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volume six issue nine









Wes Staschke and Josh Dunlap





Whalers Brewing Company




B U S I N E1 S S | volume six issue nine

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Gil Lantini Founder Ralph Coppolino Co-Founder Mike Casale Senior Designer Web/Graphic Design Team Amanda Bogardus Kristin Darcy Talia Fappiano Ben Laudicano Contributing Writers Carmella Beroth Michael Brito Ted Donnelly Bradley Fowler Larry Girouard Travis Landry Susan Lataille Bryan B Mason William F. Miller Kristin MacRae Aileen McDonough David Podell Gina M. Raimondo Kathleen Repoli Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro Amelia Votta Kristen M. Whittle

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©2017 Integrated Media Group D/B/A Rhode Island Small Business Journal ©MMXIII Rhode Island Small Business Journal | volume six issue nine


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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


volume six issue nine



9 Valuing And Re-Valuing Your Business 11 Improving The Customer Experience 12 RI Foundation Offering $600,000 In Seed Grants 13 Improving Business Outcomes 14 Small Business Electronic Marketing

16 Whalers Brewing Company: Cover Story


19 Financial Policies Protect Your Office 20 Q&A With Attorney Frank E. Reardon 22 Custom Built Tax-Strategies



15 Monthly Activities: Simplicity

ON THE COVER Small Business Electronic Marketing Resource Featured & Tips volume six issue nine

24 Personnel Practices: Employee Leave Laws 26 You Don’t Have To Change


Brewing For by Bradley Fowler Passion: Whalers One of the most invaluable assets available for growth of a small business brand is-electronic marketing. I cannot express this enough. After all, effectively utilizing concepts of electronic Brewing Co. marketing- enables almost any small business to reach its target BUSINESS


audience; regionally, nationally, and internationally.

SOMETHING ’S No matter the product, service, academia, government, or person, REWING electronic marketing delivers. Take for instance, e-mail marketing. FINANCIAL C O V E R

29 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition





Custom Built Tax Strategies

Although e-mail marketing laws have been enacted around the world and in several USA states- to combat the dissemination of SPAM; small business owners can use e-mail marketing to disseminate digital press releases; flyers, newsletters, Webinars, Digital Infomercials, and build a network of supporters. Wes Staschke and Josh Dunlap




Whalers Brewing Company





Electronic marketing provides leverage even when your small business is on a marketing budget. Using e-mail marketing sharing services such a Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Mailrelay are great examples. However, developing your own e-mail marketing message content and combing through search engines to build a list of persons to

target audience is. Keywords in your search should always include the city and state of your primary location. This will help narrow down your search.


Next, begin combing through Web-sites found in your search response. Be sure to investigate those sites-to make sure they are legitimate. This includes, making sure the site has a current copyright date (i.e., 2017) in the footer of the site. Also, check to see if this site offers a “Contact Us” page. Once on that page, complete any forms provided, and paste in your pre-developed e-mail marketing message, and send. Do a followup one week later with another e-mail and phone call -to find out if whomever you addressed received your e-mail message. If you sent a general e-mail marketing message that wasn’t addressed to one person, contacting the receiver- to query if your e-mail was viewed, and/or to share additional information, is another approach to bridging the gateway to sharing your message. | volume six issue nine

Be sure to compile a digital file of every Web site, you view; and log the Web address or URL (Universal Resource Locator), so you can return to each site to resubmit your e-mail marketing message once again.



November 9, 2017 3:00pm - 7:00pm Putnam Club East / Gillette Stadium “Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker opening remarks at 3pm” Join us for the Multi-Chamber Business Expo to Support and Network with Local Business MARKET YOUR BUSINESS AS AN EXHIBITOR

Showcase your business to consumers from over 40 communities at the Let’s Do Business expo, a collaborative of the Tri-Town, Neponset Valley, Taunton Area, United Regional and Walpole Chamber's of Commerce, on Thursday, November 9, 2017. 140 booths available for exhibitors. Contact your local Chamber.

WHY ATTEND? Fun, Food and Celebrities

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RHODE ISLAND SCORE ASSISTS MORE SMALL BUSINESSES IN FISCAL YEAR 2017 Small business owners and entrepreneurs in Rhode Island are turning to SCORE for mentoring and advice on how to start and grow their businesses. Rhode Island SCORE provided free services to 2,192 local entrepreneurs in fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016-Sept. 30, 2017), an increase of 19 percent over the previous year. SCORE provided business advice to 1,152 area business owners through mentoring sessions and trained 1,040 new and existing small business owners at 75 workshops last year. With counseling locations in Providence, Lincoln, North Kingston, Warren, Westerly, East Greenwich, Newport, Wakefield and Warwick, SCORE is ready and able to assist start-ups and existing small businesses throughout Rhode Island. “SCORE continues to expand its role as a trusted mentor to the Rhode Island business community,” says Chapter Chair Ed Gromada. “Our volunteers donated 1,200 hours in fiscal year 2017 to help their clients with their small business needs.”

In 2017, Rhode Island SCORE was given the Platinum Leadership Award from the National SCORE organization. This award is the highest recognition that a SCORE Chapter can achieve. It is given to chapters that have made exceptional contributions to the small business community. Rhode Island SCORE counselors have direct experience in business start-ups, manufacturing, insurance, retail operations, franchising, public relations, taxes, financing, sales & marketing, exporting and specialty retailing, acquisitions, turnarounds and divestitures. About SCORE Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE’s 10,000+ volunteer business experts provide more than 350,000 free small business mentoring sessions, workshops and educational services to clients in 300 chapters nationwide. In 2016, SCORE mentors volunteered 2.2 million hours to help create more than 130,000 jobs and 54,000 small businesses. For more information about Rhode Island SCORE services and programs visit their web at or call 401-226-0077. | volume six issue nine


LEDs installed inside and LEDs installed inside and out, 70% of costs covered, out, 70% of costs covered, curb appeal increases too. curb appeal increases too. See how far your budget can go toward new energy saving equipment. See how far your budget can go toward new energy saving equipment. That’s business on the grid. That’s business on the grid.

*Restrictions apply. See website for details. Projects must be completed by December 31, 2017. These programs are funded by the energy efficiency charge on all customers’ gas and electric bills, in accordance with Rhode Island law. *Restrictions apply. See website for details. Projects must be completed by December 31, 2017. These programs are funded by the energy efficiency charge on all RISBJ |electric rhode bills, islandinsmall business journal 8 National customers’ gas andGrid. accordance with Rhode Island law. ©2017




By Ted Donnelly

s a business owner, you probably know everything about how your company works. But maybe not what it’s worth. If so, that might create problems in the eventual sale or transfer of your business, especially if the sale or transfer is sudden. Proper valuation of your business helps you better protect your interests and the welfare of your family and heirs; it also eases the transition. By taking the guess work out of the valuation process you can avoid disagreements between the different parties.

valuation. The asset-based approach is balance sheet-focused using the difference between a company’s assets and liabilities to determine its value. The second is the market approach which values the business, based on pricing multiples derived from the sale of comparable companies. And finally there’s the income approach, which establishes a figure from capitalizing or discounting the company’s projected economic benefit stream. Remember that as your business changes so might your valuation, so be sure to

the emotion out of the calculation but instill peace of mind. Business owners have many complicated issues that they need to navigate day in and day out. The sooner you address the needs of your business, the better off you’ll be. Neither New York Life Insurance Company nor its Agents or affiliates provide tax or legal advice. Consult your legal or tax advisor to find out whether the concepts in this essay apply to your personal circumstances.


Subsequently, valuation may help you in planning and saving taxes. Since valuation helps the IRS determine estate taxes and the tax basis for any future sale, with proper planning you may be able to put financial strategies in place that may save you money in the long run.

Now, even if a sale or retirement is years away, understanding what your company is worth today can have multiple pay-offs; it’s information that can help you secure financing or make decisions on whether to expand or stay the course. Valuation serves as an important management tool that can give you insights on how to reposition your business to enhance its marketability. So how do you determine the value of your business? There are generally three approaches used to calculate a business

keep it up-to-date. The best way to do that is to make it a standard part of your annual financial review. For instance, you can make it a habit to have your valuation reviewed by a specialist each year right before you meet with your agent to review your insurance policy. That will also help you ensure that you maintain just the right amount of insurance coverage for your business.

This educational third-party article is provided as a courtesy by Ted Donnelly, Agent, New York Life Insurance Company. To learn more about the information or topics discussed, please contact Ted Donnelly at 401276-8728 or efdonnelly@

Edward F. Donnelly III “Ted” Financial Services Professional Agent New York Life Insurance Company

Valuation is a simple idea but one that’s complex to execute. Certified financial experts who specialize in valuations are uniquely qualified to determine which valuation methods will deliver an accurate assessment for a given industry. They take | volume six issue nine



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Improving The Customer Experience | SMALL BUSINESS




Experience by Bryan B Mason

Most small business owners understand that providing a great customer experience is the key to customer satisfaction and positive word of mouth. The customer experience is not just the buying process. It starts with the awareness phase and continues past the actual purchase to loyalty and advocacy. The first thing to understand is that customers have different needs and desires and are different in many, many ways. They may have children or not, be older or younger, be of different ethnic or linguistic backgrounds, have different core values, etc. Their priorities, values and experiences inform how they see the world. This means that different customers want different things, at different times and want it provided differently. So you need to be aware of each situation and be prepared to meet these differing expectations. You are a small business. You need to differentiate yourself to succeed. Your customers want a great customer experience.

The following are six action steps every small business should carry out to improve the customer experience:

1. Identify What Your Customers Want – Ask your

customers why they buy from you. Ask some prospective customers why they would and would not buy from you. Listen carefully.

2. Have a Chief Market Listener – This is the person at your company who listens to and talks with the online community. Social media is very powerful and you should be making full use of it. The Chief Market Listener gathers key information on customer needs and responds to issues quickly to protect your online reputation.

3. Have a Chief Customer Advocate –

This is the person at your company who is empowered to solve customer issues. They need to be able to actually solve customer issues or command the respect of those that can. Responding quickly and having a problem solved as your customer expects is key.

outcome your customers expect. Remember, social media allows a bad experience to travel at the speed of light.

5. Build Good Will – If a customer asks for something that

you do not provide, suggest a place they can go to get it. This will build great credibility and will demonstrate that you greatly value that customer. Then tell whoever does marketing in your company so that they can consider a new product or service.

6. Deliver Customer Service that is tailored for each Type of Customer – Instill a culture that values diversity. Provide

training so that your staff can address each customer in a culturally appropriate manner. Hire the right people, those that have a genuine warmth, are empathetic, are good listeners, and optimistic. Be gracious. When solving a customer problem, shift the focus to the benefit for the customer and away from anything that would make the customer uncomfortable or embarrassed. Carrying out the above suggestions will put your company way ahead of the competition.

Mr. Mason founded the Apollo Consulting Group in 2008 to help small and mid-sized companies in solving their challenges. Mr. Mason brings over thirty years of corporate, consulting and entrepreneurial experience in a variety of industries. He possess skills in general business management, analysis, strategy development, marketing, finance/budgeting, operations, pricing optimization, workflow optimization, process reengineering, project management, and information technology. Mr. Mason has two degrees in Economics and was a Volunteer Mentor for the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RI-CIE). He writes a weekly blog on his company website at

Bryan B Mason

Principal The Apollo Consulting Group LLC

4. Use Social Media as a Channel to Provide Customer Service – Set up specific channels using Facebook or Twitter where customers can make you aware of their issues and seek a resolution. Reevaluate your policies such as your return policy and expand the limits of what you are willing to do to produce the | volume six issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | RI Foundation Offering $600,000 In Seed Grants

RI Foundation offering $600,000 in seed grants The Rhode Island Foundation is looking for people with bold ideas for moving the state forward, and is offering $600,000 in seed grants through the Carter Fellowships for Entrepreneurial Innovation.

or re-energized approach that has not been tried meaningfully in Rhode Island; the potential benefits to the state, and the degree to which the proposed outcome is achievable, among other factors.

Designed to stimulate solutions to Rhode Island challenges, the initiative is made possible through the foresight and generosity of philanthropists Letitia and John Carter. The fellowship program, now in its 7th year, is built around the spirit of entrepreneurship and seeks to achieve community impact by investing in an individual’s creativity and potential, and by providing freedom to apply fresh thinking to important challenges.

Only individuals are eligible. Applicants do not have to be residents of Rhode Island, but they must commit to living in Rhode Island during the four-year duration of the Fellowship if selected.

“This program enhances our state’s reputation as a place of innovation and resourcefulness. We thank Letitia and John Carter for having the vision to inspire bold thinkers to bring their best ideas to life,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. As many as three applicants will be selected to receive up to $200,000 over four years to test and implement innovative ideas that could dramatically improve an area of life in Rhode Island.

The applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges: Marie Langlois, retired managing director of Washington Trust Investors; Alan Litwin, KLR managing director; and Lou Mazzucchelli, coordinator of Bryant University’s Entrepreneurship Program. Judges will also meet with the Fellows every six months, throughout the four-year duration of their Fellowship, to measure progress and learning. The one-page application is posted on the Foundation’s website. The deadline to apply is Dec. 19. The Foundation expects to announce the recipients in April 2018.

“Letitia and I strongly believe in the power of everyday Rhode Islanders to address the issues that affect our state. We are committed to making this a better place to live and hope the public is inspired to submit proposals with the promise to lead the way,” said John Carter.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2016, the Foundation awarded a record $45 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising, and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.

Proposals will be evaluated on whether there is a new, novel,

For more information visit


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Improving Business Outcomes | SMALL BUSINESS

IMPROVING BUSINESS OUTCOMES By Kathleen Repoli Like most businesses, we continue to seek the answer to this question, how do I improve my business outcomes? We know there are many ways to accomplish this, including: Creative marketing campaigns Aligning with the right partners Improving our product or service Negotiating better or different contracts for raw materials Ensuring our business support services are efficient and cost competitive

family and the impact a hurting or sick member has on the whole. The same holds true at work. As our nation transforms healthcare through digital solutions, value-based care models, consumer focused efforts coupled with new wellbeing platforms, navigating the landscape can be daunting for any business. The good news is there are a lot of options in this space to help companies provide meaningful solutions. Responsibly selecting the solution for your environment begins with creating a human capital strategy that aligns with the overall business strategy. Here are some tips to consider as you deďŹ ne your strategy: Understand the demographics of your existing team, including: Who is planning to retire soon

These examples tend to be concrete and are typically easy to determine the return on investment or ROI, assuming you have the tools to measure. ROI is a reliable business measure, as it should be. It provides valuable information on when to celebrate and when and where to shift strategy when needed. But what about Human Capital? The team, your employees? You know you have a certain role to fill or keep filled in order to advance your business. The position has a defined skillset that contributes to your business outcome. This is an important piece of the puzzle. Payroll is often the largest cost on the financials with benefits being a close second. In today’s competitive hiring market, it becomes even more important to have compelling reasons for a new hire to choose you and existing employees to remain loyal. Of course, that assumes they are the contributors you need and want. What is your human capital strategy? Do you have one? Should you have one? An important question in your human capital strategy should be: How do I provide meaningful health and wellbeing benefits that positively impact my bottom line AND my human assets? We understand that healthy people make healthy communities, whether the community is work, family, neighborhood, etc. Think about your

Who is aspiring for upward mobility Pairing these groups together can be a win:win Identify the candidate profile you seek to attract Identify what is important to these candidates Understand your company culture This can be a sensitive area. Often there is a mismatch between leaders and employees. Identify the top 3 reasons employees have unplanned absences Identify the highest cost contributors for medical claims Consider onsite services to advance your teams health & wellbeing Providing onsite services shows you value and respect your teams time and care about their wellbeing Creates an environment of collaboration which transfers to your company goals As you move into 2018 and finalize your plans for a successful year, wishing you the best with your Human Capital Strategy! Kathleen Repoli is the Founder of SimplaFYI, a technology and services company focused on integrative care. She can be reached at: 401-374-9000 or

Katheen Repoli

Founder, SimplaFYI | volume six issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | Small Business Electronic Marketing Resource & Tips

Small Business Electronic Marketing Resource & Tips by Bradley Fowler One of the most invaluable assets available for growth of a small business brand is-electronic marketing. I cannot express this enough. After all, effectively utilizing concepts of electronic marketing- enables almost any small business to reach its target audience; regionally, nationally, and internationally. No matter the product, service, academia, government, or person, electronic marketing delivers. Take for instance, e-mail marketing. Although e-mail marketing laws have been enacted around the world and in several USA states- to combat the dissemination of SPAM; small business owners can use e-mail marketing to disseminate digital press releases; flyers, newsletters, Webinars, Digital Infomercials, and build a network of supporters. Electronic marketing provides leverage even when your small business is on a marketing budget. Using e-mail marketing sharing services such a Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Mailrelay are great examples. However, developing your own e-mail marketing message content and combing through search engines to build a list of persons to share your well-crafted, e-mail marketing message with-can, too, be your alternative. In fact, writing a brief message conveying who you are (i.e., organization, business, or service provider), what you are offering (i.e., products or services); how to obtain what is being offered (i.e., Web site URL, phone number, name of contact person); cost if any; and how long if scheduled timeline is related. It’s also important to convey a summary of the business or organization’s-history and accreditations. Combing through search engines to compile a list of contacts is easy. Simply decide who your target market is. Let’s say, your offering a service. Who can benefit from your service, should be your first concern. Begin searching for your target audience once you know who your


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

target audience is. Keywords in your search should always include the city and state of your primary location. This will help narrow down your search. Next, begin combing through Web-sites found in your search response. Be sure to investigate those sites-to make sure they are legitimate. This includes, making sure the site has a current copyright date (i.e., 2017) in the footer of the site. Also, check to see if this site offers a “Contact Us” page. Once on that page, complete any forms provided, and paste in your pre-developed e-mail marketing message, and send. Do a followup one week later with another e-mail and phone call -to find out if whomever you addressed received your e-mail message. If you sent a general e-mail marketing message that wasn’t addressed to one person, contacting the receiver- to query if your e-mail was viewed, and/or to share additional information, is another approach to bridging the gateway to sharing your message. Be sure to compile a digital file of every Web site, you view; and log the Web address or URL (Universal Resource Locator), so you can return to each site to resubmit your e-mail marketing message once again. Too often, contacting businesses, persons, or service providers via direct e-mail address, places such messages in the SPAM folder, and often are deleted and trashed. Thus, utilizing e-mail marketing messages as a concept of electronic marketing may very well be your gateway to small business success. Good luck! By the way, to obtain a “FREE”, six-week, e-course in electronic marketing, log on to and register. This course is a- work at your own pace, so you are under no obligation to meet assignment submission deadlines. You will, however, learn key steps in developing and disseminating e-mail marketing messages and more. Bradley Fowler Proprietor of Construction EMarketing,

Monthly Activities: Simplicity | PROFESSIONAL GROWTH

Professional Growth Monthly Activities Simplicity by Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro, PhD

My small business tip for this month is “keep it simple.” If you are thinking “It is simple once you understand it” it is not simple enough.

When: • •

• •

• •

Advertising, be sure it is easy for your customers to figure out what you are offering and what you want them to do. Answering a question, be sure you understand the question. Then be sure that you answer the question directly rather than requiring the person you are speaking with to try to spend energy trying to figure out what you are saying. Communicating, a corporate policy be sure the policy is easy to understand. Designing a product, be sure that people can actually use it. Avoid the feeling that the product works one way on Monday, another on Tuesday, a Third on Wednesday, and then it doesn’t work at all from Friday till Sunday. Marketing, discuss what your product will do for your customers and clients rather than mentioning all of the features it offers unless your customer is a technical expert. If a display functions differently depending which button is pressed it may be confusing to use. Selling, offer a reasonable number of options and specials, but not so many that people get confused and delay (or avoid) buying. Speaking with clients and customers, be sure all members of your team communicate the same message.

While “keeping it simple” sounds like

it is very easy to do, it may take more effort on the part of the business owner and team members. It is worth the effort,

though because simplicity should improve: • • • • • •

Communication by avoiding conflict and saving time Productivity by allowing faster start up and less rework Profitability by reducing calls for help and service Safety by reducing accidents Sales by showing customers how your product will be most helpful to them Trust by having prices which are easy to understand

For this month’s activity we’ll have some fun doing just what we should not do in real life. We’ll illustrate how multiple rules make it difficult if not impossible to solve a problem, even though the rules are actually pretty simple once you understand them in our version of the Game of States. As an added bonus, if you wish to do the Game of States at a networking event or trade show presentation, it provides a neat way to collect business cards.

Game of States:

1. Ask all event attendees to write the name of a state on the back of their business card and place it in a container held by your blindfolded colleague. 2. Your colleague will shuffle the cards. 3. Have your colleague draw a card and hand it to you. 4. Your colleague will identify the name of the state written on the card by answering “yes” or “no” when you ask questions in the form of “Is it name of state?” 5. For more fun tell a little story about the state prior to asking the question such as “We are now in Rhode Island” or “I enjoy vacationing in California.” 6. If your colleague answers incorrectly the person whose card was drawn wins a prize, but your colleague should never answer incorrectly unless one of you makes a mistake (which may happen on occasion). 7. Grand prize goes to whomever figures out how you are communicating the answer to your colleague, but you may never actually have a winner!

Secret rules:

You will ask “Is it name of state?” for a variable number of states each time you receive a card. The secret lies in which state you ask about before you ask about the state on the card. If the previous state begins with a consonant and ends with an “A”, you will mention the name of the state on the card next. If the previous state begins with a vowel and ends in an “O” you will ask about the state on the card next. I would like to thank Industrial Consultant Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments. 2 Dr. Fred Girondi first introduced me to a version of the Game of States in the 1970s 3 Maria Gaskell, a 2017 graduate of Central Falls High School and Rhode Island College student is pictured holding a container of cards with the names of states written on them.

Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro Independent Consultant in Human Factors, Learning and Human Resources | volume six issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | Need To Raise Capital

Something’s Brewing T H E S O U T H K I N G S T O W N B R E W E R Y M A K I N G WAV E S

Whalers The story of

Brewing Company


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Something’s Brewing | SMALL BUSINESS

For us, we’ve seen such a huge support from the community, people wanting to drink local products, wanting to buy local products... it’s a really cool community to be a part of by Amelia Votta

Whalers Brewing Company in South Kingstown has the sense of calm and permanence that generally accompanies a long-time establishment. The relaxed friendship between beer enthusiasts Josh Dunlap and Wes Staschke makes it easy to believe that the two are old friends collaborating on this business venture. Somehow, though, neither of these impressions are accurate; Whalers is only a few years old, and Dunlap and Staschke had only known each other for a short time before they began working together. Josh Dunlap started brewing beer in 2008, a hobby developed from watching his friends dabble in it when he was stateside from his deployment with the Marine Corps. When he returned home, he began working on a fishing boat out of Point Judith, the James and Matthew, where he started to brew on his own. Hobby became profession, and when it came time to make things more official and name the venture, “Whalers” paid homage to Josh’s nautical background and time on the water. Wes Staschke had his own brewery, Stone and Steel, in West Warwick before merging his company and equipment with Josh sometime around 2013. He explains that the culture in West Warwick wasn’t as receptive to the idea of a brewery as the South County area. This resistance prompted him to reach out to Josh, and he asked to join him at Whalers. Now, Josh and Wes work together to grow and develop the ever-changing selection of beers on tap (Wes focuses on developing sour ales, Josh specializes in high-gravity, high-ABV beers) and building the brand that is Whalers. The brand is showcased in what they call the tasting room, a space that is actually their third location, and which can comfortably hold between 200-300 people. Inside, native Rhode Islanders and URI students alike can be found tossing around cornhole bean bags, attempting giant

Jenga, and playing pool. People appreciate the laid-back atmosphere, the fact that families are welcome until 6 (after that it’s 21+), that you can bring dogs and your own food, and that they close at 10pm to distinguish themselves from the normal bar scene, and focus on the beer tasting experience. Outside of the tasting room, Whalers beers can be found in about 350 restaurants in Rhode Island, and will soon break into Massachusetts as well. At the end of 2015, an investor joined, and the production grew out of what the tasting room alone could handle. When asked if they ever thought their brand would take off like this, the two are both quick to shake their heads, and Josh speaks first, “(We) strive to brew great beer and sell it locally… I never thought it would get this big, personally.” The team is now expanding the actual brewing process into the building next door. “It’s really cool to see it evolve to statewide, and multistate-wide by the end of the year,” Wes explains. “For us, we’ve seen such a huge support from the community, people wanting to drink local products, wanting to buy local products… it’s a really cool community to be a part of,” their marketing director Emily Sorlien explains. Their community involvement even goes beyond the taproom: Whalers has sponsored the Blessing of the Fleet in Narragansett, as well as PVD Fest in Providence this past summer. Their greatest accomplishment so far? Their American Pale Ale, Rise, won “Best Pale Ale” in the United States at the 2017 World Beer Awards. It’s their best seller and what they recommend to first-time Whalers visitors. For those who are familiar with the brand, Josh and Wes tease a new brew coming this winter: Prometheus, a nearly 13% ABV Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels. Parting words to those who have yet to experience Whalers? “If you’ve never visited the taproom, you’re doing it wrong,” the guys laugh. | volume six issue nine



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Do you have a financial policy in place?


By Carmella Beroth

aving a financial policy in place will not only protect your company, but also help your client/customer understand their obligations and what’s expected when it’s time to pay. First and foremost check what interest rate or fees you can charge. Since each state has its own standard rate its important your rate be clearly stated and expressed to your clients/customers.

Remember…ambiguity leads to absence when dealing with financials. All policies should be posted or easily accessible for your client/ customers to view. It’s equally important your client/customer sign they’ve received and understand said policies. Communicate with your client/ consumer about your specific polices and be open to any questions they may have. Sending a monthly statement after the fact isn’t always enough. It’s important you make the attempt to resolve any issues before it get’s to the point of a past due notice. It’s always better to discuss a potential problem before it becomes an actual problem. Collections Agencies not only collect past due balances but they also mediate the situation that lead the client/ Consumer to default. This process requires skilled professionals that are versed in mediation and conflict resolution of any debt situation. An example of this type of situation would be your company trying to rectify payment from a client that seemed to be a valued customer at the time of service but is now avoiding your calls and statements. Well what if the reason you haven’t been as aggressive is this particular client may have some influence in the community or sit on a board you’re also affiliated with. This happens more often than not in the business community. Leveraging or taking advantage of a relationship and kindness for financial reasons is not okay. Especially when money is owed. Unfortunately the end result is usually the same as the beginning. After many calls and conversations and promises to pay, your client still doesn’t send payment. When you have a Collection Agency intervene, it takes the relationship between company, you and your client away

and brings the severity of the debt to a higher level. Remember, you didn’t put your client in this position. They made the financial decision to put you in yours. Collection Agencies act as an extension of your business that’s constantly working to resolve your accounting issues. Collection Agencies have strict laws and compliance codes they must abide in order to maintain licensing and the ability to collect.

When looking for a Collection Agency you should keep a few questions in mind: How long have they been in business and are they compliant? How often are collectors trained and where are calls being places from? Are the calls placed from a local office or overseas? Are they licensed and bonded? Will they provide a hold harmless agreement? At the end of the day you should always feel comfortable and confident speaking with your Collection agency about anything. Much like how you want to have an open communication line with your client/ customers, it should be the same with the Collection Agency working for you. If you already have a collection agency in place consider how often you speak with someone from your Collection Agency and when is the last time you received correspondence from them? Most importantly, is your agency saving your company money and offering information to help with your internal billing process? Debt Management Inc. is a local family owned and operated collection agency. We strive recover and expedite what’s owed to our clients in the most economical way possible. You have nothing to lose, that’s already happened. Now it’s time to gain back what you’ve lost and take control moving forward

Carmella Beroth Director of Business Development Debt Management, Inc. | volume six issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | Q&A With Attorney Frank E. Reardon



Frank E. Reardon

One change happening in the last few years is that physicians are becoming entrepreneurs and starting businesses. This structure for the delivery of health care brings risks and opportunities. One concern is the rise in litigation and workplace issues with employees. Attorney Reardon and PLDO health care, employment and business lawyers routinely monitor the issues addressed above and other related matters. To stay updated on new laws and regulations, or to learn more about mediation and legal services, please contact Attorney Reardon at 401-824-5100 or email

The following Q&A is provided to describe some of the more pressing issues and what health care organizations should be aware of now and in the future.

are critical. This is especially true when representing health care professionals and institutions where their reputation for providing competent, appropriate care is so important to the community they serve. Due to our experience with the various types of disputes that can arise in a health care setting, we are often called upon to mediate conflicts either in the workplace or with government agencies. We have also been called upon by the American Health Lawyers Association to conduct training sessions in mediation and to serve as arbitrators of such matters as credentialing, fraud and abuse, employment disputes and hospital/ provider contracts. Often, these disputes can be resolved prior to becoming engaged in the time and expense of protracted litigation because we have seen these issues before and know the path to resolution. The key is being involved early on so that the situation can be strategically managed from the outset.

Q. Litigation can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. What is the advantage of mediation or arbitration as opposed to going to court? Is one better than the other?

Q. The health care industry is typically one of the largest employers in any state. How does an employer manage and/or reduce the number of employee claims in large organizations?

Frank E. Reardon is a prominent Massachusetts health care lawyer and litigator who has affiliated with Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC in a strategic alliance to better serve an everexpanding base of clients throughout New England. The affiliation is structured to address the multitude of legal issues faced today by physicians and other health care-related organizations.

A. Attorney Reardon: Health care litigation has dramatically evolved over the past decades. Litigation is difficult, time-consuming and stressful which is why litigation avoidance strategies


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A. Attorney Reardon: Health care corporations are among the largest employers in most sections of the United States. During the second half of the twentieth century, a multitude of new



state and federal laws and regulations were enacted which recognized the importance of being free from harassment and discrimination in the workplace. As a result, there was a dramatic increase in the number of employment actions confronting health care administrators. The allegations have involved complaints of sexual harassment; gender and racial discrimination; and whistle blowing. Staying up-to-date on state and federal employment laws and training staff about best practices in the workplace can reduce the number of claims. We represent our clients in state and federal courts and administrative agencies, and conduct training sessions to ensure that the workplace is free from inappropriate conduct.

Q. Physicians and other medical providers are becoming business owners. Are there specific risks to this new model and what should they be aware of? A. Attorney Reardon: The practice of medicine is heavily regulated at both the state and federal level. In recent years, many clients have sought to enter into employment contracts or affiliation agreements with other providers or enter into business transactions with non-providers. Legal advice regarding such arrangements is critical to avoid running afoul of federal and state laws prohibiting fee splitting or the corporate practice of medicine. We have advised our clients about the nuances of safe harbor provisions

that govern such relationships and state specific prohibitions such as the practice of medicine by unlicensed individuals as well as the regulation and oversight by state and federal licensing boards. Attorney Reardon and PLDO health care, employment and business lawyers routinely monitor the issues addressed above and other related matters. To stay updated on new laws and regulations, or to learn more about mediation and legal services, please contact Attorney Reardon at 401-8245100 or email | volume six issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | Custom Built Tax-Strategies

CUSTOM BUILT TAX-STRATEGIES: A Small Business Guide to Enhanced Retirement Savings by David Podell As a small business owner, it’s easy to take your latest earnings and plough it right back into the company. It makes sense; spend money now to make money later, capitalize on the gains before the moment passes. Small business owners are masters of David Podell has been keeping an eye on the advising business bottom line because their owner clients for the company IS their livelihood, last 15 years. He has and more often than been recognized in the not, their life’s work. The industry a top producer responsibility that comes and is sought out by with that burden promotes other advisors for his vigilance and surviving for expertise in this area. He works with clients the next day. But eventually, around the country and every owner has to hang can be reached at 973it up, retiring whether 227-8001 or dpodell@ they want to or not. When preparing for that day, there is an incredible strategy available to business owners that can boost retirement savings using an intricate but not well-known process. A 401k is a godsend to those who plan ahead for retirement and can make steady, consistent contributions in light of marketfluctuations and over decades of investment. But many small business owners don’t have that luxury, especially early in their careers; if the manufacturing equipment falls apart, an employee is injured or anything at all threatens the company, jumping through hoops to pull capital out of a 401k may not be a viable option. Also, with a relatively small cap on maximum investment contributions, a regular 401k may not cut it when planning decades of retirement spending and medical bills. How can you make up that gap in a short period of time?


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Enter the Custom Built Tax-Strategy Plan. These plans provide an accelerated profitsharing framework that surpasses a regular 401k retirement account with a definedbenefit plan or pension. With enhanced tax deduction potential, a business owner may be able to achieve 10 or 20 times the contribution limits of a regular 401k, allowing small business owners to race to the finish line of retirement with every advantage they can get. This type of a plan even allows for employees to participate in the 401k plan, going as far as granting access to high-value employees who can share in some of the savings! It doesn’t stop there. As a business owner, you aren’t locked into an employer-sponsored framework forever. Like with a generic 401k, a vested employee can roll over their 401k funds into an IRA account for continued tax-deferred status, ensuring that the contributions remain available for use. The benefits from utilizing these tax-deferred accounts is that owners retain a great deal of control over the investment options available to them and can better protect the funds from lawsuits or bankruptcy. Before we continue, I know you’re thinking; what’s the catch? Why doesn’t everyone take advantage of this type of planning? Why do most companies just use a regular 401k? It is true; this plan isn’t the plan for everyone. It relies on the small business owner who is profitable, to maximize tax deferments. At the end of a long and successful career, many owners don’t know what their outlook is for the foreseeable future, at least in terms of predictable revenue flow. But many of those owners agree that an extra $1.5 to 2.5 million dollars would be great to have during retirement. Those types of owners are the ones who benefit the most. To take

“ These plans provide an accelerated profit-sharing framework that surpasses a regular 401k retirement account with a defined-benefit plan or pension. With enhanced tax deduction potential, a business owner may be able to achieve 10 or 20 times the contribution limits of a regular 401k, allowing small business owners to race to the finish line of retirement with every advantage they can get.”

Custom Built Tax-Strategies | SMALL BUSINESS


advantage of this plan alone is virtually impossible. Working with the right advisor who can help design a contribution schedule and navigate planning issues is absolutely critical to maximize the value of this strategy and without unintentionally running afoul of IRS rules and regulations. Very few advisors know how to structure or administer these plans so most just take the simple route of recommending a standard 401K plan. While this standard approach may be simpler and easier to understand, it does not adequately help a profitable business owner who is paying too much in taxes. Building and designing these plans is a specialty of Podell Financial Group. It goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to custom tax-strategies for business owners

and the self-employed. We help design and manage these retirement plans for successful companies using tailored tax-advantaged designs to maximize deductions. Working with our clients’ existing advisors, we have been able to better position them with an enhanced financial position and increased control of their company’s profits. Podell Financial Group has been at the forefront of leveraging this strategy and other sophisticated approaches on behalf of qualified clients. When all’s said and done, if you’re the type of business owner who is looking to improve their future financial standing quickly and with confidence, these hybrid plans are an excellent option to consider. Pick the right guide, and build a strong financial foundation to carry you through to your retirement goals.

David Podell is a financial advisor offering investment advisory services through Eagle Strategies LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor & a registered representative offering securities products and services through NYLIFE Securities LLC, (member FINRA/SIPC), a Licensed Insurance Agency. Neither Podell Financial Group, LLC, its employees nor NYLIFE Securities LLC or its subsidiaries render tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult your professional advisors regarding your particular situation. Before rolling over the proceeds of your retirement plan to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or annuity, consider whether you would benefit from other possible options such as leaving the funds in your existing plan or transferring them into a new employer’s plan. You should consider the specific terms and rules that relate to each option including: the available investment options, applicable fees and expenses, the services offered, the withdrawal options, the potential flexibility around taking IRS required minimum distributions from the option, tax consequences of withdrawals and of removing shares of employer stock from your plan, possible protection from creditors and legal judgments and your unique situation.

David Podell

Financial Advisor Eagle Strategies LLC | volume six issue nine


LEGAL | Personnel Practices: Employee Leave Laws

Personnel Practices E M P L O Y E E L E AV E L A W S by Kristen M. Whittle, Esq.

Governor Gina Raimondo recently signed into law new legislation that requires many employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees. When the law takes effect on July 1, 2018, Rhode Island will join neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut as only a handful of states requiring employers to offer paid sick leave. The following provides an overview of the new law, and several other employee leave laws that may apply to small businesses in Rhode Island.

Paid sick/safe leave: This recently enacted law requires employers with 18 or more employees to allow employees to accrue up to 24 hours of paid leave in 2018, 32 hours of leave in 2019, and 40 hours of leave in 2020 and beyond. The law effectively also requires employers with fewer than 18 employees to provide the same amount of leave to their employees, but on an unpaid basis. Employees may use such leave in case of their own illness, the illness of a family member, or to seek preventive care for themselves or assist a family member in seeking preventive care. The new law also allows employees to use this leave if they are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Unless employers implement a paid time off or paid sick/ safe leave policy, they must allow employees to carry over accrued sick leave from one year to another or provide a payout for accrued but unused sick leave at the end of a year. If employers implement a paid leave policy, they may require employees to provide reasonable documentation of the reason necessitating sick/safe leave. Notably, employers are not required to pay employees for accrued, but unused sick time upon separation from employment.

Paid family leave: In 2014, Rhode Island became one of three states to require employers offer paid family leave, also known as Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI). Nearly all Rhode 24

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Island employers are subject to TCI’s requirements. TCI is available for full-time employees who cannot work because they are caring for a seriously ill family member or bonding with a new child. TCI is funded entirely by payroll deductions and is administered by the Department of Labor and Training. The TCI law requires that employers provide four weeks of job-protected leave, such that the employee may return to his or her previous work position or its equivalent after taking leave.

Disability leave:

When an employee suffers from a qualifying disability that affects one or more of his/her major life activities, employers may be required to provide a period of job-protected leave to the employee under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees—far fewer than the 50+ employee threshold for employers to be subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employees may request a period of leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA in order to seek treatment for a serious medical condition— for example, to undergo major surgery for a qualifying disability, or to undergo chemotherapy. Employers may be required to provide such ADA leave unless they can show that accommodating the request for leave would impose an undue hardship on their business operations. Many employers choose to implement policies confirming the types of leave for which their employees may be eligible. When doing so, employers should carefully consider the ways in which the various types of leave may interact with each other, so as not to unintentionally provide more or less leave than was actually intended. In drafting or executing employee leave policies, a conversation with a seasoned professional can save some headaches down the road.

Kristen M. Whittle, Esq. Associate, Barton Gilman LLP

Personnel Practices: Employee Leave Laws | LEGAL

In 2014, Rhode Island became one of three states to require employers offer paid family leave, also known as Temporary Caregiver Insurance | volume six issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | You Don’t Have To Change

You Don’t Have to Change.

by Larry Girouard

Last month I was at a presentation where a lean consultant was discussing the power of implementing lean methodologies to improve corporate efficiency.  He stated that 95% of what we do in our businesses is considered non value-added as viewed by the customer. 95%!!!!!  Absurd? Greatly embellished to make a point? At first blush the magnitude of this number appears to be exaggerated, and irresponsible to even put it out there.  Only 5% of all the activities that we perform in our businesses are considered value-added from the customer’s perspective!!! He then gave the following example of something that we are all familiar with ... watching a football game.  Every Sunday in the fall and winter many of us pull up a chair from 1pm - 4pm to watch a football game.  We may watch 2-3 games over the course of a weekend, but let’s focus on a single Sunday game.

In business it is the same thing. A customer calls up and wants a product.  In the manufacturing world, a 3-4 week lead time is normal. That being said, well over 90% of this time is non-value added, or waste. This is a fact, and you can take it to the bank. This is true for every company, including your company. Company presidents and management teams just never look at their business through the lens of waste. There are very few company presidents that I know that do not want to both increase market penetration, and improve their bottom line. While the example above relates to a football game, the same non-value added inefficiencies can be applied to your business. What can company presidents do to reduce the non-value added activities in their businesses?

You might ask a friend ... How many minutes during the 3 hour program is the football actually in play? 

Most small companies have well under a 3% - 5% market share, and therefore have a real opportunity to capture share. These small companies talk about growing 5%-10% a year in sales. That sales goal is, in my opinion, problematic. If you have a company that has 3% market share, why not set a goal to capture 1%--2% additional market share, or 33%-66% growth? The one trait that small companies have that the 800 pound gorillas in their market do not have is AGILITY. Small companies have the real potential of moving quickly in responding to customer needs, wants, and complaints.

Well here are the statistics ... there is an average of 125 plays in a football game, and the average play lasts 7 seconds. Do the math ... 14.58 minutes or 8% of the 3 hours is all the time the ball is actually in play. 92% of the time we are sitting around waiting for the next play. 

You cannot capture additional share of any significance unless you can confidently answer the question that every target customer asks, or is thinking about. Why should I buy your product or service?   

While this next statement can be debated, the real value in watching the game is when a play is in progress. Certainly the announcers add some value, and the instant replay helps us look at a few details that we might have missed, but when the rubber meets the road, the real value starts when the ball is snapped.


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You Don’t Have To Change | SMALL BUSINESS


Strategic Planning for smaller companies is not as much about writing a thick plan that, in short order, ends up in a desk drawer, as much as it is about the willingness of the President to change the corporate culture. Having the courage and passion to change the way team members work with each other within a function, or cross functionally, represents THE key building block for the execution of a market penetration program.   The ability of a company to quantifiably differentiate itself from competition sets the stage for market penetration.   In almost every case that I can think of, the lion’s share of differentiation comes from the behavior of people within the organization, and not from features/benefits of the products/services that the company was founded on to deliver. Behavior and efficiency go hand in hand, and efficiency is directly related to the elimination of non-value added activities ... better said, waste. In the world of lean there are seven deadly wastes: transportation (the excessive moving of stuff from one place to another), motion (employees looking for stuff, or excessive walking/motion in a process), waiting (for information, for meetings to start), over processing, over production, defects (in products and communication),

and excessive inventory (tying up a company’s money). These wastes either costs money, or take up employee’s time, both of which represent a totally non-productive use of an asset. Customers are not willing to pay for these added costs because they add no value to their experience. Like the football example of 92% waste above, if waste can be reduced in your business, it will have a direct and measurable impact on the customer experience in the form of shorter lead times, improved on time delivery, faster response to quotes, and the like. The result – an improved customer experience or value proposition that will simplify market penetration. As management teams of small companies begin to take this more globalist view of their company, growth beyond 5%-10% a year becomes a much more realistic goal. Improvement in the way the team works together offers the single greatest potential in realizing loftier and more profitable growth goals. Also, a company that is not growing presents no opportunity for its management or employees. The result - a culture with no emotion or energy as everyone just goes through the motions to get through the day. Considering all this, you still do not have to change. Survival is an option. Larry Girouard, President

The Business Avionix Company | volume six issue nine


Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara attorneys are innovators and collaborators with a record of achievement representing clients with the highest level of legal services in a wide range of disciplines and industries. Our firm’s success is rooted in its cutting edge approach to modern legal representation, commitment to teamwork and providing superior service for clients built on respect, urgency and efficiency that results in long-lasting relationships.

Great legal teams working for YOU. 401-824-5100

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90 SECONDS. Pitch your idea for a business at the Rhode Island Elevator Pitch Contest November 1, 2017 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tech Collective, 166 Valley St., Building 3 Providence You’ll get 90 seconds to describe your business idea to a panel of expert judges – who will provide immediate feedback. It’s a great opportunity to practice your pitch in front of a live audience and get useful advice from business experts.

A total of $1,000 will be awarded to top presenters Free and open to anyone, 18 years or older Learn more and register at Just want to watch and listen? You’re invited to join the audience – at no charge. You’ll learn a lot, but we ask you to pre-register.

We’re building the next generation of companies in Rhode Island Since 2001, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition has awarded more than $2.3 million in prizes to help entrepreneurs build growing businesses in Rhode Island and today is the largest community-supported business plan competition in the Northeast. Our sponsors include private companies, professional service providers, foundations, colleges and universities, | volume six issue nine 29 public agencies, investors, banks – and previous participants. Full details at

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