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June/July 2013

extraordinary visionaries, dedicated mentors and passionate leaders

smartEntrepreneurbook 35



the PREMIERE issue Where entrepreneurs come from

born or made?


Rush Communications

Tips from New York’s up-and-comers

hot start-ups unplanned obsolescence How to breathe new life into an aging product

Fully integrated He’s famous for creating multimillion-dollar businesses from his personal passions. Now, he’s earning more by giving back.


A hummingbird’s heart rate can reach 1,260 beats per minute while hovering to feed. At night, or when food is not readily available, they enter a hibernation-like state, slowing the heart rate to 50 to 150 bpm, reducing the need for food.

We create conditions that are exactly right. You can count on change. As one of the nation’s leading accounting firms, WeiserMazars provides the resources, experience and global expertise to help you adapt in a dynamically changing business landscape.

Please contact Victor Wahba Partner-in-charge, New York Practice 866.639.7998

WeiserMazars LLP is an independent member firm of Mazars Group.



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Exactly Right. |












Y 4/18/13 1:46 PM

© 2 013 , R H M I

630 Old Country Road, Garden City · 516.746.1675 The Chrysler Center · 212 953 2000 · Time-Life Building · 212 246 0154 Wall Street · 212 374 1811

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in every issue 8 Scene 9 Data Dump 10 Quick Takes: Shazi Visram, founder and CEO of Happy Family 11 Surf 12 CEO Forum: Start-ups 15 CEO Forum: Vision 16 Bookmark: Ownership Thinking 74 The Sampler: A selection of fresh ideas from this issue

columns 6 Upfront: Fueled by passion 18 My Turn: Scott Cullather, managing partner, inVNT 20 Uncut Entrepreneur: Personality matters 22 10 Things: Best job ever 24 Collective Wisdom: Need-driven innovation 25 The Insider: Love to win 74 Growth Guy: Business biology

special sections 35

Smart Entrepreneur Book

“Nurturing talent has been my whole life’s work.”

Russell SImmons, founder and CEO, Rush Communications

Fully integrated page 26

He’s famous for creating multimillion-dollar businesses from his personal passions. Now, he’s earning more by giving back. By Marie Griffin | Photography by Mitro Hood


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Throughout its 12-year history, SmartCEO has educated and inspired more than 135,000 business leaders with its award-winning monthly magazine and its high-energy events in the Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington DC markets. Join local C-level executives and other New York dignitaries as we celebrate the premier issue of New York SmartCEO, featuring entrepreneur and business mogul Russell Simmons. Cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. *Must hold a C-level title to attend



DATE: Thursday, June 27th, 2013 TIME: 6:30p.m. – 9:30p.m. LOCATION: Broad Street Ballroom, 41 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004 ATTIRE: Business Cocktail TICKETS: $295 *Limited Tickets Available


(Tables are available for purchase)

Thank you to our sponsors! ®

Accounting | Tax | Advisory

For more information about this event, contact us at or (646) 237-6975.

SmartCEO Publishing President/FOUNDER Craig Burris GROUP PUBLISHER Jaime Nespor Director of Operations Devin Servidio Office and HR Coordinator Liz Doyle OPERATIONS & CUSTOMER SERVICE COORDINATOR Ashleigh Hutchinson SMARTCEO100 Concierge Amber Harrington Editorial MANAGING EDITOR Rachel Cieri SENIOR EDITOR Dan Mills ASSOCIATE EDITOR Lindsay Eney EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Will Beaudouin EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Rebecca Kirkman EDITOR AT LARGE Jeanine Clingenpeel COLUMNISTS David Feldman Verne Harnish Marc Kramer Paul Riecks Doug Strouse Ken Wexley Art & Production ART DIRECTOR/VP OF PUBLISHING OPERATIONS Erica Wood Graphic Designer Kathleen Boehl Graphic Designer April Sipe Video Production Video Director Josh Wolf Video Editor Rachel Millman Video Editor Shane Teal BALTIMORE SALES OFFICE SENIOR account executive Jolene Gaulke SENIOR account executive Kerry Hancock Sales Associate Stephanie Squicciarini Event Coordinator Sara Harding Program Coordinator Katelyn Mattingly SmartCEO100 Concierge & Matrix Coordinator Jen Romeo NEW YORK SALES OFFICE ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Sales Associate Senior event coordinator event coordinator

Jennifer Ornovitz Sofia Alfaro Lauren Cittadino Molly Brown

PHILADELPHIA SALES OFFICE Regional Director Fay Steiger SENIOR account executive Alyssa Gonzalez Senior Sales Associate Elisha Chernoff event coordinator Julie McDonald Program Coordinator Abbey Bricker WASHINGTON SALES OFFICE Regional Director Gina Curcio SMARTCEO100 Director Samantha Belin ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Shannon McFadzean Sales Associate Mara-Lise Owen Sales & Event Coordinator Danielle Ensley Program Coordinator Kelly Whalen

AABP 2011 Editorial Excellence winner ASBPE 2008 Editorial Silver Award winner Ranked 3,566 on the Inc. 500/5000 2010 list

Copyright 2013 by SmartCEO Publishing. All rights reserved by SmartCEO Publishing. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Philadelphia SmartCEO (ISSN 2156-4019) is published monthly for $49.95 a year (12 issues), $69.95 for two years (24 issues) and $89.95 for three years (36 issues), by SmartCEO Publishing, 2700 Lighthouse Point East, Suite 220A, Baltimore, MD, 21224. Presort standard postage paid at Philadelphia, PA USPS #7266. SmartCEO Publishing assumes no liability for any error in copy or content. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: SmartCEO Publishing, 2700 Lighthouse Point East, Suite 220A, Baltimore MD, 21224


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Upfront – From the president

fueled by passion How SmartCEO can help you grow your business

craig burris

1375 Broadway Floor 6 New York, NY 10018 646-237-6975, Fax: 646-253-1258,

It’s 2 a.m., and you’re lying in bed, eyes fixed on a spot on the ceiling. Entrepreneurial insomnia has kicked in once again: You have to hire 10 people in 30 days to keep up with demand. Your product launch got delayed another 60 days, and you have to fund those losses — again. And to top it off, the protégé you’ve invested five years developing found a new opportunity, leaving you to start over. Just one thing gets you out of bed in the morning to lead the troops to the promised land when you’re only 90 percent sure of the path: your passion. Passion can’t be taught — if you don’t have it, no one can give it to you. But you can learn to harness that fuel and use it effectively. That’s where we come in. SmartCEO magazine was founded in Baltimore more than 11 years ago as a resource full of smart ideas to help educate and inspire decision makers to capitalize on their passions. By tapping into the minds of other business leaders, we help the region’s CEOs conquer the daily challenges of running a business through features, interviews, case studies, columns and other departments. We’ve expanded to Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and now New York, with a combined readership of more than 100,000 C-level leaders. We were told that New York would be different, and it is. New York CEOs are saddled with higher rent, personnel costs and competition, but revenue streams are not that different. They have to fight harder to hit it big. But if you hit it big in New York, you hit it real big. In many ways, Russell Simmons is the ideal CEO to lead our charge into the Big Apple. He knows what he wants. From his decision to be in the rap business the first time he saw a DJ at a party in college to his personal dedication to a spiritual life, Simmons works with unwavering determination to reach his goals. He practices what he preaches. Simmons’ practices in his personal and professional lives are seamlessly integrated. From books on self-empowerment to a new yoga brand, Simmons turned his

passion for spirituality and well-being into a revenue stream for his company. He’s never satisfied with the status quo. Simmons has become so much more than Def Jam and Phat Farm. With a prepaid debit card for those without access to a bank, a new menswear line for the “urban graduate” and the new All Def Digital network, Simmons seems unstoppable. Simmons’ story is a case study in fierce entrepreneurship, in diversity of interests and in ultimately pursuing what speaks to you. But his is not the only source of business inspiration in these pages. We spoke to start-up CEOs fighting for their spot in the crowded marketplace of Silicon Alley (page XX). A few pages later, meet the 2013 Smart Entrepreneurs (page XX), representing a cross-section of the extraordinary visionaries, dedicated mentors and passionate leaders in the SmartCEO community. And outside the pages of our magazines, our highenergy events, awards programs and video storytelling bring those lessons to life. Starting up in New York has been an incredible experience with many challenges, lessons learned and amazing people who have gotten behind our vision and mission to help the area’s business leaders grow their companies. We’re grateful to the friends and leaders we’ve met along the way, and we hope to inspire them as they’ve inspired us. What makes SmartCEO special is not us — it’s the community of readers and customers sharing their knowledge and passion to create this invaluable resource. CEO

Craig Burris is president and founder of SmartCEO. Contact us at

scene B


upcoming events Champion’s Awards

June 20

The annual awards, presented by ACG New York and The M&A Advisor, will honor New York’s top transactions, leading firms, services and deal maker of the year. Location: Metropolitan Club

SmartCEO Launch Party June 27 Join local C-level executives and other New York dignitaries as we celebrate the premiere issue of New York SmartCEO. Cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. Location: Broad Street Ballroom

M&A in Digital Media and Technology

The Association for Corporate Growth hosted this conference on the future of deal making in digital media at the Time-Life building. A: (L-R) Jeffrey Gross, VP, and Tanya Marvin-Horowitz, managing director, Allegiance Capital Corp.; Ron Shah, VP, Stripes Group; Melissa Stepanis, managing director, Silicon Valley Bank; Paul Cianciolo, VP, FirstMark Capital; Lloyd Rothenberg, moderator, and partner, Loeb & Loeb; B: (L-R) Mark Hahn, CFO/COO, FLM Graphics; Elisabeth Avnet Morse, VP legal and business affairs, The Madison Square Garden Company; and Jonathan Rubin, managing director, Westbury Group LLC.


Spark. Ignite Your Network

The National Association of Professional Women hosted a national networking conference for women in business. C: (L-R) Arianna Huffington, keynote speaker and chair, president and editor in chief, Huffington Post Media Group; Star Jones, national spokeswoman, NAPW; and Sara Blakely, founder, Spanx. D: Star Jones and Martha Stewart, keynote speaker and founder, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.


WPEO Awards Breakfast

The Women Presidents Educational Organization presented awards to New York business leaders for supporting women in business. E: (L-R) Eliseo Rojas, WPEO board chair, and VP of global sourcing and procurement, Interpublic Group of Companies; Judie McCloskey, procurement manager, Johnson & Johnson, President’s Award winner; Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., president and founder, WPEO; F: Cathy Kane, VP of operations, Rosenberg & Associates, Inc., Outstanding Women’s Business Advocate award winner. E F


June 28

Join the first TEDx event in Hoboken to hear 18-minute speeches by leading thinkers on topics ranging from “The Business of Posture” to the educational system in New Jersey. Location: The Babbio Center at Stevens Institute of Technology

New York Tech Meetup July 10 Join fellow technologists at this month’s New York Tech Meetup for an evening of live demos from companies developing great technology in New York. Location: Skirball Theater

2013 Nonprofit Conference July 17–18 More than 600 professionals in the nonprofit and commercial sectors gather at this annual event by DMA Nonprofit Federation to exchange innovative marketing and fundraising ideas, generate insightful solutions and think creatively. Location: Grand Hyatt New York _______________________ Submit your next event listing to


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datadump By Barnaby Wickham


what it means is anyone's guess: By Jeanine Clingenpeel

6 Out of 33, number of The Daily Meal’s top

coffee shops located in NYC, including Abraço Espresso, Kaffe 1668, Everyman Espresso, Joe the Art of Coffee and Café Grumpy

2 Rank of New York’s Gimme! Coffee Source:

50 Rank of New York among “most-free states,”

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according to The Mercatus Center, a libertarian think-tank

Dress Code: Business Casual

49 Rank of New Jersey

1 Rank of New Hampshire Source: The Mercatus Center at George Mason University

$2.3B Current value of MLB’s New York Yankees, America’s priciest team

$811M Value of New York Mets,

For more information or to register visit or call 212.489.8700

MLB’s sixth-highest valuation


Value of the average baseball team, up 23 percent from last year Source:

$70,236 Average starting salary of a New York University College of Nursing graduate


NYU’s rank among schools with the highest reported salaries upon graduation, according to a NerdScholar survey

$84,409 Average salary for graduates

of No. 1-ranked Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science Source:

Ar i s t on Flowers

“I like to think of myself as a handsome elderly gentleman. But I’m one of the ugliest bald men in the world.” WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, upon inducting Donald Trump into the WWE Hall of Fame in April. Trump shaved McMahon’s head mid-ring in 2007. Source: www. s m a rtc e o . c o m

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quick takes

Q: How are your products different from other baby foods?

A Q&A with Shazi Visram, founder and CEO of Happy Family

happy growth How a grassroots effort revolutionized baby food If a grocery store worker asked you to sample baby food, chances are you’d wrinkle your nose and walk away. “There’s this association with baby food tasting bad,” explains Shazi Visram, founder and CEO of Happy Family. “The jar had been around since the 1930s with no focus on nutrition or quality, more on convenience and a cheap price point.” When she founded her company in 2006, she made it her mission to give parents an alternative to feeding sickening mush to their children. After struggling to connect with consumers in the frozen space, she hit it big with an innovative dry cereal, the firstever organic puffs and yogurt snacks, and the true alternative to the jar — the pouch. Seven years later, Visram, wife of Joe and mom of Zane, is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year with a $63 million health food empire expanding its offerings to toddlers, kids and grown-ups, too. In May, Happy Family announced a deal with Visram’s “dream acquirer,” Danone. “Happy Family will benefit from the expertise of a major international group, in particular for distribution and its renowned R&D capabilities,” Visram said in a statement.

By Rachel Cieri

We target the needs of today’s generation of infants, and now toddlers and kids. We revolutionized the cereal space with the introduction of Happy Bellies, a probiotic and DHA cereal that also has choline and prebiotics. They mimic the probiotics found in breast milk, and they’re meant to defend the antidevelopment of food allergies, asthma and eczema, which are what’s now plaguing our generation — which was not an issue 50 years ago.

Q: Adults eat your products, too?

The pouch allows for a high-quality food to be minimally processed, so it tastes good and it comes in this convenient format. We’ve had people say, “I take these with me on my runs.” We have adult friends who have been eating their kids’ pouches for the longest time. My husband’s best friend’s name is Todd, and they have two toddlers in the house. His wife will buy two cases of our Happy Tots a week, and it turns out Todd eats like 20 of them. They’ve renamed them Happy Todd. This was a great opportunity to offer enlightened alternatives to products that sell en masse but are not actually the best for our bodies.

Q: How do you reach the masses?

Our Happy Mamas just started as friends of ours. We said, hey, would you do a sampling for us because it would be so much more meaningful coming from you. It requires the right kind of person to get somebody interested in coming over to try some baby food. It quickly evolved into this organized marketing structure within our business. They’re our health and wellness ambassadors across the country. They do demonstrations like how to make your baby food, they do samplings of our own foods and they speak with pediatricians about the availability of our foods. They do a lot of local events, basically educating the population. We’re not a brand that’s established just to push product; it’s established to push a lifestyle, health and wellness, and to give parents the information they need to make the best choices for their families.

It’s the purity of purpose. We’re privately held. We have supportive investors who believe in what we are doing for not only the potential economic value but for the social return as well. I can be as innovative as I want and not be constrained by the fact that the salba, [a nutritious grain we use], is very expensive. By supplementing our foods with it, it decreases our margins. If I were owned by a private equity company, which many of our competitors are, they might say you can’t do that. We have the insight of real moms who care.


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Hannah Chen

Q: When you launched, this was a novel concept. How do you handle the spate of competitors on the scene today?

f r u s

ng net nuggets

strangely compelli

To praise or not to praise?

Which is more motivational: positive or negative feedback? According to new research, the answer is both — for different people and purposes. “When you don’t really know what you are doing, positive feedback helps you to stay optimistic — something novices tend to need,” writes Heidi Grant Halvorson of Columbia University Business School. But for experts, negative feedback can provide the information necessary to enhance performance. So pile on the praise for your rookies, but don’t avoid noting your top performers’ mistakes. They will thank you for it.

Chew the fat, feel the burn

All that sitting around in meetings is shaving years off your life. So why not take that meeting to go? Veteran CEO and author Nilofer Merchant knocks down your objections to “walkntalks.” Think you need to take notes? You’ll listen better without your iPad. Need to share an agenda or background material? Do it beforehand. Don’t let technology get in the way of real human interaction.



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Signature accomplishments

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a lot to say but is not as outgoing as he’d like us to believe — at least according to his signature. Sheila Lowe, president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, analyzed several top CEOs’ John Hancocks for clues into their characters. Bill Gates is patient with the details. Mark Zuckerberg is secretive. When it comes to revealing our inner selves, the pen is mighty.

Workplace Moneyball

In the not-too-distant future, workforce analytics will yield enough quantifiable characteristics to inspect the average job candidate with the same intensity as a post-Moneyball general manager scrutinizing a shortstop. Analytics firm Evolv determined that potential Xerox call-center employees who live within 10 minutes of the office may be 20 percent more likely to stay at the company at least six months than ones who live 45 minutes away or farther. With the help of big data, you might discover which details are uniquely insightful or surprisingly irrelevant about your job candidates.

Your complete financial staffing solution. Robert Half will help you find the optimal balance of temporary, project consulting, and full-time financial resources to improve productivity and profitability within your organization.


Go to our digital edition to find links to these web gems:


© 2013 Robert Half. An Equal Opportunity Employer. 0806-0005

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CEO forum


By Will Beaudouin

revved up

Start a new venture with a roar, not a sputter Well, here you are — on your own. Whether you’re a serial entrepreneur or a former wage slave who quit your nine-to-five to pursue your dreams, the mere idea of starting a new business can be overwhelming. Your plan may be golden and your investors numerous, but without proper execution, you’ll be lucky to make it through your first year. Lucky for you, these New York-area CEOs are here to tell you that it can, in fact, be done. And it’s not about being lucky; it’s about being good.

Jake Bronstein,

founder, Flint and Tinder Early challenges: I

kind of put the cart in front of the horse. I ended up making a lot of sales before I actually had a product that I knew how to manufacture. I took it for granted that manufacturing a product like this would be easy, but because nobody had made [our product] in America in so long, a lot of the equipment wasn’t here and a lot of the institutional knowledge really didn’t exist anymore. We had to buy them from other countries and ship them in. Because I didn’t have an apparel background, I underestimated how big

those hurdles are, but I dove in and I’m happy for it. Past advice: We gave people a really great experience, so I think they ended up loving the brand and being really passionate about [it], but we probably sold them too much. If, instead of doing that, we had just sold them each one pair of underwear or one t-shirt, they would have been just as passionate, they would have had just as good an experience, but we’d have probably seen them back sooner.

Elle Kaplan,

CEO and founding partner, Lexion Capital Management Early challenges:

Initially, one of the most difficult aspects of starting a company is that you wear all hats, all at once — quite the change from a stable, traditional office, where administrative support, HR, a marketing team and many other resources are taken care of. When

“I would have told my past self to aim higher and dream bigger.” Elle Kaplan, Lexion Capital Management

chief storyteller Flint and Tinder first found success through Kickstarter — founder Jake Bronstein explains how. When you’re launching a brand, a brand really lives in the minds of other people. It doesn’t live with you, it lives in how other people feel about what it is that you do. One of the quickest ways to create that feeling for people is by telling a story. I think all the greatest brands on earth always told a story. CocaCola never talks about brown sugary water in its commercials; it talks about teaching the world to sing. What we figured out how to do, both on Kickstarter and off, is [to] just effectively tell a story before asking you to engage with the product or buy the product. It’s been really successful for us.

Jake Bronstein, founder, Flint and Tinder 12

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I launched Lexion Capital in 2010, I wound up with more clients than I could initially handle. I exceeded my first-quarter projections on the first day I was open for business. This became what I can only call a “reverse curse.” I had to temporarily shut my doors to additional clients while I rapidly expanded so that I could deliver the extremely high standard of service and care I am committed to. Past advice: I would have told my past self to aim higher and dream bigger. When you build your own business from the ground up, you get to create something truly special. Today, Lexion Capital is more than just a company; we are a role model in our space and an activist for change on Wall Street. We are driven by our intense commitment to our mission of empowering clients and raising the bar in finance.

Nick Gidwani,

CEO, SkilledUp Early challenges:

Finding great people has been difficult, which is part of the reason I started my company; I want to help companies find great people and help them to get quickly skilled up to contribute. It’s still early for us, but the primary challenge has been to grow the user base slowly and steadily, something many web-based businesses go through. We are growing very fast, though, and we are certainly satisfied with our trajectory. Past advice: Don’t be afraid to fail, but focus on failing small and often so you can quickly pivot and iterate on your business model. This is the lean model, and it’s a lot better than trying to get it all right the first time out.

Alex Moazed,

CEO, Applico Early challenges: As

a young entrepreneur running my first company, the most challenging part of starting a business was confidence. I had to have the confidence to lead. In the early days of Applico, I had to have the confidence to hire people and assume responsibility for both them and their families. All of these people are looking for you to take charge. You have to ask yourself if you are going to be able to meet their expectations. Can you earn their respect rather than command it? Because the latter doesn’t work. Past advice: If I could have given my past self one piece of advice, it would be to start sooner.

Avi Millman,

CEO and co-founder, Stray Boots Early challenges:

Acquiring customers is the hardest thing. You can have a great product and a big market, but getting the word out and standing out among all the other options people have for solving whatever problem you solve for them can be a huge challenge. This is particularly true of B2C companies, where customers are inundated with hundreds of thousands of apps, games and other solutions, but it also exists for B2B companies trying to get clients to switch service providers or adopt a new one. Past advice: I would tell myself to hire for fit rather than qualifications and experience. The best employees we have are those who love what we do, are fun to work with and adapt to the constantly changing landscape rather than find it frustrating.

Many of them didn’t have direct experience. We learned this the hard way, though. One of our first non-founding employees didn’t work out, and it was not a result of qualifications. He had an amazing resume in mobile marketing and was a super-nice guy, but he just didn’t work within our team. Not realizing that cost us a lot of time and money at a time where we could hardly afford those setbacks. Now, we turn down a lot of qualified individuals only based on a gut feeling.

“Get used to the uncertainty — it doesn’t get any easier!” Jonathan Wasserstrum, TheSquareFoot

Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO and co-founder, TheSquareFoot Early challenges:

Taking the plunge. It sounds glamorous after the fact, but it’s very unnerving at the time. Deciding to jump off the normal path — and convincing your friends and family along the way — is not a decision taken lightly. Recruiting our first employee [was also difficult]. It was one thing for my cofounders and I to quit our day jobs and work on TheSquareFoot full time. Selling the dream and vision to someone else was a different ballgame. It took us several months to find the right person. He not only had to buy into what we were doing, but he also had to be the right fit from a cultural standpoint. He was our first external hire and who he was would reflect a lot on the company as a whole. We are thrilled with our choice. Past advice: Get used to the uncertainty — it doesn’t get any easier!

Jordan Silverman, CEO,

Star Toilet Paper Early challenges:

The most difficult part of getting my company off the ground was finding the time. I was still a student when I founded Star, and it took me a while to realize that there is no such thing as work-life balance in a start-up. Any entrepreneur can attest to

the fact that a start-up is your baby. Every start-up needs sales in one form or another to get off the ground, and being told “no” over and over again is an obstacle that is difficult to overcome in the early stages. Past advice: Surround yourselves with a group of mentors and partners early. A person is simply the average of the five people around them. If I could have surrounded myself with mentors and advisers earlier in the process, we could have avoided some of the inevitable pitfalls first-time entrepreneurs face.

start-up? start reading. Good reads for any budding entrepreneur

Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-up Book You’ll Ever Need James Lawrence, CEO, Sprezzat Early challenges:

We were thrilled that our idea was an industry first. However, its success was completely dependent upon convincing top-tier app publishers to integrate our API into their apps. While we received near universal praise for the prototype, we were having difficulty closing the deal. There are very few big brands that want to push the envelope with first-to-market ideas and products, especially from an unproven start-up. Protecting their brand equity is paramount. Past advice: The one significant advantage an early stage start-up has over a well-funded, established business is agility. You can drop everything you’ve been working on and open up shop a few weeks later with a totally different offering. While you probably don’t want to change your core focus every week, know when something isn’t working, reinvent and relaunch.

Emily Best,

founder and CEO, Seed & Spark Early challenges:

You get told “no” a lot by investors, and it can be hard to maintain confidence and focus in the face of that. Keeping your head down and doing the next “right” thing, conserving energy and not spending it on doubt and fear — that’s hard. Building traction is a full-time job and, for us, requires careful analysis of the data. We have to measure the systems as we build them, and it’s a challenge not just to build the right metrics but to honestly assess them. It’s really easy to want to share (and publicize) any indication it’s working. I think right now patience is our biggest challenge. We are in the process of

by The Staff of Entrepreneur Media

High Tech Start Up, Revised and Updated: The Complete Handbook for Creating Successful New High Tech Companies by John L. Nesheim

Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson

executing a traction-building strategy that is part tech build, part content acquisition, part personnel, and it simply takes time. When people ask us for performance metrics, we just have to say, “We’ll get back to you in two months,” and go back to work. Past advice: Get active on Twitter now. Seriously. It’s been an invaluable business tool.

Jason Miletsky, CEO,

MyPod Studios Early challenges:

We never went the traditional VC route. Instead, we have an angel investor, but really it’s just a guy with a lot of money looking to invest in some things. It wasn’t a professional investor. Since it came out of his pocket, he would be calling us twice a day, every day asking us how things were going. It created an immense amount of pressure to do things quickly — exactly the pressure I wanted to avoid by not going the VC route. That was probably the biggest [challenge]. Past advice: We were not as rigid about the content we put up at the very beginning. The content wasn’t really the high quality that we wanted. Right now, I’m very happy with what the quality is and where it’s going. Looking back on it, I’m a little bit embarrassed.

www. s m a rtc e o . c o m

Toffer Grant, founder and CEO, PEX Card Early challenges:

Getting through the first three years is key as you have to get customer awareness and acquisition right, then service deployment [and] loyalty. Three years is an ample cycle period to do that and figure out scale points and set targets. We introduced a retail financial service to the SMB market in October 2008. The financial meltdown was going on concurrently, which made it tough to identify our target and reach them. SMBs were more concerned with survival over new services. Past advice: Boil your value prop into a sound bite or elevator pitch that everyone you talk to will understand quickly, see value in (even if it’s not for them) and can repeat — if someone gets and likes it from a cold open, the message figures into marketing and ad messaging.

Sam Caucci,

principal and founder, Sales Huddle Group, Inc. Early challenges:

From an early development stage, it’s definitely trying to find the right champions to play on the team with you. When we started the company, we were lean and mean — it was myself and two other partners. Step one was to make sure we grew the organization from the ground up. As a consulting firm, J une/ J uly 2013

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start me up

Overwhelmed by the idea of even registering an LLC? Here are some tips to get you going.

Network: As many CEOs have rightfully pointed out, you have to put the

jitters aside and start shaking hands. This goes beyond networking events and your LinkedIn. Make an effort to talk to everyone, be they close friends or new acquaintances.

Jump in: The longer you take to commit, the harder it will be to get your start-up off the ground. It takes guts to walk away from a guaranteed paycheck, but the payoff can be worth it. Tweet this, like that: One of the quickest, cheapest and easiest ways to start

building your budding brand is via social media. Making a Facebook page or a Twitter account takes moments and is a great first step in getting your name out there.

Listen up: Whether it’s colleagues, mentors or family — listen to those around you. While their word may not be gospel, they may offer sage advice that could be your new venture’s saving grace.

it’s instrumental to grow your bench. [We were] faced with the decision to either try to find veteran professionals [or] go the longer road and build some people up through our system who we know are going to latch on. We took that longer road decision. Past advice: I would take less advice from people that are in my industry. As a CEO starting up a company, it’s your baby — it’s your initial thought that you’re trying to bring to life. While it’s important [to] take advice from others, I would definitely go back and say I’m not going to try to prove my concept around town. You’ve just got to go with it.

Mike Hanne,

founder and CEO, Breakrs Early challenges:

Breakrs was an ambitious project, and we were faced with the “chicken or the egg” conundrum. We needed funding

to develop the product, and we needed a product to get funding. It can be very difficult to find talent willing to work for free, so my partner taught himself a whole new coding language to build the website. For additional development help, we hired interns, but we wanted to protect our intellectual property. Instead of paying high lawyer fees, I did some research and drafted a non-disclosure agreement to save us a few bucks. Every day, the average entrepreneur is faced with unfamiliar challenges, so we’ve learned to be flexible and resilient. Past advice: If I could go back one year, I would tell myself to be relentless. As a founding member of a start-up, you’re going to experience rejection and disappointment but also excitement and inspiration, all in the course of a single day. Don’t let anything slow you down. If there is a wall, you either climb it or find someone that knows how to knock it down for you. There is always a solution; sometimes it just takes a little resourcefulness and persistence to find it.

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CEO forum

By Rebecca Kirkman


seeing is achieving Why a clear, specific vision is the first step to attaining the growth you’ve always dreamed of

When you started your business, you carefully crafted your vision and mission statements. But how do you enact them in your company today? As you grow, it’s important to make sure everyone on your team knows where you’re headed. Focusing on your vision gives your employees direction and a goal to work toward. Local CEOs share the vision they see — and how they live it every day.

Jonathan Ballin, founder

and CEO, Bigfoot Communications, Inc. See it: My vision is

to build a major agency that satisfies very different mediums: print, digital or broadcast. I want to satisfy my clients’ needs and to have a healthy, growing company. Your market and your client base dictate what your vision could or should be. Depending on what your clients’ needs are, you’re going to adapt to satisfy their needs. The industry is constantly changing and evolving. You can’t be too far ahead of the curve; you can’t be too far behind the curve. Live it: Your core principles, ethics and basic value propositions should remain consistent. You want to be who you are and do the things you set out to do without sacrificing morals and values. By setting good examples and sticking to a thought-out, measurable plan, you can dictate and control the outcome. There’s no exact recipe for vision. I think that it needs to be organic.

Kevin Cook,

president and CEO, Dialogic See it: My vision

for Dialogic’s future is that we will empower and inspire the world’s leading service providers and application developers to modernize their communications infrastructure with our technologies and give their customers the best possible experience. It is important to have a well-defined vision so your organization

is unified in the direction of the company and what it will take to get there. When you have a clearly defined vision, it instills confidence in your customers and partners. A well-defined vision is the fastest way to achieve your goals. Live it: I apply the vision to daily work by engaging every day with employees, customers, shareholders and colleagues, and by describing the vision and the passion behind the work that we do. We are forever reinforcing the virtues of [our products and services] and inspiring dialogue that brings us closer to achieving our goals. It’s contagious, it’s invigorating, it’s real and we live it every day.

Eugene T. Lee,

president and CEO, ETL Associates, Inc. See it: My

vision for ETL is to continue to play to our strengths, to build to the future, to distinguish ourselves from our competitors based upon assets, and [build] our unique competitive advantage. [We want to] grow, expand our practice and continue to build our brand within the industry and within the general public. I liken building an agency to building a house; you always want to build on a solid foundation. I realized I could never sway from the core values that are my backbone: integrity, hard work, character, honesty and trust. I knew those core values would be the foundation for the way we do business. Especially in athlete representation, you’re only noticed when you do something wrong. [I want] to show people that you can succeed in the industry without sacrificing who you are.

Live it: Every task — negotiating a contract, researching an appearance, autograph signing — is grounded in the long-term vision. Be innovative, but also make sure you’re looking long-term for your clients’ interests. You need to maintain that single-minded vision for the client’s best interest and the long-term growth of the company. It’s embedded in the work we do for our clients.

John Camacho,

chairman and CEO, JEC Strategic Advisors See it: At the

beginning, our vision was to be the best consulting firm. It was too vague. When you first start, you want to do everything. Your vision becomes clouded. At that point, even to be the best was very subjective. [At first] I was about a niche market. Now everything is more globalized. Gradually we learned it’s not enough to look at the big picture; always

look at the wider picture of the big picture. Our vision evolved to make the firm an indispensable tool for our clients. We took a broader and clearer version of the vision. Live it: It is your roadmap to success. You first start with an idea. As convoluted as that idea is, if you want to make a business out of it, you have to simplify that idea, and that becomes your vision. The company itself has to make sure everyone involved understands the vision. If you have enough employees who understand the vision, they will make sure that everybody else has a hint of that vision. What works is if you’re explaining why — why you have to work to the vision, besides the fact that they’re getting a paycheck.

“A well-defined vision is the fastest way to achieve your goals.” Kevin Cook, Dialogic

ready, set, goal Make your mission and vision work together

Mission: Your mission is your company’s reason for existing. It answers the questions: What do we do? For whom do we do it? How do we do it? Vision: This is your company’s direction. It answers the question, why are we here? Your vision should describe the difference you want to make to your key customers and clients. It tells your employees where you’re headed. Better together: Your vision is your ultimate goal, and your mission is what you’ll do to get there. One can’t work without the other. www. s m a rtc e o . c o m

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Melissa Gonzalez,

founder and CEO, Lion’esque Style See it: I want

Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose and Profit By Brad Hams 227 pages

If you’re a fan of Ayn Rand and enjoy a self-satisfied political rant, read the first 30 pages of Ownership Thinking by Brad Hams. If you’re looking for a detailed, step-by-step guide to crafting effective incentive plans and boosting financial literacy in the workplace — with the goal of creating an organization in which employees act like owners toward creating wealth — read the following 200 pages. Hams argues that CEOs can override their employees’ sense of “entitlement” by implementing self-funded incentives tied directly to organizational profitability and by engaging employees in simple financial training workshops so they concentrate on the same key performance indicators that keep you up at night. And with Hams’ meatand-potatoes instructions, Ownership Thinking provides a clear blueprint for any company to follow.

If you like this book, you’ll like:

The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack Built to Sell by John Warrillow 16

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Lion’esque Style to be a true marketplace where women can discover brands they need to know. Where women find high-quality, unique products and a destination where they can get the inside scoop first and share it with other people. It’s evolved in that in the beginning it was very New York-centric; launching the e-commerce platform gives me access to brands across the country. It’s been exciting to extend in that sense. On our wall, we have our brand filter and decision criteria and our target consumer profile, with pictures. I tell my team to look at her as you’re writing — that’s who you’re writing to. When you’re a newer company, consistency is important. Live it: You have to be so disciplined. When you want to grow, it’s so easy to stray from the vision. Take your time to regroup with yourself. Things are moving so fast all the time it’s easy to be seduced by opportunities that might make sense in the moment but not in the overall picture. Look at those mantras on a daily basis until it’s engrained in the company culture.

Rob LoCascio, founder and CEO, LivePerson, Inc. See it: Up until

now, customer engagement is factory based [on the web]. That mentality doesn’t feel right anymore. The customer is used to a deeper connection with friends and family online; [if you] treat me like a friend, I want to be engaged. Our vision is to provide the technology to enable that, to create that holistic way in which you can create meaningful connections with customers through our platform. Live it: When we started this journey, we started with the core values, and internally we have to live them first. Then we take it to our customers and create a meaningful connection with them. It’s natural for us because it’s baked into our culture. I think it’s important to have a well-defined set of core values, and with those core values you can set a vision that makes sense. It gets very confusing for employees when you don’t have a wellcrafted culture and then you’re saying, “Here’s the vision of the company.” A [clearly communicated vision] makes it easier to make decisions.

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Anthony Lolli, CEO, Rapid Realty NYC See it: My vision

is to become America’s first household name in apartment rentals by making the rental experience faster, easier and more convenient. Renters should know they can walk into any of our locations and get a great apartment, insurance, utilities and any number of other services, all under one roof. When I founded Rapid Realty, I was only focused on Brooklyn. But when we started franchising during the recession and were able to grow so quickly despite the economic environment, it gave us the confidence to turn our local vision into a national one. Live it: My team and I live and breathe [the vision]. It guides everything we do. Every day we’re meeting new potential franchisees. Every day we’re building new partnerships that allow us to expand the services we offer our clients. Every day we’re working to grow and create room for growth. Our social media presence is designed to keep both our employees and our clients tapped into what we’re doing and where we’re going. We’re growing larger by the day, and having a clear vision keeps things from slipping through the cracks.

“Having a clear vision keeps things from slipping through the cracks.” Anthony Lolli, Rapid Realty NYC

James Fox, CEO,

Red Peak Branding See it: Our vision

was clear from the get-go. We wanted to create a new kind of agency that puts together two disciplines that don’t often come together: strategic brand thinking with the very best designers in the world. We thought there was an opportunity where we could hire the best [designers and strategists], put them in a room together [and] create transformational change for our clients. Our vision remains the same, but the areas in which we explore and evolve change as new clients and employees come on board. Live it: There are two approaches [to communicating vision]: one is top down, the other is bottom up. I’m a huge believer

in leadership by example. Unless the upper levels of leadership enact their own vision, it becomes a useless piece of flimflammery. That trickles down and gets absorbed into the organization. Every Monday morning, we get together for breakfast, and an employee gives a 10-minute talk on some aspect of branding — the receptionist one week, the CEO the next week. It all contributes to communicating our vision, making it real and alive.

Samantha Goldberg, CEO,

Gold Events LLC See it: [My vision

is] to reinvent our wheel, as a generation, work-wise. My focus as a leader is to continually be getting better, getting that underdog to be with me, not behind me, and to change the perception of the business that I’m in. When you meet people who aspire to be where you are, it makes you want to do a better job. The other focus is growing my mini-empire. I want to build my business; I want to be a successful woman entrepreneur. Live it: If people want to continue to be leaders, you’ve always got to be that trendsetter. Look ahead for the people that work with you and remember at the end of the day why you’re doing it and how you got there. [Aim to be] mentally and physically fulfilled with where you are today. Do you exude that to the people who are around you? Do you empower them? Spend your life thinking of ways to make things better.

Tamara Nall, CEO, The Leading Niche See it: My

vision is to become the premier top-ofmind provider of data analysis and IT consulting to healthcare, financial services and government clients worldwide; the employer of choice by top talent; and a place where employees can tap into their best selves while delivering high-quality service to our customers. Our vision has evolved from being less specific to more specific. We can use different parts of the vision as a dashboard to check progress against the vision. For employees, a vision is a roadmap that everyone can keep at the forefront of their hearts and minds. It allows each person to commit to the vision in his or her own way.

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Live it: We are clear on the services that we offer, the industries that we target, our commitment to employee “family members” and our desire to think about the future pipeline of potential family members that will take the company to the next level. Besides articulating the vision directly to employees and customers, the best way to communicate is through the leadership’s actions. Our clients see that we work hard to deliver excellent work, and employees notice that we are creating an environment for them to thrive. We show them our vision.

Liz Elting,

co-founder and co-CEO, TransPerfect See it: We want

to be the universally recognized world leader in providing high-quality communication and technology services to support our clients’ global goals, and we will achieve this by employing the most skilled professionals, who are inspired to achieve in a respectful, rewarding, merit-based workplace. When we started, we were focused on establishing ourselves as a major player. TransPerfect has evolved to be future-oriented, helping our clients see what’s next so that we’ll be a major player for years to come. You can’t get where you want to go if you have no idea in which direction to head. We provide [the roadmap] to every employee, and we make sure they keep it close to them at all times. Live it: Our vision is defined by our desire to help our clients reach their global goals. Every discussion, debate and decision is conducted under the premise that the best way forward is always the way that helps our clients meet their goals. We work tirelessly so our clients see this, and how we act should make our vision clear to anyone who is looking.

Nick Fugaro,

founder and CEO, Vivastream See it: We want to

create a place where people can connect with other people around business topics. We want to start building out social experiences for enterprises in a B2B space. [Our vision is to] have Vivastream integrated within their sites and within their events, creating real-time integrated leads for them. [We want] to give enterprises an opportunity to expand their content beyond the physical event.

prescription for success

How Rooney Nelson, CEO of The Nelson Group, lives his vision every day Our clients view us as experts in our market. Our vision is to continue to build on that and work with and acquire clients [for whom] we can make a big difference — doing well by doing good. Can you tell me what [your vision] is in a sentence or two? Tell me where you’re going; it doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s critical that you turn your vision into simple action points that anyone can understand and live. We found a lot of success comes from doing small things well. We have four checkpoints that we use:

Communication: We respond to communication immediately. The one-hour rule: we encourage our clients to copy at least a couple people, 24 hours a day, even just to say “Got it, we’ll get back to you.” Daily goals: Did we do everything we were trying to do for that client today? Is there anything we could have done that we didn’t do? Client engagement: We always stay actively engaged with our clients. If

For nearly 40 years, our

Checking in: Once a month or so, we go back and say, in addition to what

New York businesses of all

you ever want to see us — talk, grab a drink — we’re always here. we’re doing, is there anything we can do to improve your business? Live it: We create engagement around

our users, and they help fulfill our vision. We want people to raise their hand and participate; everything we do is about connecting people and creating engaging products, features and functions for users that help them connect with other users. We [ask]: how do we engage the user more effectively, and how do we deliver content to people that care about that content? It’s what we discuss every day in our morning meetings, and it’s what we build toward.

Douglas A. Phillips,

chairman and managing partner, WeiserMazars LLP See it: From the

beginning, we have focused on becoming a dominant regional firm with national and international reach. As we expanded, this vision has evolved so that now we look to be a national firm, dominant in regions and industries, with international reach. When we speak about “dominance” we don’t mean ownership of the market by size metrics. Our goal is to dominate in quality of talent, thought leadership and superior service. We want to be foremost in the minds of clients, targets and

institutional referral sources — to be the very first name in specific industry niches at all levels of interaction. Live it: We communicate our vision through everything we do, both to our people and to our clients. Our values are expressed by a strong tone at the top rather than through lectures or internal propaganda. Every activity of the firm is underpinned by this vision — HR, marketing and other internal services as well as our client services. In a sizable organization, it is vital for people to be connected to the vision in order to execute. To do so, you must start with a well-defined vision that is well communicated, otherwise your firm’s strategy and identity will not coalesce.

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my turn

mind, body and soul

Aligning mission, product and culture jump-started our growth As a global brand communications agency, inVNT spends a lot of time thinking about how to help our clients cut through the noise, strike a chord and strengthen their businesses. But it wasn’t until we took a look in the mirror that we applied the same strategy to our brand and hit a major breakthrough.

guest columnist

by scott cullather Managing Partner inVNT

The “aha” moment We started inVNT in 2008, at the height of the economic meltdown. It was an unforgiving time for lots of businesses, particularly start-ups. How do you create a trusted brand when you’re the new face in town? How do you get people to believe that you will deliver something valuable? And how do you attract and retain the kind of talent required to set your work apart in a crowded marketplace? We knew if we acted and sounded like everyone else, we didn’t stand a chance. We noticed that many of our competitors “play down the middle” when describing themselves, carefully saying nothing that might be considered controversial or too bold. We knew this wasn’t right for us. One day, while walking through the Forbidden City in Beijing before a client meeting, I was suddenly struck by the complete and total focus and unity in every aspect of the place. It was then that I realized we needed to align what I saw as the mind, body and soul of our young company — the mind being our brand positioning and belief system; the body being our service offering, what we create and how we deliver value to our clients; and the soul being our company culture.

A single phrase The vision for inVNT was always to become a global brand communications agency with offices strategically located around the world. In order to achieve this, we needed to replicate what we had started

as we began to scale up. To do this, we would need to encapsulate who we are, what we stand for, how we’re different, how we make a difference for our clients and why inVNT is a great place to work — all in a single phrase that could define and align us as a global agency. We studied the competitive landscape and conducted in-depth interviews with our staff, freelancers, vendor partners and clients designed to uncover commonalities in terms of the qualities that make inVNT unique. We searched for the phrase that would hold it all together: “Challenge Everything.” “Challenge Everything” is the gem at the center of our brand positioning — our “mind.” We regularly beat larger agencies by challenging convention, mindsets, expectations and the status quo. By confidently owning this bold statement, we differentiate ourselves and stand out; it captures who we are, how we think, our unique attitude and our character. Which brings us to our service offering and value proposition, our “body.” At inVNT we challenge each other and challenge ourselves creatively to deliver solutions that are on brand, on point and stand out. Furthermore, we let our clients know that we will respectfully challenge them as well. This isn’t about being antagonists for the sake of it. Our clients come to us because they need something to change. But change isn’t easy, and it almost never comes by playing it safe. “Challenge Everything” communicates the way we deliver value and generate the kind of

change that strengthens a client’s brand in the marketplace. Last but not least, “Challenge Everything” aligns our “soul” — our company culture. InVNT has grown 500 percent over the last four years, and we have been actively adding to a fast-growing staff of individuals who share a “challenger spirit.” Our mantra helps us decide when an otherwise qualified individual might not be the right fit for inVNT. It fuels the way we approach our work every day, our interactions with each other and the qualities and behaviors we expect of anyone who calls themselves an “inVNTr.”

Room to grow My leadership philosophy has always been based on collaboration. What makes me particularly proud of “Challenge Everything” is that it came without prompting or pushing. It’s easy for us to live and breathe it at every level of our company because it succinctly describes who we are, how we deliver value, how we approach our work and how we treat each other. Defining and aligning an organization’s mind, body and soul in this way takes time, and it would certainly be easier to just never stop to look in the mirror. But at inVNT, it made a difference. It kick-started a period of sustained growth — fueled by confidence and clarity — that continues today. As we expand globally and our vision becomes a reality, this alignment is fueling brand continuity worldwide, regardless of geography, culture or language. CEO

Scott Cullather is managing partner of inVNT, a brand communications agency based in Manhattan that enhances and supports brand messaging for some of the world’s largest companies and trade associations. Contact us at 18

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Are you a true entrepreneur?

personality matters Though my day job is practicing law, my passion is helping entrepreneurs. In my 25 years of experience, I’ve seen entrepreneurs of all kinds — all finding varying degrees of success — and I’ve come to believe that certain personality traits are what make some successful at navigating the rigors and risks of building a business while others fall flat. I’ve narrowed it down to nine: big dreamer, natural leader and decision maker, obsessive passion and drive, macromanager, rational optimist, healthy fear of failure, little fear of risk, controlling but not freakish, and disciplined personal and business life. In this column, I hope to help entrepreneurs deal with the unfiltered realities of building a business, and to start, I’ll tackle two of the personality traits integral to success.

The big dream Possibly the single most important characteristic of great business impresarios is being a big dreamer. Think of the classic 1950s TV show, The Honeymooners. Always-downtrodden New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden looked for that idea that would take him and wife Alice to easy street. “This is the big one, honey,” he would scream. Of course, his hopes were dashed each time, but he learned friends and family were what really mattered. Great entrepreneurs have that same excitement, though hopefully with greater success than poor Ralph. The key is figuring out something you can do differently or better — or finding something that’s never been done. Technological or product advancement, though, is not enough. The product also has to satisfy some unmet need. Some great developments like the Sony Betamax video recorder and Quadrophonic stereo ultimately bombed. Sometimes thinking big doesn’t require a great invention. Think of Bill Gates’

brilliant marketing of software for personal computers or Richard Branson’s servicebased Virgin brand. Gates did not invent the PC. He just helped develop software to make it run, but other companies did that, too. His brilliance was in licensing the software to any PC manufacturers that wanted it. Branson didn’t invent airlines or good service; his style and focus on customers made people want to be part of his universe. This brings us to the well-known story of the “Soup Nazi.” Once thought to be an urban legend, the tale of a small stand with incomparable soup but an incorrigible owner is classic New York folklore made infamous by a Seinfeld episode, but it turned out to be true. Soup Kitchen International proprietor Al Yeganeh dished out great soup with bad attitude. The Soup Nazi provides a lesson: when you think big, remember that the market need drives the product or service, not the other way around. And an earlier reference in the classic movie Sleepless in Seattle reminds us, “It’s not just about the soup.”

Born or made? It’s the age-old question: is a person born a leader, or is it a skill that can be learned? In my experience, natural leaders like being in charge, motivating others and serving as head cheerleader. They understand how to manage by incentive and good communication rather than fear. They don’t ponder too long on decisions and have a strong sense of organization. Let’s take these one by one:

Being in charge: I used to think, “Who doesn’t like being in charge?” Until I discovered that many people do not appreciate the pressure and potential rejection involved in running anything. In my case — building law firms — I learned that I enjoy leading the show, but it also puts you “out there” for criticism, which is not for everyone. Motivating people: It is very fulfilling for me to see one of my staff members rise to a project thanks, in part, to my efforts encouraging them to feel a sense of ownership. Some who didn’t have much promise have surprised me because I waited patiently for their moment. Serving as head cheerleader: As a leader, you realize your people take their cues from you, and you like that — at least most of the time. If you’re a little down, people will whisper, “What’s wrong with him today?” That’s even if the only thing bothering you is a disagreement you had with your teenager. So you show up every day appearing enthused and supportive, regardless of your actual mood. Managing by incentive and communication, not fear: Great leaders are not the ones who yell and scream and scare the bejesus out of people. Good management is ultimately about good communication. If you listen to your people and take their concerns into account, the appreciation will come full circle. Usually. Making decisions efficiently: I must have had to make several dozen different decisions a day when I was running my own firm. Some were easy, others hard.

David N. Feldman is a partner in the New York City office of Richardson & Patel LLP. He is also the author of The Entrepreneur’s Growth Startup Handbook: 7 Secrets to Venture Funding and Successful Growth and other books on the challenges of entrepreneurship. Contact us at 20

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david n. feldman

uncut entrepreneur

Branson didn’t invent airlines or good service; his style and focus on customers made people want to be part of his universe. I never rushed into a decision, but I did not dwell on the process either. Great entrepreneurs know that business moves at light speed and good decisions need to be made quickly. After a decision is made, monitor its implementation so that if problems occur you can learn from them. Having a strong sense of organization: This means being a good planner and organizer, thinking ahead. This is often what keeps great entrepreneurs up at night, all the “what ifs” playing through your head. You set up your company with a clear structure in which each person

fully understands his or her role and responsibilities. If you find you are a natural leader and have a big dream, it’s not enough to guarantee success. If you have a great idea but not the ability to challenge and motivate a team to translate the dream into reality, you may not have everything it takes to be a success in building a business. A brilliant scientist developing a great new drug that never leaves the lab may not be the right person to create and grow a company. CEO


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Make your employees happier and your bottom line bigger

best job ever

More than likely, you started your business, in part, because you hated your last job. When going to work was the last thing you wanted to do, it was probably tough to stay motivated, productive and positive. If you expect those qualities from your employees, look at their satisfaction with their jobs and you might just stumble upon some other positive effects such as better attendance, greater job tenure and increased productivity.

1. RAPPORT Rapport has nothing to do with being friends with your employees — it’s the degree to which a leader acts in a warm and supportive manner and shows concern for employees. It means being friendly and approachable, going to bat for subordinates, consulting employees on important matters, finding time to listen to employees’ problems, being willing to accept subordinate suggestions, looking out for the welfare of individual employees and treating a subordinate like an equal.

2. RECOGNITION AND REWARDS Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, talks a great deal about taking care of the best performers in your organization. He feels that the people who really excel in your company should be rewarded commensurately with their outstanding performance. Ensure you really recognize and thank your best employees through employee of the month programs, raises or even just a nice note once in a while.

3. PAY EQUITY One cause of pay dissatisfaction is perceived inequity. Employees judge their pay level by making comparisons with people in similar positions. Most employees expect their pay to reflect how well they are doing their jobs. If pay isn’t contingent on performance, high-performing employees will be dissatisfied that they are earning the same or less than low performers.

4. CAREER GROWTH This can be a tricky one, especially if you are running a relatively small company without a great deal of opportunities to move up. Be cognizant that a majority of people in companies across this country want the chance to move forward and upward in their company. If opportunities do not exist in your organization, try to expand the employees’ job duties so the employee feels a sense of growth.

5. INTEREST LEVEL Do you have employees who are unhappy performing work because it’s not where their interests lie? To eliminate this problem, use testing to hire only applicants who are motivated to do the work you need done. In addition, look for ways to make jobs more interesting by increasing the variety of skills needed, the challenge they present and the sense of achievement derived from ownership of a project.

skills over time. They are quite capable of suggesting improvements and changes. Too often, unfortunately, they are not asked. Be sure to consult with your employees before making changes that will affect them.

8. WORKING CONDITIONS Poor working conditions can cause a great deal of employee turnover, but when you create a positive work environment, it can lead to greater employee satisfaction and decreased attrition. Ask employees what would make them happier at the office (or wherever it is they perform their jobs).

9. COACHING If you want to create a more satisfied workforce, take the time to train and motivate every manager and supervisor in your company to become a “coach.” Rather than being seen as just focusing on profits and achieving objectives, your managers will be perceived as helping employees grow as professionals.



It seems simple enough, but make sure that you follow through and do what you say you will do. You want to be seen as someone who is trustworthy and dependable. Satisfied employees have a boss they can count on.

Employees do not often appreciate, nor are they aware of, the total costs of their benefits packages. We have one client who will highlight at their mid- and end-of-year performance reviews the exact costs associated with all the benefits the employees are receiving. Once they become aware of value of their benefits package, employees are more likely to understand how good they’ve got it. CEO

7. INPUT In most cases, your employees are experts in their jobs because they’ve continually increased their knowledge and

Kenneth N. Wexley has his Ph.D. in organizational psychology and is CEO and president of Wexley Consulting - HRD, L.L.C., an Annapolis-based management consulting firm. dsfadf Douglas A. Strouse is the president of the CEO Club of Baltimore and also has his Ph.D. in organizational psychology. Contact us at 22

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CEO’s t r ma

Honoring top female CEOs

The 2013 Brava Awards! Attend the SmartCEO Brava! Awards to celebrate 25 of New York’s powerhouse women business leaders!

Join New York SmartCEO, Title Sponsor WeiserMazars LLP, and over 350 local executives to honor local female CEOs, founders, presidents, owners and executive directors who combine their irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for giving back to the community. These female CEOs have become exemplary leaders in their companies and their communities by encouraging local philanthropy, mentoring fellow CEOs and setting their companies on the path to tremendous growth.

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Want to stand out? Find a new need and fill it.

need-driven innovation QUESTION: I am looking for a way to differentiate my service business. I am a pretty small player in an industry full of big names. We are not going to compete well on price, and I hate the thought of becoming a commodity. What strategies are available to a company without the ability to buy Super Bowl ads — or even local TV spots? RESPONSE: Being creative does not just mean writing a great novel or a hit song or painting a famous picture. Creativity comes in many forms and stems from innovation: seeing something no one else sees or turning something everyone thinks they know into something different or better. It’s the old maxim of marketing: “Find a need and fill it.”

Types of innovation

Creating a need: In one type of innovation, no one yet realizes a need exists or fulfilling the need seems out of reach. Henry Ford changed travel forever by making cars affordable for the masses. When an innovator creates a change like that, it can alter the world. Improving a product: A second type of innovation is when something already in use is made better. When cell phones became smartphones, life was never the same. When was the last time you actually printed out directions (or, God forbid, looked at a paper map)? Repurposing a product: A third type comes from realizing that an old product can have a completely new use, reviving a brand. Remember that little yellow box in your refrigerator that absorbs food odors? That Arm & Hammer Baking Soda has been around since 1867. For a long time, its primary use was in baking from scratch. Along came cake mixes and commercial bakeries, and the demand for baking soda as a baking ingredient waned. At the same time, the population soared, creating millions of new households, all of which had refrigerators that needed

odors absorbed. Just take a look at the Arm & Hammer website to see how it’s repositioned the product.

Follow the four Ps Let’s frame some answers to the question asked above with the four Ps of marketing and list some possible ways to innovate in and differentiate the business. The four Ps are product (or service), place (delivery and distribution), promotion (marketing, advertising and sales) and price. These four things must be managed in concert, which in itself could be a differentiation strategy. Product: What can you do with a product or service that has the ability to fill a need that clearly exists but no one has yet taken advantage of? This form of innovation can be the most difficult and expensive to accomplish. You not only have to create it, test it and produce it, but you also have to educate your target audience on how they’ll benefit. If you don’t have the infrastructure to do this, how can you take what you already deliver or produce and make it better? Customers almost always have the answers to this question. This strategy, as well as the strategy of repurposing a product or service, can be realistic for a smaller company. Making your product better may involve testing and changes in production, but finding a whole new use may not necessitate any production changes at all. Place: First the home shopping networks began to impact the delivery of retail products. Now, the web has blurred the lines between place and

promotion almost completely. You cannot overemphasize the importance of place. For example, financial institutions have invested so much in their delivery systems that many people find it extremely difficult to disengage from them. So, what can you do with the distribution of your product and service to get new customers and bind them to your business? Make it easy for your customers to get what you offer. Clever use of technology can make you an innovator. Promotion: The internet removes the barriers between the people who have things to offer and the people who want and need them. Marketing and promotion have traditionally been expensive because you had to talk to too many people to break through to the smaller number that actually want what you can provide. The web can help you circumvent “gatekeepers” who control access to products, services and information. Search engines can help the people who want your offerings to find you. This demands a new discipline in marketing — clear definition of who you want to reach and tailoring the message specifically to them. Price: What are the ways you can price your product that will gain customers and keep the ones you already have? Are there pieces or versions of what you offer that you can give away to get customers started? How many times have you downloaded a free app and then bought the paid version? Look for ways to hook the customer first, then close the sale. To paraphrase Mr. Spock, “Innovate, and prosper.” CEO

Paul A. Riecks is principal of Insight, which forms and facilitates peer groups of dsfadf business owners and CEOs. Contact us at 24

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paul a. riecks

Collective wisdom

The Insider

marc kramer

How one serial entrepreneur is reinventing advertising

love to win

Solve Media is moving at warp speed with a product and service that converts those annoying, hard-to-understand letters and numbers you type in for security online into a weapon for advertisers. Rather than typing “x7qu3r” to prove they’re a human, not an automated bot, a user might be prompted to enter the Campbell’s Soup slogan, instead. With offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, this young company has one of the most innovative marketing concepts in the country. are regularly the top performer on Q: Why did you start Solve Media? most campaigns we take part Jacoby: Brand advertising is in, mainly because typing two-thirds of all advertising in a brand message globally, and online is so immersive branding has heavily and participatory, relied on politics consumers remember and emotions rather the messages better than math and and for longer periods science for measuring of time. effectiveness. I wanted to guarantee that a Q: What is the profile of the brand campaign would companies you work with? work and be able to do Jacoby: Solve Media it at scale. Clicks make serves Fortune 1000 sense for direct response marketers in categories advertisers, but cognition A Q&A with like auto, CPG, travel, and memorability are Ari Jacoby technology, finance and required for successful CEO and co-founder pharmaceuticals. Some of branding. I started of Solve Media our better-known brands Solve Media to prove include General Motors and IHG (Holiday that marketers can buy branding that is Inn). guaranteed to work on the math alone and   create a place where they need only pay for Q: Before you founded Solve Media, what other exactly what works. businesses did you start?   Jacoby: Prior to Solve Media, I started Q: What is your mission?, 11th Hour Research Jacoby: Our mission at Solve Media is and VoiceStar. I served as the founder and to eliminate the concerns brand marketers have around not knowing which 50 percent CEO of, where I led efforts in content aggregation, syndication of their online brand efforts are failing. We want to prove that branding can be bought and affinity channel sales. In 2000, and sold on a performance basis with ease., a Tribune Company, acquired Similarly,   VoiceStar was later acquired by Marchex in Q: What makes Solve Media unique? 2007. Jacoby: Solve Media is focused on guaranteeing brand lift metrics like awareness and purchase intent, as measured by firms like comScore and Nielsen. We

Q: What is the biggest challenge of running a start-up company? Jacoby: The hardest part of running a start-up is the tremendous responsibility you feel for your team and their families. I’ve made promises to the team that I need to keep, and there is real pressure in that. Failure is not an option.   Q: What do you look for in new hires? Jacoby: Broadly, we try to hire intellectually curious, exceptionally hardworking people who love to win and hate to lose. Experience helps, but people who are adamant about being successful usually find a way, and we gravitate toward those kinds of teammates.   Q: What is the biggest mistake you ever made, and what did you learn from it? Jacoby: In my first company we hired wildly, well ahead of revenue development, and hurt ourselves. What a difference 14 years of experience makes!   Q: Which business leaders have influenced you? Jacoby: I tend to be influenced by leaders who have a knack for making markets in a disciplined way. Oracle’s Larry Ellison and’s Marc Benioff come to mind. I’m also a big fan of Seth Godin and Nate Silver. They are constant reminders to me that big data is most valuable when connected to a creative use case that solves a real-world problem. CEO

Marc Kramer, a serial entrepreneur and president of Kramer Communications, is the author of five books. Contact us at www. s m a rtc e o . c o m

J une/ J uly 2013

New Yor k Smar t CEO


Fully integr By Marie G riff in

He’s famous for creating multimillion-dollar businesses from his personal passions. Now, he’s earning more by giving back. Russell Simmons founder and CEO

Rush Communications


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J une/ J uly 2013

New Yor k Smar t CEO



Urban graduate: Simmons is famous for Phat Farm, a men’s clothing line with hip-hop influences, but he’s moved on to his second act in fashion: Argyleculture. The new, upscale menswear line is aimed at those with hip-hop roots who have grown up and become successful, like Simmons himself.

ative New Yorker Russell Simmons is a multimillionaire, hip-hop mogul, serial entrepreneur, best-selling author and political activist, not to mention a celebrity with an affinity for fashion models. He earned fame and fortune by recognizing the raw talent and unique style of the inner city and taking it to the world stage, building up brands like Def Jam and Phat Farm, all taking him to a Forbes-estimated net worth of $75 million. He symbolizes the hope shared by many that the vaunted American dream might be possible for them if an African-American man from lower-middle-class Hollis, Queens, could become a multimillionaire, live in a mansion and party with the president. But Simmons has another identity — one far less glamorous yet far more meaningful. Simmons has meditated and practiced yoga for almost two decades. He’s studied various spiritual texts, adopted a vegan diet, and he doesn’t drink or take drugs. Then, about five years ago, he realized he could share his spiritual beliefs more widely with people who were already relating to him but not necessarily being exposed to these non-traditional practices and philosophies. In the same way he brought hip-hop to the public eye and shaped the cultural identity of a generation, he’s found a heartfelt desire to bring new concepts mainstream, to serve the underserved. The results of this new integration of Simmons’ business, personal and spiritual life — while not something he intended — are a new revenue stream coming from two best-selling books on self-empowerment through spiritual teachings, a prepaid debit card bringing financial services to those without access to a bank, followed by two clothing lines — a yoga brand and a menswear brand — unlike anything he’s tried before. Rather than becoming a hypocrite, cashing in on ancient spiritual teachings and the practice of yoga, Simmons’ desire to share the principles that have inspired him comes from a genuine desire to give back.


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“You have control over the action alone, never over its fruits.” Simmons was raised in Queens by college-educated parents aspiring to move into the middle class. When Simmons started attending City College of New York in Harlem in 1975, inner-city youth were venting their frustration through graffiti, ghetto clothing styles, break dancing and rapping — a culture that would eventually be called hip-hop. It was at a 1977 party in Harlem that Simmons encountered his first rapper. “Just like that,” he writes in his 2002 autobiography Life and Def, “I wanted to be in this business.” Using his nickname, Rush, Simmons started operating as Rush Management. At the time, hip-hop was known only in the toughest, traditionally black, urban neighborhoods — in many circles, it wasn’t even considered music. But by the early 1980s, he was representing some of hip-hop’s hottest stars, including Run-D.M.C., featuring his brother Joseph “Run” (now known as Reverend Run) Simmons. In 1984, he teamed up with Rick Rubin to form the record label Def Jam, which went on to make tens of millions of dollars a year with albums from LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and other defining figures in hip-hop.

broad st ballroom

In the early 1990s, Simmons created Phat Farm, a men’s clothing line, counting on his belief that there would be mass-market appeal for styles that originated in the ghetto. Def Jam and Phat Farm eventually sold for more than $100 million each. Now 55, Simmons has fully integrated his business, philanthropic, political and public life with his spiritual practices, just as he advocates in his writings. One of the most important spiritual guidelines he follows in business, Simmons says, comes from the Bhagavad-Gita: “You have control over the action alone, never over its fruits.” It’s a lesson he’s taken to heart as he’s faced the periodic setbacks every business leader experiences. In the 1990s, Simmons advanced the careers of many relatively unknown black comedians with Def Comedy Jam on HBO. After its success, he spent years trying to launch a TV network, only to discover it would take too long to build a mass media platform that way. In 2013, he hopes to have a similar impact through a new web-based business venture called All Def Digital (ADD), which he describes as a multiplatform effort that will move from the digital realm to film, video, music and live performances.

“The CEO can be inspired by whatever innovation created that company

and be informed by what it does for the people or markets it serves.” Russell Simmons, founder and CEO, Rush Communications


Man behind the artists: In just one of many philanthropic endeavors, Simmons is chairman and co-founder of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which is dedicated to bringing arts education programming to New York’s inner city youth at schools like this one.

“Nurturing talent has been my whole life’s work,” Simmons says. “ADD, for me, is my new network, and I am here to integrate the culture and move it forward.” Simmons has his sights set on Hollywood — literally — as he moves into a new home and office in Los Angeles this year. “I have businesses in Los Angeles, and I spent a year making it comfortable for me to live and work there,” he says. The move will allow him to spend more time with daughters, Ming, 13, and Aoki, 10, and he’s using the opportunity to help his New York-based brands grow autonomously. “Now that Russell will be in LA more, it is also an opportunity for the brands to be more independent, and he allowed us to do that,” Myorr Janha, senior vice president for Rush Communications explains. Rush Communications, Simmons’ holding company, will keep offices in both Los Angeles and New York. Simmons is maintaining his lower Manhattan penthouse apartment, saying he’s “back and forth all the time.”

“Just give, and make sure your product is great.” When it comes to staying focused on one’s actions, Simmons recognizes that people who own their own businesses, as he does, may have an easier time with this principle than the leaders of publicly held companies. “You can hear that quarterly clock ticking. Everyone wants immediate results,” he says. While it’s easy to get pulled into that mentality, the result is unnecessary distraction from the business and anxiety that can take a toll on CEOs personally as well as professionally. “Anxiety is an equal-opportunity destroyer,” he writes in Super Rich. “No matter who you are or what position you occupy, until you can purge anxiety from your life, any success and happiness you enjoy will always be fleeting.” Even for CEOs who are not the entrepreneurial founders of their businesses, “the CEO can be inspired by whatever innovation created that company and be informed by what it does for the people or markets it serves.” Great spiritual leaders like Jesus Christ teach that “great givers are great getters,” he says. But with his disciples, Jesus shared a second, ultimate, teaching: “Give without expectation,” Simmons adds. “Just give, and make sure your product is great.” While most of Simmons’ businesses have been connected to music, entertainment or fashion, UniRush Financial Services stands apart. In 2003, Simmons formed the business with a partner and became a pioneer in the category of general-purpose 30

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reloadable prepaid debit cards, which has become a multibillion-dollar business. A native of Hollis, Simmons understands the lives of people in the poor communities around New York City, and he knows many of them can’t — or won’t — use the neighborhood banks. “There was a need because millions of people were ‘unbanked;’ they weren’t being served by the traditional banking system,” Simmons explains. “Because they didn’t have bank accounts, they had to go to check cashing stores and pay to cash their paychecks. They had to stand in long lines to pay each of their bills. They couldn’t buy anything over the phone or the internet or rent a car. They were locked out of the American dream.” Simmons considers UniRush a financial well-being company rather than a financial services company. Its product, the RushCard, provides users with many of the benefits they could get from a bank, including direct deposit, electronic bill payment, withdrawals from ATMs and the credibility of making purchases with a Visa-branded debit card. Non-banking features include budgeting tools and

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The many faces of Rush

A timeline of Russell Simmons’ business, literary and philanthropic ventures 1977 As a college student, Simmons attends a party where the DJ is stirring up the crowd with a flow of rhymes to a beat — what we now call rap. Immediately, Simmons decides, “I want to be in this business.”

Late 1970s Simmons starts promoting parties and performers as Rush

Management while “hip-hop” emerges as the term describing the lifestyle, look and attitude surrounding rap, break dancing and the styles of the inner city.

1984 Simmons co-founds Def Jam Records with Rick Rubin in his New York

University dorm room. Launching the careers of artists such as LL Cool J, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and Run D.M.C. (featuring younger brother Joseph “Run” Simmons), Simmons is credited with bringing hip-hop into the mainstream.

1989 Simmons and Rabbi Marc Schneier create The Foundation for Ethnic

Understanding, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening relations between ethnic communities through face-to-face dialogue.

1991 Simmons forms Rush Communications LLC to oversee all of his commercial and philanthropic initiatives.

1992 Simmons launches Phat Fashions, a clothing line for men designed to bring hip-hop style to a mass audience, which later spins off Baby Phat, women’s clothing and accessories. Simmons and his film and television partner, Stan Lathan, launch the Def Comedy Jam stand-up series on HBO.

1994 PolyGram purchases a 50 percent stake in Def Jam Recordings; Simmons earns an estimated $35 million.

1995 Simmons and his brothers Danny and Joseph form the Rush Philanthropic

Arts Foundation to bridge the gap that minorities and the poor face both in accessing the arts and finding opportunities to exhibit their work.

1998 PolyGram (Universal Music Group) completes the acquisition of the

remaining portion of Def Jam Recordings for an estimated $100 million to $130 million.

2001 The nonprofit Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, founded by Simmons and

Dr. Benjamin Chavis, is formed as a nonpartisan coalition of artists and entertainment industry executives working together to use hip-hop as an agent for positive social change. Simmons’ autobiographical first book, Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money and God, written with Nelson George, is published.

2003 Simmons and David Rosenberg, a consumer debt investor, co-found

UniRush, a pioneer in the network-branded, general-purpose-reloadable debit card business with its RushCard.

2004 Phat Fashions is sold for a reported $115 million to the Kellwood Company. Simmons, then-wife Kimora Lee and jewelry expert Scott Rauch form the Simmons Jewelry Company, making Simmons the first African American to launch a major jewelry company.

2005 Simmons and Stan Lathan launch a video-on-demand channel and

produce the hit MTV reality series “Run’s House,” starring Joseph “Reverend Run” Simmons.

2007 Simmons’ second book, entitled Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in

You to Achieve Happiness and Success, is published. Simmons founds The Diamond Empowerment Fund, a nonprofit organization that raises money to support education initiatives for economically disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource.

2008 Simmons debuts Argyleculture, a line of casualwear for the “urban

graduate.” (Argyleculture suspended distribution during 2013 after its supplier declared bankruptcy, but it will relaunch in Macy’s stores in spring 2014.) Simmons launches Global Grind, a web destination designed to bring the most important news on hip-hop to a worldwide community of enthusiasts.

2011 Simmons’ third book, Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All, is published. 2012 Simmons announces a yoga line called Tantris. Under development, the brand will include clothing, accessories and, potentially, yoga studios.

2013 Simmons and partner Brian Robbins, CEO of Awesomeness TV, announce the All Def Digital network. The web and mobile network will offer music, comedy and scripted programs related to the hip-hop culture.


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prescription discounts. One of Simmons’ goals for UniRush continues to elude him, even after years of trying: he wants to help his users build a credit history that would be recognized by the three major credit bureaus. “In America, you have to get into debt before anyone trusts you. That’s not right,” he asserts. “Being trustworthy has to do with paying on time.” Rob Rosenblatt, CEO of UniRush, joined the company more than a year ago after working in traditional organizations such as Chase Card Services, Citi Cards and American Express. “I always considered myself to be the best version of an entrepreneur that can exist within a big company,” Rosenblatt says. “At this stage of my career, the opportunity to be a partner with somebody as brilliant and unusual, in terms of his approach, as Russell was impossible to turn down.” Rob Rosenblatt, CEO, UniRush Financial Services Looking back to the beginning of UniRush, “there was no path to profitability for a long time,” he explains. “Russell invested millions of dollars of his own money into this, with the goal of providing an alternative [to traditional banks] at a fair price. What is really important to Russell is that this be a path for the customer to get ahead.” “If I’ve learned anything in 25 years in the entertainment business,” Simmons The RushCard has been criticized and investigated, as have other prepaid cards, says, “it is that my only true rewards have been the work itself.” for the various fees that customers are charged. “As we’ve grown larger, we have Simmons advises business leaders to become totally engaged in their work, and it gotten certain economies [of scale] that have allowed us to lower fees,” Rosenblatt will become satisfying for its own sake. says. “In the past year or so, we’ve eliminated a number of fees, streamlined fees and On a more down-to-earth level, Simmons points out that one of the linchpins lowered fees. We will continue to look at every fee that still exists and try to provide of his own success has been approaching all consumers in an inclusive way and a fair value to our customers.” One new benefit, introduced just last month, allows integrating the racial and cultural mix of the people working within his companies. RushCard holders to withdraw their funds for free at 22,000 ATMs across the In fact, Simmons usually co-creates his businesses with partners experienced in the country. industry he is targeting, and most of those partners have been white. This year will be a watershed year for UniRush on another front. For the first Janha started working with Simmons almost 20 years ago. “We’ve always had the time, the RushCard will be available at retail locations, and it is already available in goal of finding partners who are experts in their field,” he says. many CVS drug stores. Until now, the RushCard was sold directly to consumers “I made an effort to integrate my businesses,” Simmons says. “You have to through television promotions linked to a telephone number and via the web. understand the cultural nuances of all the people you’re trying to serve. Being As far as Simmons’ dream of enabling RushCard holders to build credit profiles inclusive helps you to get the input you need to do a good job. Not being inclusive as they pay their bills, that’s still on the agenda. “We’d like to find a way prepaid data makes you less competitive.” could be used as a predictor of future creditworthiness,” says Rosenblatt. “We’re in As a teenager, Simmons got his first taste of entrepreneurship selling drugs to discussions with one of the big three credit bureaus to see if they can help us, but it’s support his own habits — including his penchant for the hottest looks in fashion. a long-range project.” Eager to stay involved in the fashion business after the sale of Phat Farm, he is now In describing Simmons, Rosenblatt observes, “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone working on the relaunch of Argyleculture, an upscale menswear line, and developing as fiercely entrepreneurial as Russell Simmons.” a brand new line of activewear for yoga enthusiasts called Tantris. Simmons conceived Argyleculture as a clothing line for men with hip-hop roots, like himself, who have grown up and become successful — “urban graduates,” as he calls them. The brand, originally introduced in 2008, had uneven success as two early partnerships to produce the line collapsed. Last fall, Argyleculture announced a major relaunch in partnership with fashion designer Joseph Abboud, and the line, exclusive to Macy’s, was in stores this spring. The manufacturer that Simmons Design Group had lined up, HMX, declared bankruptcy last year, but after executing a new manufacturing agreement with Peerless Clothing, with Abboud still on board. True to Zen form, Simmons hasn’t been discouraged by years of delay. “Russell has a great deal of patience,” Janha says. “He knows there are always some bumps in the road. With Phat Farm, it was eight years before we became really profitable.” And the new Tantris brand is giving Simmons a tangible way to share that virtue with the world. Patience is a cornerstone of yoga, a practice to which Simmons has a personal devotion, and a business venture he believes has huge potential. The yoga activewear and accessories brand is expected to hit stores sometime next year, Janha says. In a perfect world, he adds, “We would like to sell Tantris in specialty shops, department stores and a couple of stores of our own, along with a yoga studio and a great juice bar.” Simmons will likely continue creating new businesses for many years to come, but always with an eye to making a positive change in the lives of others. As he writes with characteristic candor in one of the last chapters of Super Rich, “As I always say, ‘You can only sit your ass in one seat at a time.’ So if you’re not sharing the rest of them with the world, all those other empty seats are just going to create a burden!” CEO

“I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as fiercely entrepreneurial as Russell Simmons.”


“My only true rewards have been the work itself.”

“Russell has a great deal of patience.

He knows there are always some bumps in the road.

With Phat Farm, it was eight years before we became really profitable.”

Myorr Janha, senior vice president of marketing, Rush Communications www. s m a rtc e o . c o m

June/ J uly 2013

New Yor k Smar t CEO



Do you know a CEO who is running a fast growth company?

NOMINATE TODAY! Nominate yourself or a CEO you know for the 2013 Future 50 Awards. About SmartCEO’s Future 50 Program The Future 50 program is the largest and most highly anticipated SmartCEO awards program of the year. SmartCEO’s Future 50 program recognizes 50 of the fastest-growing companies in greater New York, based on a three-year average of employee and revenue growth. These companies represent the future of the region’s economy and embody the spirit of leadership and success in their industries. Over 550 local business executives will celebrate this elite group of winners at the Future 50 Awards reception hosted in December in New York. SmartCEO will share each Future 50 award winner’s story in their winner profile in the December/January issue of SmartCEO magazine. Being a Future 50 award winner puts you in good company. is Snap th or ef d o c R Q ideo event v ts! For qualifications and the nomination form, visit h highlig

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aries. Strategy Passion EMentoring on i s i v ry a n x tr aordi .

Thought leaders Vision entors m d e t a c i d De ders. a le e t a on i s Pas

Determination Persistence

Best-run Proactive Flexible


Profitable Strength Driven Mission

Innovation Motivated www. s m a rtc e o . c o m

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Who’s in your circle? Engage New York’s top business minds

When I reflect on what the SmartEntrepreneur Book is all about, I’m reminded of a piece of business wisdom I picked up over the years: “You are the average of the 10 most influential people in your life.” As business leaders, who have you invited into your circle of influence? For successful CEOs, those 10 people push them past their comfort zones, leading them to become better individuals and better executives. The best CEOs know that the secret to building a best-run company is surrounding oneself with the highest-quality people. That’s why SmartCEO has assembled a group of like-minded leaders who are dedicated not only to building the region’s very best companies, but to sharing their advice and insight with their peers in the business community as well. This group is called SmartEntrepreneur – and they are some very smart people. SmartEntrepreneur is a natural extension of SmartCEO’s mission to educate and inspire the leaders of growing businesses across the Mid-Atlantic. Because they share our passion for peerto-peer learning, each leader took the time to produce the content of this book through video interviews and written Q&As, drawing from their years of business experience to answer the tough questions about their vision, processes, customers and talent. The “book” embedded in the pages of the premiere issue of New York SmartCEO magazine contains real-world advice on what it takes to lead a best-run company. This brings me to another piece of advice I’ve found to be true: “Success is putting yourself in a position to be pleasantly surprised.” Our community has found that engaging their peers brings multiple benefits – they refer leads and do business with one another, and they’ve even established mentoring relationships. They learn something new about leadership and about their community with every interaction. I invite you to reach out to SmartCEO to learn more about becoming part of this dynamic community. By sharing their advice and ideas with their peers, mentoring the next generation and energizing others with their visions for a better future, the SmartEntrepreneur group is building not only strong companies but a strong New York business community. We are inspired to be surrounded by such high-caliber leadership. I encourage each of you to spend some time with the SmartEntrepreneur Book and learn from these innovative leaders. You’re bound to be inspired with at least one great idea that could change the way you approach your business. Craig Burris President, SmartCEO

AKF Group 40 American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust, Inc. 41 Apple-Metro, Inc. appssavvy 42 Avant Garde Information Solutions, LLC 43 Business Development Corporation of America (BDCA) 44 Bigfoot Communications, Inc. 45 City Winery 46 ConsumerSoft Eos Energy Storage 47 Extensis Group LLC EZUniverse Inc. 48 Frog Worldwide 49 GreyBox Creative HeBS Digital 50 Infinity Info Systems Jennifer Brown Consulting LLC 51 inVNT 52 JEC Strategic Advisors, LLC 53 JG Black Book Juran Global 54 The Leading Niche 55 Linkstorm MJS Executive Search 56 Marena Advertising & Design Studios LLC 57 MNS Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers 58 Net@Work New Energy Fund Advisors LLC 59 Noon Dalton 60 OFS Solutions 61 Proviatek, Inc. RosettaBooks 62 Rapid Realty NYC 63 Realty Capital Securities, LLC 64 Realty Capital Securities Capital 65 Ruder Finn, Inc. Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC 66 Skyline Genesis F2F Marketing 67 Six Dimensions The Spandrel Group 68 T.G. Wall Management Consulting TerraCycle 69 Theorem Transworld Business Advisors of NY 70 Underscore Marketing LLC Undertone 71 UniWorld Group, Inc. Vivastream 72 Vorticom, Inc. Waiting Room Solutions 73 Zweifler Financial Research

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From the president:

38 8760Inc. 39 A&H Technology Group, Inc.

Entrepreneur index

r u k o o rene b p Entre


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8760Inc. 250 West 26th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001 (212) 924-2044

Len Pisano, CEO

Open & Honest

Smart Buildings at Their Best About the company


Worldwide demand for energy is outpacing our capacity to create enough supply. 8760Inc. offers complete control and monitoring solutions that include building automation, energy management and decision support through a fully integrated platform. We deliver effective energy and facilities management solutions utilizing cutting edge technologies guaranteeing optimal and measured performance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

What was the “big idea” that launched your company?

We began our business as Automated Building Controls back in 2003. The growth of our ability to study energy usage is directly proportional to our customers’ need for additional services and incorporation of other functionalities. While innovators continuously create new products and end users crave more options, we stand out from our competitors by remaining flexible for our customers.

Industry: Energy Management — Smart Buildings In a nutshell: 8760Inc. is the premiere smart building systems integrator, delivering performance and energy reductions through the deployment of smart technologies to all facility types. Founded: 2003

On the energy side we study energy consumption (kWh) down to the device level. Granularity is what we are after because the more we are able to study remotely, the less our customers will have to physically expend resources at each of their buildings. We track how our diagnostic efforts result in HVAC service calls avoided over any period of time and have demonstrated a significant reduction in costs associated with gas, emissions, time and fees for service tech visits. Analytics gleaned from monitoring keep a building operating within the tolerance of how it was designed, whether existing or new.

Common building management practices and human behavior currently run counter to our collective goal of efficiency. The real estate industry has been the slowest adopter of technologies out of major industries impacting our society today. Technology has advanced so quickly yet many of the assets and facilities we utilize today are in the same position they were in over 20 years ago. The slow adoption of technologies relative to the perception that there's a high cost of entry into the smart building market and the inability to realize a return was the foundation for 8760Inc. How do you communicate your vision to your employees?

I broaden our employees perspectives on the whole picture by making sure they understand what part of the equation they are delivering and how their efforts relate to each leg of the process. I strive to give everybody a sense of commitment and responsibility to the work because what we're doing here is game changing. We offer a cutting edge, new age approach to delivering energy solutions to customers who have never experienced, witnessed or realized that these things can actually happen. Our employees experience a level of excitement about the fact that they are all making a huge difference even though each person maneuvers one piece of the puzzle. Each piece matters. Where do you see your company in five years? In 10 years? In five years, we'll be a recognized leader in the smart building energy technology space. In 10 years, I foresee us being a global entity immediately recognized as a leader in the advancement and delivery of smart building solutions. By adopting and injecting technology into the equation, and doing so in a manner that is open and cost effective, we deliver measurable performance. Today's generation is comfortable with technology as a whole which has spurred momentum for the adoption and delivery of smart technologies in buildings. By default, this tech trend will make processes and systems more efficient and, thus, make our utilization of buildings greener.

Pisano enjoys some holiday fun with his family.


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A & H Technology Group, Inc. 347 5th Avenue, Suite 1402, New York, NY 10016 (718) 509-6030

Nathan Archer, CEO

A New Business Frontier

Changing the game with basic fundamentals About the company A & H Technology Group is the next evolution of a company with a 12-year history. We worked with companies to refine their onboarding processes, service processes and developed the critical infrastructure to support these processes, build strategic and marketing plans that ensure greater visibility and expand networks. We are the professional services champion for small businesses. By utilizing collaborative technology (information technology, website and software development, creative services and printing services) to create high impact, we are able to assist in the growth of a company and enhance its development.

and Senior Professional Specialist

Our guiding principle is that knowledge, application, inspiration and insight leads to positive transformation. Our primary purpose is to inspire and enable companies to grow based on the vision and goals of the company.

Industry: Professional services (technology) In a nutshell: A & H Technology Group inspires business owners by energizing their creative process to build a successful company that is transformative and makes a difference within the world.

How do we help companies succeed? It begins with trust. We prefer the term relationship to client engagement. The word relationship reminds us of our interdependence with a company and keeps us focused on the objectives of the business. The professional team supporting your company will make it their priority to know your business and the market place. We will not simply develop, design and deploy platforms; we will suggest practical solutions that work for your specific company.

Year founded: 2013

AKF Group 1501 Broadway, Suite 700, New York, NY 10036 (212) 354-5656

AKF Group

About the company

Paul A. Bello, PE, Managing Partner

Collaborative, innovative, client focused To deliver the highest standards of service and quality, AKF's practice is organized by market sector, with each group consisting of experts from each of the engineering disciplines who share vast experience with the unique client needs and business drivers of that industry. These include corporate, healthcare and life sciences, higher education and K-12 schools, cultural, hospitality, residential and retail.

AKF Group LLC (AKF) is an award-winning, full-service consulting engineering firm serving public and private sector clients across the U.S. and around the world. Founded in New York in 1989, it now has 11 offices across the USA and in Mexico. The firm provides a broad range of engineering services including HVAC, electrical, fire and life safety, plumbing and sanitary engineering, central utilities, site utilities and critical systems design. In addition, as projects have become more complex and technically demanding, an unparalleled series of specialty services have been created, including commissioning, testing, technology, lighting, sustainability, energy management, BMS, code consulting and special inspections. This extensive expertise has allowed the firm to become a single source provider to its clients throughout the life cycle of their buildings.

Industry: MEP Engineering In a nutshell: A full-service consulting engineering firm for the built environment, serving public and private sector clients domestically and internationally Year founded: 1989

The firm is at the forefront of sustainable design and new technologies such as BIM (Building Information Modeling) that advance the practice of engineering. As the firm approaches its 25th anniversary, the effects of the global economy, advanced technologies, and the need for environmental efficiency will be key drivers for AKF to continue to lead, diversify and evolve to meet its clients' needs.

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American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust 405 Park Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10022 (212) 415-6500

Thomas P. D’Arcy, CEO

American Realty Healthcare Trust, Inc. Investing in the Growth of Healthcare

About the company American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust was formed in February 2011 and is focused on building a portfolio of high quality, predominantly private pay healthcare real estate assets, balanced and diversified by geographic market, tenancy, healthcare property type and payor-mix. The three property types we focus on within the healthcare space include medical office building, seniors housing and selected post-acute facilities. Strong property fundamentals including declining vacancy rates and limited supply growth, continue to drive healthcare real estate performance leading to very attractive and stable risk adjusted returns for our shareholders. We believe we are in the early innings of these trends as the demand for healthcare services will continue to grow commensurate with the demographic changes in our country, primarily attributed to the baby boomer generation requiring more services in the coming years.

added opportunities to thoughtfully enhance our portfolio by purchasing healthcare facilities from their current owners including large healthcare systems, hospitals and physician groups.

Capitalizing on opportunity Industry: Healthcare real estate business In a nutshell: American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust is a diversified non-traded real estate investment trust focused on the acquisition of healthcare related facilities. The Trust is sponsored by American Realty Capital (“ARC”), headquartered in New York, NY.

We are building a best-in-class diversified and balanced portfolio of high quality healthcare real estate assets. The company is strategically deploying capital into assets designed to serve and meet the rising demand for healthcare services. Over the next decade, the 65-plus age segment of the population will expand by roughly 36 percent as baby boomers make their way toward the traditional retirement years. Since roughly half of an individual’s lifetime medical expenditures occur after age 65, growth in this cohort stands to drive substantial gains in healthcare demand and spending. Today in America in excess of 10,000 Americans turn 65 each and every day and will for the next 20 or so years.

Year founded: 2011 The demographic trends driving change in our country coupled with the expansion of healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act will increase the capital requirements of We have established our company to take advantage many healthcare systems leading many to focus on their healthcare delivery model of the compelling opportunities we see in the marketplace, underpinned by the instead of real estate. The increased focus, in turn, will lead to real estate flowing rising demand for healthcare services, by continuing to acquire newer healthcare to the most efficient owners, which we believe are the real estate investment trusts facilities with leading health systems while maintaining our strong and flexible such as ARCHT. Our capital can be creatively utilized to purchase assets developed balance sheet. As we move forward we will continue to remain most active in the to meet the expanding patient base and also provide hospitals with the ability to acquisition of medical office buildings, hospitals, and senior housing facilities. upgrade and modernize facilities through strategic assets sales. We anticipate As demonstrated by acquisitions to date, we seek assets that that are leased on D’Arcy takes in the view at a broker/dealer conference in California. D’Arcy enjoys traveling to conferences because they are a great opportunity to catch up with partners and other industry professionals.


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a long-term basis to a credit-rated operator proximate to residential communities and hospital campuses. Through our established relationships with developers, intermediaries and health systems, the ARCHT team continually seeks to acquire stabilized healthcare properties with high occupancies and long term leases in properties that were typically built in the past ten years and that offer state-of-theart amenities to its tenants. We believe these strong portfolio characteristics will drive longer term value and strongly support our 6.8 percent distribution rate. Our team is energized and inspired by being affiliated with a leading real estate investment firm, American Realty Capital, who has literally changed our industry by its relentless pursuit of superior returns for our many shareowners.

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Apple-Metro, Inc. 550 Mamaroneck Avenue, Harrison, NY 10528 (914) 777-2331

Apple-Metro, Inc. About the company Operating restaurants in all five boroughs, Westchester and Rockland Counties, Apple-Metro employs over 3,500 local residents, holds a regular position in the Top 10 performing Applebee’s franchisees internationally and is one of the premier restaurant operators in the New York Area. Apple-Metro recently received the highest honor at Applebee’s Services Inc.’s Annual Franchise Convention, the 2012 Operator of the Year award. In 2009 and 2010, Apple-Metro was named Franchisee of the Year. Apple-Metro is in the top 60 of all franchisees across all concepts in the U.S. and was also the first to enter underserved urban neighborhoods. In 2005, CEO Zane Tankel was honored with the Innovator Award from Applebee’s International. In 2008, Crain’s New York Business added Apple-Metro to its list of largest privately held companies and Zane won the Ernst &

Zane Tankel, Chairman and CEO

Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award for the Metro New York area. In 2009, Zane was the recipient of the Mickey Mantle Community Service Award. The same year, Inc. magazine recognized Apple-Metro by awarding the company its prestigious 500/5000 award. Industry: Restaurant franchise In a nutshell: Apple-Metro is the exclusive, New York Metro Area Applebee’s franchisee. It is 35 units strong and growing, with at least three more restaurants set to open in 2013/2014. Year founded: 1994

A tireless advocate and supporter of many causes ranging from regional to national to international, Zane is a founding board member and former chairman of the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation; a former chairman of the Metro Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and was a founder of the advisory board for the Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem and Bridging the Rift (BTR). BTR was an international initiative partnered with Stanford and Cornell Universities and the governments of Israel and Jordan to create peace in the Middle East through education and scientific innovation. Zane is also an active civic leader.

appssavvy 594 Broadway, Suite #207, New York, NY 10012 (212) 941-5759

Chris Cunningham, Co-Founder and CEO


Rethinking the delivery and reception of advertising

About the company

At appssavvy, we're on a mission to make advertising better. For five years, we've been focused on rethinking the delivery and reception of advertising. Focused on activity, appssavvy redefines how brands reach consumers, creates native ad experiences for publishers and, most importantly, improves advertising through data and insights about real-time behavior. Our platform enables advertisers to reach their target audiences as they perform activities, on both web and mobile, with large, center-of-the-screen advertising native to the user experience, empowering brands to reach people during natural breaks when they are most receptive to advertising. We help improve planning with activity insight and create measurable lift for advertisers.

Industry: Digital advertising and technology In a nutshell: Appssavvy is a technology company with the mission of rethinking the delivery and reception of advertising focused on real-time behavior. Year founded: 2008

For publishers, appssavvy creates native advertising experiences and opportunities for premium revenue growth. Native to the experience, advertising is triggered by activity and delivered with context and powered by activity-based data and insights. We enable publishers to create new revenue streams and deliver better ad experiences with an efficient and scalable native ad model. As a company, appssavvy builds trust through transparency, amazes people with dedication, strives to gain an inch or a yard every day, drives change if it is needed by making it happen and laughs, has fun and enjoys the moment. Recognized as a great place to work through several awards, appssavvy prides itself on being driven, passionate and a motivated and quirky group building something amazing!

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Avant Garde Information Solutions, LLC 8 W. 28th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10001 (212) 532-1378

Michael Bethuy, CEO

Connecting the Dots Integrated business management solutions to maximize

your human potential and take your business to the next level

About the company


Avant Garde Information Solutions (AGIS) is a leader in What was the “big idea” that launched your company? business software development for small and medium-sized While studying finance during the dot-com bubble, I built businesses (SMBs). Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012, several websites targeted towards fellow students. Initially AGIS claimed its place as a premier SMB software provider that I viewed these endeavors as a hobby more than anything offers one of the few comprehensive end-to-end tools to help else, but, after a brief stint working for a hedge fund on decision-makers manage their process "from quote to cash." Industry: Computer and business Wall Street, I realized I enjoyed technology much more Founded in 2002 under the leadership of Michael Bethuy and software than financial number crunching and became a freelance his co-founders, the company's core product, aACE Business programmer. In a nutshell: Our mission is Suite, has evolved over 10 years into three customizable to provide world-class business My clients were not "geeks" by any means. Rather, they versions to serve manufacturers, product-based businesses and management software for small and viewed technology simply as a means of improving professional services. Through the combination of accounting, medium-sized businesses on Mac productivity and creating competitive advantage through contact relationship management (CRM) and enterprise and PC. efficiency. The sheer amount of waste — in both time and resource planning (ERP), the aACE Business Suite has become human talent — required for companies to connect the one of the most affordable and comprehensive products on the Founded: 2002 dots in their businesses inspired the aACE Business Suite. SMB market helping users realize their goals through process automation and improved transaction velocity. Realizing an ROI through business process automation is about eliminating How do you communicate your vision to your employees? problems before they occur, decreasing the time it takes to satisfy a client, repurposing Our vision — maximizing our clients’ human potential by eliminating aspects of people on more interesting and productive tasks, and eliminating guesswork in operations that drain resources without adding value — is built into our daily decision-making," says AGIS founder, Michael Bethuy. "A healthier bottom-line is the routine. We begin every day with a discussion of who we will help today, how we will expected result of a better-run business." Foreseeing a future where software and deliver more than they expect for less than they expect and sooner than they expect, applications need to be cross-platform to have the ability to integrate third-party and whether doing so will allow them to focus on growing their business rather than add-ons. As a result, AGIS has developed an affordable solution that works regardless managing their business. Our vision is communicated through our actions each of the operating system a business day, and such has created a tremendously client- and solution-centric culture in our runs on, addressing the increasing organization. trend of Apple computers and iPads in corporate markets. In the last 10 years, AGIS has secured partnerships with top Where do you see your company in five years? In 10 years? third-party vendors such as Vertical There are different and to some extent competing trends within our industry. On the Response, NRG Software and XCharge to supplement AGIS software with one hand, many companies desire hosted software that does not require changes or time-saving automations. an investment in IT infrastructure. On the other hand, many companies desire opensource solutions that can be tailored to their precise business needs. We plan to be the leader in both areas, offering a hosted out-of-the-box entry-level solution as well as an enterprise version that can be heavily customized by a local or in-house developer. Bethuy runs the 2011 Damon Runyon Yankee Stadium 5k for cancer research.


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Business Development Corporation of America (BDCA) 405 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022 (212) 415-6500

Peter M. Budko, CEO

Business Development Corporation of America Investing in America's growth

About the company

Where do you see BDCA in five years?

BDCA is an SEC-registered, business development Business Development Corporation of America (BDCA) company. This means our shares are not currently listed provides capital solutions to small- and mid-size businesses on any exchange. We hope within the next five years to in the U.S. Our company was founded in 2011 and ultimately list our stock on either NASDAQ or the New currently has approximately $400 million in assets under York Stock Exchange in order to provide liquidity for our management. We have a target equity raise of $1.5 billion. shareholders and to potentially create enterprise value. Our investment capital is raised as a continuous offering through approximately 300 independent broker-dealer Industry: Financial services companies that employ over 10,000 financial planners. BDCA How would you describe your company culture? In a nutshell: BDCA provides operates principally as a senior secured, first lien lender financing to mid-size companies We benefit from having a team culture that emphasizes and will also selectively invest in junior securities such as throughout the U.S. in the form of highly motivated, intellectually curious and very second lien loans, mezzanine debt and equity. We act as a senior loans, mezzanine debt and entrepreneurial people. As part of AR Capital, a multidirect originator of investments rather than simply a buyer equity. billion dollar diversified asset management platform, of traded or liquid loans. As such, we seek out growing, BDCA can tailor highly innovative and unique financing Year founded: 2011 dynamic and market leading companies throughout the alternatives for our clients drawing upon resources from U.S. and offer them customized solutions to their financing our broader platform. As a result, our people are constantly needs. We employ a unique strategy of partnering with challenged to find new and inventive ways to structure other best-in-class companies as a way of providing larger solutions that address our clients' needs. We encourage this creative thought commitments to our customers. By taking this approach, we can more highly process by our team and they are, in turn, motivated to achieve superior results. diversify and manage our risk. We have no geographic or industry focus preferring rather to work with only the best companies in America regardless of where they are or in what industry they operate. Who are your target borrowers? Our target borrower is a “U.S. middle-market� company, which is defined as a business with revenue between $10 million and $1 billion. These are typically mature, yet still growing companies. The middle-market category comprises nearly 40 percent of GDP in the U.S. and nearly 40 percent of its employment. We are attracted to this group of enterprises as they are a leading growth engine of our economy and tend to have more consistent financing needs related to that growth. With our background and experience, we are able to understand and appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit that drives many of our customers and to work closely with them toward mutually beneficial goals.

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Bigfoot Communications, Inc. 303 Fifth Avenue, Suite 908, New York, NY 10016 (212) 686-0022

Jonathan Ballin, CEO and Founder

About Bigfoot Communications Bigfoot strives to help clients leave their footprint

About the company


Founded in 2010, Bigfoot Communications, Inc. is a boutique brand marketing firm headquartered in New York City started by Jonathan Ballin, who has over ten years of marketing experience in the financial services sector. Bigfoot crafts brand experiences that help businesses harness the competitive advantage of marketing. Our mission is simple: engage our clients’ consumers and employees at every touch point with a new approach, a new logic and a new method. Our premise is simple: assemble a team of experts who have built global brands and have them apply their best practices to generate positive ROI for our clients. By working directly with the top decision makers, we avoid the usual sluggishness of corporate giants. Some areas of expertise include promotional marketing, premium product sourcing, brand identity and awareness, event and experiential marketing, brand positioning and strategy as well as concept design and development.

How do you keep your existing customers satisfied?

Industry: Brand marketing In a nutshell: Bigfoot Communications is a brand marketing firm that conceptualizes and executes promotional marketing and branding projects and events for Fortune 1000 companies. Founded: 2010

Here at Bigfoot, we firmly believe that customer satisfaction stems from clear communication and close personal relationships. For us, this means picking up the phone or scheduling face-to-face meetings to communicate with our clients rather than relying solely on email. Since we are often managing large projects with multiple components, clear communication is critical to ensuring that the project is within budget and meets client expectations. Another firm belief of ours is that straightforward answers and honest opinions are critical to keeping customers satisfied long-term. We are not afraid of client questions or disagreements as we feel transparent, direct communication is directly tied to customer satisfaction.

What is your approach to attracting new clients? For us, as with most companies, referrals are critical to attracting new clients whose needs align well with the services we provide. Most of our referrals come from within the major banks and event companies that we work with, so for us new client attraction stems from client satisfaction. We try to regularly schedule meetings with our existing clients to identify and develop potential leads and network for future projects. Above all, creating flawless products, meeting every deadline and staying within budget are necessary business practices that lead to referrals both within companies we already work with and new customers. Have you ever turned away a customer who was not a good fit? Typically, most clients come to us with a specific project need such as promotional marketing, design, or brand identity. However, we occasionally will get clients who are looking solely for products or services that are outside of our expertise. It’s important to know what your strengths are as a company and, in these cases, we then refer them to the right agency that can achieve their specific goals. However, we do have a variety of marketing capabilities, so most customers who come to us can benefit from our services in some capacity. Bigfoot loves dolphins.


N ew Yor k S m a r t CEO

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City Winery 155 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013 (212) 608-0555

Michael Dorf, Founder and CEO

Step out of the city and into Wine Country A perfect pairing of wine, food, music and community

About the company


City Winery strives to deliver the highest-end combined culinary and cultural experience to its customers who are passionate about sharing wine, music, and culinary arts. The facility is unique, combining a fully functioning winery with intimate concerts, a full restaurant serving eleven wines on tap from our cellar, food and wine classes, and private events in a variety of configurations. There is a compelling mix for our sophisticated clientele including foodies, music buffs and active cultural patrons, bringing the wine country experience to the middle of a large city.

What was the “big idea” that launched your company?

Industry: Winery, music venue, restaurant, private event space In a nutshell: Manhattan’s only winery, music venue, restaurant and wine bar offering wines on tap from cellar barrels. Also hosts private events and offers personalized barrel ownership.

I founded the Knitting Factory in 1987 and ran it for 15 years — selling it in 2003. In 2004, I had the chance to make a barrel of wine in California with my brother Josh and wine maker David Tate, formerly of Ridge Winery and now at Barnett Vineyards. For a long time I'd been enjoying wine as a fan — drinking it — but it was not until I actually started participating in the process of working with the grape, turning it into wine, putting it into a bottle and watching it develop over time, that I really started to understand wine. Since I could not convince my family to move to wine country, I had to figure out a plan to bring winemaking to the city.

Another unique experience offered at City Winery is the opportunity to own and create a personalized barrel of wine. Barrel ownership offers hands-on participation in all stages of the winemaking process. Barrel members consult with our Founded: 2008 winemaker in choosing a preferred varietal. Once the grapes How do you communicate your vision to your employees? arrive there is the chance to participate in the sorting and crushing. During the aging process wine can be sampled With now over 200 employees in New York and Chicago, it’s and finally after several months the wine can be blended, bottled and labeled and key that our management teams know everything that’s going on in my head and for shared with friends and family. For a simpler experience City Winery also offers the me to know everything going on in their heads. We have many meetings and emails, opportunity to create a personalized label on any of our already produced wines. but I find person-to-person conversations with my key folks critical to making sure they are all acting in various situations the way I would since I can’t be everywhere In the summer of 2012 City Winery opened in Chicago to a new 32,000 square foot all the time. We do an annual offsite conference called “basecamp” which is a very location with approximately the same winery capacity and even expanded tap wine useful experience to reestablish our company's vision and mission. tasting room. Putting a winery into the heart of a city allows for the fresh product to get to wine fans in a unique and efficient manner, pairing perfectly with the world-class entertainment. This is the first of what hopes to be several other brand Where do you see your company in five years? In 10 years? expansions. I expect for us to expand to at least 8 more locations in 5 years and 15 locations or more in 10 years. The targets are major cosmopolitan cities — from London to Boston, Las Vegas to Miami, markets with sophisticated audiences that enjoy the combination of high-end cuisine, great wine and live music. Expanding beyond its current locations, City Winery is poised to be the most uniquely positioned venue in the country.

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ConsumerSoft 210 W. 29th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10001 (877) 327-8721

Joe Bursky, CEO

Open and Honest

About the company

Smart buildings at their best

ConsumerSoft is dedicated to bringing cutting edge desktop software and mobile applications coupled with top tier technical support for both the consumer and SMB space. ConsumerSoft was launched to fill a void in the PC software world by developing a product that would speed up and optimize consumers PC’s called MyFasterPC. The company grew its software portfolio with titles such as MyBackupDrive and MyMediaConverter and in 2009 launched its first remote technical support product, MyPhoneSupport. With over 300,000 customers ConsumerSoft added another product line into the SMB space with onsite and remote technical support called Technical Support Live. Peripheral products have also been developed (e.g. within the mobile gaming and app space). Creating the “My” brand of ConsumerSoft began taking shape

Industry: Software and technical support services In a nutshell: ConsumerSoft produces utility software, such as MyFasterPC and MyBackupDrive, and provides technical support for consumers and businesses with MyPhoneSupport.

in 2008. Our current executive team has over 30 years of combined online marketing experience and over 20 years specifically working with software and tech support product lines. We have grown organically throughout the economic downturn and have been profitable since our inception in 2008. We have maintained an A+ rating from the BBB, we are a Microsoft Certified and Intel Premium Partner and in 2012 we were ranked as one of Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America, alongside other such companies as Facebook and Publix and Levi Strauss.

Founded: 2008

Eos Energy Storage 214 Fernwood Avenue, Edison, NJ 08837; 3 East 80th Street, New York, NY 10075 NJ: (732) 225-8400; NY: (212) 628-7191

Michael Oster, CEO and Co-Founder

disrupting utility and automotive sectors

Energy storage technology is low-cost, highly efficient, and inherently safe About the company

Traditional energy solutions — whether the generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure that comprise the electrical grid — are inherently inefficient. The grid is purposefully overbuilt to ensure reliable electricity delivery at the periods of highest demand, while most of the energy used to power an engine is lost as heat and exhaust. Eos Energy Storage is commercializing an energy storage technology that can increase the efficiency and resilience of the electrical grid and power a low-cost electric vehicle with a range similar to a conventional vehicle. Eos’s proprietary zinc-based system is projected to be one of the lowest cost battery technologies and will be lower in cost than traditional infrastructure such as gas-fired peaker plants, transmission and distribution upgrades and internal combustion engines. 46

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Industry: Cleantech and energy storage In a nutshell: Eos is commercializing a novel, low-cost, highly efficient energy storage technology for the utility industry with application to transportation and other industries. Year founded: 2008

In addition, Eos’s technology is also energy dense — a 1 MW/6MWh battery is the size of a 40-foot ISO shipping container — and is inherently safe, unlike some other battery technologies. Energy storage is also an integral component to states’ renewable portfolio standards. Eos’s battery technology can balance the electricity generated by renewable generation assets such as wind and solar and store renewable energy for consumption during periods of higher demand. Eos Energy Storage recently completed a capital raise and is planning to ramp up the company’s manufacturing capability. The company has partnerships with numerous major domestic and foreign utilities, one of the world’s largest chemical manufacturers, a global engineering and manufacturing firm and multiple automakers. Eos plans to begin manufacturing in 2014.

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Extensis Group LLC 900 Route 9 North, Suite 203, Woodbridge, NJ 07095 (888) 473-6398

Gain an edge over the competition

Richard Augustyn, CEO

Building success with Extensis, the Northeast’s leading PEO

About the company

For over a decade, Extensis has been providing customized, innovative, cost-effective solutions for human resource management and regulatory compliance, supported by a philosophy of "extreme service." We improve the management of a workforce by simplifying back-office administrative functions, including human resources, payroll, employee benefits and risk management services. We offer the scale of a national provider, while providing the service of the leading regional professional employer organization.

Our team of professionals offers comprehensive HR and innovative benefits solutions to efficiently and effectively manage a workforce, from human resources, employee administration and payroll, to benefits and risk management services. We handle these functions with the same level of excellence, accountability

and passion with which we manage our own "back office." Extensis is focused on: • Businesses headquartered in NJ, NY Metro, CT or PA • Having between 10 to 300 full time employees • Companies currently offering group health & 401(k) benefits

Industry: Professional employer organization (PEO) In a nutshell: A professional employer organization providing outsourced HR, risk management services, payroll and tax administration, insurance, benefits and regulatory compliance services Year founded: 1999

Extensis is ideally suited for white-collar, professional service businesses including: • Accounting & Consulting • Architecture & Engineering • Business Services • Financial & New Media • High Tech, Pharma & Bio Tech Additionally, Extensis has specialized solutions for start-up and enterprise clients.

EZUniverse Inc. One International Boulevard, Suite 1105, Mahwah, NJ 07495 (201) 760-1771; (888) 694-8301

Leszek T. James, CEO

EZUniverse — Making More From Less!

EZConnect brings millions of dollars to Subway franchisees

About the company

EZUniverse, an innovative software development company and technology incubator, developed a unique “Rapid Development Platform” called .APP that dramatically minimizes both the time and the expense necessary to develop and deploy complex business applications, giving the company a true competitive advantage in the market. The company mission is to help business owners tap into huge financial reserves hidden behind almost any enterprise by optimizing its operations. The company demonstrated its abilities by delivering two world-class products to the market. EZLink (Finance) — the asset management software that enables financial intermediaries to provide an extended FDIC insurance program for individuals and corporations. In April 2006, EZLink was sold, deployed and maintained as a mission critical application within one of the biggest global financial institutions

and the network of 140 banks, processing over $13 billion of assets daily with zero margin of failure. In December 2012, EZLink was licensed to Intermedium Financial, becoming the processing backbone for the financial services company.

Industry: Software development company, — Finance, Hospitality & Retail industries In a nutshell: An innovative technology incubator and software development company, providing comprehensive management solutions that deliver Operational Intelligence for the banking, hospitality and retail industries. Year founded: 2002

EZConnect (Retail) — a video operational intelligence system that combines video surveillance, data analytics, in-store media and other touch points into one comprehensive remote store management tool. The product has been validated by the largest, most demanding franchisee organization in the world, Subway. Its Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC) has purchased a master license for all of its approximately 38,000 restaurants. Brian Wheeler, IPC’s director of services reported that since the launch in February 2012, more than 900 systems have been installed providing franchisees savings of over $1.6 million in just nine months.

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Frog Worldwide 199 Main Street, Suite 706, White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 428-4645

Rodica Ceslov, President

Passionate about taking on Challenges We help clients succeed in a complex and fast-moving world

About the company


Frog Worldwide is a product marketing and management firm that helps companies execute product launches for new products, new product line extensions and re-packaging existing products based on company core market to generate additional revenue. The company provides the comprehensive suite of services a product needs to be successfully brought to market from business model to strategy, budget allocation, marketing support, packaging, connecting to distribution, providing post-launch support as well as creating strategies for product pipeline development and expansion in new markets.

Frog Worldwide intends to change the way companies think about product launches. We partner with clients to bring exceptional products to market and only participate in markets where we can make a significant contribution. Through our commitment to build sustainable value, we accept nothing less than excellence and we are fast to adapt to new market realities.

By focusing on fast growing industry sectors such as nutraceuticals and technology and offering integrated services, the company profits from diversified revenue streams thriving on change. The firm continually evolves technology and services to best respond to the changes in its clients' industries and the marketplace. The result is a strengthened business that offers best-in-class services, efficient management and client service models, and the ability to deliver greater value to clients.

Industry: Product marketing and management In a nutshell: We partner with clients to bring exceptional products to market with respect to consumer and environment. All marketing efforts are modeled to deliver against business goals and revenue targets.

What was the "big idea" that launched your company? The belief that by embracing strategy, technology and our core values of sustainability, we can create new opportunities to market and sell products. Where do you see your company in 5 years? In 10 years?

Ideal clients are realistic entrepreneurs of well-funded start-ups with previous business experience; mid-size business owners; and entrepreneurial marketing, or communications departments within large companies planning a new product launch or looking to create strategies for generating revenue from existing products. Mission: Launch life-changing products with respect to the consumer and the environment.

The company will become a true value-added strategic product management and marketing communications partner to a select group of leading entrepreneurial brands and an integral part of daily strategic developments and decision making. As competing effectively in the marketplace will become a war of knowledge, the insights gained in real time through applying analytics and the ability to execute across product categories and markets will be invaluable. The company also plans for growth and expansion within the U.S. as well as opening an office in an emerging market.

Customers What is your approach to attracting new clients?

Celebrating entrepreneurship and 40th birthday at Nasdaq MarketSite November 2012.


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We follow a step-by-step process to help establish a better picture of those prospects that are a best fit and that the company can most easily — and quickly — convert in proactive prospecting. We translate this into messaging for new business activities: • Compelling to prospective clients. We demonstrate knowledge of a client’s specific industry and business. • Distinct from other firms. We focus on business impact to influence our clients’ revenue, and our offering is highly differentiated and industry specific. • Authentic to us. Beyond processes, attracting new clients has to involve the entire team and there is no better way to attract new clients than ensuring that current clients are happy with the results we deliver.

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GreyBox Creative 483 10th Avenue, Suite 605, New York, NY 10018 (646) 354-7771

Vincent Fatato, President

GreyBox Creative About the company The GreyBox design team has built its reputation on delivering high quality, branded solutions in a range of industries and in a variety of formats. Although GreyBox Creative is a newly formed marketing communications agency, our creative team has been together for close to two decades (Vincent sold Synergy Graphix in 2008) and continues its passion for designing and delivering strategic solutions. Over the years we have served a wide range of clients, from small nonprofit organizations to Fortune 500 companies, including AOL-Time Warner, Apollo Capital Management, Atlantic Records, Chase Bank and U.S. News & World Report. Our design team can help reinvigorate a lagging brand identity or even create a new one from scratch. The secret to our success is within our unique ability to mesh pure artistic skill with the ability to create strategic solutions for our clients. Since 1996,

we have branded hundreds of companies in all industries. Our team continues its passion to deliver the highest standard of creative and online marketing services. Some of the creative services we provide include: logo design, stationery design, website design, event marketing design, marketing kits and even handling the printing for our clients.

Industry: Graphic design and online marketing firm In a nutshell: GreyBox creates cohesive corporate identity packages for new and existing companies both in print and online Year founded: 2010

GreyBox services extend far beyond just creative and print services. Our in-house team of internet marketing strategists alongside our programmers allows us to deliver our clients with a complete online marketing suite of services including ranking, analysis, targeting, brand promotion, advertising and overall internet support solutions. Some of the services we provide are: search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), internet reputation management (IRM), pay per click (PPC), web development, HTML email (email marketing design and development) and web maintenance.

HeBS Digital 1601 Broadway, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10019 (212) 752-8186

Max Starkov, President and CEO

Introducing “Digital” to Hotel Marketing

Resolving digital technology, marketing issues in a $110 billion industry

About the company

HeBS Digital is the hospitality industry’s leading digital technology, full-service digital marketing and direct online channel consulting firm based in New York City. Founded in 2001, HeBS Digital has pioneered many of the "best practices" in hotel internet marketing, social and mobile marketing and direct online channel distribution. The firm has won over 200 prestigious industry awards for its digital marketing and technology and website design services. HeBS Digital offers the full spectrum of digital technology applications and marketing services, including: • Award-Winning hotel website design • Award-Winning CMS Technology • Marketing Enabling Technology (CPC Gateway, Sweepstakes)

Industry: Hospitality marketing In a nutshell: Hospitality industry’s leading digital technology, fullservice digital marketing and direct online channel consulting firm Year founded: 2001

• Social Media and Mobile marketing + technology • SEO and SEM • Online Media and Retargeting

HeBS Digital has pioneered many of the best practices in hotel internet marketing, social and mobile marketing and direct online channel distribution. The firm has won over 250 prestigious industry awards for its digital marketing and website design services, including numerous Adrian Awards, Davey Awards, W3 Awards, WebAwards, Magellan Awards, Summit International Awards, Interactive Media Awards, IAC Awards, etc. A diverse client portfolio of top-tier major hotel brands, luxury and boutique hotel brands, resorts and casinos, hotel management companies, franchisees and independents and CVBs are benefiting from HeBS Digital’s direct online channel strategy and digital marketing expertise.

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Infinity Info Systems 525 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1200, New York, NY 10018 (212) 563-4400

Yacov Wrocherinsky, President and CEO

Uniting Business Through Technology About the company

A leader in CRM solutions

Infinity Info Systems is a client centric technology solutions provider specializing in customer relationship management (CRM) and business analytics in the financial services, life sciences and manufacturing industries. The single greatest force behind our success is our commitment to total client satisfaction. Through our industry expertise and proven solutions, Infinity focuses on helping unite business and technology giving employees, partners and customers the information they need, any time and on any device. Our goal is to help businesses reach their potential, gain access to information and gain efficiency across their marketing, sales and customer service business processes.

small businesses worldwide, and has received numerous top industry awards from Microsoft for strong sales and customer service.

Industry: Technology consulting and solutions In a nutshell: Award-winning CRM and business intelligence solutions for sales and marketing professionals in life sciences, manufacturing and financial services

As a testimony to our excellence, Infinity has successfully implemented more than 3,500 CRM solutions for both large and

Year founded: 1987

Founded in 1987, our focus has been in not only making a difference for our clients, but also building a great place to work and giving back to our community. As a New York based company, Infinity is led by founder and CEO, Yacov Wrocherinsky. In addition to being featured in the Wall Street Journal and Inc. magazine, Yacov has served as an CRM Advisory Board member for Microsoft and The Sage Group, and has held leadership positions in several entrepreneurial organizations. His recognition also includes being named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) NYC Chapter.

Jennifer Brown Consulting LLC 20 East 9th Street, Suite 4U, New York, NY 10003 (888) 522-1599

Making an Impact

About the company

N ew Yor k S m a r t CEO

Jun e /Ju l y 2 0 1 3

CEO and founder

JBC connects diversity to the bottom line

About the CEO

Jennifer Brown Consulting LLC is a growing, certified woman- and LGBT-owned strategic leadership and diversity consulting firm founded in 2006 to guide the efforts of talent management, HR, diversity and employee resource group champions and their business partners in creating more inclusive and innovative workplaces for the future. JBC designs and delivers innovative training, coaching, research and events, and counts among its client base many employerof-choice organizations in a variety of industries, including Cisco, MetLife, Rockwell Collins, McKesson, Intuit, Wells Fargo, Johnson Controls and Bank of America. Jennifer is an acknowledged expert on future workplace practices and the power of connected communities and emerging leaders in the corporate environment.


Jennifer Brown,

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Industry: Strategic leadership and diversity consulting In a nutshell: JBC is a strategic workplace consulting firm that works with businesses to build forwardthinking organizational practices that foster diversity, leadership and innovation. Year founded: 2006

Jennifer founded JBC in 2006, with two Master’s degrees (organizational development and vocal performance) and experience in both consultative training and nonprofit management. She and her team have since facilitated and coached hundreds of leaders all over the world on critical issues of strategy, leadership and integrity. Her focus today is on continuing to build JBC’s triple bottom line, identifying emerging workplace trends and building more enlightened organizations with client work and outreach. Her areas of expertise include catalyzing diversity to drive innovation and business results, ERG/Affinity Group development, growing leaders in the new global, generationally-diverse and technology-connected workplace ecosystems, and aligning corporate strategy with individual, team and societal values.

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inVNT The Puck Building 295 Lafayette Street, Floor 7, New York, NY 10012 (212) 334-3415

Scott Cullather, Global Managing

Challenge Everything


Helping brands and organizations change the way people think, feel, behave and perform About the company


inVNT is a global brand communications agency that specializes in meetings and events, creative services, traditional and digital media, and brand environments. We collaborate with brands and organizations to create, design and produce remarkable moments that help them challenge convention, mindsets, competitors and the market. inVNT works globally to launch products, build brand allegiance, create demand, align organizations and strengthen relationships with employees, partners, members, press, investors, customers and consumers.

What was the “big idea” that launched your company?

inVNT is one of the fastest growing brand communications agencies in the business, partnering with clients that include: PepsiCo, GATORADE, Subway, Merck, GM and Domino’s and trade associations such as the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Industry: Brand communications In a nutshell: inVNT is a global brand communications agency specializing in meetings & events, creative services, media & digital, and brand environments. Clients include GATORADE, GM, PepsiCo and Weight Watchers. Founded: 2008

At inVNT, we believe that our clients are agents of change, as such, our mantra is: challenge everything. Our challenger ethos leads to brand experiences that support and enhance the innovative, creative work by which clients are known. We challenge each other daily to develop bold ideas that blend together the right mix of brand strategy, messaging and engagement with fresh design and new technologies. We challenge our clients to consider new approaches that are on brand and still break through, destroy indifference and emotionally engage key audiences. All of our incredible “inVNTrs” share this challenger ethos, and it is our biggest competitive differentiator. Our unique business model combines our staff of full time experts with an unrivalled international network of supplier partners and individual specialists who help us execute groundbreaking projects every day, globally. Cullather collaborates with Kristina McCoobery, managing partner and Ian Thomas, Sr. graphic designer at inVNT's headquarters located in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood.

We started inVNT because we recognized an unmet need. We set off to build a global brand communications agency that would develop smarter, stronger, strategic, creative, affordable solutions. With the economic recession forcing corporations to be leaner, it was a challenging environment to start an agency. We envisioned and developed a unique, scalable service model that blends inVNTrs with a global network of specialists who are selected based on the unique needs of each client and initiative. This allows us to develop world-class solutions at the best price, and execute projects of any size in a more tailored, versatile way than larger agencies. This vision of being a highly creative, affordable, scalable partner to our clients has fueled inVNT’s success.

How do you communicate your vision to your employees? Communicating a vision is about picking the right people. From the moment we consider a new inVNTr we focus on who they are and how they will fit into our “tribe.” Will they push themselves and others daily to make our work better? If they fit, they’re expected to apply this challenger mindset to our mission: Collaboratively create amazing work via the right value proposition. We remind our employees that our work connects audiences, builds believers and makes an impact in the world around us. Through their efforts, we‘re the catalysts of change for the titans of business and industry, and therefore we change the people that change the world. That is real empowerment. Where do you see your company in five years? In 10 years? We are very well positioned to continue our rapid growth. However, no matter how big or successful we become, we will not outgrow our fundamental “challenger agency” mind-set. We have ambitions and a detailed 10-year growth strategy that will allow us to achieve our vision of becoming a globally recognized brand, with inVNTrs in strategic locations around the world, focused on designing and executing bold creative solutions that help our clients create the kind of change they need to compete and succeed in today’s highly competitive global arena.

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JEC Strategic Advisors, LLC P.O. Box 507 New York, NY 10159 (917) 767-9907

John E. Camacho, Chairman and CEO


About the company


The Early Years: In the early 1990s, while in college, I got interested in the economies of Latin America. I wanted to know why a region with so much to offer was in such economic disarray. After graduation, I was hired by a company to help analyze their business model in Central America. The company’s concern was their lack of profitability in a region where they had no competition in an industry where they were the only player. I went to Costa Rica, did my analysis and in less than three months I turned the company around and made it profitable. Soon after I was promoted as their Latin America Liaison and took the company to another Latin American country. I created my firm and have been working as a consultant concentrating in the Latin American and U.S. market ever since.

I chose to talk about Process because most CEOs and most Presidents of any company usually talk about Vision. Everyone wants to give you their vision. We believe otherwise, without the process, the vision could not be attainable, or at least, it could be more difficult to achieve. Industry: Consulting In a nutshell: JEC Strategic Advisors takes American and European companies to Latin America and vice-versa. We analyze, strategize and implement proprietary strategic plans to expand our client's operations to these markets.

How has your strategic planning process contributed to your success?

Strategic planning is part of our DNA. We find answers to questions that have not yet being asked. We find solutions to problems that have yet risen. We take a look at the wider picture of the bigger picture on behalf of our clients and for their projects. We are able to improve our clients’ bottom line and at the same time protect them from the market risks Growing Pains and The Future: Our firm has gone through as well as economic and political risks in Latin America. Founded: 1996 several economic cycles and during the early 2000s, right The process, by which we implement our strategies, is after September 11, 2001, the market was extremely tough, no different than any other in the industry. This process takes American company wanted to expand outside the U.S., and Latin into account inefficiencies in each region and the best way to deal with the different America was very much affected. We decided then and there to become a different international regulatory bodies. type of consulting firm – one with a stake in every project with which we are involved, How has your company scaled for growth? so that we would be compelled to succeed. Since 2011, we have been expanding to Europe and are currently in the process of entering the Eastern European market. We My firm has poised itself for long term growth. In Europe, for example, we are advising have developed several strategies and are constantly innovating and improving our that austerity is not the answer to any economic recovery. In Spain, for instance, strategies so that we could tailor them specifically to each of our clients. Our clients austerity has contracted the economy to the point of raising the unemployment rate to are diverse, from an international airport in the Gulf and manufacturing companies 26.02 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from 25.02 percent in the third quarter in Latin America, to small companies that want to feed the world, as well as new of 2012. Our firm is working in Spain to take Spanish companies to Latin America, to companies with new technology in the renewable/sustainable energy industry. The expand their products and/or services to this region. Our clients in Latin America also future of our firm is bright and we are looking forward to the next 50 years; our want to penetrate the U.S. and European markets, and even the East European markets. projections are to grow at an annual rate of 10 percent. I would say that this gives us the room for the kind of growth we are looking for. What are your company’s Key Metrics? How do you track them?

JEC Chairman and CEO takes time to volunteer during the clean-up effort after Hurricane Sandy.


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We believe that although performing indicators are important, the exclusive reliability on them creates a distance between management and labor, thus creating inefficiencies in output. However, we must say that our key metrics are project focused. For instance, one very important indicator is how a project is developed and how far the project reaches out of its original scope. Another indicator is the monitoring of the progress of the short term goals (this is done every month) and how this impacts the mid-term goals which are monitored every six months and how this, in turn, impacts the long-term goals which are monitored once a year. Two other important indicators are the management of a project and the social impact of a project. We track these metrics through statics, surveys and other means to find the most efficient output of a project.

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JG Black Book 594 Broadway, Suite 1001, New York, NY 10012 (212) 967-5895

Jena Gardner, President and CEO

Giving Destinations a Voice

JG Black Book champions the independent travel experience About the company JG Black Book is an international branding, public relations and marketing agency for the hospitality and tourism industry. A one-stop resource for generating exposure, building networks and increasing sales, our team has led innovative strategic campaigns for more than 125 of the world’s most celebrated travel brands. Our focus — and passion — is to support companies that offer the authentic and meaningful experiences travelers truly hunger for. Our clients — top hotels, tour operators, cruises and tourism boards — come to us because we understand that many of

the world’s best travel companies don’t have access to the tools, resources and advocates necessary for them to succeed in a landscape that is constantly evolving. While they remain the true treasures of the industry, it can be difficult for them to gain traction against larger, more well-known competitors. Industry: Travel and tourism In a nutshell: JG Black Book is an international branding, public relations and marketing agency for the hospitality and tourism industry.

Some firms specialize in public relations. Other firms specialize in marketing. We specialize in results. Our integrated services model was designed to maximize the impact our clients can have in this ultra-competitive marketplace. And we have the expertise and connections necessary to deliver.

Year founded: 2002

Juran Global 900 Main Street South, Suite 100, Southbury, CT 06488 (800) 338-7726; (203) 267-3445

Juran Global

Joseph A. DeFeo, President and CEO

Trusted advisers to attain world-class performance About the company Today Joseph A. DeFeo, CEO and author, leads Juran Global and provides professional services globally. Founded in 1979 by Dr. Joseph M. Juran, quality guru and well-known authority, the company’s mission was to provide research and pragmatic solutions to enable organizations learn the methods for managing quality to achieve business results. The firm is known worldwide for its publications, consulting, training and certification to improve product and service quality, streamline business processes, reduce costs and increase global competitiveness. Juran’s expertise includes strategic alignment and deployment of transformation programs, Lean and Six

Sigma, business process management, quality by design, employee engagement and change management. Juran provides on-site assessment, training and consulting services, as well as web-based services.

Industry: Business improvement consulting In a nutshell: Juran Global’s mission is to create value for clients and society with superior quality and sustainable results. Year founded: 1979

Juran Global specializes in many industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, retail and service organizations. Juran covers the globe with full-time staff in international offices, as well as partners, to continually provide the best practice tools, methods and technology at the right time, in the right way. With deep roots in business improvement, Juran is the go-to firm to work with on your path towards performance excellence and becoming world-class.

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The Leading Niche 68 East 131st Street, Suite 200, New York, NY 10037 (646) 729-3330

Tamara L. Nall, President

The Leading Niche

and CEO

Leading the way: One family member at a time About the company


Upon graduation from college, my parents were grateful that I landed a secure, well-paying job with a reputable firm. Wow, I was no longer on their payroll. But, as I looked around and observed how entrepreneurs were hiring, and making an impact in my community, I wanted to do the same. So, I ventured off to build a consulting firm that would help companies operate more efficiently, and strategically answer the questions that keep CEOs up at night. Our commitment is simple: “Mr. or Ms. Fortune 500 CEO or government executive, you sleep, and let us help make your job easier.” My goal: help executives tackle the hard problems that in turn allow our clients’ companies to flourish.

What was the “big idea” that launched your company? ®


Industry: Management consulting In a nutshell: The Leading Niche is an international management consulting firm that offers strategy, operational and IT consulting to Fortune 500 and government clients.

Founded: 2007 Realizing that every company must be laser focused, we decided to concentrate on healthcare, financial services, and government – industries that will be around for a long time and have an impact on everyone’s lives. Our competitive advantage is that we make every project personal. All of my employees, more affectionately known as “family members,” are affected in some way by these three industries. Therefore, I encourage them to think about how their work for a particular client will ultimately benefit their own lives. So The Leading Niche success has been the result of hard work, and leading the way for our clients – one “family member” at a time.

I launched The Leading Niche after working for many years for a large management consulting firm. While I enjoyed and appreciated my experiences there, I knew that a gap existed in the market. I noticed that, despite a generous client list and large teams, relationships with clients were difficult to maintain. In addition, there was a sentiment among clients that the industry had moved towards offering standardized, “cookie cutter” solutions. My vision was to deliver high-quality services and impactful results in a cost-efficient manner for clients. Today, The Leading Niche drives high-touch change and innovation for our clients.

How do you know a job candidate will be a great employee? Even though The Leading Niche uses a very thorough hiring process, I find that intuition plays a large part in finding exceptional employees. Our process includes an initial pre-screen, in-person or Skype interviews, references from past employers, review of work products, case discussions, and background checks, to name a few. We spend time asking questions that speak to an individual’s morals and ethics, and judge what that candidate will do when only given five seconds to make a decision. Their response to “what would you do?” questions reveals a lot about how they will represent The Leading Niche when no one is looking. Typical interviewing methods are helpful and complementary, but at the end of the day, my instincts have never failed me. Have you ever turned away a customer who was not a good fit? Why?

Tamara L. Nall, President & CEO, (middle) taking a picture with two of her transportation clients during a systems upgrade in Atlanta.


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There are many reasons why we would turn away a customer, but a few include: a customer’s desire to use our firm as a front to make an irrational executive decision; over-scoped work with little to no budget; a customer’s desire to take short cuts in the work; and an occasion when a customer could potentially mistreat one of my employees. Frankly, I started my own company so that we could focus on projects that we want to work on, and thereby, impact customers in a real way. Otherwise, I could have just remained an employee.

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Linkstorm One Penn Plaza #6244, New York, NY 10119 (855) 836-6743

David Sidman, Founder

Linkstorm: Making online ads perform better

and CEO

for the advertiser by making the ads more useful to the consumer

About the company

Online advertising is exploding as ad dollars continue to shift from old media to the web, following the migration of customer eyeballs — and with a long way still to catch up. Linkstorm makes online ads perform better for the advertiser by making the ads more useful to the customer. We accomplish this by overlaying a cascading navigation menu onto any ad, activated by mouse-over, that lets the customer navigate deeply into the advertiser’s website, right to the product, product info or transaction the customer wants. Instead of targeting the ad at the customer, we let the customer choose where to go — resulting in not only more clicks, but betterqualified, self-directed clicks. The company is now breaking into mobile, where the convenience of one-tap web navigation is even more powerful than on the desktop web.

More fundamentally, Linkstorm represents a new and better way to navigate the web. Unlike today’s URL, which forces the user to trudge through the web one page at a time, a Linkstorm navigation menu shows all relevant destinations in advance, letting the user click once to go directly to their desired destination. Linkstorm’s technology was originally developed as proprietary, patented extensions to a new linking system for the internet that was created by Dr. Robert Kahn, co-inventor of TCP/ IP and the primary architect of the internet, and may ultimately replace DNS and URLs as we know them today. Applications of Linkstorm’s technology therefore span many businesses beyond advertising, e-commerce, social media, publishing, video, music, etc.

Industry: Digital advertising In a nutshell: Linkstorm is an advertising technology company that makes ads perform better for advertisers by making ads more useful to consumers. Founded: 2000

MJS Executive Search 52 Main Street, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706 (914) 631-1774

Matt Schwartz, President and CEO

Transformational Talent

Identifying top talent in a fast-changing marketplace

About the company

competition. After all, if your competitor isn’t doing it better than you, then why would you take your talent from there?

Question: What do you get when you combine consumer products, financial services, or other “traditional” companies, with the digital-social-mobile revolution?

Instead, the right candidate might be “hiding” in a vertical that has nothing to do with yours. They might be “hiding” beneath skill sets that don’t seem relevant — until we translate them into your realm. In any case, they embody the needed expertise, and the people skills, too.

Answer: A new opportunity to rise to the top of your industry. We should know. For years, our retained executive search firm has cultivated a specialty in locating extraordinary executives in the unlikeliest of places. In the process, we have helped companies re-envision their brands, their product offerings and even themselves. Functionally, these executives might perform marketing, sales, social media, digital and interactive, innovation, PR and corporate communications and general management roles. But it’s where they come from that astounds our clients. Not your

Industry: Retained executive search

In short, our candidates fit your bill.

In a nutshell: MJS Executive search is a retained search firm specializing in the placement of transformational talent across all industries on a national basis. Year founded: 2002

Our Methods: Since we’re passionate about technology ourselves, we practice what we preach by leveraging the latest in social media and research tools, coupled with methods tested by decades in the retained executive search industry. Our retained executive searches travel across geographies, skill sets, verticals and every traditional way of thinking.

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Marena Advertising & Design Studios LLC (DBA Marena Studios)

12 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 (212) 243-3070

Kathy Marena, CEO, creative director

Proving a small agency can think big Marena Studios partners with clients both big and small

About the company


During the uncertain economy in the 1990s, Kathy was an executive creative director at an advertising agency that desperately needed her help. She unexpectedly had to acquire new business to help keep the agency open. After bringing in nearly $1 million in new revenues, she recognized how she could fill an unmet need. That is, a niche for providing businesses with exceptionally powerful, targeted, and strategic communications — both in print and on the web. Businesses that may not have the huge budgets required to benefit from a large advertising agency. Hence, Marena Studios was born. Today, we provide creative solutions across all sectors — from robust start-ups to global enterprises. Marena Studios has won numerous awards, including the International TV & Film Festival Bronze and Gold awards for McDonald’s and Martin Marietta Aerospace; the Mobius International Advertising Award for PriceWaterhouse; and ADDY awards for the Hudson Tea Building and RiverPlace brochures. Marena Studios is MWBE certified.

How do you keep your existing customers satisfied?

Industry: Advertising and design In a nutshell: A unique graphic design, web development and marketing firm that breaks creative barriers and provides meaningful results. Founded: 1994

Our strategic print and online strategies — combined with our strong development abilities — helps our clients shine in a competitive landscape. Together with our digital marketing partner (experts in SEO, SEM and social media), we utilize data analysis, keyword research, and other methods to achieve strong results. We track the impact of our efforts and refine our tactics to ensure our clients’ goals are being met and they are connecting to their prospects. What is your approach to attracting new clients?

Our proprietary discovery process is a key customized benefit that is appealing to new clients. Once we have a clear picture of our client’s identity, we are poised to communicate to their target in a compelling, memorable way. This “snapshot” helps us to develop: • Brand assessments and strategies • Logo design • Concept development • Copy and design implementation Have you ever turned away a customer who was not a good fit? Why? Yes, we have. We don’t believe in simply telling our clients what they want to hear — if won’t lead to the best value and results for their business. If a client won’t allow our expertise help foster their success, we are in a no-win situation — as we can’t deliver their anticipated results. We believe in a give-and-take relationship; a partnership where ideas are shared.

Since her very first trip to Italy in 1975, owning a Vespa was on Marena’s “must have” list. In 2001, she made her purchase.


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MNS Gramercy Park, 115 East 23rd Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10010 (212) 475-9000

Billion-Dollar Deal

About the company

Andrew Barrocas, CEO

MNS takes on NYC’s top new developments

MNS is an innovative residential real estate brokerage firm that specializes in sales, rentals, and new development marketing throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. By providing tailored, inhouse services to clients such as design and layout packages, customized marketing collateral, website development and advanced website tracking capabilities, MNS is able to ensure client’s properties have heightened visibility and reach the highest market-driven prices. MNS’ investment sales division provides specialized block-by-block knowledge of which neighborhoods to invest in and offers insight on how to maximize the value of new development for developers and investors. MNS’ biggest success project to date is the sellout of The Edge in Williamsburg, the top-selling condominium of 2011 and 2012. The firm is presently the exclusive sales/leasing

Industry: Residential brokerage In a nutshell: MNS, Real Impact Real Estate is a residential brokerage firm that specializes in the marketing, sales and leasing of new developments and re-sales in NYC. Founded: 2009

and marketing firm for several other noteworthy projects including One Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn Heights, which was another top selling condominium of 2012; The Strathmore in Manhattanville, and Acacia, which will be the first-ever LEED Silver certified rental building in Bedford-Stuyvesant. MNS also produces new development and rental reports for both the Manhattan and Brooklyn markets, which have become the premier source of information for consumers and the industry. CEO Andrew Barrocas has grown MNS to over 125 people and four offices in just five years with offices in Gramercy, Chelsea and two offices in Williamsburg. MNS also has a training center in Gramercy, where the firm offers up to 20 educational and interactive workshops per month for agents to learn how to stay relevant in today’s competitive market.

Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers 14 Penn Plaza, 225 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10122 (917) 339-9300

Alfred H. Brand, PE, Senior Partner

Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers A century of foundation engineering

About the company Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE), founded in 1910, is an internationally recognized leader in structural design of foundations and waterfront structures and complete geotechnical studies. MRCE was the first engineering firm in the U.S. to combine a geotechnical specialty with structural foundation design engineering. More than 11,500 projects have been completed in the U.S. and around the world. Two-thirds of the firm's work comprises the structural design of foundations and waterfront structures and in providing owners, contractors and engineers with construction assistance, including evaluation of construction effects on adjacent properties. The remaining third of the firm's work involves geotechnical studies, including analyses of site

Industry: Geotechnical and foundation engineering In a nutshell: Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, founded in 1910, is a leading engineering firm providing structural design of foundations and waterfront structures and complete geotechnical studies.

conditions, soil and rock properties, and the performance of subsurface materials. MRCE was the first firm in the U.S. to establish a private soil mechanics laboratory that is used exclusively for the firm's own design assignments. The firm's records, which in some cases are a century old, provide considerable information regarding the soil conditions and the geology of the New York metro area as well as other locations throughout the country and the world. MRCE is an ENR “Top 500 Design Firm.” Its industry leadership is constantly being enhanced by adding state-of-the-art capabilities in areas such as engineering analysis, seismic design and instrumentation. Alfred Brand, PE, current senior partner, has been with the firm for his entire 44-year career.

Year founded: 1910 www. s m a rtc e o . c o m

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Net@Work 575 8th Avenue, New York, NY, 10018 (212) 997-5200

Alex Solomon and Edward Solomon, Co-Founders

One-Stop Tech Solutions

About the company

Saving companies time and money

Founded in 1996 by brothers Alex and Edward Solomon, Net@Work is a full service technology firm with unparalleled expertise in the development of business technology solutions. From needs assessment and design, to training and support, their energy and talent is devoted to optimizing business systems. Their teams of subject matter experts carry a diversified portfolio of certifications so you can be confident they will provide the appropriate expert for your particular need. With client service as the highest priority, Net@Work's goal is to be considered an integral part of your business; utilizing promising new technologies and methods to attribute to your success.

Industry: Information technology consulting, services and solutions In a nutshell: Full-service IT and business consultancy with core practice areas in systems integration, integrated software applications, cloud computing and web development. Year founded: 1996

Core Capabilities and Specializations Include: • Business Process Review & Re-engineering • IT Road Mapping, Planning & Systems Selection • ERP/Accounting, CRM and HR/Payroll system consulting and implementations • Business Intelligence, Analytics and Reporting • Document Management solutions • eCommerce & Web Development • Marketing Automation • Cloud Implementations and Migrations • IT Infrastructure & Managed IT Services Everyone under one roof focused on helping you grow your business through the most effective use of technology. Recent Recognitions: Crain’s NY Fast 50, Inc. 5000, ERP VAR 100, Tech Elite 250

New Energy Fund Advisors LLC 441 West End Avenue, Suite 16A, New York, NY 10024 (917) 941-0220

Mark Townsend Cox, CEO and Founder

A Better Future in Sustainable Energy

A sustainable solution to our current energy consumption About the company We raised the first, pure play clean energy hedge fund, the New Energy Fund, in 2003 with investors such as Ted Turner, exclusively to invest in sustainable technologies. Our mission involved economic and disruptive technology to offset CONG energy (Coal, oil, nuclear and gas). CONG damage is multidimensional; inflation, geopolitical difficulties, pollution, bad subsidies, and depletion. Even though we pay for none of this at the pump it still needs to be paid for in lifecycle terms and it comes from our taxes. CONG represents a multi-dimensional expense disaster whose true impact is still relatively invisible due to the complexity of the subject. In this decade we have identified and championed many examples of sustainable technologies. Deploying them addresses many of our current energy challenges. For example 58

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Industry: Fund and advisory services for sustainable technologies In a nutshell: Founded as the very first pure-play sustainable energy fund and consultancy just as sustainability issues become a significant global concern Year founded: 2003

we recently found a company, that unlike many others, actually converts cellulose to sugars, cheaply, with no liquids in 30 minutes; a cheap solar configuration providing thermal storage beyond the capability of molten salt configurations permitting electricity generation up to day 7 of a rainy week, including at night and an electrical storage technology as close to perfection as you can imagine and which never needs to be replaced. We also have established an energy efficiency subsidiary which addresses the electrical and thermal demand side efficiency of buildings. We suggest solutions such as LED lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) that use much less energy than incumbent technology. In each case the economics improve and so the standard of living is improved.

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Noon Dalton 382 NE 191st Street, #39393, Miami, FL 33179 (877) 820-6522

Edward Dalton & Jehan Noon, Co-CEOs

Noon Dalton Virtual Employees

Enabling any sized company to realize the benefits of outsourcing About the company


Throughout the last decade the main beneficiaries of outsourcing were larger Fortune 500 companies. However, technology advancements have recently allowed smallto-medium sized companies to capitalize on the same benefits. Noon Dalton began after using several providers of virtual staff for another venture. We were so impressed with one provider in India that we purchased the company and adapted the operations to handle repetitive and time consuming administrative tasks.

How do you keep your existing customers satisfied?

Industry: Business process outsourcing and consulting In a nutshell: Noon Dalton specializes in providing college educated Virtual Employees to businesses who are looking to reduce their hiring costs while also streamlining their businesses processes.

At Noon Dalton client retention is our number one focus because we never lock in customers with a contract. Satisfying the client every month is imperative. We feel it is a factor of satisfaction, price and a job well done. At the first level we spend extra time training our staff to foresee the needs of our clients. On the management level, we trust our staff. However, spot-checks validate that we are doing the work correctly. With our third level, we have monthly quality control calls, retrain staff as needed and maintain an open feedback loop with our clients to immediately fix any issue they may have.

Noon Dalton provides virtual employees in a wide array of industries because we focus on the process to determine which tasks can be handled virtually and which tasks are better suited for local employees. If a new employee can be What is your approach to attracting new clients? trained on the task in under a day or week then this would We have a two pronged approach since our service be ideal for one of our virtual employees (VE). We assist in Year founded: 2009 offering can be applied to any industry. We manage all transitioning the majority of an employee’s busy work to our growth through membership programs like SmartCEO, low-cost solution which increases a client’s efficiency and Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and Inc. We have the scalability. Finally, when a client hires Noon Dalton, the expertise to analyze on how our service could be applied to any client in any staff comes with a full enterprise solution with multiple levels of management industry. Our second prong is our marketing and sales division, which is driven by oversight, quality control, data security and HR functions. traditional marketing, and our sales team who are all dedicated to one industry so they are able to excel quickly. Have you ever turned away a customer who was not a good fit? Why? Not everyone is a good fit for us. Some clients have not acted respectful to our staff. We consider our staff an extension of the client’s team and deserve equal treatment. With a few other clients, they really want it to work, however we advised them that hiring local talent will be better for them in the long run.

NYC James Bond Theme Charity Event

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OFS Solutions 251 West 39th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10018 (718) 567-7400

Shlomo Birnbaum,

OFS Solutions

Chief Inspiration Officer

Beautiful, Affordable, Sustainable About the company I bought into Office Furniture Service (OFS) in 2001. While the company produced the finest quality office furniture and furniture maintenance services at extremely competitive prices, its overhead (and losses) were enormous. The largest expenses were payroll, union, insurance and rent. It took almost 10 years, but over that time I was able to change our model from having one salesman and 15 laborers to a much more efficient 12 laborers and five marketing and sales representatives. Our billing and commissions have gone up while payroll costs have actually decreased.

Industry: B2B Office Furniture, Office Products, Toner and Coffee In a nutshell: Providing sustainable or recycled office furniture solutions to companies by creating inspiring and value added design.

When running a business one has to learn how to make the most of every situation, especially situations that “seem” negative to most. Identifying the positives when others Founded: 1961 (i.e. your competition) see negative is what distinguishes successful leaders and their businesses from their peers. Due to the economy, real estate prices dropped significantly. As soon as an opportunity came to leave our $35,000 a month rental space in Brooklyn, we split. The economy enabled me to negotiate out of my lease, an opportunity to purchase my own facility (at a very steep discount) while at the same time allowing me to leverage the lowest interest rates in decades. While these strategies always seem obvious in retrospect, keep in mind we didn’t have money for a building, credit for a mortgage (this was in the height of the recession when banks were NOT lending), money for any down payment or even the $100,000 for the move.

Birnbaum connects with the outdoors.


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Many businesses don’t actually know their sales numbers until they complete billing for the month, which at times may not happen until the middle of the following month. I discovered early on that forecasting is crucial to the decision making process in order to know when to increase marketing or reduce labor before it’s too late. Therefore we instituted to record and track, not only closed deals, but key pipeline metrics in order to determine what our closed deals eventually will be — more than 60 days in advance. Another valuable lesson I learned over time, which many entrepreneurs may overlook, is that simply targeting top line revenue growth, thinking the money will follow, in most cases will actually hurt cash flow and deteriorate profits. Be careful not to chase sales if you don’t completely understand your margins and expenses first.

While becoming well rounded is the first step to being a successful entrepreneur, I would suggest the next step is to remain focused on your long-term vision and strategic plan. I have come to realize that this is the one quality that you can only find in a true entrepreneur. Whether it was hiring the next rep or purchasing a building, we always had a more important business or cash flow situation to justify not executing on the strategic vision. While the timing is never going to be perfect, only later will you be able to look back and realize that in fact it was. You won’t always get it right, but the entrepreneur who understands how and when to strike in order to achieve his or her strategic vision without waiting for the perfect opportunity, will come out on top.

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Proviatek, Inc. 80 Broad Street, #607, New York, NY 10004 (212) 500-6037

Amit Roy, President

50 years combined 'it Design and Integration' experience Proviatek offers technology excellence that builds business

About the company Proviatek, Inc. was initially formed in 2004 to provide information technology support to SMBs and corporate clients who desperately required the latest in IT to bring down their operation cost, but could not afford to maintain permanent high-paid IT engineers on their payroll, or outsource the IT services to big IT firms or outsource it abroad, as some of the big corporations have done. Proviatek in essence, is an “insourcing” firm, in accordance to the concept promoted recently by the U.S. federal government. Proviatek provides the latest in IT technology and managed IT services and helpdesk support to the SMBs and corporate clients with engineers and support staff stationed locally in New York to support the NY-NJ-CT tri-state area. This enables

the local companies to outsource their IT services locally, and not abroad, and still save substantially on their expenditure, and avail of a limited afterhours or a full 8x5 IT support services. Industry: Information Technology, System Integration and Staff Augmentation In a nutshell: Proviatek is a bonafide network and system integrator with years of experience in SMB and Corporate marketplace, serving the tri-state.

Starting from 2010, Proviatek entered an expansion phase to provide an extended service in high-speed communication and network design consultancy for HFT (high-frequency-trading), wireless site survey and network design, fiber optic backbone and software services like web site development, application specific software and database and application maintenance and support and provided services to some New York based investment banks, city agencies, hospitals and garment manufacturers.

Year founded: 2004

RosettaBooks 200 W. 57th Street, Suite 904, New York, NY 10019 (646) 274-1970

Arthur Klebanoff, Founder

Original eBook Publishing About the company

and CEO

The power of backlists and brands

original eBooks from Harvard Medical School, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, and many more. The RosettaBooks advantage includes the best deal terms in the eBook space, expert management of etailer site promotions, a robust social media presence and all catalog anti piracy protection.

RosettaBooks launched in 2001 initially with a list of 100 preeminent backlist titles. Headquartered in New York, today the company’s 500-plus title list includes leading backlist and front list titles, original short eBook lines and original digital only titles across a broad array of publishing categories in fiction and non-fiction. RosettaBooks’ leading titles include Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Slaughterhouse-Five and 18 other titles by Kurt Vonnegut, Childhood’s End and 34 other titles by Arthur C. Clarke, the complete works of Nobel Prize for Literature winner Winston Churchill (52 volumes,) The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer, a series of current consumer reference titles by Mayo Clinic, a series of short

Industry: eBook publisher In a nutshell: RosettaBooks is the leading independent eBook publisher, annually selling over 1 million eBooks worldwide. Founded: 2001

2012 milestones: Royalty pay out exceeds $2 million. Year over year, the company grows 80 percent versus 35 percent for the eBook industry as a whole. A Mother’s Day promotion for 20 “book into film” titles becomes a huge success. The company expands its promotional relationships to Kindle, Nook, iBookstore, Kobo and ebrary and significantly expands its English language international distribution.

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Rapid Realty NYC 681 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232 (888) 439-4999

Anthony Lolli, Founder

and CEO

Rent to Win

Rapid Realty NYC changes the way we rent apartments About the company


When Anthony Lolli started his own firm in Brooklyn at the age of 21 and he decided to specialize in rentals, people thought he was crazy. Brooklyn, not Manhattan? Rentals, not sales? But Lolli quickly built Rapid Realty NYC into the top rental brokerage in Brooklyn, while Brooklyn itself transformed into a hot destination for renters at every income level. As time went on, Rapid Realty kept bucking trends. When the housing bubble burst, many real estate companies started scaling back, but Lolli decided to expand. While most NYC firms expanded by opening corporate-owned branches and installing top agents as managers, Lolli opted to franchise so he could offer top agents the chance to own their own businesses.

Your Logo

Industry: Real estate brokerage In a nutshell: Rapid Realty NYC is the largest rental brokerage in New York, and the nation’s first rentalbased real estate franchise system. Founded: 1998

Under Lolli’s hands-on leadership, Rapid Realty grew to over sixty franchises in three years, with locations in every borough, Long Island and New Jersey. In 2012, Rapid debuted on the Inc. 5000, naming them among the fastest-growing companies in America. Now, as Rapid Realty begins to expand nationwide, they are redefining what it means to be a real estate company. They look different, from their offices (boutiquestyle storefronts) to their franchisees (75% are women and minorities, half are under 30). They feel different; their high-energy, team-based approach is the focus of an upcoming reality TV series. Even what they do is different. Besides rentals, Rapid now offers credit restoration, renter’s insurance, even the ability to pay your rent online.

What was the “big idea” that launched your company? Focusing on rentals allowed Rapid Realty to carve out its own niche in the crowded NYC real estate scene. No one was paying attention to the needs of renters, especially in the outer boroughs. We were able to establish our reputation, build our inventory, and refine our business model while flying under the radar. The decision to start franchising in 2009, though, that’s what really launched Rapid Realty into the stratosphere. It empowered us to create a whole wave of new, successful business owners and kick-start hundreds of careers at a time when opportunities were hard to come by. How do you communicate your vision to your employees?

I send out companywide emails every day. It’s a great way to keep everyone up to date on the latest developments, announce new offices, introduce any policy changes, or just share a few words of advice. I also stay in touch with franchisees and agents day and night via phone calls, texts, and face-to-face meetings at my home or at offices around the city. And any event where the whole company can come together, like a grand opening, is always a great opportunity to renew that feeling of shared purpose that comes with being a company on the move. Where do you see your company in five years? In 10 years?

Faster, easier, and just around the corner – that’s Rapid Realty NYC.

There’s no doubt in my mind that within five years, Rapid Realty will have franchises in at least a dozen major U.S. cities. We recently started handling sales, and I expect that to play a bigger role in our business model over the next few years. An IPO is certainly not out of the question, either. In ten years, I’d be shocked if we haven’t expanded internationally. Here in the States, I think Rapid Realty will be America’s household name in apartment rentals. When you move to a new city anywhere in the country, we’ll be your first call. Lolli and the Rapid Realty team join together to help Habitat for Humanity.


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RCS Capital Corporation 405 Park Avenue, 12th floor, New York, NY 10022 (212) 415-6500

William M. Kahane, CEO

RCS Capital – The Durable Income provider In a world of rapidly declining income generators, RCS Capital has investment solutions for durable income.

About the company


RCS Capital plays an essential role in architecting, What was the “big idea” that launched your company? capitalizing and harvesting value for its shareholders in In a world of rapidly declining income generators, there sector-specific core investment programs. Comprised of exists a need for durable income solutions. America’s three lines of businesses, investment banking and capital conventional foundations of financial security have eroded. markets, a broker-dealer and a transfer agent, the company There no longer exists the certainty of return in the equity provides door-to-door services in the launch, stabilization and bond markets, pension benefits, social security, Industry: Direct investment and exit of direct investment programs. The company’s or home value appreciation. Americans are frightened In a nutshell: RCS Capital focuses investment banking group, RCS Advisory Services, is tasked they will not have sufficient funds to live comfortably in on developing and distributing with structuring direct investment program offerings and retirement. It became clear that there are investment sector-specific core investment optimizing value through the exit of these offerings. RCS needs for products that provide durable income, principal products that deliver durable Capital has advised on $11.8 billion of mergers and capital preservation and inflation protection with tax-efficiency. We income, principal preservation, markets activities in the past 18 months. Additionally, RCS have created a securities sales and investment banking inflation protection and tax Capital currently distributes $15.5 billion of registered public company focused exclusively on alternative investments efficiency. programs and has successfully executed four REIT liquidity distributed on an “open architecture” platform. RCS events, creating over $2.7 billion of shareholder value. The Year founded: 2007 Capital designs, implements and harvests sector-specific company’s broker-dealer, Realty Capital Securities, is a leader core investment programs. Our company bridges the gap in equity sales for the direct investment industry, capturing 28 to unlock value in these programs using the liquidity the percent of the non-traded REIT equity sales in 2012, with $3 traded marketplace offers. billion in equity sales. This year, through May 15, 2013, the company has recorded $4.7 billion in equity sales. The company’s transfer agent, American National Stock Transfer, executes the transfer, issuance and cancellation of shares. American How do you communicate your vision to your employees? National Stock Transfer is an SEC registered transfer agent enabling “higher touch” Communication is imperative for success. We use a variety of avenues to customer-facing and record-keeping services. RCS Capital brings direct investment communicate the company’s vision. Every Sunday we hold a call with senior programs to shareholders, providing durable income and liquidity by bridging the management to discuss business objectives; every Friday we hold a companywide gap to unlock value in these programs using the traded marketplace. call to discuss sales and marketing related issues that affect the platform. We convey our vision using social media, including Twitter and Facebook, video presentations, print, TV commercials, SEC filings, forum events, conferences and press releases. Additionally, we host sales meetings to train our employees. Where do you see your company in five years? In 10 years? We see our company becoming the dominant securities company and investment bank in the direct investment industry and leader in equity sales for direct investment programs. In 10 years we anticipate equity sales in the range of $30 billion annually and a platform of 20 to 30 investment programs that address the specific needs of the marketplace, with a focus on durable income. The bell ringing for American Realty Capital Properties (NASDAQ: ARCP)

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Realty Capital Securities, LLC 405 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022 (212) 415-6500

Michael Weil, CEO

Reinventing the Direct Investing Industry Leading through continued growth and innovation

About the company


In 2008, American Realty Capital launched Realty Capital Securities, LLC (RCS), our wholly-owned broker-dealer. Currently distributing nine of American Realty Capital’s public, non-traded direct investment solutions, RCS has raised approximately $6 billion of equity capital since its inception. To date, we have created and publically registered eleven separate securities offerings within the direct investment industry, each targeted at raising $1.5 - $1.7 billion of total equity capital over a defined offering period. Our investment capital is raised through approximately 300 independent broker dealers representing over 100,000 financial advisors. Additionally, RCS distributes securities through Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and other registered investment advisory platforms. Realty Capital Securities has become the leading distributor for best-in-class direct investment securities with a targeted total raise of $18 billion by 2016.

What was the “big idea” that launched your company?

Industry: Direct investment In a nutshell: Realty Capital Securities is an open architecture wholesale broker-dealer focused exclusively on the distribution of publicly registered, non-listed investments.

In 2007, my team and I planned to distribute our new net-lease REIT through an already-established, reputable wholesale broker-dealer firm. However, other non-traded REIT sponsors would not make their distribution system available to a perceived competitor. The obstacles were numerous: a need to build a securities company from scratch to raise equity, a heavily regulated securities industry, significant start-up and on-going capital investment and the chronic net losses generated by wholesale broker-dealers in the non-traded industry.

My light bulb moment had arrived: build a best-in-class broker-dealer capable of distributing multiple offerings, Founded: 2008 simultaneously requiring products to have lower advisory fees. This was a radical departure in the non-traded industry, an industry characterized by large advisory fees, Today we are focused primarily on the equity capitalization of internalization fees and other non-performance based fees. “There is a better way, sector-specific real estate offeringsfounded upon simple investment themes that find it,” Thomas Edison said, and I’m proud to say that we realized by making the resonate with investors. These suit most investors (i.e., institutional, retail or highnon-traded industry better, we can help grow it from its current levels of below $8 net-worth). In addition to traditional real estate strategies and business development billion annually raised by three to four times that amount. companies, other innovative offerings are in development including those focused on oil and gas, commodities, managed futures, hedge funds and equipment leasing. Each of our investment solutions is anchored by the following key principles: How do you communicate your vision to your employees? • Preservation of capital RCS would not have enjoyed such tremendous success were it not for our team. • Predictable, durable cash distributions We foster a corporate culture of excellence. We focus on selecting the best people, • Capital appreciation potential educating our employees, promoting daily interactions with senior management • Inflation protection and conducting a weekly motivational call. In it I provide a company overview and • Tax efficiency reflection session to all my employees. • Full cycle liquidity events With considerable pride we suggest that it is rare that a broker dealer could have such a profound effect on an established industry in so short a period of time as we have Where do you see your company in five years? In 10 years? had on the direct investment industry. Our passion for excellence, drive to excel, vision to see the world differently, desire to upend the status quo, ability to motivate others, scale a business model, adapt to change, meet and overcome formidable obstacles and address adversity with increased determination has shaped RCS into a dynamic enterprise that will continue to change the industry. For now, we focus on distributing best-of-class, sector-specific direct investment programs to the retail investor. There is no limit to our imaginative and ingenious business acumen. The sky is the limit.


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Ruder Finn, Inc. 301 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022 (212) 593-6400

Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO

Ruder Finn, Inc.

The world’s leading global boutique communications agency

About the company

As one of the largest independent global communications agencies, Ruder Finn maintains offices across the U.S., Europe and Asia. With approximately 500 employees globally, Ruder Finn is uniquely positioned to provide clients with global perspective, insights and resources, yet small enough to bring the exceptional client service, creativity and innovation of a boutique agency. We concentrate on big picture assignments where we can add value with our strong focus on global strategy, creativity and quality. With long-standing client relationships and expertise in corporate communications, healthcare, technology and consumer, we particularly lead in corporate reputation, healthcare digital communications, employee engagement,

Industry: Communications, public relations, digital and marketing In a nutshell: Ruder Finn is a leading global independent communications agency maintaining offices across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Year founded: 1948

C-suite thought leadership, crisis communications and media relations. At the heart of all of our offerings is our constant focus on digital content and strategy through our award-winning full-service digital practice, RFI Studios. Ruder Finn serves the global and local communication needs of over 250 corporations, governments and nonprofit organizations. Ingrained in the way we think and the way we work at Ruder Finn is Creative Edge: the freedom of imagination to see things in a new way and the sharpness of thinking to bring competitive advantage. Blending strategic thinking with innovative, creative communications, we bring clients the tailored and actionable insights and strategies to help enhance their success in a fast-changing and dynamic world.

Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC 100 Wall Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10005 (646) 775-4850

Suzanne Shank, President and CEO

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Firm grows into largest women and minority owned municipal finance firm About the company

Ms. Shank plays a key role in arranging financing for important public infrastructure projects including highways, bridges, water and sewer systems, airports and schools. These projects create jobs and leave a long lasting impact on the communities they serve. In the 18 years since its founding, SBSCO has underwritten over an astounding $1 trillion in public financing transactions.

Suzanne Shank is a ground breaker in the traditionally maledominated world of municipal finance. She is the president and CEO of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC (SBSCO) which she co-founded in 1996. “I was never planning to be an entrepreneur, an owner of a firm or a president and CEO,” Ms. Shank says. “It was others and my partners who said you’ve got to do this job, because you can do it.”

Industry: Municipal finance

The firm has been the nation’s largest Women and Minority (MWBE) owned municipal finance firm for 12 consecutive years and was ranked by Thomson Reuters as one of the nation’s top municipal finance firms, along with powerhouses like Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.

In a nutshell: One of the nation’s largest municipal bond underwriters and the largest women and minority owned municipal finance firm in the U.S. Founded: 1996

Ms. Shank has recently been named to NBC’s the Grio’s100 list which honors African American leaders; she has been recognized by U.S .Banker Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Women in Finance”; by Essence Magazine in its Power List; and by Black Enterprise as one of the “50 Most Influential Black Women in Business” and one of the “75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street.”

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Skyline Genesis F2F Marketing 494 8th Avenue, Suite 501, New York, NY 10001 (212) 647-7600

Glenn Diehl, President and

Demystifying Hiring


How to find stars and keep them

About the company


Skyline Genesis Event Marketing is the authorized New York Common wisdom says that any company is as good as City, Westchester and Rockland County dealer for Skyline its people. In reality, it’s as good as its “good” people. Exhibits, a global leader within the trade show industry. But how do you define that? Applicable skills are one Established in 1980, Skyline is the source for remarkable component of a good team member. But in my view, the face-to-face marketing experiences. Skyline offers trade show more critical thing is character. If choosing between a and event exhibits to match any size and budget, ranging highly skilled cultural terrorist versus a collaborative, Industry: Trade show displays and from tabletop displays and portable displays tomodular generous teammate, I believe the best long-term event services inline exhibits and large-scale island exhibits. Skyline makes investment is in a person you can trust to help build a In a nutshell: As thought over 20 different exhibit systems, including pop ups, banner team, not divide it. leaders in the field of face-to-face stands, panel systems, fabric structures, truss and other One caveat — when hiring sales people the maxim is: marketing, our event experts help structural, custom modular exhibit systems. Turn-key exhibit It’s easier to tame a tiger than teach a sheep to kill. world-class clients build brands and management services include storage, preps, inspections and Even here, while you want the driven entrepreneur out businesses. show services. Our Skyline team is over 1,500 strong and is there telling your story, you need to balance that with a always ready to provide exhibitors expert worldwide service Year founded: 1984 character-makeup that can leave room for others to shine and support in 128 design centers in 31 countries. As North as well. America's leading exhibit system builder, Skyline exhibits In looking for staff, focus on two things: Interview in such are known for their high quality, great design, cost-saving a way to reveal the character qualities that fit your culture. You can teach most portability and innovative functionality. Our history of creativity, innovation and people of reasonable intelligence most of the skills we require, but you can’t train performance includes over 100 patents and winning all the major U.S. exhibit character — you can only hope to hire it. Ask the type of question that show how industry awards, including Best of Show at Exhibitor Show and TS2. Skyline a person behaves in an ethical dilemma. Or my favorite question, “Tell me about Genesis Event Marketing doesn’t just build booths, we build businesses by hosting two or three people you admire.” Why? I believe we subconsciously emulate those progressive marketing seminars and by supporting pre/at/post show promotions, we look up to. When we don’t know what to do, our best selves aspire to act like trade show staff training and lead generation and management. SkyGEM locations our heroes. Take the time to define “success” for your company. Our definition of include a convenient design center and showroom in Manhattan, a F2F marketing success rests on the phrase “quality of life.” However you define it, at least express center/showroom in Chestnut Ridge, NY, and our main showroom and operations to the applicant that the company exists to create a community of resources from facility located in Secaucus, NJ. which everyone benefits. The company is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Everyone has their reasons for what we do. These are mine. One fantastic wife and a collection of 5 terrific children. One hundred years from now what I’ve done for them and others will be what matters.


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Six Dimensions 757 3rd Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (212) 376-4989

Tejune Kang, President

Igniting New Ways of Doing Business Smarter. Faster. Better.

About the company

Six Dimensions has been matching the most brilliant IT minds and employers since 2004. Founded by Tejune Kang, Six Dimensions is a privately held California-based firm, providing smart, versatile, tech-forward consulting services. Mr. Kang founded the company because he saw an opportunity to provide technical expertise to companies that needed someone to execute on what was promised. For almost a decade, Six Dimensions has been transforming organizations with resultsdriven consultancy. Whether an organization is understaffed or overloaded, Six Dimensions rapidly deploys top-tier talent against virtually any IT challenge. From software upgrades, to complete implementation, Six Dimensions offer expertise across the widest range of markets and programming languages.

Six Dimensions is passionate about accelerating deliverables forward.

Industry: IT professional services and solutions In a nutshell: Six Dimensions brings together the brightest and the most experienced IT industry experts to meet the ever-changing needs facing organizations today and in the future. Year founded: 2004

Six Dimensions’ projects don’t deliver results, its people do. The company distinguishes itself by having the most ambitious and creative thought leaders who think beyond the code. With a diverse and esteemed network of consultants, Six Dimensions’ people are brilliant masters of their domain who customers listen to and call on. Being the partner most respected by those it serves is at the top of Six Dimensions’ agenda. The company embraces success for both its consultants and its clients, centered around a team approach based on loyalty and integrity. Six Dimensions is accountable to its clients, partners and employees by honoring its commitments, providing results and striving for the highest quality with pace.

The Spandrel Group 434 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10013 (646) 747-2200


About the company

Ian Levine, Founder and CEO

Real Estate Managers and Developers

Founded by Ian Levine, a real estate professional with over a decade of experience in all facets of management, development, sales and leasing, the Spandrel Group offers a personalized approach to property management. Spandrel covers all fields of property management including: residential, commercial, industrial and hospitality. Working in conjunction with real estate owners, investors and condominium and cooperative boards, the Spandrel Group develops customized programs that ensure the highest levels of services coupled with effective operational systems and optimal cash flow. Since its inception in 2000, Spandrel Group manages and has consulted on projects totaling more than 10 million square feet for institutional assets as well as private-owned properties in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Colorado, Pennsylvania,

Industry: Real estate management and development In a nutshell: The Spandrel Group is a vertically integrated real estate company with a focus on property and asset management as well as development. Year founded: 2000

Miami and other key markets. Among its many notable properties, Spandrel Group manages One Brooklyn Bridge Park, a massive 438-unit, mixed-used condominium — now 95-percent sold — situated along an 85-acre recreational esplanade in prime Brooklyn Heights and Skyview at Carriage City in Rahway, New Jersey, a bank-owned, 17-story building built as a mixed-use condominium with residential, commercial and hotel components — and successfully repositioned by Spandrel as a leading luxury rental building, which, only one year later, boasts 90-percent occupancy and steadily rising rents. Spandrel prides itself on its ability to work with both new developers in monitoring the development process, leasing or selling the available units, and managing and maintaining a first class asset as well as taking over currently active and operating properties and providing them with an exceptional level of service.

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T.G. Wall Management Consulting 6 Emerson Lane, Sewell, NJ 08080 (856) 218-7200

Terry Wall, President

T.G. Wall Management Consulting Accelerating Organizational Excellence

About the company

Terry Wall accelerates success for individuals and organizations. For individuals, he accelerates success through coaching. For organizations, he accelerates success by building winning teams, working with management teams in groups. Either way, Terry teaches people how to improve how they manage and lead, so that they and their direct reports are more engaged in their work, more committed to organizational goals and more productive in what they do. Terry specializes in strategic planning, leadership development, change management, corporate culture and productivity improvement. He works in a wide range of industries, including service and manufacturing, nonprofit, and large and small organizations. He is a skilled facilitator who provides coaching on individual, executive or team levels.

Industry: Defense, healthcare and legal consulting In a nutshell: Accelerating organizational excellence through leadership development, facilitation and strategic direction, teambuilding, executive coaching, assessments and surveys Year founded: 1997

As a coach, Terry helps people make vast improvements in leadership skills such as communications, motivation, strategy, executive presence, goal setting, trust building, decision making, public speaking and time management. Although a coach often provides instruction and expertise, Terry believes the coach’s primary role is that of a teacher who uses skillful questioning to lead the person being coached to the right answers. Before starting his own company, Terry worked for 17 years in the Office of Federal Investigations, our nation’s premier background investigations agency. A recognized expert on strategy, leadership and productivity, Terry has a B.A. in psychology from Rockhurst University and an MBA from Drexel University. He coauthored a book on team building and has been published in many publications.

TerraCycle 121 New York Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08638 (609) 393-4252

Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO

Eliminating the Idea of Waste

How TerraCycle is solving the world's garbage issue

About the company

A Princeton University freshman named Tom Szaky founded TerraCycle in 2001. He dreamed of creating a product made entirely from waste that could be both profitable and good for the planet. He dropped out the following year to dedicate himself to developing his first product, an organic fertilizer made from worm poop and packaged directly in reused soda bottles. Four years later, TerraCycle Plant Foods were sold nationwide at The Home Depot, Walmart, Target and Whole Foods Market. From that inauspicious start in a dorm room, TerraCycle has grown into a global recycling pioneer operating in 23 countries. Today, TerraCycle partners with major corporations ranging from Kraft Foods to Kimberly-Clark to L’Oreal to collect and repurpose over fifty different previously non-recyclable waste streams. Free collections take place at over 125,000 schools, charities, 68

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hospitals, businesses and communities worldwide. For every piece of waste collected a donation is made to school or nonprofit of the collector’s choice.

Industry: Recycling and waste management solutions In a nutshell: TerraCycle provides end-of-life solutions for nonrecyclable waste, turning everything from food wrappers to cigarette butts into sustainable products and materials. Year founded: 2001

The collected material collect is repurposed into a wide variety of affordable, sustainable consumer products and building materials. Drink pouches are sewn into backpacks and lunchboxes. Granola bags and chip bags become reusable shopping totes. Cigarette butts and hospital waste are sanitized, pelletized and recycled into plastic lumber, shipping pallets, park benches and much more! Since 2008, TerraCycle is proud to have diverted over 2.5 billion pieces of pre- and post-consumer waste while also donating over $7 million dollars to schools and nonprofits. In 2013, TerraCycle projects to hit $20 million dollars in sales, a 30 percent year over year growth.

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Theorem 383 Main Street, Chatham, NJ 07928 (973) 665-1700

Jay Kulkarni, Founder and CEO

Maximizing the Digital World About the company Theorem offers leading edge services to internet advertisers and digital marketers. Our work involves understanding products and business models in digital advertising, social media, mobile technologies and managing the overall transformation of media in general. From the outset, Theorem has been a global company. Founded and headquartered in New Jersey, with offices in the UK, Dominican Republic and India, we utilize global talent to deliver world class services on a 24/7 basis. Our clients, likewise, have a global footprint and our teams work closely to adapt and evolve with their changing needs. People make a company and its culture. Theorem is a meritocracy with a vibrant workplace and a great training ground. Given the dynamic and transformative nature of this

industry, we need teams that are by nature collaborative, curious, innovative and quick learners. Theorem invests in its people both in enhancing their technical skills and also their soft skills. We take great pride in having the core leadership being with us for a better part of our history. In this industry our clients and teams touch every facet of the ever-evolving digital landscape. Therefore, our vision needs to be ever evolving. In the past decade we have focused on delivery of world class services to a fast-emerging industry, supporting the businesses of some of the top B2B brands and publishers in the world. Having established a robust services footprint, our future will focus on incorporating additional higher end technology enabled services propelling Theorem into its next phase of growth.

Industry: Internet advertising In a nutshell: Helping internet advertisers scale through expert delivery of creative production, media operations and reporting services. Year founded: 2002

Transworld Business Advisors of NY 247 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036 (917) 719-5920

Eric Straus, President

Business Brokerage and Franchise Consulting Helping buyers and sellers by making a complex process easy

About the company Fellow entrepreneurs: Selling or buying a business or franchise is a very complex process. I know, I have sold and bought several businesses in my entrepreneurial career. Transworld Business Advisors was, and still is, a family trying to help "good people do good deals" (our unofficial motto). We are an active part of the NYC community and will always work to do what is right. After all of our growth and thousands of businesses sold, Transworld is still the same in many ways. For over 25 years, Transworld has specialized in the sale of businesses and franchises.

Industry: Business brokerage and franchise consulting In a nutshell: When you work with Transworld Business Advisors of NY you work with NYC’s hardest working and most experienced group of business brokers.

As you know, it is imperative to choose the right professionals when running your business. The same is true when exiting or entering a business. We want to introduce ourselves and make our services available to you and your clients. It is of utmost importance to properly structure the business sale. To do this, it takes planning and coordination with the seller's accounting professionals and the implementation of business enhancing practices. I, and the members of my experienced and professional team, would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you personally on the essentials of selling or buying a business, valuing a business and the process itself. You may call me anytime, 24/7.

Year founded: 1983

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Underscore Marketing LLC 920 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10010 (212) 647-8436

Lauren Boyer, CEO

Precision and Perspective for Media Investments Our specialty is advancing health and wellness brands

About the company

Translating your brand objectives into media strategies and programs that drive your business goals is our passion. We think carefully about the balance of paid media investments, brand-owned assets, and earned media potential and provide insights that optimize investments. To us, there are two categories of solutions: the one that is exactly right for your unique challenge – and everything else. Underscore programs are precisely targeted to reach the right people in the right places and carefully measured based upon ROI or as close a proxy as we can find. We partner seamlessly with your other agencies and collaborate to make your work simpler.

Industry: Strategic media planning, buying and measurement In a nutshell: Underscore defines, manages and measures paid, earned and owned media programs for health and wellness brands targeting consumers or professionals. Founded: 2001

Technology transforms media every day, not just the obvious channels like digital, social and mobile. Out of Home, magazines, radio and other “traditional” media are changing as well. Our job is to deliver the right mix of media by staying ahead of this rapidly shifting landscape, making certain we maintain brand integrity, abide by FDA regulations and privacy policies, and enable your communications to resonate with your audience. Our solutions are only right if they can be implemented, if they perform and if they support your brand’s strategy. We are accountable for our recommendations leveraging third party research, audits and program optimization as our clients' brands evolve and grow. We’re actively growing, too, and happy to share case studies, insights and relevant success stories with prospective clients upon request.

Undertone 340 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10173 (212) 685-8000


Michael Cassidy, Founder and CEO

Ideate, create, and deliver innovative digital media solutions across screens About the company Undertone has been at the forefront of digital advertising for over a decade. During that time, a lot has changed — we’ve seen the birth of social networking, the start of the smartphone and tablet revolution, and the launch of new programmatic solutions for transacting digital ad inventory. While the industry has evolved at a rapid rate, our mission has remained steadfast: We are focused on delivering standout advertising experiences for brands and helping publishers maximize the value of their digital inventory. Today, delivering against this mission means operating at the intersection of media, creative and technology. We have formed deep partnerships with the world’s best digital media properties; we’ve developed a suite of groundbreaking,


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multi-screen creative formats for brands to leverage; and we have built technology platforms that underpin every aspect of campaign planning, delivery, optimization and measurement.

Industry: Digital advertising In a nutshell: Undertone combines the best creative, context, people and technology to create standout brand experiences that span the screens — and deliver results. Year founded: 2001

Undertone has 240 employees, with offices in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. Eighty percent of our top 20 advertisers clients are Fortune 500 brands and we have publisher relationships in more than 40 countries. Notable achievements include being listed on Crain’s Best Places to Work, SAI Digital’s 100 Most Valuable Internet Startups, OnMedia's 100 Top Private Companies, and AdAge’s Best Places to Work. In 2011, Michael Cassidy, CEO and founder, was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Digital Media Category for the New York Region.

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UniWorld Group, Inc. One MetroTech Center North, 11th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (212) 219-1600

Monique L. Nelson, Chairman and CEO

New CEO UniWorld Group, Inc.

CEO Monique L. Nelson continues founder's legacy of connecting brands to cultures About the company UniWorld Group was founded in 1969 by industry icon Byron Lewis Sr. At that time, few agencies were addressing the complexities of a unique and ethnically diverse market. It was Mr. Lewis’s visionary mission to lead the way in developing an advertising agency that would connect brands to people from all backgrounds, cultures and perspectives. In May 2012, Mr. Lewis retired and became chairman emeritus. Now at the helm is nationally renowned brand marketer Monique L. Nelson, who specializes in leading multimilliondollar, globally integrated programs that drive sales, brand awareness and competitive advantage. Ms. Nelson has over 15

Industry: Advertising In a nutshell: UniWorld Group, Inc. is the longest-standing multicultural advertising agency in the world.

years of marketing experience in entertainment, lifestyle and youth marketing, new brand strategies, consumer insights and global brand management. As the new chairman and CEO of UniWorld Group, Inc., the longeststanding multicultural advertising agency in the world, Ms. Nelson oversees strategic, coherent brand positioning through media, interactive and promotional inclusion across the marketing mix to such clients as Ford Motor Company, Amtrak, Marriott International, The Home Depot and the U.S. Marines.

Year founded: 1969

Vivastream 151 West 19th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10011 (732) 687-0957

Nick Fugaro, Founder and CEO

It’s Not Who You Know; It’s What You Know Vivastream helps you find experts based on topics

About the company

Vivastream is a B2B social platform that enables people to connect more effectively around specific topics of interest, access content and identify industry experts. Vivastream is the first topic based social platform specifically designed for the events industry and the only technology in the industry to build social connections around topics. Vivastream developed web and mobile applications (iPhone, Android, Blackberry) that help identify experts around the event that help solve business challenges. For example: If you are attending an event and would like to meet someone who can help with or has solved a challenge regarding “analytics,” Vivastream enables the attendee to search “analytics” and displays a list of the people at the event that can help or are interested in “analytics.” The attendee can review the profile of the expert, send a message and connect.

Additionally, Vivastream enables enterprises to identify B2B leads. Vivastream features a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for enterprises that embeds the Vivastream “stream” technology within their websites and seamlessly integrates into CRM systems.

Industry: Social media In a nutshell: Vivastream is a B2B social platform that helps enterprises engage their customers and prospects pre-, during- and post-event. Founded: 2011

Vivastream launched in September 2011 and has been implemented at events in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, New York, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco. Vivastream has more than 40,000 registered users, and was named a top, new Social CRM company in the Gartner Research 2012 Cool Vendor report. Vivastream has worked with brands including: IBM, Google, HP, Discover, Symantec, Acxiom, the Direct Marketing Association, International Data Group, United Business Media, Incisive Media and the CTIA — the Wireless Association.

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Vorticom, Inc. 216 E. 47th Street, 28th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (212) 532-2208

Nancy Tamosaitis, President,

Vorticom Defines the Narrative

CEO and Founder

Crafting intelligent company narratives that offer clarity and insight

About the company

Mid-Cap size. Vorticom works with CEOs and members of senior management including CFOs, COOs, directors, officers and board members and investment principals.

Vorticom,, is an award-winning full-service public relations agency that delivers high impact marketing communications strategy and implementation resulting in a company’s positive return on investment (ROI). Nancy Tamosaitis, president of Vorticom Inc., and a published author of four popular books on Internet communications, has extensive experience securing national and international media visibility for Fortune 500 and emerging companies. Vorticom’s primary expertise is in crafting an intelligent narrative for their clients that offers clarity and insight. We have authored thousands of expertly crafted bylined articles for our clients that are featured in regional, national and international media outlets. Vorticom is an independent firm that works with private companies and also listed companies that are Micro, Small and

Vorticom enjoys a remarkable, proven reputation in the financial and media markets that is built on integrity and ethics. The management at Vorticom has a deep background in media, PR and the capital and equity markets. Vorticom management has a broad range of experience, maintains a proactive enthusiasm and leads by example.

Industry: Public relations In a nutshell: Vorticom, Inc. is an award-winning public relations firm that specializes in generating high impact strategic media placements for clients.

Vorticom clients are never relegated to junior staffers or administrative personnel. Vorticom clients are long-term clients because we continually bring them intelligent visibility based on the highest standards of excellence Vorticom is the New York representative agency of the PRConsultants Group,, a collaborative of PR agencies in the top U.S. markets.

Founded: 2003

Waiting Room Solutions 2004 Route 17M, Goshen, NY 10924 (866) 977-4367

Lawrence J. Gordon, MD, CEO

Waiting Room Solutions

The leading web-based EHR and practice management system

About the company

Waiting Room Solutions (WRS) is an award-winning affordable web-based EMR and practice management system for physician’s offices delivered as a service for a low monthly fee. Built by physicians for physicians, its modules include EMR, billing, scheduling, electronic prescriptions, online patient registration, practice website, patient messaging, office messaging, tasking, order tracking, transcription, document management and disease management. The Waiting Room Solutions system is built on a platform of connectivity that enables the sharing of health information and the synchronization of data between patients, physicians, hospitals, labs, pharmacies and insurance companies. WRS provides unrivaled value, power and functionality. Our unique platform enables us to provide both small and large 72

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Industry: Electronic health record and practice management In a nutshell: Waiting Room Solutions is the leading web-based electronic health record (EHR) and practice management system serving physician offices delivered in the Software as a Service Model.

Year founded: 2000

healthcare organizations medical ERP solutions and tools including accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), human resource management (HRM), website and CMS, and unified messaging. We are unique in the healthcare field in the provision of these large corporate solutions to smaller healthcare clients. Waiting Room Solutions is also a leader in providing business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions to the ambulatory healthcare environment for physicians, nurse practitioners and other medical providers. We package human resource solutions with our software platform to provide a complete package to our medical practice clients. Our services include billing services, marketing services, bookkeeping and financial control services, and outsourced clinical solutions such as medical scribe services and meaningful user compliance, reporting and management.

Special Advertising Section

For more information call 311 and ask for “NYC Business Solutions� or visit

Zweifler Financial Research 110 Wall Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10005 (212) 809-6435

Walter L. Zweifler, Senior Appraiser

zweifler Financial Research About the company

Values your business

Zweifler Financial Research, formed in New York City in 1982, provides superior financial valuations to middle-market companies. Zweifler Financial Research is an internationally known financial adviser, known for objectivity credentials, highest professional standards and best-cost service. Our certified appraisers answer the questions: What is it worth? How to appraise the appraiser with objectivity? Our practice is built on long-term relationships with business owners, their attorneys, accountants and fiduciaries. We design and execute ownership transactions, going private ESOPs, marriages of buyers and sellers and successful successions, among other services. We value your business!

If an asset has cash flow or auction value, we have evaluated it!

Industry: Evaluating cash flow and earnings In a nutshell: Zweifler Financial Research defines what is it worth, who will make an offer and how the transaction should be structured.

Our clients and their advisers know what the value is and how it was derived from our interactive interviews. We have advocated for our value opinion with lenders, private investors as well as in tax and federal court, as consultants for taxpayers and for the Internal Revenue Service.

Year founded: 1982

www. s m a rtc e o . c o m

J une/ J uly 2013

New Yor k Smar t CEO


{The sampler A selection of fresh ideas from this issue

“My husband’s best friend’s name is Todd, and they have two toddlers in the house. His wife will buy two cases of our Happy Tots a week, and it turns out Todd eats like 20 of them. They’ve renamed them Happy Todd.” Shazi Visram,

founder and CEO of Happy Family, on her inspiration to expand her baby food company’s product offerings to all ages page [Quick Takes]

Not all fun and games

Samsung, one of the word’s preeminent electronics companies, sends its most promising talent on a 15-month sabbatical to imbibe the spirit of a foreign culture, make contacts and write a report about it. Far from a waste of time and money, as early critics characterized it, these corporate foreign exchange students made Samsung a bestselling brand in countries across the globe — all in about a dozen years. page XX

More great ideas inside

Beware the Soup Nazi

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Once thought urban legend, the tale of a small stand with incomparable soup but an incorrigible owner was made infamous by a Seinfeld episode, but it turned out to be true. Soup Kitchen International proprietor Al Yeganeh dished out great soup with bad attitude. And an earlier reference in the classic movie Sleepless in Seattle reminds us, “It’s not just about the soup.” page [Uncut Entrepreneur] N ew Yor k S m a r t C EO

Jun e /Ju l y 2 0 1 3

By Verne Harnish

business biology How to scale up the organizational chart

Remember the days when your start-up team was crammed into a single office like clowns in a Volkswagen? Now you may have 150 (or 1,500) employees and find it infinitely more difficult to know how to divide them up into teams and set clear accountability. Worse yet, both customers and employees may seem confused about how to navigate your organization.

the business have to step up to being more like coaches or advisers to the business unit leaders. And the business unit leaders need to start running their units as if they are miniCEOs.

This transition is hardest for the traditional functional leaders, especially those who were around in the earlier start-up phase. They have to go from telling to selling as they manage their teams. And they need to spend more time outside the organization garnering best practices, then come back and The CEO can take a cue from nature to solve these problems. spread what they’ve learned among the business unit leaders. Human organisms are made up of billions of cells versus just Most importantly, they have to earn the respect of the business a few specialized ones for a good reason: A cell can only get unit leaders because of their knowledge, not just their position. so big and stay healthy. Once it reaches a certain point, the That way, if they suggest a common outer membrane won’t have IT system, it’ll be an easy sell, not a enough surface area to bring A cell can only get so big battle against skepticism. in nutrients and eliminate and stay healthy. This means waste to support the cell. The This transition is hard. Often, it’s that the cell must divide. cell will start to die from the best to have some of the original inside out like a big bureaucracy. functional leaders transition to running business units — maybe head up expansion to a new country or lead the launch This means that the cell must divide. So, too, must your of a new product line — where they can maintain operational company, or it won’t be able to function in a healthy way. But control. You don’t want your business unit heads to be weak just as no cell can be too far from the blood supply, no team “yes” people who kowtow to the functional leaders. can be too far removed from the action of the marketplace.

Business units The first natural organizational split is by functional area. At Gazelles, we have a one-page Function Accountability Chart (FACe) that helps CEOs get clear about the accountabilities and metrics for each of the main functions in a business. But once the business gets above 50 employees, you also need to start aligning teams around product groups, industry segments and geographic regions. This is commonly called a matrix organization. Visualize functional groups running vertically and business units running horizontally. The pressure to create these new business units will usually come from customers. They’ll complain that they don’t know who to call to get help — or that they get the runaround when they finally reach someone. Or they may feel overwhelmed by the crush of communications that come from multiple business units. Employees may not know from whom to take direction. Unless you get your accountabilities straight, productivity and innovation will slow. You’ll waste a lot of time oscillating between centralizing and decentralizing various business units and shared functions.

Leadership change

Who’s the boss? Once you set up these groups, figure out which employees belong in each. If you don’t know, your employees won’t either. The key is being clear on who decides whether an employee gets a raise or promoted. The mistake is to leave this decision to the functional heads. For instance, say Tom is providing marketing support to several product lines. The functional head of marketing must see her role as a trainer or coach to Tom while making it clear that his performance is based on feedback she gets from the heads of the business units he serves and not on what she thinks. This way, he remains responsive first and foremost to the business units. Once you set up an organizational chart, you’ll know very soon if you’ve gotten it right. Customers will be happy, and everyone on your team will be clear on his or her role in serving customers. And when you notice a pattern of negative feedback from customers — or see internal signs that your “cells” are not healthy — it’s time to revise your org chart again. Remember, your company is a living organism that needs to survive in an environment that’s always changing. And to thrive, it’s got to be able to adapt. CEO

Verne Harnish is CEO of Gazelles, founder of Entrepreneurs To navigate this organizational transition, you need to change Organization (EO) and author of Mastering the Rockefeller your leadership structure. The functional heads — like the Habits and The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time. directors of marketing and IT — who have been used to driving Contact us at w w w. s ma rtc e o . c o m

At Gerber, lending to business is clear, concise & simple. No mystery, no grey, just black & white.

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We say YES to asset-based and trade finance lines from $500,000 to $10,000,000. Gerber Finance Inc. | 488 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022 | (212) 888-3833

New York Smart CEO July 2013  
New York Smart CEO July 2013  

Smart CEO NYC Russell Simmons Fully Integrated.