Page 1

volume six issue one

Real Estate Review & Forecast

Tips For Your Small Business



Growth Planning In 2017



C O M M U N I | Cvolume AsixTissueI oneO N 1 S

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Gil Lantini Founder Ralph Coppolino Co-Founder Mike Casale Senior Designer Digital Marketing Lauren Bansbach Angelica Cabral Julia Cianciolo Alison Dupuis Nick Lovett Meghan O’Neill Contributing Writers Michael Brito C. Alexander Chiulli Larry Girouard Mark S. Hayward Kristin MacRae Gina M. Raimondo Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro Kristen M. Whittle

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24 6th

Network at Noon at Arturo Joe’s Arturo Joe’s 1/6/2017 11:45 am 8:00 am - 9:00 am Narragansett 140 Point Judith Road,

First Friday Coffee Welcome House of South County, Peace Dale, RI

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Scandinavian Assisted Living, Cranston, RI


th 26 18th

A 1/18/2017 Night at the Garden 5:00 pmGarden - 7:00Inn pm The Hilton 6:00 pm After Hours hosted by Mews Tavern Business 1 Thurber Street, Warwick Mews Tavern, Wakefield, RI 1/24/2017 11:45 am - 1:30 pm Network At Noon Catered By Patois Catering

The RI Family Owned Manufacturing Consortium 2/2/2017 Polaris MEP 8:30 am am - 9:00 am 8:00 315Morning Iron Horse Way,Networking Providence Event Coffee

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RI Mentoring Partnership and Laid-back Fitness Goddard Memorial Park, East Greenwich, RI

JUNE FEBRUARY Hosted by Victoria Court

First FridayCourt, CoffeeCranston, at South RI County Museum Victoria South County Museum 8:00 am 1152/3/2017 Strathmore Street, Narragansett 8:00 am - 9:00 am Friday Coffee ByLearn Lighthouse RE Group ISOFirst 9001:2015 Lunch & Polaris MEP RI Wakefield, 11:30 am 3152/15/2017 Iron Horse Way, Providence 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Capital City After Connection Networking Business Corner Bakery CafeHours by Amalfi’s Catering East 8:00 am Greenwich, RI 140 Hillside Road, Cranston 2/11/2017 11:00 am - 11:30 am Brand Commitment Sprout SaveRIThe Bay Splash 8:00 am Memorial Blvd, Newport, RI 166 Valley Street, Providence

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RI Chamber, Wakefield, Visit RI ForSouthern More Events Business After Hours hosted by Munroe Realtors For More Event Information Visit Munroe Realtors 4

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5:00 pm 117 Main Street, Wakefield


volume six issue one



5 Upcoming Events 6 The Business Development Company 7 Service Corp Of Retired Executives 8 Governor Gina M. Raimondo 9 Quick Stats You Should Know


12 RI Realtors Housing Statistics 13 Introducing The Nelson Event Center


14 What Message Are You Sending Your Clients


16 From the Director’s Desk - SBA 18 Professional Growth For The Entrepreneur 20 Real Estate Review & Forecast

ON THE COVER volume six issue one

24 Personnel Practices

Real Estate Review & Forecast

Tips For Your Small Business


26 Enhancing Company Communications Growth Planning In 2017


Professional Growth Real Estate Review and Forecast


29 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition




22 | volume six issue one





Development Company The Business Development Company (BDC) provides low

six-figure loans to companies that can’t get all the money they need from traditional sources. We’ve successfully worked with hundreds of business owners and positively impacted thousands of jobs since our inception in 1953. We support RISBJ’s mission of providing practical, hands-on insights to small business owners, and being practical means dealing with reality. Accessing the capital for your business can prove frustrating because the ultimate irony is it’s easy to borrow money when you don’t need it. Sure, every bank is town will lend money to an established business with a proven team, a profitable track record and collateral support, but your young company doesn’t fit that profile. A financing dialog warrants distinguishing a Pure Start-up from an Early Stage company. A Pure Start-up runs from the idea’s inception to the point at which recurring revenues evidence customer traction. An Early Stage company is focused on using those revenues to grow into a sustainably profitable organization. A Pure Start-up will likely need to finance this stage with personal and family / friend money unless the founder has a proven track record or the company/stockholders can offer a strong collateral fallback. A frequent and costly mistake when obtaining “friendly” funding is the entrepreneur avoids subjecting the business plan to independent and brutally frank criticism. An Early Stage company may have independent funding options before reaching the bank criteria noted above. For the purpose of this limited space, capital options will depend on the strength/breadth of the revenue ramp, the existence or proximity of positive cash flow, and collateral availability. Various nonbank lenders serve this market, including the BDC. The BDC provides loans across the full spectrum of Early Stage, Growth and Mature companies. We work to understand an entrepreneur’s business and how funding might be used for working capital, asset purchases, and strategic growth initiatives. Our pivotal issue in considering loan requests is how compellingly the business plan details the strategies and resources needed to support projected financial results and the ability to repay the loan. We welcome the chance to work with entrepreneurs who can subordinate their passion to objectivity and self-discipline. Young companies should take advantage of the wealth of resources available in Rhode Island to guide them.


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal



Service Corp of Retired Executives

The Rhode Island Chapter of SCORE provides free faceto-face advice with an experienced mentor to help develop strategies and answer questions on a wide range of business topics – everything from how to write a business plan, how to arrange funding and manage cash flow, to how to develop effective marketing and sales strategies. Importantly, SCORE not only helps people to start businesses, the organization works with existing businesses that need assistance and who must improve financial performance. SCORE RI volunteers conduct year round local workshops on topics geared towards both start-up and existing small business entrepreneurs.

assistance with the appropriate counselor. Notwithstanding, the counselor’s background, they are required to undertake a training and certification process. What each volunteer has in common is a willingness to share their expertise, experience and business savvy to help others achieve success.

SCORE operates as a community service and as a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Rhode Island SCORE has 11 locations throughout the state and 35 volunteers comprised of retired corporate executives, successful business owners, as well as, technology, legal, financial, sales and marketing experts. The Chapter’s expertise is deep and varied. We make an effort to match those seeking

Put SCORE’s volunteers, workshops and online workshops to work for your business. Contact Rhode Island SCORE to meet with an experienced business mentor.

In addition to our face to face counseling, SCORE presents many online workshops, webinars and online mentoring. Clients may also access online templates and tools. SCORE charges no fees for the vast majority of our services and on line reference materials.

To contact SCORE please visit our website at, send us an email at, or call to schedule an appointment at 401-226-0077. | volume six issue one


GOVERNOR | Gina M. Raimondo

A Message From

Gina M. Raimondo

A Review on the Rhode Island Economy

Vi b r a n t A n d P r o s p e r o u s O p p o r t u n i t i e s A r e G r o w i n g Fo r R I by Governor Gina M. Raimondo

Rhode Island had a good year. My goal is to make Rhode Island work again, and we are making progress toward that goal. Together in 2016, we created thousands of jobs and vast opportunities for our state. While maintaining our valued relationships with employers like A.T. Cross and Electric Boat, Rhode Island has attracted well-known companies like Johnson & Johnson, GE, Virgin Pulse, Wexford Science & Technology, and the Cambridge Innovation Center. Our state is gaining a national reputation, all thanks to our skilled citizens ready to get to work creating and innovating. In contrast to our nation’s current political climate, I worked closely with the General Assembly to pass a $4 billion infrastructure plan - putting thousands of skilled Rhode Islanders to work rebuilding and enhancing our state’s infrastructure.

Together over the past two years, we have lowered the unemployment insurance tax, reduced the corporate minimum tax and eliminated the sales tax on energy. 8

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Together over the past two years, we have lowered the unemployment insurance tax, reduced the corporate minimum tax and eliminated the sales tax on energy. Since I took office, we have reformed our state’s Medicaid system, saving hundreds of millions of dollars this year and in future years without raising costs and cutting eligibility. Rhode Island has become a national embodiment of successful Obamacare, with 95 percent of our population and 97 percent of our children having health insurance. Through record investments, we have made it easier for Rhode Islanders to get the necessary degrees and certifications vital for success. Students now save in areas such as textbooks, PSAT/SATs, and even college credits obtained in high school. My administration’s Real Jobs RI job training program partnered with Electric Boat at Quonset to start providing Rhode Islanders the skills the company will need as it grows its manufacturing workforce. We have worked to put money back in the pockets of Rhode Islanders by reducing the tax on Social Security income to make sure seniors can better make ends meet, expanding the earned income tax credit so families can keep more of what they earn, and raising the minimum wage. Vibrant and prosperous opportunities are growing for Rhode Islanders at an exponential rate. Though there is still work to be done, the wind is at our backs. We are a great state with hardworking people who are just waiting for the chance to show what they can do. In the coming year, I will continue working to ensure Rhode Islanders from all walks of life get the opportunities they need and deserve.

Quick Stats You Should Know About Business Start-ups | SMALL BUSINESS

Quick stats you should know about


start-ups ‘Gen Xers’ (age 30-50)


of failed start-ups claim lack of market need is to blame for its failure

found 55% of new start-ups

In 2015, Providence start-ups earned approximately

$140 million

According to Statista


of small businesses say Facebook is the most effective social media

Start-ups with two founders grow 3 times as fast than those with one founder

DataFox ranked


the 15th best city – outside Silicon Valley and New York – to found a start-up | volume six issue one


Promises Made. Promises Kept.

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located inside lang’s bowlarama a beautifully renovated, upscale space - great for events and parties of all types!

featuring: * 16ft projection screen + wireless mic for presentations * delicious catering options * full bar * 20+ draft beers! * optional bowling! * private or semi-private space * great dates now available!

book your event today! contact dayna at 401-944-0500, or email

Lang’s Bowlarama

Good times since 1960

RISBJ_Half_Nelson.indd 3 | volume six issue one 6:14:53 1/5/2017 11 PM


2016 November Housing Statistics Last month Rhode Island's housing market saw a 19 percent increase in singlefamily homes sold compared to 12 months earlier. November marked the 24th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The median sales price also increased more than 11 percent from a year ago, rising to $245,000. While not back to the peak monthly median sales price of $298,500 reached in September of 2005, increasing sales prices have helped most homeowners regain any equity lost during the housing downturn.





898 1,276 3.6%







Percent change reflects a year-over-year comparison between 2015 and 2016. Information is provided by StateWide MLS, Inc., a subsidiary of the Rhode Island Association of REALTORSÂŽ.

For more information: 12

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal




Lang’s Bowlarama

P R O U D TO I N T R O D U C E T H E N E L S O N E V E N T C E N T E R Lang’s Bowlarama is proud to introduce The Nelson Event Center, a new event space located inside the bowling alley. The Nelson pays homage to Lang’s Bowlarama founder, Edward Nelson Lang, and embraces the aesthetic of the 50’s and 60’s. The Nelson has a capacity of 125 and offers a 16ft projection screen and wireless mic, stage with lighting, full bar, private or semi-private space and more! They offer delicious, affordable catering. Plus, options to add on bowling to any event -- an amazing way for guests to mix, move, and have a great time together. Great for rehearsal dinners, birthday parties, engagement parties, showers, corporate events, social events and more.

A History of Ed Lang and Lang’s Bowlarama Edward Nelson Lang was a larger-than-life character; he was a salesman with a dream. Throughout various career ventures, such as roller-skate messenger, chauffeur, and pen salesman, he never gave up on his dream of opening a bowling alley. And then his dream came true: on April 22, 1960, Lang’s Bowlarama was incorporated, and opened on October 2, 1960. Ed Lang’s Bowlarama flourished during the 60’s. For many Rhode Islanders, it was the place to be. Hundreds of league bowlers flocked to the Bowlarama every day of the week for league competition. Ed’s son, Bruce Lang, continued his fathers’ legacy in 1972. Bowling was huge in the 1970s, and the pro tour came to Lang’s in 1977-78. Ed and Bruce Lang worked side by side for many years. Their legacy spanned

beyond just the walls of Lang’s Bowlarama - both were active in charitable fundraising, in fostering the arts in RI, and in the sport of bowling in general. In the 1980’s the American landscape changed drastically, and bowling fell from its former glory. In 1983, the family made the decision to retain ownership of the building, but to lease the center to AMF Corp., a national bowling chain operator. AMF operated Lang’s, retaining the Lang’s name, for many years. Over the years that the Lang’s were not at the helm, the alley had fallen into a state of neglect. The rich legacy and history of this iconic RI business had to be restored. Rich and Dave Lang, grandchildren of Ed Lang, decided to revive and rejuvenate their family legacy. The changes they have made are not just cosmetic -- they breathed new life into the building and restored the warm, familiar, family-operated feeling that makes Lang’s so special. It was a new era, and a fresh new chapter in the long, Lang’s story. Lang’s Bowlarama has been an iconic Rhode Island Business for over 55 years. The future of Lang’s Bowlarama is bright, with plans to upgrade and expand the Lounge and other amenities. One thing Rich and Dave are committed to is constantly improving the business, whether that is the physical appearance of the building indoors and out, or enhancing the customer’s experience. There’s always something fun going on at Lang’s, and they thank all patrons for continuing with them on this journey that started so long ago. | volume six issue one


SMALL BUSINESS | What Message Are You Sending

t Wha e g a s mes u o Y e Ar g n i d n Se


If you have clients that visit your office, this article is a must read. I want this article to make you think about some important issues relating to disorganization and the presence of your office. Think about how your new clients will react to the chaos in your office. Some may be thinking about turning around and walking back out the door. If you want to create a great first impression, here are 5 areas of your office that will need attention:

Phone receptionist. This is actually the first person your client will have an interaction with so this person needs to have their stuff together. If your receptionist doesn’t represent your company well, you may be losing customers. This person should be organized, efficient and have a pleasant phone manner. Waiting room. If you have a waiting area in your office, be sure this area is kept clean, free of clutter, and organized. Have a few decorative pieces and a few pictures on the wall and keep a matching décor. Keep magazines contained and organized in a wall organizer. Weed through them on a regular basis and get rid of old magazines. If there is a TV or radio in the room, keep it at a volume where people can hear it, but please don’t blast the volume.

Front office reception desk. I can’t stress this enough. Be sure that your front office person is organized. Aside from the phone receptionist, this is the second person they will connect with. You could be super organized, but if the front reception desk is disorganized, customers will have already formed an opinion about the company. This desk will also set the tone as to how the office runs.

Think about what’s going through customer’s minds. Do you ever think about how new clients feel when they walk into 14

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

your disorganized office? If you have paper piles, clutter all over your office, or don’t have any working organized systems in place, your clients will take notice. You may find that as you are speaking with them, they are distracted by your disorganization. They will be asking themselves if they should go with another (more organized) company.

Efficiency and productivity. When a new customer walks into your disorganized office, they will think about the company not returning their calls on time, misfiling their information, or even worse, their information getting mixed in with another client’s information. They want to know the company they are dealing with is efficient, focused, and productive.

Do you find yourself distracted by your disorganization?

How long does it take you to find a file, or important information when a client is in your office? Are you embarrassed when they have to sit there and wait for you to search for information or try to remember where it is located? If so, you need to think about getting organized before you start to lose clients. Walk into your office and write down all the things you want to change. Do you want to re-organize your physical space to make it more esthetically appealing to the eye? Do you need to re-structure your filing systems? Can you see the top of your desk? Get the piles off your desk and into working filing systems and try to keep as little as possible on the desk. Does your front office need some new working systems? It’s time to re-evaluate your office on a whole and make some changes that will allow you to save money, have more free time, be more efficient and productive, and allow your clients to have more confidence in you and your business. Don’t let a chaotic, disorganized business be the reason your clients choose to go elsewhere.

Kristin MacRae

Organizing and Efficiency Expert,

Minding your business is our business.

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From the Director’s Desk… With Mark S. Hayward, District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration

Is your business ready to go global? The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) understands that exporting plays a vital role in the economic growth of America. Businesses that export, on average, see higher job-creation rates, faster sales growth, and boast employees that earn more than nonexporting firms. In many sectors small businesses believe the falsehood that they are “too small to compete in the world market” and this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality 97% of all exporters are small businesses and more than twothirds have fewer than 20 employees. In the U.S. exports contribute to over 13% to the country’s GDP and support over 11 million jobs. Small businesses accounted for 34% of all U.S. export dollars in 2014, an increase of five percent, from 29% in 2006. In a world with 7.3 billion people, 95% of the world’s consumers for goods and services are outside of the United States. For U.S. small businesses seeking to expand their sales, potentially enormous opportunities for growth exist outside our borders. As a result, SBA’s role in providing the necessary export counseling, export finance programs, and global market access for small business owners is as critical as ever for increasing future U.S. jobs and economic growth. Exporting is much easier than you may think; through advances in technology foreign sales are well within reach for many small businesses. The SBA currently offers programs


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

for small businesses interested in exporting their product or service like the Export Express Loan program. The Export Express Loan Program offers financing up to $500,000 and is the simplest export loan product offered by the SBA. Another SBA funded program is the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) which allows eligible companies to apply for funds to expand their international sales. The programs objective is to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export and to increase the value of exports by small businesses. In Rhode Island, the STEP awardee is the John H. Chafee Center for International Business located at Bryant University in Smithfield. The Chafee Center was awarded federal funding to the sum of $427,950 to provide comprehensive international trade services for businesses to expand into international markets. Through global market research, corporate training, and strategic consulting, the Chafee Center helps local, regional, and national companies get their product and services to more customers in more places around the world. For more information or questions on how to get your small business started in exporting feel free to contact Joan L. Moran, Deputy District Director of the SBA Rhode Island District office at 401-528-4580 or

Mark S. Hayward

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PROFESSIONAL GROWTH | Monthly Activities: Planning

Professional Growth Monthly Activities

by Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro, PhD

Would you like to be safer, more productive and communicate more effectively at work and at home? RISBJ will be offering an activity of the month through 2017 designed to help you achieve these goals. Monthly themes may include: planning, organization, leadership, communication, multitasking, employee development, corporate citizenship, working faster, remembering/ memory and attention to details. Hopefully, you will look forward to the columns, enjoy reading them, and will try some of the activities at work and/or at home. This month’s topic is focusing on planning for business and personal growth. Each year some of us make New Year’s Resolutions. We may follow some of these, others fall by the wayside before the first of February, and few will survive the entire year, leaving us to try the same resolutions again next year. Rather than relying on vague resolutions, January may be the perfect time to focus on developing


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

First, clearly specify (in writing) one, two or three really important ultimate goals you would like to achieve. You could specify more, but if you have many, you may be less likely to achieve any. Be sure they are specific goals, not general statements. These goals might be 1, 5, 10, 15, 20 or more years out. Consider discussing these with your family, colleagues, friends or a professional consultant to be sure that these are the goals most important to you. Don’t rush this stage. While these goals may change over time, you don’t want to change them too often, so try to “get them right.” Second, clearly specify each major step that you need to complete between today and achieving these goals. You may wish to record a time frame for each step, too.

Third, prepare a very detailed plan with weekly deadlines for all of 2017 (or to get you to the first step, whichever is longer). Be sure each of these deadlines falls on a Tuesday2 if you work

I would like to thank Industrial Consultant P r o f e s s o r o f P h a r m a c y P h i l i p J . S c h n e i d e r, O h i o S t a t 1


meaningful plans to help you to achieve your goals. Try the following six step process. Many people have had success following it.

Planning Monthly Activities: Planning | PROFESSIONAL GROWTH

a normal work week. Why Tuesday? Well, you really want to achieve these goals by Friday, but let’s be honest. You may be very busy and miss Friday. Thus, you have the weekend to catch up, but you know how things go. You may miss the weekend too. So, you have another chance to catch up on Monday, and in a real pinch you have Tuesday Morning, too. With all these chances, be sure you never miss a deadline. If you have to do a bit less, OK, but never miss the deadline entirely.

Fourth, enter each of the dates form step 3 onto every calendar that you use.

Fifth, place an object to remind you

We may follow some of these, others fall by the wayside before the first of February, and few will survive

to achieve your goals in a very visible place. For example, one individual placed a Wise Owl on her bookshelf above her desk to remind her to study. You could put the weekly goal on your whiteboard or on an electronic or paper stickie that is prominently positioned.

the entire year,

Sixth, check off each item on your calendar each Tuesday.

resolutions again

leaving us to try the same next year.

Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro

Independent Consultant in Human Factors, Learning and Human Resources

t D r. M a r g a r i t a P o s a d a C o s s u t o f o r h e l p f u l c o m m e n t s . e U n i v e r s i t y, s u g g e s t e d t h i s t e c h n i q u e t o m e i n 2 0 0 0 . | volume six issue one


SMALL BUSINESS | Real Estate Review & Forecast

Real Estate Re A



RISBJ asked some of the past presidents of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors to compare Rhode Island’s 2016 housing market to the state of the market during the year that they led the 5000-member trade association. They also chimed in on their outlook for the year ahead.

Here’s what they had to say:

David Godden, Randall, REALTORS 2004 President, R.I. Association of Realtors “Little did I know when I was president of the Realtor association in 2004, that the market was about to change so drastically. I was in office when prices were spiking and we were seeing bidding wars on properties which sold nearly as soon as they were listed.” “We’re much better off with today’s housing market. Though we’re seeing improvements in price and sales, they’re not so crazy that they’re not sustainable, and we’ve addressed the lending issues that led to the housing boom and subsequent downturn. I see all good things for the year ahead.”

Cecile Cohen, Randall, REALTORS 2007 President, R.I. Association of Realtors “I was the lucky president in 2007 when the real estate market was really struggling. Obviously Rhode Island and the country in general have made remarkable strides since then and the real estate market is once again, vibrant and strong. While the momentum may


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal




abate a bit in 2017, I’m looking forward to a strong market in the year ahead.”

Rob Scaralia, RE/MAX 1st Choice 2008 President, R.I. Association of Realtors “Market confidence was one of the biggest influencers in the favorable 2016 real estate market. Comparatively, 2008 was plagued with economic uncertainty which completely stalled the market. As consumer confidence grows, I expect 2017 to show a continued trend toward a healthy and favorable real estate market for both buyers and sellers alike.”

Paul Leys, Gustave White Sotheby’s International Real Estate 2009 President, R.I. Association of Realtors “As President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors back in 2009, I think it is very safe and an understatement to say that the market is MUCH, MUCH better today! That being said, conditions then provided an excellent opportunity for buyers to take advantage of record low prices and low interest rates if they could. Looking forward, I see no reason why the market shouldn’t continue with the positive momentum we have seen of late. The recent slight rise in rates by the Fed should get a lot of fence sitters off of that proverbial fence to keep us all busy over the traditionally slower winter months.”

Real Estate Review & Forecast | SMALL BUSINESS

eview & Forecast






Karl Martone, The Martone Group, RE/MAX Properties 2010 President, R.I. Association of Realtors “Though sales were beginning to recover in 2010, obviously 2016 was a much stronger year for real estate sales. Last year set out to be a robust year for real estate sales and it didn’t disappointment. The election typically slows the market a bit which seemed to happen in late October to November, but surprisingly December turned out to be a strong month.” “As for 2017, expect another solid and heathy market! Both buyers and sellers will fair well!”

Jamie D. Moore, Jamie Moore Appraisal Services 2012 President, R.I. Association of Realtors 2017 Region 1 Vice President, National Association of Realtors The market has certainly shown signs of increase in both the number of units sold as well as the median sales price statewide. Information from our Association’s Multiple Listing Service notes that there were 10,984 single dwelling units sold in 2016 as compared to 8,037 in 2012, an increase in excess of 25 percent.



Furthermore, the median sales price of a single unit in Rhode Island for the year 2016 was $240,000 as compared to a median price of $190,000 in 2012, an increase of more than 20 percent.” “While I am optimistic that the market has rebounded, I am concerned over potential legislation at the federal level that will affect homeownership – most notably, in the areas of mortgage interest deduction and national flood insurance. As the Voice for Real Estate, Realtors are going to be very busy this coming year protecting the rights of homeowners!”

Victoria Doran, GRI, ABR, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage 2013 President, R.I. Association of Realtors “When I served as president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors in 2013, the market was showing signs of improvement. It was a buyers’ market and there were still many short sales hindering the market. By contrast, for the first time in many years, we have seen a swing to a sellers’ market. “ “I think 2017 will prove to be an active market. Sales were very good last year, even into December, with buyers still looking and new listings coming on every day. Homes priced right sold quickly. These are all good signs for 2017.” | volume six issue one


MBE/DBE | Start-up or Keep Up

Start up or Keep both take constant focus!


R E S O U R C E S by Michael Brito

Whether you’re considering starting a DBE/MBE business or are already underway with your certified company there are more resources available than ever before! After you have received your acceptance from the Rhode Island MBE certification office you will be in need of some help regarding just how to best use this newly acquired opportunity, with the correct direction, guidance and mentoring the sky is the limit! You’ll be needing a review of the latest tax codes and know how they affect your company, perfect your business plan, obtain proper licensing and permits, create a dedicated bank account, choose a business structure regarding incorporation and get a killer marketing schedule as well as many, many



D B E / M B

more issues! How do you make sense of all the tasks on your “business start-up list? Well, you may be in a great position and have a small team of advisors to see you through all these things…I’m thinking not, so let me point to a few for you here…

1. This magazine your reading is a great place to find

helpful marketing articles, business news, networking opportunities as well as the latest educational forums! Of course I encourage you to attend the many noted industry focused seminars, conferences and conventions mentioned within this monthly resource!

2. You already know about Mission 360, created by The Rhode Island Department of Transportation in 2007, helps

After you have received your acceptance from the Rhode Island MBE certification office you will be in need of some help regarding just how to best use this newly acquired opportunity 22 RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Start-up or Keep Up | MBE/DBE







I S L A N D ?

DBE’s compete for and secure RIDOT opportunities including: Business development assessment, Marketing & networking, Competitive bidding assistance and more!

a wide variety of assistance with your business, no matter where it is on the scale of growth, start-up, new venture or seasoned company. We have many areas of need when starting up and keeping up any business!

3. The Rhode Island SBA is there to assist your DBE/MBE

including but not limited to this are....Asset management, business continuity plans, business development plans, business plans, certifications, conflict resolution, estimating, human resources, developing prime contractor relationships, project management, time management, and vendor development! As I’ve shared with you in many of my prior articles there is no substitution for perseverance, desire and determination. So while these and other agencies can provide a wide variety of services with which to grow your company they will never be a substitute for old fashioned dedication!

with all your business needs as well. The R.I. SBA helps business owners grow and expand their businesses every day by offering resources in virtually every area of business management.

4. Our RI Department of State has an amazingly valuable

web site simply loaded with help; counseling, networking, social enterprising, MBE & WBE assistance, Tax assistance, employee management, state licensing forms, qualifying as a state vendor and much more!

5. It’s a one stop shop for all things “government contracting” at the Rhode Island Commerce web site for

your small DBE, MBE & WBE business. There you will be one click away from start-up and business planning to Government contracting and international trade!

Well, there you have just several places at which can be found

Some business owners feel that they will do far better with a personal, one-on-one session for that “concierge” feel, look no further and call me, if that’s you! While keeping pace with your efforts let’s not forget to reach back and lend a hand to the next start-up coming behind you… see you on the job!

Michael Brito

DBE Account Manger, Mission-360, Turino Group, | volume six issue one


LEGAL | Personnel Practices: Employment Considerations For Startups

Personnel Practices EMPLOYMENT CONSIDERATIONS FOR STARTUPS by C. Alexander Chiulli, Esq. and Kristen M. Whittle, Esq.

As emerging businesses, startups are rightly focused on succeeding in highly competitive marketplaces. Due to their day-to-day operational pressures, many startups mistakenly overlook critical employment decisions, potentially resulting in costly and serious consequences. To ensure legal compliance and in an effort to build workplace culture, it is essential for startups to consider and address employment law issues before they arise. The following are best practice tips for startups when hiring and managing employees.

Consider Entering into Contracts to Protect Your Business

Invariably, well-drafted contracts are vital to the continued growth of emerging businesses. These agreements provide startups with the opportunity to proactively address foreseeable problems, mitigate risk, and promote efficient dispute resolution. In addition to industry specific contracts, startups may consider entering into employmentrelated contracts with certain employees, including contracts providing for a term of employment and/or confidentiality, non-compete, and nonsolicitation agreements. Although such agreements affect the default employmentat-will relationship under Rhode Island law, they may also offer certain protections for the employer. In addition, startups should also ensure that all relevant intellectual property created by employees in the scope of their employment is assigned in writing to the company.

Understand the Difference between Independent Contractors and Employees

Many startups are hesitant to hire employees due to limited cash flow and the benefits of remaining nimble with respect to overhead and other employee-related commitments. Using independent contractors instead of hiring employees


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

has accordingly become widespread, often in an effort to avoid of wage and hour law obligations. However, irrespective of any agreement between an individual and company, federal and state laws impact whether a worker is considered an employee or independent contractor. Although the determination is multi-factored, the classification generally turns on the degree of control a business asserts over a worker and his or her services. An employer’s failure to appropriately classify a worker as an employee as opposed to an independent contractor may violate wage and hour laws, potentially resulting in costly litigation and regulatory fines.

Know and Monitor Wage and Hour Requirements

Startups, like other employers, must pay close attention to which employees qualify as

Personnel Practices: Employment Considerations For Startups | LEGAL

Using independent contractors instead of hiring employees has accordingly become widespread, often in an effort to avoid of wage and hour law obligations. exempt vs. nonexempt from overtime pay under the rules and regulations promulgated by the U.S Department of Labor (DOL). Most specifically, startups should know that simply paying an employee on a salaried (instead of hourly) basis does not alone determine overtime eligibility. The analysis is substantially more nuanced—but presently uncertain due to recent rule changes and the new presidential administration. For example, the DOL recently declared certain “white collar” employees earning less than $47,476 eligible for overtime wages as of December 1, 2016, but a federal judge in Texas blocked the change one week prior to its implementation. Though sometimes onerous to startups without legal support, failing to monitor wage and hour requirements can result in inadvertent and costly violations that threaten the financial viability of an emerging business.

Implement Workplace Policies and Procedures

While some startups famously prefer a lack of structure, workplace policies and procedures remain a best practice to ensure legal compliance. Absent these foundational documents, startups are vulnerable to litigation and risk violating state and federal laws and regulations. A well-drafted employee handbook carefully articulates a company’s expectations and can help avoid employment-related litigation. Comprehensive workplace policies should address subjects not limited to: “at-will” employment, standards of conduct, harassment and discrimination, leave from work, employee benefits, and termination, as well as areas of growing importance such as internet and technology use and privacy. Moreover, the constantly evolving employment arena requires that employers regularly audit workplace policies to maintain continued legal compliance.

C. Alexander Chiulli, Esq. Associate, Barton Gilman LLP

Kristen M. Whittle, Esq. Associate, Barton Gilman LLP | volume six issue one


SMALL BUSINESS | The Importance Of Models And Dashboards For Enhancing Company Communications






by Larry Girouard

It is often said that a picture is worth 1000 words and this sums up the reasons why visual communications is so important in the workplace. In business, pictures can take on many forms such as dashboards, charts, graphs, project maps and timelines, and a wide variety of business models that convey how the business, or segments of the business, are performing. With today’s computer technology these types of graphics can be monitored and updated in real time, or close to real time, providing the user with valuable visual aide regarding a wide variety of business performance metrics. While this is so true, most small businesses rarely used picture/models/charts/graphs in communicating up, down and across the organization chart. We use models every day in our personal lives. Think about the dashboard on your car. While driving you can quickly monitor the speed, gas level, oil level, engine temperature, and much more. When these gauges are all reading in the safe zone your confidence level is high that your car is


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

running well. When a gauge is not reading in the right zone you address the issue, like buying gas. You trust the data on your dashboard because they are monitoring the different performance elements of the car in real time. The relationship you have with your car dashboard becomes second nature. The wonders of technology! Now, think about the value of having this kind of real time monitoring for the performance elements of your business. Business models/gauges can be more strategic when they outline the market, customers, products and competition, or they can be tactical when focusing on work flow within a specific process you want to optimize. Models must be visual. I am reminded of the old war movies of the 1950s when the generals would stand around a large table with a map of the battle theater. You would see models of ships, troops and the like being moved around while the generals discussed strategy and tactics. They communicated through the model to make sure everyone was on the same page. In the design of chemical plants, something I am very familiar with, preconstruction scale models are often built to better convey the intricate details for placement of electrical conduits, process equipment, HVAC ducts, piping and other considerations that may not be picked up with drawings, CAD/CAM or other design vehicles. Models are graphic, easy to understand at the outset, and provide great value in communicating performance and

The Importance Of Models And Dashboards For Enhancing Company Communications | SMALL BUSINESS









and Dashboards You trust the data on your dashboard because they are monitoring the different performance elements of the car in real time. expectations of the company, departments, and even people within departments. Business dashboards are a model format that tracks business performance in real time. In today’s data rich business environment, accessing this information, and formatting it using simple algorithms, can present instant summaries of a wide variety of performance metrics. Mining data in this way is very powerful. While executive dashboards are good, of equal or greater importance are dashboards that managers, and even employees, can use to monitor their “spheres of influence”. For dashboards to be effective their readout must be updated regularly, if not in real time, in order to have value as a business tool. Dashboards and other model formats give businesses numerous benefits including the following:

1. Visibility: Dashboards give managers and employees

greater visibility and insight. You know exactly what’s going on in all aspects of the business segment, or process, you are responsible for which allows you to better manage it.

2. Ongoing Improvements. One of Peter Drucker’s most famous quotes is, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” W. Edwards Drucker famously stated “in God we trust, all others must bring data.” Dashboards and other business models allow you to measure performance throughout the organization and either improve it, or respond faster to a business situation because of the real time feedback provided by some models. 3. Time Savings: Managers spend hours preparing reports

and searching their computer for data that indicates how the business, or department is running. Like the dashboard of your car, this instant feedback eliminates to having to look for information. It will always be right there at your fingertips.

4. Compare Performance Against Your Plan, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Managers spend an

inordinate amount to time creating a business plan to guide the company in achieving market penetration and financial goals, but that is just the first step. Making sure the company is performing to, or exceeding, the expectations or KPIs is just as important. A dashboard can provide you much of that information in real time.

5. Employee Performance Improvements: No one likes to

be measured. Remember your experiences in grade school and high school. While we all try to wipe those memories from our minds, if performance against corporate KPIs can be linked to a bonus/reward system this will change the :being measured” dynamics.

6. The Challenge: So where do you start? Choosing what

metrics to model and track is always the operative question. I strongly suggest that you begin the process from the outside in. What does the customer see? They see all the elements of the value proposition. These elements are commonly referred to as the customer “touch points” like quality, on time delivery, lead times, friendly informative operator etc. If you are going to go through all the pain to develop models and dashboards to be able to objectively look at your business with the intent to improve business segments based on what you see, then first pick metrics that directly interact with the customer. Why start here? Any improvements in these metrics will directly and positively impact the value proposition thereby facilitating market penetration. The ultimate win/win!

Larry Girouard

CEO of the Business Avionix Company, LLC A Business Consulting Firm | volume six issue one



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When you need answers to questions surrounding trust and estates issues, including wealth planning and transfers needs, you can count on our firm’s team of experienced lawyers and resources to give you the peace of mind, confidence and results you and your clients deserve.

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counselors at law

PLDW has offices in New England, New York and Florida. Our primary practice areas include corporate and business law, nonprofit law, health care law, municipal infrastructure, government relations and legislative strategies, employment law, special masterships, criminal defense, civil litigation, estate planning, probate and trust litigation, and real estate development and commercial lending. For more information, visit

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