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volume two issue ten

FEATURED FEATURED NON-PROFIT: Gotta Have Sole FEATURED CHAMBER: Westerly Chamber of Commerce

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As 2013 comes to an end, this is a great time to look back and reflect upon the past year. As we spend more time with family and friends celebrating the holiday season, this is one of the few times of the year that many of us feel a great sense of work-life balance. As we look ahead to next year, there are several aspects of business that we should review to help ensure an even more prosperous 2014. Sales Goals Did your 2013 sales totals meet your projections? This is often one of the first things most business owners will look at as part of a year-end review. If sales were great, we want to look at what helped them get there and look at how we can sustain and grow in 2014. If our sales were less than expected, we need to dig deeper into the reason and look at resolving those issues before we let 2014 slip away. Marketing As an integral part of our sales success, what new and innovative marketing efforts did we launch this past year? Did we engage more with social media, upgrade our website or attend trade shows? Understanding what marketing efforts returned the best results will help us continue to achieve our sales goals, and maximize profitability.

from the founder

Profitability In addition to maximizing our marketing budgets, end-ofyear is also a great time to review other expenses that affect our company’s profitability. Expenses such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and payroll are always at the forefront of every business owners mind. We should also be carefully analyzing other monthly fees such as Internet access, credit card processing, email marketing, cell phone use, office cleaning and anything else that we pay for on a regular basis. Small changes in each of our monthly costs could make a huge impact on the bottom line of any company. Staffing How did our staff perform this past year? Did they meet or exceed expectations? Did we have new hires that are exceeding goals? Are we overstaffed or understaffed? As we address our staff performance, we also need to ensure that we have put the proper systems in place and set realistic goals to ensure their success. Proper staffing will maximize the efficiency of any business. Customer Service It’s always important to know what our customers think about our pricing, service and quality of work. This is a great time to reach out to past clients and get their feedback. This will help to make sure our clients continue to work with us in the coming year, as well as help us to address any issues that could be affecting our company’s growth. At RISBJ, we have come to the end of another successful year, due to all of the support from the business community, our advertisers, our supporters, and our staff. We hope that your business has had a great year and look forward to growing with you again in 2014.

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Gil Lantini President, Founder Ralph Coppolino Vice President, Operations Kelsey Powers Marketing Consultant John Resnick Marketing Coordinator Mike Casale Senior Designer Pam Walsh Editorial Assistant Sara Celano Production Assistant Intern Mike DiSano Contributing Writers Richard Austin Chris Barnett Kristin Carcieri-MacRae Laurie Charpentier Stanley H. Davis Vin DiPippo Ted Donnelly William Entwistle Lawrence Fagan Seth Goodall Michael Gravison Adam Harvey Dave Lubelczyk James A. Maloney Secretary of State Ralph Mollis Mark Payden Elizabeth Pierotti Matthew R. Plain, Esq. Gina Raimondo Dr. Ronald Shapiro Chris Sheehy Mayor Angel Taveras Nancy Thomas Kristen M. Whittle, Esq. Christopher Whipple

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Table of Contents

6

8

Secretary of State Ralph M ollis

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Far m-To-Table In dustry Grows in our Back yard

10

Spotlights on Startups

12

T he Anatomy of a Small Business

13

SBA: S hop Small Dur ing the Holidays

14

Small Business Prof ile: Communit y Care Nurses

15

For a H ealth y R I: Fun ding the R ight Programs the R ight Way

16

3 Reasons to Assess your Company’s Data Infrastruct ure

20

Family an d M edical Leave

22

Capital Cit y Buying Lo cal

24

M in ding Your Own Bran d

25

Business Owners B eware

26

T he Ulti mate T i e-Breaker

27

Annual Corporate Outings & Events Guide

34

T he Small Business Owner’s Retirement Dilemma

35

Overw helmed due to your Disorganiza tion?

35

Network ing an d Work shops

37

Strategy Secrets of Successful Compani es

39

H eading Into 2014

40

Featured Chamb er: Newport Count y

42

Next Question Please

43

T he Value of M entors T ips From the Tren ches

44

Does Your Business Foster a Team Environmen t?

47

To B e a Success B e Dar ing, B e Dr iven , B e Di fferent

48

R ho de Islan d’s Place in a Transatlan tic Partnership

50

Featured Nonprof it: Tech Collective

52

T he Telephone Numb er an d it’s Impact on Lo cal SEO

53

T he Value of You

55

New Alternative Payday Len ding Site will H elp R ho de Islan ders

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Come See M e W hen You Are Hungry

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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SECRETARY OF STATE | Ralph Mollis

An Informed Electorate is the Keystone of Democracy by Secretary Of State Ralph Mollis Since taking office in 2007, I’ve been visiting high school students across Rhode Island to speak with them about the importance of voting, and it’s been a pleasure to see their enthusiasm and curiosity about civic involvement! Rhode Island high school students are pleasantly curious and interested in the entire process, from how to find his or her polling place to registering to vote. Some of these students will become our next generation of leaders, and I feel proud to know I had some involvement in introducing them to this process. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Warwick Vets Memorial High School, where the local Board of Canvassers as well as the state Board of Elections assisted me with registering seniors. The questions students posed were insightful, and I could tell they were engaged, which is what I want my visits to accomplish: stimulate students to think about how our government works, and how they are a crucial part of the outcome of every election. That day we registered 63 students, with more sending in their registration forms from home following my visit. It’s encouraging to see so many young people eager to become involved in state government. In 2009, thanks to a grant from the federal Elections Assistance Commission, I started my “Voters in the Classroom” initiative, and have continued to work successfully with the state Board of Elections, Roger Williams University, Pawtucket’s Shea High School, and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a statewide voter education project, which to date, has seen tens of thousands of students participate. As of the 2010 Census, Rhode Island has 82,167 twenty- to twentyfour-year-olds eligible to register to vote. The number of registered voters ages 18-to-24 is 76,750. The number of registered voters 18-to24-years-old that voted in the November, 2012 election is 31,107. It is my goal to continue to increase this number, so every 18-to-24-year-old

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I hope our work produces a new generation of voters and citizens committed to making their voices heard in Rhode Island not only registers to vote, but votes in the next election. I hope our work produces a new generation of voters and citizens committed to making their voices heard, including becoming our future elected officials! The good news is any students who missed one of my visits to their high school are still in luck! He or she may visit our office at 148 West River Street in Providence to speak with a member of our Elections Division and register to vote! It’s really that easy! In order to be eligible to vote, students must be U.S. citizens, residents of Rhode Island, and turn 18 years old by Election Day 2014. Remember, an informed electorate is the keystone of democracy.

Our office is responsible for preparing ballots for all federal, state, and municipal elections held in Rhode Island. In addition, our office maintains the state’s central voter registration system and distributes handbooks, which explain how to run for office, how to register to vote, and how to vote.

I am committed to making it easier to vote, helping businesses grow, and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services our office provides Rhode Islanders, please visit www.sos.ri.gov.


Farm-To-Table Industry Grows In Our Backyard | SMALL BUSINESS

Farm-to-Table

Industry Grows In Our Backyard

by Chris Barnett Rhode Island’s 1,200 farms still generate a healthy $65 million in sales, but an innovative new movement is hard at work, turning Rhode Island into a national leader by adapting an old model – small, organic farms – to modern times. Pat’s Pastured in North Kingstown is one example. The 100-acre spread combines a grass-fed, pasture-raised livestock operation with a farm store. “We believe in kind of creating a farm environment where animals get to express their full potential and grow in a healthy and humane way,” says owner Patrick McNiff. “Our business in Rhode Island is really unique in that agriculture had been on the decline for many years. Now it’s kind of growing more and more as more people are interested in the local food movement,” he says. “So we’re seeing more and more farmers come back and be involved in Rhode Island agriculture and the Rhode Island economy.” McNiff sees a lot of economic potential in the changing face of farming, pointing to groups like Farm Fresh Rhode Island, which promotes local farms as a means to providing fresher, healthier food while strengthening community-based businesses.

“Rhode Island is the perfect place for Farm Fresh because we’re a small state. It’s a really amazing opportunity for farms that are maybe 15 minutes out of the city to have a marketplace for their product,” says Noah Fulmer, who handles special projects for the Pawtucket-based nonprofit. “The farmer’s markets we run here are not just in one type of neighborhood. We have them all across the state and we have programs in terms of education that try to bring people in,” he says. “What we’re trying to do is, when we’re at the farmers market, put farmers in direct contact with the consumer and make that connection stronger.” McNiff of Pat’s Pastured points to another growth area. “We have some of the best restaurants in the world, in the country here. We sell to them and they’re really interested in buying local and supporting their local farmers and fishermen. I think it’s a great opportunity to kind of link up with the farm-totable movement through different restaurants that are based here in Rhode Island,” he says. McNiff is not alone in his belief that the growing farm-to-table trend has a lot of promise. Melissa Denmark, pastry chef at Gracie’s Restaurant and Ellie’s Bakery in

Providence, says using locally-grown foods enables chefs to bring diners back again and again by offering menus that change with the harvest. “Here at Gracie’s we work really hard to use the seasons as inspiration for our menus. Farm-to-table for me means that we wait all year for some of these seasons. And we take everything we can out of them,” she explains. One of Melissa’s colleagues at Gracie’s is another believer in the farm-to-table movement. “My experience with Farm Fresh has been great over the years. They’ve really expanded immensely over the past few years. It’s been great to see them grow. It’s what makes sense to me as a chef, to utilize local and sustainable products from the great state of Rhode Island,” says Executive Chef Matthew Varga. Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s Fulmer feels there is plenty of room for growth. “There’s enough business and demand to keep them thriving and in many cases to fill niches in terms of access to fresh, healthy food that weren’t being filled before. So, that’s a wonderful success,” he says.

Chris Barnett Senior Public Affairs Officer The RI Foundation

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STARTUPS | Spotlight

Chomp Kitchen and Drinks Open Date: August 1, 2013 Employees: 14 Address: 440 Child Street Warren, RI 02885 Website: chompri.com Twitter: @chompri Facebook: /chompri Biggest Challenge: This is my first venture into the restaurant business. I grew up in the business and now mark the 3rd generation of Glynns to operate a restaurant. The biggest challenge I faced opening up Chomp was demolition and construction. My dad and I took the better part of 6 months to renovate and transform an old breakfast diner into a rustic and industrial burger and sandwich joint with great craft beers. I am extremely proud of the final result. Profile: When opening a restaurant, you always want to have a guy in your corner that knows the ins and outs of this business. Luckily for me, I have the best restaurateur in the world, my Dad. I had the unique opportunity to grow up in one of the most successful restaurants in the Northeast, Horsefeathers, located in North Conway, New Hampshire. As soon as I was able to, I started working at Horsefeathers. Two summers as a ceramic engineer, also known as dishwasher, was my first taste in the trenches of the restaurant business. The seed was planted. I now mark the third generation of Glynns to operate a restaurant in New England. In March of 2013, my Dad and I had the opportunity to do something together and we knew it was a no-brainer. The location was right, the timing was right, and the concept was right. The stars had aligned, and we have been full throttle ever since. Once we signed the lease, my Dad and I took everything down to the studs, literally. We had a vision for the way we wanted Chomp to look and wouldn’t settle until it was perfect. We worked six to seven days a week for five months to make sure that when you walk through the doors, you would be blown away. We set out to serve up the

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freshest, most innovative takes on regional and global burgers and sandwiches, fully intending to knock your socks off. Our food is what sets us apart from the pack. We have an incredible chef, Jeremy Bradbury, who shares our vision and more importantly, our passion for creating something in the East Bay people will be proud of.

Pails & Posies Open Date: April 25, 2013 Employees: 2 Address: P.O. Box 17248, Smithfield, RI Website: pailsandposies.com Twitter: @Pailsandposies Facebook: /Pails-Posies Biggest Challenge: As we sat down to begin this journey, there were the usual challenges and hurdles. What web host would we use? Which lines would we bring in? What did we want our “brand” to be in the marketplace and how would our web design, packaging, social media presence, and collections bring that brand to life? The biggest challenge faced since we launched has been generating broad awareness and credibility. Profile: Pails & Posies is an online collection of hip, fun, and modern styles for babies and toddlers from Newborn to Size 6. It was brought to life by two friends who share more than just a first name. We share a discerning eye for fashion and believe that a great sense of style is just as important for the little people in our lives as it is for all of us. Always searching high and low for “the” gift and coming home with the same cookie-cutter fashion, it was clear something was missing in the marketplace. We knew the high-quality looks we wanted for our little ones were out there somewhere and as two determined women, we went out, found them, and brought them all to you in a single, trendy site. The labels we offer represent not only American designers, but also those from countries like Australia, Italy, and the UK. Coined the “Fashion Playground for your Little One,” we commit

ourselves every day and night to bringing high quality, unique clothing and accessory lines - at reasonable prices - to all of our clients. We are well aware that every sale is earned and nothing can be taken for granted and we view every new Facebook fan, Twitter follower, and new customer as part of our family.

Sampalis Eyecare Open Date: December 26, 2013 Employees: 1 Address: 650 Bald Hill Road Warwick, RI 02886 Website: drsampalis.com Biggest Challenge: Continuously being motivated to promote my business and work hard every day. The business has ups and downs. When you fail, it’s hard to get the energy to get up and strive for the best. It’s been difficult to balance quality patient care with daily business aspects. Profile: I’m an independent contractor in Sears Optical, and I recently acquired a second location in North Dartmouth. I always wanted to have my own practice. I wanted to own my own business because I wanted to be able to control my destiny. Working for someone else never made me feel satisfied, and I always felt like there was something more for me in my career. My office has state-of-the-art equipment to provide quality eye care to patients of all ages, including retinal photography to screen for eye diseases. Patients who are contact lens wearers can be assured that they are being provided with the latest in contact lens innovation. As a clinical investigator for a contact lens company, I have tested their new products, and I am able to provide my patients with the newest technology on the market before other practices. In the past year, I have written numerous articles for the Review of Optometric Business and held leadership positions for the Mass. Society of Optometrists. This is just the beginning. I hope to expand my horizons in the next few years to other business aspects of optometry at a national level.


www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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THE ANATOMY

of a Small Business by Laurie Charpentier

So here’s my view of what the anatomy of an organization really looks like. In my opinion, every company organizational chart should be set up like this since it more accurately depicts the roles of each department: It’s pretty obvious what the role of CEO/ President is: he/she is the head of the company, providing strategic direction, vision, and leadership. Administration is represented by the neck and spine. It provides support and is the basis for the channels of communication. Customer Service is pretty obvious as well. It is the heart of the company. It provides the lifeblood of the company and is responsible for the continual flow of the company’s mission. It shows love to the customer and circulates back to the rest of the company all of the customer’s needs. Human Resources is the solar plexus of the organization. It is the core. It stabilizes the entire team acting as an internal customer service department. In the human body, the gut is the center of the immune system. It is also true for HR in any organization. HR is tuned in to the needs of the team, anticipates problems, and acts accordingly to protect the system. It keeps everyone happy and healthy.

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Direct Labor represents all of the individuals in the company who produce whatever goods and services you offer. Obviously very important. Finance is represented not only by the knees, but by all of the joints. It allows flexibility and movement by controlling cash flow. Without this flexibility, there can be no movement at all - the company would become arthritic. Finally, Operations and Sales share each foot and leg of the organization. They are equally responsible for the forward motion of the company and the balance that is required to maintain steady motion. There is an age-old argument between the two departments – which one is more important? Some business owners make the mistake of paying more attention to one over the other, depending on their views and who has their ear. But in fact, both are equally important. You cannot invest heavily into sales if you do not have the infrastructure to support what you’re selling. Conversely, you cannot invest heavily in an infrastructure without the sales to support it. Looking at this diagram, imagine just one of these limbs or functions being eliminated. The entire system would shut down, wouldn’t it? This is a lesson in valuing each person as an important member of your team and it should humble every leader into realizing that you can’t do this alone. You can fancy yourself a leader all you want, but if no one is following you, then you’re just out for a (lonely) walk. Laurie Charpentier, PHR, CEC Owner Madhat HR


SBA Encourages Americans To Shop Small During The Holidays | SBA

SBA Encourages Americans

To Shop Small during the Holidays by Seth Goodall

During the holiday season, Americans across the country have a unique opportunity to strengthen their local economies, support their communities, and get great services and products by shopping small—shopping at small businesses, that is. The holidays give us all the chance to reconnect with our neighbors and, whether you’re grabbing a cup of coffee from the shop around the corner or patronizing a local book store, every purchase at a small business makes a difference in your community. America’s 28 million small businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating two out of every three net new private sector jobs, and we all have a role in helping small businesses succeed. At the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), we are committed to ensuring small businesses have access to the capital, counseling, contracting opportunities, and disaster assistance they need to start and grow a business. Since President Obama took office, SBA has supported more than $126 billion in lending to more than 260,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country. In Fiscal Year 2013 alone, SBA supported more than $29 billion in loans to America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Here in Rhode Island, SBA supported nearly $90 million in lending to the small business community. SBA also has an extensive counseling and training network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE volunteers which cumulatively reach more than one million people each year. Our resource partners counseled more than 1,300 clients and trained more than 4,000 individuals. In addition to helping small businesses access the tools and resources that can help them take their business to the next level, SBA also encourages the federal government to shop small by overseeing its supply chain for small businesses. Federal contracting is a win-win. The federal government gets to work with innovative small businesses—often with direct

access to the CEO—and small businesses get an important source of revenue. Of the federal contracting dollars awarded in FY 2012, more than 22 percent went to small businesses, up from 21.65 percent in FY 2011. For the first time more agencies than ever reached or surpassed their prime contracting goals. Rhode Island small businesses received just over $166 million federal contracting dollars awarded in the state in FY 2013. When small businesses succeed, we all win. The SBA is committed to helping Rhode Island small business owners do what they do best: provide exceptional products and services, and create jobs. And American consumers have an important part to play. On November 30, millions of Americans shopped small in celebration of Small Business Saturday. By shopping small and supporting local business during the rest of this holiday season, we can all help give millions of families the opportunity to achieve the American dream. For more information about the small business resources in your community, contact the SBA Rhode Island District Office at (401) 528-4561, or visit the website at www.sba.gov/ri.

In Fiscal Year 2013 alone, SBA supported more than $29 billion in loans to America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Here in Rhode Island, SBA supported nearly $90 million in lending to the small business community

Seth Goodall Regional Administrator U.S. Small Business Administration

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SMALL BUSINESS | Community Care Nurses

COMMUNITY CARE NURSES Business Profile: Community Care Nurses Open Date: 1985 Location: 6946 Post Road, Suite 500, North Kingstown Phone: (401) 295-8862 Website: www.homehealthcareri.com

Home care is the future of successful health care…Needs continue to multiply as the population multiplies

In the early 1980’s, Mary Benway was working as a Registered Nurse at Roger Williams Hospital when she says she began to notice changes in healthcare delivery. Hospital stays were becoming shorter as patients were discharged more quickly and released into the care of home aides and CNAs. The only home care provider affiliated with the hospital at the time was the Visiting Nurse Association, so every day Benway says she saw their nurses selecting which patients to add to their case loads. Benway noticed that they never had to market themselves because there was always a patient in need of their services. When she started seeing this, Benway says she realized she did not want to continue her stressful job as a hospital nurse anymore, so she opened Community Care Nurses in 1985.

Community Care Nurses is a licensed Home Nursing Care Provider headquartered in North Kingstown, RI. Their nurses and CNAs work with patients to provide basic assistance with living activities, including medication management, bathing, dressing, running errands, cooking, and cleaning. Community Care Nurses starts off their relationship with new patients through a phone call to determine the history and needs of the patient. “We have to customize our ability to make everyone feel at ease,” Benway said. “We’ll follow up with an intake visit with one of our nurses and we’ll take lots of time to talk with the family and the patient to let them know we’re not there to take over their life. We want to make it easier for them to remain in their home, and if we’ve done that, we’ve been successful.” Community Care Nurses mainly provides care for patients with ongoing, long-term skilled needs such as special needs, seizure disorders, and cerebral palsy; however, if a patient comes to them with short-term needs, they do not turn him/ her away. Instead, they refer the patient to their partner, Capitol Home Care. Capitol Home Care is a network of three direct competitors, including Community Care Nurses, that offers a mix of both skilled and

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non-skilled services for a higher level of direct care. Community Care Nurses works with care providers at Capitol Home Care so that patients can continue to see their trusted Community Care Nurses aides while working with Capitol’s physical therapists, visiting nurses, or whatever other services they need. This structure helps patients safely and comfortably recover at home, while also preventing rehospitalization. In addition, Benway says it saves time for patients: “Because it’s a network of services, you don’t have to call 25 agencies to get the services you need. Capitol can set you up with short- and long-term care in one phone call.” Besides their unique network with Capitol Home Care, Community Care Nurses also stands out for their employment model. All of the employees at Community Care Nurses are licensed or certified by the RI Department of Health, and they’re also screened, bonded, and insured. Once they are part of the team, Benway says that they ensure each staff member is treated as a colleague and understands that they are the foundation of the company. “Our staff is our eyes and ears. The same nurse works with the same patient each day, so whenever anything changes in the patient’s condition, they are able to catch that change and report any cause for concern. This model creates a corporate culture where our goal is to keep the patient comfortable and worryfree,” Benway said. In the future, Benway says Community Care Nurses plans to provide home care to even more patients: “Home care is the future of successful health care…Needs continue to multiply as the population multiplies. When we first started, many of our patients would be in their 80s, but now we take care of people whose children are in their 80s! We have to constantly innovate and be aware of our challenges and how to meet them.” Currently, Benway says there are no other services similar to Capitol Home Care in Rhode Island, and she looks forward to continuing to be different and providing a completeness of services to patients in Rhode Island.


For a Healthy RI: Funding the Right Programs the Right Way | SMALL BUSINESS

FOR A HEALTHY RI

Funding the Right Programs the Right Way by Stephen C. Boyle Many small business owners in Rhode Island go the extra mile to provide their employees with insurance, and as a result they contribute not only to the health of their employees and workplaces, but also to the health of all Rhode Island residents. Companies who buy their health insurance from one of the major insurers, along with those who purchase insurance in the individual market, pay nearly $60 million in taxes and fees on that coverage, which funds health programs and other services for all state residents. These programs include free vaccines for children and adults, and health services for children with special healthcare needs. Over $30 million goes directly into the general revenue fund of the state. By guaranteeing that all residents have access to these services, Rhode Island improves the quality of health and limits increased costs associated with not addressing healthcare challenges early. This coming year, the General Assembly could provide much needed relief to those small businesses by more fairly funding these important state health programs. Though the benefits associated with these preventative programs are clear and available to all Rhode Islanders, the current funding mechanism unfairly places the entire funding burden on individuals and small businesses that purchase health insurance. The trend of larger companies avoiding these taxes by shifting their employees to self-insured health coverage continues to grow every year. At the same time, the number of people in plans that pay for the programs has shrunk by over 100,000. As a result, those remaining small and mid-size businesses are bearing an ever greater share of funding these important programs. These same small businesses are also subject to a

two percent premium tax that is deposited into Rhode Island’s General Fund. This unfair funding mechanism means small businesses are paying for health services for all Rhode Islanders, while the state’s largest employers are not. It also means that available funding for these key state programs is under increasing pressure. Two separate studies – from the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner in 2011, and more recently from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) – make it clear that the challenges outlined above need to be addressed before the health of our citizens is impacted. The EOHHS report presented alternatives that are based on converting from a levy on premiums to a claims-based assessment. This approach, which has been implemented in other states, would allow Rhode Island to raise the same revenue, but in a manner that both creates stable funding and brings tax relief to insured individuals and small to midsize businesses. When the Rhode Island General Assembly reconvenes in January, this issue will once again be front and center. It will be important to have the voice of the small business present in the conversation. Small business owners who see the value of maintaining expanded access to these important health programs, but don’t want to pay the entire cost, can call their legislators and ask them to support the transition from a premium tax to a claims assessment. If the proposal is passed, important programs will be protected, while at the same time providing meaningful tax relief to small businesses and individual premium payers. Stephen C. Boyle President Greater Cranston Chamber of Commerce

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SMALL BUSINESS | 3 Reasons to Assess Your Company’s Data Infrastructure

3 Reasons to Assess Your Co by Vin DiPippo A business’ data can impact an organization’s sales, productivity, efficiency, and much more. As companies look to get more out of their data from a business intelligence perspective, it is often advisable to first take a look at the infrastructure that is meant to support that data. There are typically three reasons why a company would want to assess an existing SQL environment.

ASSESSMENTS FOR DISCOVERY There are times where no discernible issues exist, but you are instead looking to assess your environment to ensure that everything is running well and is set up correctly. This could be done as a precautionary measure to make sure no problems are lurking undetected, waiting to make themselves known at some inopportune time later. Another reason for an Assessment for Discovery engagement is because of a staffing change at your company. If you’ve joined a new organization or have taken over the management of a SQL database environment, having a Certified SQL Master review that environment before you become fully responsible for it is a good first move.

ASSESSMENTS TO REMEDY In these cases, there are specific issues that you have identified and have, as of yet, been unable to address. A comprehensive SQL Infrastructure assessment will help you determine if any additional issues may be present while also establishing a plan to remedy these problems before they can further impact your business. In the case of Assessment to Remedy engagements, it is often advisable to work with an organization that cannot only assess the issues and develop a remediation plan, but one that can also execute on those recommendations and work with you to establish a long-term plan for your SQL environment.

ARCHITECTURE CHANGES When you are planning an upgrade to your architecture or are migrating, implementing, or building something new that your existing infrastructure must support, that is a good time for an assessment of that environment. In these instances, you are not only checking to make sure that the infrastructure is running well and set up properly, you are also looking to determine whether the infrastructure will support the changes you are planning. These assessments can help you decide whether any middleware will need to be developed to accomplish your goals or if any other integration steps should be taken. WHAT YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR Regardless of the reason for your SQL infrastructure assessment, there are 7 key focus areas that you should be looking to evaluate. These include:

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When you are planning an upg migrating, implementing, or bu existing infrastructure must sup assessm


3 Reasons to Assess Your Company’s Data Infrastructure | SMALL BUSINESS

ompany’s Data Infrastructure

grade to your architecture or are uilding something new that your pport, that is a good time for an ment of that environment

1. Performance and optimization – How is the environment working now and are there any optimizations that could be performed so that it runs more efficiently? Look at utilization and optimization for CPUs, memory, IO, network, and queries. 2. Availability – Is the environment available as needed or are issues causing unplanned downtime? Look at hardware resiliency and physical protection as well as integrity, backup, patching, and recovery. 3. Security – Are appropriate security measures in place and working properly? Depending on the type of data your business works with, security concerns could be a major area of focus for your environment. This would also include a look at auditing and anti-virus. 4. Operational – How are you leveraging the SQL toolset, monitoring the environment, and what alerts have been set? 5. Maintenance – What does your routine maintenance schedule look like and how are you currently addressing common environment issues? 6. Design – The design of the database and the queries should be evaluated, as well as the SQL features that are being used and how they are being used. 7. Business Intelligence – What integration, analysis, and reporting services are in place and which ones may be missing from your environment? You would also want to take a look at any additional tools or services that you are using in your infrastructure.

THE BUSINESS BENEFITS OF INFRASTRUCTURE ASSESSMENTS Every organization has data and in most organizations, that data is a source of untapped potential. How your company analyzes and reports on your data is important, but oftentimes the business intelligence aspects of data are given all the attention while the underlying architecture is ignored. Analyzing data to identify better ways to market and sell can increase your sales, but improving efficiency and productivity through discoveries made through an infrastructure assessment can have an equally positive impact on your bottom line. Taking it a step further, when infrastructure improvements resulting from a comprehensive assessment help your organization increase efficiency and productivity, and those same improvements allow you to analyze and report on your data even more effectively than before, you have a well-rounded approach to your business data and the infrastructure in place to support them.

Vin DiPippo Chief Data Solutions Architect Envision Technology Advisors

www.risbj.com www.risbj.com| | volume two issue ten

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SMALL BUSINESS | Family and Medical Leave

FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE WHAT RHODE ISLAND EMPLOYERS NEED TO KNOW by Matthew R. Plain, Esq & Kristen M. Whittle, Esq.

It is not uncommon for even conscientious and well-intentioned employers to misconstrue obligations under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave Act (RIPFMLA). Violations of the FMLA or the RIPFMLA can result in injunctions, fines, and/or other penalties, so it is important that covered employers provide appropriate leave as required under the Acts. Some of the highlights of the Acts are listed below; however, please refer to the full text of the Acts for the complete requirements.

• Birth of the employee’s child; • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care; • Serious illness or health condition of the employee or his/her family member. Under the Acts, a serious illness or health condition includes a disabling physical or mental illness, injury, impairment, or condition involving inpatient care, or outpatient care requiring continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider. In addition, “family members” include the employee’s parents, spouse, children, mother-inlaw, or father-in-law.

WHO’S COVERED?

WHAT LEAVE IS REQUIRED?

• Employers: The FMLA and the RIPFMLA both apply to employers with 50 or more employees, and the RIPFMLA also applies to the State of Rhode Island; cities, towns, and municipal agencies with 30 or more employees.

Under the RIPFMLA, eligible employees are entitled to 13 consecutive workweeks of leave in any two calendar years. Similarly, under the FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of

• Employees: The FMLA and the RIPFMLA both apply to employees who have worked for an employer for at least twelve consecutive months. Under the FMLA, the employees must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous twelve months (about 24 hours per week), but the RIPMLA only applies to full time employees working an average of 30 hours or more per week. When do the FMLA and RIPFMLA apply? Covered employees are entitled to leave under the FMLA and RIPFMLA in the following circumstances:

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Family and Medical Leave | SMALL BUSINESS

After returning from leave, the employee must be reinstated to the same position or to a position with equivalent seniority, status, benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. leave during any 12-month period. Employers may permit employees to use such leave intermittently, rather than all at once.

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EMPLOYEE STATUS AND BENEFITS After returning from leave, the employee must be reinstated to the same position or to a position with equivalent seniority, status, benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. In other words, in most circumstances, an employer may not demote or otherwise discipline an employee for taking family medical leave. Employers must also continue to provide health benefits during an employee’s leave, so long as the employee continues to make required contributions to premiums. REQUIREMENT OF PAID VS. UNPAID LEAVE Typically, leave under the FMLA and RIPFMLA may consist of unpaid leave. However, employers may require employees to substitute accrued sick, personal, or vacation leave for unpaid leave. In addition, new Rhode Island legislation may require employers to provide paid temporary caregiver benefits to employees entitled to leave under the Acts. Lastly, employers must post notices of the above rights and requirements in conspicuous places in the workplace. (Forms are available through the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training and the federal Department of Labor.) It’s important for both employers and employees to understand their respective rights and obligations under these Acts. In addition, it may prove helpful for employers to spend time, energy, and resources composing employer-specific policies (using the Acts as floors); educating employees on policies; and planning, where possible, with employees to work towards orderly, consistent leave periods that are as least disruptive as possible to both the employee’s circumstance and the employer’s operations.

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www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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What Clams Me About SMALL CAPITAL BUSINESS CITY | Buying || How Local To Manage A Remote Worker or Office SMALL BUSINESS Dear Mom: A Taught Letter Home From ALeadership One Day Warrior

BUYING LOCAL by Mayor Angel Taveras

Nothing is more important to small business owners than success, and our nation’s economic security depends upon us creating a climate in which these small businesses can succeed. Considering that more than 95 percent of all business in the USA is considered “small business,” supporting them must be a collective priority. In Providence, economic development is and has been a top priority of mine. As Mayor of the state’s capital city, I know how important it

CONSIDERING THAT MORE THAN 95 PERCENT OF ALL BUSINESS IN THE USA IS CONSIDERED “SMALL BUSINESS,” SUPPORTING THEM MUST BE A COLLECTIVE PRIORITY is to create a climate that helps small business. Beginning with the adoption of a 20-point plan to “Put Providence to Work,” we have taken the first critical steps to expanding our business base by eliminating regulatory burdens, holding the line on commercial taxes, removing the barriers to redevelopment, and providing small businesses the technical and financial tools they need to grow. And while success is an individual measure for large and small, typically, meeting the bottomline – whether it’s registered in the thousands or the millions of dollars – affects directly how many people are hired and how much they’re paid, where we innovate, what product lines are started or expanded, and where companies locate. Their success becomes our success. For the small business owner, whose numbers are most often defined at the all-important, endof-year holiday sales time, we can play a role; that’s why for the past nine years, Providence has sponsored a Buy Providence campaign, and why we added Buy Art as a feature of it

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several years later. It is a notion that is catching hold across the city, state, and nation. The restaurants, shops, and markets on Main Street provide us with essential (and non-essential) goods and services. Sixtyfour percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2011 came from small firms, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. They are also the folks who hire our friends, our family members, our neighbors; who spend money within our neighborhoods and improve the very quality of life of it, and who generate the revenues that support government, returning services back into our communities. Buying from local retailers and local artists provides a bigger boost to our local economy than spending money at big-box, out-of-state, and online retailers. eLocal estimates that when 65 cents of every dollar is spent in local stores, that money is reinvested in the community, compared with about 34 cents of every dollar spent in national chains. And unless you are buying from a local artist on Etsy or similar websites, most online shopping returns nothing to our neighborhoods. The multiplier effect of shopping locally is even greater. Every dollar spent locally yields $5 in additional new wages, taxes, and purchases of materials and goods at other small, local shops and suppliers. By shopping in Wayland Square, Olneyville Square, Hope Street, South Main Street, Broad Street, or any of our city and state commercial and retail districts, you are helping create jobs and generating spending that is often spent close to home. When you have a choice this holiday season, I’d ask you to think about how critical small businesses within your community and neighborhood are. Think about the difference they make in the lives of our residents, and the gaping hole they would leave if they could not survive. And then think about where you will spend your holiday shopping money. Happy Holidays!


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SMALL BUSINESS | Minding Your Own Brand

These advocates work to constantly improve and enrich the brand while they spread their passion to others both inside and outside the organization. Strong internal brand cultures also lead to increased revenue per customer. This is due to the extraordinary external brand experiences that employees create which result in: - Stronger customer relationships - Higher customer satisfaction ratings - Increased customer retention - Larger number of customer referrals - Better reputation in the marketplace

Small businesses that continually devote the necessary organizational development resources consistently build and maintain strong brands. By focusing on the cake as well as the frosting, companies are able to ultimately achieve brand success by building internal advocacy.

by Dave Lubelczyk

At the end of a meal, I received a fortune cookie with a message that read “If the cake is bad, what good is the frosting?� After reading this fortune, I realized that I had discovered a phrase that summed up my entire brand development philosophy. All too often, small businesses approach brand development by just worrying about the frosting. They spend all their efforts focused only on what people see on the outside (logos, marketing messages, product and service positioning, etc.) Small businesses have trouble realizing that if they don’t have the proper internal brand culture, customers may be wowed at first, only to be disappointed by the bad taste that is left when employees deliver a less than promised brand experience. In order to develop a strong external brand, small businesses must first develop a strong internal brand. By utilizing organizational

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development strategies alongside brand development tactics, small businesses can create a brand culture which consistently delivers extraordinary brand experiences. The result is a brand which inspires passion and recruits both internal and external advocates. Small businesses with strong internal brand cultures see increased revenue per employee and, therefore, greater profitability due to: - Higher employee satisfaction

By focusing on the cake as well as the frosting, companies are able to ultimately achieve brand success by building internal advocacy

- Employee innovation - Higher level of productivity - Lower employee turnover - Improved safety records Because of the internal brand culture, each employee feels a connection to the organization. They become internal brand advocates who believe in the company and want to see it succeed.

Instead of focusing on just external branding efforts, a combination of brand development plus organizational development is the proper recipe for creating an extraordinary brand.

Dave Lubelczyk Image Identity imageidentity.com


Business Owners Beware | SMALL BUSINESS

BUSINESS OWNERS BEWARE ARE YOU EMOTIONALLY READY TO EXIT YOUR BUSINESS by William Entwistle

If you are a business owner thinking about an exit from your business, you face a unique set of challenges. According to a January 2013 article on WealthManagement. com, “there are some 12 million baby boomers who own a business, and 70 percent of them will be retiring over the next couple decades.” Statistically, only a small percentage of business owners make a successful transition from their privately-held business into retirement. One of the primary reasons for this high failure rate is the extremely personal nature of a business exit. And, unlike a retirement from a standard position within a traditional company, the exit from your businesses often feels far more significant. How do you know if you are emotionally ready to exit your business? Your Business and Your Identity Creating and growing a privately-held business is far more than a job; in reality, the business is often a large part of an owner’s identity. There are both personal and practical factors driving this strong tie to the business, including: • Being the ‘boss’ • Having control over one’s destiny • Achieving personal goals through the business creation process • Enjoyment of influencing and empowering others • Personal wealth creation (the business pays a lot of personal expenses) • Personal guarantees tied to business loans

Owners with a high mental readiness to exit their businesses are not intimately involved in the day-to-day running of the business

• Personal promises and contracts made with co-owners and partners • Recognition as a successful owner in one’s community Many owners will start the exit planning process only to discover they do not have the proper structure in place to create or implement a plan that meets their financial goals. Still others have, to date, only contemplated exiting their business and moving on to retirement, but have not started the process because of their lack of mental readiness. Characteristics of Mental Readiness Owners with a high mental readiness to exit their businesses are not intimately involved in the day-to-day running of the business. They have a plan to spend their time away from the business and view their businesses as an investment and can measure the return on that investment. Owners who have a low mental readiness are very involved in the day-to-day running of the business and the business cannot run without them; they have not given much thought as to how they will spend their time when they no longer own their businesses; and they view their businesses as a job that supports their lifestyle. For many owners, taking the time to plan your exit can be challenging because you are extremely busy taking care of everyone else: your customers, your employees and, of course, your family. Sometimes, you may even be a little uncomfortable thinking about or discussing these softer, more personal issues, but a focus now on these issues will pay dividends down the road. No matter your business or your timetable, having a solid understanding of your mental readiness toward an exit is a great first step in the overall exit planning process. In fact, some would argue that assessing mental readiness is the most important step

in the process of retirement or exit planning and that, unless special care is taken, it will be difficult to move forward with a successful exit. This is where owners tend to get stuck! Stages in the Exit Scenario Within this complex fabric of baby boomeraged business owners heading into retirement, where do you see yourself in the big picture? 1. Stage ONE owners have contemplated exiting their businesses, but have not started the process. They have taken no action; they have not discussed their hopes and dreams with friends, business colleagues or family. 2. Stage TWO owners have implemented action steps to start the process of exiting their businesses but, due to a variety of factors, are stalled in midstream. 3. Stage THREE owners have successfully exited their businesses and are now living a fulfilling and satisfying life. If you are a stage-three, former-owner and have completed a successful exit, you represent a tiny percent of the population of business owners. Congratulations! If you fall into one of the first two categories, know that you are not alone. The key is to start the process now, as it usually takes several years to plan for a successful exit. Successful Exits Do Not Just Happen Successful business exits do not just happen. In fact, an owner needs to be an active participant in the exit planning process to help assure success. And, by knowing your emotional or “mental” readiness for your exit, and developing a plan to advance to the next steps, you are being proactive in addressing your situation and increasing your likelihood of success.

William Entwistle Certified Financial Planner, Entwistle Financial Life Planning

www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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SMALL BUSINESS | The Ultimate Tie-Breaker

by Stanley H. Davis Whether they acknowledge it or not, most business owners and executives know when their organization has outgrown its current leadership. Like our dated electronic gadgets, some leaders who were right for their original mission may have been obsoleted over time. But acknowledging the need to address a change is thorny. It’s not uncommon for businesses to endure a leadership mismatch by substituting quick fixes to avoid stepping up to a tough decision. When assessing the performance of a faltering leader, it can be tempting to rely on hope – that in another one, three, or six months, the executive will finally click. That’s not likely, and in each passing month, the company overpays for deficient results. They’ll miss new offerings, markets or customers.

Essential operating improvements will go unrealized. For major sales, collaborations, mergers or acquisitions, the enthusiasm of a potential partner will be dampened by an unimpressive colleague. Finally, they’re not a match for fast-moving competitors. THE RIGHT LEADER Different leadership traits are demanded by each stage of a business’s evolution — conception, launch, growth and maturity — and also by changes in company structure or ownership. As an illustration, a $5 million-business will not realize its growth potential if led by $5 million talent. That is to say, best leaders in a growing business should have experience and abilities beyond the size and complexity of their current company. They’ve previously lived and understand what a successful business with sales of $10 to $20 million needs to look like, and what it takes to get there. A leader should never be someone whose selection is settled upon. Weak leadership is a competitor’s dream. If current leadership is not stretching the business or its team to be the best they can be, it is time to take a look at what they’re bringing to the table. The right leader will be organizationally committed, goal-oriented, selfless and confident enough to hire others of equal talent to build an exceptional team. Beyond business acumen, their personal chemistry and their success in molding a positive company culture are critical. Without the right chemistry and culture, they’ll have difficulty collaborating with peers, marshaling the support of subordinates and establishing credibility with anyone. The multiplier impact of uniting a great leader, a solid culture, and a cohesive team is stunning. WHEN IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE Most companies have not constructed talent pipelines to prepare internal talent as replacements for key positions. Thus, it’s easy to understand why an organization wouldn’t rush to replace even an underperforming leader. Plus, an executive search takes time and money, whether the company engages a search firm or tries its own hand. Further, it will take even the best new executive about six months to get up to speed. Like any business-critical investment, success will be gaged by rapid, quantifiable returns. After six months, new executives should begin to more than pay for themselves. But if a right selection wasn’t made, the missed fit will drive added costs (rather than profits) – this atop the costs of the search, the ramp up, and unrealized improvements. It’s crucial that every business gets their executive search right – the first time. Each company needs to understand their cost of retaining underperforming leaders. In its competitive deployment of strategy, capital, and people, the right leadership will be the ultimate tie-breaker.

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Stanley H. Davis Founding Principal Standish Executive Search LLC

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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SMALL BUSINESS | Annual Corporate Outings and Events Guide

Untitled-4 1

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Annual Corporate Outings and Events Guide | SMALL BUSINESS

Celebrate The Holidays Kirkbrae Country Club is fully equipped to handle all of your social event needs this holiday season. From intimate gatherings to the grandest of affairs, casual or elaborate, let Kirkbrae’s event professionals customize your holiday celebration! Contact our event professionals today at 401.333.1300 prompt #4. EventsAtKirkbrae.com ▪ 197 Old River Rd Lincoln, RI 02865 15 minutes from Providence ▪ 45 minutes from Boston

www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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SMALL BUSINESS | Annual Corporate Outings and Events Guide

Book your holiday event with us and receive a $100 gift card! Valid on groups of 15 or more people. Through January 31, 2014. Not valid on previously booked events.

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Annual Corporate Outings and Events Guide | SMALL BUSINESS

www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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SMALL BUSINESS | The Small Business Owner’s Retirement Dilemma

THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNER’S

RETIREMENT DILEMMA by Ted Donnelly You’ve poured a lifetime of sweat, time, and capital into building your business. You’ve begun thinking about retirement, and your strategy is to sell your company for a good price, settle back, and enjoy a financially secure retirement. But, like many business owners, you’ve made the mistake of assuming this scenario will happen, and you haven’t bothered to make any other retirement plans.

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

You need to be realistic.

• Create a buy-sell agreement. With the help of your attorney, lock in who does and gets what, spelling out all details and caveats, including how to establish the final valuation of the business. This formal agreement protects everybody.

What are the odds of a person showing up at the right time with cash in hand to buy the company for a fair price? For thousands of small business owners each year, no one steps forward. Perhaps the business is too specialized or is tied too closely to the owner’s unique personality and skills. Or maybe possible buyers equate retirement sale with a distress sale and make only low-ball offers. Whatever the reason, many owners find that their company has suddenly become a white elephant that nobody wants. Select and develop a successor. That’s why it’s so important to prime a replacement—someone who will buy your company when you’re ready to retire. Maybe this is a current coowner (but be careful if he or she is about the same age as you, and planning to retire around the same time). Or it’s your son or daughter active in the business, or a younger key employee.

• Build in a funding mechanism. This is crucial. No matter how good the terms of the buy/sell agreement, it will be worthless if the money is not there when needed to carry out the plan. Under one option, the successor may be able to purchase the company from ongoing profits. Other options include setting up a sinking fund or allowing the successor to simply borrow the money. These options may work, but they leave much to chance. Instead, consider a funding vehicle that protects your family in the event of your disability or premature death, such as life and disability income insurance.* • Have a Plan B. As a business owner, you know that very few things go exactly as planned. What if your business hits tough times or your successor dies, becomes disabled, or leaves because of a personality conflict? Or what if there simply is no heir apparent waiting in the wings? Sometimes, it’s simply best to dismantle the business.

Business owners who successfully groom their own replacements leave nothing to chance. They realize that there’s no room for error at the point of retirement.

Whether or not you have a possible successor for your company, you should begin mapping out your retirement strategy today. Your insurance professional or your independent professional advisors can work with you to help you develop a sound business strategy.

Here are some steps you should take: • Be cautious. Make sure your heir apparent is the right person in terms of temperament, personality, competence, and personal goals. • Set up a probation period so you can terminate the relationship if you find that this person will not work out. During that period, keep everything informal, strictly verbal. Even when you go to a formal agreement, make sure it contains a termination provision.

This educational third-party article is provided as a courtesy by Ted Donnelly, Agent, New York Life Insurance Company. *Products available through one or more carriers not affiliated with New York Life; dependent on carrier authorization and product availability in your state or locality. Ted Donnelly Agent New York Life Insurance Company

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Due To Your Disorganization?

OVERWHELMED by Kristin Carcieri-MacRae Many of my clients will use the following words to describe how they feel about the disorganization in their office: overwhelmed, paralyzed, stuck, distracted, anxious, and unable to focus. They feel work is stressful enough and their disorganization is adding to the stress. Every client that calls me describes it the same way. They want to be able to be more efficient and productive, but just don’t know where to begin in their office. They walk into their office, look at the office on a whole, get overwhelmed, and push the situation to the side and continue about their day. The disorganization never improves and they continue to function as they have because the thought of getting organized is too overwhelming. Does this sound familiar? Here are 5 issues that will cause stress: 1. Mental clutter - Get it out of your head and onto paper/electronics. 2. Physical clutter - This causes a distraction for you and your clients. 3. Not managing your time properly Do you tend to create more work for yourself? Think about streamlining processes and procedures. 4. Not utilizing a to-do list - Not using one will allow you to forget things which will in turn cause stress.

5. No systems in place - Nothing in your office has a home or a working system, which will create stress when you go to search for something. All of the above will lead to decreased productivity and will ultimately affect your business. Do you want to make a change? You have to first admit you are disorganized and overwhelmed. This, for some people, is very difficult to admit and most won’t admit to it. I can spot a disorganized person from a mile away. They are consumed by their disorganization, mentally and physically. They tend to be scattered with their day-today work flow and switch from task to task without accomplishing much. They also get distracted very easily. Once you can admit that you are overwhelmed due to your disorganization and your business is spiraling downward because of it, it’s time to make a change. Admit that you need help and seek it. Once the organizing process is complete, you are going to kick yourself and wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. You could have been reaping the benefits of being organized this whole time.

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae Owner Organizing In RI, LLC

Friday, January 3 Newport Chamber of Commerce Chamber Connections—Referral Based Networking 7:45am-9:15am 35 Valley Rd., Middletown Wednesday, January 8 Newport Chamber of Commerce HR Roundtable: TBD 8:30am-9:30am 35 Valley Rd., Middletown Sponsored by Health Service Administrators Thursday, January 9 Train with Jane Athletics & Pilates Newport Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours 8:00am-9:00am 699 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown Tuesday, January 14 Centerville Seminar Center Introduction to Intuit QuickBooks for Small Business 9:00am-11:00am 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5, Warwick Tuesday, January 14 Ramada Inn Newport Chamber of Commerce RI Statewide Planning Program 5:00pm-7:30pm 425 East Main Road, Middletown Tuesday, January 14 Centerville Seminar Center I’m a Sole Proprietor - When Should I Become Incorporated? 6:30pm-8:30pm 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Wednesday, January 15 Newport Chamber of Commerce Health and Wellness Series: Food is Medicine 8:30am-10:00am 35 Valley Rd., Middletown Sponsored by Olympic Physical Therapy Presented by Karyn Chabot of School for Allied Massage & Ayurveda

www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

401 351 3036


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Strategy Secrets of Successful Companies, Part 3

Wednesday, January 15 Poliquin Group East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours 5:30pm-7:30pm 1598 South County Trail, East Greenwich Thursday, January 16 Newport Chamber of Commerce Seminar: Simple Strategies of Email Marketing 8:30am-10:00am Presented by Liz Olimpio of LizBeSocial & Constant Contact

HOW TO MAINTAIN STRATEGIC FOCUS by P. Lawrence Fagan Part one of this series presented the hard truth about good strategy: almost no one gets it. Part two presented the universal structure of strategy: goal, advantage, and activity set, with a focus on creating a winning value proposition. In this installment, we take a closer look at how managers can stay focused in their efforts to win in the marketplace by being clear about their strategic positioning. To recap, strategy is the gradual, non-random process by which organizations build more or less competitive advantage in a market as a function of the choices of their leaders. These choices can be thought of as an integrated set of choices leaders make to create unique and valuable positioning for their enterprise, one that fulfills the organization’s vision, and ultimately its mission. This set of choices can be depicted quickly and easily in an activity system map. An activity system map captures the investments that managers make to build a set of interlinked activities inside or connected to the firm that are distinctive in that they make the firm’s value proposition(s) real. When we look inside an organization— any organization—we observe the real investments managers have made to enable their value propositions (see figure). From the chart you can see there are three main elements to an activity system map: higher order strategic themes (dark ovals), supporting activities (gray ovals) and connectors (lines). Note that the elements in the map do not correlate to functions (e.g., finance, operations, human resources, etc.) like in an organization chart. Activity system maps can be sketched quickly on a single page. This forces managers to be concise and to zoom in on just those activities that are distinctive, either individually or as part of the set. There is tremendous value in thinking through which activities are distinctive and how they fit together to make the firm’s positioning distinctive, and to do so iteratively through time.

Note too that five ovals are outlined in red; these ovals define the limits and trade-offs inherent to the positioning. These are critical. It’s impossible for organizations to do it all, or to be all things to all people. Any wellconstructed activity map includes notation of the positioning’s limits. Note that an activity set also touches on the degree of vertical integration of the enterprise: which activities will be done in-house and which will be outsourced. In the language of strategy, this addresses the specifics of a firm’s value chain: the discrete steps in the sourcing, production, and distribution of goods and services the firm does itself, and which it contracts or partners for. Competitive advantage—a much misunderstood term—grows from the degree to which the activities in the set fit together; that is, the degree to which they are consistent with and reinforce each other. So in building competitive advantage, it’s the set that matters, not any one activity in isolation. While this may sound straightforward, in practice most managers are not accustomed to being explicit about their strategic positioning and its inherent trade-offs. It is common for companies, even young ones, to lose focus around strategy and to begin to drift, particularly as circumstances change. Some even end up “straddling” incompatible market positions, with disastrous results. In summary, an activity system map is a useful tool to help managers focus on the things that make them different and enable their value propositions, and to define their current and desired strategic positioning and its limitations. It should form an integral part of any meaningful internal strategy dialogue. Examples of activity system maps can be found online. Part four of this series will delve more deeply into what managers can do to lead strategy powerfully in the context of rapid change. P. Lawrence Fagan Founder plawrence@newstrategygroup.com New Strategy Group

Thursday, January 16 Newport Chamber of Commerce Business During Hours 12:00pm-1:30pm 35 Valley Rd., Middletown Sponsored by Chili’s Middletown Friday, January 17 Newport Chamber of Commerce Chamber Connections–Referral Based Networking 7:45am-9:15am 35 Valley Rd., Middletown Friday, January 17 Centerville Seminar Center For Employers: How to Conduct the BEST Interview 9:00am-11:00am 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Thursday, January 23 St. Michael’s Country Day School Newport Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours 5:00pm-7:00pm 180 Rhode Island Ave., Newport Wednesday, January 29 Centerville Seminar Center “Why New Products Succeed...how to bring your idea to market!” 6:30pm-8:00pm 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5, Warwick Thursday, January 30 Quidnessett East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce 6:00pm-8:00pm 950 North Quidnessett Road, North Kingstown Thursday, January 30 Centerville Seminar Center Crowdfunding Round Table Discussion 6:30pm-9:30pm 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5, Warwick Friday, January 31 Newport Chamber of Commerce Chamber Connections–Referral Based Networking 7:45am-9:15am 35 Valley Rd., Middletown Thursday, February 6 The Village Inn Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce Southern RI’s Brightest Shining Stars Award Gala 6:00pm 1 Beach St, Narragansett, RI Tickets are $60 each www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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AVA I L A B L E P RO P E RT I E S

400 South County Trail, Exeter:

Great location!! Design Award of Excellence. Private baths. Centrally located 6 minutes South of Home Depot in North Kingstown. Easy access at the gateway to South County. Taxes are approximate. Assessment as unfinished. 900-4,000 sq.ft. available. From $105,000

1755 Smith Street, North Providence:

Former Dunkin Donuts for over 30 years (they bought & moved across the street). Seats 30+. Has a drive-thru. Parking for 20+. GREAT for ANY fast food concept. 2000 sq. ft. $2,500/mo.

1950 South County Trail, East Greenwich: 20,000 SF warehouse space with 5 dock height doors, 24’ clear height. Ample Parking, Located off Route 2, Great Access to Route 4. Lease at $5 psf.

65 Montebello Road, Warwick:

Great block building with two overhead doors, heavy power, and 2nd floor office. Great access to highway, train, and airport. $175,000

111 Airport Road, Warwick:

Very nice 2nd floor office space near Hoxsie 4 corners. Tastefully decorated, good paint & carpet, possible office furnishings (nice stuff!) Three offices, conference, reception, lav., plus large basement storage. $180/month condo fee. $77,500

222 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick:

Class “a” law office includes conference room, 4 private offices, lavette, reception, storage, kitchen. over 1450 sq ft, plus 500 sq ft storage! Reduced $179,900

TION DUC E R E HUG

10 Southern Industrial Dr, Cranston:

111 Hopkins Hill Road, West Greenwich:

2220 South County Trail, East Greenwich:

2240 South County Trail, East Greenwich:

Great contractor space, building is expandable 5000’ footprint. First floor =3000 office, 2000’ wh. Second fl. =3000’ part finished office . First floor rented to national company. 20*50 covered canopy in rear and plenty of vehicle parking. Located Between Scituate Ave and Plainfiled Pike, Close to I-295. Building is expandable on 3.44 acre lot Asking $525,000

One year lease offers buyer(s) time and income to space plan & seek permits. Close to Exit 7 on Rte 4 across from Stanley Bostich and adjacent Stork’s Nest Child Academy. Lease at $14 psf.

Commercial • Investment • Residential

½ acre – 16 acres Very fast growing area off Exit 6A near GTech, Amgen & Centrex. Front pad is busy Dunkin Donuts, balance of site permits office, retail, warehouse & light industrial. Traffic count 15,000 and growing! Multitude of possibilities- 6 other avail. lots. From $150,000

All spaces include utilities except warehouse. Warehouse space includes 1,200 SF of office space and shared loading dock.Located in expanding business park with ample parking. Quiet, wooded site. Direct highway access to Route 4. On Route 2, near intersection of 402 (Frenchtown Rd.). 6-12 sq ft warehouse from $6 psf. Call for details.

7265 Post Road, North Kingstown:

7.82 acres on US Rt.1. Zoning permits apartments/office/medical/retail. Many possibilities!! Will build to suit, sale or lease, or land only. Great location. Dozens of acres and walking trails behind property. Adjacent 5+- acres also available. Call For Details!

39 Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich:

2,000 to 20,000 sq. ft. flex space for lease. Warehouse, office, classrooms, thearte, recreational, 6 acre site with 500’ front on route 3 land lease available for outdoor storage, nursery greenhouse, ect. Only 1.2 mile from Exit 6. Next to retail plaza. From $5 psf.

Many more Commercial Properties

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

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Stay Competitive Globally | SMALL BUSINESS

Heading Into 2014, New England Business Owners Are Reminded To

‘Keep Their Eye on the Ball’ Locally to Stay Competitive Globally

by Kas R.DeCarvalho, Esq. A rebalancing of the economy has been underway since the painful recession of 2008-2009. By all accounts, the third quarter of 2009 was the turning point when the GDP turned positive. Today, news headlines are reporting positive growth trends in global economic indicators like the Dow and the U.S. Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) as reason enough for continued optimism. Last month, the Dow hit a historic high of 16,000, the S&P 500 crested 1800, and the PMI was at 57.3, indicating that the U.S. industry is expanding. Moreover, and according to Michael Feroli, Chief U.S. Economist at JP Morgan, the numbers overall are “pointing to a pretty broad improvement in the global economy.” However, the market reality for small- to medium-sized businesses operating in southern New England may not be reflected in these big business indices. Arguably, a better weathervane for the local business community is the monthly reports issued by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), a 350,000 member organization of business owners, 60 percent of which have five or fewer employees and 55 percent report gross annual sales of $350,000 or less. One of the NFIB’s more interesting metrics is the “Small Business Optimism Index,” which is compiled from ten index factors including plans to increase employment, plans to make capital outlays, and plans to increase inventories, expected sales, and expected credit conditions. Unfortunately, the NFIB’s November report highlights a significant drop in Small Business Optimism for October, largely due to a steep decline in hiring plans and expectations for future small business conditions. Of the ten index components, seven turned negative, falling by a total of 27 percent, and only two indicators trended towards the positive, including business plans to increase inventory and current job openings.

Among the listed, dominant issues leading to the decrease in small business optimism are the stalemate in October over funding the U.S. government, and the wonky launch of the Affordable Care Act, both of which contributed to 68 percent of polled business owners indicating that the current period is a bad time to expand. According to NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkleberg, “small employers are not fooled by headlines announcing record high stock market indices…we shouldn’t expect skies to turn blue anytime soon.”

small employers are not fooled by headlines announcing record high stock market indices…we shouldn’t expect skies to turn blue anytime soon In short, the recent positive news on the global economic trends is a welcome reprieve from the constant doom and gloom drumbeat of recession reporting. But closer to home, the market appears to have a fair distance to travel before those overall trends trickle down to the majority of New England businesses. As we head into 2014, businesses are cautioned to stay vigilant to global economic trends and forecasts in order to remain competitive as the world economy is turning into one big melting pot of commerce due to advanced technology and the massive explosion of consumer purchasing over the Internet. Yet, keep ‘your eye on the ball’ to grow your business locally by staying informed about what’s happening in your region, state, and local business environment. Kas R.DeCarvalho, Esq. Counsel Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC

www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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FEATURED CHAMBER | Newport County

F E AT U R E D

Newport County 35 Valley Road Middletown, RI 02842 (401) 847-1600 www.newportchamber.com

The Newport County Chamber of Commerce strives to work on behalf of our members and the community at large to maintain and improve our region’s extraordinary quality of life. We do this by continually looking to create new and innovative partnerships with the business community, our state and local government, and a wide variety of education, cultural, and social service organizations. We remain the largest business association in our region and the second largest Chamber in the state with over 1,100 members. We have added many new initiatives to benefit and promote our members. The Chamber has also played a significant role in economic development and community planning throughout Newport County and Greater Rhode Island. We continue to foster economic development while preserving our quality of life and place. With a small staff, small budget, and a committed Board of Directors, our Chamber accomplishes more than many other larger Chambers throughout the Country. The Newport County Chamber of Commerce helps its members succeed through legislative advocacy, education, savings, networking, and increased visibility. The bulk of our members are located in Newport County - Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Jamestown, Tiverton, and Little Compton - with a growing number, approximately 20%, from greater Rhode Island. With the holiday season upon us, we encourage our members to participate in the Chamber’s initiatives that promote savings and encourage purchasing locally. Our THINK LOCAL initiative creates a stronger local economy through the promotion of our Chamber Gift Certificates, Member to Member Discount and RI Salutes programs. The most valuable of these programs are the Chamber Gift Certificates which have sold over $1.5 million to date and are redeemable at over 300 Chamber businesses. Chamber Gift Certificates make the perfect gift. Why should you decide what they want? Just let them decide themselves! Gift Certificates

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are available for purchase online at www. NewportChamber.com. The Chamber’s Member to Member Discount Program allows members and their employees to take advantage of discounts throughout the region. This free program has grown to include over 200 participating businesses. All Chamber members and their employees can shop at these participating businesses and receive a discount on goods and/or services, just another great value for members that’s especially helpful during this holiday season. RI Salutes recognizes the contributions our local military and RI National Guard make to the local economy. This free program provides the opportunity for our members to say thanks to all of those in the military that have given so much to our state and country. Military personnel are encouraged to shop at participating stores and businesses and simply present their active military ID card to access discounts from Chamber members. With just a month remaining in 2013, it is challenging to quantify the impact of all the initiatives taken throughout the year, but here are some of the highlights of the Chamber’s efforts on behalf of our members: • We have provided numerous free educational seminars, forums, and networking opportunities with over 2,800 members and community leaders in attendance. We know that building relationships with fellow members is important, and we encourage members to meet and to do business with each other. • Periodic Economic Updates were hosted to ensure members are aware of important topics such as health care reform, sea level rise, and RI’s economic future. • Our Annual Expo 2013 provided exposure for over 120 businesses to thousands of attendees. • A new breed of business leaders and entrepreneurs stay active in the community with our growing Young Professionals group.


What’s New | CHAMBER CHAT

newsletter, bi-weekly member exchange, weekly radio program as well as through partnerships with our media members that provide discounts.

• We are active members in the Chamber of Commerce Coalition and the newly formed Rhode Island Business Coalition. • We are a member of the State Defense Economy Planning Commission, the State’s liaison to our Defense Industry and Federal Delegation.

In today’s economic environment with growing competition, business regulations, healthcare costs, and low consumer confidence, there are many seemingly overwhelming challenges for local small business owners. Therefore, it was no surprise that small business support remains a priority at the Newport County Chamber of Commerce moving into 2014.

• We participate in various community organizations, committees, trusts, and Boards and facilitate in promoting their events and efforts.

The Chamber will continue to work to improve the local and regional economy. We will promote members through multiple means of communication, including website, social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), and our bi-weekly Chamber e-news. When a member chooses to invest in our programs and initiatives, they are supporting our local economy and our quality of life.

• We administer a State Legislative Grant to protect and expand the Defense Industry, including the preservation of Navy Station Newport, Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the Naval War College’s presence and investment in the region. • We are working with local foundations, cities, and towns to create a cooperative regional economic development initiative working on behalf of Aquidneck Island and the East Bay.

In 2014, we will work to grow our membership to have an even a stronger voice at the state legislature, and to offer more benefits to our members.

• We represent the business community at all levels of legislation. Legislative advocacy is a priority. We communicate legislative concerns to our members through our bi-weekly newsletter and legislative alert emails.

It is critical that our growing community maintains a strong business voice and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce provides that opportunity. We wish our members and all local businesses a busy and profitable Christmas season.

• We help members affordably market their business through our media outlets, including a quarterly business journal, bi-weekly

CHAMBER CHAT Central Chamber

Lauren E.I. Slocum, President/CEO 3288 Post Road, Warwick, RI 401 732 1100 | www.centralrichamber.com Giving – Wishing – Joy. The Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce strives to foster business-to-business and businessto-consumer relationships for our members. We want to congratulate our members on their successes over the past year. The dedication and initiative shown by our members is an inspiration to the community. The support the members have shown to their customers and their community is to be commended, and we are thrilled to have been a part of another successful Breakfast with Santa event, bringing holiday joy to local children and their families. New Members Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Blue Sky Digital Conimicut Village Association East Coast Insurance Planning Liberty Title & Escrow Company NBX Bikes – Warwick North East Screen Printers Peregrine Property Management SuperMedia

Cranston Chamber

Stephen C. Boyle, President 150 Midway Road, #178, Cranston, RI 401 785 3780 | www.cranstonchamber.com

Newest Members: Island Books Thames Street Yoga Linda Finn Garden Design Scholar Athlete Consulting Meg Heriot Photography Aquidneck Growers’ Market

Polished Looks Gogiro-RI Armory Antique Marketplace Newport Pilates Christ Temple United Pentecostal Church

The Cranston Chamber of Commerce recently held a Chamber Connections networking night at Bonefish Grill that was attended by over 100 people. Christie Ferguson, the Executive Director of HealthSource RI addressed the crowd with regard to the success of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its positive effect on small businesses. Ferguson emphasized that RI is one of the few states to offer full employee choice, which allows their employees to pick the health plan that best suits them. The Chamber has also been working with the City Council to review and restructure tax credits for commercial development, and they have proposed a façade improvement program for small businesses. In addition, Chamber President Stephen C. Boyle recently filmed a small video for the Welcoming RI crowd funding program. Welcoming RI is the statewide program to bring awareness to the positive aspect of the immigrant community. Boyle is co-chair of the Welcoming Cranston Committee.

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SMALL BUSINESS | Next Question Please

NEXT

Question Please by Richard Austin

What does this game show phrase have in common with your business pitch? Everything. This is more than a game show phrase. This is the key to business success. Whenever you’re networking, or meeting someone, they will usually ask, “What do you do?” and you tell them. How do you know if they are actually listening to you, or just hearing you? In one ear, out the other. Just being polite.

???

?

You don’t need a trick; you need a clever way to introduce what you do, what problem you solve, or how your product or service can make their life better. How can you be sure that they’re really listening? What you want to do is tell them something about you, your company, your product, or your service to get them to ask the next question. After all, if they ask a question, obviously they want to know the answer, right? But how do you get them to ask the next question? Ah, there’s the rub. It takes some thought and some effort on your part to craft your message in such a way that they ask the next question. So what’s the trick? You don’t need a trick; you need a clever way to introduce what you do, what problem you solve, or how your product or service can make their life better. This is referred to as your Unique Perceived Benefit (USB). Unlike the often discussed Unique Selling Proposition, which refers to some “unique” feature of the product or service, a UPB looks at the need from the customer’s viewpoint. Meet that need, and you have a sale. Chances are there are quite a few other companies that do the

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same thing you do – you just have to find a way to stand out. A way to get them to ask the next question. I often say, “I provide confidence.” Nine times out of 10, they ask, “What do you mean?” I then explain that over 60% of what makes a sale is the confidence of the salesperson. After that sinks in, tell them more. My favorite UPB is the one that the Pink Pearl Eraser Company has used for years: “We profit from your mistakes.” Who

wouldn’t want to know what that company does? Odds are the person who hears that UPB will ask the next question. Now you have them where you want them. If someone has asked a question, you know they’re listening. They have invited you to tell them something. They have asked you for more information. Booya – “Target in sight, Captain.” It’s now up to you to pull out that elevator pitch and reel them in. Don’t get me wrong; if your product or service is sub-par, chances are you wont’ make a sale, and you shouldn’t. However, if you can solve their problem and make their life easier, you have yourself a new customer. Just find a way to get them to ask the next question!

Richard Austin President Speaking of Success


What’s New | CHAMBER CHAT

The Value of Mentors TIPS FROM THE TRENCHES by Elizabeth Pierotti A local university recently held an event for business students titled “Initiative, Risk and Success: An Entrepreneurship Panel.” I was invited to participate as an inventor/ educator. Other panel members included alumni representing fields from equity capital to high-tech engineering to health care and more. Included were CEO’s of U.S., as well as international companies. The perspectives presented covered the gamut; there was something for everyone. The audience was so engaged you could hear a pin drop. After the event, there was time to interact one-on-one with students. Some shared their goals and the decisions they were about to make. You could tell they had given serious thought to the future and

myself or know someone who’s been there. My goal is to provide sufficient support so that these individuals can make informed decisions about their next steps. Mentors are essential to any venture and are a “breed apart.” Unlike professionals with individual skill sets, mentors provide a 50,000 foot view and can “see the forest for the trees.” They’re good listeners and have a way of intuiting what may be needed at a particular milestone in a business. In searching for an ideal mentor, I would propose several considerations… someone: • who has been through what you are attempting, and preferably multiple times

Unlike professionals with individual skill sets, mentors provide a 50,000 foot view and can see the forest for the trees were hungry for input and advice. Several asked for mentoring, while others just wanted contact information for someone they could reach out to down the road. Speaking as an educator, there is nothing more rewarding than being in the presence of young people who want to be mentored.

• who’s vested interest is the success of the venture • who provides unbiased input knowing you are the one making the decisions • who is not afraid to tell you the truth • who is available when you need support

Another recent event I attended was the opening of a new startup by a young entrepreneur. In speaking with an older gentleman there, who jokingly identified himself as the “grown up” in the group, I understood what he meant. He was on the startup’s board of advisors as the one who’s been there and done that and who can bring objectivity and perspective to projects. What impresses me most is that this young entrepreneur appreciates the value of having mentors onboard. The creative individuals, inventors, and startups with whom I work are facing certain challenges with their projects. Perhaps this is their first product idea or they’re “stuck” somewhere in the process. They may have done things out of order or made choices they would like to take back. (Who hasn’t?) At this point in my career, I find that there are very few situations that come up in discussions that I haven’t been through

With my current invention, I have a mentor on our team who also happens to be an investor. This project has been a 10+ year adventure, due mostly to technology that had to be developed to support the manufacturing process. Nonetheless, over the years he has taken every call (and there have been many), provided generous support through multiple challenges, and been present for each meeting and conference call. This is what I call over-and-above the call of duty. I know it’s about more than wanting to protect his investment. He truly cares and is worth his weight in gold. My wish for you is that you are blessed with such a mentor.

Elizabeth Pierotti The Inventing Life www.theinventinglife.com

East Bay Chamber

16 Cutler St #102, Warren, RI 02885 (401) 245-0750 | www.eastbaychamberri.org Our mission is to promote businesses as the foundation for community growth and wellbeing by being the most reliable resource and leading advocate for businesses throughout the East Bay and surrounding areas. We are here to help you succeed! New Members The Mello Group Pomodoro Pizzeria Colewillaidan, LLC - Cole’s Fine Foods Ch’i Spa Inc. Atlantic Home Loans Speedpro Imaging

East Greenwich

580 Main St East Greenwich, RI 401 885 0020 | www.eastgreenwichchamber.com The year 2013 was a year of progress for us. As of November 30, we added 54 new members and developed sponsor partnerships with several important Rhode Island businesses and institutions. We also stepped up our efforts of providing a greater variety of educational and networking opportunities for our members. In November, MSNBC’s Your Business showed a national audience a segment about what East Greenwich’s Main Street Businesses are doing to promote Small Business Saturday, which was held on November 30. Small Business Saturday is just part of our efforts to promote buying and shopping locally, which ties into the “It’s all in our Backyard” Campaign. As 2014 approaches, the EG Chamber is getting ready for its annual meeting on January 30th at Quidnessett Country Club. Our featured speaker is Yardney Chairman Richard Scibelli. New Members RASA Indian Restaurant Pinnacle Financial Services, LLC USI Insurance, LLC Gerry’s Divisions in Hair Amax, Inc. Alpine Ski & Snowboard Kevin Hagerty, DMD New England Wireless & Steam Museum Coldwell Banker - Matt Patty Team Samsara Wellness

North Central Chamber

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

During the holiday season, we partnered with our member Lollipop Learning Center, LLC for “Food for the Children.” We proudly presented six families with overflowing baskets of food and more for their Thanksgiving! We then moved on to assisting senior citizens with food and gifts for Christmas. We thank our Board of Directors, members, and others who helped make this happen. The New Year is getting off to a busy start with networking events, ladies events, and educational workshops already planned

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SMALL BUSINESS | Does Your Business Foster a Team Environment?

Does Your Business Foster

A TEAM ENVIRONMENT? by Christopher Whipple A team environment is an environment where all the members of an organization are working toward a common goal. A team environment can add incredible value to planning, product development, process improvements, problem solving, and completing projects. Building a team environment allows a company to utilize the full knowledge base of its employees and other partners. Though this sounds like a no-brainer, many companies – and especially their leaders

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fall into habits that do not encourage a team environment and the reason has to do with conflicting goals that direct employee attention in the wrong direction or encourage them to act as individuals looking out for their own best interest. Year-end reviews and individual bonuses are two great examples of this. Leaders need to provide constant feedback throughout the year and not just at a set review time. In addition, pay increases and bonuses should be consistent and fair across the organization. By selecting individuals to receive more or less compensation, an environment of competition is created that focuses on individual results,

which discourages collaboration and teamwork. With this process, if I help others to look good, they may benefit and I may not. It is for this reason that leaders need to carefully create goals that encourage teamwork and focus all employees on what is best for the organization, and long-term sustainability for the organization should be the ultimate goal. To achieve this goal, lower-level goals and objectives need to be created that guide the organization in this direction. This is the leader’s job and without this step, organizations will fail at implementing


What’s New | CHAMBER CHAT

during the months of January, February, and March. We’ve also been busy acquiring additional discounts on business services for our Chamber members. So, if you are a business owner or professional in the North Central, RI area, contact us—we can help YOU grow YOUR business in 2014! If you join the North Central Chamber during the month of January, mention RISBJ and receive a wonderful promotional offer. New Members Tutor Doctor Destinations to Paradise All American Property Services Organizing In RI, LLC

Long-term sustainability cannot be achieved without sales and profits, which are achieved easily when customers are satisfied

real teams. Requirements that must be implemented include employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, continuous employee development, product or service development, continuous process improvement and effective planning with a focus on short- and long-term results. In addition, the leader needs to demand appropriate decisions and actions from all employees when pertaining to safety, legal, and ethical issues. To justify these requirements and to further clarify, we need to look at cause and effect relationships between these requirements. Long-term sustainability cannot be achieved without sales and profits, which are achieved easily when customers are satisfied. Customers are satisfied by employees and products, but products require employees to ensure consistency and improvement. It must also be noted that only employees can create and implement plans. Therefore, employees are the critical link. Employees can focus on these goals or focus on other things such as how to get a larger raise or individual bonus. When considering these facts, great results can be obtained when the leader of an organization implements goals that support these requirements. To be successful, leaders need a strong focus on employee satisfaction. When employees are satisfied, they become more motivated, which equates to higher efficiencies and willingness to work with others. This high morale combined with common goals will create an unstoppable team that is more successful financially and capable of providing larger bonuses for all, which will further motivate individuals to

work together as a team. However, it must be noted that leaders need to be fair, honest, and trustworthy. They must also empower employees to make decisions and hold each employee accountable for actions and results. Failure to follow these requirements and goals will result in unmotivated employees who don’t trust management. This leads to individuals taking selfish actions and abandoning the thought of teams. In addition, seeing as actions speak louder than words, leaders, managers, and supervisors must take actions that show that they care for the organization. If subordinates believe that their supervisors don’t care, then it is easy for them to adopt the same attitude. Currently, too many leaders, managers, and supervisors feel they need complete control to get the desired results. This control often destroys the employee’s morale and desire to see the company succeed; and if the employee doesn’t care if the company succeeds or not, they will likely allow actions to happen that they know will hurt the company. Managers and supervisors who oversee their subordinates this way usually live in firefighting mode, and do not understand how to get out of it. Problems keep arising, and the cost is great. This is why it is so important to foster a team environment in any organization. Team environments not only benefit the business, but also create a work place that is fulfilling for all employees. Christopher Whipple President Advanced Corporate Teams in Rhode Island

Northern RI

John C. Gregory, President/CEO 6 Blackstone Valley, 301, Lincoln, RI 02865 401 334 1000 www.nrichamber.com Happy Holidays from the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce! Our business is helping local businesses succeed. When searching for that perfect holiday gift this month, remember to shop local for your goods and services. Supporting local business is a great way to give back, and we hope you will consider this when buying your holiday presents. Each day, we strive to help businesses grow through valuable resources, networking opportunities and legislative advocacy. Working with companies throughout our state, the NRI Chamber is proud of the tremendous relationships we have formed and looks forward to a bright and prosperous 2014. New Members Blackstone River Theatre Century 21 Stachurski Agency Panera Bread, Lincoln

Greater Westerly

Lisa Konicki, Executive Director 1 Chamber Way, Westerly, RI 02891 401 596 7761 | www.westerlychamber.org We’re excited to announce the launch of a new website, LuvDowntown.com. Two years in the making, and this unique, collaborative effort finally came to fruition. Check out this site to see the all-inclusive listing of what is “historic, hip, and happening” in 5 partner downtowns. The site features arts, events, recreational activities, historic sites, parking options, and downtown businesses. Chamber members have “featured” status at no extra charge. New Members Rhode Island Marine Denali RX Lifeline in Homecare

Visit risbj.com for more information on your local chamber and events

www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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To Be A Success Be Daring, Be Driven, Be Different | SMALL BUSINESS

TO BE A SUCCESS IN BUSINESS

Be Daring, Be Driven, Be Different

by Adam Harvey “To be a success in business, be daring, be driven, be different.” That’s what my fortune cookie said the other night after a business meeting at a Chinese restaurant. I took a picture of it and saved it because it really made me stop and think. Are most business owners daring, driven, and different? Sure, most of us are constantly thinking of new ways to generate sales, make connections, and seal deals. But that’s not all we have to do. We’ve got to be fearlessly pushing boundaries and knocking down barriers in order to stay relevant to our customers. If not, we’re likely to fade into oblivion. BE DARING Getting outside of your comfort zone is pretty uncomfortable for most of us. But sadly, it’s completely necessary if you’re going to grow you business. Never accept the idea that you’ve always done things in a certain way and so that’s how you’re going to do it forever. The days when you can get away with that kind of thing are over. Technology advances so quickly and times change so much that stagnation guarantees that you’ll become yesterday’s news in no time at all.

getting a call saying that something promised for a Friday afternoon is ready on a Thursday morning instead? Your customers do, too! So, try to go above and beyond for them every day and they’ll come back to you time and again. Even though you do your best every day, you’re still going to have some tough days. Don’t let those days make you wonder if you should give up your business and go do something else instead. We all have dark days, we all struggle, and we all think about throwing in the towel every once in a while. The key to success is not to let these dark times bring you down. Keep your head down and power through until you’re out of the tunnel!

mixed in, but people were immediately drawn to it and it’s become a big hit! It just goes to show you that being unique can come with a big payoff. It made this little ice cream shop stand out and get international attention. I’m not really sure if it’s going to get them in some legal trouble, but I just admire their creativity. Business owners need to find ways to stand out in an overcrowded marketplace. If competitors are doing it, go in another direction and celebrate your uniqueness. Never criticize the choices others make, but always highlight what sets you apart.

BE DIFFERENT I recently read an article on Mashable about an ice cream store in Croatia that sells Facebook-flavored ice cream. It’s just plain vanilla with some Facebook blue syrup

Adam Harvey GLAD WORKS www.gladworks.com

Having the courage to try new things means that you’ll be taking a few risks here and there, but the payoff could turn out to be big! At the very least, you’ll be able to keep up with the times. BE DRIVEN Time is the most precious commodity of all. Recognize that your customers are just as busy as you are, so find ways to streamline your processes and hit deadlines before they actually come up. Don’t you love

We’ve got to be fearlessly pushing boundaries and knocking down barriers in order to stay relevant to our customers. www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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SMALL BUSINESS | Rhode Island’s Place in a Transatlantic Partnership

by James A. Maloney The promise of the New World led early generations of New Englanders across an ocean. Now, centuries later, a new world of opportunity – or, more specifically, renewed opportunity – is approaching. No peril is involved this time, but the promise, once again, comes from across the Atlantic. Recently, the United States and European Union (EU) trade officials entered third round negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in Washington D.C. The proposed free trade agreement would remove trade barriers across a range of sectors – providing a comprehensive economic alliance among two of the world’s largest economies. Due to the scale of the proposal, negotiations will continue on through 2014. If implemented, the TTIP would be a major diplomatic achievement. More importantly, for both the recession-rocked US and EU, the reduction in trade restrictions would create jobs and lower the cost of goods. On this side of the Atlantic, Rhode Island’s federal and state-level leaders have endorsed the TTIP. European Union Ambassador to the United States João Vale de Almeida was invited to Bryant University this summer to speak on the potential benefits of the TTIP, and the discussion was lauded by Governor Lincoln Chafee. The point of focus then and now is economic growth.

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RISBJ | rhode | rhode island island small smallbusiness businessjournal journal


Rhode Island’s Place in a Transatlantic Partnership | SMALL BUSINESS

Indeed, Rhode Island would benefit from the TTIP. If in no other way, the US increase in trade with the EU is projected to produce over 700,000 new jobs across the country. But a recent analysis of this trade deal forecasts promising specifics for Rhode Island. Entitled, “TTIP and the Fifty States: Jobs and Growth from Coast to Coast,” this joint report by the Atlantic Council, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the British Embassy in Washington highlights the TTIP’s state-by-state effect. Rhode Island is notable among the statewide winners.

These numbers – along with the peace of mind that it will all come at no cost to taxpayers – should excite state leaders looking for economic answers.

In large part, preexisting trade strength between Rhode Island and the EU drives the potential success. As the report indicates, “The EU purchased Rhode Island goods worth $624 million in 2012 and services worth $518 million in 2011.”

Of course, in Rhode Island, there are plenty of smaller-scale initiatives to keep state businesses occupied. Nonetheless, business leaders should begin to identify how they can activate on a successful TTIP implementation. This list is far-reaching, including greater export efforts, transnational partnerships, and marketing to EU customer bases.

Rhode Island’s trade flows – particularly the exportation of jewelry and metals - are woven into the history of the state. The renowned Jewelry District in Providence served as the hub for these industries, and now export operations in metals is steadily increasing. In fact, the report identifies that in the past seven years, exports of Rhode Island’s nonferrous metal to the EU have increased by 400 percent. In more direct relation to the TTIP, over a quarter of export movement from Rhode Island is transatlantic. US metal and metal product exports would only increase – by around 88 percent - with a bolster from freer trade.

And the benefits of this sweeping proposal extend beyond job growth. It will open competitive markets, offer stronger protection of intellectual property rights, and advance the rule of law. Each element of this proposal could serve as a model for other nations’ future transnational partnerships.

Such an expanded view of the state’s economic future requires a look past the short term, beyond the shores of Rhode Island’s coastline. Because once more, across the Atlantic, opportunity awaits. James A. Maloney Public Affairs Consultant

Bottom line? Projected growth in the report shows that the TTIP will “increase Rhode Island exports to the EU by 30.2 percent and could boost net employment by 2,670 jobs.”

The EU purchased Rhode Island goods worth $624 million in 2012 and services worth $518 million in 2011 www.risbj.com www.risbj.com| | volume two issue ten

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FEATURED NONPROFIT | Tech Collective

Leading Rhode Island’s

Tech Future

Tech Collective is the Rhode Island Industry Association for Information Technology and Bioscience. As the unified voice and representative of these industries, we serve the needs of Rhode Island IT and Bioscience employers, professionals, and stakeholders across the workforce, education, and advocacy arenas. Our mission is to inspire, engage, educate, and employ a high-skill, high-wage Knowledge Economy in Rhode Island. Within the state, Tech Collective is a long-standing Industry Partner with the Governor’s Workforce Board of Rhode Island. Extending nationally and globally, Tech Collective is the state affiliate for the bioscience organizations: BIO, CSBA, CSBI, and NEBA; and for the IT organizations: TECNA, CompTIA, and TechVoice. Tech Collective has two key areas of focus: Industry Development and Workforce Development. INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT FORUMS/EVENTS AND NEWS Tech Collective works to foster industry awareness, collaboration, and development both throughout the industry as well as with the general public. Forum series such as Women in Technology, NetTech 2.0, IT Manager’s Roundtable, Software Development, and BioTuesdays offer opportunities for professionals to build peer networks, discuss pertinent technologies and trends, and share best practices. Annual awards events, including The Rhode Island Bioscience Awards and the Tech10 Awards, recognize individuals who are innovators and leaders contributing to the Rhode Island industry and community. Tech Collective’s advocacy efforts and marketing services extend the voice of our members. Rhode Island is home to many significant achievements, initiatives, events, and scopes of work – Tech Collective helps to raise public and peer awareness of this work via its website, newsletter, social media sites, media relationships, and one-on-one connections throughout the state. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT K-12, ENTRY, TRANSITIONING, AND INCUMBENT WORKERS The most successful way to grow anything is to nourish it from the start. In 2007, Tech Collective recognized that it could make the greatest impact by focusing on developing the workforce pipeline and meeting the hiring and talent needs of employers here in Rhode Island. Today, Tech Collective has become a leading workforce development agent for the industry in the state and also nationally. Tech Collective’s skills gap studies and worker training programs have become models that we are often asked to share with our national colleagues. K-12 STEM EDUCATION: We work with employers, professionals, and educators to interest

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

and engage students in STEM. This is where we can dispel stigmas and myths – “science isn’t cool” or “IT is just for boys” – and where students can get a hands-on feel for future career paths. In 2013, we reached more than 1,000 students through classroom speakers, industry tours, and through two annual interactive STEM expos: STEM in the Middle and GRRL Tech. On December 9, we partnered with Junior Achievement of Rhode Island to host the state’s first Bioscience Job Shadow Day at Davol, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of C.R. Bard, Inc. ENTERING AND TRANSITIONING WORKERS: Tech Collective helps connect college students and recent graduates to local employers via internships and fellowships. For transitioning workers and those reentering the workforce, “boot camp”-style programs identify and translate existing skill sets as well as develop new ones. Tech Collective’s current program, IT On Demand, has been highly successful in combining employer-identified technical skills with business, communication, and project management training. Engaging employers from the development of the program through participant selection and hosting has led the pilot IT On Demand class to boast a 94% placement rate (combined internships and full time hires) to date. A second IT On Demand session is scheduled to run in the spring of 2014. Incumbent Workers: Tech Collective’s Incumbent Worker Training reimbursement program assists companies in enabling their existing (incumbent) employees to continue their professional development. GETTING CONNECTED Tech Collective first and foremost represents our state’s IT and Bioscience industries. Much of our direction and programming is derived from industry needs, suggestions, and participation. We encourage anyone invested in these industries to connect with us. Please join us in January 2014 for the launch of our latest Information Technology Skills Gap Report: Why IT Works. You can also connect with us at www. tech-collective.org, on Facebook (TechCollectiveRI), Twitter (@Tech_ Collective), and on Linkedin (Tech Collective). We look forward to meeting you!


www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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SMALL BUSINESS | The Telephone Number and its Impact on Local SEO

The Telephone Number

and its Impact on Local SEO

by Chris Sheehy

There’s been a lot of conversation lately about the use of call tracking numbers and their risks to local marketing through the disruption of a business’ NAP (Name | Address | Phone) – the key elements for driving online visibility for small business. The telephone number seems to be at the heart of the conversation, so perhaps a detailed overview of the components that make up a business’ telephone number and how those connect to the business’ physical location would be of benefit.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here – HowStuffWorks did an excellent job at identifying the segments of a telephone number and even goes as far as drawing parallels to it and to the vital elements of a business for local marketing – their address(as an element of NAP). Consider this phone number for reference: 123-456-7890 • Area Code (123) – the first element of a phone number – this designates a specific geographical region, such as a city, county, or part of a state • Prefix (456) – The second part of a phone number is the prefix, which “originally referred to the specific switch that a

• Line Number (7890) – The last of the telephone number sequence is the number string

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

“ Think of the three parts like a street address, where the area code is the city, the prefix is the street, and the line number is the house,” says HowStuffWorks. Telephone numbers carry strong and irreplaceable local identifiers that authenticate local businesses. Replacing them with a nonlocal number or a non-local tracking number will surely mitigate the intended market value of a properly optimized NAP as well as send mixed business citation signals to search engines. Search marketing aside, I’m sure there are some places where call tracking numbers

Think of the three parts like a street address, where the area code is the city, the prefix is the street, and the line number is the house

phone line connected to. Each switch at a phone carrier’s central office had a unique three-digit number. With the arrival of computerized switches, many systems now allow local number portability (LNP),” says HowStuffWorks. [To clarify: LPNs allow you to move your phone number to a different switch - as long as it remains local.] As the area code relates to a broad geographical area, the prefix draws a closer connection to the real business.

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assigned at the switch level to the phone line that you are using.

(CTNs) could actually be beneficial for businesses, like print marketing, PPC (the use of CTNs are actually on the rise here, as have prices to use the new PPC phone extensions), television, and radio. Enterprise and franchise businesses may also benefit, but on a different scale. CTN’s have marketing potential – just not on the internet. Just calling it how I see it . . .

Chris Sheehy Local Marketing Expert Specialist Sidewalk Branding


The Value of You | SMALL BUSINESS

The Value of You Why Obtaining a College Degree is a Smart Investment by Michael Gravison In today’s world, education is one of the most important and valuable things that you can invest in. Whether you are right out of high school, looking to finish what you’ve started, interested in furthering your current career, or looking to change your path altogether, obtaining a college degree is a smart choice to make for yourself, your family, and your future. Now is the time to consider a degree for these reasons and more: Make more money - a degree opens up doors to a higher income. The United States Department of Labor reports that unemployment is lower and earned wages are higher among employees with college degrees. Sharpen your skills and discover more opportunities - whether you are looking to advance within the job you have, or are

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looking to start a new career, a degree will qualify you for more and better work.

challenge yourself. All of these are great qualities to show to the world.

Improve your professional and personal social networks - going back to school not only is a great way to meet people in

Improve your quality of life - a degree not only builds confidence, but it instills a sense of pride in yourself, your life, and your future.

a degree shows others your dedication, eagerness, and ability to challenge yourself various professions, but it’s a great place to make new friends and create a supportive community for yourself. Expand your horizons - not only will you learn things to further your new or current career path, but you will learn things you didn’t even know about yourself. Be a role model - a degree shows others your dedication, eagerness, and ability to

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New Alternative Payday Lending Site Will Help Rhode Islanders | SMALL BUSINESS

New Alternative Payday Lending Site Will

Help Rhode Islanders by Gina M. Raimondo Since I came into office, Treasury has developed and supported several financial empowerment programs to help Rhode Islanders better understand how to make their money work for them. As part of this effort, I have also become an advocate for eliminating predatory lending in Rhode Island. I believe payday lending has no place in a state trying to grow. This is an industry that preys on a person’s inability to make good on their loan. Often, I say we need to come together to attack this problem in two distinct ways: 1. Pass a legislative solution to get rid of the loophole We aren’t quite there yet, but I am committed to pushing for change this coming legislation session. 2. Create safe alternatives to these predatory products In addition to legislative action, we can do better. Recently, we took action. The Capital Good Fund and the United Way of Rhode Island have created a safe lending option in Woonsocket – one that is interested in keeping people out of debt, not pushing them into it for financial gain. This alternative to payday lending is helping people manage their debt and is a safe option, providing people with access to fair, low-cost financial products. For more information on this alternative, visit http://www.uwri.org/. Growing up in Smithfield, I learned from my mom the importance of saving, staying out of debt, and making smart decisions, but today’s world is much more complicated. Far too many of our neighbors face challenges that might have been avoided through a greater understanding of personal finance. Providing Rhode Islanders with access to fair, low-cost financial products is critical to our state’s overall economic recovery. By helping one person at a time, we are coming together to move our state forward.

Rhode Island has a proud history of leading the way. So it’s no surprise we are out front bringing freedom to healthcare. HealthSource RI gives individuals, families and small businesses a whole new way to compare and buy health insurance from a wide range of plans and health insurance providers you already know. Explore our site, call, or come see us for help every step of the way.

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H e a l t h S o u rc e R I i s t h e o ff i c i a l h e a l t h c a re p o r t a l f o r t h e s t a t e o f R h o d e I s l a n d . C o p y r i g h t ® H e a l t h S o u rc e R I l o g o i s t h e t r a d e m a r k a n d s e r v i c e m a r k o f H e a l t h S o u rc e R I .

Gina Raimondo Rhode Island General Treasurer

www.risbj.com | volume two issue ten

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Come See Me y r g n u H e r A u o Y n Whe

SMALL BUSINESS | Come See Me When You Are Hungry

by Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro On a recent business trip to Daytona Beach, Florida I decided to stop at the Olive Garden for dinner. My server, Leslie, did an excellent job taking down my order (which had lots of exceptions), bringing me the correct food on time, etc. and I was very pleased with the service. When the time came to bring and collect the check, she did so promptly. What I found most remarkable about the service was her parting remark: Come see me when you are hungry. I thought the remark was extremely effective because it suggested an action that I could take; it was positive and highly relevant. Indeed, I felt the need to apologize for not following up on her suggestion as I explained that I was travelling and probably would not be back in Daytona Beach for a long time, as it had been four years since my last trip to Daytona Beach. She told me not to worry about that (just to come back next time I’m hungry and in town), because sometimes her repeat customers have a ten year gap between visits, and she still remembers them and they remember her, as she has been there for 35 years and plans to be there for many more. Since my Olive Garden visit on November 6, I’ve been thinking about Leslie’s parting

line and decided to share it with you, first asking, do you have an effective, positive, business-relevant parting line? If so, please share it with me. If I receive a substantial number of parting lines, I’ll include them in a subsequent article. If not, why not give some thought to coming up with a parting line that is highly memorable and positive, and suggests that your customers return to you. Of course, a restaurateur, baker, or grocery store employee could just borrow Leslie’s line.

with us in a month or two for another restful weekend. Someone who runs an emergency plumbing service could say either: Ask your friends not to worry, just call me any time of day or night if they have a plumbing need (and hand them a bunch of magnets with your name and number on them) or Ask your friends and neighbors to place these magnets on their water heater so they can call me when they need me.

sometimes her repeat customers have a ten year gap between visits, and she still remembers them and they remember her, as she has been there for 35 years and plans to be there for many more A clothing store sales representative could say: Come see me when you are ready for some more beautiful clothes (while presenting the customer with a business card that has a small discount coupon printed on the back). A motel or bed and breakfast proprietor could say: Come stay

As a speaker for businesses, I might conclude discussions by saying: Call me when you want to improve business results and learn while having fun. Your parting line should coincide with the action or service that you provide. In the Olive Garden example, I know I can see Leslie when I’m hungry because she proved herself through the action of providing food in a very pleasant manner. It was a memorable and positive experience, which is why her parting remark was so effective. What might you use as an effective concluding statement? 1 Special thanks to Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments.

Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro Independent Consultant in Human Factors Learning & Human Resources

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| volume two issue ten Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an independent licensee of the Blue Crosswww.risbj.com and Blue Shield Association.

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Volume 2 Issue 10  

Volume 2 Issue 10 of the Rhode Island Small Business Journal

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