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2/21/12 9:47 AM

SBT Houston Staff JULY 2012




P.O.S. and the Small Business Owner Greetings everyone! I am starting to hear more and more from our cover honorees is that “You have to love the ground that you customers walk on!” Regardless of the business that you are in, it is always the same, the customer is king! For some businesses (large, medium and small), they seem shackled by their “Policy and Procedures” from delivering any service that would be beyond what they are required to deliver. John and I find it convenient to meet each other and clients at Panera Bread Company restaurants. Panera offers WI-fi, good food, great coffee and baked goods and mostly pleasant service. To illustrate the point made in the second paragraph above, there is one of the Panera locations (on FM 1960) where the young manager would rather argue with me about buttering my freshly toasted bagel (vs. giving me 2 pats of “hard as rock” butter to spread myself) than actually delivering that very simple customer service. That location can spread mayonnaise on a bagel sandwich, but refuses to butter my bagel while it is still hot from the toaster. This manager (and other business owners and managers like him) really need a healthy dose of P.O.S.. “Positively Outrageous Service: How to Delight and Astound Your Customers and Win Them for Life” (by T. Scott Gross) just may be (in my humble opinion) the definitive book on customer service. I have become a huge fan of Scott's and his work. Here how Scott defines Positively Outrageous Service: Positively Outrageous Service is: • An unexpected service delivered at random. • A service that is out of the ordinary and out of proportion for the circumstance. • A service that is so out of the ordinary and out of proportion for the circumstance that it compels the customer to tell others about it and therefore creating positive “word of mouth” advertising. Have you ever had a wonderful customer service experience that you just had to share with others? That was probably a P.O.S. Experience. Of course the negative experience that I had at that Panera location warranted my sharing it with all of you. So, be careful about how you treat a customer…it might cost you future business. The thing about the small business owner is that this is YOUR business and you should “set the bar” high for the level of customer service that you deliver and be ready to deliver some P.O.S. as often as possible. Empower those you work with to do the same and reward those who do. I do believe that your success will be in direct proportion to your efforts. This month's cover honoree, Mr. Jerry Brougher of Forge USA believes in this level of customer service! “You have to love the ground that your customers walk on” he shared with John and me when we interviewed him for this month's cover story. Jerry and his son Wade also believe in rewarding and empowering their people. They have a very powerful organization of dedicated personnel and with it, a very profitable business. It has truly been a pleasure getting to know Jerry and working with him on this issue. Well, it is time to let you “meet” Jerry and Wade and let you get started with this very special issue of SMALL BUSINESS TODAY! Good Reading, Good Sales and Success to You Always, Steve Levine Executive Publisher

President John Cruise Executive Publisher Steve Levine Editor/Creative Director Barbara Davis-Levine Business Development/PR Jenna Devers Bill Huff Donna K. Rooney Pat Rowe Alvin Terry Graphic Design Vanessa Vara Photographers Eric Kleiman Contributing Writers Cyndi Barnett Don Brown Ron Consolino Barbara Davis David T. Domzalski Len Faucher Erich Fruchtnicht Jeff Jones Bruce Hurta Craig Klein Hank Moore Mike Muhney Monica Russo Rita Santamaria Alvin Terry Pam Terry Aimee Woodall Aaron Young Chief Advisor Hank Moore Publisher’s Advisory Board Debra Bann Cyndi Barnett John Cruise Maya Durnovo Kathie Edwards Leonard Faucher David Holt Richard Huebner Jeffrey Jones Craig Klein H. Quincy Long Imaad Mahfooz Hank Moore Mike Muhney Dan Parsons Neil Polansky Susan Repka Monica Russo Rita Santamaria Allen Shapiro Pam Terry Jack Warkenthien Doug Winnie R.D. Yoder 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






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"A Company Dedicated to Helping Industry Partners Secure Client Loans While Repairing Consumer Credit"

IN THIS ISSUE Fear of Success 8 Thinking About Your Business 10 How to Talk to a Web Designer 101 )Part 4) 11 How Do I Raise Capital to Start a New Business 12 Tribute to Dick Clark 14 Using Pinterest for Your Business 16 The New Landscape for Business Startups and Their Investors 17


Jerry Brougher - Forge USA An Intellect and Optimist Who Has Helped Bring Forging to a Whole New Level

Would you or your company like to be profiled in our next issue? TODD WOODRUFF—



By Woodie Stephenson

The Contradiction of Connectedness 18


3 Ways to Super Sharge Sales by Qualifying Leads Via Your Website 19 How to Craft a Powerful Elevator Pitch 20 New Business, Big Tax Benefits 22 Scam Artists Target Benevolent Business Owners 24 SBA Construction Loans for Small Businesses 26 +1 for Google+ 30 Women's Business Enterprise Alliance Holds Successful Conference and Expo 32 Marketing is a Culture 36 Community Colleges...The New Business Schools 38 Volunteering: A Way to Share Your Business Knowledge 40


ost lasting businesses are built on friendship,” says Todd Woodruff, franchise owner of Mr. Electric. “I’ve always strived to befriend the people I have business relationships with and the result has been a successful business.” A Master Electrician by trade, Todd had been doing electrical work in Houston since 1980, In 2001, he received an engineering degree from the University of Houston. Looking to explore business ownership, Todd purchased his own Mr. Electric franchise over two years ago because of the company’s proven business model and abundant resources. “We have a proven expertise in electrical repair work and lighting design, but most of all we specialize in customer service. We take extra care to find out what our customer’s needs are and we follow through with the job, satisfaction guaranteed.” Todd stresses that each electrical job is an opportunity to build a relationship with the customer and represent his company’s core values.

“Todd is very knowledgeable about homes and all things electrical. When I refer my clients to him, I am always confident that he will take the best care of their needs and repairs.” ----Don Jones, Broker, Keller Williams Realty Pearland

“We don’t just go in and take somebody’s money; we take the time to get to know our clients and make sure they are completely informed so there are no surprises. We make sure we are in agreement before we start work on a job, and we make sure our clients are completely satisfied before we leave the job.”

Women's Business Enterprise Alliance Holds Successful Conference and Expo

We take our client’s security seriously and we keep our promises when it comes to the level of service we offer.” Todd enjoys working with Realtors and Home Builders because he values their professional dedication and the symbiotic relationships they can build in providing exceptional service. “I sincerely enjoy working with Realtors, helping them get their homes ready to show in the market. We like to help them create a house that shines.”

Todd offers competitive advantages to Realtors by providing inspections to help bring a home up to date with the latest LED and fluorescent technology, green energy-saving fixtures, surge Todd assures his clients that they will always be protection, and products that help cooling and treated to professional and punctual service in a heating equipment to operate more efficiently. profession where customers are too often left at the mercy of unreliable contractors who sub out the hands-on work at the customer’s expense. “All of our electricians go through a rigorous screening procedure and background check. We care about who we work with and whom we send into our client’s homes and businesses.

To schedule a consultation, contact Todd Woodruff and Mr. Electric at (713) 823-1994, on the web at or Email us at Visit us on Facebook

For more information contact Steve Levine at: 832-460-2020


Jeff Wagner - On Q Financial

Always Looking for Ways to Help His Clients; Making Them His Friends



Jerry likes to be involved in all engineering aspects at FORGE USA. He is seen here in the plant discussing maintenance issues.

later, Jerry decided to sell the business, however, Wade remained to help the new owner continue to run and manage it. Jerry traveled worldwide and learned everything that he could about changes in engineering equipment and forging. In 2001, Wade approached Jerry with an opportunity to buy the company back. It seemed like a good time to get back in the game, so they agreed to be equal partners in the venture. Wade was to do the heavy lifting as the President and CEO of the company and Jerry would be Chairman and lend his engineering skills and industry expertise to the company. The purchase was made and so began Forge U.S.A. The company today makes large open-die forgings for a number of different industries, including oil and gas, heavy transportation, power generation, and mining.

What sets Forge U.S.A. apart from its competitors is “its people,” Jerry says. “We are free people who rely on ourselves and not the government or anyone else for our success.” Jerry tells us that Forge U.S.A. concentrates on the success of its employees.

In addition to Wade’s many attributes, Jerry talks about one of Wade’s unique, special talents; that of sincerely appreciating the contribution of all his employees, from the little guy on up to the managers and supervisors, and then rewarding them accordingly.

Wade and Jerry are seen here with one of their rough machined products (a “piggable wye”).

Continued on page 28


Fear of Success


By Rita Santamaria


igns of self-sabotaging your relationships and your business and personal goals are demonstrating your fears of success. Why do we have fear? We feel vulnerable to new environments, situations, and people. Getting to the point of success can expose our weaknesses and make us come face to face with our flaws; therefore, we maneuver around what could be successful opportunities.

of preparing for this showing, they probably won’t buy anyway and I will have wasted my time”. “I’m not worth it. I don’t deserve to be successful”.

• Procrastination: instead of doing your tasks at hand, you putter around and do in sequential tasks or fluff work. You don’t take the practical steps to get the work done.

• Focusing on all things that could go wrong: “what if I get to that area of town and I don’t know my way around. I am going to look really unprepared or stupid or if I achieve that goal I may lose my identity.”

• All talk and no action: you talk about what you want to accomplish, a lot…but you don’t start by taking the steps to get it started.

Continued on page 36

The fear of success is very real and often happens when you are moving forward in your life. The future is what we are talking about and we are all heading in that direction. We just don’t know how to work on the future. Sometimes we fear success as much as we fear failure. We may openly express our fear of failure but keep our fear of success to ourselves. Success can be intimidating and then what if we don’t live up to our achievements? What if we become a bag lady? People may not believe in their personal opportunity for success because they feel they may not be good enough, smart enough, and handsome enough. Here are some signs of sabotaging your road to success: • Negative, pessimistic thoughts: “what’s the point SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE JULY 2012 | PG 8

• A crummy self image. “I am not worthy” or “wow, did I just


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get lucky, they bought from me”. Why self sabotage? It helps you avoid change and allows you to just stay in your comfort zone. People with a fixed view of their abilities get unsettled when they succeed and then their performance begins to decline. Here are some suggestions for helping you get moving into the successful direction you desire. • Do not see your abilities or role as set in stone. You are a piece of clay always ready to be flexible and changeable.

• Imagine the worst case scenario if you don’t achieve, then go step by step tearing it away and destroying it in your mind. Women often fear success because it may lead to loneliness. They fear being too powerful and therefore rendered themselves unlovable. Even the fear of losing weight we are told is the fear of becoming more attractive and not knowing how to handle this new situation.

• Create a detailed picture of the future you want to create and achieve.

Take your power back! Once you conquer your fear and move forward you realize you could have been there all along. What is there to gain from being powerless?

• Write down your fears and then destroy the paper

Success is tied to achievement. Achievement is a good thing and

the fact is we never expected, intended or wanted to be a failure. Change your behavior, your mindset and believe in yourself. There are people out there who are smarter, faster, and more handsome than you but there are millions of people out there who do not hold a candle to you! Rita Santamaria is the owner of Champions School of Real Estate with schools in Austin/ Roundrock, Dallas/Plano, Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio and On-line Campus. For more information www.



Thinking About Your Business


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


mproving your business image is very important. If you are serious about your business, then the image that you portray and send out to the buying public, whether you are engaged in B2B or B2C customers can be the measure of ultimate success to your bottom line. I know that you have heard it before, but corporate branding is still at the top of the list of “things to do” for your company. Business is a universal language and is included on the level of medicine or music as an example. Whether you are engaged in any medium, you still have to go about the business of getting that business to market. Everyone understands the language and it is recognizable in any language, culture or dialect. The “Bottom Line” is still the “Bottom Line’ in relation to net profits or losses. It means the same in America, Europe, Africa, Russia or Asia. Being included in the Global Economy of Business success is what we all are aspiring too. Succeeding in Business means that you have mastered most of the components that are inherent in the discipline. Mastering these mechanics at times can be a daunting task with all of the other tasks that you have to perform on a daily basis. Having a champion of “Media” is a must have in your arsenal of weapons in your tool box. You can have a great product or service, but if no one knows about you or it can be very frustrating. Gaining credibility in your Industry Continued on page 12



How to Talk to a Web Designer 101 (Part 4)

What Is In a Name? Finding a Domain Name for Your Website By Erich Fruchtnicht


nce your website is designed and ready to be displayed you will a domain name and then a hosting account for it. Domain names and hosting accounts each have their own unique considerations and pitfalls that can impact the success of your website. In this article we will explore a few of the most common issues that arise surrounding domain names; next month I will talk about hosting accounts.

such as churches, charities, and other non profits and has become less associated with business as a result.

A domain name is usually required in the sign-up process for most hosting accounts. You will need to either already have a domain name or be ready to purchase one during the signup. There are a few things to consider when creating a domain name such as: • suffix (.com, .net, .org) • length and relevance • purchase term and renewal

As an example, if you want to use, you would go to a domain name retailer (GoDaddy. com,,, etc) and check the availability. In this case, is not available, but the .net version is. Therefore, you can either purchase or you can make an offer to buy the .com version from the current owner. If you choose to make an offer, be prepared as those transactions rarely happen for less than $1000.

The suffix of your domain name is important because people will assign a "class" to your site based on the suffix. We have all heard all of the big companies' advertisements for years in which they reference their websites that end in ".com" and this has trained our brains to assume that ".com" is better somehow. In reality, the suffix on your website has no impact on functionality or appearance. It is just a psychological thing. The hierarchy generally seems to be (in order from most desirable to least): .com, .net, .org, .biz, and so on. It should be noted, however, that .org is usually used by organizations

The reason these suffixes exist is that it is not always possible to get the domain name and suffix you want for the right price. Many people treat domain names like property investments and buy as many as they can in hopes that one day someone will want that domain name badly enough to pay a premium for it.

The length/complexity of your domain name can also have an impact on how easily your customers will remember how to get to your site. Ideally, you would like a simple and memorable domain name that is relevant to your product, service, or company name. If you sell sunglasses, then might be a good domain name for you whereas a much longer domain name like would be too long and cumbersome. Using your company name, or an

abbreviation of it, is a good idea as well. For instance, you are reading this article in Small Business Today Magazine. The domain name for this magazine's website is sbtmagazine. net which is short, captures the company name in a memorable way, and is easy to remember. Lastly, I want to emphasize the importance of being mindful of the terms of your domain purchase, and I am specifically referring to the renewal period. Buy your domain for a long time. Just do it. You get a cheaper rate and you reduce the likelihood that you will forget to renew. Renew your domain every time it comes due. Remember those people I mentioned who treat domains like an investment? They will buy your domain right out from under you if you do not renew because they know you want it back. I have seen this happen, and it was not pretty. It can be damaging to your brand to lose control of your domain, even if get it back, because your site will disappear while all of this is happening and that is never good. As always, send me your questions and I will help out as best as I am able. Next month I will write about the hosting account purchase process which is the final step before launch. Until next time! Erich H Fruchtnicht is President / Principle Designer at TGDesign, LLC or email him at



How Do I Raise Capital to Start a New Business By Jeffrey D. Jones, ASA, CBA, CBI


s a long time business owner and a Business Counselor for SCORE, I frequently get request from individuals about how to raise capital to start a new business. The following information is the advise I give to anyone who desires to start a new business venture. The two critical reasons most new start up businesses fail is that the fail to develop a business plan and go into business undercapitalized.   Raising capital to start a new business can be a very daunting task.  Equity capital and/or debt capital are the two types of capital that are needed to start or buy a business.  Equity capital is money you have or money you obtain from investors who will own a portion of your business in exchange for putting up capital. Debt capital is money you borrow from a third party lender or from other individuals.  45% of all start up businesses are funded with the owners’ own equity capital.  If you don’t have sufficient funds of your own, then you will need to rely on others to provide either the equity or debt capital.  There are three sources of equity capital known as the 3 F’s which stand for family, friends, and fools.   For the most part, the only people willing to invest in a new start

up business are those who are very close to you and do it more as a favor than a true investment. In reality, why would anyone invest money in a new venture where they are a minority owner, have no control over operations, no control over distributions of profits, and must rely entirely on the skills and ability of the primary owner.  Only close friends and family will consider such a venture.  For debt capital, the sources are banks, credit unions, family, and friends.  Banks in general are not very interested in loaning money to a new business.   They may be willing to loan money for you to buy equipment, but not any money to serve as working capital.  So again, you may have to seek out friends and family who may be willing to loan you money.  However, any lender will want you to make monthly payments regardless as to whether you are profitable or not. 

a new business 2 to 3 years to reach the breakeven point, and many never make it. These issues can be resolved by developing a business plan.  This will force you to do the necessary research to learn about the industry you are choosing, and to prepare a five year forecast of income and expenses, which any equity partner or lender will want to see before giving you money.  The business plan will outline how the money you raise will be spent and when you expect to repay the loans or provide returns on equity investments.  Often in the course of developing a business plan, it will be determined that the idea is not feasible.  If it is, then the business plan will be the support tool you will need to seek out equity and/ or debt capital.   You can obtain examples of business plans for the website.  I strongly recommend that you get this information and begin the process of developing your business plan prior to seeking debt or equity capital.  .

One of the major problem small business owners encounter is that they use up all their available funds to buy equipment, inventory, rent deposits, etc. and then have no money left to serve as working capital to pay expenses while waiting for the business to generate sufficient sales to cover all the operating expenses. If often takes

Jeff Jones is President of Advanced Business Brokers and Certified Appraisers, Inc. He is also a SCORE Counselor. He can be reached at 713-680-3290, via fax 866431-2319 or by e-mail at jdj@advancedbb. com

a blog, generating newsletters, writing articles, sending out flyers, mailing our brochures, participating in talk shows, whether Radio or TV is very important. If you do not have the time to do it all yourself, hire a professional or some professionals to assist you so that you can free up that valuable time of selling and closing the deal.

I know that it is a lot to do, been there, done that, still doing that. It never ends! Embrace the proper mind set and go for it.

ENTREPRENEURS WORKBOOK Continued from page 10

may include advanced degrees and certifications, but it will also need public relations, advertising, endorsements and referrals. Reaching out to association memberships, networking events and volunteer causes can only help your efforts. Engaging in special promotions, starting


You can contact Alvin E. Terry, MBA Directly at 713-392-9107 or by email at www.

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| PG 13


Tribute to Dick Clark


Nurturing a Substantive Body of Work By Hank Moore / Corporate Strategist™


he passing of Dick Clark brought about widespread nostalgia and cultural interaction in our culture. Those of us who have known and worked with him will never forget his humor, his sense of fairness, his encouraging ways, the optimistic disposition, the gut instinct and the lasting impacts that he made on our later successes. I started out my career by aspiring to be like Dick Clark. Thanks to great mentors, I learned to be my own best self, a visionary thinker and a repository of great case studies. I appeared on radio and TV with him, as well as on conference stages. It was he who encouraged your own leadership qualities, because your success ultimately honored him. As a onetime radio disc jockey who evolved into business guru, I offer this tribute to Dick Clark as a corporate and entrepreneurial study in excellence. Dick Clark grew up working in a radio station in Utica, New York, perfecting the talk and the interest in music. He realized that music styles changed rapidly and that their cultural impact affected. When opportunity came calling, he was ready, willing and able. He replaced other DJ’s as host of a local bandstand show at WFIL-TV in Philadelphia, switching his musical emphasis from big bands and easy listening music to the emerging rock n’ roll. His bandstand show was a runaway hit and quickly was picked up by the ABC-TV network as a daily afterschool show aimed at teens. The success of “American Bandstand” spawned a weekly TV music variety series from New York, “The Dick Clark Beechnut Show,” which in turn inspired concert tours, “The Dick Clark Caravan of Stars.” He appeared in movies, as a teacher in “Because They’re Young” and

a doctor in “The Young Doctors.” He was clean cut, respectful and mannerly, thus bringing legitimacy to rock n’ roll. With the celebrity, he was hired to gueststar as an actor in TV shows such as “Stoney Burke,” “Adam-12,” “Honey West,” “Branded,” “Lassie,” “Ben Casey,” “Coronet Blue” and “Burke’s Law.” He played the last villain on the last episode of the “Perry Mason” weekly TV series. The 1963 move from Philadelphia to California launched Dick Clark Productions. Though “American Bandstand” was owned by the network, he mounted what became a 50-year span of programs that he owned, produced and nurtured, including “The People’s Choice Awards,” “Where the Action Is,” “Live Wednesday,” “American Dreams,” “The Happening,” “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “Super Bloopers and Practical Jokes,” “American Music Awards,” specials, TV movies, game shows and more. To go to his office and have meetings was like being in a museum. You sat at his desk in antique barber chairs, wrote on roll-top desks and enjoyed furnishings from nostalgic shops. Big band music played from a Wurlitzer juke box, and classic cars adorned the parking lot. These are some of the principles that I developed myself but do credit being inspired by Dick Clark. I’ve taught them to others and shared with him as well: * As times change, the nature of “nostalgia” changes. Each entertainment niche may not be your “cup of tea,” but relating to others will create common bonds and exhibits leadership. * People are more products of the pop culture than they are of formal business


training. They make strategic decisions based upon cultural memories. I would ask corporate executives to articulate core values, and they could only recite meaningful song lyrics, movie lines and quotes. That’s why I developed the Pop Culture Wisdom concept, to interpolate from the cultural icons into business jargon and workable policies. * Companies and industries need to embrace change sooner, rather than becoming a victim of it later. The entertainment industry is the best at being flexible, spotting new trends, changing with the times, packaging creative concepts and leading cultural charges. Other industries could well learn from the entertainment business practices. * Applying humility and humanity helps in bringing people together. Music is something that everyone relates to. Finding common ground about the zeal and joys inherent in running a company results in better buy-in and support of the goals. * A lot of people in show business asked Dick Clark for advice. He had a lot of wise business sense, and the best came from gut instincts. My gut is usually right. If something feels wrong, then it is. If it is a good move to make, then I cite precedents as to what led to that recommendation. Trusting your gut comes from long experience, for which there are no shortcuts. * Dick Clark was good about treating the teenagers as friends and with respect. He never came across as a scolding parent but rather as a friendly uncle. Long-term business success is a function of developing stakeholders and

empowering them to do positive things with your company.

paths in life to take. Helps draw distinctions. Paints picture of success.

* Dick Clark Productions had a select list of projects. The take-back for business is to grow in consistent fashion, sustaining the down times with realistic activities.

5. Wanting the Best. Continuing relationship between the mentor and mentee. Progress is visioned, contextualized, seeded, benchmarked. Accountability-communication by both sides.

* I recommend that organizations periodically revisit their earlier successes. Learn from case studies elsewhere in the marketplace. Review what you once did correctly and how your competitors failed. It is important to link nostalgia to the future. We can like and learn from the past without living in it. Dick Clark liked to celebrate the successes of others. I’ve found that reciting precedents of successful strategy tends to inspire others to reexamine their own. Here are some other lessons that he taught us: * Be a mentor and inspire others. * Learn as you grow.

* The best destinations are not predetermined in the beginning, but they evolve out of circumstances. * Most circumstances can be strategized, for maximum effectiveness. * You gotta give in order to get something of value back.

6. Advocating, Facilitating. The mentor opens doors for the mentee. The mentor requests pro-active changes of mentee, evaluates realism of goals, offers truths about path to success and shortcomings of mentee's approaches. Bonded collaboration toward each other's success.

* Getting and having are not the same thing.

7. Sharing Profound Wisdom. The mentor stands for mentees throughout careers, celebrates successes. Energy coaching and love-respect for each other continues throughout the relationship. Mentor actively recruits fellow business colleagues to become mentors. Lifelong dedication toward all aspects of one's life.

* A body of work doesn't just happen. It's the culmination of a thoughtful, dedicated process...carefully strategized from some point forward.

* One cannot live entirely through work. * One doesn't just work to live. * As an integrated process of life skills, a career has its important place.

* The objective is to begin that strategizing point sooner rather than

Truisms of Careers and Business Success:

This is the first-ever article on Dick Clark, as a business case study. Motivating pop culture piece designed to foster better, more successful companies.

* Give the public more than you need to.

* Whatever measure you give will be the measure that you get back.

Hank Moore/Corporate Phone: 713-668-0664

7 Levels of Mentoring and Lifelong Learning:

* There are no free lunches in life.

Website: Email:

* Periodically celebrate the heritage. * Be inclusive. * Be ethical.

1. Conveying Information. Initial exposure to the coaching process. Onetime meeting or conference between mentors and mentees. The mentor is a resource for business trends, societal issues, opportunities. The coach is active listener, mentors on values, actions. 2. Imparting Experiences. The mentor becomes a role model. Insight offered about own life-career. Reflection strengthens the mentor and shows mentee levels of thinking and perception which were not previously available to the mentee. 3. Encouraging Actions. The mentor is an advocate for progress, change. Empowers the mentee to hear, accept, believe and get results. Sharing of feelings, trust, ideas, philosophies. 4. Paving the Way. The mentor endorses the mentee...wants his-her success. Messages ways to approach issues,


* The joy is in the journey, not in the final destination.


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Using Pinterest for Your Business By David T. Domzalski


y now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Pinterest, the online pinboard. You may have even decided to check it out and see how it could help with your social media marketing. Since we’re not working with unlimited budgets here, we need to find as many different avenues as possible to get our name out there. However, like most new websites and marketing platforms, you want to make sure it’s a good fit and doesn’t conflict with your message or brand image. The last thing you want to do is attempt to incorporate a new medium to reach your base only to alienate your customers. I’ve done some research about the top tips for marketing on Pinterest and saw some great examples of companies that are using the site effectively. Here’s some of the best advice I have found, along with my own commentary: 1. Add a “Pin It” button to your website. Believe it or not, I have seen companies fail to include Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube buttons on their sites. They have a presence on each site; however, they neglect to do the smallest and simplest of actions and actually add a button to their site to engage their audience. Do this with Pinterest and let your fans tell others about you!

2. Don’t just pin pictures, but videos too! Pinterest has made it easier to share videos on the site over the last few months. So, why not take advantage of it? It’s not a coincidence that YouTube, Vimeo, and other video sites are so popular. People enjoy watching funny and/or educational clips. Your business should be there if it’s not there already and Pinterest is a perfect way to get your business noticed. This is one of the top ways I get my podcasts out there, so I know from experience that it works if done correctly and consistently. 3. Don’t make it all about you. Social media isn’t just about throwing product promotions in the faces of your followers. The keyword here is “social.” So, go be social. Engage your audience and share useful tips with them. Do you run a kitchen or bath storefront? Give your followers advice about how to save on remodeling. What about a local garden center? Tell people how to plant grass seed the correct way or spread mulch effectively. Your customers will be grateful even if you only help them out in a small way. 4. Use Pinterest to help your potential customers understand you. Do you sometimes have difficultly explaining what your business does or what services you provide? Well, why not put


together a “What We Do” board or “Satisfied Customers” board to showcase your hard work? This will give your previous customers a chance to provide you a ringing endorsement and allow new customers to see how amazing you are at what you do. On top of that, you can also demonstrate products or highlight work you completed for a customer. 5. It’s OK to be a little personal. With any business, you want your customers to get to know you a little bit. I always believed this is especially important for small, hyperlocal businesses. Share some photos of your family, your employees, or your pets. Introduce your employees on a board and explain what their expertise is. Do you plan on participating in the local charity walk or festival? Pin it on Pinterest. Is your favorite sports team in the playoffs? Tell your followers that you’re a fan and show your support. It’s always a good idea to be a little personable with your customers and not hide behind the businessperson veil. David T. Domzalski is the founder of Financial Bin, a media company focused on personal finance and entrepreneurial education for Generation Y. You can contact David through email or visit his website: and


The New Landscape for Business Startups and Their Investors


By Cyndi Barnett


ou may have heard that the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012, makes it easier for companies to attract investors, particularly smaller companies. But just what does that mean to you if you're trying to grow your small business? And if you're contemplating making an investment in an early-stage business, what should you be aware of? Though some of the provisions will be subject to regulations yet to be developed, here are the general provisions of the Act. Looser reporting/registration requirements for companies Companies with at least $10 million in assets and fewer than 500 "unaccredited" shareholders (not including employees who hold shares) or 2,000 total shareholders generally will no longer be required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). By exempting smaller companies from registration requirements, the Act enables them to bypass many SEC regulations that are designed to increase transparency and protect investors but that also are demanding and expensive for smaller companies. The Act also enables companies to offer up to $50 million worth of stock annually using streamlined registration procedures; the previous limit required any offering over $5 million a year to file a full federal registration. The Act also permits companies to advertise unregistered private placements to the general public without having to meet the requirements for a public offering; that would represent a major change for a hedge fund or private equity firm in managing its portfolio of companies. However, purchasers of those offerings must be either accredited investors--an

individual or couple with at least $1 million in net worth, not counting their primary residence--or qualified institutional buyers. In addition, the Act creates a new category of securities issuer--the "emerging growth company" or EGC--and exempts it from many of the regulatory and reporting requirements that apply to more established companies, such as those imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley. The Act defines an emerging growth company as one that went public after December 8, 2011, and has less than $1 billion in annual gross revenues. An EGC will be allowed to follow a streamlined IPO process, and will generally have up to five years to comply fully with certain accounting and disclosure requirements that apply to other public companies. An emerging growth company that qualifies under the Act needs to supply only two years of audited financial statements instead of three before going public. It also may ask the SEC for a confidential review of its registration materials before its IPO; however, those materials must be publicly filed at least 21 days before the company launches its road show for potential investors. Also, representatives of an emerging growth company can test the waters with potential investors prior to the IPO as long as they are either qualified institutional investors or accredited investors. Brokerdealers may also distribute research reports in connection with an EGC's IPO, and securities analysts may be included in a broker-dealer's discussions with a company's management. Crowdfunding: a new option for capital Companies that need to raise capital but are not ready to go public will be able to raise up to $1 million a year through what's known

as "crowdfunding," a term often applied to the concept of raising money from a large number of people, typically using some sort of online mechanism to channel the collective donations or investments. Companies that choose to use crowdfunding will issue restricted securities through either a broker or an online portal registered with the SEC. The financial statements to be filed with the SEC range in complexity depending on the level of a business's offerings during the previous 12 months. Those offering $100,000 or less may file income tax returns and financial statements certified by the principal executive officer. Those with $100,001 to $500,000 must submit statements reviewed by an independent public accountant, and those with more than $500,000 will need audited financial statements. Investing: factors to think about Any advertising for a crowdfunding offering, as well as the offering itself, must be done through a registered portal. However, the funding portal is strictly an intermediary; it may not offer investment advice or recommendations, hold or manage investors' funds, pay its staff commissions on the sale of individual securities on the portal, or solicit sales for any of its listed securities. In addition to the financial information outlined above, a company seeking crowdfunding must make available to prospective investors a business plan along with a description of the corporate structure and the risks involved in the venture. Make sure you get all the information you need to come to a decision. The crowdfunding option isn't authorized for ventures that invest only in other Continued on page 21



The Contradiction of Connectedness By Mike Muhney


t is more impossible than ever to separate our business lives from our social ones. Anywhere you go, you can look around and observe people checking email on their smartphones or tablets, most of which are connected to both their personal and professional accounts. We never stop working, no matter what time of day it is. The dawn of email ushered in an age of “dealing” with more people, but it also initiated the decline of actual face-to-face interactions. Therein lies the contradiction of this so-called connectedness and the line that becomes more blurred with each passing day. Social networking, or social media, offers no substitute for meaningful relationships. Can it help people reach out to form a connection? Sure. Can it help them develop truly meaningful, and sustainable, personal relationships? Perhaps, but before I can even suggest an answer to that question, let me address another conundrum. Even though I mentioned earlier that our social and business lives have become more intertwined then ever before, our livelihood is most likely not at all dependent on the social media aspects of our lives, where the illusions of relationships exist. I often refer to social media as “social me.” And this social me often conflicts with “business you.”

I recently spoke at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on the topic “Who’s In Your Orbit? – Beyond Facebook, Creating Relationships That Matter”, which is also the title of the book I co-authored with my business partner Max J. Pucher. In the session with about 200 people in the audience, I asked a simple question, “How many

of you derive your livelihood from your social media connections?” Only one person raised their hand. When I asked him how his livelihood depends on social media, he responded that he is a journalist writing solely on topics pertaining to social media. Perfect for him, but he was most definitely in the minority. Pretty striking conclusion, at least from that group, but I suspect it’s a standard cross-section of most business audiences. Is social media merely a form of entertainment and relationship voyeurism or is it a driving force for purposes of one’s vital business pursuits? You decide. But if you look at it from a purely professional perspective, the side that puts food on the table and a roof over your head, then I feel confident guessing what your conclusion might be. Meaningful business is the result of meaningful relationships. These relationships also facilitate the enjoyment of the social side of our lives. True success lies in our ability to achieve balance, establish priorities, and maintain healthy dividing lines between personal and professional pursuits. As it relates to the development of meaningful relationships, both social and business, there is a need to incorporate at least four essential components: 1. Time While it costs nothing, it is an extremely scarce resource. Once spent, it is gone forever. Spending time with someone demonstrates his or her importance to us. In business, it conveys the other party’s significance in a way impossible to communicate via social me(dia).


2. Intensity When your connection with another is emotionally intense, it is by virtue a stronger relationship. 3. Trust Authentic relationships can’t exist without trust. It is earned in many ways, but most often by the time and intensity elements that precede it. 4. Reciprocity This requires two-way effort, in contrast to the more skewed one-way effort upon which social media depends. Where this exists, greater strength and value builds over time. Social media does have value, of course, and it can be a wonderful method of community building for any business. But it is not a substitute for meaningful personal relationships and should not be confused as such. As you reflect on the value of social media and its place in building meaningful relationships, consider this: If you attend a business dinner and spend an hour around a table with 10 people, does that count as an hour with each of them? Your answer could explain why so many of us feel disconnected from others, despite the number of Facebook friends, Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections we may have. Remember, it’s not about the number of contact records; it’s about the relationships Mike Muhney is the CEO of VIPorbit Software and the co-creator of VIPorbit Mobile Relationship Manager app for iPhone and iPad.


3 Ways to Super Charge Sales by Qualifying Leads Via Your Website By Craig Klein / CEO,


e’ve all seen the predictions that technology, the Internet, social media, etc. are changing sales forever and even bringing the sales profession to an end. If you’re in B2B sales, and have ever been the recipient of leads coming through your business’ website, you know that can be a mixed blessing. Because you can’t control who finds your website, you can never be sure about the “quality” of leads that come through the site. Most businesses that depend on a human to human sales process to generate new business still see their website as just another resource customers and sales people have to communicate. Most sales people spend more time prospecting than they do closing. In other words, you have to make 10 calls to get 2 appointments, which generates 1 sale. Or you have to go to 3 networking events to get 5 referrals, which gets 2 appointments, generating 1 sale. That means most of a sales person’s day is spend getting in touch with people that might be a good prospect. This is why so much of the sales training out there is about qualifying prospects. Knowing as quickly as you can whether the person you’re talking to is good prospect. This general focus on prospecting and qualifying also leads to the pushy, impersonal reputation of sales people. The best sales pros are excel at building strong, long term relationships but, struggle to spend time doing that. They have to stay focused on filling the pipeline with new qualified prospects.

What if your website could put highly qualified leads into your hands all day, every day?

a sales rep.

Where would you spend your time? Building relationships of trust for the long term with great prospects and clients right? Sounds like selling nirvana doesn’t it?

You don’t have to call every lead that asks for info via your site. How about if you use an email marketing solution to send them a series of emails over a couple of weeks? These systems are much less expensive that a sales person’s time and can be completely automated. Some can even tell you who opens and clicks on specific emails. That can be a great way to qualify leads! Create 5 emails with the 2nd and 5th containing strong “pre-qualifying” calls to action in them – “If you’re ready to buy a widget today, click here”. Then the sales person can call the folks that click on that particular email.

Here are three simple ways to use your website to pre-qualify leads automatically, so you can spend your time almost entirely with highly qualified prospects: 1. Calls to Action that Qualify Contact Us pages tell people how to get in touch with you but, they don’t tell you much about the people that contact you. Request a Quote pages or options on the site are great but, you need a lot of visitors to the site to get a small handful of quote requests each week. What if you give the non-qualified visitors an option that doesn’t involve talking to a sales person. If you sell chemicals to manufacturers, what if you have two separate calls to action? “Download our Product Guide” gets the visitor a PDF with your product list, specs, etc. “Let us Develop a Solution for You” gets them in touch with a sales rep. Someone just kicking tires and looking for info will download the guide. Only someone that really wants to talk to a sales rep about buying something will click the solution link. eBooks, whitepapers, reports, product comparisons, etc. all make good “prequalifiers”. “4 Things to Know Before You Buy a Widget” can be a good qualifier. Also, by offering more than one “call to action”, you can also ask the prospect to provide more information about themselves when requesting contact by

2. Automated Email Lead Nurturing

3. Make It Clear Who You DO Want to Talk To If a business has to be of a certain size or have other characteristics in order to be a great prospect for you, then say so. “If you have more than 20 employees, then we want to talk to you. Contact us here.” Then add “Not quite that big yet? Click to learn more about our products/services” and then have plenty of PDFs and other content that answers the questions most people have. Leveraging these techniques can super charge your sales engine by focusing sales pros on highly qualified leads. By the way, if you’re not in a position to make changes to your website, much of this can be done on a Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile or on a totally separate blog if you want. Craig is the founder of SalesNexus. com. For more information visit www.



How to Craft a Powerful Elevator Pitch


By Pam Terry


our elevator pitch can be a powerful way to promote what you do and land new business. First, you have to have the right mindset. Think of it as your movie trailer – you are generating interest for people to ask you for more information. That’s the ticket! Think relationships not transactions. Think conversation starter not getting the sale. With an effective elevator pitch, you are positioning yourself as the expert. You want to introduce yourself in a way so that people want to know more. There are three types of elevator pitches – 10 second, 30 second and 60/90 second. Each elevator pitch is your commercial. Your 10 second commercial is what you use when you are meeting people one-on-one. You use your 30 second commercial when you get to introduce yourself in front of a group at a networking event. The 60-90 second commercial is something you would use if you were a sponsor for an event and you get to come up and have a couple of minutes to talk about what you do. I firmly believe that the 30 second commercial is the best timeframe. Once you have created that one, you can create the shorter version and a longer version. The longer you talk, however, the more chance you have bore people!! Make it shorter and more compelling. Here’s what not to do: don’t sound like your selling ~ don’t go on and on about what you do ~ kill the vague words and phrases such as transform, strategize, paradigm, peace of mind ~ and of course don’t use any acronyms or clichés, especially “at the end of the day.” Kill me now!! What to do: be brief ~ talk about benefits, outcomes, the pain you solve, the value you provide. It’s not about you – it’s all about what value you provide for others. The more you talk about you and what you do, the more boring it is. The more you talk about others and how you help

them, the more interesting it is. And you have to be specific. Your grandmother should be able to understand what you do when you say it. To get started, make a list of all the benefits that you provide or the pain or problem that you solve. Make a list of 25 benefits – this is the best exercise for building your confidence about the value you provide for people. How do you change lives? Then identify your target market. Who do you help? You are going to tell people in your 30 seconds who you are looking for. You’ll have five statements in your 30 second elevator pitch. Here’s my 30 second commercial: “How would you like to build your confidence, position yourself as an expert, and land more business? My name is Pam Terry and I help people become confident and compelling speakers. I teach people how to overcome anxiety in any situation, how to prepare winning presentations, connect with their audience and get business from speaking. I am looking for people who want that edge for themselves or for their teams. Pam Terry, Speaker Coach & Trainer – I love helping people to win.” Your first statement should be a question. Why? Because questions engage the mind, they are the easiest way to create interest. Your question can start with “How would you like to know/have/be/ build/etc.” or “How do you…” or “Are you tired of ….” Your first statement/question will paint a picture of an accomplishment or it might paint a picture of a pain or a problem. Like “Have you ever been audited by the IRS or been afraid you might be?” It’s all about the outcome/ value you provide or the problem that you solve. In your second statement, you state your name and what you do – but you state in a way that you are talking about the value you provide – the benefits. Your


next statement is a little bit more about the benefits or the pain and solution. You identify your target market in your 4th statement. State who you are looking for in a way that you again state your problem/solution or outcome you provide. Lastly, state your name again and your summary statement – very briefly. You want to leave people uplifted and thinking about you as THE person to go to for what you are talking about. Once you develop your 30 second commercial, you will be walking taller and more confident about the value you do provide. It’s a great exercise and a total win. Practice it till you have it memorized. Before you go out and use it, work on your 10 second commercial. You’ll use your 10 second intro when someone asks “What do you do?” Here’s mine (always say it with a smile and make it very conversational): “I teach people how to get in touch with their star power. I am a speaker coach and communications trainer. I coach people on becoming confident, compelling speakers and how to land business from speaking.” Once you have both your 10 second and 30 second commercials prepared and you know them by heart, you’re going to be anxious to try them out. Do so as soon as possible! Pam Terry is a speaker coach and communications trainer in Houston, Texas. She can be contacted at 832-2764153 or Visit her blog and website at

FISCAL MANAGEMENT & RESPONSIBLITIY Continued from page 17 businesses, such as private equity funds or venture capital funds, so beware of any that attempt to use crowdfunding.

professional, and that you understand the potential for loss, including the possible loss of your entire investment.

employees to disclose any negotiations for future employment that might create a conflict of interest.

The amount you can invest in a single crowdfunded company is limited. For investors with either a net worth or annual income of less than $100,000, the limit is either $2,000 or 5% of their annual income or net worth, whichever is greater. Individuals with an annual income or net worth of $100,000 or more can invest as much as 10% of their income or net worth, up to $100,000. Also, there are restrictions on your ability to transfer those investments until you have owned them at least one year.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act

Cyndi Barnett, GPS Wealth Management, a Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Tax Specialist™. Email Cyndi@gpswealth. net to discuss your particular situation for Investments, Retirement, Insurance, Taxes, and Estate Planning.

Some regulators fear that crowdfunding and lifting the ban on advertising of private placements could mean an increase in investment fraud schemes and/or an increase in solicitations for investment products you may or may not understand. Before you make a decision about such an investment, make sure it is thoroughly researched, either by you or your financial

Another recent piece of legislation, the STOCK Act, prohibits federal government officials from profiting from insider knowledge they obtain as a result of their positions. The Act applies to members of Congress; executive branch employees; judicial officers, including justices and certain employees of the Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, and district courts. It specifically subjects them to all securities laws regarding insider trading, and requires that certain federal officials file a report within 30 to 45 days of a securities transaction unless the security is a widely held, publicly traded, diversified investment fund. It also prohibits participation in IPOs except through offers made to the general public, requires disclosure of personal mortgages under certain circumstances, and requires executive and judicial

Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative. Securities are offered through Questar Capital (QCC), Member FINRA/SIPC.  Advisory Services offered through Questar Asset Management (QAM), A Registered Investment Advisor.  GPS Wealth Management is independent of QCC and QAM.  This material was prepared by Emerald. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is not a solicitation or a recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such.

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New Business, Big Tax Benefits


By Aaron Young


tarting a business can provide big tax breaks mainly because many of our tax laws have been written to encourage business ownership in America. You may not realize that some of the things you pay for now would be considered tax deductible if they were purchased through your business. In certain cases, the tax benefits are so great that you have to wonder, "Why doesn't everyone have their own business?"

With a home-based business, you have several deductions that become available to you including:

There's nothing that says you can't start your own business while working for someone else. In fact, 67% of small businesses are started this way. You can even begin slowly working from a room in your home that you convert into an office. So long as you document the work you do in your office and show the IRS that it’s a legitimate work space, you’ll claim tax deductions galore using your home office as a place to build and grow your business.


-Home repairs -Maintenance -Property taxes -Utilities -Office supplies -Telephone and internet services

owner, that you document each and every deduction you plan on taking. The rule of thumb for business owners is to always document so that you can defend your deductions to the IRS properly. To keep yourself protected from a potential audit or lawsuit, remember to always keep track of your receipts (excluding anything under $75), financial records, and any other important business related documents that will support the deductions you filed in your annual tax return.

-Cell phone bills -Software -Mileage -Travel -Meals and entertainment Make sure if you decide to take advantage of the several deductions available to you as a business

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Scam Artists Target Benevolent Business Owners


By Monica Russo


iving back to the community is a wonderful way to support those who have helped support your business. Most business owners are enthusiastic about giving back to local schools, little leagues, veteran’s organizations, and law enforcement agencies. However, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends that when responding to fundraising appeals you exercise the same good judgment you would use in business making decisions. Unfortunately, many community businesses are targeted by con artists seeking donations or wanting to sell space for company ads in local calendars, or on t-shirts. Proceeds from the sale are supposed to go to a “charitable cause” but actually go straight to the marketer’s pockets. BBB frequently receives complaints about fraudulent solicitors who prey on the good will of the local business community and misrepresent who they are and what they do with the money they raise. They often pick the most popular

charitable causes to finagle funds from sympathetic and community-minded individuals. Recently, BBB received numerous complaints from business owners who claimed they had been defrauded by a company which had sold them ad space on t-shirts. According to complainants, proceeds from the ads were supposed to be donated to local high schools. However, none of the “participating” high schools were aware of any fundraising efforts and had yet to receive a single penny from the marketer. BBB suggests you ask a lot of questions before handing over a donation or buying ad space for a charity or nonprofit fundraiser. Find out:

red flag. • Call the BBB at 713-868-9500 for a report on the marketer or fundraising company before you write a check. • Is an address or telephone number provided for those interested in additional information about the charity or the promotional partnership? • If a salesperson claims advertising will benefit a particular organization such as a school or a church, contact the organization first and verify the claim before you make a decision.

• What is the salesperson's affiliation with the organization?

If a salesperson refuses to answer any of your questions, does not have supporting materials about its organization or organizations it claims to support, you may be dealing with a con artist.

• Does the salesperson have any information about the organization and the programs the ad space will support?

For more business information you can trust, visit www. or give us a call at 713-868-9500.

• Can you make the check out directly to the name of the organization? If not, that is a


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SBA Construction Loans for Small Businesses By Bruce Hurta


or small business owners, its one thing to buy a building; however, it is an entirely different challenge to construct a new one. The business decision to construct a building brings with it many additional variables which translate into more potential risks. What kind of structure should I build, and who is best qualified to design it? Will construction costs remain stable throughout the project? How do I select a reliable contractor? How do I navigate the permitting process? Will the weather cooperate with my time line? These are just a few of the dilemmas which can be experienced by the business owner who needs to focus on his business rather than managing a construction project. On the flip side of the coin, a newly constructed building will have exactly what the business owner designs into it for meeting the business’ needs, and that is a big plus. The typical scenario in financing small business construction involves obtaining one loan for interim financing and another loan for the permanent financing. The small business owner must find a lender with an appetite for, and expertise in, construction lending. Even in the best economic

environment, this task is not always easy. Due to many years of experience in small business construction lending, my associate, Pat Harris, and I understand the benefit of one-stop shopping for the construction and permanent financing of a small business building. We also understand the borrower’s need for us to qualify the contractor and to monitor and control the project. With the SBA 7(a) loan program, we are able to accommodate both the interim construction and the permanent financing of a small business property with only one loan and a one-time closing. We are able to structure loan terms such that the small business has no payment obligations until the construction is completed and the building is occupied. The interest that accrues, while we advance funds to the contractor, is treated as part of the construction costs which we fund with the loan. We use a third-party, professional, construction management company (CMC) to qualify the contractor’s credentials, to monitor the job, and to control our loan disbursements. The CMC establishes a draw schedule which the contractor adheres to when requesting funding, and the CMC inspects the job for percentage completion in accordance with the


draw schedule and construction contract before advancing loan funds to the contractor. 10% of each draw is retained by Members Choice Credit Union (MCCU), until the construction is completed to the small business borrower’s satisfaction, all subcontractor bills are paid, and the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. The borrower is well-protected by this process, and “what’s good for the borrower is also good for the lender!” Finally, SBA construction loans exhibit the same characteristics as all other SBA loans. SBA loans have lower down payment requirements, longer repayment terms, and they are easier to qualify for than with conventional bank loans. For more information about small business construction lending, please contact Pat Harris or Bruce Hurta at Members Choice Credit Union’s Business Lending Department. For more information about SBA real estate loans for small businesses, please contact: Bruce Hurta is Business Lending Manager with Members Choice Credit Union. You can reach him at 281-754-1112 or by email For other educational articles on SBA loans, see Bruce Hurta’s blog at


+1 for Google+


By Aimee Woodall


y initial reaction to Google+ was “Really? Really? Another social media network?” But as I started to explore this website created by everyone’s favorite search engine, I changed my tune to “Another social media network!” Social media is all about connections: meeting new people, discovering new things, strengthening relationships. But not all of us connect the same way. Some people talk to their friends through status updates. Others like to document their life on Instagram. Google+ offers one more way to stay in touch with your friends and your customers. An added bonus: Google+ pages also show up as search results, offering more exposure. Google+ is a fairly new social media network, but it just hasn’t taken off the same way Pinterest or Instagram has. There are more than 100 million Google+ users, but there are more than 800 million Facebook users. But that doesn’t mean Google+ isn't worth your time. Social media allows your company to show off it's personality, and Google+ is no exception. The social network offers several features that can help you get to know your customers. Hang





network makes video chatting with groups so easy. Own a restaurant? Offer customers the chance to learn a recipe from the chef. Run a business? Host a Q & A session with the CEO. Hang outs are currently just available to Google+ users but they will soon be available to the masses. It’s a great way to offer customers a peek behind the scenes and create an opportunity for meaningful engagement - even when real life interaction is not an option. Circles. Google+ circles allow you to separate your followers into groups and create posts that are only visible to certain groups. This is especially beneficial to franchises or operations with more than one location. By tailoring your messages by geography or any other demographic (VIP, frequent flyers, women, men, etc), your content instantly becomes more relevant, and those groups will not only pay attention, they’ll feel special. Schemer. Schemer is a tool that uses Google+ to help people share, discover and try new things. Users can post “schemes,” activities or tips like “go on a street art scavenger hunt” or “hunt through the stacks of albums at Heights Vinyl” and the program will make sure viewers in the area or connected to you see them. Get your customers involved by suggesting a list that inspires


them to use your product or service in ways they might not think of on their own. Scoot and Doodle. This Google+ app lets you and other followers draw pictures together online. It makes the online world seem more like the real world. Get your customers (especially younger ones) on board and have them draw brand-related items. Start a guessing game or host a contest. If you own a bar, ask your customers to draw literal interpretations of cocktails, like the New York skyline for a Manhattan or a rain cloud for a Dark and Stormy. Whoever creates the best drawing gets a round on the house. It's something your customers will never forget. If you’re not using Google+ already, get out of your social media comfort zone and try something new. Follow me or the Black Sheep Agency to see what I’m talking about. We’d love to connect with you. Whether you have a personal or brand page, Google+ can help you strengthen connections and build relationships. Aimee Woodall/Black Sheep Agency Contact her 832.971.7725 or email at aimee@theblacksheepagency. com

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Women's Business Enterprise Alliance Holds Successful Conference and Expo

WBEA Conference includes visit from Mayor Annise D. Parker and Lynn Tilton, Founder and CEO of Patriarch Partners


omen's Business Enterprise Alliance held one of its most successful conferences to date. According to Susan Repka, Executive Director of WBEA, “The WBEA is extremely excited to hear from attendees on the great connections they made during the conference.” Beginning with six workshops on May 16th, the day led into a Networking Reception with over 300 attendees and highlighted by Mayor Annise D. Parker attendance and speech encouraging women businesses to continue to make a positive impact on the City of Houston’s employment. On May 17th, over 800 people attended the Awards Luncheon where WBENC President Pamela Prince Eason and keynote speaker Lynn Tilton spoke of the impact of small businesses in America. Several award winners were recognized at the luncheon for their outstanding relationship with, and their support of, the WBEA: • Corporation of the Year: UT MD Anderson Cancer Center • Corporate Advocate of the Year: Hubert Jones, Phillips66 • Buyer of the Year: Christina Chouriri, ExxonMobil Global Services Company • WBE Advocate of the Year: Julie Irvin, Keystone Resources • WBE Volunteer of the Year: Laura Morales, Energize Your Outlook • Supplier of the Year (Under 1 Million) : Keystone Resources

• Supplier of the Year (1 – 5 Million):Customized Real Estate Services, Inc. • Supplier of the Year (Over 10 Million): Mark III Systems During the Expo on Thursday, over 1,000 attendees walked the floor and visited with sponsors and vendors. This year’s sponsors included Chevron as the Pearl Sponsor, Bayside Printing Company, Inc., BP America, Inc., ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell Oil Company as Platinum Sponsors, Gold Sponsors The Coca-Cola Company and Waste Management. The Silver Sponsors included Baker Hughes, Capital One and WE Texas; Bronze Sponsors included CenterPoint Energy, Clunn Acoustical Systems, Entergy – Texas, Enviro-San Corporation, Fluor Corporation, KBR, Port of Houston Authority and Safe Haven Enterprises, LLC. Metal Sponsors included EXHIBIT NETWORK, Halliburton, Midwest Steel Company, Inc., Petroleum Accessories, Inc., Reliant Energy, an NRG Company and Small Business Today Magazine. About Women's Business Enterprise Alliance As an affiliate of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the WBEA serves as a third-party certifying organization for womenowned business enterprises (WBEs) in South Texas. Businesses that are at least 51-percent owned by a woman and meet specific criteria as outlined by WBENC standards and procedures are eligible for this certification -- a designation that is not only recognized but required by most major corporations and governmental agencies as a purchasing criteria. With more than 750 certified WBEs, the WBEA membership has grown rapidly since its inception and has become


Lynn Tilton, Founder & CEO of Patriarch Partners

Mayor Parker and WBEA Board: Pictured from left: Sophia Gaona, Kelly Services; Phyllis Bailey, 3B Resources Group Public Relations; Tommie Steverson, Steverson & Company; Susan Repka, Women's Business Enterprise Alliance; Jane Henry, Xcution; Mayor Annise D. Parker; Diedra Joseph, Topp Knotch Personnel; Marvin Moore, ConocoPhillips

one of the nation's leading certifiers of women-owned businesses by way of its network of corporate sponsors, supplier diversity programs and dedicated WBEs. For additional information, contact Susan Repka at (713) 681-9232, ext. 209 or log onto:


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Integrated Communications in Texas | Pierpont Communications, Inc. Pierpont Communications knows how to influence the way people think about you and your brand — and this helps you grow your business. With offices in Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, Pierpont understands how businesses communicate in the Texas market.

Find out how Pierpont can help your business grow and flourish. Visit for more information.

Pierpont Communications, Inc. Houston Office 1800 West Loop South, Suite 800 Houston, Texas 77027 Phone: 713 627-2223 Fax: 713 627-2224

Pierpont Communications, Inc. | Public Relations At Pierpont, we know that being a market leader isn't about having the most press releases, or the most colorful brochures.

Pierpont Communications, Inc. | Public Affairs Public Affairs—Civic Engagement—Community Relations—whichever term you prefer, the simple truth is that people do business with companies they know and like.

Pierpont Communications, Inc. | Marketing Pierpont Communications offers a variety of marketing and corporate communications services to companies in the technology, health care, ...

Pierpont Communications, Inc. | Investor Relations Pierpont Investor Relations offers a comprehensive portfolio of services designed to provide public companies and those engaged in the IPO process... SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE JULY 2012 | PG 34



Marketing Is a Culture By N D Brown


arketing is a very misunderstood word.

the culture of Steuben Crystal & Glass.

Some think it means advertising; some public relations; some pricing, some packaging; some sales and promotion, some distribution.

It is a Mission Statement. It is an operational and marketing strategy. It is the essence of a brand. It is the message of their brand.

Text books will tell you marketing is all of that. The truth is, the roots of marketing are firmly set in the culture of a company. This is not my story, it was told to me by one of the kindest, smartest most human savvy clients I have ever worked with. She is a Harvard MBA and one of the first women to be made a Vice President at the august McKensey Company consulting firm. One of her first tasks was to interview numerous employees at Steuben Crystal & Glass. Her task was to get an understanding of how each employee described their separate tasks. She was taken aback when every single employee answered her opening request of, “Please explain to me what you do all day.” with the same statement – “I help make the world’s finest crystal.” That is marketing. That simple statement demonstrated

Every employee, small business or large, should know the message of the company they are working for. They should know, and be proud of, their role in making the culture live and work. When that knowledge and commitment is the culture, than selling products becomes easy. You will often hear company owners claim their first job is customer service. They will pump out their cheats and say "We deliver a great product, on schedule and at a good price and we make the customer happy enough to return." Then when you talk to the employee who do all those things they will probably tell you what their specific job is. It would be truly amazing if they start with "My job is to help this company give the best customer service." Another example of a marketing culture that reinforces the brand is BMW’s slogan. It audaciously claims it is the 'ultimate driving machine'. Everyone working at BMW knows that they must check and re-check every detail to make sure every customer experiences what it is like to own and


operate an 'ultimate driving machine'. Smart business marketing is a lot more than clever advertising or inventive pricing or on time delivery or well placed manufacturing plants or retail locations or shelves of 3 ring binders detailing every facet of the marketing process. Smart marketers know they must first develop a believable culture that every employee is proud of. Then they will know there company has a strong team headed in the same direction. When that happens sales are bound to increase. My client, who discovered the depth of marketing in the culture of Steuben Crystal and Glass, made sure her company's slogan - We'll take better care of you - was the essence of her brand. She made it the daily promise of every employee. Success is based your ability to state exactly what your brand stands for. Communicate it to everyone who works for you. Then make that your culture by constantly reinforcing that message. N D Brown is the Principal of brownchild ltd inc, 3754 Sunset, Houston, TX 77005 You can contact him at 713 807 9000 or cell 713 822 8370,

WBEA 16th Annual

Golf Classic & Silent Auction

MONDAY, OCTOBER 08, 2012 Join us on the green for this out-of-the-box opportunity to grow your business. The WBEA Golf Classic & Silent Auction provides exposure and networking opportunities for corporations and woman-owned businesses.

SPonSoRS aS oF 5/25: Gold Silver Bronze Reception Sponsor Food & Beverage Metal WBE Sponsor Putting Contest Clinic Sponsor Golf Cart

BE involvEd. BE RECoGnizEd.

ExxonMobil ConocoPhillips Baker Hughes & Fluor Corporation BP America, Inc. H-E-B CenterPoint Energy, Chevron, Reliant an NRG Energy & Shell Oil Company Sue Pistone & Associates EMCO, KBR & Keystone Resources The Coca-Cola Company Universal Personnel

The event includes opportunities for everyone with a golf clinic, four person scramble tournament, silent auction, and networking dinner. Additional recognition opportunities available through volunteering, goodie bag and silent auction donations, and sponsorships.

Wildcat Golf Club - 12000 almeda Rd. Houston, TX

For more info contact


Community Colleges...The New Business Schools


By Len Faucher


eing a new adjunct professor from Boston now teaching at Houston Community College (HCC), I am very aware of the extensive global business education students acquire at the Harvard Business School or Wharton or even Stanford. However, I never thought that my Small Business Management classes would be so welcomed by dozens of determined foreign students, eager to take the best skills of capitalism back to their countries. My students, for the most part, are not the typical kids who graduate high school only to look for the easier and less expensive avenue to carve out their future career path. Several already have Bachelor degrees. These HCC students are older than your average college student, for the most part anywhere from 20- 50 years of age and they represent the new frontier of future entrepreneurship. At the conclusion of their sixteen week course, all students are required to submit a Business Plan as their final exam. Everything up to that point covers the “real world” of starting and continuing a new business. Moving their “idea” to a money-making “opportunity” is the first goal they tackle in class. As they continue the course, most of these students are eager to learn how to read and prepare financial

statements, negotiate a lease, and set up a corporation. They are also pretty intelligent and know that opening a small business is almost a necessity for those ambitious individuals who are not professionals with advanced degrees. Realizing that the world’s middle class is shrinking, they understand the information that I’ve presented to them. They have taken to heart the fact that in the United States today, over 60% of the population owns less than 5% of the country’s assets. If they are to improve their standard of living, opening and growing a small business is a viable alternative to living a life of two jobs and low salaries. Many of these international students are in Houston on temporary visas and do not have the time or money for an MBA. In fact, having an MBA does not assure that you have the skills or talent to run a business. It’s like having a doctorate degree from the finest music school in Flute performance. Neither the Houston Symphony nor the New York Philharmonic will sign on a member of their world class orchestras if they do not pass their strict live audition. An individual’s music degree is secondary to the quality of their performance. Neither does business as it’s all about the creative imagination of the entrepreneur and how she or


he learns to grow their business and make money. In one of my classes alone, there are future entrepreneurs from 15 different countries. These students have prepared business plans that will deliver software services in Venezuela, open a bakery outside of Mexico City, start a Liposuction clinic in Columbia, begin a tutoring service in Kazakhstan, market cell phones in Bagdad, launch a shipping company in the Congo, and open an auto repair shop in Mexico. Considering my generation’s futile experiences in Vietnam, the most poignant small business efforts that will soon be underway are a sports bar in Saigon and a gift shop in Hanoi helping the victims of Agent Orange. Of course there are also many other American initiatives taking place. President Obama recently stated “…small business is the engine of America”. At HCC and, I suspect, at other colleges as well, our international students also realize the full potential of a successful small business and how it can help their own family’s standard of living. Leonard Faucher is Sr. Managing Partner for Franchise Innovators International. Contact him at 832886-2757 or email him at lfaucher@




The Jeff Wagner Team


eff Wagner, Senior Mortgage Banker with On Q Finan-cial, has been a mortgage banking/marketing expert for the past seven years and absolutely loves what he is does. His passion and work ethic is reflected in all aspects of how he runs his business and as a result, he is continually developing strong bonds with his clients who are builders and Realtors®. It is usually the rule and not the exception that they often become his friends. In addition, Jeff has developed a team of like-minded, caring mortgage bankers who have taken Jeff's lead and do things a little differently. They are Alex Corredor and Desiree Williams. Jeff firmly believes that it's not just about Realtors® sending clients to him, it's more about what he and his team can do to assist Realtors® with their business. Previous to the mortgage business, Jeff spent 18 years in the advertising industry and as a result, he is always thinking “outside the box.” This experience has been very useful in Jeff developing successful ways to help Realtors® increase their revenue. One of the ways he does this is by hosting Broker Open Houses. Not only does he bring food to the Open Houses, he creates flyers branding the Realtor's® name and also helps drive traffic to their Open Houses. Jeff specializes in having one-on-one, face-to-face appointments with Realtors® to talk about ways he can help them with their business and will often host 30 minute coffees. Explained Jeff, “Every time I meet with someone, my goal is to always help that person walk away with one pearl of wisdom that they feel has value as a result of their meeting with me.” “Jeff is courteous to all my clients and is always an excellent source for mortgages and placing the right mortgage professional with my clients. He's been doing my mortgages for years now and almost exclusively whenever I can. On Q Financial is fast, friendly, and they get the job done.” ----Leann Salmons, Broker Associate at Martha Turner Properties

In his desire to help his clients meet other people in the business and make connections, Jeff enjoys hosting a monthly real estate social group called Houston Elite Real Estate Group (HERG). The group consists of Realtors®, builders, developers, and local Houston business owners and they meet in various different venues throughout the city. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jeff has lived and worked in the Houston area for over 25 years. He is married to Lorrie who is a native Houstonian and they have two daughters, Sophia, who is four years old, and Annie, who is two years old. Jeff loves spending time with his girls, dining out with his lovely wife, barbecuing, and exercis-ing. Last but not least, he loves entertaining friends of which there are many. The count keeps growing on a daily basis because every-one knows, all of Jeff's clients end up becoming his friends!!! For more information on how you can become a friend of Jeff's and take advantage of all the help he can give you with your business, please call him at 713-927-6003, Email him at, drop by the office at 3801 Kirby Drive, Suite 400, Houston, TX 77098, or visit him on the Web at



Volunteering: A Way to Share Your Business Knowledge By Ron Consolino


mall business owners often reach a point in their careers when they are ready to slow down but are not ready to stop working entirely. Others may want to just give back to the community while they are still running their business. A good option for these folks is to volunteer with SCORE, a national non-profit organization that provides free business counseling and low-cost educational services to those who want to start or are running small businesses. With SCORE you can spend some of your time helping promising entrepreneurs start or run their own small businesses. You can share your business expertise, give back to your community, gain satisfaction from seeing others succeed, and connect with likeminded people also serving as volunteers. Each year, SCORE counselors touch thousands of lives, generously sharing their knowledge and experience so that entrepreneurs can realize their dreams of business success. Nationwide 13,000 men and women in 364 SCORE offices donate their time and talent to assist America's small businesses. At SCORE Houston, volunteers provide confidential one-to-one and team business counseling

and low-cost training workshops and seminars. In addition, many counselors are virtual volunteers, providing email counseling directly from their homes or offices. SCORE members can not get paid for the services they provide to their small business clients. Counselors come from a variety of occupations and backgrounds. Both retired and working professionals are welcome in SCORE. Many volunteers owned small businesses for years while others worked for large corporations. Whatever their background, SCORE counselors share a belief that small business owners are more likely to succeed if they have a business mentor to guide them. We currently are seeking new members of diverse backgrounds and experiences to complement our current team of over 70 volunteers in the Houston area. Our members choose from a variety of ways to contribute to our mission, but, most of our counselors are focused primarily on helping aspiring entrepreneurs develop their business plans and launch their first business. Many work with clients to find the financing needed to start or expand a small business.


Others are involved in organizing client educational or networking sessions, arranging outreach programs with other Houston organizations, publishing newsletters, or other management and administrative functions. New members go through an orientation program to get familiar with SCORE and comfortable with the counseling process. All members stay up-to-date by attending regular monthly training and networking sessions. SCORE is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration and the main SCORE office in Houston is located in the offices of the SBA. We have 10 other satellite counseling locations throughout the broader Houston area. Check out our web site,, and send an email to scorehouston@gmail. com to arrange to talk to someone about volunteering. Ron Consolino is a business counselor for SCORE, a non-profit association whose volunteers help start small businesses and reach new levels of success in existing businesses. Send questions or volunteer enquiries to , call 713-773-6565, or visit www.


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Advertiser’s Index Advanced Business Brokers.........................................32

HCC/Goldman Sachs......................................................2

Better Business Bureau....................................................1

Jeff Wagner/On Q Financial Profile................................239

CHI.....................................................Inside Back Cover

Keystone Resources.......................................................42

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

Laughlin Associates.......................................................22

Churchill Mortgage...............................Inside Front Cover

Next Step........................................................................15

Courthouse Direct.........................................................44

Pierpont Communications..............................................34

Quality Hospitality Travel dba Cruise Planners...............10

RAC Conference Center.................................................27

Eric Kleiman Photography...............................................9

Sales Nexus....................................................................25

Fidelity National Title.......................................Back Cover

SBT Advertising..............................................................41

G Ernest Designs...........................................................13


GPS Wealth Mgmt..........................................................35

VIP Orbit.........................................................................43

Gateway Credit Profile..................................................4

WBEA Golf Tournament................................................37

Gateway Credit...............................................................21

Westpark Communications............................................31


Fidelity National Title



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Small Business Today Magazine - JuLY 2012 Edition  

Small Business Today Magazine - JuLY 2012 Edition

Small Business Today Magazine - JuLY 2012 Edition  

Small Business Today Magazine - JuLY 2012 Edition