again, or starting something new.

What the Ladies Say I reached out to my network of smart business women in Rhode Island to discover what “downtime strategies” worked for them. It was a mixed bag of responses: Johanna Merz Corcoran, founder and President of Familytopia, a resource for working parents, said, “I’ve started taking at least one weekend away - all by myself. My heart and soul need it!! I also take a month during the summer while my daughter is out of school and not in any camps to just be lazy and have fun with her.


Questions & Answers | BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Natalie O’Neill Thompson , co-owner of Voila art Gallery in Wickford Village quips, “Downtime”? What’s that?” As a busy mom of three girls, art teacher, and brilliant retailer, she definitely has her hands full! In a retail environment, you can’t just shut the doors for 60 minutes, 3 times a day, but you can arrange to have people cover the desk while you grab a coffee, take a quick walk, or (gasp!) go on vacation. Your sanity is worth the expense line item. Tracy Cheney, who, after her day job is done, is a direct sales rep for ThirtyOne, a line of custom bags, added, “It’s a combo approach for me - I walk each morning with my puppy (starts the day off right, especially because it’s bright and early). I love reading, as it truly helps me escape the day to day doldrums. I make a point of getting together with friends at least a couple of times a month for girls’ nights outs. Vacation

you must close your door to the world for two or three 50-minute periods a day time is a combination of long get-away weekends, just the hubs and I, and then at other times, full family vacations with whoever is free; and I just began a mini-vacation tradition of just my daughter and I. An occasional day just for me happens once in a while too! And, last but not least, Facebook is my relaxation each evening.” Tuni Renaud Schartner, VP of Business Development for Deep Blue Technologies consulting firm explained, “I take off early in the day, at 2pm or 3pm to spend focused time being present to my kids. After they go to bed, I’ll work another 2-3 hours until 11pm or midnight. Taking that mid-day break just works for all of us.” All four mompreneurs originally put smiley faces at the end of their post. So, downtime feels good. Taking time off, establishing relaxing rituals, and budgeting both time and money to give yourself some downtime is not just the best thing for your business. It’s the best thing for you!

Michelle Girasole Fresh LLC michellegirasole.blogspot.com

Q&A with Michelle Petrocelli Owner of Precious Angels Child Center What is the biggest challenge you face as a small business owner? As a small business owner I faced once large challenge – it was being a woman. Being a woman was tough for the banks to take me seriously along with the real estate agents to show me properties. So once I showed them that I knew what I was doing with my prior knowledge and my background they finally took me seriously. What is the proudest moment you’ve had as a small business owner? As a business owner the proudest moment I’ve had, and I have it almost daily is when a client comes in and says they are here on a referral - by them coming in and telling me another client referred them due to what we’re doing here with the early childhood ed. We’re very happy each and every day that someone comes in and gives us the recognition for what we do and what we stand for. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting a business? My advice for anyone starting their own business is to have passion and energy for what you’re going to do. Don’t go into a business just to make money. If you don’t have the passion for it, you’re not going to have the energy for it. And also the other thing is have money. Money that is going to back you up and that is going to get through in case you go through hard times because you will go through hard times with the economy. But if you can have money put aside and your passion is still there and your energy level is still there you’ll make it through. To watch the entire video with Michelle of Precious Angels, visit our YouTube Channel at http:/www.youtube.com/risbj

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WOMEN IN BUSINESS | Cristiana Quinn

STATEWIDE BUSINESS AFTER HOURS

cristiana quinn

College Admission Advisors, LLC by Melissa Black

Cristiana Quinn’s family and friends felt fortunate to have access to her expertise as they navigated the college application process. Her previous background working in college admissions, coupled with a Masters in Education, and proven business savvy, made her an invaluable resource. When encouraged to create a business around this talent, she acknowledged the praise, but wasn’t ready to take the leap of starting her own business. Quinn was pursuing a career in the high-tech industry and traveling the world.

Tuesday, March 27th 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm $15.00 Per Person - Cash Bar Rhodes on the Pawtuxet 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston

Don’t miss this once a year opportunity to network with other businesses from throughout the state. Last year over 1,000 were in attendance with over 100 display tables featuring local businesses. Come and enjoy delicious delicacies provided by the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet while you make business connections that will last.

Don’t forget to reserve a display table and take advantage of another great opportunity to show the unique products/services you have to offer. Table space is limited so contact your local chamber of commerce to reserve now!

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A casualty of corporate downsizing in 2005, Cristiana she met with a headhunter who told her that her next move in the corporate world would be her last. After that, she would be “too old” to be attractive to high-tech companies. Quinn considered this a wake-up call, and decided it was time to start charting a future and career that she could control, free of mergers, acquisitions and instability, and that would have longevity. She put together a business plan and completed an add-on graduate program in College Admissions Counseling from UCLA to complement her Masters in Education, and slowly began implementing her marketing campaign and building her client base. Cristiana launched College Admissions Advisors, LLC in a part-time capacity in 2005, expanding to full-time two years later. The company helps students understand the admissions process, find colleges that are the right fit, and then maximize their potential for acceptance with strategic guidance on course selection, essays, applications, interviewing and other admissions components. The company also handles college sports recruiting, SAT/ACT prep, subject tutoring and more. Growth has been steady and impressive. Starting out with a dozen clients in year one, today College Admission Advisors, LLC serves about 80 families – with students ranging from 9th to 12th grades. The company’s revenue growth rate in 2010 was about a


50% increase from the previous year, and 2011 realized a 35% increase over 2010’s numbers. The additional offerings of SAT/ ACT prep and subject tutoring helped expand the business. The startup-related challenges Quinn encountered have evolved over time. “In the first couple of years, I had to cut way back on my lifestyle and pinch every penny. Now my biggest challenge is managing growth and starting to relinquish control of some of the administrative and marketing aspects of the company so that I can devote my time just to client interaction.” College Admission Advisors now employs between six and eight contract part-time staff members for SAT/ACT and subject tutoring as well as marketing and administrative tasks. Cristiana easily identifies the most rewarding aspect of her job: receiving the phone call from a student screaming with joy that they got into the school of their choice, knowing that Cristiana’s services made all the difference. From parents, she hears that having her on board for the college application process helps alleviate a lot of stress. Teens tend to be resistant to a parents’ advice, but they will listen to an outside expert.

it was time to start charting a future and career that she could control When asked the best advice she could give to a small business owner starting out, Quinn says, “Create a business plan, figure out your living budget and what you need to cut, and NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. Tip O’Neill used to say, ‘All politics is local’. I would tell you that likewise all small business is personal. Care about every customer and deliver the best product or service around, and within a year, you will start to see referrals and your business grow.” Cristiana Quinn’s success is a result of diligence and education combined with a natural gift. She created a space where she could put her skills to use, crafting a new career that was a huge departure from the corporate world. Heeding the advice from her family and friends, Cristiana now has an exciting plan that offers a rewarding and promising future. Cristiana Quinn can be reached via email at cquinn@collegeadvisorsonline.com or by phone at 401.524.0660. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com

Melissa Black Black Ink Virtual Assistance BlackInkVA.com

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at it is only re ally a man’s world if you let it be... su ccessful entrepreneurs hip is about intelligence, motivation, s acrifice and p assion... Owner, Little

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Arriving  in  Book  Stores  March  2012 “The  Everything  Couponing  Book”     by  RI  Small  Business  Owner Karen  Wilmes  (aka  Koupon  Karen) • Fill  your  office  with  low-­‐cost  supplies • Learn  how  to  cut  costs  in  your  everyday  life  while   launching  or  growing  your  small  business KouponKaren.com Facebook.com/KouponKaren Twitter.com/KouponKaren

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FEATURED CHAMBER | North Central Chamber As an organization representing the small business community for 30 years, we strongly feel it’s all about “Businesses supporting Community supporting Businesses”; after all, isn’t that what it’s all about!

Deborah Ramos, President 255 Greenville Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919 401 349 4674 | www.ncrichamber.com

The North Central Chamber of Commerce proudly serves the small business community in the towns of Johnston, North Providence, Smithfield, Scituate, Foster and Glocester. The Chamber currently has a membership of approximately 225 small businesses and growing. We are excited to be celebrating our 30th Anniversary this year! Our Mission is to develop business partnerships to enhance the climate of our region for business growth and quality of life, and to deliver the key ingredients for a business to succeed: Growth, Education and Networking, and additionally – Chamber Advocacy. The North Central Chamber of Commerce offers many growth opportunities to our small business community – from monthly networking events, complimentary “Friday Frenzy” promotional opportunities and newly added – complimentary “Business Spotlights” on our website for our members. We are committed to providing education to our members and the entire small business community through our new “Business Boosters” Series. The Chamber recently hosted a LinkedIN Workshop to show members the importance of being visible on LinkedIN and how to navigate around LinkedIN. Our upcoming “Maximizing Marketing & PR” Workshop will offer our members and such the opportunity to be educated on the importance of all aspects of marketing and public relations for their business. This Workshop will offer a panel discussion from marketing and public relations professionals and then follow with roundtable discussions led by editors and publishers from our local newspapers and media. As many business owners know – networking is essential. Our various networking events offer wonderful opportunities to build relationships. We not only create opportunities for networking, but we also act as liaisons assisting our members build relationships day-to-day. The North Central Chamber also has offered what we tend to call “fun events” to appeal to those business people who are intimidated by networking; they join us for fun, but indirectly they are networking without realizing it. We strive to remove that intimidation factor; we are often told our networking events are very casual and comfortable.

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North Central Chamber | FEATURED CHAMBER The North Central Chamber of Commerce is a proud member of the Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Coalition, which represents the voices of over 12,000 businesses in the State of Rhode Island. Through the Coalition, the North Central Chamber has and will continue to provide advocacy for our small business community. Our current Legislative Agenda includes supporting the following: • Responsible budget and taxation policy; • Responsible changes to state and local employees retirement and benefits system laws; • Advocate for equitable, consistent and reasonable government regulation; • Advocate for legislative and regulatory reforms ensuring RI businesses and employees to have access to affordable, quality health care; and • Responsible measures to protect the environment of the State of Rhode Island. We welcome small business owners within our communities to learn more about the North Central Chamber of Commerce and its value. We also offer, including but not limited to, advertising, bulk mailing, energy and payroll discounts. As we celebrate our 30th Anniversary, we will celebrate our members and the small businesses within our communities offering additional promotions and bigger opportunities throughout the year! The North Central Chamber of Commerce is more than just your typical Chamber of Commerce; we are handson, working every step of the way with you…..to help you grow your business! We truly want to help YOU!  Remember, small business stimulates the economy; the North Central Chamber of Commerce is committed to working hard to assist our members in stimulating the economy, so that it may come back to them tenfold. On behalf of the Staff and Board of Directors of the North Central Chamber of Commerce, we would like to encourage everyone to support the small businesses within our communities; buy small, buy local! Support small business, support each other! Again, at the North Central Chamber of Commerce, it’s all about “Businesses supporting Community supporting Businesses”! Respectfully, Deborah Ramos President

Events Business Matters at the NRI Chamber of Commerce The NRI Chamber Offers: Great Networking, Lobbying and Advocacy, Training and Education, Marketing and Advertising Opportunities If you are looking to do business in Northern Rhode Island, then the NRI Chamber is your primary source for reaching more than 700 businesses through our exclusive referral network and member to member discount program. We specialize in helping businesses grow their business with our expert affiliations and programs. Consider a Chamber Membership with the Northern RI Chamber today. Visit our website at www.NRIChamber.com or call 401-334-1000 ext 106 if Business Matters to your business.

1

2

3

New Members Clinical Services of RI www.clinicalservicesri.com Kirkbrae Country Club www.kirkbrae.com

4

TC Johnston, LLC dba Johnston Towne Centre Lepre Physical Therapy & Wellness www.leprept.com Blue Cross/Blue Shield of RI www.bcbsri.com

5

Nancy Rosedale Bank of America www.bankofamerica.com Touchstone Crystal Sonia Scaglia Dochety www.mytouchstonecrystal.com/ soniascagliadochety

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www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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CHAMBER CHAT | What’s New

1 East Bay Chamber Mark Matrone, Chairman

16 Cutler Street, Suite 102, Warren, RI 02885 401 245 0750 | www.eastbaychamberri.org

Our mission is to promote business as the foundation for community growth and well-being by being the most reliable resource and leading advocate for businesses throughout the East Bay and surrounding areas. We encourage you to visit our website at www. eastbaychamberri.org and view our calendar of events and join us in getting to know your neighbors and business associates. We welcome you to join our chamber and get involved in our many committees and events. Mark Matrone, Chairman of the East Bay Chamber states “This is your chamber and like any volunteer organization, you receive in many more ways than what you give. Based on the organizations that I have been involved in over the years, I am convinced my life has been enriched by my active involvement”.

Frattaruolo Construction Borrelli’s Bakery Alayne White Spa- Bristol Alayne White Spa- Providence

2 Central Rhode Island Chamber Lauren E.I. Slocum, President/CEO 3288 Post Road, Warwick, RI 02886 401 732 1100 | www.centralrichamber.com

Networking – Support – Advocacy. The Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce helps to create opportunities and connections for business. We provide a myriad of benefits to our membership, and continually strive to find new ways to help our members succeed. The Central Rhode Island Chamber is a leader in pro-business innovation and advocacy. As a member of the Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Coalition, we speak with the voice of over 12,000 Rhode Island businesses. Our members’ loyalty is the best yardstick of our performance, and they continue to speak very highly of our services as they leverage the benefits of membership with their own ingenuity to realize strong results of their own. Together, we will seek to build on these successes moving forward to revitalize Rhode Island’s economy.

New Members Admiral Boat Club Ammouri’s Gas & Food Mart Horizon Enterprises, Inc. Customcpuview.com

let’s talk about

New Members Bruce Newbury Productions “The Food Dude” Chef of All Trades, LLC Cowesett Inn Deslandes Construction ER Card LLC Francisco’s Fine Furs & Leathers Higher & Hire Independent Beauty Consultant J.P.Smith & Son Inc Jordan’s Furniture Marshall Environmental Group McBride’s Pub email us at Mega Mechanical Services, LLC sales@ritelephone.com Millonzi’s Bar & Grille - Millonzi Fine Catering New York Life - Peter Callahan Paul Dion, CPA Raskin Resources Productions, Inc. Richard Langseth VOIP PBX Features: riSportsPhoto.com Auto Attendant & Voicemail Rouge Gorge Studio Transfer to Cell Phones TCP Learning Window World of RI Voicemail to Email & Music on Hold Built In Work Opportunities Unlimited Web Portal for Administration Workers Mania Inc WOOF! WOOF! Pet Boutique & Biscuit Bar

FOR A FREE 1 MONTH TRIAL

all in one virtual phone solution 58

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

888 856 5970 3 Greater Cranston Chamber Stephen C. Boyle, President 81 Western

Industrial Drive Cranston, RI 02921 www.cranstonchamber.com www.ritelephone.com Cranston Chamber of Commerce recently moved

875 Oaklawn Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920 401 785 3780 |

The Greater into its new location at Garden City, Post Office Plaza, 150


What’s New | CHAMBER CHAT Midway Road, Suite 178, Cranston, RI. It is a major improvement in the overall image of the Chamber and it affords not only greater visability of the Chamber to our members but opens up the opportunity to hold a series of seminars focused on the needs of the business community. Obviously the major development plans for the Garden City Center opens up tremendous expansion opportunities going forward. The Chamber is also pleased to announce that we are the first Chamber in the state to have an smartphone/Iphone APP for the Chamber. The App can be accessed by texting SBAPPS GCCC to 368266. The APP will allow us text capability as well as easy access for our members for events, benefits, economic development opportunities, as well as up to date alerts for pending legislation. New Members Pinkberry Manpower Whole Foods Market Michael Buco/New York Life Estner Chiropractic Center Capitol Business Products Payden & Company Sysco Boston

4 Newport County Chamber Jody Sullivan, Executive Director

From All Accounts Gaastra Hallman Septic Service & Portable Toilets, LLC Island Nutrition J. McLaughlin James B. Finch Inn, LLC Lakuna Design Minuteman Press Nautor’s Swan / USA East New England Paranormal Observation Science Technology (NEPOST) Newport Nautical Supply Overhead Door / Garage Headquarters Precision Graphics & Signs SPG Renewables VR Industries, Inc. WADK AM 1640 Walmart Zhivago Managements Partners, Inc.

5 Northern Rhode Island Chamber John C. Gregory, President/CEO

6 Blackstone Valley, Suite 301 Lincoln, RI  02865 401 334 1000 | www.nrichamber.com

Join us at Asia Grille Restaurant for excellent food, pleasant dining and refreshments. Meet Charlie Chin and his team who have won the Rhode Island Monthly Best of RI 3 years in a row ! continued on page 65

35 Valley Road, Middletown, RI 02842

let’s talk about

401 847 1608 | www.NewportChamber.com

On Tuesday, March 13th, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce will host its annual EXPO, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Goat Island, Newport. The Chamber’s EXPO is the only business-to-consumer EXPO in the region and gives both locals and visitors the chance to see what over 100 Newport County businesses have to offer. Attending the EXPO is easy – simply take advantage of complimentary parking at Goat Island, or park free at the Newport Gateway Center and take the Viking Trolley shuttle. Sponsored by Eye Health Vision Centers & The Newport Daily News. New Members Alternate Angles Apollo Consulting Group, LLC Artillery Company of Newport Best Practice Energy, LLC Bill Barnes Promotional Products & Imprinted Sportswear Bristol County Savings Bank Decor & You Edward Jones Family Ties Restaurant Farmaesthetics Flagstar Bank

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email us at sales@ritelephone.com

FOR A FREE 1 MONTH TRIAL VOIP PBX Features: Auto Attendant & Voicemail Transfer to Cell Phones Voicemail to Email & Music on Hold Built In Web Portal for Administration

888 856 5970 81 Western Industrial Drive Cranston, RI 02921 www.ritelephone.com

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

59


COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

PROPERTY FOR LEASE

322 South Pier Road, Narragansett:

Great location just off the corner of South Pier Road & Rt. 108(Point Judith Rd). 1200’ 1st floor retail/office with 350-1500’ 2nd floor. Rear is 1500’ 20’ ceiling with two OH doors, can also be combined with front and/or 2nd floor. RILiving.com MLS #1007109

440 Dry Bridge Road, North Kingstown:

Contractor type commercial units. 1,200 sq ft with 14 foot over head door. 20 ft high ceiling will accommodate 2nd floor mezzanine. 200 amp/3 phase power. Gas Heat, reinforced floors, expandable. 2 ½ miles from Home Depot Rt 4. Sale or Lease at $850/mo. RILiving.com MLS #1005019

74 Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich: Former Tim Horton Drive thru (1587’) and Plaza (4 units: 600-3800sf, See MLS#990071). Excellent shape tile floor, all stainless steel kitchen area. Great for small drive thru/ takeout restaurant. Great Rt. 3 location, 1/4 mile from Rt. 95, Exit 6. RILiving.com MLS #990077

47 Sandy Bottom Road, Coventry:

Large store (5250’) that can be divided into three; 1000, 1250, or 3000 sf. Very busy plaza on a busy feeder road. Join ReMax, Anytime Fitness, Subway, Liberty Tax, Northeast Karate & others. $12/psf base, depending on size and improvements needed. RILiving.com MLS #1007209

1370 Plainfield Pike, Cranston:

By Walgreens at Atwood and rt 14. AMPLE PARKING in newly paved lot in rear and front. Great visibility Corner lot. Use for Retail, Restaurant, GB to Medical. 4,800 sq ft Stand Alone Building plus full 4,800 sf basement for $3,750 per/mo. RILiving.com MLS #981196

500 Callahan Road, North Kingstown:

Flexible space in Quonset Business Park. Major highway access, minutes from I-95. Rail, Airport, shopping and shipping. 3 phase, 400 amp service,20 ft ceiling, loading docks, overhead doors. Flexible use and floor plans from 3,000 to 40,000 sq ft. from $3.75 psf. RILiving.com MLS #1005917

25 Concord Street, Pawtucket:

Former Deblois/DB Mart Executive Offices. Nice, flexible and inexpensive office space. Only a minute from Rt. 95/ Smithfield Ave (Rt. 126) Exit. RILiving.com MLS #1009672

24 Quaker Lane, Warwick:

1,000 sf street level retail - $900 mo. 1,000 - 3,000’ sf (3 units) 2nd level, bright second floor space from $750 mo. with high ceilings and sky lights. Zoned general business. By Kent County Courthouse & “Miracle Mile” Rt.2/Rt.117. Great highway access & signage. RILiving.com MLS #987502

Butler

Realty Group

Commercial • Investment • Residential

401-886-7800 www.ButlerRealty.us 60

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

747 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston:

Individual office space from 200sq ft to 14,000sq ft. Busy Pontiac Avenue near Rolfe Square- walk to everything. Good for start up or incubator space, you can add space as you grow! RILiving.com MLS #994568

20 Centerville Road, Warwick:

Great Apponaug location! Former school; solid brick construction. Very nice 2nd floor space; owner on 1st floor. Space plan attached. Quick highway access and walk to Apponaug Village amenities! RILiving.com MLS #988739

126 Prospect Street, Pawtucket:

Busy medical office Bldg. Easy hwy access next to Pawtucket Memorial Hospital. Private suites or shared common area suites. Plenty of parking.Landlord pays most expenses. Many extras. Be part of diverse group of pediatricians & other health care professionals. RILiving.com MLS #1005939

75 West Industrial Park, Cranston:

1,100 sq ft - Nicest contractor condo around. Centrally located right off I295 by Comstock Industrial Park. 14’ overhead door, man door, office or storage, restroom, sewers, sheetrocked with electric all around. Mop sink . $1,000 mo. HE lighting, gas heat. RILiving.com MLS #1007412

Many more Commercial Properties @ www.ButlerRealty.us .... or email Jeff Butler at jab@ButlerRealty.us Trusted Real Estate Service Since 1977 Looking to Buy or Lease? Call the Butler !


COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

PROPERTY FOR SALE

400 Reservoir Avenue, Providence/Cranston Line:

279 285 Main Street, East Greenwich:

2nd floor office condo in The Calart Building- Great location convenient to Providence, highway, retail & food. 14’ x 16’ conference room, two 12’ x 14’ offices, open bullpen & reception area. $139,900 RILiving.com MLS #993375

Normandy Rooms and Ron’s Barber Shop (owner), same owner over 28 years. Tenancy surprisingly stable, some over 10 years. Ron will vacate and consider sale of his salon business. GREAT cash flow and location!! NEW gas heat system! $625,000 RILiving.com MLS #984569

2025 Nooseneck Hill Road, Coventry:

440 4B Dry Bridge Road, North Kingstown:

2.2 acres on busy Rt. 3, $900’s. L shaped lot with frontage on Rt. 3 (Nooseneck Hill Road) and Harkney Hill Road. Heavy traffic, & great demographic. Corner and light access. Can be combined with 2011 Nooseneck Hill Road (MLS# 1006843) $399,000. RILiving.com MLS #972242

444 Wellington Avenue, Cranston:

Light Industrial condo. 1,200 sq ft with 14 ft high bay door, 20 ft high ceiling, 200 amp 3 phase electric power. Gas heat, reinforced concrete floors, expandable. Contractors, warehouse, Light Industrial, Commercial storefront. $139,500 RILiving.com MLS #987517

1605 Main Street, West Warwick:

Wellington Industrial Area. M2 Zoning with heavy 3 phase power. 3 Overhead doors. Visible from interstate with easy highway access. Manufacturing, Industrial, Warehouse or other use. Newish roof. Central location by corner of Park and Wellington. $329,000 RILiving.com MLS #999673

Large well kept Victorian over 3300sq ft. Many uses, Zoned B. Great work/live space. Salon/office w/separate entrance. Great visibility & easy highway access.Nice family neighborhood. Lease option: See MLS#1002548. $259,000 RILiving.com MLS #1002568

111 Hopkins Hill Road, West Greenwich:

79 Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich:

½ acre – 16 acres Very fast growing area off Exit 6A near GTech, Amgen & Centrex. Front pad is busy Dunkin Donuts, balance of site permits office, retail, warehouse & light industrial. Traffic count 15,000 and growing! Multitude of possibilities- 6 other avail. lots. From $15,000 RILiving.com MLS #855989

Great commercial site!! 1.5 acres, 239’ lot frontage – $300K ! Adjacent 7.28 acres, also 239’ frontage - $500,000 Town water, gas. Zoned highway business, many potential uses!! On heavily trafficked Route 3, right off of Exit 6, Rt. 95. Coventry and West Greenwich are two of RI’s fastest growing areas!

Butler

RILiving.com MLS#’s 971654, 971662,971664

Realty Group

Commercial • Investment • Residential

401-886-7800 www.ButlerRealty.us

660 Tiogue Avenue, Coventry:

High profile three street corner location. Just 2 blocks North of Arnold Road- Very busy area!! Sewers recently installed in this section of Rt3. $850,000 RILiving.com MLS #955312

18 Highland Street, West Warwick:

RI’s oldest continually operating hotel. Rare opportunity, great cash flow possibilities, 15 room boarding house (could be 21) plus bar and function room. Bar is closed, owner is retiring, proven winner ready for new energy!! $475,000 RILiving.com MLS #994597

15 Gansett Avenue, Cranston:

Great visibility/corner location; high traffic, heavy population, and good demographic. GREAT shop with apartment upstairs. Live in potential- 90% SBA Financing possible. $145,000 Offers! RILiving.com MLS #1003069

7265 Post Road, North Kingstown:

7.82 acres on US Rt.1. Zoning permits apartments/office/ medical/retail. Many possibilities!! Will build to suit, sale or lease, or land only. Great location. Dozens of acres and walking trails behind property. Adjacent 5+- acres also available. $1,200,000 RILiving.com MLS #856381

Many more Commercial Properties @ www.ButlerRealty.us .... or email Jeff Butler at jab@ButlerRealty.us Trusted Real Estate Service Since 1977 Looking to Buy or Lease? Call the Butler !

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

MAINTAINING YOUR COMMERCIAL PROPERTY If you own commercial property, or if you are a tenant and pay for partial upkeep of the property, heat in the building, etc., there are some basic elements to keep up your property just like you would keep up maintenance on your home. Doing so allows you to save money and prevent liability Kevin A. LeBlanc, RWL General Contractors from falls on your property or in your office. It also helps you keep costs down during expensive heating and cooling seasons.

or property companies, you’ll want to engage the services of a licensed contractor for items such as roofing, siding, and water damage.

If you have a property manager, the company should be making regular investments into upkeep and inspecting the building on a regular basis so that tenant and owner have the most efficient building possible, within budget.

40 years. Robert W. LeBlanc started the business and now his son, Kevin

Reducing problems with your physical plant and building will have short term and long term reductions in expenses…as the weather warms, it’s a good time to take a critical look at that commercial space. Make a list, prioritize it, and help the building you or your clients spend a lot of time to be able to stay in top working order. RWL General Contractors is family owned and has been in business for over A. LeBlanc continues with “the same business ethic that my dad has shown to me and our customers over the years. Dad still works with me today. We pride ourselves on quality materials and workmanship. For as long as I can remember, our sloganhas been - ‘no job too big or too small’.

There are a few basic tips for commercial properties. We call it “back to basics”. First, It’s very important to make sure that mother nature is staying outside of your property. Make sure that all the windows are secured and locked for the winter. Lots of customers think that their windows are closed but most of the time they are just pushed up and not locked letting air into the space letting all that precious heat to escape costing you lots of money. Second, check to make sure all of those lights that seem to stay on all of the time are actually costing you less. Today’s florescence bulbs are brighter and last longer can cost fractions of what traditional incandescent light can. Third, Drainage can cause ice damming, basement flooding, and huge holes in your check book. Make sure the gutters are clean and all that water can escape away from the property. Fourth, insulation is your friend. Make sure you have plenty of insulation in the ceiling above you and at the walls around you. A little makes a lot of sense. A good commercial contractor should be able to give you a complementary walk through and estimate of how your property can benefit from basic upkeep, and also be able to identify any major problems you may have. You should be provided with immediate repair needs, longer range needs and a written estimate. While some repairs and upkeep can be done by maintenance staff

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COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

Rhode Island’s Retail Market Rhode Island’s retail market has begun its recovery. The number of retailers looking for retail space has increased significantly since the economic slowdown began several years ago. There are deals being completed when landlords are willing to be flexible by lowering rental rates from previous years, provide a reasonable period of free rent and when needed, conduct upgrades to their shopping centers. In return, the landlords will receive multi-year deals and keep a consistent rental stream coming in. We are seeing value driven retailers in the forefront looking for expansion opportunities like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, high volume mattress stores, pawn shops and cash advance retailers and apparel stores. For example, Casual Male XXL expanded their space on Route 2 in Warwick. In addition, automotive retailers such as Advance Auto and several tire retailers like Sullivan Tire and Tire Pro are walking the pavement to find new locations. There is also a continued effort on the part of cellular phone retailers to expand. A steady flow of local and regional small and mid-sized restaurants want to continue their expansions throughout Rhode Island as well. For example, Not Your Average Joe’s Restaurant recently opened on Route 6. Also, Blount Fine Foods is scheduled to open in March 2012 on Richmond Street in Providence. In addition, Cilantro Mexican Grill recently opened on Post Road in Warwick by T.F. Green Airport. What all these groups have in common is that they continue to see themselves in the driver’s seat when it comes to dictating rental rates. They are expecting the landlords to offer reduced rates in the initial years with modest increases throughout the term. Most landlords are willing to

offer concessions on the rental rates, but expect increases throughout the term. The deals that are being completed are done by local and regional retailers and for the most part, are 6,000 s/f and smaller. Missing in the equation are national retailers and those retailers closer to 10,000 s/f or larger in size. These folks are focusing on renewals, expanding and undertaking capital improvements to their existing sites. While it is good news to report that deals are being done, the question remains; are these prospective local and regional tenants enough to get us out of the retail funk we have been experiencing? Unfortunately, Rhode Island did experience the closings of several national chain retailers over the last few years and I see very little evidence of their desire to come back to the Ocean State. I think it is fair to say a full recovery would need to include a mix of national, regional and local business opening in Rhode Island.

the smaller tenants have been key in keeping the retail landscape active The retail vacancy rates throughout RI did not fluctuate significantly over the last five years, staying in between 5% and 7%. On the other hand, the vacancy rates for big box users, especially along Rte. 2, seem to have increased at a higher rate. The recent closing of Shaw’s Supermarket and the continued vacancy of Comp USA, Boaters World, Petco and Linen’s N Things are examples of this plight. We can come to the conclusion that the smaller tenants have been key in keeping the retail landscape active. Lastly, since the economic slow-down started in 2008, both landlords and tenants have grown accustom to living within this “new reality.” Both are more battle-tested, operating more efficiently and are able to come to an agreement on the terms and conditions more quickly than when the economic downturn began. As a result, landlords are more willing to work within these new parameters and tenants are leaner and more efficient with their cost-savings. It appears that both parties are now focused on completing deals going forward and not looking back. These factors considered, I am confidentthat we are now in the recovery stage and look forward to a bright future. Dan Feiner Senior Vice President with MG Commercial Real Estate, Providence, R.I.

www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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JANUARY 13th, 2012

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The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is excited to introduce our newest media partner, GoGo Cast. This Rhode Island based organization is a leading on-demand, location based digital media company providing real-time HD digital news, information and advertising displays in hundreds of high traffic retail locations across the state. This partnership will provide RISBJ with additional reach in the digital media market statewide.

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being continued from page 59

This is the evening for networking and growing your business by meeting local business people and fellow Chamber members. $10 for Chamber members who preregister; $15 for members at the door; $25 non-members. March 14 from 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM

Eco Attic Guard Experience Real Estate GRENCO Excavating & Septic Services J. Drake Turf Farm Little Medeiros Kinder Bulman & Whitney, PC Minuteman Press New England Grass Fed, LLC

New Leaf Landscaping, Inc. Pickles Custom Catering Province Mortgage Associates, Inc. Richmond Country Club Subway of Exeter TownePlace Suites by Marriott Wild Wood Catering

The Asia Grille Restaurant Lincoln Mall, Lincoln, RI 02865 New Members Adecco Aon Risk Solutions Bhatia Images Feeney & Foster CPA’s Monique Desormier, Esq. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. - Pamela Gaglia Lucier CPA, Inc. ReMax 1st Choice - Gina Howarth Tutor Doctor

6 Southern Rhode Island Chamber Joseph J. Iacoi, Executive Director 230 Old Tower Hill Road, Wakefield, RI 02879 401 783 2818 | www.srichamber.com

As we look back on the past year, we want to thank our members for their support and input . As we wrap up 2011, it’s a good time to recognize the many achievements our members have made. We salute you all during these challenging times. We would also like to recognize our state and local officials, as they worked to build many relationships that have helped us garner support for small businesses. It has encouraged business growth and job creation over the past few years. We are fortunate to have such a strong membership base in Southern Rhode Island. It’s because of you, we are moving forward and growing. New Members Blackledge Real Estate & Consulting Coldwell Banker / Amy Sexsmith Deep Blue Technologies www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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BUSINESS | Directory 3am Writers

Black Ink Virtual Assistance

Fresh LLC

Aileen McDonough Cranston, RI

Melissa Black

401-385-3515

BlackInkVA.com

3amwriters.com

Braver

AAA

Jim Wilkinson

Alisa Capaldi Providence, RI 401-868-6139 memberclubdeal.com

Alan Hockman Sports Tours

Providence, RI 401-421-2710 thebravergroup.com

Butler Real Estate Jeff Butler

Raskin Resources Productions

Narragansett, RI

Make-A-Wish Foundation速 of MA and RI

michellegirasole

Ashley DeSimone

East Greenwich, RI

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Michelle Girasole

Gamm Theatre Pawtucket, RI

MBM Insurance

Rhode Island Telephone

401-723-426

Marybeth Mainelli

George Shaheen

gammtheatre.org

Johnston, RI

Cranston, RI

401-757-0409

800-590-5401

mbmirc.com

ritelephone.com

Mediapeel Anthony Gemma

RI Executives Association

Lincoln, RI

Nancy Thomas

Brian Platt

Gentry Moving Brian Crum

Warwick, RI

Johnston, RI

401-886-7800

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butlerrealty.us

gentrymoving.com

Capability Accelerators

GLAD WORKS

Joe Lembo

Jeffrey Deckman

Providence, RI

East Providence, RI

Providence, RI

401-724-4523

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gladworks.com

790business.com

capabilityaccelerators.com

Alan Hockman Providence, RI 401-274-8747 274trip.com

AM 790

Ameriprise Financial Services

Computer Telephone

Danny P. Dehoney

Linda Gordon

Cranston, RI

Warwick, RI

401-824-2530

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ameripriseadvisors.com

computertelephone.biz

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Anania Chiropractic

Data Stream Plus

Adam Harvey

GOGOCAST, Inc. John Bordeleau Cranston, RI 401-757-0518 gogocast.com

GoLocal Josh Fenton Providence, RI golocalprov.com

Al Cardi

Dr. Karen Anania

Cranston, RI

Providence, RI

Image Identity

401-413-1967

Dave Lubelczyk

datastreamplus.com

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401-521-2225 ananiachiropractic.com

Atrion Networking SMB Rick Norberg Warwick , RI 401-825-4411 atrionsmb.net

BDCRI

508-259-9016

DeFelice Office Suites

massri.wish.org

Patricia Raskin

imageidentity.com

888-359-6550 mediapeel.com

MG Commercial Real Estate Mike Giuttari Providence, RI 401-751-3200 mgcommercial.com

New England Credit Card Brett Fish East Greenwich, RI 877-585-0033 newenglandccs.com

New Life Marketing Mike Amato Smithfield, RI 401-626-2117 iwantinternetmarketing.com

NY Life

Warwick, RI 401-739-6419 riexecs.com

RIEDC Alisson Walsh Providence, RI 401-278-9159 broadband.ri.gov

RWL Contractors Kevin Leblanc Pawtucket, RI 401-729-1200 rwlcontractors.com

Survey Advantage Michael Casey Jamestown, RI 401-560-0311 surveyadvantage.com

Tapestry Communications

Tom DeFelice

Johnston Insurance

Warwick, RI

Mark Rotondo

Jonathan Matrullo

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Johnston, RI

Providence, RI

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401-276-8788

tapestrycommunications.com

johnstoninsuranceri.com

www.jonathanpmatrullo.com

Life-Panel

PosiNet

University Business Consultants

Tim Sullivan

Raymond S. LaBelle

Dennis Rebello

Rumford, RI

Warwick, RI

Wakefield, RI

401-434-5588

401-255-6522

401-284-1511

well-track.com

POSinetPOS.com

universitypdc.com

defelicecenter.com

Education in Action

Nancy Thomas Cranston, RI

Lisa Sullivan

Edwin Pacheco

Providence, RI

Providence, RI

401-351-3036

401-461-4224

bdcri.com

educationinactionri.org

Best Practice Energy

Fancy Scrubs

Lucier CPA, Inc.

Providence Bruins

WasteXpress

Bryan Yagoobian

Lisa Buben

David Lucier

Jodi Duclos

John A. Souto III

Wakefield, RI

Hope, RI

Johnston, RI

Providence, RI

Cranston, RI

401-783-1244

401-527-9235

401-946-1900

401-680-4709

401-464-6400

bestpracticeenergy.com

fancyscrubs.com

Luciercpa.com

providencebruins.com

wastexpressri.com

66

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


www.risbj.com | volume one issue two

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