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On the topic of business plans, when was the last time you reviewed yours? In January, we talked about starting the year off right and setting your goals, which included updating your business plan, but have you looked at it since then? Now that we are halfway through the year, it’s time for us all to perform that mid-year checkup to make sure we’re on the way to achieving our goals and to make any necessary adjustments. In addition to reviewing and updating your business plan, here are a few additional areas to review for mid-year evaluations: Financials – This is the first place most business owners should start. How are your sales compared to last year? How are they compared to your projects? Not only are sales figures important to review, but how are your expenses? Sales growth will often incur additional expenses, but make sure your profit margins are in line.

from the founder

Competitors – It’s important to get a sense of how your competitors are doing. Are you bidding against more competition than in the past? Are you winning those bids? It’s also important to find out what new competition there is in the marketplace.

We follow last month’s SBA Small Business Week special edition with another special edition featuring the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. We’d like to congratulate

to evaluate how you look in the eyes of your customers.

everyone involved in the competition and the following

Sending out customer satisfaction surveys is a great way to

award winners:

find out what you excel at and where you can improve.

Alison Cariati, HAVERHILL Incorporated,

Employee Performance – Are your employees helping

Winner of the Entrepreneur Track

you reach your goals? Evaluating employee performance

Eddie Ross, TennisHub,

will help to determine who is dedicated to your success

Winner of the Technology Track

and who could be holding you back. Getting optimal

Tyler Benster, Azavy,

performance from your staff will ensure that you can spend

Winner of the Student Track

more time working on your business than in your business.

Jenny Yu, Optitrum, Finalist of the Student Track

Marketing Strategies – Have you launched any new

Mel Prenovitz, EndoSphere Surgical, Inc.,

marketing initiatives in 2013 such as email marketing, social

Finalist of the Entrepreneur Track

media, direct mail or advertising? How have those strategies

Melissa Ellard, Fashion-Force,

paid off? It’s always important to evaluate each marketing

Finalist of the Student Track

initiative to see how it is affecting your bottom line.

2

Customer Service – The mid-year mark is a great time

Innovative entrepreneurs like those involved in this

I hope that you are all meeting or exceeding your goals for

year’s competition are what keep Rhode Island moving in

2013 and wish you continued success. For those who aren’t,

the right direction.

you have another half year to get things on track. Good luck!

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


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www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

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Courses, Certificates, Degrees Downtown Providence and Online

RWU.edu (401) 254-3530 4

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


Gil Lantini President, Founder Ralph Coppolino Vice President, Operations & Business Development Danny Angeli Account Executive James Pardee Jr Creative Director and Design Editor Pam Walsh Assistant Editor Mike Casale Graphic Designer Aaron Cadieux Video Production Manager Contributing Photographer Angela Abele-Gora Contributing Writers Ralph Coppolino Kas R. DeCarvalho, Esq. Jeffrey S. Deckman Josh Edenbaum Ardena Lee-Fleming Peter George Adam Harvey Jeanne A. Hulit Brian LaFauci Dave Lubelczyk Donna Mac Kristin Carcieri-MacRae Ivan Misner Ralph Mollis Elizabeth Pierotti Chris Poe Gina M. Raimondo Patricia Raskin Bob Salvas Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro Tim Sullivan Mayor Angel Taveras Keith Tully www.facebook.com/risbj twitter.com/risbj 401 831 7779 info@risbj.com www.risbj.com ŠMMXIII Rhode Island Small Business Journal

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

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www.risbj.com | volume two issue five


SECRETARY OF STATE | Ralph Mollis

Renewing a Warning to RI Businesses about New Direct Mail Solicitations by Secretary Of State Ralph Mollis

Prompted by a third wave of direct mail solicitations targeting

alerting chambers of commerce and trade organizations and

local businesses, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is once again

emailing thousands of small businesses.

reminding companies to be wary of notices from "Rhode Island Corporate Compliance (RICC)."

Even so, some Rhode Islanders fell prey to the mailing.

The official-looking letter cites a state law that requires corporations

Bert Rodrigues of Al's Liquor Store in Providence didn't think twice

to keep records of accounts, minutes and the names and

when he received the RICC solicitation in the mail. He filled out

addresses of all shareholders and directs recipients to submit an

the form and mailed a check to RICC, but called the Secretary of

"Annual Disclosure Statement" along with a "Document Fee" of $125.

State's office after having second thoughts.

But Mollis says that state law doesn't require business entities that are registered in Rhode Island to file those records with his office or any other state agency. "Too many people have been confused by the mailing. We're assuring them that it did not come from our office," said Mollis, who tracked down the return address on the RICC mailing to a postal box number at a UPS store in downtown Providence. Hundreds of business owners have called the Secretary of State's office with questions about the notices. Many had already mailed a check to RICC. Ken Fang of Engitek Inc. of Warwick was one of them. "Because the deadline they gave on the form was only a few days away, we cut a check right away. I didn’t read the notice carefully until it was too late. We fell for it,” said Fang.

Because the deadline they gave on the form was only a few days away, we cut a check right away. I didn’t read the notice carefully until it was too late. We fell for it

He has advice for other businesses. “Check everything. I mean, if there’s a number, call. If you even suspect it might not be what it seems, call the Secretary of State’s office.”

"The letter looked legitimate, so it was easy to take a quick look and think it's just another one of those requirements that I need to do, mail a check and the paperwork," he said.

Mollis has taken steps to notify customers including posting a

After talking with Mollis' office, Rodrigues was able to stop

warning on his website social media, reaching out to the media,

payment on the check before it was cashed.

8

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


Ralph Mollis | SECRETARY OF STATE

Mollis reported the situation to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which wants anyone who paid the $125 "Document Fee" to fax their name, the name of their business, their contact info including the mailing address for their business, a phone number and documentation such as the notice, the envelope the notice came in and their canceled check if they have it to (651) 994-3259. Tens of thousands of for-profit corporations and limited liability companies could have received the letter so far, said Mollis. Nearly 60,000 are registered with his office. In addition to its work with start-ups, the Secretary of State's office also oversees recording commercial liens, registering notaries public and protecting corporate trademarks. Mollis urges anyone with questions about the direct mail solicitation to contact his office at 222-3040 or corporations@sos.ri.gov.

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www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

9


STARTUPS | Spotlight

What we believe in: •

Doing more with less

High performance

Freedom and responsibility

Open Date: 4/15/2013

of the art web based applications, •

Employees: 2

including a one stop customer

Address: 95 Chestnut Street

portal, accounting software, and

Respect and honesty Embracing and driving change

Delivering awesome service

Providence, RI 02903

file sharing to communicate on

Website: neweconomycpa.com

your terms. We will help you build •

Creating and having fun….

Twitter: @jallain

a strategy that is right for you to

yes, FUN

Facebook: /neweconomycpa

meet your everyday accounting needs from the day to day, all the

Biggest challenge: Business

way up to investor reporting.

has grown quickly in the few months since New Economy’s

Why us:

launch. The challenge now is

The accounting industry is

selecting which projects to take

broken and is more focused on

on and scaling the model. I am

larger clients that generate larger

already at capacity with my time,

fees. The industry has remained

but there are so many interesting

unchanged since the turn of the

opportunities to help startups in

century and we are paving the Open Date: April 2013 as a DBA

the Providence, Boston and New

way for the next generation firm.

York areas. I am trying to find “A”

We thrive in innovation, creation,

Employees: 1

players that are passionate about

and change. We have a virtual

Address: 141 Waterman Street,

startups and understand the

paperless office that allows for a

Suite 3C

space and vibe beyond delivering

low cost structure. We place a

Website: www.lanadrew.com

the pure service. I already have

huge emphasis on a seamless

Twitter: @lanadrewforu

two part time individuals on

customer experience. Oh, and

LinkedIn: /LDCC

board and now I am trying to

we have paid our dues. We have

Facebook(s): /lanadrewforyou

determine when I will make my

spent over a decade working at

/LanaDrewSellsRhodeIsland

first full time hire.

some of the country’s largest CPA

Profile: Who we are: We are the accounting and financial partner to entrepreneurs and tech startups. We are experienced entrepreneurial accountants who work like you do. We are dedicated to creating an awesome, highly

firms working with entrepreneurial

Biggest challenge: My biggest

venture-backed companies.

challenge was when I was asked by a Brown University student to locate a space she and her colleague could get dirty while working on their senior art project. The space had to be walking distance

effective, and

from their

efficient experience

apartment,

for our clients.

well-lit and somewhat

What we do: We are a team of highly skilled accounting geeks that have a passion for the swift pace. We utilize state

10

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

private. After searching for many days, I had an idea and asked the landlord if I could turn the


Spotlight | STARTUPS

cluttered basement into an art studio. With a big “YES,” I cleared the basement, spray painted the walls white, and increased the lighting, resulting in the perfect studio. My work helped lead to a successful show April 28, 2013 at the List Building. Profile: Lana Drew, a multi-year recipient of the RI Five Star Real Estate Agent award, put her lifestyle managing skills to use for a new and unique business model. Lana received a call

Open Date: May 2013

Profile:

their goals. IHS prides itself

from an international executive

Employees: 1

Stephanie Gove

on delivering quality coaching

in search of a rental for his

Address: Cranston, RI

Owner, IHS

engagements that produce

family and children, who would

Website: www.ihealthri.com

Integrative Health Coach

real results.

be attending summer session

Facebook: /ihealthri

at Brown University. Lana found,

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/

I am a native Rhode Islander, I

designed, and furnished the

company/integrative-health-

earned my BA from the University

perfect rental. The family soon

services-ri

of Rhode Island, I am a certified life coach and I received my

turned to her for assistance in almost every part of their daily

Biggest challenge: Informing

professional health coach

lives, from hiring housecleaning

RI small businesses of IHS’s

training at Duke Integrative

services to setting up boating

affordable and personalized

Medicine in Durham, NC.

trips. She was then asked to find

integrative wellness programs.

I’m also highly motivated

a rental for their son, who would

Many small business owners

and results driven, with

be entering his junior year at

believe that worksite wellness

more than eight years’ experience utilizing

college. Lana found a rental and took on the role as his

programs are just for large

Lifestyle Manager.

employer groups who can afford

behavioral change theory. Prior to opening IHS, I

to purchase them through their

served as a full-time health coach for Blue Cross Blue

Soon after, Lana began to receive

health insurance. Since IHS is a

a slew of calls from other college

micro-business, our costs stay

Shield of Rhode Island’s health

students looking for rentals, trips

low. This translates to affordable,

management division, The Health

to IKEA, advice to handle issues

face-to-face quality services

& Wellness Institute. I have a

with their landlords, storage,

(employees are treated as unique

passion for integrative medicine

and summer subletting. The

individuals instead of case

and believe the future of

IHS offers solid,

requests were endless. Lana

numbers). The one thing that I

healthcare is a holistic,

effective, personalized, lifestyle

patient-centered approach.

programs for RI employers,

realized her services as a student

would ask a RI business owner

concierge were highly needed.

who is considering offering IHS’s

Lana’s mission is to have her

stress management, integrative

Integrative Health Services’

and groups by using the latest

student clientele take solace in

health coaching or tobacco

mission is: Enriching lives by

evidence-based training and techniques.

medical centers, individuals

knowing they are in the care of

cessation programs to their

removing obstacles to better

an experienced concierge who

employee population is: What is

health. It has been my experience •

Mindfulness-Based Stress

guarantees the best RI has to

it costing you not to invest in their

that most clients know what they

Reduction (MBSR)

offer. Lana’s close relationship

health? Meaning, consider

need to do to improve their health, •

Duke Integrative Health

to her students has allowed

your lost revenue through

they just need some assistance

Coaching

her to affectionately adopt the

absenteeism, presenteeism or

with removing the hurdles and an

Whole Foods Education

title “College Mom.”

low employee morale.

accountability partner to reach

Tobacco Cessation

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

11


SBA | Serving Those Who Served Us

Serving Those Who Served Us

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) would like to express our gratitude to the people who volunteer to keep our nation safe and strong which is why veterans are a particular focus for us. Did you know that veteranowned small businesses account for a large percentage of small businesses? Veterans are at least 45 percent more likely to take the plunge into entrepreneurship than people with no active-duty military experience, according to a May 2011 study from the SBA Office of Advocacy. In 2007

by Jeanne A. Hulit

(the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau), veterans owned 2.4 million businesses, or 9 percent of all businesses nationwide, generating $1.2 trillion in receipts and employing nearly 5.8 million people. The facts show that these heroes live all around us in communities across Rhode Island. SBA believes veterans are an important part of our communities. We know that veterans come back with strong leadership skills and a thorough understanding of teamwork. But often times, veterans face challenges in raising capital or have trouble receiving a conventional loan. SBA has recently announced the SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative, a commitment by its top national, regional and community lenders to collectively increase their lending activity to veterans by five percent per year for the next five years. With the support of SBA’s top 20 national lending partners, and approximately 100 additional regional and community lending partners across the United States, SBA expects to assist an additional 2,000 veterans obtain loans to start or

12

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


Serving Those Who Served Us | SBA

expand small businesses by increasing lending by $475 million over the next five years. This equals a five percent increase above historic veteran lending activity by the SBA. SBA also has teamed up with the nation’s 250 Certified Development Companies (CDCs) to launch an initiative which provides financing discounts and training to veterans who own businesses or are interested in small business ownership. The National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) and its member CDCs publish their reduced fees, training and incentives on their websites and at www.nadco.org. Veterans can save up to $20,000 on commercial real estate loans and reduced fees on Community Advantage working capital loans under $250,000. In 2013, 381 veterans have received loans totaling $2.6 million – or approximately 10 percent of all loans offered through NADCO members. In the Rhode Island District, veteran lending has increased tremendously over the past few years. Combined FY11 and FY12 lending totaled nearly $20 million, up more than 50% over the FY09 and FY10 combined total of $10.6 million. With this new support, veteran lending has the potential to increase even more. Do you know a veteran? Make sure to introduce them to the SBA because we have programs designed for Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reserve Members, and their spouses. Contact the Rhode Island District Office at 401-528-4561. Many veterans have innate entrepreneurial skill. We honor them on holidays and pay tribute to all American Veterans. The SBA wants to help veterans find a path which will lead to success in operating or owning a small business. For more information on SBA’s services and programs for veteran entrepreneurs, please visit www.sba.gov/vets. Thanks to all who wear, or have worn, the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. We’re a safer nation because of you.

Jeanne A. Hulit Acting SBA New England Regional Administrator SBA New England Regional Administrator

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

13


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Minding Your Own Brand | SMALL BUSINESS

small businesses learn from these divorcing couples that will help them retain customers? Like the first couple, many small businesses feel they lose customers because someone better comes along. They think that with cheaper prices, more selection, or bigger advertising budgets, how can they compete? While on the surface this may be true, a

Why Did The Relationship End?

customer’s decision was probably not a snap one. Over time, the small businesses failed to meet their needs one little thing at a time. Then “pool boy” came along and the customer fell deeply in love with this new company because it promised to fulfill every need and had cheaper prices, more selection, and better advertising. The second couple’s problems centered on passion. Passion is critical for customer retention, but that passion is not one-sided. Small businesses must also have a passion for their customers. They must appreciate them and strive to provide an extraordinary experience which fuels passion, or else customers will leave for a younger, sexier

by Dave Lubelczyk

Recently a number of couples I know are

company that ignites their passion.

getting a divorce. One relationship ended because one of them found someone who

over time, the small businesses failed to meet their needs one little thing at a time

Finally, the third couple offers a valuable

met their needs more than their spouse did

lesson. Little issues that go unresolved can

and another marriage is ending due to lack

add up to big problems. Everything you say

of passion. A third couple is calling it quits

and do creates the customer experience,

not because of one particular issue, but

so be proactive and try to solve issues

instead because of a building up of many

before they arise. Even proactive companies

little things that went unresolved and turned

can’t always be perfect, but they can

into one big problem. In each case, one of

offer extraordinary experiences when they

the partners in the relationship didn’t realize

aren’t. If you mess-up, admit it and make

that things were that bad until it was too late

the resolution of the issue an extraordinary

and the relationship was beyond repair.

experience. A problem moment can often

After thinking about these failed relationships,

and gain them as a passionate advocate.

be the best opportunity to “wow” a customer I realized that these are often the same situations that happen in business everyday.

So work on your relationships each day

Customers sever ties with small businesses,

and make every interaction extraordinary.

leaving owners scratching their heads

If you don’t, you may wake up one day to

wondering, “What happened? I thought

customers asking you for divorce.

they liked us.” Each day, customers are leaving relationships with companies at rates that

Dave Lubelczyk Image Identity imageidentity.com

rival the national divorce rate. So what can www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

15


SMALL BUSINESS | File Trays. Are They Useful?

File Trays Are They Useful?

Take the tray off your desk and don’t put it back unless you have a new system and a new way to use the tray. Third: Start with the top paper, and figure out what it is and start making category piles. You may find you are shredding or throwing out most of it. So if you are throwing it out now, did you really need it back when you put it in the pile? When you are done categorizing, now

by Kristin Carcieri-MacRae

you can set up your filing systems based on what you have in front of you. When you are

I’ve been in many disorganized offices, all

going through the piles, do not try to create

types, shapes, and sizes. What is the one

your systems. As you go through, just decide

common theme? People are using paper as

what you are keeping and getting rid of. Do

a paper weight for their file trays. They are

not create your systems until you are done

basically using file trays as a place to rest

going through the paper.

mounds of paper that haven’t been gone through in months. Do you utilize file trays

So how do you utilize these trays? Only store

in your office or at home? Is it helping with

them on your desk if you use the items in

your organization and productivity? Are you

them every day. If not, get the tray off your

utilizing it correctly, or does it just sit there

desk. As a last resort:

and collect piles of papers? 1.

Utilize to hold labeled manila folders

There is a pile of unorganized random

that you grab every day. Write on the

papers and folders in the tray. What is the

label so it’s facing you in the tray.

point of using a tray? The piles will sit just as well on the desk. Maybe it’s a mental thing.

2.

Utilize to hold important binders

People think that if the pile of paper is in the

or important notebooks that you grab

tray, it just looks more presentable because

every day.

it’s in a tray. Wrong! Take the paper out of the tray and get rid of the tray. It can be used in a more productive and efficient way. Tackle the paper in the tray. I bet you don’t

3.

They are great for holding copy or printer paper.

Think about if this tray is really the right tray

even know what half of the stuff pertains

for what you are storing. There are so many

to in the tray. You may have been looking

great office organizing products out there.

for something and forgot it was in the tray.

Choose the one that is best going to fit what

You might have a really important paper in

you need to hold and is going to be the most

the tray that you were supposed to tackle.

efficient and productive product for you.

Maybe it was following up with an important client or maybe you missed an important

Don’t utilize them for a drop spot for papers

meeting that would have generated business

that you have no idea what to do with. It will

for you. Maybe it was a project you were

become a breeding ground for paper and

going to start working on, but never got

will create more work for you months down

around to it. Are you the type that feels that

the road when you need to dig through it.

you don’t know where to put the paper when

Organize! Energize!

you receive it, so you just continue to add to the pile because it’s there? So, how do you tackle this pile? First step: Take the pile out of the tray. Second step:

16

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae Owner Organizing In RI, LLC


www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

17


SMALL BUSINESS | Meditation, Not Medication

meditation not medication by Tim Sullivan

Today’s workplace can be a highly stressful environment. People experiencing high levels of stress should strongly consider meditation before seeking pharmaceutical relief for stress and the physical manifestations of it in our lives. While some stress is necessary for survival, chronic stress can have terrible results for people and their workplace alike. Workplace stress can lead to a wide variety of inefficiencies and increased health risks including: •

Lower levels of staff productivity

Higher levels of absenteeism

Presenteeism (sick workers)

Poor morale

Low levels of job and life satisfaction

Increased risk of alcohol and other substance abuse

Increased risk of preventable disease

Stress is one of the more difficult components of workplace wellness to measure because it can take so many forms, none of which lend itself to easy measurement.

Fighting Stress The practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in a workplace can greatly reduce stress levels. Two recently published studies point to

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Meditation, Not Medication | SMALL BUSINESS

the benefits of TM. Despite the difficulty in measuring stress in the workplace, it is undoubtedly present in one way or another. Stress has been demonstrated to aggravate the following conditions: •

Asthma

Stomach Ulcers

Heartburn

Multiple Sclerosis

Arthritis

Acne

Wound healing

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Meditation and Graduation The first is a study performed by Dr. Robert D. Colbert, University of Connecticut, and Sanford Nidich, Maharishi University of Management, which studied the effects of TM on graduation rates, college acceptance, and dropout rates in an urban public high school. The results were impressive for the use of TM across the board, with all measured aspects increasing for those engaged in TM as part of their lives.

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A study recently released in the Journal of Traumatic Stress (April 2013), demonstrates the dramatic effect TM had on Congolese refugees from the “Second Congo War,” which killed 5.4 million people and forced 80,000 refugees to flee the country. The study took a measure of posttraumatic distress, and measured it using a PCL-C test (a standardized questionnaire). The PCL-C scores for studied TM participants dropped by 36 points after 30 days, and 38.7 points after 135 days; according to the study, an 11 point drop is considered clinically significant!

out of the box thinking lending

What is Transcendental Meditation? TM is an ancient practice which was brought to America and popularized by Mahareshi Mehesh Yogi in the 1960s. It is designed to calm a person’s mind by focusing on an imaginary sound in your head. It takes only 15-20 minutes per day and can have profound positive effects on a person’s state of mind health and wellness. One of the strengths of using TM in a workplace wellness environment is the fact that it can be universally practiced by all employees. There are no conflicts with physical ailments, religious conflicts, or moral issues. The cost of such a program is minimal, as there is no need for specialized equipment or extensive training; all that is needed is a local person trained in TM to administer the program in order to initiate the program.

Tim Sullivan Life-Panel www.well-track.com

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www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

19


SMALL BUSINESS | 5 Classic Mom-isms for Success in Business

5 Classic Mom-isms for Success in Business by Adam Harvey

Have you ever heard the expression “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world?” I re-discovered it recently and it struck me how very true it is. Our mothers have tremendous power to shape us in very fundamental ways. We don’t even think about it, but we owe so much of who we are to our moms. If we were lucky enough to have wonderful moms (or mom-like figures), we have some pretty great tools to use in our climb toward success in business (and life in general). Here are a few of my favorite “mom-isms” that I think have helped me on the road to success.

Just be yourself

Always be thoughtful

No use crying over spilled milk

Never mind what your competitors are doing.

Business is all about building solid

Things go wrong all the time. Deals fall

Just do your thing. So many business owners

relationships with people. Whether it’s a

through, a customer you thought was loyal

try to do exactly what their competitors are

vendor or a customer, it’s important to keep

goes elsewhere, or an employee turns out to

doing, but I think you should do what you

in touch with them even when you’re not

be a disappointment. Life is not fair (another

do best and forget about trying to be like

working on a project together. It goes a long

mom-ism!) and things will go wrong. But

everyone else. The way to be competitive

way toward keeping a business relationship

that’s ok. There’s no sense dwelling on all the

and truly distinguish yourself from the

strong when you let people know you haven’t

things that have gone wrong today or this

competition is to be your most innovative

forgotten about them. So, send that customer

week or last year. In order to move forward,

and unique self. Have something that

a link to an article you thought they’d enjoy or

you have to move forward. Let go of the

nobody else has and do it in a way that

mail a small gift card to the vendor who cut

negative energy you’re holding that may be

nobody else does, and you’ve got the keys

you a special deal. Reaching out is a great

holding you back and you’ll find that letting

to success in your hand.

way to make people feel appreciated and

go of the bad stuff is incredibly liberating.

keep ties strong.

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5 Classic Mom-isms for Success in Business | SMALL BUSINESS

Point of Sale Solutions

If you can’t say anything nice…

Never wear red pants. It will make your back side look like a tomato

Never, ever, ever bash a competitor. I

Maybe this is just something my mother says,

make it a strict rule to never talk about my

but the sentiment is akin to the old standby

competitors in a negative way. I also don’t

“make sure you have on clean underwear” or

talk about my client’s competitors that way

“are you going out dressed like that?”

either. You never know who you might hurt or offend. Plus, it’s just not a nice way to be.

No matter how much we’d like to think we’ve

You don’t want to put negative mojo out there

all evolved beyond superficiality, we have

into the universe because you need all the

not. People will judge you based on your

happy pony vibes you can get!

appearance. I’ve always felt that if you want

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to be successful, you need to dress for it. So, no matter how casual the rest of the world becomes and no matter how many people find it acceptable to wear pajamas out in public, I will always be mindful of how I’m dressed and what it says about me. When I go into a business meeting, I do my best to look sharp and professional—even when nobody else at the meeting does.

Dress the part of a successful professional, and you will become one. Of course there are many other mom-isms that apply to success in business and in life, but in general, as long as you’re always striving to do your best and treat people fairly and with

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respect, you’re going to be a successful human being. And that’s going to translate into success in business.

Adam Harvey GLAD WORKS www.gladworks.com

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

21


SMALL BUSINESS | Are You Missing Your Own Reflection?

Are You Missing by Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro

Consider the following scenario. You are blindfolded with an I ♥ the USA bandana (to celebrate the 4th of July?) standing in a circle with a group of friends who are not blindfolded. People in the circle change positions. The person directly across from you is provided with a mirror to hold in his left hand at your eye level. You are asked the following question, “If you could see through your blindfold, whose face would you be looking at?” You would probably name one of your friends and would not be correct. You are then asked, “Would it help you to shake hands with the person in front of you?” You would probably say, “Yes,” thinking that would make your task easier. After shaking hands with the person in front of you, you would name someone whose hands are approximately the size of the hands you shook. You would be incorrect again. It would probably take you a relatively long time to figure out that you would be seeing your own face reflected back in the mirror. That is exactly what happened at Becker College in Worcester, MA when seniors Kaitlin Pearson and Rafael Martinez (pictured) were participating in this activity earlier this year. How does this activity apply to us in business? First, it is an example of how focusing on a small detail (who is standing in front of me), instead of a larger picture (whose face you would be looking at), can lead you in the wrong direction, and not get you the outcome you’re looking for. Second, it illustrates that even a small change in our customer’s or employee’s environment (such as adding a mirror from a dollar shop) can make radical changes in the way we should respond,

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Are You Missing Your Own Reflection? | SMALL BUSINESS

making previously ideal responses no longer applicable or relevant. Thus, we need to assess what has changed with our customers each and every time we see them so that we can respond to the current environment. For example, a family illness, loss of a contract, storm damage locally, or perhaps to a relative’s property far away, may influence the decisions your customer will make, your supplier’s ability to deliver, or your employee’s job performance. If you were to try to sell anything other than emergency supplies to a customer right after any of these events, you’d probably be unsuccessful. You might be better off just making a social visit, asking how you can help, and saving the sales call for another day. One way to assess the best action to take at a given time, which I have mentioned in a previous RISBJ article, is to ask your customer or supplier, “How is business?” (which I learned from Bill Matson, currently Chief Human Resource Officer for Analog Devices) to open your conversations. Another way might be to ask employees, “How is the family?” Third, it reminds us that oftentimes the way people respond to us is reflecting right back at us the attitude or behavior we displayed, even though we may not realize it. People are not perfect mirrors and should not be perceived that way, but our customer’s, employee’s, or client’s behavior is likely to be influenced by our behavior. If we appear to be impatient, they may be more impatient than usual. If we appear to be sympathetic, they may be more sympathetic. If we appear to be likeable, they may be more interested in working with us. So, whenever we are engaged in a discussion with someone that doesn’t seem to be going as well as we might like, let us pause for a minute and ask ourselves what we are doing to contribute to the less than ideal communication. Then, let us try to change our behavior and see if it changes our customer’s, client’s or employee’s behavior. After all, we cannot change anyone’s behavior except our own, but we can certainly influence it by the way we act and the environment which we set up. The same principles apply at home, too! Our goal is to conclude every conversation with everyone we are communicating with looking forward to the next conversation (and working with us again), because they consider that we are really trying to help them.

Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro Independent Consultant in Human Factors Learning & Human Resources Thanks to Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments and suggestions

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

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SMALL BUSINESS | Ready or Not, These Four Mega Trends Will Affect Your Business

READY OR NOT, THESE FOUR MEGA TRENDS WILL AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS

PART FOUR: VIRTUAL Social, Visual, Mobile, and Virtual: I refer

by Chris Poe

Now, when thinking of Virtual, we naturally

apps are being leveraged by your business users without your sanction.

to these as Mega Trends because they

think of virtualization: virtual machines, virtual

are (1) happening on a grand scale, (2)

storage, virtual computing, virtual networking,

affecting business owners and executives

on and on. And we also probably think of

This is one reason why Virtual is a Mega Trend.

whether they choose to do anything about

Cloud or Software-as -a-Service. However,

It’s about much more than virtualization and

them or not, and (3) they are changing the

this is NOT just about the virtualization

the Cloud. Once again, it’s about humanity

world as we know it. Moreover, while these

of computing, storage, network, and

and how people have become accustomed to

Mega Trends are enabled by technology,

applications, though that is significant. (For

being able to easily access applications and

they are more representative of the grander

instance, Gartner predicts that 60% of server

information in the Cloud and will expect that

transformation that is happening as a result.

workload will be virtualized by 2014.)

freedom in the workplace.

Our Evolving Thought Process

Ready or not, these Mega Trends are here;

At this point, many organizations sanction

as a small business owner, what are you

and leverage a Cloud-based application for

Let’s do an exercise. I have a Trivia

doing in the face of them? This article is the

business. In fact, studies show that 7 out of

Question for you: What was the month, day,

fourth and final installment in a series that

10 organizations using Cloud-based apps

and year of the first Patriots game played at Gillette Stadium?

focuses on the four Mega Trends in more

will move more apps to the Cloud in the

detail, and discusses the options available

future. It’s likely that you leverage a Cloud-

to small business owners and professionals

based application in your personal lives

The answer is Monday, September 9, 2002

building a career alongside them.

(Dropbox, Gmail), and that Cloud-based

against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now what

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Ready or Not, These Four Mega Trends Will Affect Your Business | SMALL BUSINESS

was your first inclination to go about getting the answer to that question?

In Cisco’s Connected World Technology

are all about PEOPLE – the customers

Study, one out of three young professionals

we serve, the employees who enable our

or graduating college students indicated that

organizations, and the partners we work with.

This is yet another big reason that Virtual

the Internet was as important as Food, Water

The world around us and all of its people are

is a Mega Trend – not just because of the

and Air. Imagine that? As IT professionals

being transformed by these Mega Trends.

growing acceptance of virtualization and

and as businesses, we must recognize

This brings to mind an interesting quote from

Cloud technologies, but because we as a

that this is happening. While we must be

Canadian sociologist Marshall McLuhan

species are evolving. Think about your own

conscious of the implications,

in his book Understanding Media: “…We

we must not limit our own or our

shape our tools and thereafter our tools

organizations’ possibilities.

shape us.” So, again, why should we care?

thought process for getting that answer. 1. 2. 3.

How quickly did we jump to our phones to do research?

Why Should We Care?

It’s been said that the sustainable companies

Did we care where the information was

Clearly, we grow more and more

are the ones that are in tune with the

stored/retrieved from?

accustomed to being able to quickly and

environment surrounding them. We must

What DID we care about?

easily access nearly anything we need,

always consider technology trends, but

That we could find the answer …

independently and in many cases for free.

more importantly, we must embrace the

and quickly, right?

As businesses, we must be cognizant of the

opportunities for business transformation

fact that the consumers of our services (our

that technology provides. If we don’t, then

Similarly, few of us know where any piece

employees and customers) also have this

our competitors surely will. This is not getting

of information, knowledge, or experience

growing expectation. We have to make the

easier, my friends.

is stored in the brain, nor what process we

technology with which we enable our people

go through to retrieve the information when

EASY while also ensuring that people have

In the most recent IBM CEO Survey, the

needed. We’ve simply experienced, been

what they need when they need it. If not,

Chief Executives shared that:

taught, learned, and memorized things for

we’ll continue to have what we call “Shadow

later retrieval.

IT” popping up in our organizations – where

1.

The world’s private and public sector

our people simply find other ways to get

leaders believe that a rapid escalation

I believe that as a species we are evolving.

what it is they need as everything is so

of “complexity” is the biggest challenge

Intuitively, we focus and memorize less

readily accessible out there in the virtual

confronting them. They expect it to

because we believe we can always go find

world. This could manifest itself in a sales

continue — indeed, to accelerate — in

the information later (I blame the DVR/TiVo

team that, out of frustration, decides to

the coming years.

for this diminishing ability by our species

purchase www.Salesforce.com licenses for

to focus, by the way – I even find myself

itself, placing what is for most organizations

2.

They are equally clear that their

resisting the urge to rewind somebody’s

the most important asset they have (their

enterprises today are not equipped to

LIVE presentation because I’m so used

customer details) in an environment not

cope effectively with this complexity in

to being able to rewind a TV show). We’re

under the influence of the business. While

the global environment.

less concerned about memorization and

Cloud-based tools such as www.Salesforce.

more concerned that we can find what we

com can be a great choice for many

need when we need it. In fact, I’ll bet that 30

companies, just because they’re easy for

the single most important leadership

minutes from now, most of you will

anyone to purchase, it doesn’t mean the

competency for enterprises seeking a path through this complexity.

have forgotten the answer to the question

company shouldn’t exercise due diligence in

posed earlier.

controlling it.

Everybody’s seen the movie The Matrix.

3.

Finally, they identify “creativity” as

This is where we all come in. We must When we watched it when it first came

Moving the Mega Trends Forward

out in 1999, it seemed farfetched (that we

While each of these Mega Trends is

our organizations to navigate these

would all be interconnected and plugged

significant on its own, I think it’s obvious that

complex times.

in to a matrix). But, in a sense, that’s what’s

they are closely intertwined and that each

happening. Our own thought processes are

magnifies the others. And while they all have

changing as we logically “plug-in” to this

tremendous technology underpinnings that

significantly expanded body of knowledge

will require us as business professionals to

and experience.

practice due diligence, they foundationally

have our eyes wide open and be the agents of transformation that can help

Chris Poe Chief Technology Officer Atrion

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

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SMALL BUSINESS | 3 Forms of Excellence Leaders Must Recognize or Face Failure

Forms of Excellence Leaders Must Recognize or Face Failure by Jeffrey S. Deckman

Of all the

Excellence is an Opinion

human experiences

Beware, though. Because these achievements are “internal,” they may not

One way to describe excellence is that

be visible to those on the “outside.” So the

it is simply an opinion about a level of

person in question might stretch themselves

achievement that an individual or a group

and overcome significant challenges,

has agreed is so superior to the norm that it

thereby achieving excellence, yet they can

is deserving of special acknowledgement.

go unrecognized.

Three Types of Excellence

Paradoxically, while this type of excellence

are paid to, recognize, promote and achieve

It could be argued that there are three basic

the person achieving it. They simply may

excellence, both in ourselves and in others.

types of excellence:

not realize the level of accomplishment they

we get to have, being in the presence of, or achieving excellence in its true form, is one of the most inspiring of all. As leaders we have the responsibility to, and

is very personal, it is not always visible to

just achieved in comparison to their starting To that end, we create countless mission

Internal

statements and corporate communications

External

that promise to deliver it, state our dedication

Conditions Based

point because, as the saying goes: “It is difficult to read the label from the inside of the bottle.”

to it and call forth all employees to fulfill and exemplify it. Then we set out to achieve it.

Internal Excellence

In both cases, it

speaks to those But we have a problem. No one can definitively define “excellence.”

is important as

accomplishments

their leader that

that require the

you know them

person to face

well enough to

As a word “excellence” is subjective and

and overcome

see and then

relative. Yet when you witness or achieve

challenges

acknowledge

it, it becomes palpable. It has substance

requiring them

their excellence.

and meaning. It moves people to action.

to demonstrate

Excellence is as real as it is nebulous.

significant levels of

Doing so inspires them to seek to

discipline or personal So as a leader of the modern workforce, we

growth. The impact of

find ourselves in a perplexing conundrum.

this growth often serves to

We have to achieve something we

redefine themselves to themselves

can’t clearly define and we have to inspire

and to others.

people to aspire to and rise to this mystical

achieve excellence more often. External Excellence refers to accomplishments that are less about personal transformation and more about

level of achievement.

This form of excellence is humanistic and/or

using and leveraging one’s capabilities

spiritual in nature. It affects many aspects of

and resources to achieve goals defined as

Now, I am not promising to define the

one’s life.

being excellent.

undefinable in this article. I am not that bright. But I have identified some of the

Achievements of Internal Excellence must

External achievements are more easily seen

places where excellence resides. And since

be graded on a scale based upon the

and, therefore, are more acknowledged by

we know it when we see it, knowing where to

individual’s starting point, ending point

others. These can range from achieving

look for it increases our chances of finding

and the level of personal difficulty they

high levels of success in areas of career,

and fostering it.

experienced along the way.

education, production, creativity, etc.

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3 Forms of Excellence Leaders Must Recognize or Face Failure | SMALL BUSINESS

While equal in stature and importance,

As an example, someone swimming 100

essence of what “excellence” truly is for you

achieving External Excellence does not

yards may not represent either an Internal

and your team. Do not allow excellence to be

always require the individual to overcome

or External form of excellence, however, if

diluted or your teams to become delusional.

great personal challenges. This is not meant

the person did it with two broken arms in a

to diminish the importance of this

rip tide, such an accomplishment

form of excellence. It is to

would be viewed as

sound a warning bell.

“beyond excellent!”

When you do this well, the organization fortunate enough to have you in their ranks prospers and profits. So do you, both personally and professionally.

If leaders over-

The opposite could

acknowledge

be true as well.

External

It is possible

Excellence

that conditions

that does not

become so

require Internal

favorable

Excellence, it is

that what

possible to stifle

once would be

the growth of the

considered a great

individual in question.

accomplishment

Take, for instance, the

a “can’t miss.” In those

can suddenly become natural athlete or the musical

circumstances, it would not be

prodigy whose starting point may be defined

proper to treat such an accomplishment as

as “excellent” to others, but which really

an example of excellence.

represents a small percentage of what they are truly capable of achieving for themselves.

For instance, a generally agreed upon level of excellence might be for a young person

These gifted individuals pose special

of modest means to have $100,000.00 in the

it is important as their leader that you know them well enough to see and then acknowledge their excellence

challenges for leaders in that they require

bank before the age of thirty. However, if that

the leader to reset their own “opinions” of

level of savings was all that was left from a

Just imagine how Bob Bowman felt when he

excellence to a set of standards that they

$200 million PowerBall lottery, all of a sudden

was bearing witness to the level of excellence

may never have seen accomplished before,

that accomplishment is not so excellent. In

he helped to unleash for the world to see.

yet are achievable for that gifted individual.

fact, that “achievement” could be viewed as a dismal failure!

Then imagine how much money he will make for the rest of his career!

An example of a leader who was challenged in this area and succeeded would be

Conclusion:

Michael Phelps’ coach: Bob Bowman.

Michael wins, Bob wins and we all get

The point of all of

to be amazed

Conditions Based Excellence takes the

this is that in order

and inspired by

internal and external achievements into

for us, as leaders,

it all. The way I

account, then factors in “conditions” as part

to accurately

see it, there is

of the formula that determines whether or not

acknowledge and

no downside

excellence has been achieved.

reward excellence,

to this whole

we must become Think of Conditions Based Excellence

very familiar with

as grading on a curve that measures the

the individual(s) we

individuals’ performance relative to the

are leading and the

conditions in which they had to operate.

conditions under which they

We routinely acknowledge Conditions

are working.

Based Excellence when using phrases like: “Well, under the circumstances she/he did amazingly well.”

We must commit to being a steward of and a

“In Search of Excellence” stuff. As long as you know where to search.

Jeffrey Deckman Capability Accelerators www.capabilityaccelerators.com

torchbearer for preserving and protecting the www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

27


SMALL BUSINESS | How to Get Noticed in This Very Noisy Marketplace

How To Get Noticed In This Very Noisy Marketplace by Donna Mac

So, what works then? What do listeners

gone. They’ve been replaced by thirty and

and viewers and visitors to websites need

ten second ads to give the advertiser the

these days?

chance to “hit” the consumer more often,

Never in the history of communications

especially with more limited budgets. Even

have we had a chance to make an impact

They need less. First, let’s explore why.

our movie theatres air commercial messages

on our surroundings like we can today! With

A dozen years ago, the average person

well before the promotional trailers come on AND, even though many of us don’t realize

the proliferation of technology, we can now

encountered 2,500-­3,500 commercial

record our messages once and share them

messages PER DAY. That was just after

it, commercial messages are embedded

with thousands…or even millions. Through

the turn of the millennium, when many of

throughout the body of most movies.

the wonders of audio, video, podcasts, and

us didn’t even own a home computer.

traditional radio and TV, we can motivate,

Fast forward to 2013, and that number

educate and inspire like never before.

(recently quoted in the New York Times)

So if we’re trying to promote ourselves and

is closer to 20,000.

our businesses, and get noticed, how on

the recipient of your messages is savvier

How can that be?

do we share our unique proposition? Feed

than ever. Plus, his/her needs have changed

With technological advances, our stationary

the hungry.

As we move forward in this brave new world,

The list could go on and on.

earth do we break through the clutter? How

dramatically. No longer is the message of

billboards are now digitized and give us

a hot new car with some driving rock and

numerous ads during the handful of seconds

roll music in the background, and “the big

we drive by them. Five pages on some

for. If your target market is your counterpart,

guy with the big voice” shouting from the

websites might offer several banner ads

ask yourself what YOU are hungry for to

rooftops about low, bottom line pricing going

or click-­throughs per page. Notice that

get the answer. Could that be less stress,

to make a dramatic impact in our lives.

most 60 second radio and TV ads are now

more time, more peace of mind or security?

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That means, give people what they’re hungry


How to Get Noticed in This Very Noisy Marketplace | SMALL BUSINESS

And if big, bold commercials are no longer working, what does draw you in? Could it be the thought of an easier life, support for your loved ones or gratitude for the simple pleasures we so often take for granted?

A dozen years ago, the average person encountered 2,500 to 3­ ,500 commercial messages PER DAY. Fast forward to 2013, and that number is closer to 20,000. No matter what your message is, make sure the one receiving it “feels something” while watching and listening because with our busy lives, it’s those human connections, the feeling that someone does indeed “get” us, that’s missing. And we can help to bring that back. So while preparing, writing and producing your messaging, ask yourself the question, “Am I relating and validating?” If you are, they will be appreciating! And they’ll be much more apt to remember you. Isn’t that who YOU want to do business with? Your audience may not need you today, but when the desire for your products and

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www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

29


SMALL BUSINESS |

Motivating Others Using Kind Words by Patricia Raskin

it’s amazing how deflated we can be when we feel unappreciated, disrespected and devalued

There is no excuse for rude and demeaning behavior. Words can cut

Words and phrases such as “thank

emotionally.

you,” “I appreciate that,” and “You made a difference” really do count. It’s simple

However, there are always lessons

and we often do not realize how much

to be learned. These types of

those phrases of recognition mean. Those

situations can prepare you for the

words can make all the difference in

future.

motivating others to be part of the team and to do the tasks at hand.

Here are some things to look for in future situations:

On the other side of this, phrases like “I’m really concerned that this was not

done,” “Why did you do that?,” “That looks awful,” or not responding at all

have the opposite effect on us. It’s

Seek out and find a positive team and support

amazing how deflated we can be when

we feel unappreciated, disrespected and

devalued, or when whatever we do is not

Choose tasks that you know you can accomplish

Know your worth and protect it Limit your interactions with those who are demeaning

right or just not enough. The words you use really count. The Here are some ways you can

well-known phrase, “Treat others as

work with this without loosing energy or

you want to be treated” says it well,

self-esteem:

but Albert Schweitzer sums it up

Have a strong core belief and value,

can accomplish much. As the sun

when he wrote, “Constant kindness

Patricia Raskin Raskin Resources Productions www.patriciaraskin.com

and believe in your mission

makes ice melt, kindness causes

Be part of a team that is task-

misunderstanding, mistrust and

focused so that the goals are aligned

hostility to evaporate.” So much

Weigh the words being told to you

more can be accomplished when

with the reality of the situation. If

we work together and are kind

anything has the merit to get the

to each other. It’s so vital for our

job done more efficiently or to

positive mental and physical health

communicate more effectively, make

in and out of the workplace, and for

the changes.

the health of our society.

Patricia Raskin, President of Raskin Resources Productions, Inc., is a radio talk show host, award-winning producer, media coach and speaker. She is the host of “Positive Business” on AM790 on Fridays from 3-5PM, “Patricia Raskin Positive Living” on WPRO -630AM & 99.7FM on Saturdays from 3-5PM and “The Patricia Raskin Show” on WSAR – 1480AM on Fridays from 10-noon. www.patriciaraskin.com

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


A Culture of Learning | SMALL BUSINESS

A Culture of Learning by Ivan Misner & Peter George

Most business people pay lip service to education. Maybe not

With that in mind, here’s an action item for this week. Look

you—you’re actually taking time to read this article on business

at your financials (e.g. check book, credit card statements) for the

development. I’m talking about the average business professional.

last year. Have you spent anything on some type of on-going business education?

Ask a group of business people if they’d be willing to attend a seminar on networking, and ¾ of the people in the room would say yes. Give

If you aren’t “emptying some of your purse into your head,” take

them a specific date and time, and only a handful will actually sign up.

a few minutes to think about what you want to learn to help you build your business—and sign up for something this week!

Personal and professional self-development is a journey—not a destination. It is something that is always a work-in-progress. Often,

Don’t put it off any longer.

business people get so caught up working “in” their business that they forget to spend time working “on” their business. Part of working “on” a

If you want to earn more, you need to learn more! Reading the Rhode

business is devoting time to professional development. That’s why most

Island Small Business Journal is certainly a great place to start.

successful business professionals embrace a “culture of learning.” Benjamin Franklin once said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always

Ivan Misner Founder and Chairman BNI

Peter George Director BNI Rhode Island

pays the highest return.”

Guiding you through life’s most challenging moments. Navigating through insurance challenges alone can be overwhelming. Gallo |Thomas is here to keep you on course. We are committed to steering you in the right direction and providing tailored insurance solutions. For over 65 years, Gallo |Thomas Insurance Agency has cultivated a timehonored reputation for quality-driven solutions that represent forward thinking, advanced product offerings, and insightful risk management. Insure your future with Gallo |Thomas.

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Risk Management Services www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

31


All winners and finalists—indeed, all applicants—in the 2013 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition are to be congratulated on formulating a plan for a new business. It’s important to include all 78 applicants because, based on the competition’s history since it was established in 2000, it is not at all unusual for semi-finalists and others who didn’t progress to the final round to develop growth companies. This year’s winners and finalists possess valuable traits that investors look for when evaluating potential investments. In particular, they: •

Offered a compelling business proposition, which means they have identified a problem and proposed a solution which is better than any existing solution and which can make money.

Demonstrated why they are qualified to develop the business, because in the beginning and in the end, investors invest in people. All business plans are subject to change, and investors want to know that the people they’re investing in have the capacity to respond to changing conditions and, if necessary, re-orient their business.

Also important to note is that this year’s applicants offered plans that spanned a full range of industries – from health care, manufacturing,

entrepreneurship continues to be a dynamic, demanding, sometimes exhausting venture, but it’s always exciting and leads to new possibilities 32

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

software, and consumer to Internet, distribution, and retail. They recognized that the opportunity to create new companies is limited only by the imagination. Are business plans worth developing if, as noted, an actual business idea is likely to evolve, and in some cases, end up being something quite different from what was originally proposed? The answer is an emphatic “yes.” It was Dwight Eisenhower who, after leading the victorious Allied armies in World War II, said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”


Winners and Finalists of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition | FEATURE

Winners and Finalists of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

Alison Cariati, HAVERHILL Incorporated Winner of the Entrepreneur Track HAVERILL Incorporated is a fine jewelry company Alison co-founded with designer Haverhill Leach in 2013. Haverhill and Alison worked together to come up with a jewelry line that is easily wearable and that holds real intrinsic value. The designs they came up with combine quality and style to create accessories that are timeless, hence their slogan “Statement Jewelry for Every Day.” Eddie Ross, TennisHub

by Peter Lowy

Winner of the Technology Track TennisHub is an online service that allows players to book tennis courts, find new partners, and, of course, play more tennis! Eddie always knew there

In other words, the act of planning helps you understand how the many elements of an operation interconnect and prepares you to respond to inevitable change. Many times applicants tell us that while they didn’t win the competition,

were tennis events to participate in, but he never knew where they were or when they were happening. Players needed a way to find tennis events and book them online, so Eddie created TennisHub to get players on the courts more often. Tyler Benster, Azavy

just completing the online evaluation helped them think through their

Winner of the Student Track

idea. Often, people, even those who never completed the application,

Azavy is an online store for 3D printed goods where designers can post their

have said questions in the application (What is your market?

images for sale, 3D printing services can print images posted in Azavy’s

Who are your competitors? What are your greatest strengths and

catalog, and consumers can purchase images in the catalog or order printing

weaknesses?) forced them to more fully explore what they’re trying to

from the listed printing services. Through this online store, printing services

accomplish and how.

can monetize their 3D printers, and consumers receive fair prices and quick delivery from local printers.

To help people think about their business idea, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition hosts a number of free seminars in which

Jenny Yu, Optitrum

business leaders and experts provide guidance on how to determine

Finalist of the Student Track

whether an idea can be a business, how to go about the mechanics

Optitrum started as a capstone project and turned into a business with the

of developing a written plan, and how to present a plan to investors.

goal of eliminating pain for diabetics. Jenny and her team created a non-

These seminars are open to everyone, and will be offered again in

invasive glucose meter that measures glucose levels using saliva, removing

advance of the deadline to apply to the 2014 competition, whether or

the need for the painful needles used with traditional glucose meters.

not they intend to apply.

Optitrum is in the middle of value-adding experiments, and will hopefully be

The actual writing of a plan is the final step of what can be a lengthy process of investigation, research, testing, and analysis. A business idea may have appeal, but a survey of your target market, for instance, may tell you that what you thought is the problem really isn’t. Similarly, developing financial projects—a critically important part of any plan, with which most applicants need and should seek

headed for FDA approval later this year. Mel Prenovitz, EndoSphere Surgical, Inc. Finalist of the Entrepreneur Track Doctors have been looking for better instruments that decrease the number of incisions from as many as five to as few as one; however, when instruments share the same entry port into the body, surgeons have issues with depth perception. EndoSphere Surgical, Inc. discovered the use of miniature electro optics restores depth perception without the need for a laparoscope or a video camera, and it works with existing instruments.

assistance—can surface many issues that are best addressed before reaching out to investors. For example, if your analysis says you will

Melissa Ellard, Fashion-Force

break even in a dozen years, it’s best to re-think the idea, as few

Finalist of the Student Track

investors will wait that long.

Fashion-Force is an online alternative to trade shows for the fashion industry. Companies are given the chance to display their latest designs on a 24/7

Entrepreneurship continues to be a dynamic, demanding, sometimes

platform so that they can avoid the additional expenses, time, and stress

exhausting venture, but it’s always exciting and leads to new

of traditional trade shows. Fashion-Force’s overall goal is to help fashion

possibilities. We welcome applicants to the 2014 Rhode Island

businesses grow, connect, and conduct business through an easy,

Business Plan Competition.

all-in-one service.

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

33


FEATURE | Winners and Finalists of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

The Perfect Partnership After several years of thinking about starting her own business, Alison

They spent a long time working through strengths, risks, resources

Cariati finally decided to start HAVERHILL Incorporated. HAVERILL

needed, and many other pieces key to building their business. Even

Incorporated is a fine jewelry company Alison co-founded with

though they have been able to put their business strategy into a

designer Haverhill Leach in 2013; it is also the recent winner of the

comprehensive plan, Alison believes that every business plan will

Entrepreneur Track at the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition.

change, and she has not stopped adjusting her own plan since its creation.

Alison was always inspired by her father, who owned his own business and gave her the encouragement to start a business of her own one day. Her many years of working as a consultant in numerous different

“As an entrepreneur, you also have to be ready to adjust, rethink, always question and change when necessary. The business plan

industries, as well as her positions as Director of Marketing and VP of

is a process, it’s not about a week or a month of writing – it’s about

Business Development, gave her the experience she needed to open

research and viewpoints and rewrites and updates,” Alison said.

her own business. Once she teamed up with Haverhill Leach, Alison was ready to get started.

Through all of her research, Alison determined that women need a brand that is accessible, distinctive, and classic. Haverhill and Alison

“It’s all about vision, timing, and, for me, the right business partner…

worked together to come up with a jewelry line that is easily wearable

The decision to launch the business is all about sharing the

and that holds real intrinsic value. The designs they came up with

commitment and drive to create and build this company together,”

combine quality and style to create accessories that are timeless,

Alison said.

hence their slogan “Statement Jewelry for Every Day.”

According to Alison, the most challenging part about putting together the business plan was being thorough for each portion of the plan.

“HAVERHILL is a new lifestyle accessories brand with the cornerstone product of fine jewelry. Designed by Haverhill Leach, the HAVERHILL jewelry collection is clean, bold, modern style that is beautifully crafted in sterling silver and gemstones with 18k gold accents. It’s easily wearable from work to play,” said Alison. Alison is very proud to be the winner of the Entrepreneur Track at the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition.

Alison Cariati, HAVERHILL Incorporated Winner of the Entrepreneur Track

Our clients know we’re here for them year-round, not just at year-end.

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

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

ROBERT J. CIVETTI

Providence, RI 02903 401 421 2710 www.thebravergroup.com

NEWTON

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

BOSTON

TA U N T O N

PROVIDENCE

C O NC O R D

Photos: Angela Abele-Gora

155 South Main Street


“We won the competition within two weeks of launching our jewelry collection. The momentum, the recognition, and the cash are all very much needed and appreciated at this juncture of our new venture. For all the people working with us to build this business it offers great validation,” said Alison.

The decision to launch the business is all about sharing the commitment and drive to create and build this company together With all of her years of business experience and the lessons learned from her father, Alison has plenty of advice to share with those just starting out. Alison recommends that business owners “stick to [their] vision and [their] dreams, but be sure to listen and take in all the advice [they] can get.” She believes that growing a company requires a strong team of skilled workers, and advises that anyone starting out has a group of friends, family members, and coworkers to rely on. This summer, Alison and Haverhill are officially launching their jewelry

05

Friday July 5 Newport County Chamber of Commerce Time: 8:00 am - 9:15 am Chamber Connections 35 Valley Rd. Middletown, RI 02842

07

Sunday July 7 South County Chamber of Commerce South County Antique Auto Show 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

08

Monday July 8 Out of the Box Networking Social w/Monday Night Networking George’s of Galilee 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm 250 Sand Hill Cove Rd Narragansett, RI

09

Tuesday July 9 Out of the Box Networking Social ‘ w/Monday Night Networking Carousel Grille 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm 859 Oakland Beach Ave Warwick, RI

09

Tuesday July 9 International Tennis Hall of Fame Chamber Day at the International Tennis Hall of Fame! 11:00 am - 8:00 pm 194 Bellevue Ave. Newport, RI 02840

collection. They already appeared at the JCK tradeshow in Las Vegas, and they will soon be exhibiting their collection at JA NY July 28-30th. They plan on meeting with many buyers to get their product in the market and build a retail base.

Libations Restaurant

Lounge

S M A L L P L AT E S • B I G F L AVO R • G R E AT VA L U E

Libations Restaurant & Lounge at the RADISSON HOTEL PROVIDENCE AIRPORT

2081 Post Road • Warwick, RI 02886 401.598.2121 • www.radisson.com/warwickri

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

35


FEATURE | Winners and Finalists of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

An Entrepreneur Since the Age of Eight Melvin Prenovitz has shown strong entrepreneurial inclinations since

were particularly useful in helping him see the need for more advanced

he was eight years old. Whether it was selling novelties, going door

industrial and commercial video systems, as well as the opportunities to

to door asking neighbors to purchase Christmas cards, or shining

sell these systems for medical or surgical applications.

shoes, he always found some way to build his business skills. Now, Melvin owns EndoSphere Surgical, Inc. and was named a finalist in

Before starting EndoSphere Surgical, Inc., Mel created his own

the Entrepreneur Track of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

first serious business when he was in his early 30’s. This business

for his hard work creating and building the company.

involved system design and sales of video imaging to a variety of markets, including audiovisual studios, security surveillance

Mel’s interest in business was passed down from his family, who runs

systems, and scientific instrumentation and surgery. Through his

a second generation family business that Mel was trained to take

involvement with these markets, Mel got to work with surgeons

over. After his graduation from Babson College, Mel worked full-time

developing arthroscopic surgery, adding to his experience with

for the company. A few years later, Mel decided to move on from the

surgical applications of video systems.

company and went on to be a part of half a dozen start-ups. Much of Mel’s experience prior to starting EndoSphere Surgical, Inc. helped him earn the knowledge he needed to have a company in the industrial and medical industries. His three jobs at video companies

Mel Prenovitz, EndoSphere Surgical, Inc. Finalist of the Entrepreneur Track

realize that if you were to fail, mostly all those options will still be available. If you do not go for it, the ‘what if’ will haunt you for the rest of your life Mel’s years of experience helped him find the reason to create EndoSphere Surgical, Inc. “At this time in my career, I have 25 years of endoscopy experience and knowledge. I understand the capabilities and limitations of technology and can recognize opportunities. I started out doing a market research study of 3D video endoscopy. During that project, it

that way is because that is the way it was always done,” Mel said. Mel spent at least a year performing market research for EndoSphere Surgical, Inc. He found that in laparoscopic surgery, doctors were

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Photos: Angela Abele-Gora

became obvious to me that 3D was helpful for improving the way the surgical technique was practiced. But, the only reason for practicing it


Networking and Workshops | EVENTS

looking for better instruments that decreased the number of incisions from as many as five to as few as one; however, when the instruments

09

Tuesday July 9 Centerville Seminar Center Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program “Why New Products Succeed” 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Warwick, RI

10

Wednesday July 10 Centerville Seminar Center Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program Who’s in Charge? Quieting Your Fear of Speaking 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Warwick, RI

12

Thursday July 12 South County Chamber of Commerce First Friday Coffee hosted by The Right Click and RI Blood Center 8:00 am - 9:00 am

12

Thursday July 12 Southern RI Chamber of Commerce and SK Lions Club Partners in the Community Golf Tournament and Networking Extravaganza 1:30 pm - 7:00 pm

15

Monday July 15 Kirkbrae Country Club 20th Annual Golf Tournament 197 Old River Road, Lincoln, RI 02865

16

Tuesday July 16 Centerville Seminar Center RI Small Business Recovery Program Eight Steps to Successful Inventing 6:30 – 8:00 pm 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Warwick, RI

17

Wednesday July 17 Narragansett Chamber of Commerce NARRAGANSETT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BOARD MEETING 8:00 am – 9:00 am 35 Ocean Road Narragansett, RI 02882

17

Wednesday July 17 Centerville Seminar Center RI Small Business Recovery Program Tips & Tricks for Creating a Useful Facebook Business Page 6:30 – 7:30 pm 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Warwick, RI

18

Thursday July 18 Small Business Development Center DATA PRIVACY SEMINAR 8:30 am to 11:00 am RIEDC Providence 555 Valley Street Providence, RI 02908

18

Thursday July 18 Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program Speed Mentoring 8:30 am – 11:00am Centerville Seminar Center 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Warwick, RI

were sharing the same entry port into the body, surgeons had issues with depth perception. As new companies tried to reestablish depth perception to the endoscope, the device became more expensive and surgeons were facing cost containment pressures. EndoSphere Surgical, Inc. discovered the use of miniature electro optics restores depth perception without the need for a laparoscope or a video camera, and it works with existing instruments. “Every competitor is competing for a better quality image by trying to improve the features of their endoscope and/or video camera. We approached the video image from an ‘out-of-the-box’ perspective by designing a totally different approach to imaging that eliminated the endoscope, the camera and the light source,” Mel said. Mel and his team were excited to be named a finalist in the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. As Mel said, it was a “great boost in moral to all the team” and the publicity has been helpful. For those of you with a passion to start your own business, Mel said, “[Be] prepared to sacrifice to achieve your goal, and then list all the alternative positions available to you. Then, realize that if you were to fail, mostly all those options will still be available. If you do not go for it, the ‘what if’ will haunt you for the rest of your life.”

OCEAN HOUSE Watch Hill, RI

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

37


FEATURE | Winners and Finalists of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

Returning the Entrepreneurial Spirit to RI Eddie Ross was a frustrated tennis player who saw a need and

His spare time was used for business development and some of his

created a successful business with a solution: TennisHub. TennisHub

greatest ideas were created on late-night flights home or when he was

is an online service that allows players to book tennis courts, find new

driving around in his car.

partners, and, of course, play more tennis! Eddie also had a large network of experienced professionals he could Eddie always knew there were tennis events to participate in, but

rely on for advice. As he likes to say, “It takes a village to create a

he never knew where they were or when they were happening.

startup,” and Eddie believes you need smart people to tell you if your

Players needed a way to find tennis events and book them online, so

idea has merit or if it needs improvement. As a sole owner, Eddie

Eddie began researching the market. He surveyed tennis teaching

admits that being on his own was certainly a challenge, but having a

professionals, front desk staff, players, friends and anyone else who

team of skilled individuals, as well as a supportive family, helped him

could prove that there was a need in the market. Each of his ideas

build a unique, successful business.

was broken into pieces to be validated by the consumers he surveyed, and as they were validated, he began to form his business model.

It took about four years and plenty of research for Eddie to be

The biggest problem Eddie faced was how to create a profitable

TennisHub was the winner of the Technology Track in the Rhode Island

business. As a father, Eddie did not feel comfortable quitting his

Business Plan Competition for their model, clearly showing Eddie’s

full-time job unless he could find a way for TennisHub to make money.

company is on the right track. Eddie believes that their execution of

comfortable enough with TennisHub’s model to leave his job.

the plan really won over the judges. “We’re not just a concept. We have revenue, customers, products and financing. We’ve been relentlessly focused on execution and fixing things to make progress, which I think the judges took note of,” Eddie said. Eddie Ross, TennisHub

I am very

Winner of the Technology Track

passionate about bringing jobs to Rhode Island and helping the state grow through the aid

Eddie also believes TennisHub’s commitment to renewing the entrepreneurial culture in Rhode Island helped them win the competition.

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Photos: Angela Abele-Gora

of startups


Networking and Workshops | EVENTS

“I grew up in Pawtucket, so I know about the state’s deep history at the mills during the Industrial Revolution, and I feel a responsibility

18

Thursday July 18 Newport County Chamber of Commerce Brown Bag Networking Lunch 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm 35 Valley Rd. Middletown, RI Thursday July 18

18

Thursday July 18 Rose Hill Golf Club Southern RI Chamber of Commerce Partners in the Community Golf Tournament and Networking Extravaganza 1:30pm Rose Hill Golf Club, 222 Rose Hill Road, South Kingstown

18

Thursday July 18 East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Main Street Stroll: Dogs on Main Parade 5-8:00pm 580 Main Street East Greenwich, RI

18

Thursday July 18 Claiborne Pell Manor North Central Chamber of Commerce The Affordable Health Care Act Info Session 6:00 -7:00 pm

19

Friday July 19 Centerville Seminar Center RI Small Business Recovery Program Aristotle’s Model for Complex Problem Solving 8:30 – 10:00 am Centerville Seminar Center 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Warwick, RI

19

Friday July 19 Westerly Community Credit Union Newport County Chamber of Commerce Chamber Connections 8:00 am - 9:15 am 35 Valley Rd. Middletown, RI 02842

23

Tuesday July 23 Rhode Island Resource and Recovery North Central Chamber of Commerce FREE Summer Field Trip Series 9:30-10:30am 65 Shun Pike, Johnston, RI 02919

23

Tuesday July 23 Meritage East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours 5:30-7:30pm 5454 Post Rd., East Greenwich, RI 02818

23

Tuesday July 23 Centerville Seminar Center RI Small Business Recovery Program Crowdfund Your Way to Business Success: A Free Workshop from a Successful Crowdfunder! 6:30 – 8:00 pm Centerville Seminar Center 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Warwick, RI

to bring back Rhode Island’s entrepreneurial culture. I am very passionate about bringing jobs to Rhode Island and helping the state grow through the aid of startups,” Eddie said. So what advice does the successful owner of TennisHub offer for startups? Know your market and your customer. Eddie spent years performing customer discovery in order to make sure he was providing a solution that meant something to his consumers. Eddie says business owners need to know their market to understand how big it is, who their competitors are, what the capital requirements are, and many other important details. He recommends startups check out other successful business plans to help create their own models. Now that TennisHub has won the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, the company plans to continue gaining new customers and spreading to a national level. Luckily, TennisHub is a unique service, so they do not face many competitors, but they still work on being ten times better than any other model so that there is a clear distinction for their consumers. Overall, TennisHub wants to continue providing a great, easy user experience that gets tennis players on the courts more!

Quality Promotional Products For Every Budget Promotional Products • Embroidery Screen Printing • Premium Gift Items

Office 401.369.3644 | Fax 401.943.6658 | amazingspecialty@aol.com

www.amazingspecialties.com www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

39


FEATURE | Winners and Finalists of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

Designing a Path to the Future of Manufacturing Between studying at Brown University, participating in athletics, and

Azavy is an online store for 3D printed goods where designers can

working at internships and summer jobs, Tyler Benster somehow

post their images for sale, 3D printing services can print images

found the time to create his company Azavy with cofounder, Lucas

posted in Azavy’s catalog, and consumers can purchase images in

Eggers. The company is quickly growing, and recently won the

the catalog or order printing from the listed printing services. Through

Student Track at the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition!

this online store, printing services can monetize their 3D printers, and consumers receive fair prices and quick delivery from local printers.

Before building Azavy, Tyler gained some valuable business and

The founders compare Azavy to Etsy, with the only difference being

technological experience that helped him develop his business plan.

that the designer and manufacturer can be different parties.

For two summers, Tyler did software development for a tech start-up in Seattle before moving on to an internship with an investment bank his junior year of college. A great amount of his business knowledge comes from being a co-founder of an education start-up called Classdeck, where he learned how to develop a business from the ground up. Azavy was created when Tyler and Lucas had a 3D design that they wanted to get printed, and had trouble finding a 3D printer for a good price. They were disappointed with the online services, which were expensive and took too long to deliver. Finally, after posting in a forum, they discovered a local printer that was faster and less expensive than the online companies. After this experience, the duo realized that local printing businesses needed some help getting their names out there, so they created Azavy. Tyler Benster, Azavy Winner of the Student Track

Don’t go at it alone! We have been blessed with fabulous partners, mentors, friends, and parents. Identify people that you think could be helpful down the line, and start by asking for their advice Tyler got Azavy up and running after eight months of strategizing with Lucas. The two determined that people need to understand the benefits of 3D printing, and the first step was to connect the world with underutilized 3D printers and talented designers who could create the product they were looking for. Each of the printers listed on Azavy have unique qualities and technologies, offering Azavy consumers a customized experience with the best print and price for their needs.

Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. “It was thrilling to win! Our team has been working hard on Azavy throughout the school year. We’re honored to have received such a distinction at this early stage,” said Tyler.

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Photos: Angela Abele-Gora

Currently, Tyler is enjoying being the winner of the Student Track at the


Networking and Workshops | EVENTS

In the future, Azavy hopes to increase the number of industrial 3D printers in their network and look into business-to-business sales

24

Wednesday July 24 Westerly Community Credit Union Business After Hours 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

26

Friday July 26 McCoy Stadium East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce “EG Chamber PawSox Family Night” 5:00pm BBQ, 7:05pm Game Time PawSox vs. Lehigh at McCoy Stadium

26

Friday July 26 Newport County Chamber of Commerce July Business After Hours – Newport Gulls 6:00pm - 9:00 pm 35 Valley Rd. Middletown, RI 02842

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Wednesday July 31 Centerville Seminar Center RI Small Business Recovery Program Maximize Your Multi-Media Output: Organizing & Producing Digital Media 6:30 – 8:-00 pm Centerville Seminar Center 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5 Warwick, RI

02

Friday, August 2 Rock Spot Climbing Southern RI Chamber of Commerce First Friday Coffee 8-9am 1174 Kingstown Road, Peace Dale.

06

Tuesday August 6 Rhode Island State House North Central Chamber of Commerce FREE Summer Field Trip Series 12:30-1:30pm 82 Smith St #108A, Providence, RI 02903

12

Monday August 12 Plaza Mexico NRI Chamber of Commerce Networking at Night 5:00pm-7:00pm Plaza Mexico 2120 Diamond Hill Road Woonsocket, RI

13

Tuesday August 13 BLU on the Water East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours 5:30pm-7:30pm 20 Water Street East Greenwich, RI 02818

opportunities. Tyler and Lucas are passionate about bringing manufacturing back to Rhode Island, so they are collaborating with Governor Chafee, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Senator Whitehouse’s office to bring a Manufacturing Innovation Institute to Rhode Island. Azavy was fortunate to have the support and guidance of Brown Venture Labs, Stanford E-Bootcamp, and the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition while starting up. Tyler learned how important it is to have support from others, and he recommends that people starting their own business have a strong network of individuals willing to help. “Don’t go at it alone! We have been blessed with fabulous partners, mentors, friends, and parents. Identify people that you think could be helpful down the line, and start by asking for their advice. Build relationships with people that want to see you succeed and make sure to recognize and acknowledge their support,” Tyler said. Most importantly, Tyler believes, “For each success, there were countless other opportunities that did not work out. Persevere through the missteps and use your passion to fuel the victories.”

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www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

41


FEATURE | Winners and Finalists of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

A Fashionista Building an Online B2B Fashion Community

Fashion-Force. It was an amazing experience and it feels fantastic to know others can see how hard I have researched my idea, and how

passionate I am about Fashion-Force and its potential for changing

Melissa Ellard, a recent college graduate, worked hard over her

the entire fashion industry,” Melissa said.

last year at Bryant University to build the platform for her business, Fashion-Force, in her entrepreneurship class. Now, Fashion-Force is

Currently, Fashion-Force only has one major competitor, but its

not just a concept, but a steadily growing business and a finalist in the

competitor focuses more on developed businesses with larger

Student Track at the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition!

budgets and charges ten times more per month. The company hopes to help newer businesses, which do not have extra capital for travel

Fashion-Force is an online alternative to trade shows for the fashion

and trade shows, grow their presence in the fashion industry.

industry. Companies are given the chance to display their latest designs on a 24/7 platform so that they can avoid the additional

Melissa has many plans for Fashion-Force’s future, including

expenses, time, and stress of traditional trade shows. Fashion-

collaboration with other companies. Fashion-Force has already

Force also offers a social community where wholesalers/designers,

teamed up with Fashion and Fame Magazine out of Cranston, Rhode

manufacturers, and retailers can meet for business to business

Island. Fashion and Fame Magazine spotlights local fashion talent

communications. Customers can also receive line sheet photography

internationally, and offers many brand-building opportunities for future

and services, as well as 360 degree image services. Fashion-Force’s

members of Fashion-Force. Right now, Melissa’s first goal is to get the

overall goal is to help fashion businesses grow, connect, and conduct

company’s website built before they start selling to businesses.

business through an easy, all-in-one service. For those of you looking to start your own business, Melissa says to During college, Melissa interned at Ross Stores, Inc. and Eileen F.

make sure there is a need for your product or service. She says that

Baker, Designer Representative. She also traveled to Milan, Italy for

it’s important for you to first validate your idea in the market through

a semester to study Fashion and Fashion Marketing at the Lorenzo

research before you waste time on an idea that the market doesn’t need.

De Medici – Italian International Institute. She is currently working

What’s her most important piece of advice? Melissa said, “Never be

for Fashion and Fame Magazine and Anna Ober & Co. to further her

scared to share your idea! You never know what can happen.”

knowledge on sales, competitive strategies, fashion trends, inventory, and much more. These years of experience showed her there was a need for a better alternative to trade shows that allowed businesses to grow and connect, and her solution was Fashion-Force.

Melissa Ellard, Fashion-Force Finalist of the Student Track

Melissa began Fashion-Force’s business plan in her entrepreneurship class this past September with the aid of her professor, Sandra Potter. She conducted market validation at StyleWeek Providence, sales appointments, networking functions, photo shoots – whenever possible to make sure her idea had merit. The hardest part about creating the plan for Melissa was developing the five-year financial projections for Fashion-Force. Melissa had trouble because it was hard for her to value a concept that hadn’t been brought to life yet, but pay off in the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. “It was an amazing honor to be recognized by the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. The competition pushed me to new levels and gave me an opportunity to prove the need and future success of

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Photos: Angela Abele-Gora

she pushed through. Melissa was very excited to see her hard work


Winners and Finalists of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition | FEATURE

Creating a Pain-Free Alternative for Diabetics Jenny Yu is a member of a team trying to eliminate pain for diabetics

“It was so exciting that other people believed in Optitrum and our goals

through their company Optitrum. The team’s commitment to both their

– not just the team, our mentors, and our advisors. My team and I are

business and their customers helped them place as finalists in the

truly thankful for the opportunities that the Rhode Island Business Plan

Student Track of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition.

Competition gave us, not only in giving Optitrum a chance, but also in really launching it,” said Jenny.

Jenny received both her bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering and her master’s in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship from

Now that the competition is over and Jenny has graduated from

Brown University. It was during her capstone project for the master’s

Brown, she has moved Optitrum to her number one priority. The

program that Optitrum came to life with team members Xinming Shi,

team hopes to begin FDA approval later this year and is currently

Lu Liu, and Jing Feng. Not only did the whole team strongly believe in

working on value-adding experiments that will compare the accuracy

what Optitrum was working towards, but diabetes patients were also

of their product to traditional glucose meters. Jenny’s team found

excited about the business’ potential, so they stuck with it after their

that diabetes is expected to triple by 2050, and people are being

capstone project was over.

diagnosed at birth. They are looking forward to making diabetics’ lives easier with their pain-free product, and they are eager to get their

don’t be deterred by people who think you are too young or inexperienced

product out on the market to start helping people. As for advice for business owners just starting out, Jenny says success is all about following your passion. “Entrepreneurship is a constant learning process, so don’t be deterred by people who think you are too young or inexperienced. Of course, it is important that you don’t get tunnel vision and become wrapped up

Jenny joked that the only business experience she had previous to

in your own love for an idea; instead, find mentors and pick a strong

the master’s program was “playing shop as a child with [her] sister,”

team with complementary strengths and knowledge – these are the

so she relied on her parents, team and mentors at Brown to help her

people that you can rely on, that you don’t mind spending the majority

get things started. One of the hardest challenges the team faced

of your day with, and most importantly, they are the ones that will keep

was completing the market research. They wanted to make sure

you grounded,” said Jenny.

they had enough validated bottom-up research that could help them understand the challenges diabetes patients face. In the end, they discovered that diabetics do not want to be carrying around needles on a daily basis, so they began to work on an alternative.

Jenny Yu, Optitrum Finalist of the Student Track

“Optitrum aims to eliminate pain in the lives of diabetics. We are developing a non-invasive glucose meter that utilizes saliva to test glucose concentrations in the body, eliminating the need for painful finger pricks that traditional glucose meters use,” explained Jenny. Jenny and her team researched for about six months and then took another month to finalize their plan. They are very confident in Optitrum, and they know their passion and the proprietary technology and innovation that defines their company separates them from their competition. Their hard work also separated them from competitors at the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, where Optitrum was a finalist in the Student Track. www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

43


SMALL BUSINESS | When Good Marketing Results In Bad Business

when good marketing results in bad business by Bob Salvas

PLACE- If customers come to your place of business, it should be easy to find, have clear signage and a place to park. The inside should naturally be clean and orderly as well as organized

There seems to be as many approaches to marketing as there are

in a manner that makes sense for a person who might be looking

philosophies of life. To make matters more complicated, things

for something in particular. Secondly, what can be done to make

change over time. Knowledge and technological advances shine a

the location what we call ‘intrusively visible’? If there is something

light that often leads to even more interesting ideas and opinions. So,

interesting about the way the building looks, it can often spark

while I would love to tell you the marketing ideas that are the best, I

conversation in addition to making it easy to find. Lastly, what are the

know there are almost as few guarantees in marketing as there are

little things that you can do that make the place distinctive and reflect

guarantees in life.

what you are about?

The one guarantee that I will make, though, is that if you do not handle

PEOPLE- The most important people to you are actually the people who

that new customer correctly, no amount of additional marketing or

work for you, especially those who deal directly with the customers. You

advertising (no matter how good) can make you a long-term success.

need to start at the beginning, that is, you MUST focus on hiring the right people for the job in the first place. As a friend of mine says, “If the

The goal with a new customer should always be to make them a loyal

job is to climb a tree, would you rather hire a squirrel or train a horse?”

customer. There are four parts to loyalty- knowledge, communication,

Training, of course, is still important as even a great employee needs

community and experience. The single most important of these is

to know what is going on in the business. Lastly, give your employees

EXPERIENCE, also known as “the customer experience.” These are

a sense of empowerment and treat them well- basically the better you

the things that the customer ‘experiences’ in the act of doing business

treat your employees, the better they will treat your customers.

with you. In the case of a business with a physical location, there are three foundational elements to this experience: Product,

One company that obviously takes these three elements to the next

Place, and People.

level is Disney. Let’s consider a trip my family took a while back to Disney World:

PRODUCT- This could also be a service. The baseline key here is that you offer a product or service that is wanted or needed. It would

PRODUCT- The products in Disney World are the rides. One we went

seem to go without saying that if you offer a product no longer in use

on was a flume-type ride called Splash Mountain. Unlike a ‘regular’

(VHS player?) or one no longer popular (polyester leisure suits?), you

flume ride, the inside tunnels had animated characters from past

aren’t going to do well. So, first there must be some sort of demand

Disney movies singing and dancing. Like many of the rides,

for the product and secondly, what are you charging for the product?

it was a story come to life. Disney takes a ride available in other

Is your price within the tolerance of what people would be willing to

amusement parks, they make it better, different, more appealing and

pay? Notice I did NOT say that it had to be equal to or less than what

add more value.

others might be charging for the same thing. And finally, what can you do to make the product better, different, more appealing or give it the

PLACE- On our trip, we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge Resort.

perception of higher value?

The accommodations were great and clean, as you might imagine,

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


When Good Marketing Results In Bad Business | SMALL BUSINESS

and the building was beautiful. As we walked around at dusk, we noticed the lanterns that lit the walkway were flickering as if there were candles inside instead of electric lights. There were prints in the walkway as if to indicate a horse and deer had walked on them. The

infant • toddler • preschool ages 6 weeks to 5 years old

little things made the place distinctive and added to the theme that

do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.

they represented.

-Walt Disney PEOPLE- On one of the days of our vacation, there was rain in the forecast so we opted to go to Epcot. Sure enough, five minutes in the skies exploded and we ran for cover. The nearest building ended up being GUEST RELATIONS. What a bummer- nothing to do there

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but watch the thunderstorm with about 30 of our new storm-trapped friends. That is, until a Disney employee came out and announced that they were going to open the doors to the ‘back rooms’ and ‘secret passageways’ of Disney. They had, it turned out, a way to get us into the next building (which had some fun things to do) without ever going outside into the storm. We felt like the cavalry rescued us and we had a great time the rest of the day (the rain did eventually stop). I do not know for certain, but I would bet that the Disney employee did not have to ask anyone for special permission for us to go where we normally would not be allowed to go. He simply was empowered to take care of the customer and he cared enough to do it. The success of Disney teaches us that today we live in the EXPERIENCE ECONOMY -those who understand this will finish on top. The way to develop that great customer experience is to look at all three of the foundational elements and see how you can improve upon each of them or make them unique and different.

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One of the reasons why this is so important to business success is because marketing can be expensive- it can cost a lot of money to get a new customer to walk in the door. Once they get there, give them an experience that will make them want to come back. If you fail to do so, then your good marketing will surely result in bad business! Bob Salvas Marketing Consultant

NOW ENROLLING CALL TODAY! www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

45


SMALL BUSINESS | Rebuilding Our Roads & Bridges

Rebuilding Our Roads Bridges by Gina M. Raimondo

Poor. Mediocre. Structurally deficient. Functionally obsolete.

Rhode Island also still has one of the highest unemployment rates

These words were used by the American Society of Engineers to

in the country, and it is even still higher among the construction

describe Rhode Island’s infrastructure.

trades. Since the end of 2006, we have lost approximately 7,000 construction jobs.

This report also noted that driving on our roads costs Rhode Island motorists $350 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating

Together, Speaker Gordon Fox and I are tackling both issues. By

costs. This is just over $460 per motorist that could be in your pocket.

establishing the Municipal Road and Bridge Revolving Fund in

SAVE THE DATE

››››

EXPO

Sponsorships Opportunities Different levels of sponsorship are available. for more info contact:

kcarello@sos.ri.gov 401-222-2357

Tuesday, September 10 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Crowne Plaza Hotel, Warwick, RI

Get free business advice from a team of experts. Free workshops on different topics. Pick up business tips and give-aways all day long. 46

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


Rebuilding Our Roads & Bridges | SMALL BUSINESS

this year’s budget, we will be developing a vital cornerstone to our economy, and creating a predictable, innovative alternative for cities and towns to finance their major road and bridge projects. Over the last few months, I have traveled the state talking to municipal leaders about the need for a revolving fund program like this. This is a smart investment allowing municipalities to plan for projects and not depend on one-time grants. There will also be significant savings for them on account of lower borrowing costs by pooling the loans.

Poor. Mediocre. Structurally deficient. Functionally obsolete. These words were used by the American Society of Engineers to describe Rhode Island’s infrastructure. Most importantly, this program will support job creation. Once this program is up and running, this will have an immediate impact to our state. There are estimates that $20 million annually of infrastructure investment may support at least 250 jobs annually with some estimates as high as 550.

DONT MISS THE 2013 OCEAN STATE SMALL BUSINESS EXPO wednesday, october 2nd at the crowne plaza in warwick, ri

This recently approved program: •

Builds on the success of the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency’s AAA bond rating, an expansion modeled after other states.

Provides municipal access to capital at lower rates for longrange planning and infrastructure investment.

Provides local budget relief by lowering annual debt service payments.

Creates economic opportunities for the construction trades and

Continues the momentum of pension reform: The state is viewed

their suppliers. positively by investors and can affordably access the bond markets for important infrastructure funding. As leaders, our top priority is getting our economy moving again by taking action and creating opportunities for growth. Establishing a

exhibitor booths and sponsorship opportunities are still available

predictable, innovative alternative for cities and towns to finance their road and bridge improvements is an important cornerstone to building a vibrant economy for our state. Gina M. Raimondo Rhode Island General Treasurer

www.oceanstatesmallbusinessexpo.com 401 769 1325 x11

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

47


FEATURED CHAMBER | Cranston Chamber of Commerce

F E AT U R E D

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

The Cranston Chamber of Commerce has

greater impact in the business community

been in business since 1931 and has

and on legislative issues.”

been through many changes in the last several years, but this year the Chamber

The Cranston Chamber of Commerce

is embarking on its most aggressive

has been extremely active in its fight for

membership drive. On May 28th at Bonefish

lowering the cost of health insurance

Grill, the Cranston Chamber of Commerce

for small businesses. The Chamber has

launched the first of two membership races

been testifying on behalf of HealthRIght

called the Cranston 500. Over 120 people

for a comprehensive health planning

attended the event. President Stephen C.

system and recently testified to change

Boyle stated that our goal is to reach an

the way immunizations are paid for by

overall membership of 1,000 members in

the small business community. “The cost

the next year. The drive is tied to a historical

of immunizations for children and adults

event within the city: the first organized

are paid for solely on the backs of the

paved oval track race in the United States.

fully insured small business groups. Self

This was held at the Narragansett Speedway,

insurers such as Lifespan and the State of

which is currently the site of the Cranston

RI contribute nothing, despite the fact that

Stadium and the surrounding residential plot.

their employees take advantage of the free

In addition, the Chamber announced a

system is needed since it is unsustainable

$100 introductory membership fee for all

with less businesses remaining fully insured.”

immunizations. A more fair and equitable

businesses during the membership drive.

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Boyle stated that over 50 new members

President Stephen C. Boyle has been

have joined in the past few weeks. “The

the leading business voice at the rate

Cranston Chamber of Commerce has

increase hearings for the Blue Cross

dedicated itself to becoming the small

health insurance premium, testifying to

business advocate in the state and having

the negative impact it would have on its

a robust membership will allow us to have a

members. Blue Cross recently proposed


What’s New | CHAMBER CHAT

Central Chamber

an 18% rate hike in insurance premiums for

The Chamber is also in the process of

small business. Boyle is a member of the

making several internal changes as well.

Lauren E.I. Slocum, President/CEO

Health Insurance Commissioners Advisory

The Chamber recently received a legislative

3288 Post Road, Warwick, RI

Council, an Executive Board member of

grant by Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello

401 732 1100 | www.centralrichamber.com

the Small Employer Health Taskforce and a

to upgrade their computer system and

member of HealthRIght.

purchase a projector for presentations. “We

“Your Business Resource… If you have a question, ask.” We are thrilled to work

are extremely grateful for the assistance from

collaboratively with the Rhode Island

The Cranston Chamber is also addressing

Majority Leader Mattiello and it demonstrates

Chambers of Commerce on the Chamber

the issue of renewable energy and how

his commitment to the business community

Block Party to be held in August. www.

it might benefit small businesses. The

in Cranston.”

ChamberBlockParty.com The cohesive relationships within our community allow

Chamber has been partnering with Bill Ferguson, Executive Director of Tec-RI, with

Tied to that effort, the Chamber is in the

members to receive numerous benefits and rewards. From networking events to

regard to renewable energy initiatives for

process of implementing a more functional

small businesses. Tec-RI represents the

website which will enhance our ability

largest users of energy in the state. Boyle

to showcase various members and

Chamber advocates for the interests of our

stated there are numerous improvements

communication with our members.

members both economically and legislatively

changes to the installation of solar collectors

These are exciting times for the Chamber

Commerce Coalition. If you are looking for

that will provide an additional revenue

as it continues its major membership drive

source for the business. In addition, Boyle

and we encourage all small businesses in

was recently appointed by Senate Majority

the city to join with us in the coming months

Leader Paiva Weed to a three year term on

to make Cranston the number one business

New Members

the Rate Payers Advisory Board.

community in the state.

Clubhouse Pub

legislative advocacy, we sincerely seek to further our member’s goals. The Central RI

through the Rhode Island Chamber of

that a business can make, from small

a working partner for your company that is friendly and accessible, give us a call. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

GTECH Moon’s Autobody Sam’s Club Membership Warehouse The Barrett Group, LLC

East Bay Chamber Mark G. DeVine, CPA, Chairman 16 Cutler Street, Suite 102, Warren, RI 401 245 0750 | eastbaychamberri.org East Bay Chamber of Commerce 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!

Newest Members:

New Members The Mystical Grove

Time Plating, Inc.

NEL/CPS Construction &

All Occasion Transportation

Career Academy

Rhode Island Student Loan Authority

TD Bank

The Center of

The Children’s Workshop

Ledge Cottage Bed and Breakfast

Ann Tayor

Phenomenological Leadership

Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP

Ann Taylor Loft

The Wholly Waffle

Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource

Joanne Resnick Bookkeeping Resources

Tommy’s Pizza Too

Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co. Ltd.

The Gloria Gemma Foundation

L&M Electric

Saccoccia’s Construction &

Lynch Cleaning and Restoration

Landscaping, LLC

Mary Kay

Bori Graphix

Foundation

East Greenwich Stephen Lombardi, Executive Director 580 Main Street, East Greenwich, RI

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

49


SMALL BUSINESS | Too Old To Innovate?

Too Old To Innovate? Tips from the Trenches

by Elizabeth Pierotti

A few months ago, I conducted a seminar, 8 Steps to Successful Inventing, for an audience of aspiring inventors, entrepreneurs, and university students. One gentleman who attended said that when he arrived at the venue, his first thought was, “She doesn’t look like an inventor.” By that, he probably meant “old” which then led me to ask, “What does an inventor look like?” Since inventors range in age from 3 to 101, it would seem that age is not much of a factor in determining who looks like one. On age and innovation. There have been various studies on the average age of the “most innovative.” One study set the bar at 39, another at 54, and for Nobel Prize winners, the range is between 55-67, depending on category. It’s not surprising that the overall numbers are trending upwards. We have an aging population, great ideas can take time to transform into something real, and older inventors tend to be patient and persistent. An AARP study found that 72% of older entrepreneurs surveyed indicated that their businesses were profitable in 2011 – an extraordinary number by any account. This speaks well for individuals who grew up with typewriters and rotary telephones and who can excel despite having to adapt to an ongoing explosion of new communication technologies.

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


What’s New | CHAMBER CHAT

401 885 0020 www.eastgreenwichchamber.com We would like to thank everyone who participated in making our 24th Annual EG Chamber Golf Tournament at Richmond Country Club a success. We had beautiful weather, a large turnout and raised money for The Juvenile Arthritis Foundation. The EG Chamber has a full schedule of Business After Hours networking events scheduled for now and the rest of the

we are on the verge of a boom in entrepreneurship with the sharpest increase in activity coming from the 55-64 year old group

year. East Greenwich’s Main Street Strolls, promoted by the Chamber, are celebrating their tenth year and have been called by Yankee Magazine “One of the top 20 things to do in Rhode Island”. In addition to exciting events on Main Street, we encourage people to attend the Farmer’s Market held every Monday, rain or shine, at Academy Field from 3pm until 6pm. New Members Software Made Simple- Meri Kaufman Residential Properties-Sandy Catanzaro Briarbrook Auctions

Elders rising. Older entrepreneurs are

combined skillsets is something that comes

deciding to turn their ideas into businesses

with age, experience, and consciousness…

in larger numbers than ever, whether by

essential factors contributing to their high

choice or economic necessity. According

success rate.

to the Kauffman Foundation, we are on the

Coventry Credit Union Allstate Insurance- Ibrahim Agency King Guitar End Zone Pub & Grille Staples

verge of a boom in entrepreneurship with

Beyond the number. Next month I turn 70,

the sharpest increase in activity coming from

and what I’m finding is that my creative

the 55-64 year old group. And with a longer

output is better and more focused than ever.

life expectancy and improvements in health

I also have more 50+ year old inventors as

care, this is a positive sign pointing to future

clients looking to develop and commercialize

economic growth.

Crimzon Rose

their ideas than in previous years. As to the gentleman mentioned at the beginning of

Newport Jody Sullivan, Executive Director 35 Valley Road, Middletown, RI 401 847 1608 | www.NewportChamber.com bfgsbgf

Going tribeless. These entrepreneurs grew

this article, as it turned out, he had been

up at a time when lifetime employment

working on his invention for 10 years, no one

New Members

was the norm and the feeling of belonging

took him seriously or supported his efforts,

Newport Deals

to their company tribe was highly valued.

and he had no idea what to do next. It was

The current economic conditions and

fortuitous that we met and, despite his first

corporate culture of expediency have laid

impression, we are now working together, he

the groundwork for more older self-starters

is open to the process, and is on the path.

Swipely

to plant their own stakes in the ground

By the way, he, too, is over 50.

Shearman Oil, Inc.

and work without the safety net of an

Silk Road Traders, LLC

institutional container. These individuals are

So, to answer the question posed in the title,

IBC Worldwide, Inc.

well aware that their success lies squarely

who is too old to innovate…is anyone?

on their own shoulders, that their good

collaboration, vision, business savvy, and an ability to deal with challenges. Honing these

Paquin Insurance Agency, Inc. Tiffany Peay Jewelry Jackson Creative Group

Island Tree Service Tavern On Broadway Aquidneck Meat Market

ideas will not necessarily translate into successful outcomes, but will be the result of

Omni Marketing & Multimedia Productions

Aquidneck Island Orthopedics Elizabeth Pierotti The Inventing Life www.theinventinglife.com

Studio by the Sea On Watch LLC Dedicated Payroll Solutions, Inc.

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

51


Writing resumes and business plans, opening your own business, taking part in elections … these are all things some of us may have taken part in over the course of our life, but at Exchange City 2.0, students are getting to experience these opportunities

Introducing Students to the REAL WORLD Exchange City 2.0 by Ralph Coppolino

on a daily basis! At Exchange City, I saw students already on the path to success, and most of them are only in elementary school! Exchange City was founded by Education in Action, a non-profit organization based in Providence, Rhode Island. Since Exchange City was opened, the program has helped 4,000 students each year develop workforce skills and an understanding of the basic functions of our community. In their handson learning center, which contains 14 fully functional shops, students learn how to create budgets, write business plans, balance a checkbook, utilize economic theories, explore career opportunities, and much, much more through real-life simulations. I got to experience Exchange City firsthand as a chaperon for my daughter, Isabella, and her sixth grade class from Cranston’s Orchard Farms Elementary School. Not only was it a fun day for the kids, but it was also a special day because our class was the final class to visit the program before it moved to its new location at the old Holy Ghost School in Providence. In order to prepare for their day at the mock city, Mrs. Karen Altieri, Isabella’s sixth grade teacher, followed Exchange City’s classroom lesson plan for months in advance as part one of their experience. The classroom lesson plan holds all that the students need to know to get them through their day in the mock city at the learning center, including the basics of economics. Part two of the Exchange City program is the application of what they learned in the classroom to the activities they participate in at the learning center. Once we had arrived and settled in, each student received a loan for their business, and the goal was to have

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


What’s New | CHAMBER CHAT

mock city, they definitely got the point and

Aquidneck Growers Market

were quite exhausted!

Cabaret Coach Historical Haunts

Education in Action also offers after school programs to teach math, language, and civics skills to middle school students twice a week. Students can also participate in the “Young Star Entrepreneurs” after school

Deborah Ramos, President

and present business plans. The business learn what goes into making one and how to that loan paid off by the end of the day. As

business plans, students learn budgeting,

each of the students became an accountant,

marketing, staffing and how to choose a

web designer or even Exchange City Mayor,

location. They work with other students and

I watched them transform from children

Education in Action facilitators to brainstorm

to adults right in front of my eyes. As they

ideas, design logos, and create a name and

worked, they received paychecks, and it

slogan for their business and products.

was up to the students to determine how to spend them. Through these interactive, real-

Education in Action’s mission is “to provide

life activities, the learning center showed the

hands-on learning opportunities that educate

students how to make many valuable,

and inspire youth for real world success.”

critical decisions that can be carried on into

They are continuously working to grow their

later life experiences.

programs so that they can continue to reach out to more Rhode Island youth.

The program was definitely a challenge, placing students in tough situations,

I highly recommend the Exchange City 2.0

including fighting a fine in court and having

program to classes throughout Rhode Island.

to come up with an effective sales and

It’s not only an educational experience

marketing plan for their business that would

with lessons students will take with them

help pay off their loans. I could see when

throughout life, but also a fun way for kids to

they were struggling to make a decision

be introduced to the real world.

I could tell when they were stressed because they didn’t know whether or not to save their paycheck to pay off their loans or spend it all on lunch. All of these situations put them in the shoes of a working adult so they could find out how complicated life can be in the real world. The best part was that students learned how hard we work as parents to maintain a happy, healthy family. They were told to put themselves in their parents’ positions to understand how difficult it can be coming

North Central Chamber 255 Greenville Avenue, Johnston, RI

make it successful. When developing their

between helping the customer, answering

Inn on Long Wharf The Crabby Lion

program, through which students create plans aren’t actually funded, but students

the phone, or calling the store owner for help.

Long Wharf Resort

Ralph Coppolino Vice President RISBJ

401 349 4674 | www.ncrichamber.com

As I submit this piece, it is now the first day of Summer! Summer – full of fun, family, friends, great times participating in great summer activities! Let us not forget that we still have business to handle – the North Central Chamber can help you with YOUR business; that is our mission at the Chamber. We work hard each day for the small business community in the towns of Johnston, North Providence, Smithfield, Scituate, Foster & Glocester. The Chamber offers many benefits for the small business owner – from bulk mailing discounts to credit card service discounts and much, much more. We pride ourselves at the North Central Chamber of Commerce where it’s all about Businesses supporting Community supporting Businesses….check us out, you won’t be disappointed. New Members Gentiva Hospice Grant Writing Services – C. A. Commendatore Reflexology & Holistic Wellness Studio Mediation Services of RI Sovereign Bank – Johnston Branch Sovereign Bank – Smithfield Branch Super Stop & Shop – Johnston Super Stop & Shop – Smithfield Super Stop & Shop – North Providence Verizon Wireless

Northern RI John C. Gregory, President/CEO 6 Blackstone Valley, 301, Lincoln, RI  02865 401 334 1000 | www.nrichamber.com

home after an 8-10 hour work day to make

At the Northern Rhode Island Chamber

dinner, help with homework, and pay bills.

of Commerce, it’s all about the value of

After just a few hours in the craziness of the

your investment. To quote Warren Buffett,

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

53


CAPITAL CITY | “Top 21 Under-The-Radar Destinations” Worldwide

“TOP 21 UNDER-THE-RADAR DESTINATIONS” WORLDWIDE PROVIDENCE IS ONLY ONE OF THREE LOCATIONS IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE TO MAKE THIS DISTINGUISHED LIST by Mayor Angel Taveras

Top 21 under-the-radar destinations. The

area in the U.S. listed in its entirety on

exposure this honor gives our great city to

the National Register of Historic Places,

We always thought we were pretty special;

global audiences can mean more visitors,

heralding the city’s “distinctive architecture…

now the rest of the world is learning just

tourism, conferences and conventions,

(and) more colourful districts (of) Federal Hill…and Fox Point.”

how special. Earlier this month we were

economic expansion and, yes, even more

informed the City of Providence had garnered

jobs. It also gives us a chance to boast a little

a coveted place on the BBC Travel “Top 21

about ourselves.

under-the-radar destinations” worldwide.

Goulding urged readers to, “Try to time your visit to one of the 10 or so weekends a year,

The fact that Providence is only one of three

between May and October, when 100 flaming

That award, featured

locations in the Western Hemisphere to

braziers light up in the city’s waterways

in its May 2013

make this distinguished list tells you how

during WaterFire.”

publication of BBC

very competitive it is. We are honored by

Travel, shows Rhode

the selection and pleased to share it with

Island’s capital city

audiences here and everywhere.

to be the only United

We’ve always known our great colleges and universities, historic architecture, unbeatable quality of life and walkable, small-city feel

States’ city to win that distinction, and in fact,

Likening Rhode Island to “more like an

were great assets; now folks all over the

the only place in the Western Hemisphere to

English county in its expanse,” reporter Rory

globe will know that, too. Given that we were

do so. Sequoia and King’s Canyon National

Goulding, Lonely Planet Traveller, credited

among such sites as Fermanagh Lakelands,

Park, California, and the Yukon, Canada also

our “Ivy League member Brown University

Northern Ireland; Kiso Valley, Japan; and

made the “Top 21” list.

and the prestigious Rhode Island School

Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey, someone’s

of Design (for) giv(ing) a strong student

paying attention. For the full listing, visit the

influence, dignified campus buildings and

BBC Travel website, where you’ll

size of Providence to be recognized by the

impressive RISD Museum of Art.” He also

find a slideshow of the locations, proudly

world-famous travel magazine as one of the

noted Providence has the only downtown

including Providence.

It is a remarkable achievement for a city the

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RISBJ | rhode | rhode island island small smallbusiness businessjournal journal


What’s New | CHAMBER CHAT

Control Your Business Finances with Pay Agreements

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Chamber membership investment includes the value of influence through our advocacy efforts, the value of interaction with our ample opportunities to meet new prospects to grow your business, the value of insights via our powerful network of relationships that provides access to resources, and the value of impact through our customized marketing programs to maximize your investment. Whatever

by Keith Tully

If you are still doing business with them, you will need to think about upcoming

your interest, the Northern Rhode Island Chamber can help you grow your business. At the Chamber, your business matters.

When cash flow becomes a problem, it’s

payments to make sure you cover everything.

easy to try to bury your head in the sand.

The companies will usually look into your

New Members

This won’t help your financial problems. You

account and inform you of a minimum that

Flavours Indian Restaurant

need to face them head on, which is where

they are willing to accept. You may find that

Jarmor Photography

a pay agreement could help you. Most

companies want the full amount within a

creditors, including HMRC, are willing to set

certain time period – for example, HMRC

up pay agreements to help cover company

prefers their instalments to last between

debts and future payments as long as you

three and six months.

are upfront with them.

Lowe’s of North Smithfield

Southern RI Elizabeth Berman, Coordinator 230 Old Tower Hill Road, Wakefield, RI

Some companies will require proof of your What Are Pay Agreements?

financial problems. This is so they have an

This is when you negotiate with a creditor or

idea of how long the repayments will take and

company that you owe money to for services

that you will have the money coming through.

to arrange an agreement that you can both

401 783 2818 | www.srichamber.com The Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce works hard to carry out its mission to support and enhance the business community of southern Rhode

work with. You make it clear that you are

Sticking to Your Repayments

facing temporary financially difficulties and

Whenever you set up a pay agreement, you

located throughout Southern Rhode

you need to set up this type of agreement so

will need to stick to it. The companies will not

Island’s unique towns and villages, look to

that you work on the debt without causing

push you for clearing the debt faster once

further problems money-wise.

setting up the agreement – legally, they can’t – but only if you make every payment on time

Companies don’t have to agree to this but

each month. If you miss one payment, they

the majority will. It is better for them to accept

have the right to claim the money through

lower payments on a monthly basis instead

other methods.

Island. Our more than 500 members,

our Chamber to help them reach potential customers and the greater community. We feel fortunate that we can call Southern Rhode Island home. From our beautiful parks, wildlife refuges, golf courses, and beaches to our excellent restaurants, taverns, and inns, there is something for everyone, and we are committed to helping

of forcing liquidation, where there is a chance that you will not be able to pay the full debt

If you are struggling financially, it is worth

with your assets. HMRC also sees this as

talking to the companies. Honesty is the best

a better option than a winding up petition,

thing but it may be worth hiring an insolvency

which is an extremely expensive form of

practitioner, who will be able to help find

forcing you to pay the money you owe.

the best option for your needs and help

our members by supporting a vibrant business environment and introducing them to potential clients. Our dedicated staff is always willing to assist, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 401-783-2801, 230 Old Tower Hill Road, Wakefield. At Southern Rhode

organise the pay agreements. An insolvency

Island Chamber of Commerce, it’s all about

Tips to Set Up an Agreement

practitioner will also be able to help with

extending our “Southern” hospitality, so

The best thing to do is contact the people

improving your cash flow and easing your

enjoy! And remember…shop local!

you owe the money to immediately. Explain

financial agreements in the future.

that you are struggling with your cash flow but want to clear the debt. If you do this

Pamfilio’s Catering/Original Vanilla Bean

before they have a chance to send out a reminder for the payment, they will be more sympathetic and willing to set up something that suits them.

New Members The Matty Fund Barrow Landscaping/Natural Yard Guard

Keith Tully Writer Real Business Rescue

Fireside Froyo South County Art Association South Bay Veterinary Clinic

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

55


SMALL BUSINESS | Why Using a Professional Photographer is Better than Using Your iPhone

Why Using a Professional Photographer is Better than Using Your iPhone by Josh Edenbaum

Years ago, there were commercial photographers in the business who worked with very large cameras, film, polaroids (yes, a word from the past), and lots of lights and the process took hours to create that perfect product shot or portrait. The film was then scanned for a publication, newspaper, or magazine. These days we take digital images with our phones, send them to friends, post them on Facebook or Twitter, and put them on our websites. Are these images really worthy of helping you sell your product? Most likely the answer is no. Photographers are photographers for one simple reason: they see differently than the average person. We look for a certain angle, or use a lighting technique to make that product or person look its best. I started in this business back in the days of darkroom, slide film and prints. We would have to set up large lights, sets, cameras and props to get the perfect shot the first time. Today, when you take a photo, if you do not like it, you delete it and start over. How many times have you tried to take a photo of a product or person and have to take it over and over until you think you have it right? In the days of digital photography, there are so many variables that come into play

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RISBJ | rhode | rhode island island small small business business journal journal


with photos. The average person does not

takes photos at family events who will take

understand file sizes and how an image

the photos for them.

on their computer screen looks so different printed, and not talking about taking it to

I understand the savings point of it, but

CVS for a 4x6 print.

RISBJ Supporter Appreciation Night

would you hire a friend who watches a lot of law shows on TV to do your closing? A

We photographers have spent years and

relative who changes his own oil in his car

years learning about our craft and how to

to fix your transmission? No.

at Gracies, June 24

take the best possible image for all uses. File size, color space, mega- pixels, pixels,

Hiring a professional can do many things

and interpolation are all terms we use. Most

for you. They give you a quality image for

people today do not understand what and

your use, either web or print. They can

why we need to know all of this.

manipulate it correctly for color and retouch, and even change the color of something

I have a BFA from UMass Dartmouth.

in the manufacturing process before the

During my time in art school, we looked at

actual product has hit the market. The

all the master photographers of the time

variables of file sizes play a strong role in

and learned composition and technique for

how that image can be used.

Brian Trahan, Patricia Raskin, Donna Mac, Robert Beadle, Natalie Benkovich and Jeffrey Deckman

all our work. We took numerous examples of work we saw in books and tried to recreate

The files from your iPhone or Samsung

them. This taught us how to see and how to

phone will not be big enough for that

create images that were interesting to the

sales sheet you want to create. When your

people viewing them. We would learn how

company decides to do a trade show and

to print black and white images with a full

wants to use one of the images that you

Cindy Mulvey, Jacob Belt, Susan Lataille and Lev Poplow

we photographers have spent years and years learning about our craft and how to take the best possible image for all uses range of color or tone, which would help

have on your website, just grabbing it off

make that image more interesting to view.

the computer will not work! Have you ever

Eric Shorr, Yemi Sekoni, Lisa Shorr and Carmine DeLuca

seen what a file from a website looks like We need to do the same today in

as a poster? Think small squares of color

photography with marketing a product

all over! Pixels! I have done quite a bit of

or business or a client’s portrait. These

photography over the years for my clients,

techniques I learned have helped me

as well as meeting new clients. My advice

with my clients and made their products

to all of them is to spend wisely, get the job

look great!

done correctly by a professional the first

Jim McAssey, Pat Paolino Cruz, Gil Lantini and Anna Maria Angelosanto

time, and let the photographer worry about I have heard so many stories of companies

making their product look as good as it can!

who do not want to spend money in this economy on hiring a photographer for a shoot. They either have a friend who takes great photos at parties or a relative who

Josh Edenbaum Owner Josh Edenbaum Photography & Digital Imaging

Matt Espeut, Nancy Thomas, Yemi Sekoni and Ana Marsden Fox

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

57


| Making the Most of Your Small Business This Summer

Making the Most of Your Small Business This Summer by Ardena Lee-Fleming

If your business is in the summer doldrums due to lack of traffic, take heart – there are many creative ways to incorporate the best of the season into your marketing plans. For starters, assess your business and identify clear-cut, measurable and attainable marketing goals for the warmer months. Next, create a month-by-month marketing calendar that details your plans. Include specific activities appropriate to your business and play to the upcoming seasonal holidays such as Fourth of July, VJ Day, Labor Day and Back to School. When preparing your marketing calendar, plan at least three promotions to keep customers engaged. Run the promotions back-to-back. Be creative and think outside the box. If you have never run a coupon deal, giveaway or contest, now is the time to give it a try. At the close of each campaign, be sure to highlight any contest winners and post their names and/or photos to your website or Facebook. This will provide fresh content to heighten your social media presence. It will also help to expand your email list and customer data. Don’t forget to track each

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


promotion’s activity and results, so you can

to claim some or all of your customer

refer to the information when planning next

entertainment expenses as a

summer’s marketing strategy. What worked

deduction on your tax return (check

and what did not? Which promotions were

with your accountant), so be sure to

most well-received by customers?

save your receipts.

for the most success, remember

Michael Reppucci - Sons of Liberty

to offer value over the hard sell, be sure your email’s relevant, and make the campaign fun Summer is also a good time to engage

Michelle Gradus Parenteau, Darren Marinelli and Rick Lataille

For many businesses, hiring summer

employees and establish stronger

help is a necessity. Here are a couple

relationships with customers. Here are a

of tips to make hiring a breeze: be sure

few ideas to get the ball rolling: organizing

you know the minimum wage in your

a community service day for employees;

jurisdiction (state), handle the paperwork

host a customer appreciation cook-out

on day one, have a plan that includes

or ice-cream social; distribute summer

accountability and capacity, have job

related “promo” items such as water

descriptions for summer hires including

bottles or inflatable beach balls with your

part-time, full-time and contractor

company logo to your top customers; have

positions, and provide necessary training.

Paul Evangelista, Maria DaSilva Evangelista, Michelle Lantini and Ralph Coppolino

a sidewalk sale or start a blog offering summer tips and advice. If your business

Keep in mind, online activity drops off

isn’t located in an area that customers

during the summer, so really step it up on

frequent during hot summer months, use

the customer service and marketing. Use

email marketing to boost business. For the

a blend of traditional email, newspaper

most success, remember to offer value

ads and flyers and new media which

over the hard sell, be sure your email’s

includes Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and

relevant, and make the campaign fun.

blogging. No matter what, keep all real

Other ways to keep business booming

time and social media marketing current,

include participating in summer festivals

clear and concise, and your business will

and fairs, taking customers out for a

be shining all summer.

golf outing or concert, dressing up your website with a summer graphic for each month of the season-- July, August and September. Remember, you may be able

Ardena Lee-Fleming Regional Director RI Small Business Development CenterJohnson & Wales University

Stephanie Additon and Emily Drouin

Summer Headley, Jacob Belt, Rich and Kathleen Devlin

be sure to visit risbj.com for all the photos from this event

Photos taken by Mike Casale

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

59


SMALL BUSINESS | Spread Seeds of Military Support Throughout Your Community...

Spread Seeds of Military Support Throughout Your Community...

and Watch Your Business Grow by Brian LaFauci

The VA, Employer Support of the Guard and

standpoint, it can be far more impactful

Reserve, Yellow Ribbon Program, Military

than people may think. Rhode Island

One Source and the Military Child and

currently has a military population in the

Three recent graduates of Air Force Basic

Youth Program are all examples of outreach

tens of thousands when you include Active

Training walk into a popular chain restaurant

services aimed at assisting service members

Duty, National Guard, Reserve, Veterans,

somewhere in San Antonio, Texas. In typical

located in our community. These service-

and Retirees. When you take into account

form, they are in their “dress blues,” as

based programs are an integral component

their spouses and dependents, that number

required for new graduates out on a pass.

in the making of a strong military community.

grows significantly. Using discounts and

About midway through their dinner, an older

In order to realize the full potential of these

initiatives, directly marketing to this group is

gentleman approaches the table with a

programs, the collaboration of the local

both easy and inexpensive. Working hand-

younger man whose striking resemblance

business community is essential.

in-hand with the government agencies listed

clearly identifies him as the man’s son. “Thank you,” the men say with an obvious tone of endearment in their voice. The three graduates smile, pause to embrace the moment and then return to their meals. As the airmen finish dining, their waitress approaches, informing them that their bill has been paid by the thankful gentleman. Pride fills these young men as they recognize the

In business, we tend to do things for two reasons: because it is the right thing to do, and because it grows our bottom line.

community’s strong sense of support for its

A perfect example of small business

above provides businesses with an ideal

military. As one of those three young men

collaborating with military resources was

marketing opportunity.

that day, I developed a deep appreciation for

witnessed recently in East Greenwich. For

what it feels like to be a part of a community

the second year in a row, businesses located

So where to start? Begin by evaluating

that embraces its military population. This

on Main Street opened their doors with

which products, services, or programs

helped to solidify my newfound sense of a

military discounts, giveaways, and raffles.

could be offered with a military discount.

second family.

This initiative was aimed at saying “thank

Next, consider partnering with other local

you” to our military community. The Stroll

businesses on a military-based initiative

The National Military Family Association

on Main resulted in over twenty companies

that could increase the scope and draw

currently reports that over seventy percent

creating an atmosphere of patriotism while

of your outreach. Finally, reach out to

of our military population resides outside of

simultaneously growing their customer base.

government agencies to spread your

In business, we tend to do things for two

All said and done, you will be growing

military installations. Unlike the conventional image of a military installation, which houses

message utilizing their large database.

a majority of military members and families,

reasons: because it is the right thing to

business while creating a community

to that large population, our community is

do, and because it grows our bottom line.

where military participation is both

their military home.

From a company standpoint, how does an

recognized and supported.

In recent years, government organizations

two points? Well, initially it’s fairly easy to

have recognized this dynamic and have

see how supporting our troops is the “right”

instituted programs to address this issue.

thing to do; however, from a business

initiative like this hit at the heart of these

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Brian LaFauci ESGR www.esgr.mil


Sustainability Assessments and Action Planning | SMALL BUSINESS

Sustainability Assessments and Action Planning Gains Traction as a Business Value-Driver by Kas R. DeCarvalho, Esq.

to buy from companies that ensure environmental sustainability and that they are willing to pay more for socially-responsible products and/ or services.

Unless you’ve spent the last ten years doing business in a remote Tibetan village, you’re aware of the global sustainability movement

The theory that businesses which actively promote the societal welfare

in business that is “affecting a broad spectrum of activities: from

of their employees, customers and surrounding environs is now an

what consumers eat and wear, to how businesses select supply

actionable profit center that can be quantifiable in much the same way

chain partners.” If not, you’re behind the curve and may be losing ‘green,’ as in profits, to a competitor that is paying attention to

that those listed on the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” have been found to outperform their peers.

consumer buying habits. Confirming this phenomenon is a 2011 Sustainability and Innovation Study by the MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group, which found that 70 percent of more than 3,000 corporate leaders in 113 countries identified sustainability as a

process of achieving sustainability practices by conducting a ‘sustainability assessment’ performance review and using that data to be more profitable and show a materially

so, the question is not if your company should conduct a sustainability assessment, but how fast it can be completed

permanent management agenda item, and that these activities add to their companies’ profitability. The related good news is that a vibrant cottage industry has sprung up with professional advisors acting as guides to businesses on how best to incorporate “green” initiatives that are socially responsible into their business models.

Smart companies would be wise to take the first step in the

healthier bottom line. Regardless of the industry or company size, drilling down on your sustainability footprint and activities is a best business practice that has been found very important to consumers with buying power. For small to mid-sized companies especially, the gain in being able to quantify and promote a sustainability program goes beyond the customer. The

Granted, most modern business owners at least appreciate the immediate savings to be reaped by courting energy efficiency

and

other

ecological

savings from recycling and waste reduction, efficient equipment use,

transportation

and

building design. However, those

companies

that

value-add may make the business that more attractive to lenders, investors and potential buyers. So, the question is not if your company

should

conduct

a

sustainability assessment, but how fast it can be completed. Sustainability is “nearing a

embrace wider aspects

tipping point” worldwide

of

and those companies that

a

sustainability corporate

value

as have

are engaged in the process

the advantage of capturing greater market share due to consumer

are experiencing financial benefit as a result, according to the MIT and

behavior and attitudes about businesses that adopt eco-friendly

Boston Consulting Group researchers.

activities as part of their offering. Case in point are the results of the 2012 Nielsen Report, The Global Socially-Conscious Consumer, which found that respondents in all age groups of 28,000 men and women

Kas R. DeCarvalho, Esq. Counsel Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC

from 56 countries around the world indicated they would be more likely www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

61


FEATURED NONPROFIT | Muscular Dystrophy Association

Since 1950, the Muscular Dystrophy

cases, for life. MDA Camp creates memories

of Rhode Island and Southeastern

Association (MDA) has been helping families

that last a lifetime, as each camper takes

Massachusetts. Collectively, they raise over

living with neuromuscular diseases. Today,

part in activities they usually would not

half a million dollars for their local office.

the MDA is one of the world’s leading non-

participate in, such as archery, boating and

Every summer they stand in the intersections,

profit health organizations, helping over

best of all, rock climbing.

1 million people affected by the disease

in the hot summer sun, to “Fill the Boot” for MDA.

nationally. They provide help with support

In order to have summer camp, support

groups, free clinics at local hospitals, and

group, clinic and treatments available to all

Fundraising events are also held by local

loan medical equipment, like wheelchairs

the individuals who need it, the local chapter

companies like Ocean State Harley Davidson

and walkers, to families who need them.

in Warwick relies on the kindness of its

and their associated H.O.G chapter. On July

Most importantly, the MDA provides

community to raise funds for these services.

27th, the Ocean State H.O.G. chapter is

hope through cutting edge research and treatments for more than 40 muscle diseases, including ALS, which is better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The local chapter of the MDA is located in Warwick, Rhode Island and helps families all throughout Rhode Island and South Eastern Massachusetts. Locally, the chapter serves over one thousand individuals who have been diagnosed with a muscular dystrophy. Six-year-old Thomas Newman is the Rhode Island Goodwill Ambassador for the MDA. Thomas was recently diagnosed

MDA Camp creates memories that last a lifetime, as each camper takes part in activities they usually would not participate in

with Central Nuclear Myopathy with a titin

hosting the first ever Motor Muscle Mania; a motorcycle ride and car show to raise funds for MDA. This ride will start at the Ocean State Harley-Davidson dealership in Exeter, will wind through the scenic Rhode Island back roads, and end with a celebratory cook out and Muscle Car Show at the Smithfield Elks Lodge. The postride cook out will also offer games, great local music and food vendors. This ride and car show has a flat entry price of $20 for

protein mutation. He is the first child in the

The most popular of the fundraising events

United States to be diagnosed with this

is the MDA Lock Up. On July 18th, the new

all pre-registrants.

type of Muscular Dystrophy. Thomas is a

Bonefish Grill in Cranston will be hosting

If you or someone you

self-proclaimed video game junkie, which is

the Executive Lock Up, which is the largest

know is interested in

great news for him because the MDA camp

Lock Up of the year. Local law enforcement

an MDA event, being

theme this year is video arcade. Thomas will

and limo companies will set out to arrest

a volunteer camp

be a first time MDA camper this summer at

business leaders, also known as “jailbirds,”

counselor, or would like

Camp Hemlocks in Hebron, Connecticut.

at their office and bring them to their jail

more information on how

cell at the Bonefish Grill, where they will call

you can help, call your

Each summer over fifty children with

everyone they know to help bail them out.

local office at 401-

muscular dystrophy, from both Rhode Island

Interested Jailbirds can call the local office

732-1910. They are

and Connecticut, pack their bags and make

to sign up, or nominate someone they know

located at 931

the journey to the weeklong, overnight, MDA

to go behind bars for “good.”

Jefferson

summer camp in Hebron, CT. Each camper

Boulevard,

is assigned to one counselor, who becomes

The largest supporters of the local MDA

Warwick,

their best friend for the week, and in some

office are the brave firemen and women

RI 02886.

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


July 18th Warwick/Cranston Area Lock Up Community business leaders go behind bars at the Bonefish Grille in Chapel. View to raise “Bail” for MDA.

July 21st Tommy’s Crusade Dinner China Gourmet in East Providence is hosting a dinner and raffle in honor of our Rhode Island Goodwill Ambassador, Thomas Newman.

July 27th Motor Muscle Mania Ride & Car Show The ride is from Exeter to Smithfield, with a post ride cookout and car show.

August 4th - 9th MDA Summer Camp Over 50 children from RI & CT attend a weeklong over night summer camp. For volunteer info, tickets and general MDA services info, call our local office 401-732-1910 • 931 Jefferson Boulevard Warwick, RI 02886

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

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

SMART BENEFITS:

Healthcare Reform Big Rewards for Wellness in ‘14

Consider tying the reward to multiple activities staged throughout the year to keep the employees engaged and working toward a longer-term goal. Plus, it’s more impactful if the reward ties several activities together.

Does Wellness Work?

Starting January 1, 2014, employers will

Under the final rules, an employee who does

get to increase financial incentives for

not hit a wellness program’s minimum target

employees who participate in wellness

for a certain standard (i.e. not smoking) must

Some critics argue that wellness programs

programs. Specifically, they can offer

be given a “reasonable alternative standard,”

have little impact. But it’s not the programs

employees up to a 30 percent premium

which means that by participating in the

themselves that fall short, but participation.

differential for participating in wellness

alternative (i.e. smoking cessation program),

That’s why the key to their success depends

program activities such as health screenings

the employee could still earn the incentive

on plan design and implementation.

and weight loss, and up to 50 percent if they

regardless of whether a medical condition or

don’t smoke or are trying to quit or reduce

health status prevents them from achieving

And no matter how well-designed, employers

their smoking.

the target.

shouldn’t expect too much, too soon. Experts state that employers should work toward 80

Added Benefits

While this rule has been in practice since

percent participation to achieve impactful

the initial rules were released, the final rules

behavior change in a population. The best

Three governmental agencies, HHS, DOL,

add that employees must be given additional

approach to achieving this level is a

and the Treasury, worked jointly to finalize the

time to comply if the alternative is a less

three-year strategy that adapts and expands over time.

just-released rules, which greatly expands,

stringent form of the initial standard. Also,

and in some cases, relaxes the rules around

an employee must be allowed to submit

corporate wellness programs.

a second alternative standard based on

Other elements of a winning program:

recommendations of their physician. Besides increasing financial incentives, the new rules more clearly define existing

Should You Act?

Support the program with clear communication and engagement

guidelines on wellness plan design and

strategies to boost participation.

implementation as well as clarify reasonable

Just because employers are able to offer a

alternatives that must be allowed.

bigger incentive doesn’t mean they should

employees get used to a program, they

automatically adjust their plans. Here are

demand more so keep it geared to their

Key Rule Change Affects Alternatives

some things to consider:

changing needs. •

• There are two main types of wellness programs: participation-based and

Keep programs dynamic. As

The best wellness programs

Employers should match the reward to

are tailored to the employee culture.

how much effort the employees give to

Instead of cookie-cutter

each activity.

approaches, it’s really about well-

Employers should leave room for

designed programs that meet the

employees for participating in activities, while

workers to grow with the program so as

needs and interests

the latter rewards them for changing behavior.

employees do more, they earn more.

of the employees.

standards-based. The former rewards

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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


Providence | GOLOCAL

LEGAL MATTERS:

discrimination law, then you can challenge

Can Your Tattoo Get You Fired?

there is a legitimate business purpose for

the policy has a disproportionate impact on a class of people protected by an antithe policy based on the anti-discrimination law. Unless the company can then prove the policy, and there is no way to reasonably

Bad news for body art lovers; your boss can

The only limits on the boss’s power come

achieve that business goal without the ban,

probably fire you because of it. And if she

from anti-discrimination and whistle blower

then the ban goes. You will need hard data

can fire you because of it, she can also make

protection laws; neither of which mentions

to make your case; it is not good enough

you remove it, or cover it up, at work. If that’s

tattoos or piercings. That means your boss

to just say something like ‘lots Irish people

her decision, your only hope of keeping it

can ban all piercings and visible tattoos at

have tattoos so banning them would have a

uncovered lies in anti-discrimination laws.

work unless the ban discriminates against

disparate impact on the Irish.’

Let me explain why.

you based on your race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or religion.

What To Do If You Are Fired

Religious Body Art

If you do get fired because of your body art,

Employers Can Ban Body Art Rhode Island and Massachusetts are

you may be able to collect unemployment.

‘employment at will’ states. That means your

If your body art is visible because of your

When you get fired, you are entitled to

boss can pretty much fire you at any time

religious beliefs or practices, you start

unemployment unless your boss can show

for any reason...or even for no reason at all.

getting into a gray zone. The law prohibits

she fired you for just cause. Just cause can

The boss can also refuse to hire you, demote

your boss from flat out prohibiting you from

be insubordination–so if your boss asks you

you, and transfer you for any reason at all.

letting religious art show at work. But before

to cover your tattoo, do not start yelling and

you just make up your own religion–Festivus

screaming at him. Just cause can also be

anyone?–you should know you will have to

refusal to abide by a legitimate company

prove you “sincerely hold” the purported

policy–so if your boss asks you to cover up

religious beliefs. Your beliefs do not have to

your ‘F*%# You” tattoo before you wait on

be traditional, widespread or even rational–

customers, you should. Beyond that, you

just “sincerely held.”

can contact an attorney who specializes in

If your sincerely held religious beliefs conflict

employee rights for advice. Check out the

with a body art ban, the burden shifts to your

National Employment Lawyers Association

boss to make reasonable accommodations

for help finding one.

for your art if she can do so without an undue burden. It is often hard to say what is ‘reasonable’ and what constitutes an ‘undue burden’ because every situation is different. For example, it is not unreasonable to tell an employee who deals with the public to cover up his “Catholics Will Burn In Hell” tattoo. But it is probably unreasonable to prohibit a person in the same job from displaying a Hindu talika (colored circle) on their forehead. Similarly, it would not be an undue burden on an employer to require them to give a person a long sleeve uniform shirt to cover a religious tattoo.

Disparate Impact This next one is a long shot. If your company policy bans body art, and you can establish

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

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

65


365 Waterman Avenue | East Providence, RI OVERVIEW

Free standing building for office, medical, retail or many other possibilities. Parking for 12 cars plus onstreet parking. Fire code compliant. Handicap accessible. Presently rented to car rental company.

Providence | $699,000

Heart of Federal Hill 2 three bedroom apartments 1 two bedroom apartment 2000 sf retail store on lower store front can be rented. Owner will hold some paper. 150 Acorn Street.

Offered By

John Paliotta Direct | 401.640.5486 Office | 401.942.0110 Email | jpal@realtyassociatesri.com

Visit Our Website www.realtyassociatesri.com

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Business, Office Building Size (AGLA): 1,152 Sq. Ft. Basement: Full Unfinished Foundation Size: 48-24 Year Built: 1947 Ceiling Height: 7-9 Ft. Heat: Gas, Hot Air Fire code: Compliant Handicap Access: Ramp in back Parking: 12+ cars, plus on street parking Lot Size: 7,073 Sq. Ft. Present Use: Enterprise, Car Rental Company Present Lease: Monthly, $2,075/mo

655 Main Street East Greenwich, RI

Location

Well located in business location, ½ mile from 195, Broadway Exit , in center of City. High Traffice Count: 10,000+ cars/day.

SALE PRICE

$184,000. POSSIBLE OWNER FINANCING

TRAVASSOS & KUSIAK Real Estate Team *Voted Best of RI 2011 & 2013 (RI Monthly Magazine)

For more information or to schedule a showing, please contact:

Jean Kusiak, Broker Associate, GRI JeanKusiak@remax.net | (401) 225-3700 James E Travassos, Broker Associate JamesTravassos@remax.net | (401) 529-8680

66

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

Warwick | $550,000

Rare opportunity. Zoned General Business, permitting auto towing, storage, auto body & auto repair. Steel Bldg. 3200 SF. Built in 1998. Includes 560 SF office plus loft space. 5776 Post Road.

Offered By

David Iannuccilli Direct | 401.884.6833 Office | 401.884.6050 Email | davidi@sellri.com Visit My Website www.sellri.com


THE RHODE ISLAND

COMMERCIAL & APPRAISAL BOARD OF REALTORS®

Peter M. Scotti & Associates, Inc.

Inside Cover C May 10 - 16, 2013

Rhode Island

New England Real Estate Journal

Visit the paper online nerej.com

PeterBrokerage/Appraisal/Management M. Scotti & Associates, Inc. BArokerage /appraisal /ManageMent Full Service Real Estate Company A full Service Real Estate Company

RETAIL CENTER FOR SALE 440 STAFFORD RD., FALL RIVER, MA

63,000 SF GROCERY ANCHORED RETAIL SHOPPING CENTER. 95% OCCUPANCY WITH GREAT HISTORIC CASH FLOW. 6 ACRE LAND PARCEL WITH SUBSTANTIAL ON SITE PARKING. PRICE: $6,500,000 JIM MOORE EXT. 14

wATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT SITE PARASCANDOLA wHARF, NEwPORT, RI 57,900 SF LAND SITE, 74,000 SF WATER- 1,000 FEET ON NEWPORT HARBOR WATERFRONT BUS zONE ALLOWS HOTEL, REST, MARINA, MUL FAM, MIX LAST WHARF DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

AUTO DEALERSHIP FOR SALE 296 g. w. HIgHwAy, SMITHFIELD,RI

15,680 SF BUILDING WITH SHOWROOM, SERVICE, BODY SHOP, OFFICES 8.25 ACRE SITE WITH 300 CAR PAVED PARKING zONED PLANNED CORP. SELLER WILL CONSIDER OWNER FINANCING, PRICE: $1,975,000.00

INDUSTRIAL FOR SALE 20 HIgH ST., PLAINVILLE, MA 53,500 SF STEEL BUILDING ON 9.66 ACRES OF LAND 20-24 FOOT CEILING HEIGHTS, DOCK & OVERHEAD LOADING HEAVY POWER, OFFICES, PAVED PARKING 50 CARS. PRICE: $2,495,000.00

COMMERCIAL bUILDINg FOR SALE 819 wESTMINTER ST., PROVIDENCE, RI

17,100 SF TWO STORY BRICK BUILDING IN HOYLE SQUARE, ON SITE PARKING FOR 33 CARS, EXCELLENT ACCESS AND VISIBILITY, GREAT REDEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY. PRICE: $565,000.00

COMMERCIAL/RETAIL SITE FOR SALE 250 CRANSTON ST., PROVIDENCE, RI

18,200 SF BUILDING AREAS, 38,778 SF LAND EXPANDABLE, HIGH TRAFFIC LIGHTED INTERSECTION, CURRENT USE AUTOMOTIVE, EXCELLENT URBAN RETAIL/COMMERCIAL SITE. PRICE: $1,099,000.00

MEDICAL OFFICE SUITES FOR LEASE 49 SEEKONK ST., EAST SIDE/PROVIDENCE

2,000 - 9,400 SF SUITES WET EXAM ROOMS, LABS WAYLAND SQUARE LOCATION

AMPLE ON SITE PARKING GROUND LEVEL H/C ACCESSIBLE COMPETITIVE RENTS

Peter M. Scotti & Associates, Inc. • 401-421-8888

Peter246 M.Hope Scotti & Associates, Inc.Island • 401-421-8888 Street, Providence, Rhode 02906 Visit our web page at www.scotticommercial.com 246 Hope Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02906 Visit our web page at www.scotticommercial.com Changes

NE NY Tel: 781-878-4540 REal EstatE JouRNal

New Proof

Proof Approved

Size: full Section: rI from: Karen Dowell x254 kdowell@nerej.com

crop 2”

Proof

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

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THE RHODE ISLAND

COMMERCIAL & APPRAISAL BOARD OF REALTORS® P RO P E RT Y F O R L E A S E

Several Prime Office Locations:

Providence, Warwick, Johnston, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, and Exeter. Call for details and address Several to choose from, Some For Sale or lease. Financing available. Call for details.

747 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston:

Individual office space from 200 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq.ft. Busy Pontiac Avenue location near Rolfe Square- walk to everything! Good for start up or incubator space, you can add space as you grow! RILiving.com MLS #1031022

20 Centerville Road, Warwick:

635 Arnold Road, Coventry:

Great location at Exit 7 near Centre of New England. 800’ front retail/office- Rear 1700’ warehouse service area with 14’W x 10’L O.H. door. Fully air conditioned!! Recently TOTALLY RENOVATED!!! Reduced to $2290 per/mo. RILiving.com MLS #1024237

2006 Nooseneck Hill Road, Coventry:

4300 sq ft very strong retail area, next to Advance Auto, former Pet Place, great for food or retail. Below market rent $15. psf

30 Phenix Avenue, Cranston:

74 Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich:

Great office or salon/studio space in Knightsville. Handsome building with historical charm in excellent shape. Close to amenities and highway. 2 story salon=900sf. One level office=640sf. Two full baths with shower. Basement storage. RILiving.com MLS #1039958

1755 Smith Street, North Providence:

17 Sandy Bottom Road, Coventry: FOR LEASE OR SALE

Great location and set up for night club, restaurant or other food/entertainment venue. Very close to turnkey as night club. 326 capacity. Lease $4,500 nnn per month, lease/option or buy for $595,000. RILiving.com MLS #1022520

Butler

Realty Group

Commercial • Investment • Residential

401-886-7800 www.ButlerRealty.us 68

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

146 Granite Street, Westerly:

Class A Coventry Credit Union Corporate Office (CCU occupies entire 2nd floor). 1st floor space available from 1880-8200sq ft. Very nice common area’s include cafeteria. Plentiful parking. On Rt3, 1 mile from Rt95 & Exit 6. Office, medical, studio... $12 psf. RILiving.com MLS #1036614

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

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. $3,200/mo. RILiving.com MLS #1028322

577 Tiogue Avenue, Coventry:

1220 sq ft adjacent spaces (2240 sq ft total) on the second floor. Located in a very nice building! Big picture windows in the units with waterviews! Elevator available and nice common area. Join the newest Dragon Palace Restaurant. MLS# 1032254

Great Route 3 location just ½ mile from Rt 95 exit 6, nicely appointed office or retail suite with several offices and open area,was HQ for Bess Eaton & Tim Hortons. Fresh paint and carpets. 600-1600’, from $10 psf/yr. RILiving.com MLS #990071

1 Brown Street, North Kingstown:

Wickford Village- Excellent location on corner lot. Visible from three streets. Big windows, good foot traffic. Larger unit (1,500 sq ft) beautifully finished, windows on two sides. Smaller unit (1,000 sq ft) needs finishing. Can be combined. CALL NOW! RILiving.com MLS #1030851

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


THE RHODE ISLAND

COMMERCIAL & APPRAISAL BOARD OF REALTORS® P RO P E RT Y F O R S A L E

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 $124,000 RILiving.com MLS #995461

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. $79,900 RILiving.com MLS # 1012762

747 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston:

Great location near Rolfe Square. Three floors of office suites from 200 sq ft and up. Good income generator or large owner occupied office. Owner keeping several suites clear anticipating a larger user to buy/occupy and have income. $800’s

RILiving.com MLS#1020960

2614 West Shore Road, Warwick:

132 Meadow Street, Warwick:

Busy Rt 117/Wildes Corner location opposite new Burger King & TD Bank,adjacent to Bennys.New roof,siding,windows,panel box,wiring,fire alarm&heat sensors. Ready for your finish. 1st Fl 2400’,2nd Fl 1200’,basement storage/walkout. Planned for Pub/ Cafe. Lease or Sale - $400’s RILiving.com MLS #1032619

Great location off Rt.117, 1 mile East of Exit 10. Office/ Mfg Wrhse combo. Great value for user. Nice, clean, bright space! This bldg has been substantially updated & is turn key ready to go. Owner can also modify to suit! Lease option available. $500’s RILiving.com MLS #1013527

65 Montebello Road, Warwick:

39 Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich:

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

222 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick:

Class “a” law office includes conference room, 4 private offices, lavette, reception, storage, kitchen. Reduced to High $100’s RILiving.com MLS #981620

Large multi-use building offers great flexibility, possible multiple tenants. The church would consider a lease-back of 10,00015,000sq ft. Additional 14 acres adjacent also available. Great Rt.3 location just a mile north of Rt.95, Exit 6. Huge Reduction! $1,200,000 Motivated Seller! RILiving.com MLS #1029643

400 South County Trail, Exeter:

Approved Development Zoned Business 17+acres.Current permitted plans for 7 office building for total of 86,000net sf.MANY POTENTIAL USES. Central Rt.2 location minutes from Home Depot/Walmart in N.Kingstown. Easy highway access-strong traffic count! Reduced $800’s RILiving.com MLS #1029590

TION DUC E R E HUG

111 Hopkins Hill Road, West Greenwich: ½ acre – 16 acres Very fast growing area off Exit 6A near GTech, Amgen & Centrex. Front pad is busy Dunkin Donuts, balance of site permits office, retail, warehouse & light industrial. Traffic count 15,000 and growing! Multitude of possibilities- 6 other avail. lots. From $150,000 RILiving.com MLS #855989

337 Oakland Beach Avenue, Warwick:

Lot with multiple buildings. Dual access to Oakland Beach Avenue and Gordon Avenue. 3.5 miles to the State Airport. Six buildings with 12,000 gsf. Overhead doors with high ceilings in some buildings. Utilities available: sewer, water & gas in street. $295,000

Butler

Realty Group

Commercial • Investment • Residential

401-886-7800 www.ButlerRealty.us

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! RILiving.com MLS #856381

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

www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

69


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RISBJ | rhode island small business journal


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Call 401.837.2477 For Per Month Price

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401.487.8421 www.risbj.com | volume two issue five

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BE A

BIG FISH IN A LITTLE BANK ...that’s helped build some of Rhode Island’s most successful businesses.

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RISBJ Volume 2 Issue 5