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volume seven issue nine











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volume seven issue nine



6 How To Develop An Exit Strategy 8 Small Business News 11 10 Things You Can Get Rid Of In Your Office 12 New Hope Family Chiropractic 14 A Well-Traveled Story


16 Why Is No Man An Island? 18 Why Senior Executives Fail 20 Monthly Learning Tips


22 Secretary of State 23 Important Social Media Key Points & Stats


ON THE COVER volume seven issue nine

24 Non-Compete Agreement Update




Educate Exit StratEgy Rhode Island YOUR OFFICE


27 Is Franchise Ownership Right for You? 29 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition










Learning Tips For Small Business

27 www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | How To Develop An Exit Strategy

How to Develop an Exit Strategy T O




by Bryan B Mason

Many business owners that I meet with are starting to consider selling their business sometime in the future. Naturally, they want to get the most money they can when they sell in order to have the best retirement possible and to take care of their family. I find that many are concerned that they will not get the amount of money that they want. These fears may well be justified. Many owners cannot be objective about what their business is worth. After all, they have toiled long and hard to build it up and in many cases have made a reasonable living from their business. They may therefore have an inflated sense of what their business is worth. These owners need an exit strategy that will allow them to maximize the value of their company when they sell it. How your Business will be Valued So how will your business be valued by a potential buyer? There are several methods but mostly, a buyer will value your business based on how much money it made in the immediate past and how much it is likely to produce in the future. They will not be expecting to pay you for the unrealized potential of the business. Any potential buyer will look at what they can do to the business after they buy it to make it more profitable. This is how they are going to create value for themselves. They don’t want to pay you for


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal





something you have not done yet. So to get the most money when you sell your business, you need to have a high performing and profitable business. Can your Business run without you? This is an important question. If you have your hand in everything, then the answer is probably no. This is especially true if you have unique skills that the business requires which no one else in the company has. Any potential buyer will want to be sure that all the things you do can be done by someone else so the business can run without you. After all, the tasks you do will still need to be accomplished in order to produce the same end product, with the same quality and at a cost that is the same or lower than it is now. If you don’t have the people to do that, they will adjust the reported profitability by the costs of

How To Develop An Exit Strategy | SMALL BUSINESS

You may be thinking that the buyer will step in and fill your shoes. The buyer might even be someone who has all the skills you have. acquiring and keeping people with those skills. In some cases, this can dramatically reduce what your business is worth. You may be thinking that the buyer will step in and fill your shoes. The buyer might even be someone who has all the skills you have. Any knowledgeable buyer will still adjust what they are willing to pay you for your company. No one is going to hand you a big pile of cash just to get a business that only earns what that person could get by just taking a job at the market compensation. Do you have Accurate, Complete and Up To Date Financials? Any buyer is going to want to review your past financial statements. Anything you give them needs to agree with your tax returns. You need to sort this out ahead of time. Nothing looks worse than chaotic and inaccurate financials. You also need

to be able to truthfully explain any large variations in income or expenses over the years as well as any recent changes to the long term trend line. To get the most money for your business, you should have projected financial statements for at least three years. Even better is a complete business plan. This way you make it easier for a potential buyer to visualize the future. To get the most money for your business, you need to have a company that is very profitable, that can run without you and have the solid financials to prove it. There is more to it than that but those are the foundational elements. So if you are missing any of these items, create a plan to get there and go about executing it. This is how you create an exit strategy for yourself that gets you the most money when you sell. 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 possesses 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 www.apollogr.com/blog.

Bryan B Mason

Principal | (401) 862-6339 The Apollo Consulting Group LLC

Are You Looking To Develop An Exit Strategy That Will Deliver Maximum Value For When You Sell Your Company? Please join us for a free seminar presented by Bryan Mason on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 from 7:30-8:30AM at the Providence Chamber of Commerce, 30 Exchange Terrace, Providence, RI 02903. CALL (401) 862-6339 TO REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT.

www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine




SBA 504 Lending Boasts Growth I N



PROVIDENCE, RI – The U.S. Small Business Administration has released their fiscal year-to-date lending numbers (October 1, 2017 – August 31, 2018) for the state of Rhode Island. The data shows growth in the 504 loan program, boasting a 39% increase in the number of loans made over the same period of time last year (57 in 2018, 41 in 2017). The 504 loan program is used primarily for fixed assets, including the purchase of real estate, buildings, and heavy machinery. Lending figures also demonstrated a 25% increase in microloans (15) as well. “I believe this increase in lending is a testament to the confidence of small business owners as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts” said District Director, Mark S. Hayward. “The optimism of entrepreneurs is evident by their willingness to spend on their infrastructure and expand their businesses, all while knowing that this administration is dedicated to the growth of small business.” he added.


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal



2 0 1 8

Rhode Island’s top five cities in SBA lending activity during FY18 are: Providence, Warwick, Cranston, East Providence and Johnston, respectively. To date, small businesses in Providence have secured 70 loans for over $13 million; Warwick, 37 loans for $7.4 million; Cranston, 32 loans for $7.1 million; East Providence, 24 loans for $12 million; and Johnston, 17 loans for $3 million. In total, Rhode Island has produced 370 loans, injecting $104 million dollars into the local economy. The loan breakdown included: 298 7(a) loans, 57 504 loans, and 15 Microloan. For more information on SBA loan programs contact Lender Relations Specialist, Dan Horowitz at (401) 528-4576, Daniel. Horowitz@sba.gov. For press inquiries please contact Public Information Officer, Ryan Brissette at (401) 528-4630, Ryan.Brissette@sba.gov.



Nominations for 2019 SBA Awards





PROVIDENCE, RI – Nominations are now being accepted by the U.S. Small Business Administration for the 2019 Small Business Awards. National award categories include, the SBA’s flagship award – Small Business Person of the Year – as well as Small Business Exporter of the Year. Local and Regional award nomination will be accepted in the following categories: Jeffrey Butland Family Owned Small Business, Minority Small Business Owner of the Year, Veteran Small Business Owner the Year, Woman Small Business Owner of the Year, Homebased Small Business Owner of the Year, Microenterprise of the Year, Young Entrepreneur, Small Business Manufacturer of the Year, and Financial Services Champion. National winners will be honored during Small Business Week in Washington D.C., while local awardees will be honored at the Rhode Island “Salute to Small Business” Awards Luncheon. Nominations will be accepted until December 21, 2018 at 3:00pm EST. Any individual or organization dedicated to the support of the small business community may submit nominations for these prestigious awards. The Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year will also have the opportunity to participate in the National Small Business Week activities and will compete for the National Small Business Person of the Year Award. Award guidelines and nomination forms are available at www.SBA.gov/nsbw or by contacting Ryan Brissette at (401) 528-4630, Ryan.Brissette@SBA.gov.


The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine


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10 Things You Can Get Rid Of In Your Office | SMALL BUSINESS

things you can get rid of in your office

by Kristin MacRae

The thought of this task may overwhelm you, but if you break this process down, you can check this off of your to-do list in a week! Yes, it can be done. Put one of these tasks on your to-do list a day and block off 10-20 minutes, tackle it and you’ll wonder why you’ve waited so long.

Here are 10 things you can get rid of now: Business cards. Take a look around your office. You’ll find them wrapped in an elastic, on your desk, in drawers, on bookshelves, and there may even be some in your pocket. It’s time to create a system for these business cards or get rid of them. How long does it take you to find when one when you need it? Do you even go to look for them? Think about how you want to function going forward and put a plan into motion.

Dead plants. How many of you have neglected plants in your office. If you can’t nurse them back to health, get rid of them. Dead plants equals dead, stagnant energy and you don’t want that vibe in your office. Anything expired. Open your drawers. Do you see expired

medication or food? Included in this are the 20 packages of ketchup and duck sauce that exploded and are creating a sticky mess at the bottom of the drawer. Empty these drawers, categorize, throw and purchase drawer organizers and create working systems.

Bulletin boards. I organized an office once and we cleared off the bulletin board and there was calendar under there from the 70’s. Take inventory of what is there and only keep what you need to refer to on a daily, weekly basis on this board. There are so many

great organizing products out there that you may find you can get rid of the bulletin board and find a better product to work with going forward.

Junk mail. It’s probably buried under a pile on your desk or stuffed in drawers. You know it’s junk, but for whatever reason, you decided not to open it and just left it on the desk and now it’s taken over your desk. Get in the habit of tossing the junk mail before it even hits your desk. Anything collecting dust. If it’s collecting dust, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to be using it next week. Maybe you haven’t touched it in years! Take inventory of these items and make a decision to toss. Office supplies. I’m talking about the dried up, leaky pens and highlighters. Toss those rubber bands that have lost the elasticity and will snap when you pull on them. When you’re emptying your drawers going through expired food and meds, tackle this at the same time. Old binders/books. Take a moment to look at your bookshelf and take every single thing off it. Make your toss and keep piles and get rid of anything you know you’ll never refer to again. Categorize and re-organize your bookshelf. Technology that’s broken. This includes that box of cord sitting in the closet and the broken adding machine from the 70’s. It’s time to let this stuff go. Take inventory of the cords and toss anything that doesn’t belong. Sticky notes all over your desk. There’s a better way to

contain notes that to stick them all over your desk. You can use a notebook, a to-do list, a binder, your electronics, laminated sheets, or clear plastic sheets in a stand up vertical binder. Everybody functions differently so it depends what you’re keeping on those stickies and how you’re functioning. Think about why you’re using them and is there a better way to be more efficient and productive with them. If you’re thinking that you don’t have time to tackle these small projects, it’s time to get organized. If you can’t find 10 minutes in your day, then you need to re-evaluate how you’re functioning on a day-to-day basis. It’s time to create working organized systems to help you become more efficient and productive.

Kristin MacRae

Organizing and Efficiency Expert www.organizinginri.com

www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | New Hope Family Chiropractic


OFFERS OPTIONS FOR COM The push to get healthier gets derailed through stress, work, family, lack of time, heredity and numerous other triggers. Most people want to live happy and healthy lives. However, there are reasons why many people often fail at this because they are illinformed about seeing those problems and addressing them adequately and correctly.

“They might start taking medications either once or twice a day, then three to four times a day until it no longer suppresses the symptoms they experience. Or, they will add another medication before realizing that taking more medications are not correcting the cause, but only covering it while the patient continues to do what is causing the problem,” he said.

The desire to stay healthy is easily derailed not only by those aforementioned distractions, but the not-so-obvious detours like diet and medications. Dr. Rodger Lincoln, D.C., of New Hope Family Chiropractic in Pawtucket and East Providence, works with patients who want to get healthy and stay healthy without the use of either medication or surgery.

What Dr. Lincoln suggests is changing the diet regimen and taking stock of what ails people. He said that reprogramming what people think about what they eat, how much and how the food travel through their system can have a profound effect on their overall health. People also fail to recognize the symptoms of poor health: fatigue, stomach discomfort, indigestion and loss of appetite, among other signs that someone may be having a health crisis.

Dr. Lincoln’s goal when working with patients is two-fold. First, he educates the patient on identifying the cause of the problem. Then, he works to increase the body’s ability to return to normal function. “One of the biggest impediments to either staying healthy or getting healthy is a bad diet, decreased physical fitness and the dependence on prescription drugs,” Dr. Lincoln said. “Many people think they have a good diet when in fact, they don’t. Most people know when they are out of shape but do little to get into shape. When they have health issues, they take medications and get the perception of feeling healthy. “In the short term, they feel good, but they are doing more harm in the long run because they are not addressing the cause,” he continued. Dr. Lincoln said the one of the biggest problems facing the industry is prescription medication dependence. He said the thought of people feeling better from pills or other medications can have negative implications. “People don’t realize that the medication they are taking will either suppress or override the body’s normal function. Over time, the body will adjust to the medication causing the need to either increase dosage or cause unwanted side effects,” said Dr. Lincoln, who has been practicing chiropractic medicine for 11 years after also dealing with back pain issues for many years. Dr. Lincoln said he sees himself in many of his patients he helps. They get stuck on the “medical merry-go-round” thinking the medication is the answer to all of their health problems. Their problems stem from not addressing the real issues, he said.


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that 63% of today’s diseases result from lifestyle choices and are considered the leading cause of death. Dr. Ala Alwan of the WHO finds that an unhealthy diet combined with physical inactivity is the leading causes of preventable lifestyle diseases. “People fail to recognize signs of poor health: fatigue, insomnia, stomach discomfort, indigestion, constipation, loss of appetite and

desire to stay “ The healthy is easily derailed not only by those aforementioned distractions, but the not-so-obvious detours like diet and medications.

New Hope Family Chiropractic | SMALL BUSINESS


MMON HEALTH PROBLEMS feeling down. They mistake these symptoms as normal health issues that are easily treated with over-the-counter medications,” he said.Dr. Lincoln focuses on eliminating bad choices and giving his patients the tools to make better health decisions. He uses whole food supplements and herbs to speed along the healing process. He states that not all supplements are equal and vitamins are not supplements. He found that most people do not have the knowledge or training to determine what will be helpful and what is a good product. “People don’t realize that the food they purchase at the supermarket, such as spaghetti, cereals, breads, crackers are not designed to be eaten; they are designed to sit on the shelf,” said Dr. Lincoln. “These types of food are so devoid of nutrients that mold won’t grow on them, they have no digestive properties like real food. “As we age, our stomach produces less digestive acid so these socalled foods do not break down during the digestive process; they ferment in the stomach and digestive tract causing heartburn and other problems, including acid reflux, Barrett’s Esophagus, IBS and colitis. It also leads to undigested food particles and foreign

proteins getting into the blood stream—causing more serious health problems,” he said. In addition to the chiropractic and nutrition assistance, the facility also offers help for those suffering from either a sports injury, a work-related injury or in need of massage therapy. New Hope Family Chiropractic have been helping patients since 2009, and continue to attend workshops designed to further teach them about the innovative practices of the industry and how to help their patients. Dr. Lincoln said he finds his greatest reward in his practice is seeing his patients get their health back after years of struggle.

New Hope Family Chiropractic has locations in Pawtucket (192 Newport Avenue) and East Providence (2728 Pawtucket Avenue). They are open weekdays at either location from 8 AM until 6 PM. Check out their full schedule at http://newhopefamilychiropractic. com or calling them at 401-433-3600.

www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | Pixeles Digital Productions Chief Has A Well-Traveled Story


A WELLThere are few people who can see the world through a different perspective. Everyone has a different set of eyes, which gives a unique perspective that defines us. However, what happens when those images are seen by someone from the outside? The answer lies within the viewer’s own opinions and thoughts on that topic—one that may signal a turning point for a project. Based in Cranston, RI by way of Mexico, Guillermo Garcia, owner of Pixeles Digital Productions, specializes in videography, website production and photography for multiple clients. While there is not a “secret formula” for success, Garcia said that the one aspect of his professional career that sustains him is the ability to tell a story through pictures. “Clients who hire me want their story to be told; to freeze that moment in time that they can return to over and over again,” said Garcia, who moved into the area from Boston via Mexico. “It’s their opportunity to preserve something that is special to them. That becomes my goal; making my customers happy and walk away from the experience satisfied.” Pixeles Digital Productions formed in 2013 after Garcia worked at Teplow & Co., in Brookline, Massachusetts, as Computer Systems Analyst and Web Developer and forming his own video editing studio called Calli Productions in Boston. Before that, Garcia worked as a Computer Systems Analyst for Bird’s Eye Foods in Mexico.

It was there that his life’s path changed—and brought him here to the United States. While employed by Bird’s Eye Foods, Garcia said he got the chance to study in an intensive program in business communications at Harvard Business School. He cited this program as “my first step in my extended professional development.” Garcia eventually enrolled in Harvard University and concentrated on the University’s Business program. After graduating with a degree in Business Management, Garcia stayed on campus cooperating with two organizations at Harvard Medical School. He collaborates with the School’s Reflections in Action, a program that reaches out to middle school-aged children of different ethnic and social backgrounds, and teaches them the value of building a community. For the Harvard Business School’s Diversity, Inclusion and Community Partners Group, Garcia facilitates the film creation for documentaries, video conferences and video seminars. In 2016, Garcia was recognized by the Harvard Medical School for his efforts in video production. He received accolades from the non-profit organization, Reflections in Action, for his nearly 10 years of service. A year earlier, he attended the New York Film Academy at Harvard University filmmaking Intensive program, where it led to Garcia directing his first documentary. Titled “Little Angel,” the work shows the path of a family as they overcome adversity with a handicapped child.

These business owners and professionals may want to w someone that they know, like and trust, so to speak. Although I a here, I travel throughout New England and can work virtua 14

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Pixeles Digital Productions Chief Has A Well-Traveled Story | SMALL BUSINESS


-TRAVELED STORY Garcia said his agency has associates fluent in English, Italian, Spanish, German and French. They offer assistance in sketch artists and sound engineering. No matter what language someone used, it’s a good bet that his company will get the customer’s point across, Garcia said. “It’s true that the world around us keeps changing, and that we must continue to educate ourselves and determine what will keep us relevant in the workplace and within our own communities,” Garcia said. “Not only do we offer a wide variety of marketing and production services, but we also cater to a diversified clientele. That is one of the attributes that I feel separates us from other similar businesses. We can relate to different people and their wants and needs because our staff also comes from different backgrounds.” His objective now is finding small companies that are looking to expand their visibility. He said reaching out to the Hispanic, Latino and other minority communities would be of particular importance because he feels those groups are underserved. He noted that companies that either do not have a web presence or have not updated their business profiles in some time are great conversation starters for Garcia.

“These groups have a lot to offer customers, but they are either unsure of where to turn, feel uncomfortable asking someone they do not know, or perhaps a combination of both,” said Garcia. “These business owners and professionals may want to work with someone that they know, like and trust, so to speak. Although I am based here, I travel throughout New England and can work virtually, as I currently have several clients based in Mexico.” Garcia is a member of the Business Networking International (BNI) Founders Chapter, Harvard University Alumni Association, Harvard University Faculty Club, the Harvard Club of Rhode Island and a frequent face on the networking circuit.

For more information about Pixeles Digital Productions, please contact Garcia at 617-304-9694 or by email at ggarcia@Pix-Ls.com. Details regarding the company may also be found on their website at www.pix--ls.com.

work with am based ally www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | Why Is No Man An Island?


No Man an

Island? by Larry Girouard

Most of us have heard the phrase “No man is an island” many times throughout our lives, but have you ever thought about its origin? I found the following on the web: ** The phrase ‘no man is an island’ expresses the idea that human beings do badly when isolated from others, and need to be part of a community in order to thrive. ‘No man is an island’ is a quotation from the English metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631)

He writes:

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” “Every man is a piece of the continent” as is, every employee a piece of your company. Together this is your team. How will you teach them? How will you motivate them? How will you get them to focus on your company goals and vision? It does not matter if you are a manufacturer, a research company, a service company, or any type of organization, TRUST is the knitting that must be at the core of your


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

company’s culture to optimize performance. In the world of business today, trust is more important than ever, especially when it comes to building relationships with your clients, customers, employees and all stakeholders in your business. Trust is defined as the assured reliance on the integrity, character, strength, ability, and surety of a person or thing that provides the confidence of expectation. I firmly believe that trust is right at the foundation of the survival and success of any business. Without trust, there can be no sustainable business. Trust represents the capstone of your company’s being. Everyday activities requires you to interact with others both internal and external to your business. Without trust in those interactions you have nothing. You can’t buy trust, nor can you coerce trust. Trust must be earned over a period that requires multiple interactions between people and between companies. Trust is as close to being digital as anything I can think of. Either you trust a person, or company, or you don’t. There is no middle ground. There are many studies that focus on the power of trust in improving company performance. Referencing one study, “The Business Case for a High-Trust Culture”, that you can easily find on Google, you are presented with the following:

Why Is No Man An Island? | SMALL BUSINESS

1) There is a strong connection between a high-trust culture and business success. In fact, the connection is so strong that it can reasonably be argued that strategy-minded leaders, who care deeply about the financial wellbeing of their business, should make building a high-trust culture a top priority. Regardless of the company size, or leadership style, a high-trust culture is a defining characteristic of almost every company. Leaders must be credible, treat all employees with respect and be fair in dealing with everyone. 2) There is a direct link between trust and a healthy bottom line ... high-trust companies have less turnover, higher productivity, attract better qualified applicants, increased profitability, higher sales per employee, improved competitive advantage, faster growth rates, better customer relationships, and higher business value when the owner is ready to sell.

between employee well-being and financial performance. ..... It was employee wellbeing that led to positive financial performance, rather than the other way around�. It is trust that inspires innovation and productivity. The bottom line is that there are mountains of data that support the thesis that trust and the bottom line are directly related. So, if trust is a key ingredient that helps define your company’s value proposition, how do you develop a trusting environment to deliver on your promises?

Here are six (6) suggestions for you to consider: 1) Employee recognition ... this is not about financial recognition. Congratulate your employees for a job well done. 2) Increase leadership compassion ... respect, recognize and appreciate your employees for their needs. Never judge, but seek to understand.

3) Trust versus Performance > “..... In 2015, Alex Edmans, a Professor of Finance at the London Business School gave a TEDx Talk on the findings from his fouryear research project that sought to understand the link

Larry Girouard

CEO of the Business Avionix Company, LLC,

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by

A Business Consulting Firm

the sea

www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | Why Senior Executives Fail



“ Life is like a dogsled team. If you

by Mary T. O’Sullivan In the early 1990’s, Jack Welch gathered 20 of his brightest executives to capture rubrics of their success. These individuals were the future senior leaders of GE. They spent much time evolving a seminar to be presented to GE’S global management team, to inspire the next generation of leaders and to impart the learning and experiences of Welch’s top people. Welch and his team evolved the objective: teaching the “hi-pot” managers “The GE Way”. Among the topics discussed was “Why Senior Executives Fail in GE” and is captured in a slide which I have hanging on my cubicle wall at work. As a one-time GE employee, these simple guidelines seem so self-evident. But, not so at ZeroCorp, a company I once worked for, after the GE years. For many ex-GE employees, pointing out the glaring contrasts between leadership at GE and ZeroCorp is actually a cleansing and cathartic experience. Three glaring contrasts remind us we’re not in “Oz” any more. “Bad Actor: Behavior contrary to corporate culture/values, etc.” At ZeroCorp, great emphasis is placed on living the company values, which include “People” as the number one value. The message every employee wears on his/her “values” badge card proclaims, “You’re important to us” Yet, recently, a VP, Bob Shrub, was hired and enthroned in the corner office (with a great view of the local scenic bay coincidently). It seems his people skills were not high on the list of qualifications at hiring time. Bob


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Shrub seldom stepped out of the executive suite and didn’t acknowledge employees by name; as one manager commented, “He only talks to 14 people”. Shrub has been known to shout his demands without concern for others around him. In one case, he requested his secretary bring him a bottle of water in the following manner, shouting loudly: “Hey, lady. Get me water.” In a roomful of people, not one other person was offered refreshment. In another case, Shrub was touring the manufacturing area, where a strict no food or drink policy exists. Shrub entered the area with an open cup of coffee. When this was pointed out, Shrub rejoined: “No coffee, no Shrub”, leaving employees in stunned silence. Inopportunely, Shrub has a two-year contract with ZeroCorp, and according to highly placed reliable sources, he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. “Flawed Organization Concept: Unnecessary Layer…” At ZeroCorp, if you are a friend of Tom Jones (President), you are guaranteed employment for life. In the case of Eddy Lapstein, failure as a project area lead gave him entry into the world of business development, despite the fact that Eddy had little experience in that area. Since Eddy was originally hired as a director, Tom Jones decreed that Eddy would become the “Deputy” Director of business development for a particular customer-based business. (Interestingly, none of the other businesses has a “Deputy” BD Director.) Since Eddy has an engineering background, rather than spending his time with customers and watching competitors, he instead, perfected his chart making skills. He has created charts for BD process, new business investment funding, and the five-year plan. He also successfully coordinated a corporate loss analysis, ironically, conducted on


Why Senior Executives Fail | SMALL BUSINESS

u ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes. ” —Lewis Grizzard one of Eddy’s major business failures. Eddy had aspirations to the “real” BD director’s job. But Tom Jones is a wise man. If we are lucky, Eddy will return to engineering, where he was considered quite a star. “Can’t Pull the Trigger: Talks a Good Game…Great Analysis but Doesn’t Get It Done.” Zeke Hanna was the manager of Business Development “Operations” for many years. As such, he conducted multiple studies, analyses, and led several projects investigating the reasons for poor BD overall performance. ZeroCorp wasn’t winning much new business. Time after time, the results of these many efforts showed that there was nothing wrong with the current, existing processes, procedures and policies. They were all intact, accessible, and aligned with industry standards across the board. Zeke ruminated over these results, called many meetings, and created even more presentations on the topic. Zeke even attached himself to a company wide study, led by several Six Sigma Black Belts to dig further into this apparent conundrum. Each time, the results were fashioned into death by Power Point and some even found their way to senior management. Over and over again, the problem was traced to the same root cause: in ZeroCorp, there were absolutely no consequences attached to ignoring policies, ignoring process and procedures, etc. I actually participated in a few of these exercises, and recall suggesting if we connected following process to dollar figures to achieve the next process step, we may see better results in process adherence. While Zeke agreed with me, he could never bring himself to enact that policy. After eight years with ZeroCorp for, the company still suffered from a lack of process adherence as well as a dearth of new business.

Although much of Jack Welch’s work has been published and studied, there are still companies that are content to founder and flail, and watch their bookings, sales, profit and cash dwindle away: mostly due to bad actors, flawed organization concepts and those who “can’t pull the trigger”. In his day, Welch clearly tied executive and company performance to faithfulness to GE values, and predicted certain doom for leader with big titles who could not incorporate those values into work performance. At the time, GE’s brightest minds gathered to clarify what good leadership is about; the slide addressing why executives fail makes clear what leadership is not...This is why that slide remained hanging on my cubicle wall. “Leaders are people who can pursue a path that is seemingly nonsensical or even dangerous to everybody else. Common sense tells us that nobody needs a leader to take the path that’s intuitive; people would do that on their own. Therefore, since the leader recommends a path that is illogical to the “average” person, we can conclude that a leader must be either: 1. So smart that nobody can share the vision or 2. A nitwit.”


Six Sigma Specialist, Certified IPT Leader, Certified Contracts Manager Helping good leaders get even better through positive behavior change. 401-742-1965 | www.encoreexecutivecoaching.com www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine


SMALL BUSINESS | Monthly Learning Tips


Get Involved and

Become an Awe by collaborating with scientists and engineers from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental management (DEM) to raise salmon in the classroom and later releasing them to repopulate Rhode Island rivers and streams.

by Ronald G. Shapiro, PhD1

This month’s learning tips come from Charlene Tuttle, the 2019 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year. Charlene teaches 6th grade at the Lawn Avenue School in Jamestown, RI. Charlene was born in Rhode Island, lived in Florida and California before returning to Rhode Island for a “summer visit” 20 years ago. Once back in Rhode Island Charlene Central Falls, before commencing her current position in Jamestown. One of Charlene’s real strengths is building collaborative relationships between students, parents and the community as a whole. Some of the collaborative relationships Charlene has built include connecting students with experts from the real world. For example Charlene’s students submit questions to scientists and engineers on the Nautilus. The scientist and engineers, who are operating remotely operated vehicles (ROVx) equipped with cameras and other tools, address the students by name while answering their questions during dives from the bottom of the ocean. Charlene’s students have also learn about the environment


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Charlene has won numerous awards for awesome teaching including the Presidential Award in Science (2010) and the Amgen Award for Excellence in Science Teaching (2009). I met Charlene several years ago at a Rhode Island Science Teachers Association (RISTA) conference where she was an awesome participant in one of my Education by Entertainment programs. Indeed, I chose to feature Charlene’s participation in my article in Volume One Issue Five of the Rhode Island Small Business Journal (RISBJ) titled What Did You Hear? Not What I Said! In a recent conversation I was most impressed with how Charlene applied the important content from my program when she teaches students to differentiate what they “see” and “hear” from what is really in the environment. She applies this by asking students to draw a leaf or a cloud, then having them compare their initial recordings to the actual item. She also applies this to differentiating what a person is really like from what one might have heard about the person. including the principles Charlene uses in her teaching in their business environment: • Get to know people as individuals. Know what all of your clients and colleagues have to offer as well as what they need. • Highlight what everyone does best and encourage them to honor each other. • Support people as they make errors in attempts to get to desired results. Few of us get everything right • Encourage everyone to develop problem solving skills. Think outside of the box. Develop new ways to do old tasks.

esome Educator Charlene strongly encourages businesses and professionals to become involved with schools. • Support students so that they will become engaged citizens, make intelligent decisions, become involved • Show students how you develop the products or process that you make. • Share what makes you successful and enhances your life every day. • Talk a lot about globalization and how interconnected the world is. • Reach out to teachers and principals. • Explore ways to work together. • If you are not sure how you can work together ask. • Realize that teachers and administrators have full time. Do not give up. If you email and don’t get a response call. If you call and don’t get a response email. • Work together to improve education and have a well prepared future workforce. • Remember the power of community. As teacher of the year Charlene will be working on special projects with the Rhode Island Department of Education. One of her projects will be to develop collaboration between the business community and schools. Let Charlene know collaboration by contacting her at charlene.tuttle@ride.ri.gov.

I would like to thank Industrial Consultant Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments. 1

Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro

Independent Consultant in Human Factors, Learning and Human Resources www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine


SECRETARY OF STATE | Nellie M. Gorbea What Clams Me About SMALL Manage A Remote Worker or Office SMALL BUSINESS BUSINESS || How Dear To Mom: A Taught Letter Home From ALeadership One Day Warrior


e c r e t a r y




t a t e

Nellie M. Gorbea


The United States Small Business Administration calculates that close to 99 percent of Rhode Island businesses are small businesses. For many of you this is not a surprise–you know your businesses have been the backbone of Rhode Island’s economy for years. As Secretary of State, I make sure that my office is working to make it easier for your business to succeed and move the economy forward. To do that, I need your help. I need to know about the barriers to success you face as you start and grow your business. One of the major topics I heard when I first entered office was the complexity of our state’s regulatory environment. It was cluttered, outdated, and contained unenforced rules that needed to change. In 2016, the General Assembly passed bills sponsored by Majority Leader Representative Joseph Shekarchi and Finance Committee Chairman Senator William Conley to modernize the State Administrative Procedures Act, which tells us how to structure our Code of State Regulations. This key legislative reform allowed my team to develop a new, web-based Code of State Regulations that does a better job organizing and displaying rules and regulations. The reform also represented an opportunity


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to shift how government interacts with business by embracing design principles that put the user first. The new Rhode Island Code of Regulations web application launched at the end of August 2018, accompanied by a series of online tools to help make it easier for small business owners to get started. For the first time, all rules and regulations published by state agencies, boards, and commissions are on display in a clear, uniform, and digital format. We implemented within the application, guides and resources that make it easier to search the database for rules as well as understand the entire rule-making process. If you are looking to be notified of agency changes, you can sign up to receive email updates on rulemaking activities on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This will help keep you informed about changes to the rules and regulations your business is required to follow. I’m proud to announce that the work we have done on this new Code of Regulations has received national recognition. This summer the Rhode Island Code of Regulations received the 2018 Robert J.Colborn, Jr. Innovation Award by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), Administrative Codes and Registers Group. It is my hope that with this new system users in Rhode Island will have a clear understanding of the rules and regulations that dictate how they can run their business. After all, needing less time to navigate and decipher regulatory code, means more time making your business a success.

Request a Demonstration

If you are interested in learning more about the Rhode Island Code of Regulations, please contact Administrative Rules Editor, Kristen Cordeiro, at 401-222-3983 or request a demonstration by e-mailing rulesregs@ sos.ri.gov

We’re here for you - Contact us!

Please feel free to contact me directly with any thoughts or suggestions you have on this or any other topics at secretarygorbea@sos.ri.gov or visit our website sos.ri.gov. We look forward to working with you to grow your business or non-profit in Rhode Island.

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LEGAL | Personnel Practices: Non-Compete Agreement Update: What Employers Need To Know

Personnel Practices



by Kristen M. Whittle, Esq. and Alexandra Rotondo, Esq.

In light of the recent non-compete agreement reform in neighboring Massachusetts, Rhode Island employers should be prepared for after-effects here in the Ocean State. Notably, the new Massachusetts law, which takes effect on October 1, 2018, applies to Massachusetts residents— regardless of where they work. Rhode Island employers should thus be mindful of that law when entering into noncompete agreements with Massachusetts residents who will serve as either employees or independent contractors for their businesses.

Why employers use non-compete agreements:

Employers may require the execution of a non-compete agreement when engaging sophisticated employees who will have access to confidential information or trade


RISBJ | rhode island small business journal




secrets. Such agreements generally prohibit the employee from working for a competitor for a period of time after separation from employment. Non-compete agreements can be powerful tools to guard against disclosure of confidential information and loss of customer good will. But if not implemented properly, they may be considered unenforceable.

Non-compete agreements are disfavored in the law:

Non-compete agreements are generally disfavored in the law because they restrict free trade and commerce, as well as an employee’s ability to work in his or her chosen profession. When challenged, courts will scrutinize these agreements to make sure that they are reasonable. If a Rhode Island court finds a non-compete agreement to be unreasonable, it may reform certain parts of the agreement, or strike the entire agreement altogether.

Non-Compete Agreement Update: What Employers Need To Know | LEGAL

Reasonableness factors:

When determining whether a non-compete agreement is reasonable, a Rhode Island Court will look at the following factors: 1. Whether the agreement is narrowly tailored to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests, such as the protection of confidential information and good will. 2. Whether the agreement is reasonably limited in activity, geographic area and time. Rhode Island courts will typically permit non-compete agreements that remain in effect for one year or less after separation of employment. The geographic scope of an agreement will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


3. Whether the employer’s interests are outweighed by the potential hardship to the employee. Rhode Island courts will look to whether the agreement strikes a balance between the employer’s need to protect its good will and confidential information and the employee’s need to earn a living. 4. Whether the agreement is likely to injure the public. For example, Rhode Island courts will analyze whether such an agreement will overly restrict the public’s access to certain products.

Key components of new Massachusetts law:

When entering into a non-compete agreement with a Massachusetts resident, Rhode Island employers should be aware of the restrictions imposed by Massachusetts law. For example, if the agreement is entered into at hire, it must be signed by both the employer and the employee, clearly state that the employee has the right to counsel prior to signing, and must be provided to the employee before the formal offer of employment is made, or ten business days before the start date (whichever comes first). If entered into during employment, the agreement must contain additional consideration—not solely the continuation of employment. Like in Rhode Island, the new Massachusetts law requires that non-compete agreements be reasonable in time (twelve months in most circumstances) and geographic scope. In addition, the agreement must be no broader than necessary to protect an employer’s trade secrets, confidential information and/or good will. The agreement must also be reasonable in the scope of prohibited activities in relation to the interests protected. Most significantly, Massachusetts now requires payment (known as “garden leave”) to the employee during the period of restriction of at least 50% of the employee’s highest annual base salary within the preceding two years, or as otherwise agreed.

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

Alexandra Rotondo, Esq. Associate, Barton Gilman LLP

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WWW.RISBJ.COM www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine




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Is Franchise Ownership Right for You? | SMALL BUSINESS

We Can Help by Diane Fournaris

Are you looking to start a small business in Rhode Island, and considering whether franchise ownership is right for you? Many of our expert business counselors recently completed the FrantFit training through FranNet to assist Ocean State entrepreneurs in evaluating whether franchise ownership is a viable option, and which franchise might be a great fit for their entrepreneurial goals. FranNet’s strong, detailed business assessment is a fivestep process from start to finish. It begins with a thorough interview that acts like a business personality test, learning about each individual entrepreneur and their goals, strengths, and resources. For clients who are suited for and interested in franchise ownership, we evaluate specific franchise companies that would be a good fit, and guide them through the research process to prepare a plan. When ready to move forward, clients are supported to locate financing and access additional resources required to get the franchise business off the ground. This comprehensive business assessment is free to Ocean State entrepreneurs, and with the depth of initial assessment, it can be a helpful tool for anyone considering going into business, franchise or otherwise. FranFit is a joint initiative between the America’s Small Business Development Center network and FranNet to support franchise education through an internal professional development certification program. Since 1987, FranNet and the ASBDC, our membership association, have helped entrepreneurs succeed through this cooperative program. FranFit empowers our business counselors with the training, tools, resources and support necessary to properly advise clients on potential franchising opportunities. FranNet is one of many small business many tools and resources our clients gain access to when they work with one of our expert business counselors. Whether you are starting your first business or have an established business you would

like to expand and grow, our host of small business services can help you achieve greater success. If you are starting a business, the best place to begin is our business startup workshop, The Right Foot, offered monthly at rotating locations around RI. In The Right Foot, you will begin assessing your business idea. After attending The Right Foot, meet with a business counselor for continued support in areas including: • • • • •

Business planning Loan application preparation Establishing your business Licenses, permits and business regulations Marketing and brand building

If you are growing an existing business, the heart of our services is free one-to-one confidential counseling for personalized support in areas including: • • • • •

Financial statement development Loan application preparation Marketing and brand building Strategic planning Expanding into international trade

Not sure where to start? Call our Lead Center at (401) 874-7232. The Rhode Island Small Business Development Center at URI is part of a national network of nearly 1,000 business assistance centers that provide counseling and training to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Partially funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, we help businesses to succeed from start-up to maturity.

Diane Fournaris

Assistant State Director of the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center www.risbj.com | volume seven issue nine


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