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SBT Houston Staff March 2013




Business Lessons Learned from the Movie, “The Legend of Bagger Vance” March greetings everyone! I have made a decision. I have GOT to (finally) learn to play golf. Oh, I have tried before, but I am usually the one in the foursome “scramble” who hits the “ground balls” to center field. They are straight as an arrow but usually only roll a few yards. If just one or two went airborne, I would be happy. I just love the sound of the ball when it is hit correctly and it seems to fly to its appointed destination, just a few inches from the flag. One of my favorite golfing movies is “The Legend of Baggar Vance” that was directed by Robert Redford and starred Will Smith, Matt Damon, and the lovely Charlize Theron. I will bet that I have watched it a half a dozen times. For me, it has as much to do about lessons for life as it was about the game of golf that could “only be played and not won”. In the movie, a down-andout golfer (Matt Damon) attempts to recover his game and his life with help from a mystical caddy played by Will Smith. As many times as I have watched the movie, I find as many lessons about life and business as I did about the game. Here are a few: “The rhythm of the game is just like the rhythm of life.” “A man’s grip on his club is like his grip on life.”

--Will Smith as “Bagger Vance”

--Will Smith as “Bagger Vance”

“You lose your swing, you got to go find it.” --Will Smith as “Bagger Vance” “Inside each and everyone of us is one true authentic swing. Something we was born with. Something is ours and ours alone. Something can’t be taught to you or learned. Something got to be remembered. Over time this world can rob us of that swing. It can get burned inside us and all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas. Some folks even forget what their swing was like. Just keep swingin.” --Will Smith as “Bagger Vance” The strongest point that the movie brought out to me is the difference that a coach or mentor can make in your life and business. A person who believes in you, when your belief in yourself has all but disappeared is an absolute must. I have been blessed to have many people in my life who would not let me quit whatever it was that I believed that I could not accomplish. My wife Barbara, my two best friends in Atlanta (Jim & John Duffy), Marshall Haas, and so many more refused to give up on me when I was just so close to giving up on myself. This month’s cover honoree, Maria Rios of Nation Waste (who has been recognized everywhere from other local business publications to the White House) certainly understands the power of training, coaching, and mentoring. What excited Maria the most about the cover honor was the opportunity to share her story and (hopefully) empower other start-up entrepremeurs and small business owners. Maria has become a “big fan” of the magazine since we first met. Of course, being a fan is not one of the criteria for the cover honor, but Maria more than qualifies in every way. You will enjoy her story. In this issue we also share the story of the Houston Minority Suppliers Development Council in the centerfold of the magazine as well as profiles on several terrific companies that you need to know. Profiled in this issue are Joshua Weisman & Orlando Ramirez of Construction Concepts & Design, Dani Mai of AGLA Insurance, and Susan St. Germain of TransProject, LLC. These are companies that you really need to know and work with! Why not give them a call to see how they can be of assistance to you and your business? Good Reading, Good Sales, & Success to You! Steve Levine Publisher

President John Cruise Executive Publisher Steve Levine Associate Publisher / Creative Director Barbara Davis-Levine Contributing Editors Tammy Moshay Devon Ray Battaglia Business Development/PR Sonia Guimbellot Bill Huff Tammy Moshay Donna Rooney Graphic Design Vanessa Vara Photographers Eric Kleiman Contributing Writers Errol Allen Don Brown Barbara Davis Dr. John Demartini Len Faucher Erich Fruchnicht Bruce Hurta Julie Irvin Jeffrey Jones Steven Kay Craig Klein Bertrand McHenry Julien Meyer Hank Moore Amy Olivieri Devon Ray Rita Santamaria Alvin Terry Pam Terry Jack Warkenthien Aimee Woodall Aaron Young Chief Advisor Hank Moore Publisher’s Advisory Board Cyndi Barnett John Cruise Dirk Cummins April Day Dr. John Demartini Maya Durnovo Kathie Edwards Leonard Faucher David Holt Richard Huebner Julie Marie Irvin Jeffrey Jones Steven Kay Darryl King Craig Klein Wea Lee Bertrand McHenry Hank Moore Lisa M. Morton Mike Muhney Neil Polansky Maria Rios Rita Santamaria Allen Shapiro Pam Terry Jack Warkenthien Doug Winnie R.D. Yoder Aaron Young

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IN THIS ISSUE Cross Cultural Marketing Opens New Horizons 8


Maria Rios Nation Waste, Inc.


Dani Mai, Lutcf, FSS


Construction Concepts & Design, LP

"The sky is the limit by acting like a lady (a smart one) in a Male-Dominated industry"


Houston Minority Suppliers Development Council


TransProject LLC

Why There Is A Need For Hard Money 9 Benefits of Maintaining Balance within a Company 10 Leveraging Technology to Succeed 11 ERIC KLEIMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Quotes on Business. 12

Small Business Grows from Using Online Tools like CRM 16 Rising Waters-A call of climate change awareness to business owners 17 Balls 19 The Best Teachers Are Ones Whose Life Is The Text 21

People are always updating their technologies, so why not their life insurance, too?


Social Media Followers vs. Email Subscribers 14

Your Road Map to Become a Confident, In-Demand Speaker 24


Keep Dreaming in 2013: Four Keys to Success 25 Proposal Secrets: Scheduling for Success 32 The 4 C’s of Customer Service 36 Interested In running the Texas Independence Relay? 38 The Price of Your Dream, Is It Worth It? 39 The Valuation of a Covenant Not to Compete 48 Vanity and Pride: The Deadliest of Sins

Joshua Weisman and Orlando Ramirez, creating that "wow" factor.

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Cross Cultural Marketing Open New Horizons


By Rita Santamaria


nternational buyers of United States property represent a $66 billion sales market! Four states attract the most buyers – Florida, California, Arizona and of course, Texas. Demographic comparisons in the entire United States vs. Texas. Black or African American population is 12% for both Texas and the US; Asian is 4.4% in the US and 3.4% for Texas; Hispanic or Latino US population is 15% whereas in Texas it is double that at 36%. In many Texas counties the Hispanic population is the majority and white the minority.

Freedom to purposes.




We are rewarded by a justly earned place in society if our values shine through.

There is no place for stereotyping, generalizations, biases. All clients have the same expectations. These are personal service, respect, accessibility to the properties, and honesty from their agent.

Rita Santamaria is the owner of Champions School of Real Estate in Houston TX. Champions have campuses in Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and On-line Campus. For more information


Two simple steps to going Global are the following:


1. Become a trusted advisor to a nitch group. Be genuine. 2. Remain sensitive to cultural differences for ethnic groups. Why be aware of and strive to cross cultural market? The immigrant population in Texas has the largest majority of first time homebuyers than non-immigrant. The first time homebuyer accounts for about 58% of the market in residential sales.

Providing Award-Winning Education Since 1983

Real Estate, Loan Origination, Appraisal and Home Inspection

Once you are a trusted advisor you become a referral source for the family and friends of the clients you worked with. Your business will increase through word of mouth referral. Remember our common American values are: •

Individuals should be judged by their merits or lack of them.

Men and women should be allowed to have equality of opportunity.

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Entrepreneurs Tool Box Hard Money


By Alvin E. Terry, MBA / Business Consultant, Dynamic Business Builders


hy There Is A Need For Hard Money

A hard money loan is a specific type of financing in which a borrower receives funds based on the value of a specific parcel of real estate. Hard money loans are typically issued at much higher interest rates than conventional commercial or residential loans and are almost never issued by a commercial bank or other deposit institution. Hard money loan is similar to a bridge loan which usually has similar criteria for lending as well as cost to the borrower. The primary difference is that a bridge loan often refers to commercial property or investment property that may be in transition and not yet qualifying for a traditional financing. Whereas hard money often refers to not only an asset-based loan with a high interest rate, but can signify a distressed financial situation such as arrears on the existing mortgage or bankruptcy and f foreclosure proceedings are occurring. Loan Structure A hard money loan is a species of real estate loan collateralized against the quick sale value of the property for which the loan is made. Most lenders fund in the first lien position, meaning that in the event of a default, they are the first creditor to receive remuneration. Occasionally, a lender will subordinate to another first lien position loan; this is known as a mezzanine loan or second lien. Hard money lenders structure loans based on a percentage of the quick-sale value of the subject property. This is called the loan-to-value or LTV ratio and typically hovers between 60-70 percent of the market value of the property. For the purpose of determining an LTV, the word “value” is defined as “today’s purchase price.’ This is the amount a lender could reasonably expect to realize from the sale of the property in the event that the loan defaults and the property must be sold in a one-four month timeframe. This value differs from a market value appraisal, which assumes an arms-length transaction in which neither buyer nor seller is acting under duress. Below is an example of how a commercial real estate purchase might be structured by a hard money lender: •

65% Hard money (Conforming loan)

20% Borrower equity (cash or additional collateralized real estate

15% Seller carryback loan or other subordinated (mezzanine) loan

History of Hard Money Hard Money is a term that is used almost exclusively in the United States and Canada where these types of loans are most common. In commercial real estate, hard money developed as an alternative “last resort” for property owners seeking capital against the value of their holdings. The industry began in the late 1950” when the credit industry in the US underwent drastic changes (see FDIC: Evaluating the Consumer Revolution). The hard money industry suffered severe setbacks during the real estate crashes of the early 1980’s due to lenders overestimating and funding properties at well over value. Since that time, lower LTV rates have been the norm for hard money lenders seeking to protect themselves against the market’s volatility. Today, high interest rates are the mark of hard money loans as a way to protect the loans and lenders from the considerable risk that they undertake. Commercial Hard Money Commercial hard money is similar to traditional hard money, but may sometimes be more expensive as the risk is higher on investment property or non-owner occupied properties. Commercial Hard Money Loans may not be subject to the same consumer loan safeguards as a residential mortgage may be in the state the mortgage is issued. Commercial hard money loans are often short term and therefore interchangeably referred to as bridge loans or bridge financing. Hard Money Rates and Points Currently and for the past decade hard money has ranged from the mid 10 percent to 16 percent range. When a borrower defaults they may be charged a higher “Default Rate.” That rate can be as high as allowed by law, which may go up to around 25 percent to 29 percent. Points on a hard money loan are traditionally one to three more than a traditional loan. It is very common for a commercial hard money loan to be upwards of four points and as a high as 10 points. The reason a borrower would pay that rate is to avoid imminent foreclosure or a “quick Continued on page 46 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2013 | PG 9


Benefits of Maintaining Balance within a Company By Dr. John F. Demartini


n a book titled 21st Century Leadership, my friend Lynne Joy McFarland and her colleagues Larry E. Senn and John R. Childress interviewed 100 business leaders to find out what they thought would be the most significant key to building sustainable businesses in the 21st century. The majority of them believed that business leaders of the future will be moving away from the industrialized, patriarchal, dictatorial approaches of major companies and gradually toward a more balanced and partly decentralized approach whereby creative specialists are doing more of what they love with more equalized and autonomous power. Instead of an extreme oppressor and oppressed approach, they will be more moderated and equilibrated, thus allowing specialists to be more contributively creative and innovative. They believed that business leaders of the future will discover the power of and demonstrate a more masculine and feminine balance. (Note that masculine and feminine forces mentioned here are not limited to men or women leaders. Either gender can lean to one or the other side.) Previous selective company leaders who assertively controlled and overextended their workers eventually forced those workers to organize retaliating unions in order for a collective feminine force to balance the masculine dominance that concentrated primarily on immediate profits. These unions developed to protect the workers from burn-out and to teach the patriarchal business leaders to care more about the workers they were extracting surplus labour profits from. Many business leaders lean toward one side or the other in their approaches to leadership, but nature automatically forces business leaders of companies to oscillate between these masculine (visionary and profit driven) and feminine (feeling and nurture driven) sides. Effective business leaders of the future will strive to maintain this essential balance of masculine and feminine forces within their most enterprises. Values and Profitability I recently received an email from a small company in Massachusetts that had a turnover of $32 million dollars, but a slim profit margin of just over $1million (a profit of about three per cent). No one on this company’s board had ever earned more than $1 million previously. The board was

very family, education and altruistically oriented. Therefore, the company was led and guided according to these values. The business leaders’ hierarchy of values dictated the destiny of the company and, consequently, the profit margins. As a result, I was among many consultants who were brought into the company to focus the leaders effectively on the objective of increasing profitability, which meant bringing an essential masculine side to the equation. If a business leader does not have a high value on making profits, but places a higher value on managing and taking care of his or her people only, the likely result is that the company may be a great place to work, but their its margin are likely to be sacrificed. If a leader is too focussed on the bottom line and focused only on making profits, the company is likely not to be the best of workplaces and employees may burn out and/or leave. Business leaders of the future will who allow for a balance of masculine and feminine forces -- oscillating between these two poles, yet striking a synchronous balance. These leaders of the future will be the most loved, loving and sustainable. In studying business management ideals for over three decades, I have found fluctuating trends return every seven to ten years like a slow swinging pendulum which always returns to balance. Currently, as the world is emerging from an extended economic recessionary period, companies are temporarily focusing on building their muscle and trimming their excess fat. This means they are likely to find ways of becoming more efficient and focused, cutting spending to maximize profits. But, before the recession, many companies were allocating funds for health and wellness programs and day care services for their teams along with fostering and supporting more “social” work environments. In a few more years, the present masculine side and structure will once again begin to give way again to the feminine side. Equilibrium of Complementary Opposites Business wisdom maintains a close balance of the more extremes in complementary opposite gender polarities. A company is the most basic unit of socioeconomics and is wisely led and managed when it demonstrates the principle of gender balance. The more competitive and asContinued on page 46



Leveraging Technology to Succeed By Erich Fruchtnicht


mall business owners everywhere are always interested in boosting their bottom line. A business that can do more with less will be stronger than its competitors and can survive, or even thrive, in tough economies. We are fortunate that so much technology exists today that can, if used to its utmost, vastly improve the effectiveness of any team and level the playing field between the small, medium and even large businesses. As an illustration of what exactly I mean in terms of leveraging technology, consider the following: almost everyone now has a smart phone or table of some kind if for no other reason that the usefulness of the calendar and email functions. There are apps for these devices that allow the user to accept credit card payments wirelessly and can then tie in to accounting software such as Quickbooks so that payments can be accepted and tracked for later use. Some of these payment gateways even handle the PCI compliance concerns for you by maintaining the proper certifications and hardware. Clearly, using an app of this nature would be a significant time savings thus allowing the business owner to use time that would have otherwise been lost toward the development of the business. While mobile devices are great, webbased software that can prove invaluable by decentralizing operations, make them accessible via those ohso-handy mobile devices, and allow multiple users (employees or clients) to use them simultaneously.

I was recently speaking with a company regarding their technology infrastructure and how they could streamline their processes. This business had a compounding pharmacy element to it and, in this meeting, I learned that they were still hand-recording the amount of each ingredient and hand-tallying the price of the resultant mix. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, it is not efficient. I suggested that they develop a system into which they could enter the various ingredients and unit costs. Therefore, when they would use the system to enter the amounts of each ingredient used in a prescription, their inventory would be automatically reduced by the amount used, the cost to the pharmacy of the ingredients tallied, and a retail price calculated automatically. This system would have the added benefit of being able to notify them of when certain ingredients were running low; prompting a re-order. Thus, the pharmacy would never find itself without a critical compound and lose business. The above software does not need to be loaded on a mobile device to be effective, but that might certainly help. It does not need to be accessible by multiple pharmacists simultaneously to be an improvement over the existing process, but that feature could dramatically increase the accuracy of the inventory and the speed at which prescriptions were filled. This system does not even need to be web-based to be secure and protected from theft or property damage, but that too would be a great feature.

In any of the above ways, regardless of the extent to which technology would be leveraged, major efficiencies would be realized by the pharmacy and, after all, time is money; isn't it? In the above scenario, if we had implemented every feature that we could have dreamt of, the cost would obviously been higher than if we had stayed with the bare minimum. However, the time conserved through the streamlined processes adds value. Time is the one commodity that we can not buy back with any amount of money and so it is very important to spend it wisely and not waste it on inefficient processes. Savings and profits can be found in projects such as these and it is often the small businesses that take a calculated "risk" (pronounced "investment") on time saving systems whether big or small that graduate from small business to big. As examples, look at Amazon and Zappos and their warehousing and online ordering systems, or even Ford with their automated factories. Though an automated factory may not be in your future, taking steps in the direction of technology is following in the footsteps of Ford, and following the example of success can never be wrong. If you have any questions about this or another topic feel free to contact me.

Erich H Fruchtnicht President / Principle Designer TGDesign, LLC



Business Strategy. Quotes on Business.


Abstracted from Hank Moore’s new book, “Power Stars to Light the Flame” By Hank Moore / Corporate Strategist™

It seems so basic and so simple: Look at the whole of the organization, then at the parts as components of the whole and back to the bigger picture. Obsession with certain pieces, comfort levels with other pieces and lack of artistic flair (business savvy) keep the work in progress but not resulting in a finished masterpiece. Should every business become Big Picture focused? Yes. My job is to widen the frame of reference as much as possible. Alas, the Big Picture of business is a continuing realignment of current conditions, diced with opportunities. The result will be creative new variations. Masterpieces are not stagnant paintings...they can be continually evolving works in progress.

"The big print giveth, and the fine print taketh away." Bishop J. Fulton Sheen "If two men on the same job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, them both are useless." Darryl F. Zanuck, film producer (1949) "Business underlies everything in our

“"If you want to succeed, you'd better look as if you mean business.” Jeanne Holm”

"Trade is a social act." John Stuart Mill

national life, including our spiritual life. Witness the fact that in the Lord's Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.” President Woodrow Wilson (1912)

"The business of America is business." President Calvin Coolidge (1925)

"The first mistake in public business is the going into it.” Benjamin Franklin

"There is no such thing as a free lunch." Milton Friedman, 20th Century U.S. economist

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by

Quotes on Business: "No nation was ever ruined by trade." Benjamin Franklin

"If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys." James Goldsmith, 20th Century British businessman


reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” Thomas Paine "If you want to succeed, you'd better look as if you mean business.” Jeanne Holm "No one can possibly achieve any real and lasting success or "get rich" in business by being a conformist." J. Paul Getty "If I had to sum up in one word what makes a good manager, I'd say decisiveness. You can use the fanciest computers to gather the numbers, but in the end you have to set a timetable and act." Robert P. Vanderpoel "The most successful businessman is the man who holds onto the old just as long as it is good, and grabs the new just as soon as it is better." Lee Iacocca "Any business arrangement that is not profitable to the other person will in the end prove unprofitable for you. The bargain that yields mutual satisfaction is the only one that is apt to be repeated." B. C. Forbes "The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do." Roy L. Smith "A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship."


John D. Rockefeller, Jr. "The person who knows how will always have a job. The person who knows why will always be his boss." Diane Ravitch "Politics is the art of preventing people from sticking their noses in things that are properly their business." Paul Valéry "For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin -- real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." Alfred D'Souza "Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves -- to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today." Stewart B. Johnson Business There is a difference between knowing a product-industry and growing a successful business. It is possible for a company and its managers to know much about certain arts and sciences without having the will to pursue them. These are major areas where companies fail, per branch on The Business Tree: 1. T he business you're in. They are not in the right business for well thought out reasons. They don't have a clearly unique product, but instead rally behind ideas that are not fully developed. There exists either an overdependence upon one product or service line, or the company is diversifying beyond the scope of its core expertise. 2. R unning the business. One observes poor controls, obsolete equipment and under-qualified administrative support. Staff is not properly trained or equipped to handle rapid influxes of business. Production and deliverability are strained already...and it gets worse. 3. F inancial. The company is undercapitalized. It may experience unprofitable pricing,

poor payables-receivables policies, lack of accountability and excess overhead. There is too much emphasis upon getting rich, rather than steadily growing and improving. Management relies only upon "bean counters" for company direction.

Much of the wisdom to succeed lies within. People under-perform because they are not given sufficient direction, nurturing, standards of accountability, recognition and encouragement to out-distance his or herself. Organizations start to crumble when their people quit on each other.

4. P eople. There exists a misuse of company resources, notably its people. Insufficient investment was made toward human capital on the front end. Employees are not empowered to make decisions or take risks. Management remains isolated or unrealistic, possessing limited leadership development and people skills.

Unhealthy organizations will always "shoot the messenger" when change and improvements are introduced. Healthy organizations absorb all the knowledge and insight they can... embracing change, continuous quality improvement and planned growth.

5. B usiness Development. There exists an overall naïveté about the marketplace, reflected by unrealistic sales policies, quotas and sales management. Customer service is not good, doesn't improve and never is a major emphasis for the company. Marketing is more for ego reasons, rather than a careful strategy. Sales and marketing are not given enough support...especially management's personal participation. There is a lack of understanding about protecting existing business, entering new markets, new product development or collaborations. 6. B ody of Knowledge. The organization has fought change. It is unable to read the warning signs or understand external influences. Regulatory red tape proliferates. Management doesn't take the time to understand how the company has grown or analyze the relationship of each branch to the other. The company has set itself up to avoid change... failing to grow without a crafted or shared Vision. 7. T he Big Picture. The company has failed to understand what business they're really in. They have not planned strategically. Without an articulated, wellimplemented vision, business will not evolve because no Big Picture ever existed.

The level of achievement by a company is commensurate to the level and quality of its vision, goals and tactics. The higher its integrity and character, the higher its people must aspire. Power Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories. It functions as a "PDR of business," a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change, rather than feel as they're victims of it.

Hank Moore's latest book ("Power Stars to Light the Flame") is now out in all three e-book formats: Itunes, Kindle and Nook. Itunes edition (Apple Ipod): power-stars-to-light-business/ id580269921?ls=1 Kindle edition, 5498625&sr=8-1&keywords=power+st ars+to+light+the+business+flame Nook Book edition, Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble. com/w/power-stars-to-light-theflame-hank-moore/1113823855?e an=2940015729399



Social Media Followers vs. Email Subscribers: The Critical Difference Your Neighbors Already Know Amy Olivieri

By Amy Olivieri, Constant Contact Regional Development Director


Have you ever made small talk with a neighbor on the street? Someone you’re friendly with but not someone you’d invite into the house for a drink?

This is a good illustration of the difference between social media and  email marketing. Social media followers are like the neighbors who chat with you on the street and email subscribers are like the neighbors who would invite you into their homes. The groups are different, but both are important to your online success. Which group do you think you should focus your efforts? Let’s look a bit more closely to answer that question.

special offers, and discounts. They are also interested in what you have to say, are looking to learn more about your organization or business, want keep up-to-date with events or happenings, and are interested in finding ways they can further support you. Both groups may want the same thing but it’s the nature of the tool that makes all the difference. Social media transactions require a much lighter commitment. It’s easy to follow someone on Twitter or “Like” a page on Facebook. There’s a bigger commitment made by the person who hands over their email address.

Social media also Social media has a fleeting followers connect nature. Email gives with you on a “Social media followers are you more control. social networking Tweets flow past the site like Facebook like the neighbors who chat stream. Facebook or Twitter. They has algorithms to are usually with you on the street and determine who sees interested in what. With an email email subscribers are like the exclusive content, you decide when special offers, and neighbors who would invite and how often to discounts. They send a message are also interested you into their homes.” and it goes straight in what you have to the source. to say, are looking to learn more That doesn’t mean about your organization or business, want you should give up on social media followers. keep up-to-date with events or happenings, Social media is a crucial tool that allows you want to share feedback, and are interested in to start conversations and attract more people finding ways they can further support you. to your cause. Instead, focus on turning social Email subscribers give you permission to media followers into email subscribers and contact them directly via email. These people vice versa so you can make the most of your are usually interested in exclusive content, reach.




Small Business Grows from Using Online Tools like CRM By Craig Klein/SalesNexus


ontent and CRM Combine to Expand Client Base

Content marketing is changing the way small businesses interact with their prospects and current clients. In a world where customers like to remain in control of the buying process, it is very easy for them to forget any business who serves them. Having a good website is simply not enough in the consumer empowered marketplace. More companies are moving toward having ongoing digital conversations with both their current clients and the “cold leads” who may have inquired using a web form. Without a powerful CRM system , it is virtually impossible to keep track of everything needed to get their awareness and eventually earn the sale.

blog is a simple way to join this trend. However, to capitalize on these new visitors, lead capture and sales automation systems must be in place as well. Capturing Prospective Clients with CRM It isn’t enough to get loads of leads from your website and content development. You must have a system for capturing data about the prospective client and follow a prescribed system for serving their needs based on actual data. When you have set up your CRM to work at its maximum level, you will be able to identify the hottest leads for the sales team to address. Leads that don’t qualify for immediate attention are placed into a nourishing environment to develop a relationship.

Too many business owners lack the confidence that valuable sales leads are receiving the requisite attention. Sales people tend to focus on only their hottest leads and valuable prospects for the future “fall through the cracks.”

Relationship Building with Email

Engaging with Blog Content

There are two primary reasons why email marketing works so well. First, buyers today don’t trust what they are told by sales people. Secondly, because of the plethora of information that is readily available on the internet, they also feel they should have all the facts before their decision.

In an article by Cheryl Burgess discussing the Five Top 2013 Trends , she quotes a recent survey. One of the key findings is the incredible growth of “inbound marketing.” Businesses are investing heavily in and reaping rewards from creating online content that draws visitors to their website that then become “inbound” leads. A

Because of the skeptic nature of today’s buying decision makers, email plays a critical role in cultivating prospective purchasers. An integrated CRM and Email program makes the process much easier.

Email is part of building the relationship. Conveying valuable

information that the customer finds helpful builds trust. Timing is often a key reason that buyers “put off” purchases. In other words, it’s not that they don’t want and need your product, it’s just that there are “bigger fish to fry” right now. Too often, prospects that say “call me back in six months” are never called back. Automated email marketing systems can nurture these prospects so that even if the sales person fails to follow up, your company is maintaining awareness and contact. An integrated CRM and email based approach can keep in touch with prospects and educate them while the sales team pursues more near term opportunity. Then, when the time is right, the sales person can be alerted to follow up. Closing the Sale No one would argue the fact that bottom line profits increase when sales people spend the bulk of their time with pre-qualified leads. Before companies had powerful data gathering CRM programs, it was almost impossible to assure sales reps that a lead was truly worth their effort to contact. With a fully developed CRM that is coupled with email marketing, it is not only possible…it becomes a major player in sales management and revenue projections. Many companies struggle to leverage technologies like CRM and email Continued on page 44



Rising Waters A call of climate change awareness to business owners By Leonard Faucher Leonard Faucher


n New York City alone, over 13,000 small businesses were displaced or put out of business due to Hurricane Sandy. Over 600,000 small businesses incurred either some or total damage to their gulf coast operations as the result of Hurricane Katrina. In the small town of Joplin, Missouri, over 550 businesses were destroyed or severely damaged. The truth is, as many as 10 percent of businesses affected by all weather catastrophes will never reopen. However, the economic ripple affect will cause much more damage to the lives of the entrepreneurs that were once part of America’s economic engine.

small business owners think that our frequently occurring disasters can only happen to the other guy. It is time that small business owners educate each other and their political representatives to the real facts of climate change and the importance of moving to green energy. A forward looking business leader in Houston, Texas, will soon be making the world aware of green energy. A member of New York’s famed Explorers Club, Don Harstell is bringing the excitement of a World Sky Race that will take over 50 helium air ships around the world in 180 days. Stopping in about 35 locations the mighty Hindenburg type air ships will draw the attention of viewers ranging from elderly farm workers in China to school children in France. Just viewing these beautifully crafted energy efficient air transports will enlighten people in every country they visit to learn more about the importance of green energy for themselves and future generations. ( ) There is no doubt that Hartsell is “over the top” in his pursuit of helping our world identify the benefits of green energy. But what are the rest of us doing to help the cause?.

“Taking action to prevent problems first starts with awareness.”

Mayor Blumberg, one of America’s most wealthy individuals and certainly a friend to Wall Street, stated his refusal to vote for Mitt Romney due to Romney’s diminished view of climate change. His message should also resonate to small business owners everywhere. The facts are undisputable, sea waters are rising and the earth’s temperature is becoming warmer. This does not bode well for all of America and the world that will, someday, experience the ill effects of bad preparation. There is little doubt that the larger corporations will survive the greatest storms and may even profit from them. However, for the tens of thousands of small businesses that will experience significant distress due to the influence of climate change, their political influence must be leveraged in order to mitigate future disasters. Will small business owners wait for the next disaster which might be their own and discover that their insurance policies do not protect against “acts of God” or devastating floods? Taking action to prevent problems first starts with awareness and too many

Leonard Faucher is the CEO of Core Curriculum Coaching, Inc. of Houston, Texas, and Adjunct Professor in Business at Houston Community College. He was formerly the CEO of several Boston companies including the International Center For Distance Learning


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VIPorbit is the best way to manage contacts, calendar, and communications on your iPhone and iPad. In the app, contacts, calendar and communications are seamlessly integrated, providing instant access to complete relationship details, quick scheduling, and effortless communication, including via social networks. With VIPorbit, you’ll manage contact details with precision, take control of your calendar, and streamline your channels of communication. From the co-inventor of ACT!, it provides mobile professionals with an affordable, easyto-use, anytime/anywhere solution. VIPorbit for iPad is $14.99 and VIPorbit for iPhone is $9.99. There are free versions for both devices, limited to 100 contacts. Available at or on the iTunes App Store. SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2013 | PG 18


BALLS By N D Brown


bet we all went through something like this.

out of my chest, my mouth filled with dust, my breathing stopped.

For me it was one of those warm summer days when the lake was filled with the scrawny kids Norman Rockwell loved to paint. I had just passed the swimming test that allowed me to swim out to the wooden raft with the gently rocking dive tower, a true rite of summer passage.

I did it. I survived. I popped to the surface, whooped and swam to the raft to do it again.

I had spent what seemed like years watching older kids swim out and climb up the built-in ladder on the dive tower. I had watched kids scamper out the diving board and launch themselves into space. The shrieks and splashes made it seem like the epitome of summer fun. Now I was ready to take my turn. Once I reached the tower's summit, it seemed much higher than it looked from the shore. The raft and tower had appeared to be gently floating with tiny ripples lapping at the edges, now I felt buffeted by gale strength winds. Looking down I was sure I had badly underestimated the towers twelve-feet height. Even though the kid in front of me, who had raced to the end of the board plunging into the abyss, was now treading water and yelling my name, I was certain should I follow his path I would be killed. I couldn't do it. I started to turn to get back on the ladder, back down to the safety of the deck. Nope. Three kids blocked my way. The only exit was out that plank and down. My heart was doing an odd dance in an effort to get

What had happened? I arrived at the raft filled with confidence. I'd passed the test and proven I could swim that far. I had watched other kids jump with ease. From my vantage point on the shore, it looked like a piece of cake with lots of icing.

“Confidence got me there and courage pushed me through the unexpected fear.” Then it changed. With every step up the ladder my confidence melted a bit. Confidence got me to the raft and on the ladder but I needed something else to get me into space. It took courage. I had to find a way to overcome what to me was a serious fear. You want to own and run a small business? You better get a strong grip on both. You will know when you have confidence. But you will never know about courage until you face what you fear. And fear can come out of nowhere. I had no idea I was going to fear making

that jump into the lake. Confidence got me there and courage pushed me through the unexpected fear. We all talk about risk and how it is the foundation of success. I have yet to hear a person I consider successful who hasn't mentioned how they took risks. And how they made the risk work for them. There are no words more important to a small business owner than “confidence” and “courage.” No one can step off into a world of total independence without both and they are best summarized by a single word. Balls. I have always been surprised at the number of young people who have worked with me that feared tomorrow. In annual performance reviews I would almost always ask if they were worried about losing their jobs. And almost always the answer was, “Yes.” I have spent my career in a very volatile business. None of the clients I worked for ever committed to more than a sixty day cancellation clause. Like every marriage when we agreed to work together we both said we hoped it would be forever. Except both of us signed a letter of agreement stating either party could say sayonara with a sixty-day notice. So as a junior, or even mid or senior, level employee working on an account you knew had a sixty day fuse it was natural to be nervous about your future. Continued on page 40




Your Next Step “The Best Teachers Are Ones Whose Life Is The Text” By Jack Warkenthien


onfucius, that ancient Chinese trainer extraordinaire, was on to something when he quipped in 451 B.C. “What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand.”

I said facilitator. Group involvement and activities are essential to learning. Most trainers, who are strongly oriented towards presenting or lecturing, are scared of this approach, and cannot adapt the process. It’s not easy!

It is ironic that the farther ahead we progress in school, the farther we move away from experiential learning—or learning by doing. Think about it. Some of my fondest (learning) memories date back to Wheatland Elementary School, when we—the student body-- assumed the roles of settlers or pioneers, to learn about Thanksgiving. Maybe you recall how dapper you looked, pretending you were Christopher Columbus discovering America?

The job of facilitator/instructor is to empower the participants to perform better on the job, not just to cover the material. As a sales training firm, for instance, we give you the tools necessary to sell more products and services—faster—and we teach you how to use them before you leave the workshop! Your training firm should do the same.

That’s called role-playing, folks. Can you remember the last time you “learned” like that since? For those of us who chose to continue our education, the most pervasive teaching approach was The Lecture, mostly following voluminous reading assignments in our boring textbooks. The sad truth: now that we’re in business and often find ourselves paying big bucks for professional education, not much has changed in the way training is delivered. Though there are hundreds of training companies from which to choose, the field narrows dramatically when you request a facilitator-led, participantcentered experiential solution. You deserve nothing less if you expect to succeed in changing behavior. Notice

Consider the following statistics on learning retention, as compiled by Robert W. Pike, founder of Creative Training Techniques. Mr. Pike suggests we retain: 10 percent of what we read, 20 percent of what we hear, 30 percent of what we see, 50 percent of what we hear & see, 70 percent of what we say, 90 percent of what we say & do When you’re selecting an instruction method for your company’s training needs, revisit memory lane and recall what worked in school. Does “Show & Tell” ring a bell? The National Safety Council published a study in 1975 that still rings true today: •

Telling, when used alone, results in 70 percent recall three hours later and 10 percent recall, three days later.

Showing when used alone, results in 72 percent recall three hours later, and 20 percent recall three days later.

A blend of Showing and Telling results in 85 percent recall three hours later and 65 percent recall three days later.

A DRAMATIC difference, to be sure! The best training firms will use one of three learning sequences to ensure you remember and understand whatever it is, your facilitator is teaching: 1. Experience/Theory/Application You experience the use of a skill first. For instance, we enjoy starting a session with a real-play—an experience that simulates a real life scenario. It breaks the ice and often gets people laughing. Nothing gets people out of their comfort zone faster and yet nothing teaches like doing. Next, a theory may be offered, to share the “what” or “why” something works. Finally, the facilitator will work with the group to apply the new skill to a typical work-oriented task or requirement. The interaction that occurs between participants reinforces the experience and its applicability. 2. Experience/Application/Theory Sometimes, an experience will be shared and the application will be intuitively obvious regarding how it applies to their job or career. Continued on page 44






Your Road Map to Become a Confident, In-Demand Speaker By Pam Terry


n a recent webinar, I shared a cool road map of the four things to do to become a confident, in-demand speaker. Those four things are:

1. Improve your speaker skills 2. Create/have a website with key components 3. Start speaking (a must in order to get asked/paid to speak!) 4. Start blogging and posting

The underlying foundation for becoming a confident and sought after speaker encompasses three things: speaking skill, creating value, and getting known.  Using this road map will bring you new clients and speaking engagements without even trying. Why?   Because when you provide value for people, they will want to do business with you.   By blogging and posting valuable content on Facebook (one billion users), LinkedIn (151 million) and Twitter (500 million), you are reaching hundreds of thousands of people.   The numbers are in your favor.   Blogging and posting valuable content is a powerful way to “get known.” Here’s a brief synopsis of my system: 1. Confident speakers know their material and connect with their audience. Basically that’s it in a nutshell. You gain confidence with passion and knowledge (of your topic, audience, and

speaking skills) and preparation and practice (lots of it). Preparing and practicing easily builds confidence. A few other tips: take the focus off of you and focus on the value you provide. Speaking is not about you – it’s about your audience

holding your own workshops/ webinars/teleseminars. Getting out there with your own events builds confidence and gets you known. You also put your events on your website and promote them on Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

2. In-demand speakers have a website with a blog and blog regularly. Your website should talk about the benefits that you provide and how your services and expertise can alter people’s lives. You need five basic elements: home page with a

4. Blogging regularly and posting about your blog on Facebook and LinkedIn groups and Twitter are essential to getting known and becoming in-demand. Literally, it works. Your posts must create value for people. The value that you share positions you as the expert and gets you new clients. Use a social media tool like Hoot Suite (www.hootsuite. com) to make your posting easy. Otherwise, it will be way too tedious to be effective.

“Blogging and posting valuable content is a powerful way to get known.” mailing list sign up form and Facebook like box, about page, contact page, events page and a blog. Blog at least once a week on different aspects of your expertise; provide valuable information that people can use. 3. To get asked to speak, you need to already be speaking by


I started my “system” before I realized it was a system or how powerful it was. Without even trying, I have gained new clients following these steps. You can too. It’s all about improving your speaking skills, creating value and getting known.

Pam Terry is a speaker coach and communications trainer in Houston, TX. Her websites are and She can be reached at or 832-276-4153.


Keep Dreaming in 2013: Four Keys to Success By Julien Meyer


mprove your life right now. I followed these four steps and I swear I never thought I would be where I am today before I took these steps into action. My name is Julien Meyer, and I am a junior at the University of Central Florida. At 20 years old, I am the CEO and Founder of collegeTKTS LLC, a marketing firm based in Orlando, FL. I want to share with you today what I believe are the four keys to success for people like us – entrepreneurs, small business owners, dreamers. 1. Dreams are realities. When you are young anything is possible. Everyone believes in you, and the world is a beautiful, wonderful place full of opportunity and is yours for the taking. Why does that thought fade away? When does that theory stop being true? When society tells you? When all the people around you tell you that it's time to get real? No. It never ends. You still have the ability to do what you want. Get up. Seize the day. Move forward, make the jump, follow and chase your dreams. Dreams only remain dreams as long as we allow them to. Once we realize them, they become realities and change lives, ours and the ones around us. I don’t care if you are 15 years old and broke or 50 years old and in a “comfortable” career position. I don’t care if you are rich or poor, book smart or street smart, popular or not. The world is yours! Get up and take what you want. Start that business, expand your company, take the next step just get up and do it. Dreams are realities.

2. Believe in yourself. If we don’t believe in ourselves than how are we ever going to achieve any of our goals? In life and especially in business we have to learn to trust ourselves and believe in our abilities. You can do it. You can achieve your goals, transform your dreams to realities, you can do whatever you want to do. Just believe in yourself. Whether it's taking the plunge to start your dream company, increasing your sales, or growing your small business, the ability to do so is inside you and it always has been. You just have to trust in yourself and believe in your abilities. Don’t let others sideline your progress or your ambition. Believe in yourself.

3. We’re all people. CEO, Janitor, Student, President of Operations, Chairman of the Board, Plumber, Lawyer. Those are all just titles. At the end of the day we are all the same. We’re all people. We all breathe, eat and sleep. As simple as that concept seems, when you truly accept it and believe it and fully understand it you will realize how easy life is and how much easier it will be to run your small business. When you lose the fear of dealing with people in positions of power and are able to treat everyone as equal, you will lose the fear of reaching out to potential new clients or investors, your network will expand, your sales will increase, your business will grow and you will be able to take the next step in your life and truly move forward. Remember we are all people and we are all equal. Believe that about life that and you will come across more success than you ever dreamed of. 4. Now is always the right time. Realize your goals now. Don’t waste time. No excuses. You are in a “good” career position, you were the former CEO of a large company and now you work as a cashier at a supermarket. You are a 19 year old kid who “knows nothing” about the world, life or business. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in your life. Anything is possible. You’re not too old and you’re not too young. You’re not too rich and you’re not too poor. You’re not too dumb and you’re not too boring. Now is not only the best time to make things happen; it’s the only time. Once “now” slips between your fingers, it’s gone forever. Do things now. Make things happen. Change the world. Don’t be scared. You can do it, I know that and you know that. Go change your life. Now.

Julien Meyer is the CEO & Founder of collegeTKTS LLC. You can contact him at






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Proposal Secrets: Scheduling for Success Julie Marie Irvin

Julie Marie Irvin


ne of the most common mistakes in proposal management is poor scheduling. Tasks originally regarded as optional can become mandatory. With such high stakes, it is imperative that tasks are not rushed the day prior to the submission due date. Even a oneperson, single-day proposal benefits from having a schedule. “Mr. Murphy” has a role in every proposal, so plan on something going wrong. Expect and prepare to cope with changes. The following broad guidelines will improve your overall scheduling effectiveness: 1. Consider the total time available, then deduct 10 percent for a reserve to handle unanticipated tasks and problems. Then schedule proposal activities in the remaining 90 percent of the available time. 2. Build a list of events that have to be scheduled. Schedule the major events first and then add the finer details or granularity later. The complexity of the schedule depends on the size of the proposal and the number, expertise, and location of contributors. If at all possible, have a schedule available to distribute at the kick-off meeting.


Develop a Proposal Schedule Backwards From the Due Date Always plan to deliver your proposal one day prior to the due date. If you deliver it that day, then congratulations on a job well done, if not, then you have a few hours to breathe. Late proposals are often eliminated and immediately trashed. Items to take into consideration: 1. Delivery - Will this be an overnight shipment via an international shipping service, via local courier or self-delivery? 2. Printing – Will you use an outside printer or will you print in-house? If you plan to send your proposal to an outside printer, contact them as soon as your schedule is created, so they know to expect your print job. Waiting until the last minute to notify them, is not good; they may not have room in their production schedule to accommodate your “RUSH” request. 3. Reviews and Approvals - Who will be involved in the reviews and the approvals? What else do these people have on their plates and how do other deadlines affect their contributions and input? 4. Weekends and Holidays – Avoid scheduling on and around these as much as possible.


Writing : New Material

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Writing : Extensive Revision

8 – 10 pages / day

Writing : Minimal Revision

20 – 25 pages / day

Simple Graphic

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Complex Graphic

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Retouch Photo

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Complex Illustration

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Red Team Review

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The 4 C’s of Customer Service By Errol D. Allen


our words crossed my mind the other day regarding customer service. I call them the four Cs of customer service - Commitment, Completeness, Consistency and Communication. Let's take a look at each one. Commitment - In order to give great customer service, there must be Commitment from an organization's leadership. Commitment must be visible through action. It's easy to place posters and signs upon the wall, but that's not the action of which I'm speaking. Leaders should show commitment by leading the charge to determine what great customer service should look like within the organization. Leaders should develop and adhere to core values for the organization Leaders should commit to finding ways to determine what's important to the organization's customers. Leaders should become the customer by utilizing the organization's product or service in order to get the customer's perspective. The commitment level of leadership should be readily apparent to employees. Leaders should regularly communicate their commitment with the entire organization. Commitment requires action! Commitment is long-term as the organization's long-term existence is at stake. Completeness - Following the leadership commitment to providing great customer service is the second C representing Completeness. Once the commitment is in place, the need to ensure that everyone within the organization is on the same page is paramount to the organization's success. Completeness means that everyone within every department

understands their role in providing great customer service. A complete and thorough assessment of the organization's operations is key to identifying areas of opportunity. All customer touch points should be evaluated for efficiency. Completeness means insuring that what matters to the customer is identified and utilized in developing the organization's product or service concept. Completeness means identifying one's internal customers in order to determine how to meet their needs as well. All areas of the organization must be aware of how their everyday actions impact both internal and external customers. Completely commit to providing great customer service! Consistency - After leadership exercises commitment and the entire organization is completely on the same page regarding the provision of great customer service, the third C of Consistency enters the picture. This C is crucial to the long-term success of the organization. The ability to consistently provide a great customer service experience is what builds brand loyalty. Loyal customers are revenue generators as they are both comfortable and excited to share their positive customer service experiences with others. Consistency means the customer receives the same level of service during each encounter with your organization. Consistency means that no matter which of your organization's locations the customer visits, a positive experience awaits. When calling your organization, it doesn't matter which employee takes the call, the organization will strive to consistently provide a great customer service experience.

When interacting with your company online, the customer is provided an easy and efficient experience. When issues arise, the organization will look to consistently resolve them in a timely manner. When an organization can consistently provide a great customer service experience, it won't be long before the wordof-mouth effect takes over. New customers will appear as a result of the organization's ability to be consistent. Communication - The glue that holds all of this together is the fourth C Communication. Now this particular C requires that the commitment to providing great customer service is constantly communicated. It means that the organization's employees are kept abreast of how well the organization is performing in its quest to meet the needs of the customer. This C means that the employees are given the means to communicate the customer's perception of the organization to the leaders. The leaders are to communicate how employee ideas for improvement are contributing to the success of the organization. It means that customers are able to initiate communication with the organization regarding their personal experiences with the product or services. This fourth C requires the organization's leaders to communicate customer needs and preferences to the rest of the organization to insure that all products and services are designed with the end-user in mind. In this era of multichannel customer service provision, it's important to make sure that your customer understands how important they are to your organization. Make sure they are able to see, hear and feel what Continued on page 40




Interested In running the Texas Independence Relay? By Bertrand McHenry/President & Owner of the Referral Institute of Houston Bertrand McHenry


he “T.I.R” is a relay race run from Gonzales, Texas to the San Jacinto Monument. It traces the path Sam Houston took with his Texas Army to find and destroy Santa Ana’s Mexican Army. It’s a 208 mile relay race run with up to 12 team members, and two vans. Six runners to a van and, van one is charged with running all the first legs while van two goes up ahead several hours and rests and waits. Once van one reaches the exchange point, van two leap frogs ahead to eat and rest for their next leg and this continues 24 hours a day from Saturday morning until Sunday evening. It is challenging on MANY levels – not enough time to recover, small spaces on the van, lack of good sleep, and honestly after awhile, the van begins to smell horrible. Having said that, I love challenges, especially ones like this! The “T.I.R.” is the hardest, sweatiest, lack of sleep, smelliest, and the most fun race I’ve ever run, but only because I’ve built “world class” teams to run it with. We are currently in training and logistical planning for this endeavor and beginning to build up for the race. We’ve selected teammates specifically for this race and that means some of my good friends did not get invited. I wanted 12 specific people for this race. Let me ask you something, do you race out to meet your business obligations with no plan? Likely not, you have a plan, goals, and ways to measure your success. If you plan to be engaged in Referral Marketing as an integral piece of your business strategy, then not everyone needs to be on your team. What? Bertrand what did you just say? You heard correctly…I’m saying you need to go about the building of your network carefully, systematically, and intentionally! This means every person who is nice to you and whom you “hit it off” with does not automatically make it on the squad. I know this seems to fly in the face of everything you have been taught and probably been doing in terms of networking.


Remember, networking is not the same as referral marketing. Here is the definition of networking: “The process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve the community.” So it is a broad based activity that also involves branding yourself heavily. Networking reaches many people and serves to get your name, face, logo, product and message out in the market place. It’s all right and necessary to engage in networking, just understand it does not have the same sharp edged goal as referral marketing. Referral marketing involves developing a team of people who are willing to “execute systems built into their weekly activities that support the growth of your business!” That statement should make my earlier statement about building your network carefully more clear for you. I actually think you should “audition” your network partners! With referral marketing you are building a more intimate team of people who need to meet at least six criteria: 1) They must serve your target market and have access to them 2) They must be willing to be trained to execute referrals on your behalf 3) They must be able to execute referrals on your behalf 4) They must have the resources to be involved in networking efforts 5) They must make good referrals for your network and 6) You must be able to develop a rewarding personal relationship with them! They must qualify on all six in order to be considered! Does that seem too harsh? Well let me ask you this, how serious are you about getting your business built? Growing a business is a great challenge, times will be tough, and you will get tired. Who do you want around you? Then get serious about building and training your world class team!

Bertrand McHenry President Owner The Referral Institute of Houston 281-401-9852, 281-300-8228


The Price of Your Dream, Is It Worth It? By Bruce Hurta


ost small business owners focus upon conserving cash for working capital and for the growth of their businesses. Governmentbacked of the small business which will own and occupy the real estate. A small business lender uses five components in his analysis of a small business loan request. Government-backed SBA financing is offered to small businesses in order to make small business financing available with lower down payments, longer repayment terms, and easier qualifying criteria than conventional bank loans. Small businesses can use SBA financing to buy a building for their business, to construct a new building, to remodel the facility, to buy new equipment, to acquire a business, to buy out a partner, to obtain working capital for expansion, or to refinance existing debt for better repayment terms. Because the SBA 7(a) loan program gives participating lenders a 75-85% government guaranty on the loan to help encourage more loan approvals, the borrower must pay an SBA guaranty fee to the SBA. The SBA guaranty fee may seem higher than conventional loan fees; therefore small businesses need to justify the cost. Following is how the SBA guaranty fee is calculated: Total Loan Amount                         Guaranty Fee* $150,000 or less                                       2.0% Over $150,001 to $700,000                      3.0% Over $700,001+                                        3.5% * Fees apply only to guaranteed portion of loan. The SBA loan has a government guaranty of 85 percent on loans of up to $150,000 and 75 percent on loans of more than $150,000 up to $5 million. Here are some of the reasons a small business might benefit from paying the SBA guaranty fee and obtaining financing through the SBA 7(a) government-backed small business loan program:

1. SBA financing provides a long term repayment program. Real estate loans are repaid over 25 years, and non-real estate loans are repaid over 10 years. For small business real estate debt, conventional bank financing typically offers a 10-20 year repayment amortization; however, a balloon feature requires refinancing in 1, 3, or 5 years, along with additional closing costs and origination fees. SBA loans, therefore, do not have renewal risk like most conventional bank loans. A small business owner may have a hard time predicting his likelihood of approval for a loan renewal, or the economy might be affecting his business performance at that time, and he does not know if the bank management will be the same or look at his loan in the same way at the time of renewal. Long term financing can be a strong positive benefit of SBA financing to eliminate renewal risk and to keep payments as low as possible due to the longer repayment amortization. 2. SBA financing requires lower down payments, and it preserves cash for working capital in the business. Working capital financing can sometimes be the most expensive form of bank financing. If a small business can preserve working capital for operations, by putting a lower down payment on their new building, this can be a significant borrowing cost saving, or it might merely make working capital available that would otherwise be difficult to qualify to borrow. 3. In a time of economic uncertainty, or in situations of uncertainty such as business startup, small businesses have problems qualifying for conventional bank financing. The partial SBA government guaranty on a small business loan request is often just the right amount of incentive to cause a lender to approve a loan request that they could not otherwise get comfortable with. In the final analysis, small businesses are providing the fuel for economic stimulus, and SBA loans are providing financing terms which could not otherwise be offered through conventional means. A cost/benefit analysis will often make the SBA guaranty fee look like a small price to Continued on page 40


Continued from page 18 BALLS

When I heard, “Yes, I am worried,” I would ask if they thought they were good at what they were doing. I would ask if they were confident that they could do as good a job working anywhere else. Of course the answers were always yes. I would then explain they had just said that they had the confidence, now all they needed was to find the courage to match the confidence. It starts with confidence. Sit on a park bench and dig deep inside to be sure you honestly believe you have, and know, what it takes to run a small business. Make sure you are able to convince people that what you do, or make, is better than what the bigger competitors do or make. Make sure you will not fear failure because you have the courage to drastically change or even start over. Confidence is knowing you are right. Courage is doing what is right because you know you are right Balls. A small business requirement.

N D Brown Principal brownchild ltd inc 3754 Sunset \Houston TX 77005 713 807 9000 cell 713 822 8370

Continued from page 36 The 4 C’s of Customer Service

they mean to your organization by establishing Commitment, followed by Completeness of purpose, exhibiting Consistency during all customer interactions and applying the glue called Communication! ©Errol Allen Consulting 2012. Errol Allen – Customer Service Engineer – Errol Allen Consulting 1-800-830-4167

Continued from page 39 The Price of Your Dream, Is It Worth It?

pay for accommodating the small business' need for funding a project which will enhance the small business return more than the cost associated with it.

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact Bruce Hurta, Business Lending Manager at Members Choice Credit Union. 281.754.1112 office Follow Bruce’s Blog:






continued from page 26




Continued from page 16 The Ladder of Wealth

Continued from page 32 Proposal Secrets: Scheduling for Success

marketing because they lack the resources to manage multiple technologies, establish business processes, etc. Solutions that integrate the required capabilities into one system for the user minimize this challenge.

Estimated Time Standards by Task

Many sales organizations can increase sales by 10 percent or more by integrating procedures that capture all new leads and prospects and their contact information and add them to an on-going lead nurturing email system. That’s a big payoff for a minimal investment! Craig is the founder of, a leading provider of CRM, Email Marketing and Lead Generation solutions to business 2 business sales teams.

Craig is the founder of For more information visit

Continued from page 21 “The Best Teachers Are Ones Whose Life Is The Text”

Use these time standards as a start until you develop standards for your organization. Requiring less time in your organization is neither necessarily excellent performance nor is taking more time a sign of poor performance. Managing a proposal requires you to work with countless unpredictable components. Will your contributors meet their deadlines? What if your CD burner goes on the fritz? What if a massive storm causes shipping delays? Solutions can be found for all of these challenges, but no matter how much of a proposal wizard you are, more time can’t be pulled out of a hat. By carefully designing (and sticking to) your proposal schedule, while building in time for the unforeseen, your proposal’s chance of success increases and your stress level decreases

Julie Marie Irvin is Founder + President of Keystone Resources, Inc. You can reach her at or call 713-874-0162

The theory may explain to them “why” it worked, and perhaps the origin of the skill or behavior. 3. T h e o r y / E x p e r i e n c e / A p p l i c a t i o n If a topic is relatively new or “strange” to a class, it often helps to share the theory first, providing a needed backdrop. Then, an experience is attempted, followed by an application to a relevant job requirement. The common denominator throughout your training should be the doing part. Your employees will gain the confidence to try new ideas and the experience needed to show them it can work. You’ll soon realize that the return on your training investment dollar can be astounding. Before you invest a dollar of your training budget, ensure your training “partner” is on board with these principles. ONE LAST WORD OF CAUTION: For the same reason I wouldn’t hire a fat Personal Trainer or a broke Financial Planner, ensure your Facilitator has the real world experience—and success—in the skill areas you seek to learn. Sadly, there are many Teachers and “Consultants” out there, who give us a bad name. You know the type, right? He knows 87 ways to make love to a woman, but doesn’t know any chicks! Best of luck as you continue your learning “experience.”.

Jack Warkenthien, CEO, NextStep Solutions. Email him at: or call him at 832-344-6998



Continued from page 9 Hard Money

sale� of the property. That could amount to as much as a 30 percent or more discount as is common on short sales. By taking a short term bridge or hard money loan, the borrower often saves equity and extends his time to get his affairs in order to better manage the property. All hard money borrowers are advised to use a real estate attorney to assure the property is not given away by way of a late payment or other default without the benefit of traditional procedures which would require a court judgment. Commercial Lending Industry Thanks to the freedom from regulation, the commercial lending industry operates with particular speed and responsiveness, making it an attractive option for those seeking quick funding. However, this has also created a highly predatory lending environment where many companies refer loans to one another (brokering), increasing the price and loan points with each referral. From inception, the hard money field has always been formally unregulated by State or Federal laws, although some restrictions on interest rates (usury laws) by state governments restrict the rates of hard money such that operations in several states are virtually impossible to defend.

You may contact Alvin E. Terry, MBA @ or by Cell @ 713-392-9107.

Continued from page 10 Benefits of Maintaining Balance within a Company

sertive some leaders become within the company, the more cooperative and passive the other workers will become in order to maintain this innate striving for gender balance. A company is a collective version of what the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus called a dynamic equilibrium. It contains complementary balancing views and acts. All opposing values organically emerge naturally. For instance, in companies there are the assertive over-workers or drivers and the passive under-workers and driven (the empowered and the entitled). If a business leader over infatuates with the former, he or she will also breed the latter. If an over-worker gets to work early and stays late and is labelled by others as a workaholic, they will be balanced by the under-

worker who will come and go at the scheduled times and do nothing more than what is expected. If the leader infatuates with one, they will reject the other. Business leaders of the future, though, would be wise to understand how complementary pairs of gender opposites are necessary for the overall balance and not try to get every worker to become one-sided, which nature will not allow. As with all reproducing pairs of organisms found within nature where there must be a gender balance, so too for all sustaining business organizations there must be such a handsome and beautiful balance. Inspired business leaders of the future will remain conscious of this most important principle and aim to maintain poise in relationship to the gender


roles within their companies or organizations: they will integrate before their companies disintegrate.

Dr. John Demartini, a native of Houston, is a world renowned human behavior specialist, success consultant, educator and internationally published author. He is the founder of the Demartini Institute, a private research and education organization headquartered in Houston with a curriculum of over 72 different courses covering multiple aspects of human development. For more information and to download a free Value Determination Process Workbook, please visit www.

print + identity

Custom logo design


Do you have the creative team to reinforce your brand?

stationery systems

Marketing Collateral

annual reports & long documents

Is your brand’s online presence engaging dedicated users?

Website development & Maintenance

Mobile site design & development

proposals + presentations

social Media Branding

e-newsletters & digital Campaigns

Are new markets responsive to your brand?

The quick, brown fox jumps over a lazy dog. The quick, brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.

trade show Booth design

electronic presentations (e-Books & powerpoints)

proposal Management, development & design

Creative. dedicated. responsive.



The Valuation of a Covenant Not to Compete By: Jeffrey D. Jones, ASA, CBA, CBI

Jeffrey Jones


ost all transactions involing the sale of a business or a partial ownerwship therein require the selling entity to enter into a Covenant Not To Compete covering a defined territory for a specified length of time to protect the buying entity from potential loss of customers, employees, and future business. For tax purposes, both buyer and seller must agree upon how to value the Covenant Not To Compete so the purchase price can be properly allocated. In the event the seller violates the terms of the covenant, a monitary penalty and/or reduction in the price paid for the entity can be assessed by the courts.

of the acquired business. The value to the seller, on the other hand, is measured by the opportunities foregone to reenter a particular market for a given period.

The concept of Fair Market Value assumes a willing seller who will do all the things necessary to facilitate the sale of a business or partial ownership interest therein and a willing generic buyer who expects to be able to obtain and maintain the tangible and intangible assets being acquired.

In some complex buy-sell agreements, however, a court may find the compensation-based approach too simplistic. A second method calculates the present value of the economic loss to the buyer on the assumption that the seller reentered the market. Such an approach was sanctioned by the Tax Court in Ansan Tool and Manufacturing Co. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1992-121, where the compensationbased method was determined inadequate for the unique arrangement between the taxpayer and the seller in a stock buyout.

One method to value a covenant is the compensation-based approach. Under this method, the covenantor’s (seller’s) average compensation (including salary, bonuses, and benefits) is calculated. This amount is projected over the life of the covenant, and a discount rate is applied to adjust the figure to present value. This method measures the loss of earnings anticipated by the seller as a result of his forbearance from competing in the specified market.

If the terms of the covenant not to compete are reasonable, and if the seller is truly being compensated for giving up his/her right to forego opportunities that would place him/ her in competition with the purchaser, then the payment allocable to the covenant constitutes ordinary income to The value of the covenant to the seller, and the the purchaser comes from the buyer is entitled to amortize the cost of continued profitability and the the covenant over a 15 year period. likelihood of survival of the

There are situations where the same parties execute both a covenant not to compete and an employment contract. Both agreements need to be evaluated The value allocated carefully because acquired business. to the covenant their provisions must reflect may overlap, and economic reality. thus, so may their In making this determination, the courts have values. An employment agreement may looked to the same factors as those listed convey similar benefits and cover the same in the IRS code specifying the “economic time period as a covenant not to compete, and reality test.” The value of the covenant to arguably its value is not separate and distinct the purchaser comes from the continued from the value of the covenant. profitability and the likelihood of survival Any consideration paid for a bonafide


Continued from page 48 The Valuation of a Covenant Not to Compete

covenant not to compete forms the cost basis of a fixedlife, depreciable intangible asset. However, a covenant not to compete is not amortizable unless the objective facts show that (1) the covenant is genuine, i.e., it has economic significance apart from the tax consequences, (2) the parties intended to attribute some value to the covenant at the time they executed their formal buy-sell agreement, and (3) the covenant has been properly valued. The value of a covenant not to compete or the lack thereof can be determined by measuring the economic impact on the business during the period of the covenant. Texas courts have generally restricted covenants not to compete to no more than five years on the basis of not wanting to prevent a person from being able to earning a living at their chosen profession for long periods of time. Furthermore, covenants are limited to the market area in which the business is currently doing business and/or to those customers and clients being served by the subject business. The measure of impact on future earnings for the next five years can be determined as follows. •

Forecast future earnings for the specified period covered by the covenant not to compete.

Determine the present value of future earnings for the subject Company for a period equal to the term of the covenant not to compete.

Apply the Discount Rate for Lack of A Covenant Not to Compete to the present value of the forecasted earnings.

While the process seems straight forward, the actual analysis and development of the economic damages for a lack of a covenant not to compete should be conducted by an experienced business appraiser who is well versed in these methodologies and founded in the economic reality of the market place.

Jeff Jones is President of Advanced Business Brokers, Inc. and Certified Appraisers, Inc. 10500 Northwest Frwy., Suite 200, Houston, TX 77092 713-680-3290,

Develop a Discount Rate for the lack of a covenant not to compete that reflects the risk factors of a seller reentering the market place and competing with the subject Company resulting in economic damages.



Vanity and Pride: The Deadliest of Sins


By Steven Kay, Steven Kay Media LLC Talk Show Host & Producer, Media Consultant Steven Kay Steven Kay Media


went to see the movie, “Beowulf.” What a great movie. What an amazing story. They did a fantastic job recreating the book to the silver screen, at least from what I can remember. Hmm… from what I can remember; I haven’t read the story since high school. Back then I believe it was required reading, at least for some. It is a shame that most who were sitting in the theater with me have never read the original work. In fact, some people my age have not read it either. “Beowulf”… what an awesome tale, one with many lessons. It is a story about lust, shame, vanity, and pride. A story about how our sinful appetites can get the best of us. At least four of the seven deadly sins were portrayed. Actually, they touched on all seven in some way, shape or form. I think the most emphasized throughout the story and the most important to remember is pride.

the world, or help my fellow man in some way; if God allowed me to do so and I was able to fulfill even a small part of His divine plan, should I not be proud to have been so blessed? I think we misinterpret the words we use as often as we do our emotions. It is in this that we direct ourselves down the right or wrong path. The emotion we should feel and probably start out with is gratefulness. Gratefulness for being blessed with God’s talents and rewards, happy that He included me and gave me the ability to accomplish His works. Then you say or even just think to yourself, “I am proud to do so,” and that is when it starts. We don’t really notice or make the distinction; we believe this is okay. In fact, it feels good to have that sense of pride, doesn’t it? They say that pride is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise. . Just like Beowulf, pride will lead you down the road of self-destruction, will cause wrath (anger) and envy (jealousy) when your pride is hurt, will allow you to be susceptible to lust and greed and gluttony (over-indulgence) because it causes you to feel that your current blessings are no longer enough. Pride truly is the root of all evil.

“pride is considered

the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins ”

Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as vanity. Medieval theologian, Thomas Aquinas, said of pride, "Inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin... the root of pride is found to consist in man not being, in some way, subject to God and His rule." I used to not understand this. I used to think, “Why should one not be proud of their accomplishments? Why should one not have pride in the talents and gifts that God has granted them?” I mean, if I reach a goal, achieve something great, make my mark upon


Steven Kay, Talk Show Host & Producer / Media Buyer & Consultant, Steven Kay Media LLC, 713-STEVEN-K (713-783-8365),,

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Advertiser’s Index All Print & Office Supply ..............................................31

Main Street Chamber of Commerce............................ 46

Aztec Facility Management



CHI ............................................................................... 45

Quality Hospitality Travel d/b/a Cruise Planners................40

Champions School of Real Estate................................8

RAC Conference Center..............................................30

Cole Chemical & Distributing .................................. 30

RAC Conference Center..............................................36

Construction Concepts & Design .................................41

Sales Nexus ...................................................................4

Courthouse Direct.........................................................52

Steven Kay ....................................................................33

Cruise & Hughes ................................. Inside Back Cover

Suzanne Chadwell/OFI ..................................................44

Dani Mai/AGLA ......................................................... 35

TG Design .....................................................................34

ELP Oilfield Supply ....................................................30

Texas Best Music Fest

Eric Kleiman Photography..............................................49

The Principle Partnering Group .....................................30

Fidelity National Title-Galleria...........................Back Cover

Today's Business Solutions

Government Procurement Connections ....................... 1

VIP Orbit ........................................................................18

HBS National Corp.......................................................31

Transproject, LLC ................................................... 21 & 22

Houston Minority Supplier Development Council .......20

WBEA ...........................................................................51

Houston Minority Supplier Development Council .......26

Westpark Communications ............... Inside Front Cover


....................................... 31

Keystone Resources......................................................47




Small Business Today Magazine - March 2013 Edition  

Small Business Today Magazine - March 2013 Edition