PUBLISHER’S COLUMN SEPTEMBER 2018 EDITION HOUSTON
Chairman John Cruise President/Executive Publisher Steve Levine Vice President/Publisher/ Creative Director/Editor Barbara Davis-Levine Publisher’s Assistant Jerome Davis Graphic Designer Genera Media Malka Levy Photographers Genera Media Gwen Juarez Contributing Writers Tom Brodie Barbara R. Davis Kevin & Jackie Freiberg, Ph.D.s Robert Gibbons Ruben Gonzalez David Mayer
Hank Moore Stuart L. Pachman Kevin Pasha Christi Ruiz Leslie Smith Gail Stolzenburg
Chief Advisor Hank Moore Publisher’s Advisory Board Denise Adjei Sonia Clayton Donna Cole John Cruise April Day Dr. John Demartini Maya Durnovo Kathie Edwards Mila Golovine Dory Gordon Greg Grant Richard Huebner Ervin Hughes Darryl King Sandy Lawrence Craig Klein Wea Lee Hank Moore
Lisa M. Morton Leisa Holland Nelson Annise Parker Page Parkes Howard Partridge Susan Repka Ingrid Robinson Maria Rios Tony Samper Rita Santamaria William Sherrill Gail Stolzenburg Pam Terry Mayor Sylvester Turner Jack Warkenthien Carlecia D. Wright Aaron Young
Phone: 832-419-2814 E-Mail: Steve.Levine@SBTMagazine.net Or Write: Small Business Today P.O. Box 31186 Houston, TX 77231 See us on the web at www.SBTMagazine.net
SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY SANAA PUBLISHING, LLC. P.O. BOX 31186 HOUSTON, TX 77231 EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER - STEVE LEVINE: 832-419-2814 CHAIRMAN - WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET ADVERTISING RATES ON REQUEST. BULK THIRD CLASS MAIL . POSTMASTER: PLEASE SEND NOTICES ON FORM 3579 TO P.O. BOX 31186 HOUSTON, TX 77231. ALTHOUGH EVERY PRECAUTION IS TAKEN TO ENSURE ACCURACY OF PUBLISHED MATERIALS, SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR OPINIONS EXPRESSED OR FACTS SUPPLIED BY ITS AUTHORS. COPYRIGHT 2017, SANAA PUBLISHING, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED.
WHO IS IN YOUR CORNER?
nyone who is familiar with me knows that one of my favorite movie series is “Rocky” (I, II, III, IV, & V) which starred Sylvester Stallone as Rocky, Talia Shire as Adrian, Burgess Meredith as Mickey, Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed, and Burt Young as Paulie.
Small-time boxer Rocky Balboa gets a rare chance to take on the heavyweight champion of the world. From the beginning as an unknown fighter, Rocky (literally) “fights” his way to become a champion with the help of his manager/trainer Mickey, the prayers from his priest Father Carmine (played by Paul Micale), the encouragement from his friend Paulie, and the inspiration from his girlfriend Adrian (played by Talia Shire) who is Paulie’s younger siste who later becomes Rocky’s wife in “Rocky II.”
All of these characters were “in Rocky’s corner” and helped him achieve greatness. In “Rocky III”, Mickey suffers a heart attack and Rocky’s opponent from “Rocky I & II”, Apollo Creed, steps in to take over as his coach, trainer, mentor, and friend. There were other characters that were ringside during the fights and each had a role to play in Rocky’s success and bringing him back from defeat. Where I am going with all of this has to do with what I have learned from our cover honorees: 1. No one accomplishes greatness on their own. 2. There is always a team of people who encourage us to achieve our goals and dreams. For me, they are my partners Barbara Davis-Levine and John Cruise, our Publisher’s Advisory Board Members, my many friends/mentors (like Marshall Haas, Ruben Gonzalez, and John Duffy), and Hank Moore. He is not only on our Publisher’s Advisory Board but he is also our “Chief Advisor”. When my partner John Cruise came to me with the idea of us producing a publication for and about aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners, Hank was the first person who came to his mind as a “must have” on the board and also as a potential cover honoree. Hank is one of the most positive, motivating, and knowledgeable people I know who also shares the same passion that we do for empowering small business owners to achieve their dreams of big business success. Speaking about “teams”, Barbara and I are blessed to have a terrific team that helps us turn out such a beautiful and powerful publication each issue. They are Gwen Juarez/ Photographer, Livi Menchaca & Rafa Saavedra and Malka Levy/Graphic Design and Layout, and Jerome Davis/Transcriber/Broadcast Technician who also runs all the operations for our Talk Radio Show. If you enjoy the quality, design, and content of the magazine (and Talk Show), these are the people to thank. With these members of the team, I know that we continue to be bound for greatness! “Yo, Adrian!” Good Reading, Good Sales, & Success to You,
Executive Publisher SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE
INSIDE SEPTEMBER 2018 EDITION HOUSTON
06 FEATURES 03 Publisher’s Column 12 How Business Advice Turns Into
ON THE COVER
BILL C. LITTLEJOHN -
HAIR EXTENSIONS DISTRIBUTOR
3 Benefits of Purchasing Your Office Space
2018 is The Year of Ransomware… Here’s Why
Avoid Personal Liability to Creditors of Your Corporation or Limited Liability Company
Three Best Tax Savings for Small Businesses
Networking with Influence
Financial Astrology September 2018
Take Advantage of Opportunities Transitioning to Windows 10 Is Not Just a Matter of Process It’s a Matter of People
Cory Pinegar - CallForce
Why Hiring Misfits Makes Sense
Money Management is Vital for Small Businesses
HER VOICE SUNDAY JAZZ BRUNCH
HMSDC BUSINESS EXPO
Bill C. Littlejohn – B Hair Extensions Distributor
BY BARBARA R. DAVIS
Lawyer, Judge, Builder, Entrepreneur Extraordinaire – Weaving a Story of Success
ill C. Littlejohn is a man of many accomplishments. Coming from humble beginnings, he has always enjoyed the simple comforts of home and striven for success. Continually looking over the horizon for ways to improve the quality of his life, that of his family’s, and those he mentors, Bill is a man in perpetual motion. Grass never has time to grow under his feet! He has been many things to many people, from accountant to lawyer, to judge to builder, he is an entrepreneur extraordinaire. In 2012, Bill started Hair Extensions Distributor, a company that began in Ohio as a wholesale distributor of hair extensions. It’s a multi-billion dollar business that does everything from full lace wigs, front lace wigs, bob
Meet the Hair Extensions Distributor Team! They are Sheila Coleman/Texas Business Representative, Bill and Denise Adjei/International Business Director, Photo by Gwen Juarez.
wigs, men’s units, and extensions that include tape-ins, clip-ins, u-tips, v-tips, keratin tips, and sew-ins used for weaves. The company specializes in virgin Indian and Peruvian hair. It also offers top grades of Brazilian, European, Malaysian, and Vietnamese hair. Because of the company’s growth, Bill is now using Houston as a template for what he plans to do across the country; and that is to create other entrepreneurs in this lucrative industry and help them weave their own story of success. Even though Bill was born in South Carolina, he grew up in Dayton, Ohio. The middle child between three older sisters and two younger brothers, Bill was raised from the time he was seven years old as an only child by his aunt and uncle who were childless. Each time they would come visit his family in South Carolina, he’d cry like a baby when they left because they cared for him so much. He loved staying with them because he didn’t have to compete with with his brothers and sisters. He loved having chocolate milk, orange juice, and other things that he never had when he was at home. The best thing of all, he had his own bedroom. He liked feeling special and having simple comforts that many others might take for granted. When he was with his aunt and uncle, he felt like he was in the promised land. Bill’s aunt worked for a dry cleaner and his uncle worked for General Motors as a janitor. Right after graduating high school, Bill went to work for General Motors, too, as an assembly line worker. That was the second wave of hirees General Motors had of African Americans. When Bill started attending college at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, he retained his job and commuted back and forth. William Wilberforce was an English politician known as a leader of the movement to stop the slave trade. Bill would go to Central State University during the day and then go to General Motors at night to work. He would sleep every other day. He was still young and im-
mature, so he would do things that young guys did. Not having any mentors in his life, Bill had to learn things on his own. When he went to college, it took him eight years to graduate. Even though he was working his way through college and majoring in accounting, he wasn’t taking it seriously. “I was playing around,” recalled Bill. “I had a Corvette and a boat. So I worked a job and was going to school. I actually flunked out of college and my college adviser said, ‘I didn’t know you were that dumb’, and I said I’m not that dumb!”
until the end,” stated Bill. “That’s the way I always look at it. So it took me eight years to get out. It took a little growing up and sometimes we do goof up in college. Yeah, big time.” Eventually, when Bill graduated, he went back to General Motors and worked in management. After awhile, he realized he didn’t like it and decided to go to law school. A friend of his was in law school and had asked him, “Why don’t you come up here and go to law school?” Bill thought to himself, “If he can go to law school, I can go to law school!” So that’s what Bill did.
Wisely, Bill made the decision to enlist into the Army National Guard in 1969. After starting as an enlisted man, Bill quickly had an epiphany. He realized that it didn’t make any sense to be doing KP duty and other menial tasks when he was capable of so much more. Again, his motivation was to have a standard of life that he felt he deserved, so he went to Officer Candidate School and became an officer. Bill reflected, “As an Officer, people have to salute you, and you would get the best of everything. Get the best food, best lodging...that’s only common sense.”
While Bill was in his second year of law school at Ohio Northern University, he met a senior who was an undergrad at High Northern University in Ada, Ohio. Her name was Gail; and Bill adored her so much that he married her. After they were married and Bill had graduated from law school, they moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where Bill began practicing law. That didn’t last long because there was a sudden snowstorm and the snow was up to their knees. Bill didn’t like that at all so they moved back to Ohio. Thank goodness Bill had always believed in having options and could use his accounting degree as a back-up plan. Bill was hired as a senior accountant for a health clinic. He couldn’t practice law in Ohio until he passed the state bar exam. Once he passed the bar, he was able to start practicing law again. Bill asked, “Why do we
After about six years, Bill completed his service in the Army National Guard and returned to civilian life with a new mindset; he was ready to become a scholar. “It’s not who runs the fastest race, it’s who endures
[ SEPTEMBER 2018 ]
Bill’s 2nd daughter, Shai (pronounced “Shay”) is an attorney, a small business consultant, and writes and performs country songs. Photo Courtesy of Bill Littlejohn
Bill saw a need to create entrepreneurship opportunities for others in the multi-billion dollar hair industry by developing hair extension distributorships of hair products. Bill is seen here with Dr. Denise Adjei/International Business Director, Sheila Coleman/Texas Business Representative, and Bill’s first-born daughter Erica Littlejohn Burnette/Legal & Facility Administrator. Photo by Gwen Juarez
have four tires on an automobile and also a spare tire?” He then answered, “Because if you have a flat, you are going to need it. So that’s the way I saw jobs and vocations and sources of revenue, revenue streams, and that’s the way I am today.” In 1973, after becoming a licensed attorney in the State of Michigan, Bill moved to Ohio to work as a senior accountant. He took and passed the Ohio Bar examination and became licensed. That very next year, Bill became an Assistant Public Defender for Montgomery County, Ohio. From there, he was the Assistant City Prosecutor for Dayton, Ohio. While in private law practice, Bill became a Civil Service Hearing Officer and a Hearing Officer for the Ohio State Health Department. In 1976, Bill, along with friends, organized the largest Black Young Republican Club in the United States and Bill was elected President. Thereafter, he worked for local campaigns and the national presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush, and later the senatorial campaign to elect Bob Dole. During that time, he gained so much experience and knowledge in the world of politics that he taught political workshops. Also being a Republican at the time, it enabled him to run for public office immedi-
ately and did not have to wait to be selected through a nomination process. In 1978, Bill ran for State Representative and then he ran for Judge in 1985. He lost both of those elections. In 1991, he ran again as a judge but this time he won! After that, he ran two more times and nobody would run against him. In June of 2009, Bill resigned as a judge and moved to Houston to care for his wife, Gail, who had developed a brain tumor. Gail had been a lawyer in Corporate America as the Vice President of Government Affairs for Reed Elsevier, Inc., the parent company of the LexisNexis Group; member of the Executive Board including Senior Vice President of Data Development, and the Vice President of Marketing Support with the LexisNexis Group. She played a huge role in urban public education and was awarded the Joseph Cinque Award by the Black Law Student Association in 2005 for her outstanding service to the community. In her desire to fulfill her passion for school reform, she retired from LexisNexis and moved to Houston in 2007 to take over as Vice President of Program Development for the Houston-based Center for Reform of School Systems, a nonprofit organization. It was during that time when she and Bill were commuting back and forth from Ohio
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that Gail found out she had glioboblastoma cancer. “She passed and went on to glory in 2011 and I’m still here,” said Bill remorsefully. “My wife was also an entrepreneur. Not in the sense like I am; she was a little bit more conservative. I think she went to law school because of me. My two daughters and my wife had a business that had 1000 consultants and 110 products that were sold internationally. The company was called “Our Own Image”. It was a home decor business. She was a marvelous lady. If you see my girls, you’ll see there’s my wife. I have nine grand-babies and three children. My son, Eric, is a pastor of a church in the DC area. My first-born daughter Erica is a lawyer and Legal and Facility Administrator. She and her husband just opened ASCENT Emergency Medical Center not far from the Medical Center in Houston. Bill’s second-born daughter, Shai, lives in Nashville and is an attorney, a small business consultant, and writes and performs country songs. Bill regularly gives his own children encouragement and says, “Don’t let nobody rain on your parade, burst your bubble, turn you around, chalk you out of it, knock
that this one has the potential to surpass anything they’ve ever done before!
Bill is very proud of his first-born daughter Erica Littlejohn Burnette who is an attorney, and along with her husband, Dr. Robert Burnette, has recently opened up Ascent Emergency Medical Center. Photo by Gwen Juarez
you off your course. But if you can believe it, you can achieve it. If God be for you, who can be against you? If God can’t do it, it can’t be done. Now that’s the stuff I promise you, because you do get fearful, and most of the time it’s just fear, but you have to cast that fear off and still go on. Plunge on, trying to realize if you got that vision, and we all want to do certain things, we’re tired of this, we’re tired of that. But we don’t have the passion for it. You’ve got to have some passion. You get an idea, you can’t be afraid to fail.” Bill had an excellent reputation as a fair-minded judge, no wonder he was re-elected so many times. His advice is legendary and his family and friends regularly call upon him for his vast knowledge. When his family calls on him, he shares, “If you don’t want to hear what Papa says or what your Dad says, you shouldn’t come around because I’m going to preach. Because I know it works. When I look from whence I come, and then I see where all my siblings are today, you got to keep teaching and setting an example because obviously I picked this up from people observing other people. So you’re always observed. Soon as you walk into the door, people see.” Now those are true words of wisdom to live by and Bill exemplifies that in all he does for his children and others. Bill is quite proud that he is still licensed to practice law in both Ohio and Texas,
but he has no desire to run for judge here. He has enough on his plate! While he was a judge in Ohio, he accomplished a lot of things there including taking courses at Payne Theological Seminary and attending a joint vocational school to take up the construction trade, his first love. He loved construction so much that he was the Dayton, Ohio President of Habitat for Humanity and built houses. Even in Houston, Bill still has a construction company. Recently, he completed work on a friend’s mother’s home that had been decimated in Hurricane Harvey. He always helps wherever he can. Bill’s love for construction is actually the catalyst that led him to the lucrative hair extensions industry. In 2012, he met a beauty salon owner who wanted him to add a juice bar and coffee house to her salon. After he did that, the salon owner said to him, “You might be interested in hair extensions.” And Bill has been in that business ever since. Bill exclaimed, “It’s a multi-billion dollar industry! We’ve now expanded to toupees, we’re calling them units for men.” Bill is using Houston as a template for what he is planning to do across the country. He wants to create other entrepreneurs and help them have their own Hair Extensions business. And just like Bill is best at doing for himself, he excels in helping others going into business for themselves and creating additional streams of income. The best thing of all is
Bill’s Hair Extensions Distribution Company only sells wholesale directly to the stylist. In Texas alone, there are over 27,000 stylists! In Houston, there are 6,000 or more. Their average income is about $27,000, so offering such a reliable product can help increase their income, too. “We have a fulfillment center here in Houston that will supply all of our partners across the country. We have plans to go into the top 10 percent where the African American community is. They are the largest consumers of hair extensions,” explained Bill. “We want to help those entrepreneurs set up their own business with all the guidance needed so that they can be successful, too. We are the experts in the hair business, I don’t know how to do hair, but I know about the hair business. We’ve traveled to India and we’ve traveled to China and we get our hair from them. We make a trip to China every year. We try to be the best at customer service and have the best products.” Even though a lot of people would rather shop for price, Bill shops for quality first but still shops for a competitive price. Apparently those good practices have paid off. “Out of all the hair that we’ve sold, I’d bet I haven’t had five complaints over the years. And that’s because of the customer service and we’re so proud of that,” stated Bill. Besides reliability and customer service, another advantage that is offered by Bill’s company is the expediency. The Hair Extensions partners can go by the headquarters and feel and touch the product. They can pick it up it if they want it immediately or they can have it delivered to them. “A lot of people try to go into the hair business because it’s so readily available on the internet, it’s a lucrative business, and it doesn’t take a lot to get into it. But it also doesn’t take long to get out of it because people can make some terrible mistakes,” elaborated Bill. “Unfortunately, there is also a lot of risk involved. For example: You ordered maybe $3,000-$5,000 worth of hair and it’s not what you ordered. The sample they sent you is not what you end up [ SEPTEMBER 2018 ]
do focus groups to see what people are currently purchasing in the hair extension industry. Right now, the little bob wigs are very popular. And so we stay on the cutting edge of that. In addition, we don’t have to tie up a lot of money in inventory where some people do and believe me, you can tie up a whole lot of money in hair business.”
Bill loves and is very proud of both of his daughters, Shai & Erica. They are seen here at the opening of Erica and her husband Dr. Robert Burnette new Ascent Emergency Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Erica Littlejohn Burnette.
getting. Even though you tell them that it’s not what you ordered, there’s not too much you can do about it. Assuming the vendor will accept the hair back, sometimes the cost to send it back exceeds the cost of the hair! You have to know who you’re dealing with.” Bill shared, “You may not be aware that the Koreans control the beauty supply stores. Well, the Chinese are now in the process of establishing warehouses and stores here in the major cities of America, so they’re trying to cut that supply away from the Koreans and get it directly themselves. It’s very competitive in China. When you go to China, it looks like New York City. More than 100 Chinese cities have a population of over 1 million people. So the cost of some of the real estate in China is pushing them to find ways to save money wherever they can. They, in turn, have to go out and try to get their products manufactured in other countries like Bangladesh or even North Korea but people here don’t know that. You have to rely on your supplier and that is why we travel to the suppliers. They have to have a respect for us and we have a mutual respect for them. They have to have consistent quality and consistent delivery. Whereas it might take me three days to get hair from India or China, somebody else who is just trying to get into the hair industry will have to add a whole lot of inventory and they still won’t necessarily know what they have. So we track the market. We even
Bill is such an expert about hair that he goes to cosmetology schools and talks to the students about hair. He is even writing a book about hair. Bill is a world-traveled individual and is always looking for ways to help others, no matter what country they are in. He is planning on doing a lot of things in Liberia, Africa, the first African country that was settled by American ex-slaves. He formed an NGO (nongovernmental organization) there to combat literacy. Also, he invested in a computer business in Liberia and plans to import raw product from India to make wigs, units, and hair extensions in Liberia. Bill believes that labor costs would be competitive and it would create jobs for Liberians. In addition to all the other things he is involved with, Bill is also exploring partnering with a construction company in Liberia to manufacture common concrete blocks to be used to build housing over there. Bill helps the community in various ways including building sets for the Ensemble Theatre. He has been on several boards including being appointed to the Independent Police Oversight Board by Houston Mayor Annise Parker. She also appointed him to be on the Houston Foundation Board that gives out grants and money to seniors and youth. Bill also sits on the Tax Incremental Board for the Fourth Ward where Freedman’s Town is. By the way, Freedman’s Town is a nationally registered historical site that began in 1865 as the destination for former enslaved people from surrounding plantations in Texas and Louisiana after the Civil War. Bill helped restore some of that historic district. He’s also on the board of the Earl Carl Institute, which is a think tank law clinic for Texas Southern University. Other boards and organizations Bill has been involved with are the Better Business Bureau, Rebuilding Together Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Board
10 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ SEPTEMBET 2018 ]
of Central State University, National President for Neighborhoods USA, Girl Scouts of America, and the Optimists Club. In 2007, Bill switched party affiliations and became a Democrat when Barack Obama first ran for President. Bill started being politically active in Houston in 2009 when Gene Locke ran for Mayor. Later, Bill volunteered for Annise Parker’s campaigns each time she ran for Mayor. Since then, Bill has worked in several elections for four other Democrat candidates including Mayor Sylvester Turner. In his “spare” time, Bill enjoys traveling just to discover new things. He enjoys watching YouTube videos and has about six things he gets information on each day from the U.S. State Department to keep up with what’s going on around world. “I just do what I want to do. If I want to travel over here, I go and stay as long as I want until I need to go back to this way. I try to justify my existence and help other people. Because from once I came, when I look at my brothers and sisters, I’ve noticed there’s no way in the world I should be in the position I am in today. I recognize who God is. So if I go do a speaking engagement, I tell people I practice the “Four Ps”. If it’s a worthy “Purpose”, I pray. I “Pray” for God’s “Presence”. If God shows up, then I’ve got some “Power”. Bill’s philosophy is basically something he learned from a high school principal who was the mother of a young lady he had dated when he was a youngster. For a lot of people, if it’s raining, they might say that it’s gloomy but she had an entire different outlook and would tell him, “Well Bill, God is cleansing the Earth!” That really turned Bill’s entire thought process around and he started to see the connections and importance of everything in the intricate weave of life. After hearing that wise woman’s remark, he contemplated, “That’s the water you will be drinking later on. So if it rains, I never bemoan about rain.” Lawyer, judge, builder, entrepreneur extraordinaire – Bill continues weaving a story of success for himself and the many others he leads.
Bill, always the entrepreneur, loves to counsel business owners on how to start and/or grow their businesses. Photo by Gwen Juarez
Bill’s Best Words of Wisdom
You’ve got to have a passion for something and you have to go after that passion.
When you get an idea, you can’t be afraid to fail.
When you walk into a room, you change the whole world right there because you’re there and realize what you bring to the table.
Be a good listener.
Always give. I practice that, it always seems to come back. That’s so important.
You’re always a role model. Teach the people you are re sponsible for. You have got to always understand that somebody’s watching how and how you react to a situation.
If you don’t know where you going, you can take any road and get there.
Everything changes. Ladders are made to climb on but not to rest on. [ SEPTEMBER 2018 ]
How Business Advice Turns Into
Company Strategy BY HANK MOORE CORPORATE STRATEGIST™
ithin every corporate and organizational structure, there is a stair-step ladder. One enters the ladder at some level and is considered valuable for the category of services for which they have expertise. This ladder holds true for managers and employees within the organization, as well as outside consultants brought in. Each rung on the ladder is important. At whatever level one enters the ladder, he-she is trained, measured for performance and fits into the organization’s overall Big Picture. One rarely advances more than one rung on the ladder during the course of service to the organization in question.
1. Resource: equipment, tools, materials, schedules. 2. Skills and Tasks: duties, activities, tasks, behaviors, attitudes, contracting, project fulfillment. 3. Role and Job: assignments, responsibilities, functions, relationships, follow-through, accountability. 4. Systems and Processes: structure, hiring, control, work design, supervision, decisions. 5. Strategy: planning, tactics, organizational development. 6. Culture and Mission: values, customs, beliefs, goals, objectives, benchmarking. 7. Philosophy: purpose, vision, quality of life, ethics, long-term growth.
7 Levels of Authority Figure
1. Self Appointed, Flash in the Pan. What they were doing five years ago has no relationship to what they’re now marketing. They reap temporary rewards from momentary trends. They’re here today, weren’t an authority figure yesterday
and likely won’t be tomorrow. Yet, today, they’re demanding your complete trust, respect and allegiance. 2. Temporary Caretakers of an Office. Public officials. Appointed agency heads in a government bureaucracy. Respect is shown to the temporary trust they hold. 3. Those Who We Think Control Our Destiny...for the Time Being. Caretakers of corporate bureaucracies, departmental supervisors, short-term clients, referral sources for business development and those who dangle carrots under people’s noses. 4. Those Who Remain Through the Peter Principle. Supervisors and public servants who made fiefdoms by outlasting up-and-comers. Longevity is due to keeping their heads down and noses clean, rather than excelling via special talents-achievements. Still living on past laurels. 5. Those Who Really Empower People. These are a rare breed...the backbone of well-run organizations. Some do what they do very well in poorly-run organizations. They may not be department heads, but they set exemplary standards and inspire others toward positive accomplishments. Category 2, 3 and 4 authority figures either resent them and try to claim credit for what they do...or are smart enough to place them in effective, visible roles. Some advance into management and encounter similar situations there too. 6. Have Truly Earned Their Position-Respect. Also a rare breed. Those who excelled at every assignment given and each stage of their career. Never were too busy
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to set good examples, share ideas with others and help build the teams on which they played. 7. Never Stop Paying Dues, Learning, Sharing Knowledge. The rarest breed of all. Distance runners who created knowledge, rather than conveyed that of other people. Though they could coast on past laurels, for them, the best is yet to come.
7 Levels of Advice Given
1. Answers to Questions. There are 7 levels of answers which may be given, depending upon how extensive one wants: Easy and Obvious Ones, Knee-Jerk Reactions, Politically Correct, What People Want to Hear, Factual and Complete Explanations, Answers That Get Them Thinking Further and Deep Wisdom. 2. Observations on Situations. These take the forms of “When this happened to me, I did X,” or “If this occurred with me, I would Y.” It’s often good to see things through someone else’s perspective. 3. Subjective Viewpoint. Friends want what is best for you. This level of advice is usually pro-active and is influenced by the advisor’s experiences with comparable situations. 4. Informed Opinion. Experts have core-business backgrounds upon which to draw. Advisors bring facts, analysis and methodologies of applying their solutions to your case. Niche consultants provide quality viewpoints...as it relates to their talents and skills. Carefully consider the sources. 5. Researched Options. Investments in research ( formal, informal, attitudinal, demographic, sociological) will avert
unnecessary band aid surgery expenses later. Research leads to planning, which is the best way to accomplish tasks and benchmark success. 6. Discussion of Outcomes-Consequences. Most actions and decisions in an organization affect many others. At this level, advisors recommend that sufficient planning be conducted...please take their advice. The more strategic and Big Picture in scope, then planning reaps long-term rewards. 7. Inspiring Directions. This gets into Visioning. Planning and going to new heights are stimulating. The mannerisms and substance by which any organization achieves its Vision requires sophisticated advice, deep insights and creative ideas.
7 Levels-Tiers of Qualifying Consultants
1. Wanna-be consultants. Vendors selling services. Subcontractors. Out-of-
work people who hang out “consulting” shingles in between jobs. Freelancers and moonlighters, whose consultancy may or may not relate to their day jobs. (26%) 2. Entry-level consultants. Those who were downsized, out-placed, retired or changed careers, launching a consulting practice. Prior experience in company environment. (19.5%) 3. Grinders. Those who do the bulk of project work. Conduct programs designed by others. 1-10 years’ consulting experience. (35.49%) 4. Minders. Mid-level consultants. Those with specific niche or industry expertise, starting to build a track record. 10-20 years’ consulting experience. (13.5%) 5. Finders. Firms which package and market services. Most claim they have all expertise in-house. The more sophisticat-
ed ones are skilled at building and utilizing collaborations of outside experts and joint ventures. (3.5%) 6. Senior level. Veteran consultants (20 years+) who were trained for and have a track record in consulting. That’s what they have done for most of their careers. (2%) 7. Beyond the strata of consultant. Senior advisor, routinely producing original knowledge. Strategic overview, vision expeditor. Creativity-insight not available elsewhere. Contact information for Hank Moore. Website: http://www.hankmoore.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 346-777-1818. Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations, including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations. His Legends books have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Take Advantage of Opportunities BY FOUR-TIME OLYMPIAN RUBEN GONZALEZ
pportunity is everywhere. Just keep your eyes open and focus on finding it. Once you spot an opportunity, if you decide you are willing to do whatever it takes, it’s only a matter of time before you get what you want. In November 1987, we had just arrived at the luge track in St. Moritz, Switzerland. We were about to begin training and qualifying for the World Cup Race that weekend. The International Luge World Cup Circuit is like a traveling circus. Every week, you see the same group of athletes at a different track. We typically travel on Mondays; train and qualify, Tuesday through Friday; race on the weekends; then travel to the next track. As soon as we got to the St. Moritz track, I noticed something was different. There were only three sleds signed up in the doubles competition. Doubles luge is a wild sport consisting of two athletes lying on the same sled. They both steer, but only the top man can see. The top man gives body signals to the bottom man to tell him when to steer. It takes years to develop the trust, communication skills, and teamwork required to do well in doubles. I’d never done it. I’m a singles luge racer. But only three sleds! What an opportunity! I ran to my best luge buddy, Pablo Garcia of Spain, and excitedly told him, “This is our chance! We’ll never have another opportunity like this! We have to find a doubles sled and race. If one of those other three sleds crashes, we’ll have a World Cup Medal!” Pablo’s no dummy. He saw the opportunity right away. But we still had to talk Coach into letting us race. We told him the opportunity was too good to pass up. It was even worth the risk of injury. Coach said, “If you can find a doubles sled in this town, you’ve got my blessing. Finding a doubles sled in St. Moritz was going to be a real challenge. Even though they have a track, St. Moritz is not a big luge town. They love bobsled and skeleton (head-first luge), but hardly anyone in St. Moritz does the luge. That didn’t matter to us. We were determined to do whatever it took to make it happen. I spent two days knocking on doors all around the town asking the locals if they had a doubles sled we could borrow. I was
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cold-calling in a foreign country – in a town that does not like lugers! They speak German in St. Moritz. I don’t. But it didn’t matter. When you want something bad enough, the facts don’t count. You just do it. I knocked on the doors, regurgitated a German phrase I had memorized – “Haben sie ein doppelsitzer rennrodeln schlitten fur die weltcup renn?” and hoped they nodded! Eventually, I found a man who had a twenty year-old rusted out sled in his shed. He agreed to let us borrow it. We spent the next two days getting that antique sled race-ready. On race day, everyone came out to see Pablo and I kill ourselves trying to do doubles. We almost did! We were on the verge of crashing the whole way down. But we finished the race, placed fourth, and actually received a World Cup Medal (we’d never even seen a 4th place medal before, they usually only award medals to the top three finishers), got out pictures in the paper, and best of all, we earned so many World Cup Points for coming in fourth, that by season’s end, we had a world ranking of 14th in the doubles!!! The following week, the word that Pablo and I had taken fourth in the World Cup spread like wildfire in the luge circuit. Some of the athletes who had not shown up in St. Moritz heard about what we had done, but passed off our victory saying, “we were lucky.” Pablo and I explained to them that “luck had nothing to do with it.” We simply had seen an opportunity, and made a decision to do whatever it took to win, and in the end, won! We made our own luck. I guarantee you that if you will develop that attitude – the attitude that you will go for it and give it your all, your life will be a lot more fun. People will be amazed at the things you accomplish. Jump and the net will appear. It really will! Ruben Gonzalez is an award-winning keynote speaker and the author of the critically acclaimed book, “The Courage to Succeed.” His experiences as a four-time Olympian and as the owner of two businesses give him a unique perspective on how to conquer the corporate struggles of today. For his free 10-Part Success eCourse, visit www.StartWinningMore.com or contact him at 832-689-8282.
Transitioning to Windows 10 Is Not Just a Matter of Process It’s a Matter of People BY DAVID MAYER
icrosoft’s decision to sunset support for Windows 7 and 8.1 and push customers to Windows 10 may leave small businesses, many of whom work with slim IT resources, wondering how they need to adapt to accommodate this fundamental change to the way they operate. Microsoft has ultimately instituted a broader strategy of reorganizing the company to focus less on the Windows OS and more on expansion of cloud services and other advanced tech, such as artificial intelligence, futuristic computing and productivity, also shifting how companies should be doing business. Small businesses that have long used Windows have been slow to unlock the full potential of Windows 10, treating it as yet another OS as opposed to an entry point to the benefits cloud computing offers. Fear of change is driving an incomplete adoption, with many IT managers turning off advanced capabilities in an effort to retain control of their infrastructure. But Windows 10 is a brand new engine, and its core capabilities — automated provisioning, in-place and over-the-air updates, and self-patching — are meant to support IT professionals, not undermine them. Here are five things IT managers at small businesses should know about Windows 10 that may provide peace of mind as they work to fully reap its benefits: 1. The cloud enables the democratization of artificial intelligence and tech innovation. This provides businesses
of all sizes access to the latest tech — AI, automation, augmented reality and more — to help their organizations become smarter. 2. It facilitates a co-managed environment. While a fully automated, cloud-based approach to systems management may be ideal, it can be a difficult transition for many organizations. Pursuing a hybrid system that allows IT administrators to manage devices both on-site and in the cloud can be a cost-effective interim step. 3. It modernizes security. The cloud provides access to valuable, real-time data that allows IT managers to adjust security parameters and quickly address threats, applying patches across all devices simultaneously. 4. It improves network infrastructure. Cloud adoption requires organizations to evaluate and update their networks to support this new computing environment. This makes for a more reliable, secure environment. 5. It enables a variety of support methods. Shifting to cloud computing allows organizations to re-evaluate their IT support needs and automate many of their more time-consuming IT processes, freeing up resources for innovation. Many have started to implement aspects of Windows 10 adoption, acquiring licensing for Office 365, investing in compatible hardware and even executing wholesale user migrations well ahead of the Windows 7 and 8.1 end-of-life deadlines. Yet oftentimes these moves outpace the organizational maturity required to reap the full benefits of the technology those customers have adopted.
The most important thing small businesses must keep in mind is that Windows 10 migration is not just a matter of buying new hardware, installing new software and adopting aspects of cloud computing. Transitioning to Windows 10 hinges upon how people — from the IT manager to the end user — understand and use the system. IT teams will need to learn new ways of conducting their day-to-day business and keep up to speed with the latest technology to help identify which Windows 10-compatible products and tools can best support their organizations. The workforce, much of which already has come to expect instant connectivity and a mobile experience, will need to learn how to maximize their use of Windows 10 alongside their existing technology. Make no mistake, this is a time-intensive and challenging process, as it requires the entire company to change its mindset and ways of interacting with technology. This is why it’s important for small businesses to take a cue from Microsoft and start the process now, even if it feels uncomfortable or potentially premature. At the end of the day, what is a significant investment for small businesses — that can carry a hefty upfront price tag — is actually an investment in future efficiencies that will help those organizations grow, scale and remain competitive.
David Mayer, Vice President and GM, Connected Workforce at Insight Enterprises www.insight.com
[ SEPTEMBER 2018 ]
BY BARBARA DAVIS-LEVINE
Cory Pinegar -
CallForce A Millennial Run Dental Solutions Company Driving Success to the Next Level
t Small Business Today Magazine, we interview a lot of successful entrepreneurs and have found that the majority launched their businesses around the age of 40. Studies done between 2007 and 2014 at M.I.T. and Northwestern University came up with similar statistics. Their research showed that the average entrepreneur who has started a business and then hired at least one employee is 42. Based on those statistics, it came as quite a surprise when we interviewed Cory Pinegar, CEO and co-founder of CallForce, a millennial run dental solutions company that began in 2016. With 30 plus employees, not only is the company experiencing rapid growth, but they are driving success to the next level! Even more impressive is the fact that Cory and CIO, Conner Ludlow are both students at Brigham Young University and co-founder and COO, Kasey Henson is a student at Utah Valley University. After returning to Utah from Australia in 2015, where he had been a missionary for the Mormon Church, Pinegar got his first introduction to the dental world. He was hired by Weave Communications to clean up quite a mess in a storage room. After accomplishing that task,
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Pinegar was offered a part-time job there where he eventually worked his way up to a managerial position. During that time, he developed a camaraderie with Kasey Henson who was the manager of the recall division within Weave.
$15 an hour. I think that we provide added value to the community. The students are able to hold a job and they work well with each other. They are all based inhouse because quality control is of the utmost importance.”
Initially founded in 2008, Recall Solutions was aggressively growing its VOIP systems for dental and optometry offices and had morphed into the company called Weave Communications. By November of 2016, the founders of the company recognized that the recall division wasn’t part of their company’s core business unit anymore and offered to sell that division and its assets to Pinegar and Henson. As 22-year-old college students, Cory and Kasey made the gutsy decision to purchase the recall division by splitting the investment and partnering together. Never running a business before, it was definitely an arduous task for the two young men to take on! Right after Pinegar and Henson acquired the recall division, they re-branded the company’s name as CallForce. In addition, Conner Ludlow, a BYU Information Systems Major, joined the team as Head of Sales and has been a integral part of CallForce’s growth.
There are no contracts; CallForce only charges their clients for each appointment that is scheduled. Other companies, whether they’re doing a text message reminder or an email reminder, charge a monthly fee. CallForce only charges for getting results and those clients called are showing up at the office for their appointments. The return on investment for most offices that work with CallForce is about 20 to 30 times. That’s the reason CallForce has been able to grow so significantly since they began.
As a millennial run dental solutions company, these college students are driving success to the next level. They have been able to really refine the services and are twice as effective in scheduling patients with every phone call made. As a result, CallForce is growing leaps and bounds. In 2017, the dental solutions company grew nearly 400 percent; and this year they are on track to grow even more! Their success is not limited to Utah; they are scheduling overdue patients for dental offices across America. Based in Provo, Utah, CallForce pretty much employs only college students. They call overdue patients for the dental offices and schedule the patients directly into their practice management software from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm local time. “At CallForce,” remarked Pinegar, “the college students we employ are able to have a flexible schedule and earn $13 to
Cory gave a specific example of how a simple phone call can convert into such a great return on investment: “There was an office that joined us in 2017. In the first 8 1/2 months that we serviced them, we scheduled 329 appointments for them at $25 each. They spent $8,225. Those appointments for routine hygiene brought in additional revenue from patients who were diagnosed needing crowns, fillings, implants, or something else. During that time, the office tracked how much revenue came from those appointments and the total amount was $192,716! “We call anyone who’s overdue,” explained Pinegar. “This can range from the time the patient is overdue or even six months to three years later. CallForce is there to meet our clients’ individual needs. Because a dental office has a million things on their plate, recalling for an overdue professional service such as hygiene cleaning can be a tedious task and sometimes overlooked. In addition, the staff normally calls during regular business hours. This means that they usually don’t speak directly to the client and end up leaving a message on the phone. CallForce is much more efficient. We are usually twice as effective because our team makes those calls from 5:00 pm to 7:30, when people are normally not at work.”
Pinegar elaborated, “Truthfully, we live in a world today that is so sick of being sold. When someone receives an actual phone call from a real person showing the office’s phone number and it’s, ‘Hi this is Megan from Doctor Smith’s Family Dental. How are you?’ They don’t feel like they are being sold. It kind of brings the family back to dentistry when they have been slipping away.” CallForce has a tough hiring process. Once a team member is hired, they go through a week of rigorous training. Each team member is trained to use various practice management software systems and they are taught how to schedule an appointment directly into the client’s appointment book. This way, if your office uses any other patient communication service, the appointments will be directly integrated into that program. After the training, the team member is still limited to about ten offices at one time. They’re not calling a random office every night. Because each dental office is quite unique, they learn a few offices at a time before they represent each one. Each team member is intensively trained and certified on HIPAA compliance. In addition, CallForce never loads any data on their site that would affect HIPAA compliance. The only personal information they receive is the patient’s name, phone number, and birthdate. The clients of CallForce also sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) that allows the use of their data. The BAA is an agreement that states that the client acknowledges that they’re sharing their data and that CallForce will protect the data shared.
To find out more how this innovative, millennial run dental solutions team can be a driving force in the growth and success of your business, c all them at 801-901-8852, email them at email@example.com, or visit them on the web at GetCallForce.com.
[ SEPTEMBER 2018 ]
Why Hiring Misfits
Makes Sense BY KEVIN AND JACKIE FREIBERG PH.DS.
magine having 25 guys on a team, many of whom speak different languages, come from different cultures, have different lifestyles, and cross different generations. Your job is to draw the best out of each and get them to play as one.
his players to check their personalities at the door. He wants them to be themselves. When you enter a clubhouse 162 times a year, wouldn’t you rather be in a place that is alive and filled with variety rather than one that says different day, same routine?
Bruce Bochy “Boch,” the manager of the three-time World Champion San Francisco Giants faces this challenge every year. He has affectionately referred to his players as misfits, castoffs and renegades because they are all so different. But he believes it is these differences that have made his teams special. Here’s why.
Manage the Creative Tension
ROI of Shaking It Up
Innovation feeds on multiple points of view. If you want to make creativity and innovation a part of your cultural DNA, mix it up, surround yourself with some quirky nonconformists, frustrated activists, and colorful eccentrics. They will stretch your thinking, pull you out of your comfort zone and keep you from growing complacent and stagnant. Team IQ Goes Up. Our tendency is to figure out how to change or ignore people who disagree with us. But what if we dropped our egos, suspended our certainty and actually celebrated their points of view, if even only temporarily? What if we empathized by taking a moment or two to consider how they arrived at their alternative perspectives? The fact is, better decisions come out of teams that have access to competing ideas. Diverse personalities keep a culture spirited and exciting. Boch doesn’t want
Gordon Moore, the cofounder of Intel, said, “The world wants geniuses; it’s just wants them to behave like normal people.” Misfits and rebels create confusion and chaos. They tend to question our deeply held, taken-for-granted assumptions. They test boundaries. They are not afraid to challenge accepted views and consider contradictory ones. Are these players sometimes uncomfortable and unnerving? Yes. But if team brilliance, better engagement and perpetual innovation is your goal, you have to manage the creative tension that will inevitably arise out of this melting pot of personalities. Here’s how: 1. Let the Misfits be Themselves. There is a difference between unity and uniformity. Unity is about coming together as one; uniformity is about control. Our egos are much more comfortable with uniformity. People who look like us, think like us, and talk like us don’t pull us out of our comfort zones and disrupt us. If a player has to fit in and be like everyone else, then you are left with nothing more than a major league robot. How can you play with a sense of security, aggressiveness, and assurance when you are continually trying to figure out which part of you is okay to bring to work?
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2. Lean into the conflict. Embrace creative tension as a positive force rather than avoiding it or trying to make it go away. Start by getting your players to learn from each other without judging. Boch wants his players not to just tolerate but proactively explore their differences; here’s how he sees it: “I’ve told our players: ‘Find something you respect and admire in those who are radically different from you. Ask yourself, What can I learn from the differences in my teammates? How can I embrace those differences as a source of strength versus a source of insecurity?’” 3. One size fits one. If you are managing multiple personalities, you have to learn to respond to many different signals. It means you are constantly trying to “read” each personality, figuring out who needs what, and then adapting to the person, the situation, and the context. Here’s Boch again: “Every one of our guys has a different way of learning, a different temperament, and a different understanding of the game. I’ve learned that you can’t just say something once, in one way, and expect everyone to get it. The lightbulbs go on for different players at different times. So, you have to tailor your message.”
Kevin and Jackie Freiberg are co-authors of the bestselling, Bochy Ball: The Chemistry of Winning and Losing in Baseball, Business and Life. Find them at: bochyball.com
is Vital for Small Businesses BY KEVIN PASHA
ccording to the U.S. Small Business Administration, in 2016 there were 28.8 million small businesses across the country. Being a small business owner comes with challenges and rewards. And, as a small business owner, you often wear multiple hats. Some days you are the CEO, and on others, you wear the hat of COO, CFO, HR manager and chief marketing officer. Managing all of the responsibilities that come with those roles is important. However, one of the most important priorities of a small business owner is managing your finances.
termine your expenses. As a part of this effort, it will be important that you are honest with yourself about what you truly need to effectively and efficiently run your business. When it comes to expenses, differentiate between needs and wants. For instance, paying the rent or the broadband bill are needs. They enable you to operate your business on a day-to-day basis, or may be known as hard costs. Secondarily, there are wants. These are items that you might think you need, but don’t necessarily have to buy. For example, a high-end ice machine for you and your employees or a 72- inch Ultra HD, LED, 4K Smart TV.
As any experienced small business owner will tell you, cash flow is king. Even if you have a long list of accounts receivable and a strong list of loyal clients whom you are servicing, you have to have money to operate on a day-to-day basis, or nothing else matters.
In addition to having a realistic budget, it is important to be prepared for a rainy day. Many state governments have what they call a “rainy day fund,” or money that they set aside in case of an emergency. For a small business owner, this means you need to have enough capital in the bank to operate for a reasonable amount of time. This money will be there in case you lose a client or two, the economy simply gets challenging or you are impacted by weather such as floods, tornados or hurricanes as many experienced last year in Houston. While the exact amount can vary depending on the size and age of your business, it should be enough to cover your hard costs for three to six months.
The first step in being a good manager of your money is to develop a budget. The second step is to live within or even below that budget. And finally, the third step is to be prepared for a rainy day. Developing a budget will take time as well as a commitment on your part. It can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. As you sit down to develop your budget, it is important to first assess your income. Not only do you need to think about how much you are earning each year, you need to determine when that income is actually making into your bank account. Keep in mind accounts receivable (AR) is not the same as money in the bank. ARs do not spend. The amount you are earning combined with the timing of when you receive your income is what you need to be considering as you assess your income. Once you have made a thorough and accurate assessment of your income, you will need to de-
As a small business owner, you are a dynamic part of the economy. To succeed long-term, it is important to be a good manager of your money. This means budgeting wisely and having enough to make it through the challenging times in the life of your business.
Kevin Pasha Financial Advisor Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (713) 968-3055 firstname.lastname@example.org [ SEPTEMBER 2018 ]
3 Benefits of Purchasing
Your Office Space BY: LESLIE SMITH
mall business owners face difficult choices every day. But if they currently lease their office space, the question of when -- or if -- they should purchase the property may reside at the top of the list. Leasing does have its benefits, especially for business owners who value flexibility and those who choose to do business in a competitive market with few affordable purchase options. But the benefits of property ownership far outweigh the drawbacks for many of today’s established small business owners. Here are three reasons why those on the fence should consider taking the leap and purchasing their commercial office space.
1. Income benefits
Business owners who purchase their office property have an opportunity to do more than just operate their business within its walls. That’s because many offices contain additional space that owners can rent out to other tenants. This passive income stream can provide vital cash-flow during a business’ lean months and offsets the purchase’s initial down payment over time. Beyond the opportunity to generate additional revenue, commercial property ownership gives business owners the ability to reduce their yearly tax burden – especially if they lease a portion of the property to additional tenants. That’s because the U.S. Government grants additional benefits for property owners who lease property. These benefits include deductions
on depreciation and interest expenses, as well as state property taxes. Managing a property with multiple tenants has its own challenges, but the income generating potential can make a big impact on a small business’ bottom line.
2. Equity opportunities
Business owners understand the value of building equity. Yet many resign themselves to paying a monthly rent check each month. Instead of helping someone else build equity, these business owners can purchase their commercial office space and put their monthly mortgage payment to better use. Like many benefits of property ownership, the positive impact may not be felt immediately. But if the value of a property increases over time, business owners eventually have the ability to grow their business by leveraging the building’s equity. They can do this in one of several ways.One option is to refinance the property and take cash out of the existing mortgage. This cash can be used to improve the business or the property itself. Owners can also secure a comfortable retirement by selling or leasing the property -- either with or without the business attached -- when the time is right.
Small business owners who lease their commercial office space have very little control over their surroundings. They
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must rely on their landlord to make necessary repairs deal with the possibility of rent increases. Perhaps worst of all, they are unable to expand or reposition the property if they wish to grow their business. However, once a business owner purchases their property, they are able to set the rules. Monthly rent payments become fixed mortgage payments, and the owner is free to manage the space as they see fit. This is a major selling point for those who started their own business because they feel the need to be their own boss. Property ownership isn’t for everyone. For many small business owners, the typically hefty cost of a down payment for a purchase can be more effectively spent on other aspects of the business. Owners of newer businesses may also see greater value in leasing – they either don’t currently have the cash-flow necessary to make a purchase or they want to remain flexible while their company begins to grow. But a large segment of today’s professionals are in a position to take greater control of their small business by owning their commercial office property. For many, it’s a crucial investment in the long-term success of their business. Leslie Smith Managing Director Commercial Direct email@example.com 305.646.3954
2018 is The Year of Ransomware…
Here’s Why BY ROBERT GIBBONS
his year, I’m already seeing a trend that I’m willing to bet will come true in 2018—it’s going to be the year of ransomware.
Not that 2017 wasn’t: Having overseen the largest survey of its kind to date to try and assess just how bad the ransomware threat has gotten, I was not surprised to learn that attacks have grown more frequent in 2017, with nearly a third of IT providers surveyed reporting multiple attacks against their clients every day. And while ransomware robbed small businesses of more than $100 billion last year, less than 40 percent of small businesses reported feeling concerned, which suggests that we have a long way to go raising awareness to the damages of this particularly pernicious form of cyberattack. I’m not just hypothesizing here. Every year, as a form of social experiment, we send paid presenters to trade shows to hand out USB memory sticks to participants, in order to see how many people would pick up something like a memory stick that could risk major infection. And every year, it takes us less than an hour to run out of all 100 sticks. That’s because ransomware doesn’t depend only on sophisticated technological measures; it succeeds because its nefarious designers prey on human vulnerabilities. If you see an email scolding you for visiting dubious websites on your work computer, chances are you’re going to feel a rush of fear and anxiety and click on it, even if you haven’t visited any dubious website at all. And if you find a memory stick in the bathroom labeled “Employee Salaries,” you may be tempted to pop it in and take a look at what your co-workers all earn. These are two of the most common tactics to get unsuspecting people to give hackers access into systems and allow them to hold data hostage. Sadly, while humans remain as exposed as ever to the dangers of cyberattacks, two technological factors are likely to contribute to a steep rise in ransomware this coming year. The first is the ascent of bitcoin, the cryptocurrency whose value, while fluctuating, continues its overall upward turn. Ransomware attackers frequently collect 22 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ SEPTEMBET 2018 ]
their ransom in bitcoin, and the rise in the coin’s value is likely to draw more players into the ransomware game and vice versa. As if that wasn’t enough, hackers have also gotten more sophisticated. Far from merely seizing a computer blindly and demanding an arbitrary ransom, ransomware perpetrators are now armed with technologies that can read precisely what kind of programs are installed on a breached computer and then price their demands accordingly. It’s a terrifying evolution. Add to that the near certainty that North Korea was behind the recent WannaCry cyberattack, and the latest bug that enables hackers to access the memory reserved for the operating system on some computers featuring modern processors, and you may think the future is grim. Thankfully, however, we’re not without weapons in this battle. Our first—and best—line of defense are backup data and recovery systems. According to our survey, these solutions (which, in full disclosure, we also make), have helped curb ransomware attacks a whopping 96 percent of the time. But having sophisticated solutions isn’t enough. We also need to grow much smarter, which means not only learning not to click on random attachments or pick up USB-based freebies at conferences but also rethinking the very meaning of data in the information era. Ask a dentist or an insurance agent what they do, and it’s unlikely that they’ll say they’re in the data business. But then ask them how long they could go on if they had no access to their patients’ records,, and you’ll soon realize that data is the cornerstone of nearly every human pursuit. If we learn to think of it that way, if we make data a priority, we’re likely to begin and adopt better security practices, invest in better protection and recovery systems, and considerably reduce the damage ransomware attacks are likely to cause to businesses the world over. Robert Gibbons Chief Technology Officer Datto firstname.lastname@example.org | 203-803-2102 https://www.datto.com/about/robert-gibbons
Avoid Personal Liability to Creditors
of Your Corporation or Limited Liability Company BY STUART L. PACHMAN
f you think that simply by filing a Certificate of Incorporation or a Certificate of Formation for a limited liability company you have protected your personal assets from the reach of business creditors, you are sadly mistaken. An artificial entity (corporation or LLC) comes into being when the certificate is filed, and just as a human newborn needs to be wrapped in a soft blanket, an artificial entity needs to be properly “clothed” to assure its viability. A corporation or LLC is recognized by law as a person, distinguished from its owners, with its own enforceable rights and duties. The Business Corporation Act applies to a one- or twoperson corporation in the same way as it applies to a large public enterprise. Similarly, the statute governing LLCs applies whether the LLC has one or hundreds of members. To maintain the privilege of limited liability afforded by the relevant statute, comply with its rules. One overarching principle applies to both corporations and LLCs. The individual must be distinguished from the business entity by a good paper trail. The suggestions below apply to corporations. A somewhat different list is necessary for LLCs which are governed more by contract than statute and involve less formality; 1. After filing its Certificate, “organize” the corporation. Whether there will be one or more shareholders, this is accomplished by adopting formal resolutions either in the form of written minutes of a meeting or by a unanimous written consent executed by the one or more directors
named in the Certificate of Incorporation. These organizing resolutions should at the least (a) adopt a set of written by-laws, (b) authorize the issuance of shares to the shareholders for the consideration each is contributing for shares, (c) elect the officers required by the statute-- president, secretary, and treasurer-- and such other officers as desired (the same person can fill more than one office), and (d) open a bank account in the name of the entity. The bank will probably provide printed resolutions for this purpose which can be referred to in, and attached to, the minutes or consent. 2. If the directors are to be other than those named in the Certificate, the shareholders should meet or sign a unanimous consent electing new ones. 3. Start and maintain the business with a reasonable amount of capital. Cause the business to purchase a general liability insurance policy. 4. The person on the other side of any transaction should always be aware that he or she is dealing with a limited liability entity. The corporation’s name with its corporate designator (Inc. or Ltd, for example) should be prominent on letterheads, billheads, checks, and website if the entity has one. 1. 5. When signing contractual obligations such as purchase agreements, leases, and notes, be clear that the
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If the directors are to be other than those named in the Certificate, the shareholders should meet or sign a unanimous consent electing new ones. obligor is the entity, not the owner. Under the complete name of the entity, there should be a “by” followed by the signature of the appropriate officer, usually the president or vice president, followed by that person’s title. 5. Do not pay business obligations with a personal check. Do not comingle personal money with the business’ money. If the business is short of cash, and you make a loan to it, remember the importance of separation. If a stranger borrowed from you, you’d want some written evidence of the loan. Cause the corporation to execute a note bearing a reasonable rate of interest. Similarly, if the corporation has cash you need to borrow, execute a note to it as if it were your commercial lender rather than your piggy bank. The shareholder or LLC member who fails to take simple measures that recognize the entity as a separate person rather than one’s alter ego runs the risk that a court will pierce the veil of limited liability and enter a judgment that places one’s home and other personal assets at risk. Stuart L. Pachman is a member of Brach Eichler LLC and is a recognized authority on corporate law. He may be reached at email@example.com. For more information, visit www.bracheichler.com.
Three Best Tax Savings
for Small Businesses BY TOM BRODIE
ow that the new tax law is here (The Tax Cut & Jobs Act of 2017) you may think that all of the “good” pre-tax deductions for “brick and mortar” businesses have been eliminated. Nothing could be farther from the truth! What I’ll call the “BIG 3” are still available and were untouched by the new tax law! If you’re interested in reducing the money you send to Washington DC every year, you owe it to yourself to read on!
forward 20 years! If your business is constantly hiring new employees, you’re losing money if you’re NOT using WOTC!
1. Employee Hiring Incentives
Many business owners may be familiar with depreciating some personal property such as equipment, floor covering and furniture over five or seven years. However, there are many more components that can be reclassified that they may have missed. Specialized offices like medical facilities are unique in that they contain extensive amounts of cabinetry and specialized counter-tops, in addition to dedicated electrical and plumbing works.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers who hire individuals from certain groups who have been identified as having significant barriers to employment. Nationwide, employers claim about $1 billion in tax credits each year under the WOTC program! There is no limit to the number of individuals an employer can hire that qualify for the credit. WOTC credits typically range from $2,400 to $9,600 per employee! For companies that routinely hire new employees, or who are constantly replacing employees, these credits can add up to tens of thousands of dollars each year! WOTC was originally designed as a pre-employment screening tool. For example, let’s say you have two candidates for a vacant position. Both candidates have the exact same qualifications and experience, but after WOTC screening, one of the candidates comes with a $2,400 tax credit. All other things being equal, which one would YOU hire? The one that’s going to earn you a $2,400 tax credit, of course! WOTC is a general business credit that offsets federal income taxes and can be carried back to the prior tax year or carried
2. Engineering-based Property Cost Segregation
An engineering-based Cost Segregation study allows commercial property owners to reclassify real property for depreciation purposes as more rapidly depreciating “personal property”.
Reclassifying such assets to “personal property” can save a business tens of thousands in “catch up” depreciation. Even “leasehold improvements” can qualify for businesses who rent space rather than own. An average cost segregation study finds about $150,000 in additional deprecation per $1 million in purchase or construction/ renovation costs versus the 39-year straight line depreciation method for buildings.
3. R&D Tax Credit (for manufacturers)
When you think of R&D (research & development), if you think of people in lab coats tinkering with chemicals, ultra-high tech industries and Fortune 500 companies, you are not alone. However, things have changed! The IRS’s definition of R&D is now so broad that it encompasses virtually all manufacturing companies in some way. Here are only a few of the everyday activities that would qualify for the credit: designing processes to fabricate a product to reduce shrinkage and increase its quality; programming CNC machines; 3D CAD Engineering with programs like SolidWorks; developing and testing of prototypes; quality assurance – first-piece quality inspections; designing and developing of specialty tooling. An average R&D tax credit study finds approximately $20,000 to $40,000 credit per year for every $1 million in total company payroll! As long as you have employees routinely performing these activities, the R&D tax credit is something you can claim every year! These three methods are classified as specialized tax incentives for a reason! You’ll need to find a tax advisor who is not only familiar with these methods but has the resources to help your business utilize them.
The potential reward is very much worth the extra research and investigation on a business owner’s part! It takes a specialized team of construction engineers and tax accountants to do this properly, so be sure you contact someone who is experienced in Cost Segregation. [ SEPTEMBER 2018 ]
Tom Brodie Senior Advisor Stryde Solutions firstname.lastname@example.org 713-906-3710 www.tombrodie.biz WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 25
with Influence BY GAIL STOLZENBURG
s your networking really productive or are you just spending time with old friends? What if you were networking with influential people? Thomas J. Stanley, author of Networking with the Affluent, says, “Dollar for dollar, the most productive way to penetrate the affluent market is to network with its members, their advisors, and key members of their important affinity groups”. There is a difference in the mindset of wealthy people and less affluent people. When purchasing a product wealthy people consider the investment rather than the cost, the long term benefit rather than the immediate gratification, and tax consequences instead of just cash flow. Did you know 40% of the wealth is controlled by about 1% of the people? Rather than attempting to market a few products or services to many prospective purchasers, consider marketing many products or services to a few customers who are influencers. Develop one or more niches of influencers on which you can focus. Are all influencers wealthy? There are many less affluent people to connect you with influential people. Rather than what you know, it is who you know, who knows you, what you know and remember about each other, and how you build relationships. What do you think of when you hear wealthy, affluent, or influential? Does is bring up thoughts of exclusive, privacy, or inaccessible? Most successful people dislike being sold and yet welcome opportunities where they can share their knowledge, develop relationships, and increase their contact sphere. It is important that you are perceived as an influencer yourself, so begin
by developing the mindset of an influential person.
Develop a Plan
How do you approach these influential people? Do research (Google it) and get background information on individuals you want to meet, the events they are attending, and who else attend these groups. As often as possible take a millionaire to lunch or at least take someone who advises the affluent. Get away from the office, phone calls, and other distractions. Spend the time asking questions to discover their urgent needs. There are many success stories about networkers who helped influential people solve problems or supported causes, totally unrelated to the networkers business, and received lucrative contracts as a result. Offer to conduct complimentary seminars or workshops for their employees on topics you know will benefit them. Share ideas you have learned about personal development, leadership, and relationship marketing. Ask them where you should network.
Find the Resources
Be a resource, the “go to” guy, who has influencers coming to you for referrals for other services or products to help their business. You will receive endorsements for using the law of reciprocity .Business is all about relationships. Mention the people with whom you want to build relationships in your newsletters. Utilize social media. Have pictures taken with influential people at events. Belong to at least one Chamber of Commerce and serve on committees where you can meet the influencers. Attend the networking events where you can meet the influencers rather than just those in which you feel comfortable. The most
26 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [ SEPTEMBET 2018 ]
personal growth happens when you are uncomfortable. Groups where there is no charge for membership tend to attract members only interested in saving money. Exclusivity is important aspect of networking groups composed of influential people.
When is the best time to make a sale? It is when you have just made a sale because you are in a peak state. So when is the best time to contact an influencer you want to meet? It is when they have just concluded a major deal or been recognized for accomplishments and are feeling great about themselves. Also, take into consideration the best time of day for you personally. Are you at your best in the morning, noon, afternoon, evening, or night time.
Stay in Touch
Finally, develop a system of following up. Let them know you enjoyed and benefitted from your meeting and exchange of ideas. Send a personal note with helpful ideas from time to time. Set up a time to reconnect. Determine the next step. And, continue to help them in any way you can, even if there is no immediate financial benefit to you. Always remember the Givers’ Gain® philosophy. Your Network is Your Wealth!
Gail “The Connector” Stolzenburg Author of CONNECTIONS: Contacts to Clients Gail@GailStolzenburg.com 281 493 1955 www.GailStolzenburg.com
September 2018 BY CHRISTI RUIZ
New Moon will be September 9th and will bring awakening to us all. Full Moon will be September 25th and can bring challenges and push you to take action. September 9th will be the last day of planetary alignment we should see a clam in weather across the world. Aries March 21st to April 20th – This New Moon will bring you the opportunity to intensify all of your business or professional relationships. The Full Moon will assist you to tie up loose ends and pinpoint your next goal. You may see completion of a major professional project at this time. Taurus April 21st to May 21st – New Moon is a great time to secure partnerships for joint goals. Do not allow occasional setbacks to discourage you. Full Moon will endow you with positive communication that will help you to shine. This will bring you a better position or more business. Gemini May 22 to June 21 – New Moon will bring the opportunities for creating warm memories with those that surround you and make you much more effective. Full Moon will assist you in finding a resolution in your relationships to move forward. Learn to become a better task maker. Cancer June 22nd to July 22nd – New Moon is time to create positive communications promoting harmony and growth. Full Moon will have you take responsibility for your actions. This is a great time for brainstorming and posi-
tive recognitions. Create positive intentions for the future. Leo July 23rd to August 22nd – New moon will have you focusing on making positive movements on your investments. Get yourself ready for success mentally and emotionally. Focus on your priorities. Full Moon will give you great communication skills at this time use them well. Virgo August 23rd to September 23rd – New Moon will bring solid results that will boost your morale. Full Moon will be a great time to communicate what you expect from your business team. Change your routine slightly to give your employees motivation. Libra September 24th to October 23rd – New Moon caution misunderstandings over income with those in your office. Use a diplomatic approach to all endeavors at this time. Full Moon the best way to deal with partnerships is to lay all your cards on the table. Scorpio October 24 to November 22 – New Moon deepen your relationship with your partners to get to know them better. This way you will avoid any future disharmony. Full Moon will bring you a boost of energy and you can do no wrong so get out there network and socialize for money. Sagittarius November 23 to December 21st – New moon make known your long term
goals so that others know what you expect. Begin to mold your intentions. Full Moon will make you a positive communicator. Prioritize teamwork that will lead to great solutions. Create harmony at this time with others. Capricorn December 22nd to January 20th – New Moon you must be in a progressive and innovative approach to your business/profession. Have a clear vision of your income and what it will create. Full Moon you will be faced with a major decision make sure of what is your best option. Start setting your goals for the end of the year. Aquarius January 21 to February 19th – New Moon Mars in your sign will make you a go –getter to help you get to your next level. Full Moon will give you the energy to peruse your path in a bold way. Create more dreams that can come true. Pin point strategies to honor your skills and abilities. Pisces February 20th to March 20th – New Moon prioritize your goal list. Your connection is off the charts at this time. Connect and seek out collaborators, partners and investors. Full Moon Major Money making projects are possible now. Believe in yourself and take your dreams into reality. Now is the time to make your move. For more information call Christi Ruiz 281-904-2658 email@example.com www.christiruiz.com
[ SEPTEMBER 2018 ]
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