March 2014 magazine final

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MARCH 2014

Volume 2 Issue 12






PG 3


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT A Division of Champions School of Real Estate®

Set yourself apart from the competition! Professional Development 2-DAY COURSE A polished, professional decorum is the edge you need and deserve. By developing your professional demeanor, you tell your partners and associates that you take their time and business seriously. • Organizational Skills

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• Public Speaking

• How to Make Introductions

March 3 - 4

• Body Language

• Communication Etiquette

• Dining Etiquette

• Etiquette in the Workplace

• Cultural Mannerisms

• Strengthening Your

• Dressing for Success • Personality Profiling

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PG 3


7 DAY WEST CARRIBEAN CRUISE JULY 27, 2014-AUGUST 3RD, 2014 ABOARD THE “NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS” With Ports of Call (Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize & Cozumel, Mexico)



SHARON 281-257-0252

SBT Houston Staff March 2014



ABOUT OUR COVERS, COVER HONOREES, & THIS MONTH’S COVER I am often asked at the various events that Barbara and I attend, “How do you decide who is to be on your cover?” About Our Cover Honorees: Cover honorees are nominated by one of our Publisher’s Advisory Board members or one of the members of our leadership team. The criteria for the cover honor have more to do with the quality of the individual than the level of their success. We also love a great story that can serve as an inspiration for our readers. The nomination is then forwarded to a select (and random) group of Publisher’s Advisory Board members for their feedback. Once we have received the feedback (assuming it’s mainly positive), I meet with the cover candidate to cast the final vote of confidence. Sometimes it is a fit and sometimes it is not. For many of our cover honorees, the cover honor and story inside the magazine is a totally new experience. Most were really not seeking the recognition but were flattered to have the opportunity to share their story of the lives and businesses in our spotlight. This month’s cover honoree, Page Parkes was introduced to me by the magazine’s Chief Advisor, Mr. Hank Moore. Hank was our 2nd cover honoree, in May 2012. Walking into Page Parkes’ office in the Galleria, one can tell from the framed stories that cover the walls of her reception area that she has received much recognition for her business and personal successes. She is truly an amazing woman and entrepreneur and more than worthy of this month’s cover honor. Barbara and I knew that we were taking on the challenge of shining the spotlight on a successful entrepreneur who has been in the spotlight many, many times before. How to insure that Page’s story was showcased in a unique way would be a challenge. But just know that Barbara is ALWAYS up for a challenge and (as you have witnessed before) does an incredible job of writing the stories and staging the photos! About this Month’s Cover: I believe that this is the first time that Page has been featured on the cover of a business magazine with some of her youngest clients. For many of the young ladies on the cover with Page this month (Kasey Cosgrove (24), Charlotte Stevens (16), Taylor May (18), Shelby Bullard (17), Sarah Tierney (17), and Marlee Menendez (15)), this was their first “cover” and to be able to share the cover with Page herself made it even more special. The fashions that the young ladies are wearing on the cover were designed by 16 year old “youthpreneur”, Brooke Vallaire, who is profiled on page 13. We love it when things are a win-­win­-win! We hope you enjoy Page’s story. She certainly is a class act. Good Reading, Good Sales, and Great Success to You All! Steve Levine President/Executive Publisher, Small Business Today Magazine

Chairman John Cruise President/Executive Publisher Steve Levine Associate Publisher/Creative Director/Editor Barbara Davis-Levine Business Development/PR Sonia Guimbellot Aaron Kaplan Susan Repka Donna Rooney Stephen Zappala Art Director/Graphic Designer Malka G. Levy Photographer Gwen Juarez Contributing Writers Errol Allen Barbara Davis Josephine Firat Mila Golovine Lorraine Grubbs Aaron Kaplan Craig Klein Hank Moore Mayor Annise Parker Kaya Redford Kim Sawyer Rita Santamaria Jack Warkenthien Aimee Woodall Chief Advisor Hank Moore Publisher’s Advisory Board Shah Ardalan Roger Burks Sonia Clayton Donna Cole John Cruise Dirk Cummins April Day Dr. John Demartini Maya Durnovo Kathie Edwards Leonard Faucher Mila Golovine David Holt Richard Huebner Jeffrey Jones Darryl King Craig Klein Wea Lee Hank Moore Lisa M. Morton Mike Muhney Leisa Holland Nelson Mayor Annise Parker Page Parkes Susan Repka Maria Rios Grant Sadler Rita Santamaria Allen Shapiro William Sherrill Pam Terry Linda Toyota Jack Warkenthien Aaron Young Phone: 832-460-2020 E-Mail: Or Write: Small Business Today 5380 West 34th Street, Ste 230

Houston, TX 77092 See us on the web at



PG 3

Two Events One Great Cause The 2nd Annual Texas Best Music Fest is bringing Roger Creager to Warehouse Live March 29th! Roger's loyal following and high-energy performances are legendary in Texas, and now we’re bringing in this Texas Talent to help our Texas Kids. Then on March 31st, it’s time to tee-off at Sweetwater Country Club for our Celebrity Golf Tournament. All proceeds benefit Houston-based charity, Champions Kids Camp, which serves children in our community who have survived a traumatic event. March 31st, 2014 Sweetwater Country Club

Concert GA: $20 Golf Tournament: $150 per player $600 per team VIP Sponsorship Packages for you and/or your business start at $250 a game of golf for you

Other Local Small Businesses a game changer for a child including Katy Barrel Company, and Golf Cars of Houston have teamed up with TBMF to help more kids than ever. Consider making your small business a Ticket & Registration info @ part of these two rapidly expanding events. SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014


PG 4


MARCH 2014

Two Events One Great Cause


The 2nd Annual Texas Best Music Fest is bringing Roger Creager to Warehouse Live March 29th! Roger's loyal following and high-energy performances are legendary in Texas, and now we’re bringing in this Texas Talent to help our Texas Kids. Then on March 31st, it’s time to tee-off at Sweetwater Country Club for our Celebrity Golf Tournament. All proceeds benefit Houston-based charity, Champions Kids Camp, which serves children in our community who have survived a traumatic event.

Every Employee is the Key to Your Company’s Reputation and Success 8


Concert GA: $20 Golf Tournament: $150 per player $600 per team VIP Sponsorship Packages for you and/or your business start at $250


a game of golf for you

Other Local Small Businesses a game changer for a child including Katy Barrel Company, and Golf Cars of Houston have teamed up with TBMF to help more kids than ever. Consider making your small business a Ticket & Registration info @ part of these two rapidly expanding events.

Volume 2 Issue 12




Is Your Company Making These 10 Common Customer Relationship Mistakes?

March 31st, 2014 Sweetwater Country Club



PG 3







Houston, We Are Not Slowing Down! 12 Doing Business with the Japanese Developing Leaders Part Seven Ego and the Leader


DEVON RAY BATTAGLIA - DEVON RAY COMMUNICATIONS Strategic Storytelling That Builds Businesses By Kari Fluegel


Make New Friends, but Keep the Old - How to Maintain Your Network 16


today’s hectic marketplace, telling your company’s story in a distinctive and compelling way is essential to differentiating your goods and services from those of your competitors. Devon Ray Communications (DRC), a boutique public relations and marketing firm based in Houston, specializes in strategically crafting and disseminating a company’s unique brand in a manner that gets noticed and incites action. “We craft your story and then aggressively and strategically spread it to your target audiences,” said DRC Founder Devon Ray Battaglia. “When your messages are concisely, consistently, and tactically spread, they're heard; and when your messages are heard, attitudes change and sales, viewers, subscribers, etc. increase.”

Rationale and Reasons Businesses Fail That You Should Avoid


Keys to a Great In-Home Service Experience

Ms. Battaglia’s passion for helping small businesses launch, grow, or re-brand themselves was the fuel that launched DRC‘s growing public relations practice. “I fell in love with PR and have never looked back,” remarked Devon, a graduate of California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations. “I love the diversity of the field and its ability to be applied to every single industry and to every single situation.”


Battaglia’s blending of her education in classic public relations strategies and methodologies and her modern “know how” bring results in a creative and powerful combination for her clients whether they are start-ups or well-established enterprises.

10 Steps to Success in Sales and Leadership Mastery Part 2 of a 3 Part Series


Never Too Late to Start a Year of Good Financial Habits


Your Next Step Improve Your Sales with the Right Moves in Relationship Building


The Business of Fashion


New Year’s Resolutions Are a Bad Idea!


What are Your Intentions?


Devon and DRC have worked with organizations and individuals from a variety of industries ranging from natural/non-toxic nail polish to those who serve the oil and gas industry, from Realtors(R) to non-profits, and holistic care practitioners to consulting firms. She is experienced in both the business-to-consumer and business-tobusiness arenas. “We strive to be an extension of your team,” explained Battaglia. “We want to build a trusted relationship with you. We stay on top of industry and media trends, and we pride ourselves on innovation and creativity. We are dedicated, motivated, and when we get behind something we believe in, there's no stopping us.” DRC’s services include copywriting and content development; branding; media relations; strategic planning; social media marketing; design work; product launches; community relations; and employee communications.

With several years of experience, DRC has already had the distinction of assisting with and spearheading several successful campaigns. Ms. Battaglia elaborated, “We’ve built relationships with the ‘gatekeepers’ to increase the chances of media coverage and editorial product placements; and the boutique setting ensures quality of service and constant communication between us and our clients. We develop and execute personalized, strategic plans that achieve results.”

“Each company and each case is unique, and at Devon Ray Communications, we are prepared to roll up our sleeves to get down to the details, get creative, and ultimately help to enhance your growth and success.” Devon contends that public relations is the best, most cost effective tool to ensure that a brand's message is heard and attitudes are influenced; and that effective communications is the cornerstone of every productive relationship. With those philosophies at the heart of the agency, DRC is dedicated to ensuring that its clients’ most important audiences are hearing, understanding, and following them on a daily basis. “We really get to know you and your business to find those key aspects and message points from which to build. After a thorough needs analysis, we provide a plan of action to get you moving forward,” stated Ms. Battaglia. Establishing a terrific product or service is the first step, but if no one knows about it, they're definitely not thinking about you and certainly aren’t buying from you,” emphasized Devon. “It's imperative that you set yourself apart from the rest and highlight your strengths and expertise by telling your own unique story which will ensure that you're not lost in a sea of noise and competition.”

DO YOU NEED HELP IN TELLING YOUR COMPANY’S STORY IN A DISTINCTIVE AND COMPELLING WAY? Then contact Devon Ray Communications by phone at (832) 551-7221; by e-mail at; or on the web at









PG 3 5

Gwen Juarez photography




By Barbara R. Davis

n the world of modeling and talent agencies, it is not uncommon for so many of them to have poor reputations. Having been bestowed the Pinnacle Award of Excellence by the Better Business Bureau Education Foundation for the past ten years, Page Parkes Corporation, owned by Page Parkes-Eveleth, is a modeling and talent agency where integrity, character, and class are always in fashion!!! The Pinnacle Awards are so special because only BBB Accredited Businesses and Charity Members who maintain a superior commitment to ethics, overall excellence, and quality in the workplace are considered for such an honor. Ms. Parkes, who is presently on the Board of the Better Business Bureau remarked, “I believe that I am the only modeling school in the nation that has ever been awarded by the Better Business Bureau.” Truly, Page Parkes and her companies should be the yardstick by which other similar businesses should be judged. Since Page began her agency on April 1, 1981, she has never done “come on” ads like so many agencies do where one might see “Come audition for your Disney ad” or “Do you have pretty, big eyes?” Instead, Page’s business has thrived from referrals as a result of her integrity, her reputation as a leader, and someone who reaches out into the community. Page elaborated, “My goals have been always to work within the high schools and to inspire young people to live with passion. I think my real long-term goal is to be like Tony Robbins but for teenagers. Again, it says model agent out there but my true inspiration is helping each kid be all they can be.” One primary reason for Ms. Parkes success is due to her honesty and transparency. Never candy-coating facts is always her policy as exemplified in her statement, “The first words out of my mouth at Page Parkes or anyone here or any video or TV interview or anything you’ve ever seen from me is there are no guarantees. There were no SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014


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WHERE INTEGRITY, CHARACTER, AND CLASS ARE ALWAYS IN FASHION guarantees when I went to college. Why people think they can pay $1,000 and go to acting class and someone tell them that there is a guarantee shouldn’t be surprised when they’re ripped off!!! You could be Danny Devito or you could be Julia Roberts and both not have any physical requirements that would hold you back in the acting industry, but to get parents to ‘sell the farm’, to take this guarantee that is proposed to them, is where everyone goes wrong. I must tell you that I blame the parents for not investigating what they’re doing. They are the consumer.” Born in Denton, Texas and coming from the most humble of beginnings, Page was raised by a single mother. At a young age, Ms. Parkes learned to be a hard working, responsible, and self-sufficient individual. She took care of her two younger sisters so that her mother could make a living. She helped her mother any way she could and even picked up coke bottles when she was six years old to help her mother pay the rent. Page also learned a lot through example from her mother who became one of the first women in Who’s Who in American Women. Always very appreciative of her mother’s accomplishments, Page proudly noted, “Thanks to my mother and women like her, I didn’t have to break any walls down or be bitter about it.” Never wishing to be a burden on her mother, Page grew up very determined to be self-reliant. She went to great lengths (oftentimes painful) in trying to make sure she didn’t depend on other people and chose to follow a path that she felt would be a safe one with integrity and class. As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, and Page found creative ways to have a fashionable wardrobe with very little funds all from materials she found at home. From drawing to painting to cutting up the curtains that were hanging in the house, Page turned them into dresses and had a new one for every Friday night. In addition, Page would go to a lot of second-hand stores and remake things. She was really well-known in high school for ‘the girl with the style and the funky clothes’. Ms. Parkes recalled, “I would take

crocheted napkins that were appliqués from the olden days and stitch them all together and make skirts and jackets.”

After graduating from Clear Lake High School in Houston, Page left for Europe to attend the American College of Fashion. This was one of the best art schools at the time and to get in, Page had to have a portfolio of all of her designs and many reference letters. “I became involved in fashion in the first place due to my suffering academic grades. My sweet mom, Joy Parkes, who was quite inspired by my artistic ability, would say, ‘I’m sorry you’re failing math but look at your beautiful art.’ My mother was an accountant so I could never thank her enough for that stretch of finding out more about her artistic child instead of just having me be a failure in and attend accounting college.” Ms. Parkes was thrilled to be receiving her education from instructors who had years of experience in various areas of the fashion industry including advertising executives and fashion designers. Page was so talented that she won the coveted Young Couture Award. Having no idea that she was a contender for the illustrious award, Ms. Parkes had wanted to skip her graduation. She had talked her mother into going with her to the South of France. Fortunately, Page’s design teacher said to her, “We didn’t want to tell you this but you’ve won; so we are sure your mother would want to see you receive it at graduation.” After flying back with her mother from the South of France to Switzerland for her graduation, Page was handed her award by the famous fashion designer, Emilio Pucci. In addition, as part of the award, Ms. Parkes was also honored to be able to go live in the Emilio Pucci Castle to complete her studies in fashion design. Before moving back to America, Page regularly flew back and forth and would hear conversations about the security of working in Texas, specifically Houston. She became aware that people from all over the U.S. were flooding to Houston for work due to the poor economy where they lived. So Page chose Houston as well. She felt she could make a real difference and she also thought she could become extremely wellknown. There were no established leaders in Houston at the time as opposed to Dallas that had Kim Dawson. Page’s mission was to become the leader in Houston and since that time, her dreams have become reality. Upon arriving in Houston after college, Page was hired by the now defunct Michael St. James Talent Agency. Ms. Parkes’ role was to interview new talent when they first arrived at the agency. She loved her job so much that she would have worked for free so she hid the fact from her mother that a few of her paychecks had bounced. Through the St. James Agency, Page began doing a show at the Summit with Farrah Fawcett which was a huge undertaking. While in Los Angeles, Page handed over a check to Farrah for $60,000 for her appearance and when she returned home, Page found that the St. James Agency was bankrupt. The next morning, Ms. Parkes received a call from competitors suggesting she come and work for them since she really had no other options. She agreed on the condition that they also hire her friend and they did. Interestingly enough, this co-worker would eventually become Page’s business partner. After working at that agency for a period of

Gwen Juarez photography

As a teenager, Page was very inspired by a shop in the Montrose area of Houston owned by Mickey Rosmarin. She would go by his store and study what he had purchased. Eventually, his little shop evolved to become the popular, high-fashion boutique named Tootsie’s. Ms. Parkes is still inspired by Mickey today and has always felt that he has one of the best buying eyes in the fashion scene.

Meet Page’s “Power Team!” They are (from left to right): Alyssia Dodson, Tabitha Garcia, Page, Erik Bechtel, and Darla Pudlewski.

time, Page’s mother called her one day and told her that there was an ad in the newspaper for a modeling agency that was for sale and that it was the place she was working. Page was quite surprised. They discussed the situation and decided she should purchase the agency. Page made them an offer to purchase it in one year and a contract was written and signed by all parties. One year from that time passed and the owners of the agency started trying to back out of the agreement. Instead of fighting them, Page’s smart mother wisely advised her, “Don’t fight. Take all of your energy and just go right down the street. You did the proper thing by asking them to purchase it and also putting together a contract. If they’re going to renege; we’re not going into a lawsuit; we will just plant you as close as we can get you to them – to annoy them for life. The one minute you think about what others are doing is a minute less that you can soar, Page.” So Page opened up her own agency and did more than just annoy them; she soared! Beginning her business with $20,000 that Page’s mother had given her, by the time she got the doors open, she had $500 left in the bank which probably went away that same day. All of the money had been spent mainly on the lease, furniture, makeup, televisions, and video recorders; and there was no money left for advertising. Ms. Parkes did have a huge fan club from her last job. There was never one person who had been called to be falsely stolen or taken away, yet when Page opened the doors, the youngsters flocked there. They were wrapped around the office building just to talk to her. “It was unbelievable”, Ms. Parkes recalled. “Looking back, every single problem I’ve ever had in my life has been a life lesson. Every problem that ever happened that I thought was to me was really for me,” expressed Page. Fast forward, the Page Parkes Corporation now has annual revenues somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million dollars with offices in Houston, Dallas, and Austin and in the process of growing even more. In addition, two of the locations graciously named the buildings Page Parkes without Ms. Parkes even asking them to. Ms. Parkes has an illustrious list of famous actors who she has helped launched their career including Angelina Jolie, Woodie Harrelson, and Channing Tatum. For 17 years, Page had an office in Miami Beach which she eventually sold to the Ford Modeling Agency. Continued on page 28 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014 PG 7 3



Every Employee is the Key to Your Company’s Reputation and Success


By Rita Santamaria


n the words of General Norman Schwarzkopf:

Here are some attitudes that are universally considered undesirable:

“I think that there is one really fundamental military truth and that’s that you can add up the correlation of forces, you can look at the number of tanks, you can look at the number of airplanes, you can look at all these factors of military might and put them together; but unless the soldier on the ground or the airman in the air has the will to win, has the strength of character to go into battle... all the rest of that stuff is irrelevant.”

• Talking over the person who is trying to talk • Not listening to the customer but instead the employee is thinking of their next statement back to the dissatisfied customer • Not making eye contact with the customer

It is each of our employees or associates in the company who, together, make our business continue to grow. Our website can be the most up to date, google SEO awesome, our brochures filled with colorful graphics, and our ads so inspiring and purposeful that you want to tear them out and tape them to a wall; but our individual colleagues must be customer friendly to the point of making our customers feel like they are well received in an environment that is appreciative of their business. All the beautiful bells and whistles we have invested in time and resources mean nothing if the “soldier” greeting the customer as they enter or call on our business has a negative attitude or demonstrates negative body language.

• Not greeting the customer when they arrive • Greeting the customer in an unfriendly or disinterested type of greeting • When the customer asks a question, the associate or employee shrugs their shoulders and/or grunts a reply


Providing Award-Winning Education Since 1983

Real Estate, Loan Origination, Appraisal and Home Inspection Courses Available in Classroom, Online and by Correspondence.

Training a new hire has to be centered on the actual tasks necessary for their individual key responsibilities but the overriding evaluation during training is attitude. Attitude can make or break a customer relationship and eventually close the operations of a company.

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• Demonstrating body language that says, “I’m in a hurry and you are taking up my time”


PG 8 Lone Star College Tomball Provider #0123


• When the customer is talking to the employee, the employee simply walks away without stating what they are doing or where they are going At our business, we have grown to become the largest real estate school in the nation because of our quality, first rate reputation. Here are the daily practices within our company that are universally considered desirable and complimentary: • Compliments are consistent to the point of bringing in new business daily • Every customer gets a friendly greeting when they call or walk in the door • E-mails are reviewed so they demonstrate a happy and helpful employee • When the customer is speaking to us, we acknowledge the customer with eye contact and a helpful and positive look on our face • We don’t interrupt the customer when they are talking or asking a question • If we need to walk away to access the computer, materials, or product, we tell the customer what we are doing

• We always stay calm and have a positive attitude • We end every contact and conversation with “Is there anything else I can do for you?” and “Thank you for your business”. Many of our customers consistently state, “When we arrive in your place of business, we feel like we are home”. That is the utmost compliment to any business. It is completely up to management and ownership to take regular feedback from customers seriously, and if there is an issue, take care of it immediately! By the same token, when employees get compliments and kudos, they are to be acknowledged and praised. “Each individual person is the true key to success!”

Rita Santamaria is the owner/founder of Champions School of Real Estate and the Champions Professional Development School. was established in 1983 and has received numerous national and statewide awards for outstanding business practices most recently the 2013 BBB Award for Excellence.


Is Your Company Making These 10 Common Customer Relationship Mistakes? By Craig Klein, CEO


n this business environment, you need to stop making mistakes and hang on to each profitable customer. Although you may see lots of people making these familiar errors, you don’t want to be one of them. Use this as a checklist to make sure you are following the best business practices for building a solid customer relationship. 1. Using Your CRM Software Primarily to Monitor Salespeople In its infancy, CRM software was developed for sales people to keep track of sales leads and sales managers to keep track of sales people. If that is still the way you are using this powerful resource, you are losing money that you should be making. It does nothing to deepen the customer relationship. 2. Trusting the Optimism of Salespeople for Pipeline Forecasts By nature, a salesperson is going to be optimistic. They cannot survive in the brutal world of sales without the positive attitude. If you depend on salespeople to forecast future sales, pipeline reports will always be inaccurate. Instead, use the CRM software to track elements of the sales process. Then, when salespeople report on the steps taken toward the sale, you have data to support your expectations. 3. Not Having an Online CRM “In the Cloud” Even if you have an inside sales team, you will benefit from having access to the data anywhere with an internet connection. Most of your salespeople use smart phones and can respond to requests from sales leads any time and any place. Don’t lose business by having all your data in-house. 4. Operating with CRM Silos of Information for Each Department If you are smart, you use CRM software in other departments like customer service, marketing, accounting, etc. In the old days, departments were very protective of their own data. That’s a BIG mistake today. If everyone in the company has the same data, the customer relationship is in the center of every operation within the company. That is the path toward customer relationship loyalty. 5. Focusing More on Lead Generation than Lead Nurturing Having a boatload of sales leads does not mean as much as it did in the past. In fact, with the advent of the internet, having too many sales leads has become a problem in many companies. Sales team members need to know how to quickly disqualify any sales lead that is not ready to buy right away. Most of the sales SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014


PG 10

leads will not qualify. Those leads are placed in email automation for lead nurturing. 6. Chasing Every Sales Lead Using Tried-and-True Closing Tactics Closing tactics will often lead to total dismissal by today’s internet empowered customers. They can see right through your triedand-true closing methods and will shut down the conversation immediately. Bye-bye sales lead. 7. Sending Email Campaigns that Extol the Benefits of Your Product or Service Just like using closing techniques, today’s decision makers don’t care about you, your company, product, or service. They want you to educate them with valuable information they can use to make a decision – even if the decision is to purchase from someone else. It sounds brutal, but it is real. Thanks to marketing automation, you can turn that generosity of information into inbound marketing success. 8. Writing Original Emails that are Similar to the Ones You Send to Other Sales Leads Talk about a time-waster…any time you write a similar email more than once per week, it should become a part of your email automation. The extra special benefit of automating these emails is you can track the effectiveness of the message and tweak it to be constantly improved. You can delight the customer, control the quality and save team member’s time. It’s all good. 9. Not Communicating After the Sale is Made and the Product has Been Delivered We live in a world where buyers demand to be the center of your operation. You could call them selfish or narcissistic and you may be right. The way they see themselves is as good decision makers, always in search of the better deal. Customers will be extremely loyal, but it takes a concerted effort after the sale to build a customer relationship built on trust. 9. Not Tracking Which Email is Opened and if the Recipient Clicks on the Link Inside the Email A good online CRM is a rich database of useful information about what works and what does not. Taking the time to set up your CRM to track “opens and clicks” pays off in spades. Craig Klein is the founder of, a leading provider of CRM, Email Marketing, and Lead-Generation Solutions for Business-2-Business Sales Teams. SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE JULY 2013

| PG 24

3 I PG 11



Houston, We Are Not Slowing Down! By Mayor Annise Parker


love this city! Thank you for trusting me to continue in what For all the reasons someone may have come here, I believe that I believe is the best job in America. To serve you is my there are shared values that make us Houstonians, wherever greatest honor. I remain excited to go to work each and we were born, whatever our native language, and however we every day. As Mayor, I am the public face of our city. I came to be here. celebrate the triumphs and articulate the pain. I calm protests and invite action. I must have the big picture, knowing where My family taught me to accept responsibility, to live with integrity, our ship is sailing, the route we take, and the dangers we may to work hard, to finish a job begun, and to contribute time, face. I must be able to convey these to the dedicated men and talent, and treasure to my community. Those are the same women who make our city run, and to you, the Houstonians who values on which Houston was founded, and the values that depend upon our work, so that together we face the dangers as continue to shape our future. Those values are wrapped in they come. optimism that this is a city in which anything is achievable, shaped by men and women from The details matter as well; where the nearly every corner of the world who come believing HOUSTON IS A 21,000 women and men who are our city it is possible for anyone to succeed here, and CITY IN MOTION; workforce perform the complex choreography imbedded in the shared truth, that all are necessary to a city in motion. All cities have welcome in this most diverse of cities. AN challenges and sometimes fail to meet them, but we wouldn’t be America’s 4th largest city But diversity by itself is chaos. Diversity where INTERNATIONAL unless, day in and day out, our city team gets ideas meet and those seeds germinate can be a CITY OF ENERGY the job done; even when it involves great garden of plenty. To ensure the full participation of difficulties and real danger. every Houstonian in the business and civic life of AND DREAMS. this great city, it is time to pass a comprehensive This last year, we lost four of our own in a nondiscrimination ordinance that adds sexual HOUSTON IS devastating fire that also left a fifth firefighter orientation and gender identity to the protections A CITY THAT permanently impaired. Theirs was a sacrifice most Houstonians take for granted. beyond measure or understanding and the WORKS, worst loss of life in the history of the Houston Houston is a city in motion; an international city Fire Department. We continue to ask you to of energy and dreams, but dreams fueled by hard BLESSED WITH keep these firefighters and their families in your work and grounded in common sense. Houston A BOOMING is where grand ideas take hold if they relate to prayers. the basic competencies of the city. We like to ECONOMY. do big things. We can always figure out a way I also ask you to recognize the Solid Waste to get it done. From creating America’s largest employee who cleans an illegal dumpsite by exporting port where once was only a muddy stream, to putting hand, the Public Works employee who repairs a plugged sewer a human being on the moon, to opening our arms to embrace line in the freezing rain, and the Houston Police officer who the Katrina evacuees, it has always been about doing big things. patrols our streets on Christmas Eve. We excel at emergency preparedness and storm response but Why do people gravitate to cities? Cities have people and to protect the vast economic engine that sustains us, it is time possibilities. A city is a place where ideas can rub against for all of us in this region to come together and take concrete each other and perhaps strike a spark. People come to cities steps to create storm protections for our coastal communities seeking education, entertainment, employment, emancipation, with the proposed Centennial Gate or Ike Dike and we will. and companionship. Continued on page 33



PG 12


Doing Business with the Japanese By Ludmila (Mila) Rusakova Golovine


apan has long been regarded as an economic powerhouse. It is only the size of California yet has the 4th largest economy in the world. This situation is due to the culture’s strict discipline and work ethic. These characteristics make the Japanese market attractive for potential US business. Nevertheless, the Japanese culture is still one of the most formalistic on Earth which can pose some problems when coming into contact with American business culture. This fact should not discourage Americans from trying to do business in Japan but should encourage them to engage in and apply proper cultural awareness. One major cultural difference between Americans and Japanese is the manner of speaking. Americans are known for directness and referring to plain facts when conversing. They like to come to the heart of the matter immediately. In Japanese communication, this way of speaking is far too blunt. The Japanese prefer to refer to an issue indirectly or even through an intermediary. Moreover, while Americans mainly employ words to communicate, the Japanese use body language and facial expressions to express what they mean.

Another cultural difference is the value placed on relationships. Maintaining good relationships and harmony is vital in Japanese culture. It serves as the basis for most interactions. As stated previously, Americans deal primarily with straightforward facts and act on them in a practical manner. While the Japanese value facts just as much, their actions are based more on maintaining good relations and following traditional practices. This is also why the Japanese eschew conflict. While SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014

Americans view disagreement as an opportunity to challenge each other and come to a mutually beneficial solution, the Japanese view a disagreement as something that causes harm to relationships. Very often, they will attempt to defuse a situation before conflict arises.

in loss of face for both parties involved. On the other hand, face can be given by genuinely complimenting someone on an accomplishment or a job well-done. It is also given by treating someone extraordinarily well. It is not uncommon for a Japanese host to give their business guests the royal treatment. This action is their way of giving face.

Along with the avoidance of conflict is the ever-important concept of “face”. Face can be loosely interpreted as respect. Punctuality is extremely important to the Japanese. It is considered rude to show up late. If you are going to be late always call and warn as soon as possible. Upon arriving, it is important to apologize for the tardiness and express the hope that it will not reflect badly on you. Do not stress the reason for being late. Unlike in American culture where causes are extremely important, Japanese culture focuses on maintaining good relations. This is why it is ever important to make the apology as sincere as possible so that the relationship will be maintained.

Punctuality is extremely important to the Japanese. It is considered rude to show up late!

Since the Japanese are much more formal both in attire and demeanor than Americans, it will be important to dress Face can be both lost and given. Mainly it and behave accordingly. In dress, it is concerns how a person is viewed publicly. always best to stay with very formal A person mainly loses face when a clothing. Usually a black or dark suit mistake is pointed out publicly or someone is appropriate. Remember that the disagrees with another person publicly. Japanese businesspeople are especially Face can also extend beyond a person conservative, so bright and flashy colors and represent an entire organization or are completely inappropriate. There is no group. It is for this reason that very often harm in overdressing. So, if there is any representatives of Japanese companies doubt as to what the level of formality is, always err on the side of caution. are reluctant to admit mistakes. Face is also lost when proper hierarchy is not respected. A senior executive should never be confronted or disagreed with by a subordinate. This will result


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When meeting a Japanese businessman, the presentation of a business card is a Continued on page 33


Developing Leaders:

Part 7, Ego and the Leader By Lorraine Grubbs


t was our second month of coaching. John, the newly appointed Chief Pilot of an aviation company, at the request of his boss, had been working with me on getting his ego under control. I was pleased with John’s progress… and then in our sixth session, the inevitable “one step forward and two back” occurred. John walked into our session shaking his head and saying, “Boy, do I need to talk to you…I think I blew it yesterday”. “What happened?” I asked. “Well, as you know, things were going so well. I was much more aware of my ego, and felt I was doing a good job of controlling it. But yesterday, my boss told me that one of our Captains had quit and they needed me to fly his plane. I used to fly that plane exclusively but when I became Chief Pilot, part of the promotion was getting bumped up to the bigger plane. In a company like this, you’re usually hired to fly the small planes and you progress to the bigger ones as you get promoted. It’s a real coup to get to fly the bigger plane. So, when I was told they were temporarily putting me on the smaller plane until another pilot could be found, I went ballistic. I told my boss I’d paid my dues and didn’t feel it fair to have to be punished because one of the pilots had quit, and, I hadn’t even known he was quitting! As my boss listened to all my ranting and raving, he told me he was disappointed in my reaction.” “John”, he said, “When you are a leader, you have to look at the bigger picture. This has nothing to do with you personally and everything to do with keeping the business going in the right direction. Obviously, you just wanted the Chief Pilot position to fly the bigger plane, certainly not for the leadership responsibilities. It’s disappointing you did not even know the Captain was leaving. When was the last time you spoke to

him? Instead of seeing this as a company problem, you are looking at how it impacts you personally. Believe me, if I could make any other decision, I would. You deserve to fly the bigger plane, and eventually you will be doing so again, but in the interim, I need for you to be the leader I hired you to be and jump in to help wherever necessary and if you can’t do that without having a good attitude, then maybe you’re not the right person for this position!” “Ouch”, I said, “That isn’t good! So what are you going to do, John?”

“Awareness is the

“I thought long and hard about our conversation”, said John, “and remembered some things you had taught me. ‘Begin with the end in mind’ came to the forefront as I realized that as my boss was telling me about the Captain, I immediately quit thinking about anything other than the decision that was made without my input. I did not take the time to think about his decision and why he may have made it without consulting me, the Chief Pilot. I was too busy having a pity party for myself. ‘Get to know your people’ is another concept you and I discussed. I realize now that I had neglected to touch base with this Captain for several weeks and thus will never know if he might have confided in me prior to leaving. I will also never know if I could have done something to keep him around. The simple truth is I was so enamored flying the big plane that I really did neglect my duties as Chief Pilot. I clearly see where I was in the wrong and let my darned ego take over again! Boy, this ego of mine is not easy to tame!” “Well, John”, I said, “I couldn’t have said it better myself. Awareness is the first part of moving forward. We discussed how the path to leadership is not always a straight one and by

first part of moving forward. The main thing is that you

share your learning with your boss.”



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Make New Friends, but Keep the Old -

How to Maintain Your Network By Aimee Woodall


ith more than two million people living in Houston, it’s important to build a circle of trusted friends and collaborators for your business and social life. Creating a network really isn’t that hard either on account of the constant flood of invites to happy hours, gallery openings, and galas popping up online constantly.

for professional purposes. When connecting on LinkedIn, use your notes to remind them who you are, what you talked about and where you met. When you follow them on Twitter, say a quick “Hello! It was nice to meet you.” Your connection will be flattered you took an extra step to connect or impressed that you remembered specific information from your brief meeting.

It’s hard to resist these chances to meet your next professional connection or friend. RSVP click after RSVP click, your postwork calendar piles up with events and soon an already bursting bag fills with business cards from people whose faces you can hardly place when you get home. Is this the way to network? Attending every single one of these events to meet as many people as you can in the shortest amount of time seems a bit counterproductive.

Connect Offline Not all relationships are going to get to this step; and you shouldn’t expect them to. For some people, conversing online is enough to keep the relationship alive but for others, you may want to meet up again. These are the people you foresee potential friendships or business plans blooming with. Really, offline plans come about pretty organically if the connection you’ve made is solid and interesting. Act appropriately and see where the future leads!

Sure, you can try to meet every person inside and outside the loop and your industry, but, are you really connecting with them? - Not exactly. You can’t just meet a bunch of people and expect every relationship to fall into place. You have to build these connections long after an event is finished to really reap the benefits. Here are a few ideas for how you can turn all of these friendly handshakes and stacks of business cards into the new clients, collaborators, and best friends you’re looking for: Create a Relationship Catalog Not all of us have a photographic memory or the recall of an elephant. As soon as that business card gets in your hand or that contact info in your phone, write down where you met that person and what you talked about. Then, when you get home, create an excel sheet to plug in the details. This document will serve as a reminder and a starting point for conversation when you meet or connect again. Connect Online It’s OK to Internet stalk people once you’ve met them in real life. Find your connection’s social media channels to create an easy, real-time channel for communication. I suggest sticking to Twitter and LinkedIn, because most people use these channels SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014


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Don’t try to cast a wide net when networking. Shaking hand-after-hand and passing out hundreds of business cards with no follow-up is not how you become a top-of-mind memory for people. Relationship building takes time and effort. Don’t rely on new connections to remember you or move the relationship along. If you can see the potential, YOU are the one that should be focusing on the follow-up. Aimee Woodall is the owner of The Black Sheep Agency, a Houston-based creative agency specializing in non-traditional public relations, social media, and experiential marketing. Visit them on the web at or follow them on Twitter @shearcreativity and on Facebook at theblacksheepagency. You can contact Amy at 832-971-7725 or

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Rationale and Reasons Businesses Fail That You Should Avoid


By Hank Moore / Corporate Strategist™


ome people and organizations go to great extremes to place spins, rationalize, or save face rather than accept accountability which often results in failure. They may make sweeping generalizations, far-fetched excuses, or scapegoat someone else in order to avoid reality. Behind these often-voiced expressions lie fallacies in reasoning, the wrong facts, jealousy, animosity, or personal self-doubt. Quite often sarcasm or hidden agendas are lurking behind seemingly innocent comments. The following are rationale and reasons that businesses fail and you should avoid: Failing to Make Investments in Future Company Success I’m building a new house right now. I just took a vacation. I’ve got to send the kid to college. We just bought a piece of computer software. We have to make cuts everywhere else to pay for rising production costs. We make a good product...that should be enough. Why must we spend time on things other than our core business? We can dispense with all that employee training and professional development. We just cannot afford to make the investments. Rationalizing Organizational Setbacks We were growing too fast anyway. It was time to pull in our reins and get back to basics. We took a risk once and it didn’t work out. This hasn’t been our lucky year. If we didn’t have so much (any) competition, then we would be on Easy Street. That was caused by previous management; we blame it on them. We’re lean and mean now; we cut out all the fat. Our people just need to work a little harder. Economic forces beyond our control are at work but, we’re still making money. If our people would think more about what they’re doing, then we would be successful. That’s our problem... people thinking but not doing...people doing but not thinking. SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014


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Rationalizing Poor Service or Quality You won’t get it any better elsewhere. If you don’t believe it, go try to find out. We’re number one in sales. Our people were hired to do their jobs. They know what they’re doing. Nobody has complained about this issue before. The problem must be with you. Quality is our middle name. We’ve got the latest technology. If you can do so much better, why don’t you go try. Profitability is all that matters. Customers are a dime a dozen. They can be easily replaced. We’re running this business for us, not for them. We have an automated phone system to take care of all that. Customer service is as good as it always was. Quality is as good as it will ever be. Blaming Problems on Others Our consultant told us to do it. We’re waiting to see what (governmental entity) will do. We’re good at what we do. No need to change. People are expendable. If they don’t like it, they can leave. Workers are easily replaced. Our accountant says we cannot afford that right now. Our ad campaign backfired. We’re too worried about - (some item in the news... the latest source of gossip). Interest rates are too high. Our lawyer can take care of any problems that arise. Until then, it’s business as usual. Ethics and standards...those are for chumps. Making the big bucks is all that matters. Avoiding Change, Denying the Need for Change What worked before works now and always will. Things will always stay the same here. Once the PR crisis passes, things will get back to normal. You can’t change the weather or the world so why bother trying to change anything else. That’s just the way he-she is; you should learn to live with it. Our human resources department takes care of that. We’re afraid of litigation. There’s not a thing that we can do to change things. The status quo is perfectly acceptable. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. That’s life. What are you going to do about it?


Not Engaging in Planning for Future Operations There’s too much talk about planning. We’re just busy doing things. We have a Mission Statement. Money covers up a lot of ills. We have annual sales projections. Good things happen to good people. It will be our turn soon. Surely, things will work themselves out. Some people avoid addressing real business issues head-on. Others never had the rationale and implications explained to them properly. Here are some of the common erroneous statements that people make: This company reflects the character of its CEO. Sadly, this can be the extremes. Many companies are ego-driven. The wise CEO is one who listens to others, surrounds himselfherself with smart people, and fosters a spirit of teamwork. A good company is not predicated upon one personality but instead, has adopted a corporate culture that thinks and feels. Our company has got the most upto-date technology. Companies spend disproportionate amounts of money on technology and neglect their people, processes, and policies. Technology represents less than 1% of an organization’s pie chart. Technology should be addressed as a tool of the trade...the bigger issues being a cohesive plan of action and organizational vision. We must be doing something right. Some companies succeed in their early stages because of raw energy. Conditions change, as should the companies. We must encourage colleagues to honestly examine reasons for their initial success and caution them that continuous quality improvement is necessary. Companies must always grow to “the next tier” and not rest upon their laurels. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This is probably the worst cop-out. There is no organization that is totally perfect and cannot stand some fine-tuning. We are a very quality-oriented company. Quality is as quality does. Some organizations pay considerable lip service to quality but are clueless as to what it really is, what it means, or how it can be sustained. Quality is a conscious, continuous effort to plan, think, act, and measure. Quality is neither a quick fix for problems nor a shortcut to success and riches. We know what our customers want. This is usually said to challenge suggestions that better customer service might be necessary. Sadly, companies pay mostly lip service toward customer service. They don’t stimulate enough dialogue. When

you suggest that a more targeted customer focus would benefit all, including their bottom line, management often gets pious, argumentative, and confrontational or they just look the other way while the customers go elsewhere. Success Speaks for Itself People who enjoy temporary, high sales love to brag. To them, monetary volume is the “definition” of success. You should do business with them because they are a “winner,” so they claim. In reality, no single market shift speaks completely for itself. Sales rankings vary with various influencers. Many factors contribute toward long-term success which is a road filled with ups and downs. Everything is subject to interpretation. Organizations must educate consumers in a pro-active way on how to best utilize their products-services. Ways to Avoid Negative Euphemisms: • Put more emphasis upon substance, rather than flash and sizzle. • Look outside the organization, instead of keeping your total focus internal. • Challenge negative comments and make accusers accountable for false claims. • Keep communications open and continual. • Refrain from making false representations. • Abilities to think, reason, take risks and feel gut human instincts must all be nurtured. • Take advice from all sources. Do research. Get informed counsel from seasoned advisers. • Document and comprehend the reasons for successes. • Empower the organization to embrace-embody the corporate culture. • Learn to manage change, rather than become a victim of it. The savvy business executive or advisor will offer pro-active follow-ups. Trite statements should not just sit as they are made. By responding realistically and with an eye toward company improvement, you’ll be doing colleagues a service.


Hank Moore has advised over 5,000 client organizations including public sector agencies, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and 100 of the Fortune 500. Visit his website at or contact Hank by phone at 713-668-0664 or by email at



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Keys to a Great In-Home Service Experience By Errol D.Allen


here are a multitude of in-home service providers in today’s economy such as carpet cleaners, plumbers, electricians, appliance installers, and internet repair persons, to name a few. When providing service at the customer’s residence, it’s important to have a plan for providing a great customer experience. Take the following into consideration when developing your plan: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate Timely communication should be a key aspect of your in-home service practices. When you set an appointment with your customer, verify the service to be provided, and advise them that you will contact them again 24 to 48 hours prior to verify that they will still be available at the scheduled time. Provide your customer with instructions on how to cancel or reschedule their appointment as well. Call the customer again the day of the scheduled appointment. If you have personnel making the service call, make sure that they are clear on the service they are to provide. If possible, have them call when en route to the customer’s residence. Your willingness to effectively communicate will set your business apart from the competition. Before You Ring the Door Bell I remember having an issue with my home AC unit where service was required. When the service provider arrived, I couldn’t tell what company he represented. There was No signage on his truck, No uniform, No company ID, and his girlfriend was in the truck with him! Not the way to make the customer feel at ease. It’s important to make a good representation of one’s company at the customer’s residence. Is the company or contractor vehicle clean with company signage readily visible? Is the service provider dressed in a clean company uniform? Does the service provider present his/her company ID before entering the customer’s residence? Has the service provider slipped on shoe covers so as not to inadvertently soil a customer’s floors? These are all things to consider before ringing the door bell! The Service Experience When it comes to providing a great in-home service experience, two key ingredients are one’s ability to ask the right questions coupled with excellent listening skills. As a service provider, it’s a good idea to establish the service the customer is expecting SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014


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to receive during your visit. “Sir/Ma’am, I am here today to…” just to make sure you and the customer are on the same page before starting the actual physical service process. When at a customer’s residence to resolve an issue, another key ingredient to add to your skill set is the ability to ask the right questions? When did the problem start? Where is the noise located? What time of day is the issue most prevalent? By allowing your customer to answer questions, you make them a part of the service experience. Most customers appreciate being asked these questions and it helps one to possibly pinpoint the issue or maybe change resolution strategies. Rate My Service Please! It’s important to know how your customer feels about the level of service provided during their in-home service. Customer feedback is important to consistently providing great in-home service experiences. While in the customer’s residence, provide a short (5 to 10 questions) survey for the customer to complete on the spot. That way, the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind which oftentimes leads to a more accurate rating. Offer the survey right before removing equipment, tools, or whatever is required for service completion. The customer can complete the survey while you’re loading the truck. Create the survey with what’s important to the customer in mind: Timeliness, Effective Communication, Level of Service Provided, and Service Provider Appearance (clean uniform, shoe covers, company ID, etc.), among other possible categories. Customers love to give feedback; let them give their opinion regarding your service. It helps service providers stay on their toes and helps one to determine what’s really important to customers. In-home service is a big deal in today’s world. Make sure you’re creating great in-home customer experiences by Communicating, making sure service providers create the right impression Before Ringing the Doorbell, providing a great Service Experience, and allowing the customer to Rate Your Services. Errol Allen, Customer Service Engineer, can be contacted by email at or by phone at 1-800-830-4167. You can also visit his website at

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10 Steps to Success in Sales and Leadership Mastery Part 2 of a 3 Part Series By Kaya Redford


ast month, I addressed Steps 1 and 2 that dealt with goal setting and goal achieving. I also discussed two cutting-edge techniques: Precision NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) which is the study of human excellence and Time Line Therapy® which aids in the removal of blocks. The two key points were to: 1. Set the stage in advance so you are seen as the expert. 2. Invoke the appropriate state - enthusiasm, confidence, passion, power, and a sense of urgency.

Here now is the continuation of my 3 part series with Steps 3 through 6 of the 10 Steps to Success, Sales, and Leadership Mastery! –

Step 3 Connect and establish deep rapport – build the bridge between you and your client. Many people know the idea of commonality – the idea of wanting to find the same things they have in common with the person they meet. What if no commonalities are present, what do you do? You can Mirror or Match back to them certain mannerisms like their body language,


facial gesture, voice tonality, and even their breathing pace. Do this very subtly so they don’t notice it. All you are doing is building a bridge of connection between you and your client to help them get what they want, to serve them in the best way. This principle relates to the Law of Vanity which reveals that people like others who are just like themselves. Of course, there are nuances to this that can’t be taught by just reading words on a paper.

Step 4

Speak into the other person’s “listening” – identify your client; know how to talk directly into their map of the world. Have you ever heard someone say, “Speak into my listening”? Why? Because they were probably not aware that they had certain words they preferred to listen to and other words they just did not hear at all. The key here is to determine which words the person you are speaking with prefers or relies on most to experience their world of reality. As soon as you determine that, speak into their listening by using words within the language of their preferred sense. In other words, with visual people - talk about how your program LOOKS (Visual); with auditory people - talk about how it SOUNDS (auditory); with kinesthetic people – talk about how it FEELS; and with auditory digital people – talk about how it MAKES SENSE.


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Step 5

Empowering Questions – Ask the right questions to elicit their deepest wants, needs, values, criteria, and emotions. Instead of pushing for someone to do something, why not just empower them to do it! Instead of doing all the talking yourself, why not get them to do the talking. How do we do this? By asking the right questions - questions that empower them, which, when they answer those questions, they are literally talking themselves into doing business with you. All you are doing is just guiding the conversation. Questions like: 1. What’s important to you? 2. What do you need? 3. If I could help you get those things, is that something you would like to hear more about? 4. How do you see yourself working with me? What do you see yourself benefiting by working with me?

Step 6

Set up powerful frames and pre-frames. Overcome any objections upfront before they are even given.

Is it true that your customer or client has preconceived objections before you have


your meeting with them? Maybe they have Ideas of why they can’t or shouldn’t do business with you right now in the present moment. Perhaps they “think” they don’t have the time, money, or they “think” they need to think about it some more. Let’s say a potential client perceives your service or you to be too expensive; here is a possible pre-frame you could say: “I know you may be thinking that we are expensive and yet, every day, proactive people just like you choose to work with us because they know that they will achieve their goals and meet their needs faster by working with us than by going anywhere else.”

With visual people talk about how your program LOOKS (Visual); with auditory people - talk about how it SOUNDS (Auditory); with kinesthetic people – talk about how it FEELS; and with auditory digital people – talk about how it MAKES SENSE.

I look forward in sharing with you Steps 7 – 10 in next month’s issue. Make sure to revisit Steps 1 and 2 in last month’s issue.

Kaya Redford, Founder/CEO/ President of Kaya Redford SUCCESS Coaching and T.E.A.M. Up For Life Company (Think Excellence, Achieve Magnificence) can be contacted by phone at 310-871-6191, by email at info@KayaRedfordSuccessCoaching. com, or visit his website at

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Never Too Late to Start a Year of Good Financial Habits By George Rose, Wells Fargo V.P., Business Relationship Manager

George Rose, Wells Fargo V.P.


ow’s the time that many of us have already broken our resolutions for the New Year. With holiday bills still arriving in the mail and being in the middle of tax season, it’s smart to keep those resolutions include taking a fresh look at your financial picture and setting new financial goals and habits for 2014. Do resolutions help? We jumped into January with great intentions. Yet for some, the goal of financial fitness faded into February then dropped off the calendar entirely. The reason why? - They didn’t know where to begin. These ideas can help you stay on track: Talk to Your Banker One great way to get a jumpstart on a new financial plan is to meet with a personal banker or financial advisor. Just like staying on a New Year’s diet, a little support and guidance from a “coach” can help you put together a great plan and turn it into an effective strategy you can stick with. Set Goals When it comes to achieving financial success, you need to know where you are headed. Write down your financial goals – down payment on a home, college education for the kids, paying off high credit card balances. Add short-term goals such as saving for a vacation because early success can encourage you to keep going long-term. Some financial institutions offer online tools that allow you to establish savings goals and monitor your progress toward reaching them. Be specific about the amount you will need and the target date for reaching each goal, then set up a savings plan that will get you there. Take Stock Add up all of your expenses for at least a month. Again, some financial institutions have online tools to help monitor transactions and track spending. With many online services, you can download transaction records directly to personal finance software thereby making it even easier to monitor your costs. No more sifting through shoeboxes stuffed with receipts at tax time! What’s more, online services could help you reduce taxes by keeping track of every deductible expense. Make two lists of expenses – One for essentials such as mortgage, taxes, food, and insurance and one for non-essentials such as entertainment and clothing.



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You may be surprised at how much you’re spending on the non-essentials. Sign up for online banking and online bill payment services which allow you to set up automatic payments for recurring expenses. Cut Costs How can you save when you spend every dime to meet expenses? You don’t need to live like a miser to trim dollars from your monthly expenses; yet you do need to pay attention to every purchase and avoid impulse buying. Look again at those costs – you might find considerable savings. Also, talk with your insurer about how you can lower your insurance costs; and shop around for discounts. For example, many insurers offer a discount if they insure your home and your vehicles. Cut Credit Card Debt If you have large credit card balances, consider a home equity loan to pay them off. The interest likely will be lower than that of credit cards, and your tax adviser can tell you if the interest qualifies as a tax deduction. If a home equity loan is not an option, you still can pay down the balances. Start Saving Start now, even if it’s just a few dollars a week. Ask your financial adviser about a 401(k) and other directdeposit accounts that move money straight to savings or investment funds. This process makes savings much easier and a 401(k) can cut your tax bill. If your employer matches your 401(k) savings, try to have the maximum deducted each pay period. Be Flexible Treat yourself to small splurges once in a while and don’t get discouraged if an unexpected expense throws you off your budget one month. Just get back on the financial fitness track. The most important step you take on any journey is the first one; so jump right in and “March” down the road to financial fitness. Come this December, you’ll be glad you did. George Rose is a Wells Fargo Vice President and Business Banking Relationship Manager. He has served in small business banking in Houston, TX for over 10 years. George can be reached via email at



3 PG 25


Your Next Step

Improve Your Sales with the Right Moves in Relationship Building By Jack Warkenthien


o succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, you need more than just exceptional products and services. So, how can you do more than just survive? How can you THRIVE? The answer is by improving your sales with the right moves in relationship building. A sale is a relationship, not a transaction and the most powerful marketing assets you possess are your people, company, and service. Some Basics The emphasis today should be on the quality and not the quantity of relationships. You must differentiate yourself in your industry and define your “Unique Value Proposition” (UVP). You have to know where to fish for new leads, what bait to use, and how to reel them in once hooked. Relative to your networking efforts, it’s possible to turn all of your relationships into revenue streams. One way to do that is learning how to ask for and harvest referrals. This is especially important for high-end services and products. Successfully harvesting referrals involves knowing how to ask, follow-up, and deliver a quality project. The best way to UP sales in a DOWN economy is to market when others are not. One dollar invested today in marketing is the equivalent of investing three dollars in robust times; thereby giving you three times the bang for your (marketing) buck. Becoming more proficient in communications skills is, by far, the best way to effectively promote oneself, one’s SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014

business, and one’s industry, leaving others, with lesser skills, in your dust. The 5Cs of Relationship Selling This five-step plan will help you turn your customers into crusaders: 1. Contact – Potential Candidate or networking lead. 2. Candidate – Qualified Contact with buying potential. 3. Customer – Candidate who has purchased products and/or services at least once. 4. Client – Customer who has made multiple purchases and has an ongoing financial relationship. 5. Crusader – Client who actively recommends the company to their friends and business network. Do’s and Don’ts of Sales Leads The Do’s • Do preliminary research on the candidate before making the call. • Do offer an idea that is unique and specific. • Do alternate between voice message and email when leaving a message. • Do make a high value/low cost offer to get a small yes. Remember, big relationships start with small yeses!


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• Do own and control the next step of the sales process such as making an appointment. The Don’ts • Don’t assume the candidate knows anything about your company. • Don’t sound like all the other salespersons selling their products and services - A sale is made by asking, not telling. Ask questions about their needs that will lead down the path to the sale. • Don’t prescribe before you diagnose. • Don’t hesitate to call the candidate as soon as you receive the lead. Act while the lead is still hot. • Don’t end your phone call or conversation until both parties are clear and have agreed upon what happens next. I hope my dear SBT Magazine Friends will benefit from these pointers as you all enjoy your BEST year ever in 2014! I know I’m looking forward to the same.

Jack Warkenthien, CEO, NextStep Solutions, can be contacted by email at or call him at 832-344-6998. You can also visit his website at

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her previous employers. Even with the negative situation with her first employer, the good thing was that she also became acquainted with one of the most credible women in the industry by the name of Sherry Young (now deceased). Page very much admired her and had the privilege of Sherry taking her under her wing and teaching her how to be a real agent.

Gwen Juarez photography

Hank Moore is someone who Page considers a present day mentor and calls on him often. She had read one of his business books and then reached out to him and asked him to speak to her corporation. Surprisingly, unbeknownst to Ms. Parkes, Mr. Moore had been admiring Page’s business abilities and was a fan of hers too. Hank had been on the judging team for the BBB and had voted for her to receive the BBB Awards she has been receiving the past 10 years. Now that Page calls on Hank for advice, he is no longer able to be on the judging team. Page expressed, “I find him very cool and very current even though he’s not a youngster. To have that much in common with a man who is from a completely different time period when there were no TVs is really great. I think that is the best kind of mentor to have - someone who shows me I can reinvent myself and stay current in this economic situation.”

Continued from page 7

Page has been the recipient 10 years in a row of the Better Business Bureau’s “Pinnacle Award of Excellence”!!!

Ms. Parkes has survived the economy going upside down twice but her companies continue to thrive through all of her hard effort and her good reputation. She did it the old-fashioned way by going out and lecturing at all of the high schools. Page Parkes is now a household name in the Houston community by doing one good deed at a time. It started with one good parent that Page kept her word to; who told 10 other parents; and so on and so on. Page’s success can also be attributed to the charitable endeavors she does as well of giving of herself. She is always giving to schools in every city, especially the poorest ones. “So instead of going and saying how much money do you think I can make in Dallas or Austin, I start by saying, ‘I wonder how much money I can give away to these poor art schools.’ When I go and lecture to these young, talented kids and then they end up coming into Page Parkes, I give them scholarships”, commented Ms. Parkes. She is still driving business by personally spending a lot of time in each city where she has just opened a new location. Page has also gotten her name out there due to a terrific documentary on the E! Channel by the name of “Scouted.” It was so successful that it won the Best Documentary Award. Now, there is a discussion about them doing a spin-off of Ms. Parkes character from “Scouted” and have her as the Principal of a school on the E! Channel or MTV. Ms. Parkes appreciates the mentorship she has received from others over the years and learned the good and the bad from both of PG 6

When Ms. Parkes is not busy with work, she shares her home life with her husband of almost twenty years, Bob Eveleth. Between the two of them, they have nine different corporations. Bob is an extremely motivated and very, very smart man who Page loves dearly. He helps her with her businesses as well as being her “rock”. They both work in the community with children and Page was a longtime child advocate and also sat on the board for Child Advocates until they adopted their three children from foster care. The children, who are all siblings, were five months, two years, and three years old when they were adopted. Now, daughter Reagan is twelve, son Zachary is eleven, and son Jacob is nine. They are leaders like their parents and attend public school in Cypress, Texas. The Eveleth’s believe that for children to be prepared for real life, public school gives them that ability. Page remarked, “All my real success or my greatest successes will probably come through my kids.” Ms. Parkes is very proud that most of her staff has been with her anywhere between 25 and 30 years. Her goal is to eventually have her employees carry on the mission that she started. Her Vice-President, Tabitha Garcia, started as a model at 17 with Page Parkes. She tried to quit and said to Page that she didn’t want to model any more. So Page replied, “I love you. What can I do for you?” When Tabitha answered that she wanted Page’s job, Page said, “You can start tomorrow, no one has ever asked for it.” Now, nearly 17 years later, Ms. Garcia is almost completely in charge of the Page Parkes Corporation and will be the future of Page Parkes. “There are other members of the team who will step up”, stated Ms. Parkes, “And I am sure will go with Tabitha to lead on after I am gone.” In summing it all up, Page reflected, “As much as I wanted it and as competitive as I feel that I am, I can honestly tell you that I have no desire to run over someone or even to undermine them. The only way I could function is to do my best without hurting other people. This is why I get calls from people who say things like, ‘I never became Angelina Jolie but I am the President of Methodist Hospital.’ ‘I just graduated Summa Cum Laude and I’m an architect that Chevron has hired and your message is in my everyday work.’ I know it says model and talent agent out there but I think my goal has been to inspire young people to live with passion and to give it all they have. The only argument a kid should have with their parents is what they’re passionate about; where they want to go to school; what they want to do with their lives; because again, going back to if my mother would have made me be her, and if that was all she understood, I would have been a big failure and not the person being interviewed for this story.”

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Thank goodness Page’s mother gave her wings and let her fly so that she could become the successful, gracious owner of businesses where integrity, character, and class are always in fashion!!!

Gwen Juarez photography

Page truly believes that what she and her company does best is empowering others to achieve their dreams!

Take Away Notes for Success 1. The number one thing that I would recommend to anyone starting a business would be to live with passion. It is passion that will make us successful, not the drive for money. 2. It’s important to utilize all your resources. For example, my mother was a resource for finances. Emilio Pucci was a resource for my credibility as a designer. So resources are very, very important. 3. It’s important to find out the guidelines for your industry. 4. Start with a mission and a mission statement that is physically written down and concurs with your core being that you can live with. 5. Remember that in the first three years more than 75% of businesses fail, so I wouldn’t exactly come up with “Plan B” but realize that you still will be struggling at a three year time point. 6. Surround yourself with people you love and care about and people who care about you and all have a common goal. 7. My biggest mistake was I didn’t think I was ever going to exit, so there never really was an exit plan.

I’ve spent the last seven to eight years detaching myself from Page Parkes - the human being from Page Parkes - the building on 610. 8. It’s important to have mentors. 9. Honesty and loyalty are very important. It’s a difficult thing to do and I try to be non-hurtful. I have also never stolen, never lied, never cheated, and I’ve always paid everyone who was supposed to be paid. I haven’t won every time, but I’ve been honest every time. 10. Give back to the community. For me, the charity I work for is Child Advocates. The reason I chose Child Advocates is because I have worked with so many blessed children who had everything. They didn’t even thank me for a movie. When I started working for Child Advocates, they said thank you for a McDonald’s meal. It helped balance out my life. So I always advise you to become involved, not in every charity but again something that is passionate to your heart. I love kids, so I think I have tried to get involved in the betterment of children in every single way I think I could in our city.

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The Business of Fashion By Josephine Firat


hen I speak to fashion students and others who would like to enter the fashion industry with their own businesses, I first ask them why they want to be professionals in this industry. They typically respond with words such as, “glamorous,” “celebrities wearing their clothes,” “fashion shows,” “designing beautiful things,” and “trips to New York City.” Sometimes, professionals in other industries looking in on the fashion industry see the same aura. I guess we professionals, who are actually working in the industry, make it look easy; much easier than it actually is. Here is the reality - there is an abundant fashion industry right here in Houston that is filled with long hours, dynamic gross margins, sweat equity, and hard-earned net income. I encourage anyone who is interested in starting a business in the fashion industry to do it and especially do it in Houston! But before they do, they must realize that it is not easy. It is very rarely glamorous; it is only glamorous on the outside but the background (the trenches) is where the hard work, the ‘not so glamorous’ side is. In addition, they have to do thorough research first, but where do you, a prospective fashion business owner, start? You start with customers. Let’s say you have a beautiful product (or, so YOU think); a dress, jacket, t-shirt, handbag, or necklace. Fashion is so subjective that what YOU think about your product does not matter. What matters, then? What matters is whether your customers like it and they are willing to pay money for it. Is it saleable? The most successful people in the fashion industry are not necessarily the people who produce the most beautiful things with the most skilled craftsmanship. SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014

They are the people who know what the customers want and provide it to them. I understand that creative people have passion and love for what they do, but passion, love, and technical skills alone are not going to create a successful business. At the end of the day, people have to pay money for what you sell. So, at the end of the day, all that really matters are those people – your customers.

IN HOUSTON, “FASHION” IS DEFINED BY THE INDIVIDUAL, NOT BY POPULAR CULTURE. Houston is a great place to find customers because it is so diverse. Everywhere else “fashion” is usually found in the latest magazines or what the celebrities are wearing. In Houston, “fashion” is defined by the individual, not by popular culture. This allows for more creativity and opportunity in Houston. As long as you can find a growing group of people who will buy what you offer, you are ready to move forward with your business idea. One of the biggest downfalls of a startup is that the owner creates a product that he


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or she loves and then forces that product upon the market. Start with the customer first. How do you do this? Define your prospective customer, find a group of them, and ask them. This may sound like a no-brainer but you would be surprised at how many businesses are started, money invested, and products produced without one single customer committing to a purchase. If you live in the Greater Houston Area with over six million people who wear clothes and you cannot find a single person or business that will commit to doing business with you after you start your company, then you need to find a new business idea. Understanding the difference between an idea and an opportunity is crucial in the fashion industry or any industry for that matter. We all have ideas that we think are great. Ideas come to creative people in the fashion industry all the time. The very first thing that distinguishes an idea from an opportunity is that a real opportunity will have a defined market of customers. When you find those customers who are ready to pay you for what you do or want to do, you are ready to really get into the process of starting your own fashion business.

Josephine Firat, Committee Member of Houston Designed, can be reached by email at or by phone at 713-871-1048. Visit the Houston Designed website at www.


New Year’s Resolutions Are a Bad Idea! By Kim Sawyer


t’s March now and, like most people, you probably made some New Year’s resolutions. So how’s it going? Have you kept them all? Have you kept some of them? Or have they all been swept away under that dark, dusty carpet called GUILT? If so, take heart; you are not alone. In fact, in a study led by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, of the 700 people who were asked about their strategies for achieving New Year’s resolutions, nearly 80% of them reported they had broken or abandoned most of them. Notwithstanding, you may have found the guilt or the self-reproach a bit debilitating. How’s that been working for you? Not to worry, there is another way. So what is the best way to deal with New Year’s resolutions? Don’t make any!!! The New Year can be a time of renewal, a marker for a new start. The problem is not the desire to do things differently, though. It’s the belief that a simple declaration of intent is all it takes to make a new start. Real change involves more than intention; it involves calculated action toward what I call a “Practical New Year’s VISION.” The power of accomplishment doesn’t come from the next thing I keep doing; it comes from what happens in between the dream I have and the steps I take. The connecting link between dreams and action – the thing that makes a dream a vision - is COMMITMENT. Commitment has its own energy. There’s a powerful quote, often attributed to Goethe, but which is actually from W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951, that best explains what I am talking about: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back— Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.” Goethe’s contribution to the dialog is: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and

magic in it. Begin it now.” The bottom line is that where there is real commitment, the universe tends to align with and tremendously amplify one’s actions to bring that commitment to fruition. Here are the actions we propose as a path to achievement of your Practical New Year’s Vision: 1. VISUALIZE yourself at the END of the year. Look around you and see what your life will look like if you spend the coming year living your best life as your best self. What is present to behold? What material, relational, and spiritual gifts will you be enjoying? 2. COMMIT to having what you have visualized. 3. TELL SOMEONE. Move and inspire people. Add their energy to your vision. Telling it/speaking it to another makes it real. 4. LET GO of the expectation that your vision, when it is ultimately manifested, will look exactly like you imagine it now. The great paradox of creating a Vision is that you don’t know enough about yourself, the world, and what simply hasn’t happened yet to be able to predict what it will look like with any meaningful accuracy. 5. TAKE ACTION. Plan and execute the steps you will take over the next 90 days. MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS every 90 days. Moving toward the fulfillment of your vision is a continual process: Act, Review, and Redesign. 6. DON’T TRY THIS ALONE! Get yourself a professional coach! Coaches are experts in the technology of success.

Based in Houston, Texas, Kim Sawyer is a highly respected veteran, executive coach who serves clients internationally. Kim can be reached by email at To find out more about Kim’s firm, theWeathSource, visit their website is at



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What are Your Intentions? By Aaron Kaplan


henever I start coaching new clients, I always ask them to articulate their underlying “why” and their ultimate intentions in the most compelling and clear way that they can. For my entrepreneurial clients developing their businesses, I have found that they start businesses for different reasons. Some clients have always dreamed of working for themselves. Some have pursued a hobby that they have decided to turn into a business. Then, there are other clients who want to structure their work/life balance in order to be at home with their families. For me, starting my own coaching and speaking business was a combination of different reasons. One, I’ve wanted my own business, and, I wanted to call my own shots, work the hours I wanted to work, not answer to anyone, and make as much money as I wanted. Whatever your personal reasons are, there are many different definitions for success as there are reasons for starting a business. Figure out what success in business means to you (before you begin!). When you think about being successful, what does that mean to you? There are too many sole proprietors who are miserable. They probably never defined what success meant to them as business owners and when you don’t know what to look for you may not know when you’re far from it (or close to it.) List the reasons you either got into or are getting into business. Then, write down the things that would make your business feel successful (a dollar amount, a feeling, a passion fulfilled, etc.) If you’re SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE MARCH 2014

already in business, how far are you from these measures of success? Get clear on what you want your business to look like. It’s important to write down the everyday details of your business as you ideally envision it to be. This is especially helpful if you haven’t started your business yet. How many hours do you want to work? Describe your work environment. Who are your customers? What is your monthly or yearly income? Spend time writing down the vision of how you want your business to operate; what you want it to look like. When you have a clear idea, you know what to work for. Those are what we call goals and goals are more attainable than anything vague. What do you need to make per month (minimum)? Tally all of your monthly fixed expenses, disposable income needed, etc. Figure out what you need to survive and then what you need to live on comfortably. Then take into consideration what you’re making now if you still hold a full-time or part-time job. This should help you with a dollar amount you need to get from new customers. Include realistic, measurable, and tangible goals. Many entrepreneurs start businesses without thinking about what they’re shooting for. They lack specific short-term goals or well-defined long-term goals. When I work with my entrepreneurial


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clients, this is one of the first questions I ask them. It is important to get clear on the details of the business you want to build, even details of the short-term. It takes a few months for the momentum to kick in, so do not get discouraged too quickly. Set a maximum number of customers you can handle without losing your sanity. It is tempting to take more customers than one can realistically handle. Although it seems like a good problem to have, you are actually doing yourself and your customers a disservice when you run out of time, mental capacity, and energy to serve every one of them the way they want to be served. Worse, things start falling through the cracks and you can begin to look unprofessional.


Continued from page 12 Houston, We Are Not Slowing Down!

Continued from page 14 Doing Business with the Japanese

Houston is a city that works, blessed with a booming economy. Of the 100 largest world economies, the Houston metro area is #32. We have the 4th highest GDP in the US but not everyone benefits from the blessing of that strong economy. Two years ago, I announced that we would tackle homelessness in ways never done before. Our success has been such that I say today that it is time for us to eliminate chronic homelessness within the next two years and we will. Houston is a city that invests in itself so that business can flourish and families can build their lives. We will continue to rebuild Houston. It is time, and you will see real progress in the street and drainage system improvements. Each time I have stood before you, I asked for your prayers. I asked for your patience and I asked for your perseverance. I ask this again for all of us who serve you as your city workforce. We rise or fall together. We succeed or fail together. The ordinary becomes extraordinary when you add something extra. A great city imagines its own bright future—and sets about to make that happen. I continue to imagine all the possibilities of our great city. Please join me as we create the future of Houston together. Thank you. Annise D. Parker is the current Mayor of the City of Houston. She has been elected Houston Mayor three times, serving since January 2, 2010.

very ceremonial exchange. He will most likely present it while holding both corners and possibly even bowing to offer it to you as a sign of respect. When receiving the card, it is appropriate to accept it with both hands, take your time to read the information, and hold it for the duration of your exchange. In Japanese culture, a business card is considered an extension of the person. That is why you must treat it with care. Additionally, it would be considered fitting to bow as a response to accepting the card. It is actually not considered culturally correct to put the business card in your wallet or in your back pocket. It is preferable to carry a special case in which you may carefully place the card. This action will demonstrate that you are offering proper respect to the businessman. It is true that the Japanese and American business cultures are quite different; however, they are not incompatible. With a modicum of mutual respect and cultural awareness, you will be able to succeed in Japanese business.

As a graduate of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston, Ludmila (Mila) Rusakova Golovine, Founder, CEO, and President of MasterWord Services, Inc., started her company with a vision of seamlessly connecting people across any language, any time, and any culture. She understands the complexities of the global marketplace and excels at providing language solutions based on creative thinking and strategic planning. Mila can be reached by email at, by phone at 281-589-0810, or visit her website at



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Continued from page 15 Developing Leaders: Part 7, Ego and the Leader

taking this step backward, you will now be able to move forward again. The main thing is that you share your learning with your boss. It’s important that he knows this was a blip, not a complete fall back to square one.” “You’re right”, said John, “I will set up a meeting with him to apologize and let him know I’m okay with flying the smaller plane temporarily. I also want to let him know that my reaction in part was due to being blindsided by his decision and that in the future I would like to be consulted, when possible, prior to decisions affecting me and my team. I also want to share a couple of résumés from pilots that we could interview to replace the Captain that left.” “Great”, I said, “This way, John, you become part of the solution, not part of the problem; but NONE of this will matter if you are not sincere. You cannot apologize if you truly don’t mean it and you cannot accept flying the smaller plane if you truly do resent it. You must let your boss know you clearly see the bigger picture.”


Lorraine Grubbs is the president of Lessons in Loyalty. You can contact Lorraine by phone at 281-813-0305, by email at, or visit her on the web at www. For mentioning this ad



“Yup, I will”, said John, “Thanks! I’ll let you know what happens.” “Excellent, John…just remember…ego is not your friend when you are allowing it to dictate your choices in leadership conversations…see you next month!” As I watched him walk confidently out of the building, I was proud of John and the progress he was making. I think John’s desire to be included in future leadership decisions was warranted. I would get an opportunity to ask the question of John’s boss during our monthly briefing and get some insight as to why John was not included.

 An


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– Advertiser’s Index – Aaron Kaplan......................................................... 33

Main Street Chamber of Commerce MasterWord... 35

Advertising Design Systems.................................. 21

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Sales Nexus...........................................................11

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Small Business Today Magazine Radio Show.............................................Back Cover

Hairston & Associates Insurance Services, Inc....... 2 Houston Minority Supplier Development Council................... Inside Back Cover

Terry Bruner Law Firm........................................... 35 Texas Best Music Fest............................................ 4

Kaya Redford Success Coaching.......................... 21

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Landmark Hospitality Group/Mr. Peeples Rest..... 35

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



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