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SEPTEMBER 2013

SUBJECT LINES THAT GET

EMAILS READ

TIPS FOR DOING

BUSINESS IN BRAZIL

JANE & MATT HENRY

XCUTION Volume 2 Issue 6

KEEPING IT BALANCED AT WORK AND AT HOME

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SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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CHAMPIONS SCHOOL OF

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT A Division of Champions School of Real Estate®

In today’s competitive business arena, the finishing touches win the day. Do you have the skills to stand out from the crowd? Are you confident in your public speaking and networking abilities? Set yourself apart from the competition!

Enroll in Champions School of Professional Development Program Today!

Public Speaking Training 1-DAY COURSE

Professional Development 2-DAY COURSE

Take the stress and fear out of being in front of an audience with this proven 1-day class with Rita Santamaria, President, Champions School of Real Estate.

By developing your professional demeanor, you tell your partners and associates that you take their time and business seriously. A polished, professional decorum is the edge you need and deserve.

• Beginning with the Basics • Slow and Steady Stress Relievers • Posturing • Thinking on Your Feet • Speech Pacing • Invest in Self-Assurance

• • • • • • Rita D. Santamaria Owner and Founder of Champions School of Real Estate®

October 25

Galleria Campus

4543 Post Oak Place, Ste 130 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM Tuition: $150

Call Us Today! 888-335-6767

Dining Etiquette Cultural Mannerisms Personality Profiling Organizational Skills Dressing for Success Body Language

• • • • •

How to Make Introductions Powerful First Impressions Etiquette in the Workplace Communication Etiquette Strengthening Your People Skills

Oct 31 - Nov 1

Houston North Campus

5627 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Ste 100 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM Tuition: $200 - $100 for current CSRE Students!

www.TheChampionsProfessional.com

1983 - 2013

Celebrating 30 Years of Outstanding Education! | www.ChampionsSchool.com Austin | Dallas | Fort Worth | Houston | San Antonio www.SBTMagazine.net

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h ANNIVERSAR PG 3 30t2013 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST


MainStreetChamber presents

Class of 2013

Awards Ceremony Alex Lopez Negrete

Johnny Carrabba

Tony Chase

Beth Wolff

John Beddow

Bill Sherrill

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bayou City Event Center 5:30pm to 9:00pm

Save the Date

It will be Legendary

A special thank you to our sponsors...

www.SBTMagazine.net

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SBT Houston Staff September 2013

FROM THE

Publisher STEVE LEVINE

WHO IS ON YOUR ADVISORY BOARD? I don’t mind admitting it. There are a lot of people convinced that I know a lot more about business than I really do. In fact, if the truth be known, I pride myself on how little I know and seem to get away with it! What I do know is a great number of people who are experts on a variety of subjects who have written articles in SMALL BUSINESS TODAY and my previous editorial-based magazines. These are the people who I selected to be on the Publisher’s Advisory Board. Each member of the SBT Publisher’s Advisory Board adds something different to our business. Each offers a unique perspective, a different point of view when called upon (usually via email) when we need advice on some aspect of the magazine and our business. Several weeks ago, we were indeed honored when Houston Mayor Annise Parker agreed to join us on the Publisher’s Advisory Board. Her honor is a true champion of small business and has helped create one of the most desirable markets and environments to help start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners. Having a Publisher’s Advisory Board keeps me, your Executive Publisher, “raising the bar” of quality and professionalism in the magazine month after month. I take it very seriously that these powerful people have invested their most valuable commodity, their name in the magazine. Our commitment to excellence in providing a publication “worthy” of their participation has produced some very strong goodwill ambassadors. They believe in our mission and are behind us 100%. This month’s cover honorees, Matt & Jane Henry of Xcution, believe that their ultimate goal is to create an incubator to help launch people into the corporate world who have great ideas. They listen to their clients and become their advisors and listen to their team as well. “My goal is to continue working on my people. They are so talented that they have taken some of our ‘pie in the sky’ ideas and methodologies and really taken it to a whole new level of knowledge. I just couldn’t be prouder of them,” boasts Jane. It is time for me to let you start enjoying this month’s issue. Good Reading, Good Sales, & Success to You, Steve Levine Executive Publisher

www.SBTMagazine.net

Steve, Barbara, and Mayor Annise Parker

President John Cruise Executive Publisher Steve Levine Associate Publisher/Creative Director Barbara Davis-Levine Contributing Editors Tammy Moshay Devon Ray Battaglia Business Development/PR Bill Huff Donna Rooney Susan Repka Graphic Designers Malka G. Levy Vanessa Vara Photographer Gwen Juarez Contributing Writers Errol Allen Barbara Davis Mila Golovine Lorraine Grubbs Bruce Hurta Tina Marie Jones Craig Klein Bertrand McHenry Hank Moore Mike Muhney Amy Olivieri Mayor Annise Parker George Rose Rita Santamaria Alvin Terry Holly Uverity Jack Warkenthien Doug Winnie Aimee Woodall Chief Advisor Hank Moore Publisher’s Advisory Board Cyndi Barnett Roger Burks Donna Cole John Cruise Dirk Cummins April Day Dr. John Demartini Maya Durnovo Kathie Edwards Leonard Faucher David Holt Richard Huebner Jeffrey Jones Darryl King Craig Klein Wea Lee Bertrand McHenry Hank Moore Lisa M. Morton Mike Muhney Leisa Holland Nelson Mayor Annise Parker Maria Rios Rita Santamaria Allen Shapiro William Sherrill Pam Terry Linda Toyota Jack Warkenthien Doug Winnie Aaron Young Phone: 832-460-2020 E-Mail: Steve.Levine@SBTMagazine.net Or Write: Small Business Today 5380 West 34th Street, Ste 230 Houston, TX 77092 See us on the web at www.SBTMagazine.net

SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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WBEA 17th Annual

Golf Classic & Silent Auction

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2013 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.

Become a SponSoR

Be involved. Be Recognized.

GOLD

$8,000

PUTTING CONTEST

$750

SILVER

$6,000

$300

BRONZE

$4,500

GOLF CLINIC (10 Available)

RECEPTION SPONSOR

$3,000

METAL

$2,000

FOOD & BEVERAGE SPONSOR

$2,500

HOLE SPONSOR GOLF TEAM

$150/$225 $700

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.

cypresswood golf club - 21602 cypresswood drive Spring, TX 77373

For more info contact Avsmith@wbea-texas.org www.SBTMagazine.net

SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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INSIDE

SEPTEMBER 2013 EDITION I HOUSTON

SEPTEMBER 2013

MainStreetChamber presents

Class of 2013

Awards Ceremony Alex Lopez Negrete

Johnny Carrabba

Tony Chase

Bill Sherrill

EMAILS READ

TIPS FOR DOING

BUSINESS IN BRAZIL

6

The More You Learn, The More You Earn and Knowledge is Power

8

“Scope Drift” and “Time Management”

9

Create a Subject Line That Gets Your Emails Read

10

Three Warning Signs That Your Marketing Effort is Headed Toward Failure

11

Which is Better, the Manager or the Leader?

12

Houston, a Green Leader

13

JANE & MATT HENRY

XCUTION

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Bayou City Event Center 5:30pm to 9:00pm

Volume 2 Issue 6

KEEPING IT BALANCED AT WORK AND AT HOME

Save the Date

It will be Legendary

A special thank you to our sponsors...

JANE AND MATT HENRY – XCUTION

2

MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND THE “LEGENDS OF HOUSTON BUSINESS” EVENT ON OCTOBER 9TH.

KEEPING IT BALANCED AT WORK AND AT HOME

WBEA 17th Annual

Golf Classic & Silent Auction

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2013 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.

Old Dogs, New Tricks: Entrepreneurs of All Ages Have Something to Learn 15 Doing Business in Brazil

16

Developing Leaders: Part One

17

Never Network Alone

19

20/20 Brand Vision: Why You Should Care About Caring.

21

Becoming a Legend

22

Marketing Does Create Customer Experiences

John Beddow

SUBJECT LINES THAT GET

IN THIS ISSUE

Refinancing Small Business Real Estate With SBA Loans

Beth Wolff

Become a SponSoR

25

Be involved. Be Recognized.

GOLD

$8,000

PUTTING CONTEST

$750

SILVER

$6,000 $4,500

GOLF CLINIC (10 Available)

$300

BRONZE RECEPTION SPONSOR

$3,000

METAL

$2,000

FOOD & BEVERAGE SPONSOR

$2,500

26

HOLE SPONSOR GOLF TEAM

$150/$225 $700

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.

cypresswood golf club - 21602 cypresswood drive Spring, TX 77373

For more info contact Avsmith@wbea-texas.org

Treat Your Growing Business to a Business Line Of Credit

28

N.E.E.R. Beats F.A.R. The Secret to Effective Grassroots Marketing

29

Getting Organized: Five Tools You Must Have

34

Subtle Signs of Stress

36

WOULD YOU OR YOUR COMPANY LIKE TO BE PROFILED IN OUR NEXT ISSUE? CALL STEVE LEVINE AT 832-419-2814

4

SAVE THE DATE FOR WBEA GOLF CLASSIC - OCTOBER 17TH, 2013

HOUSTON EDITION PUBLISHER: STEVE LEVINE SMALL BUSINESS MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY LEGACY PUBLISHING GROUP, LLC. 5380 WEST 34TH ST. STE. 230 HOUSTON, TX 77092 EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER: STEVE LEVINE PRESIDENT: JOHN CRUISE PHONE: 832-460-2020 www.SBTMagazine.net ADVERTISING RATES ON REQUEST. BULK THIRD CLASS MAIL PAID IN TUCSON, AZ. POSTMASTER: PLEASE SEND NOTICES ON FORM 3579 TO 5380 WEST 34TH ST. STE. 230 HOUSTON, TX 77092 ALTHOUGH EVERY PRECAUTION IS TAKEN TO ENSURE ACCURACY OF PUBLISHED MATERIALS, SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR OPINIONS EXPRESSED OR FACTS SUPPLIED BY ITS AUTHORS. COPYRIGHT 2012, LEGACY PUBLISHING GROUP, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED.

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JANE & MATT HENRY

XCUTION KEEPING IT BALANCED AT WORK AND AT HOME

A

By Barbara R. Davis

ccording to the Small Business Administration, in 1995, one third of the fastest growing private companies on the Inc. 500 list were owned and operated by husband-and-wife teams. In spite of these statistics, many caution that it can be a difficult path handling the dual pressure of having a harmonious marriage and home life while building a successful business together. In the case of Jane and Matt Henry, they have taken advantage of each other’s excellent skill sets and have found a way to keep a balance at home and at work. As a result, their management consulting firm, Xcution, is recognized as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in Houston! There are numerous consulting firms that do project management and there are lots of coaching firms that do coaching but when it comes to a company that competently does both, there are far and few between. Jane Henry is one of those rare individuals who can handle both with ease. Having arduously studied the Project Management Book of Knowledge and Steven Covey’s favorite principles for many years, Jane has translated the information into something that companies and individuals can easily do on a regular basis. One of Steven Covey’s favorite principles that he mentions in ‘The 7 Habits’ and further explores in the ‘8th Habit’ is about “Seek first to understand; then work to be understood.” Xcution refers to themselves as “Project Expeditors.” They build that philosophy in management frameworks and actually execute it as a part of implementing businesses. They’ve found that people are generally good with the day-to-day stuff. It’s when they have to do something different that throws them for a loop. Without change, it’s so easy to become stagnant. Xcution then works with the company or individuals on a regular basis to think through how they’re implementing that and keeping an accountability structure up around it. Ms. Henry has now written Xcution’s own training course that will eventually become a book! It is the other half of their methodology. They teach it to their employees on how to deliver and when their clients want to know how they do what they do, they put them through that course or teach their team. It helps accelerate the process because instead of just watching them work, they now understand the same language and they are able to talk as peers. Xcution primarily supports the oil and gas industry as a management consulting firm. They are also expanding into healthcare. Interestingly enough, Xcution (which stands for excellence in execution) was started by accident. Prior to starting Xcution, Jane and Matt met at as employees at a major consulting company in Houston. Matt was the financial analyst and Jane was the scheduler for major capital projects. They flew all over the world together and as a result of the close business relationship, they fell in love. After they got married, Ms. Henry got the “brainiac idea” (her words) that she needed to settle down so that she could have children. She elaborated, “I joined this highly, highly stable

Gwen Juarez Photography SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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“Business intelligence meets market savvy.” There is an infusion of energy going on in the Xcution building located on 1111 Rosalie. Xcution is not your typical global management consulting company. They drive home the importance of soft skills when considering strategy, structure, and systems.

Gwen Juarez Photography

Bringing focus to the “soft skills” side of execution is the amazing team pictured here. They are (front row, left to right) Stacey Pierce, Matt Henry, Jane Henry, Stacie Holmes, and Barnetta Barnes; (middle row, left to right) Blakely Allen, Juan Lujan, Kathryn Kelley, Ekene Mkpor, Reid Henry, and Christina McIntosh; (back row, left to right) Heath Long, Kira Laws, Heather Sanchez, and LaToya Smith.

blame. Will you follow me? People will sign up. People love challenges. I’ve found that that’s one of the biggest motivators is to just give someone a challenge. As far as the deeper motivations, we ask them, “What will it take? What will it take for you to come to this meeting?”

company called ‘Enron’ (Insert laugh here)!” Inevitably, she was a part of the mass firing. Jane still has the images of the surreal situation firmly planted in her mind of her bosses standing on top of their desks and telling everyone to go home and not to worry about their stuff; that they should pack it up and they would send it on later. Ms. Henry went home and started crying after the realization of the dire situation enveloped her. She recalled, “It was very traumatic. I was uncertain as to what was going to happen. At ten o’clock that same evening, I received a call asking me to come back in to project manage the divestiture of the company. I tell everybody that I was either highly qualified for the position or the cheapest project manager they could find!” Returning to Enron, in her mind, Jane thought she was a “real smart cookie”! She had her Project Management Body of Knowledge (the methodology that all project managers live by) and she had Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” After calling her first meeting to talk about doing something with the information technology, no one showed up! At that point, the realization of what was happening really sank in. Ms. Henry was keenly aware that all of the project management tools and techniques in the world were not going to save that situation inside of Enron. Jane recalled, “It was miserable. People who were still there and had thought they were lucky to still be there weren’t feeling lucky anymore. They felt like they weren’t sure where their jobs were going to be in a month and what they were really doing there. Here we were taking apart something that had been so important. We had bought into that culture. There were no more building services; toilet paper was coveted. No one was cleaning. People were fighting over pens. I basically realized that if I could just get the people to come to the table, maybe we could do something.” She continued, “As humans, we build relationships and sometimes we forget how important it is to nurture and take care of that relationship. Don’t think that I am not all about the tell. There’s a time and a place where a leader just needs to put their neck out and say, ‘We’re going in this direction and I am going to take all the www.SBTMagazine.net

Jane finally did get the people to come together from that group by simply calling each person and asking them to show up and because of that union, they were able to create 750 jobs. A large portion of those went to UBS Warburg Energy and some of those companies are still in existence today. After that, from 2002 through 2006, if one had a demoralized workforce or just wanted to take their business to the next level, Jane was the person to call. Ms. Henry had thought everything was great but in 2006, she took a hard look at herself and thought, “What am I doing? I said I was passionate about saving companies; I was passionate about people, then this needs to be bigger than me.” At that point, from 2006 to 2008, she took her methodology into a corporation and made some attempts at establishing an internal PMO for these organizations called a Project Management Office but it really didn’t work out. So, in 2008, Jane called Matt and said, “There’s a higher path here; I’m not sure where we’re going but will you join me?” Matt looked at Jane and took her hand and replied, “Of course!” In February of 2008, their second child was born and by June, Matt had left the company he had been working for. Soon after, Jane left the company she had been working for. Once again, Jane and Matt teamed up to form the “perfect business union” and that is when Xcution was

Continued on page 30

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

The More You Learn, The More You Earn and Knowledge is Power

THE BUSINESS OF REAL ESTATE

By Rita Santamaria

T

hese two statements, “The More You Learn, The More You Earn” and “Knowledge is Power” are used on all of the Champions School of Real Estate materials for our customers who are moving into new careers in real estate, mortgage lending, inspection, or appraisal. It applies to every industry and every career if you take the meanings to heart. Self-confidence is the key to claiming any job and keeping that job. When selfconfidence in yourself or your activity is lacking, people either fire themselves, or they may be asked to resign by management as their lack of self-confidence is demonstrated through inappropriate work ethics and other obvious signs.

posture in the right position, you have just added extra strength to your getting the new promotion. When you embark on a new career, you need to know all about the job requirements and what typical tasks are involved in that area of business. Reading, asking questions, and training will allow you to understand the day-today expectations, demands, and benefits of that career. When you have this knowledge, you feel more in control of yourself during your working hours. The team of associates you interface with will feel the confidence you demonstrate and they too will know that if they are away from the office, you will help keep everything

How do you gain self-confidence? You do research in whatever it is that you need to know more about. If you take the initiative to read, lear n, ask questions, and implement your newly learned information, then you will gain self-confidence.

The more you learn, the more valuable you become and the more valuable you become, the more you earn. Knowledge is power in that it allows you to become the “go to person” for your customers and team of professionals. The person with the knowledge is the one a company never wants to lose. Rita Santamaria is the owner of Champions School of Real Estate and Champions Professional Development. For more information, go to www.ChampionsSchool.com. Champions School of Real Estate since 1983 and 2013 BBB Award for Excellence in Business.

CHAMPIONS SCHOOL OF REAL ESTATE ®

Let’s say you lack self-confidence in your communication skills. There are many classes in that area available including how to negotiate. We offer these through our Professional Development Classes. The next step after learning the technique of good communication is to practice what you have learned. The more one can see the benefit of the knowledge they have gleaned, the more ready they are to try the same practices over and over.

Providing Award-Winning Education Since 1983

Real Estate, Loan Origination, Appraisal and Home Inspection

Perhaps you are not sure about speaking up in a meeting, at church, or in any group situation. Take a class in public speaking and learn the techniques that allow your brain and body to work together in tandem to relieve the nervous jitters. Learn the correct posturing for public speaking and then, practice, practice, practice! Being in front of a group and speaking easily adds credibility and strength to your image. When in the situation of being interviewed for a new position or a promotion, having a steady voice, not being shaky, and having SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

running smoothly. Everyone appreciates a person who demonstrates self-confidence.

Courses Available in Classroom, Online and by Correspondence. FM 1960 Campus

Galleria Campus

5627 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Ste 100

4543 Post Oak Place, Ste 130

281.893.4484

713.629.4543

West Campus

281.496.7386

738 Highway 6 South, Ste 150

Austin | Dallas | Ft. Worth | Houston | San Antonio | Online Open to the Public; TREC #0005

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www.ChampionsSchool.com Lone Star College Tomball Provider #0123

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

“Scope Drift” and “Time Management”

ENTREPRENEURS TOOL BOX

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

Scope Drift” is a term that I was introduced to while working on a Doctorate in Business in Entrepreneurship. My professor emphasized many times that while you are in this Doctoral Program, do not develop “Scope Drift.” This was a new concept to me. I learned how it was important to me and how it pertained to what I was doing.

Understanding what “Scope Drift” is and just how it controls your life can be an eye opening experience. We have all read books, business articles, and newspaper columns on time management. We have all attended countless seminars; some were free and some cost hundreds of dollars with time consuming systems and mind altering maneuvers to either preprogram or trick you into thinking differently by using that magic system. The truth is, no one can control time. But, you can manage how you allocate your time on the most important things that matter to you, your business and your customers. The pursuit of being successful in business is a job in itself. There are many moving parts that are dynamic and constantly changing. Separating all of the components into their respective compartments, delegating activities to others and monitoring their activities require a lot of effort. If we have been fortunate in hiring the right individuals who will embrace our vision, mission and corporate culture, we can have an advantage over the competition. Whether you are a one man/woman shop doing it all or a CEO overseeing many operational departments, one thing is sure, you have encountered “Scope Drift.” It is a natural phenomenon. We all face it in our daily lives. In our present day world of comings and goings we are bombarded with noise, clutter, news, the internet, traffic, inept employees and customers with concerns. That does not include family, politics, traffic, commuting and road rage. It all adds up and creeps into our business focus and dilutes our main purpose of trying to run a successful business. www.SBTMagazine.net

It distracts your focus, takes you off your game plan, and dilutes your bottom line. It is a silent thief if not recognized daily that can wreak havoc and create confusion and doubt. People in your sphere of influence may give you false or erroneous information that can cause you to make unclear decisions, too. Some other contributors to “Scope Drift” are multitasking, day dreaming, marriage, children and anything else that I might have missed. As you filter through all of the mazes above, staying true to your vision and mission can help in eliminating “Scope Drift.” Eliminating or minimizing any unnecessary activity or activities can assist in this process. “Scope Drift” has always and will always be a time waster. Having a “Plan B” aligned with your primary goals can help you achieve those goals. The key is to keep making progress on a consistent and daily basis. Always take the time for a quiet moment to reflect and assess where you are on your mission and on your business plan time line. Remember, your business and marketing plans are there to guide you; they are your road map to success. I reflect constantly on the many experiences that have brought me joy and those businesses experiences that have brought me pain. We are all vulnerable at some point in our business careers. In the end, it can all balance out. This is called life and we cannot control it. The most important thing is to acknowledge those experiences, learn from them, and review what led up to the outcomes. When identifying the next target of accomplishments in your sights, you can approach it with renewed insight to better control the outcome in your favor. Do not be overwhelmed with the activity, but be consumed with overcoming the moment with a victory. We all have different approaches as individuals to business and personal situations, but in the end, the result of winning is what we all want to accomplish. Accomplishing that goal with integrity and resolve will lead to inspiration to go further. Continued on page 14 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Create a Subject Line That Gets Your Emails Read By: Amy Olivieri, Constant Contact Regional Development Director Amy Olivieri

S

o, you’ve crafted the perfect email and sent it out to your list of subscribers. Now it all comes down to one thing, the subject line. Those less than ten-word phrases are the key to getting your email opened, and can make or break an email campaign. And while there is no exact “formula” to create the perfect subject line, there are best practices that will greatly improve the chance of your email getting read. 1. Include a clear call-to-action Before sending your newsletter, stop and ask yourself: What action do I want the recipient to take? That action won’t always be one that has an immediate impact on your business (buy now!) but it should be the first step in some path toward driving real results from your email marketing. Keep in mind your subject line will be the first impression your email has on your reader. Making it your first call-to-action will improve the likelihood of that action being taken. 2. Remember, people are naturally skeptical The best way to overcome this skepticism is by thinking about why your subscribers signed up to receive your emails in the first place. (If you don’t know, then you may want to consider sending out a survey to your customers asking what content they want to see more, or even start sending a survey as part of your initial “welcome” email.) Once you’ve figured that out, you can alter your subject lines to better suit their interests. 3. Get to the point I don’t need to tell you how much people value their time. When it comes to your emails, you have, at most, only a few minutes to get your message across. When it comes to your subject line, you have only a few seconds to capture their attention. Keep in mind the typical inbox preview pane will only show 30 to 40 characters (the typical mobile device shows around 15 characters). If possible, shoot for 25 to 40 characters or 5 to 8 words.

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4. Create a sense of urgency Do not take this as a call to add “ACT NOW!” or “LIMITED TIME OFFER!” to every one of your subject lines. Instead, take it as a call to consider using urgency to invigorate your customer base. This is especially true if you’re running a promotion, having a sale, or trying to drive attendance to an upcoming event. 5. Reputability of the sender is key While the content of your email and the design of your subject line are important, nothing is more important than the relationship the recipient has with the sender (that’s you!) Want the best results? Tell people who the email is from in the subject line. 6. Don’t mislead Even the most honest businesses can sometimes be guilty of unintentionally misleading their customers. It may not be your intention, but if your subject lines aren’t telling the whole truth or are structured in a way your customers may misunderstand, then you could be putting your reputation at risk. 7. Personalize—but not too much! There is a right way and a wrong way to personalize your subject lines. The right way is to add a more personal touch by using words like “you” or “your”. It lets people know there’s an actual person sending the email and that they understand the interests of the reader. The wrong way to personalize your emails is by including the recipient’s name in the subject line. This is a practice that is most typically used by spammers. (Check your spam or junk folder for plenty of examples of these.) 8. Share your expertise Likely, your customers view you as an expert in your field and many of them signed up for your newsletter just for that reason. So don’t just tell

Continued on page 14

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Three Warning Signs That Your Marketing Effort is Headed Toward Failure By Craig Klein, CEO of SalesNexus.com

M

arketing is expensive. It takes a lot of money to acquire a new customer and it really bites when that effort does not produce sales. If you are like most business owners, you lament that salespeople are just not as good as they used to be. There was a day when good salespeople had so perfected their closing techniques that they could “sell ice to an Eskimo” (forgive the overused phrase.) Selling was all about charm and method. Today’s sales professionals seem to fail in these qualities. Will you hate me if I tell you that is an incorrect assumption? I’m not saying that you have genius salespeople. Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t. However, I have found that the marketing failures almost always are about decisions made by the business owner and the marketing approaches he endorses. OUCH!!! Here are three things I see in companies that are headed toward marketing failure:

expert look good, it really doesn’t matter if you cannot convert those sales leads into revenue for your business. Far beyond targeted digital advertising, you need to be starting two-way conversations and educating your sales leads rather than just dumping them into your online CRM and expecting your sales people to convert them. In a recent article from the Content Marketing Institute, Saracino says, “…we are shifting from being the mouthpiece for the products and services our businesses sell to being conversation starters, think tanks, entertainers, community builders, and idea hubs.” Your Salespeople Complain About the Quality of Sales Leads Beyond targeting your marketing efforts to a specific audience, sales team members need to know how to quickly disqualify sales leads that are not ready to make a decision at this time.

They Get Lots of Sales Leads and Few Sales When the CRM software is bulging with lots of sales leads, you may expect the sales team to convert a large percentage of them to closed sales. It seems like a reasonable assumption, but you know what they say about assumptions.

In today’s digital environment, it takes a huge number of sales leads to fuel the pipeline. Sales people need to conserve the time they spend and commit it to only the ones who are ready to make a decision. We recently created an eBook entitled “The Magic 5 of Content Marketing that Drives Sales” which could help them qualify well.

There is a good chance that sales leads have been generated by “throwing money” at the internet without a strategic plan for obtaining quality leads from a narrow target market. Using search marketing strategies to fuel pay-per-click campaigns will often lead to an incredible volume of sales leads. While it may make your SEO

None of the sales leads are wasted though. The majority of them should be placed in a lead nurturing email campaign. During the lead nurturing period, the sales leads are fed a steady diet of helpful information. They get a quality education from you whether they end up purchasing from you or not. Your

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sales people will love working with better educated and ready buyers. You Are Losing Customers That Have Been With You a Long Time This article is about marketing and talking about client retention seems a little farfetched, but it is not. With today’s buyers always hungry to learn more and be informed about what products and services they use, it is pretty easy for a savvy competitor to take your clients away from you. When was the last time you used email automation targeted at your existing customers? Your CRM software will allow you to segment your database and begin sending content to current clients that is helpful to them. You may want to send them interesting tactics contained in your product which are underutilized. One effective email might be a case study about how you responded to a complaint, apologize for the possible impact on them and explain how you made corrections to the system. Surprisingly, showing your vulnerability and human errors will cause people to feel more loyalty. Transparency has power in today’s communication. There are an endless number of things you can communicate to those customers. Which of these three warning signs are showing up in your marketing effort? Now you know what to do about it.

Craig is the founder of SalesNexus.com, a leading provider of CRM, Email Marketing and Lead Generation solutions to business 2 business sales teams.

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Which is Better, the Manager or the Leader? By Doug Winnie, PMP

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manager manages resources while a leader leads people. Have you heard that saying? Running a business means you get to be the leader. You have the opportunity to lead your people into battle every day and, with great inspiration, positive motivation, and a clear vision, you can expect and are likely to get great results. Mr. John Maxwell said during an interview, “Leadership is getting people to do what you don’t want to do.” Later in the interview he explained, it is getting people to do what needs to be done and you are not the right person to do it. Leadership is a must for the 1-person office up to the multi-thousand person organization. We must become great leaders for our business to grow. Does that mean that management or the word manager is something to throw out? Of course it doesn’t. We have to manage, or have managers to manage the day-to-day operations and keep track of the key performance indicators (KPIs.) Managers need to manage people as not everyone is self-managed.

Employees negotiate and set individual responsibilities with their fellow workers. Everyone can spend the privately held company’s money without budgetary constraints. Nobody carries a title, and there are no promotions. Compensation at the largest tomato processor on the planet is peer-based.” Stunned and intrigued? Here’s the link to the whole article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/drucker/2012/09/25/self-management-a-great-idea/ Possibly Morning Star is a little too “out there” for most companies. The question still remains, how to promote selfmanagement within the organization? As with most innovation, leading from the top is an effective place to start. So, here are some rules for self-management: 1. Honor your word. Keep the promises you make. Generate trust by being willing to be trustworthy first and foremost. Increase productivity by creating good work habits and rejecting bad ones.

Wow, what a thought, everyone is self-managed. Imagine that you’d only employ those who are entirely self-managed. That would probably be the number one request for business owners; all their staff is self-managed. Maybe your team is wellmanaged and many are self-managed. Yet, some just don’t know how to be self-managed. They have yet to acquire that skill. Maybe no one has tried to teach them this skill. Would this be something the manager would like to teach their team; “How to Become Self-Managed”, classes at 9 A.M. I wonder who would attend that class. Probably not many, as most would not admit they are not self-managed. If during an interview, the prospect said they were not self-managed, they would likely not get the job. Thus the manager needs to figure out ways to help everyone become self-managed.

Be self-disciplined; that’s what grown-ups do.

So, what does self-management look like? One example is the world’s largest tomato processor, Morning Star Co. in California. This company is a shining example of strong profits, great growth, amazingly low employee turnover, and stunning innovation. Leading Morning Star’s list of innovation is Self-Management.

Follow the SMART criteria to create appropriate KPIs. The KPI has a Specific purpose for the business; it is Measurable; to really get value from the KPI, the defined norms have to be Achievable; the improvement of a KPI has to be Results Oriented to the success of the organization; and finally it must be Time phased, which means the value or outcomes are shown for a predefined and relevant period.

In the recent Forbes article, Morning Star’s Self-Management Program is described as; “No one at the company has a boss. SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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Have a good work ethic; be willing to do what it takes. Manners still count; be courteous, thoughtful, and respectful. KPIs are certainly one great way to be sure everyone is selfaccountable. If each team member was to post on a white board their KPIs for the day, they would likely become selfaccountable, and hopefully, self-managed. The manager will still need to create appropriate KPIs, or at least, confirm the ones the team created are appropriate (and attainable.) Sometimes, when left to our own devices, we create nearly impossible KPIs to reach, and when not reached, we may kick ourselves too much and begin to fall in a downward spiral.

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Houston, a Green Leader By Mayor Annise Parker

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he City of Houston continues to set the standard for other cities when it comes to being “green.” Houston is already known as the energy capital of the world, but we are committed to becoming the alternative energy capital of the world as well. We recently signed an agreement with Reliant Energy, an NRG Energy company, to purchase over 140 MW of renewable power for the next two years. During this time period, the City’s purchase of green power will account for half of its annual electricity demand. We will be using almost 623,000 mWh of green power per year, which is equivalent to the amount of kilowatt-hours needed to power over 55,000 homes each year. Purchasing green power reduces the environmental impacts of electricity use, decreases the cost of renewable power over time and supports the development of new renewable generation - a triple win for Houstonians. This purchase makes Houston the largest municipal purchaser of renewable power in the nation, and places us in the top 10 overall in the nation, according to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency. The City has purchased renewable energy credits (RECs) that are Green-E certified. Taking advantage of more cost effective and cost competitive REC prices, the City is able to maintain a relatively flat power price while also increasing its percentage of renewable energy in its portfolio. The City

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has committed $2 million for this 2-year agreement, less than a $0.01 per kWh on top of the City’s power price. In addition to investing in wind power, the City has been designated as one of the Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities and is developing its own solar powered sources of energy: • With existing installations at the George R. Brown Convention Center, City Hall Annex, Discovery Green, and most recently, the Houston Permitting Center, the City is a test bed for solar technologies. The Green Building Resource Center provides education and shows real-time energy production of its rooftop solar panels. • With funding from a DOE SunShot Rooftop Solar Challenge grant, the City is working with the Houston Advanced Research Center on streamlining and refining the solar permitting process. In the 2013 Texas legislative session, the City worked closely with Keeping PACE in Texas, actively supporting SB 385 (Property Assessed Clean Energy Act) which will provide financing to help property owners break down the financial barriers to installing renewable energy projects. The City understands the need for clean, renewable energy is also to offer more reliability during times of extreme weather

events. Using grant funding, 17 mobile solar-powered shipping containers/ generators were acquired through a partnership with the University of Houston Green Building Components Program and placed at fire stations, parks, neighborhood centers and schools. The City is exploring potential ideas that would keep the market moving forward, including a Solar Benefit program. This idea would reduce the complexity and cost of residential solar power through a collective group discount program. The program would reach the residential sector via targeted outreach through employer organizations in Houston. In addition to purchasing green power and building renewable energy projects, the City is also working to reduce its emissions. The City’s municipal operations emissions have realized a 26% decrease from the 2007 greenhouse gas emissions inventory. The City has committed and invested in many programs that reduce cost, improve efficiencies, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Projects such as the municipal energy efficiency retrofit program that upgraded 6 million square feet of the City’s buildings to achieve 30% energy reductions to increasing the City’s hybrid and electric fleet, have helped the City achieve and surpass its MultiPollutant Emissions Reduction Plan goals.

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Continued from page 9 “Scope Drift” and “Time Management”

Continued from page 12 Which is Better, the Manager or the Leader?

Obtaining that personal education through experiences makes us grow and evolve into who we are as individuals. Keep your focus, stay grounded, avoid “Scope Drift” and you will be able to achieve your excellence.

Leadership and management are both required skill sets, and until the roles are split, the leader must be the manager (and visa versa.) Until your team reaches about 8 people, the leader will also be the manager. Once the staff count reaches about 8 people, you’ll need to become or find a leader. Then manage or lead as you decide where your greatest skills align and how best you will grow your team and your business to reach your dreams and aspirations.

If you would like to contact me concerning Business or Real Estate, I may be reached at alvin.terry@rocketmail. com or Cell 713-392-9107.

them what you’ve read or what you’ve heard - tell them what you know. Inject words like “my” or “our” into subject lines that share your expertise.

Making the choice between managing and leading your business can be difficult. To improve the bottom-line, you must have both in every business. Let’s use the ratio of 80:20. Initially, more management is needed; say 80% management, 20% leadership. Then, as the business grows with more team members, it switches to 80% leadership and 20% management.

9. NO CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! “WE’RE HAVING A SALE!!!” doesn’t convey excitement; it conveys a feeling you’re trying too hard to get your customers attention. That’s not to say capitalization and exclamation points should never be used. If you hit a milestone for your business, are having your biggest sale of the year, or are opening a brand new location, then by all means, show your excitement, just don’t abuse it.

For more education and motivation regarding this and other topics relating to accelerating business success, contact Doug Winnie at 713-936-3814, dougwinnie@actioncoach. com , or at www.BusinessAsATool.com . As an Executive and Master Business Coach, Doug offers complimentary coaching sessions and monthly workshops so everyone can become more successful in less time.

Continued from page 10 Create a Subject Line That Gets Your Emails Read

10. Take social shareability into consideration Businesses aren’t the only ones looking for inspiration for content to share on Facebook or ideas for things to tweet about - your customers are, too. If you have a socially-savvy audience, thinking of your subject line as status update on Facebook or a tweet, can improve your emails shareability. 11. Use the subject line to tease the content There’s a reason why people hate commercials but love movie trailers. Commercials are all about promotion; trailers are all about getting people’s attention and leaving them wanting more. 12. Consider your audience’s needs Think about your audience’s needs or the type of questions that might be on their mind when they’re going through their inbox. If month after month you’re answering those questions, your content will always be relevant. 13. Don’t do the hard sell If you want to drive real business results from your email marketing, you’re going to need to learn how to sell, without selling. That starts with your subject line. Using an overly salesy” subject line is like hiring an overly aggressive salesperson; they may get results sometimes, but for every one sale they make, they’ve chased ten others out the door. Follow these 13 tips and you’ll be well on your way to an increase in open rates, bypassing that delete button and getting your content in front of your customers.

National National Association Association of of Women Women Business Business Owners Owners Houston Houston Chapter Chapter Connecting Connecting Women Women Who Who Mean Mean Business Business Why NAWBO? • Women own an estimated 10.6 million businesses in the United States • They employ 19.1 million workers (1 in 7) • Their businesses account for $2.5 trillion in sales • Women business owners are philanthropically active: seven in 10 volunteer at least once per month; 31% contribute $5,000 or more to charity annually; 15% give $10,000 or more. Shouldn’t you be involved in an organization that takes www.nawbohouston.org or call 713-487-8475

Amy E. Olivieri is Regional Development Director at Constant Contact. Reach her at: aolivieri@constantcontact.com, (713) 401-2841 www.constantcontact.com/amy-olivier SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Old Dogs, New Tricks: Entrepreneurs of All Ages Have Something to Learn By Mike Muhney

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few weeks ago, as I stood with my iPhone in one hand and my iPad in the other, a colleague joked with me saying, “I guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks,” and it got me thinking. It’s one of those expressions about human nature from which none of us is immune. In fact, as I’ve gotten older, the pace of learning has sped up rather than slowed down. I’ve been around long enough not only to observe, but to personally adapt to new technologies unimaginable in my youth. Compared to Millennials and Gen-Xers, we Baby Boomers are light years ahead when it comes to the sheer quantity of what we’ve learned and the innovations we’ve adopted. In our efforts to keep up with the Joneses, we’ve been forced to keep up with the Jetsons. While this post is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I also genuinely hope to prepare younger generations for their future in which they will have to adjust, adapt, and acclimate in order to “keep up” with their successors. New Tricks Become Old Tricks There are many “technologies” that were shocking innovations in “their day” which are either antiquated or no longer even exist in the market: slide rulers, adding machines, typewriters, AM-only radios, and televisions with rotary dials accessing the few major networks. As a teen with a part-time cashier job, I actually had to use basic math skills to provide correct change to customers who paid in cash, no less. As the new devices were developed, a new dimension of education itself was ushered in as well. That is to say, the group that wanted these advancements had to pay the price of learning to use them. We were, after all, the “Star Wars”/”Star Trek” generation that imagined and wondered, and ushered in an atmosphere of opportunity bequeathed to today’s youth. New Dogs Become Old Dogs I’m all for giving Gen-Xers and even Millennials their due. They have produced many of today’s commonly used tools (smartphones, tablets, not to mention Google, Twitter, and Facebook) that have helped facilitate better communication www.SBTMagazine.net

and collaboration. Can you imagine living and working without email, texting, or video-conferencing? I can’t. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of innovations such as robotics or the highly anticipated Google Glass. In the relay of life, they’ve taken the baton and gone farther, faster than I ever could have imagined. That said, someday, they will be the proverbial “old dogs” and will be the generation learning to use technologies they can’t currently imagine. They will be the ones squinting at screens, befuddled over the latest and greatest tools and toys. New Dogs Need Old Tricks, Too Sure the social media sites and other networking platforms are here for the long haul, but knowing how to send friend requests isn’t enough. If your experience is anything like mine, you no doubt receive requests to connect on various social networking platforms. More often than not, I seem to receive the impersonal, default message, rather than a personal, customized message. It’s disappointing because at the very creation of the relationship, the other party fails to indicate a genuine interest in establishing a true connection. Most of the time, living in today’s hyper-connected world, people seem to be taking less time to develop quality relationships but invest their time and energy seeking to increase their Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, and Twitter followers, presumably, for the sake of appearing popular or in-demand. But to what end? Most of us don’t derive our livelihood from Facebook. On the other hand, our net-worth is often determined by our network. Meaningful business comes from meaningful relationships. Take away the profile pictures and the social graphs showing who-knows-whom, and what do you have; real, emotional connections. Balancing virtual networks with genuine relationships takes practice. Something new dogs can learn from us old(er) dogs.

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Doing Business in Brazil By Ludmila (Mila) Rusakova Golovine

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razil is one of the fastest rising economies in the world. This fact should in no way be surprising. The country has abundant natural resources and more are being discovered. It has the second largest industrial sector in the Americas. Fifty percent of its population is under the age of twenty, making it vibrant and innovative. It has even been predicted that in the coming decades Brazil will be one of the top five economies in the world. Therefore, this country is definitely a place of tremendous business opportunity. Nevertheless, cultural preparation will be necessary for anyone wishing to do business there. While all cultures value relationships, it is important to understand that in Brazil relationships are given more emphasis in the business sphere than in the U.S. As with many cultures, Brazilians deal with people, not companies. They like to get to know a person before doing business with them. Because of this, you should never change your negotiating team unless absolutely necessary since this will cause everyone to have to start over from the beginning. Brazilians tend to prefer face-to-face meetings as opposed to written or phone communication and almost every important decision will be given in person. Also, Brazilians prefer to work with locals. Therefore, if you are doing business in Brazil and need an interpreter or a lawyer, it is preferable to use a local one. This action will be viewed favorably by your counterpart. In addition, nepotism is quite widespread and does not carry a negative connotation. Relationships and connections are just the natural way business is done in Brazil.

SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

When dealing with Brazilians please bear in mind that the concept of time is not the same as that in the U.S. Put simply, Brazilians like to take their time. They view it as something that they do not really have control over. This fact is reflected in their behavior. A two-hour lunch break is quite common in Brazil. Also, punctuality is not considered terribly important. In cities like Rio de Janeiro, it is acceptable to arrive late to meetings. The exception to this rule would be in the cities of Brasilia and Sao Paolo. In those two cities, punctuality is highly valued. Regardless, it is always better to be on time and wait then to be late and possibly offend. The important point is not to be offended if your Brazilian counterpart shows up late. The person is not being insulting but merely doing business as usual. As a rule, any meeting should be scheduled at least two weeks in advance and reconfirmed two days prior to the meeting. Also, between 10 am to noon and 3 to 5pm are the best times to schedule appointments. As previously stated, Brazilians usually take a longer lunch than Americans. Therefore, it is not recommended that you schedule anything around lunchtime. Please note that it is quite common in Brazil for meetings to be cancelled at the last minute. Should this happen, please take it in stride and do not become offended. If you appear frustrated this will reflect badly on you. When negotiating, your behavior and appearance will be extremely important. Typical business dress is conservative with men wearing dark suits and women

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wearing dresses or jackets and skirts. Excessive jewelry should be avoided as well. Upon meeting your Brazilian counterpart, it is customary to give him a firm handshake and maintain eye contact. If your counterpart is a woman it is preferable wait for her to extend her hand for the handshake. As previously stated, the Brazilian representatives will want to get to know you first so the initial meeting may not have much to do with the business. It is extremely important not to rush the process. Wait for your counterpart to begin discussing the business venture. This action will indicate that you have been judged acceptable to work with. Meetings are conducted in a fairly informal manner. If someone has something to say they normally just speak up. Do not be offended by interruptions when speaking as Brazilians have a tendency to do this and it is in no way meant negatively. At some point during the meeting you will need to distribute business cards to everyone present at the meeting. Your business card should be translated into Brazilian Portuguese on the back. Please note that the Portuguese used in Brazil is different from that used elsewhere in the world, so it is best to specify that when you are having your card translated. When handing out your card, please ensure that the Portuguese side is facing up. It more respectful this way and will be viewed favorably. Upon leaving, be sure to shake everyone’s hand again as a sign of respect.

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Developing Leaders: Part One By Lorraine Grubbs

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This article, the first of several, will outline for any company, large or small, a proven and effective process for developing leaders.

Regardless of size, every company needs strong, competent leaders that can operate efficiently and help grow the business. Yet, many leaders are not sufficiently trained.

The 360 is a survey that requests information about the leader’s performance from their superior, peers and direct reports. The categories are designed around critical leadership performance areas. Here is an example of those categories: •

Administrative: delegation, timeliness and accuracy, budget management

Leadership: accountability, setting right example, respect and empathy

Communication: listening, presentation skills, keeping everyone in the loop

Interpersonal: is respected by others, is approachable, maintains good attitude

Companies that don’t have internal training departments typically default to either doing nothing at all or sending their leaders to a one day class hoping that they will receive the magic key for instant success.

Decision Making: makes solid decisions, uses logic and common sense

Te c h n i c a l : e m b r a c e s t e c h n o l o g y, r e c o m m e n d s improvement, seeks innovation

The first approach, doing nothing, is like throwing them in the deep end of the pool and watching them sink to the bottom. Obviously this is not an acceptable approach and most will drown. Sending them to a one day class, while more effective, will probably result in the participant returning to the workplace, the training notebook going on the bookshelf, and them falling back into their old routine. Money spent, nothing gained.

Personal Motivation: good work ethic, enthusiastic and dedicated, goes above

Customer Orientation: makes decisions in interest of customer, puts themselves in customers’ shoes, maintains good relationships with customers and vendors

In my many years of developing leaders, one thing has been a constant; creating good leaders takes time and effort. The investment you make today can pay big dividends down the road in the form of motivated, dedicated, and productive employees delivering good customer service and giving you a better bottom line. Good leadership development is worth the time and effort.

Before starting your leadership development initiative, a strong commitment from you and your future leader is essential. This effort will not be easy, or quick. Both parties must be committed to the entire process, much like when you enroll in a university to pursue a degree. So, now that you have selected the leader you want to develop, the first step is to evaluate their current level of leadership performance. This is done through a tool called a 360 Degree Assessment. www.SBTMagazine.net

The assessment asks the person to rate the leader on a scale of one to five leaving room for specific comments. The participants selected should be the leader’s boss, at least 2 peers, and any direct reports. When setting up the process, it is important that you explain to each participant what is happening and why their involvement is so important. Trust is paramount. It’s usually better to have a third party collect the assessment so the participants feel more comfortable giving truthful answers. Below is an example of how I usually explain the assessment to participants who will be receiving it: Continued on page 38 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Never Network Alone By Bertrand McHenry

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Never go alone. That’s my mantra. The Navy Seals work in teams; SCUBA divers go in pairs; Mormon missionaries travel by two; and smart men or women don’t wander alone at night in sketchy parts of town. You should never go to a networking event alone; it is just plain dangerous. It is indeed dangerous because if you do go alone, you may just hover over the food table and never meet anyone new, and that is dangerous, perhaps fatal to your career or your business! We all know the routine: Attend local events; bring plenty of business cards; engage in business cards aerobics; smile; shake those hands; and swap business cards. I want you to forget everything you have read about networking to advance your career or business and remember this, “Schmooozing is not a skill-set!” Say it out loud! Consider this a networking intervention. Here are four things that really make a difference in networking: 1. As mentioned before, never go alone. Have you heard about the Dutch Admiral Principle? This little-known story was shared in a leadership course. “Not long ago, there were two junior officers in the Dutch Navy who made a pact. They decided that when they were at the various navy social functions, they would go out of their way to tell people what a great guy the other guy was. They’d appear at cocktail parties or dances and say, “What an unbelievable person Charlie is. He’s the best man in the Navy” or “Did you hear about the brilliant idea Dave had?” They revealed this pact to the public the day they were both made admirals – the two youngest admirals ever appointed in the Dutch Navy.” -- Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life by Terrence E. Deal and Allan A. Kennedy. Their little secret influenced the perceptions of others. Their peers saw them as leaders, as doers. According to Deal & Kennedy, it aided the process of what they call hero-making.

They go on to explain that “believing is seeing” not the other way around. So, many times perception really is reality. If you cannot bring yourself to be an Admiral, then do a light version by inviting others to join you at the event. With social media, it is easy to connect with others. So, put the word out on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook to figure out who else is attending before the event. Agree to meet there and make it fun and inclusive by using apps such as Waze. 2. Do not bring business cards. What? That’s right, and here’s why: You want to stand out from the crowd, be memorable, and brand yourself? Everyone brings business cards. Collect from others. Leaving your business cards at the office forces you to be creative in your conversations, and you are there to begin forming relationships. A business card exchange sometimes short circuits that activity. Do you really need physical cards when you can “bump” a smartphone and share your data? Or, just bring a pen. Write on your hand. But having no cards has never hurt my business and it has saved at least a tree branch. It also forces you to do something fairly revolutionary…form a relationship! Who knew? 3. Meet the event organizer. The person who put the event together knows a lot of people. Learn about what they do. If you’re shy, tell them the truth. They might surprise you and introduce you to some cool and helpful people. One other item about this - ask them how you can help them make their event a success. Can you greet visitors; work a sign in table? This can ingratiate you to the organizer but it also puts you in the “Host” or “Servant’ state of mind. 4. Blog about the event. Don’t have a blog? Get one, or share it on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Don’t like to write? Hire a ghostwriter. Head to MediaBistro or Guru or Elance. Share the positives of your experience. Mention some of the people you met. Express appreciation for all the details the Continued on page 37

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works advertising branding graphics logos & more

Designing For Your Success ™

that

design

713.667.5389 I AdvertisingDesignSystems.net

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

20/20 Brand Vision:

Why You Should Care About Caring By Aimee Woodall

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ne of the members of the Black Sheep Flock, Logan, returned from work recently to find his house ransacked. His bedroom was in such a state of disarray that it took a while to realize what had been stolen: watches, DVDs, and an iPod. It was your normal, run-of-the-mill thievery, or so he thought. The next morning, while reaching for one of his trusty pairs of prescription Warby Parker eyeglasses, Logan quickly discovered the thieves had run off with them. This was quite a tragic start to the day for our office’s spectacle aficionado. Logan has been singing the praises of Warby Parker designer eyewear from the time he got his first pair and he’s been quick to tell people about their excellent customer service, easy-to-use website, and quality products ever since. Logan had “tweeted” Warby Parker several times in the past and wrought with grief, he was quick to inform them that his beloved specs were snatched; “The thieves who broke into my house took BOTH my glasses @WarbyParker. #saddestdayever”.

There is no cure-all for building customer loyalty. Mass email blasts, blanketed coupon offers, and free-gifts with purchase will not transform one-time users into brand ambassadors. What really matters is reaching out to key members of your audience and understanding their wants and needs. It’s about listening, reacting, and conversing in a targeted way. Show your customers you care by helping them when they’re in trouble, responding quickly and effectively to complaints or providing sympathetic feedback. It’s up to you to build a symmetrical feedback loop of appreciation and understanding. When your company targets active customers online, as was the case with Logan, you have the potential to reach even larger audiences through key influencers. One small favor has a huge impact, sending positive feedback waves through word of mouth, both online and offline. Suddenly, it’s easier to reach audiences you never thought you could reach. Now that’s something to strive for!

In response to the communication sent by Logan, the company did something that was above and beyond what we as consumers have come to expect from a brand, and for that, I admire them.

Instances like Logan’s also illustrate how businesses, through public relations, customer service, and marketing, make the world a better place. Yes, going out of your way to help a customer will likely benefit you in terms of customer retention and word of mouth but it’s also just a genuinely good thing to do and that’s worth something, too.

They sent Logan a tweeted apology and asked him to email them directly to see how they could help. So, of course, he did and Warby Parker shipped him a new pair of glasses, free of charge!

We may not be in a position to solve all the world’s problems but we can do something that might mean the world to someone. Caring is what builds brand loyalty and thanks to Warby Parker, we can all see that.

Warby Parker didn’t have to help Logan. The theft of his glasses wasn’t their fault and he surely would have purchased again from the company even if they hadn’t replaced his glasses. What matters is that they listened to a customer’s cry for help and came through in a time of need. This kind of outreach took a business relationship and made it a personal one. While these glasses are quite an investment for the average customer, sending a free pair of glasses and a kind word costs very little for a successful eyewear supplier. In return for their generosity, Logan will go out of his way to support and promote Warby Parker because he feels invested in the brand. He now has a reason to sing their praises besides just loving their products. www.SBTMagazine.net

The Black Sheep Agency is a Houston-based creative agency specializing in non-traditional public relations, social media and experiential marketing. Visit theblacksheepagency.com or follow us on Twitter @shearcreativity and on Facebook at Facebook.com/theblacksheepagency. Aimee Woodall is the owner of the Black Sheep Agency. You can contact her at 832.971.7725 or aimee@theblacksheepagency.com www.theblacksheepagency.com SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Becoming a Legend

BIG PICTURE OF BUSINESS

Leadership Advice from the Halls of Fame Beacon to Your Business Success By Hank Moore / Corporate Strategist™

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re you a legend? Do you admire people who went the distance? Have you celebrated organizations that succeeded? I hope that you are and will continue to be distinctive.

This essay is to give insights into those who leave legacies. The secret to long-term success lies in mapping out the vision and building a body of work that supports it. The art with which we build our careers and our legacy is a journey that benefits many others along the way.

These are the ingredients that make a legend: •

Significant business contributions

Mature confidence and informed judgment

Courage and leadership

High performance standards

Professional innovation

Public responsibility

Ethics and integrity

Cultural contributions

Giving to community and charity

Visionary abilities

Commitment to persons affected (stakeholders)

Being named a Legend is a thrill. You’ll see it on October 9, when the first annual Houston Legends event is held at Bayou City Event Center. Legends to be recognized include Johnny Carraba, Tony Chase, John Beddow, Bill Sherrill, Beth Wolff and Alex Lopez Negrete. Ms. Kim Roxie of LAMIK will be recognized as a Future Legend. It is a free business networking event from

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5:30-8:30 p.m., with the formal program at 7:00 p.m. Please attend. You will be energized to see these legends. I have been blessed by receiving several Legend honors. What I remember the most are the ceremonies and the nuggets of wisdom that flowed. The commonality was the zest of giving back the honors to others. The first was a Rising Star Award, presented to me in 1967 by Governor John Connally. That was the first time that I was called Visionary, and that experience told me to live up to the accolades later. The governor whispered to me, “Get used to wearing a tuxedo. Live up to the honor by saluting others.” That same year (1967), I met singers Sonny and Cher, little knowing 26 years later, I would be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame and that they would hand me the award. I remarked to Sonny that I often quoted his song, “The Beat Goes On,” as analogous to change management, and he was pleased. Cher recalled the 1971 occasion where she and I visited at a jewelry store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. I remembered that we drank champagne in a pewter cup. Her quote: “There are new ways to approach familiar experiences,” I have applied to corporate turnarounds. It was by being inducted into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame that I met Peter Drucker. We subsequently worked together, doing corporate retreats. You’ll note his endorsement on the back cover of my signature book, “The Business Tree™.” One year, I received several awards. I got a Savvy Award, for the top three community leaders. I was a Dewar’s profile subject. I received a standing ovation at the United Nations for volunteer work which was my honor to do (especially since it enabled me to work with my favorite actress, Audrey Hepburn.) Subsequently, I was judging a community stewardship awards program. I quizzed, “Why is it that the same old names keep

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

popping up? There are great people to honor other than those of us from business, high society or other top-of-mind awareness. What this community needs is an awards program that people like us cannot win.” I was then challenged to come up with such a program, the result being the Leadership in Action Awards. At the banquet, the swell of pride from the winning organizations was heartening to see. These unsung heroes were finally getting their just recognition for community work well done. One cannot seek awards just for glorification reasons. However, recognition programs are a balanced scorecard that involves the scrutiny of the company and its leaders by credible outside sources. Awards inspire companies of all sizes to work harder and try more creative things. Good deeds in the community are not done for the awards; they just represent good business. Receiving recognition after the fact for works that were attempted for right and noble reasons is the icing on the cake that employees need. Good people aspire to higher goals. Every business leader needs to be groomed as a community leader. Recognition for a track record of contributions represents more than “tooting one’s own horn.” It is indicative of the kind of organizations with whom you are honored to do business. The more one is recognized and honored, the harder one works to keep the luster and its integrity shiny. Always reframe the recognition back to the customers, as a recommitment toward serving them better and further. Characteristics of a Legend •

Understands that careers evolve

Prepares for change, rather than becoming the victim of it

Realizes there are no quick fixes in life and business

Finds a blend of perception and reality, with emphasis upon substance

Has grown as a person and professional, and quests for more enlightenment

Has succeeded and failed, and has learned from both

Was a good “will be,” steadily blossoming

Knows that one’s dues paying accelerates, rather than decreases

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Best Advice to Future Legends Fascinate yourself with the things you are passionate about. Be fascinated that you can still be fascinated. Be glad for people who mentored you. Be grateful for the opportunities that you have had. Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. Do not let the fire burn out of your soul. There comes a point when the pieces fit. One becomes fully actualized and is able to approach their life’s Body of Work. That moment comes after years of trial and error, experiences, insights, successes and failures. As one matures and survives, life becomes a giant reflection. We appreciate the journey because we understand it much better. We know where we’ve gone because we know the twists and turns in the road. Nobody, including ourselves, could have predicted every curve along the way. However, some basic tenets charted our course. To understand those tenets is to make full value out of the years ahead. The best is usually yet to come. Your output should be greater than the sum of your inputs. This is accomplished by reviewing the lessons of life, their contexts, their significance, their accountabilities, their shortcomings and their path toward charting your future: •

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

There are no free lunches in life

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

• The best destinations are not pre-determined in the beginning, but they evolve out of circumstances •

You’ve got to give in order to get

Getting and having power are not the same thing

One cannot live entirely through work

One doesn’t just work to live

As an integrated process of life skills, career has its place

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

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Refinancing Small Business Real Estate With SBA Loans By Bruce Hurta

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re you a small business owner who felt the pinch in your business a few years back? Did you own your small business real estate with equity, and used it to borrow against to help you through the crunch times? Perhaps your lender felt the need to lend you the funds to keep afloat because of their existing investment in your business with other loans. Maybe they felt that being out on the limb with you meant staying the course as long as you could provide collateral with equity for borrowing the additional funds. You invested in the ownership of your small business property, so you could build equity for your retirement. You never thought you would have to tap that equity to save your business, but 2009 and 2010 happened, and your business came to a standstill with the economic times. You bit the bullet, and you borrowed against that equity to save and grow your company during times when you needed more working capital in the company. Your lender was not exactly accommodating with a good rate or long repayment terms, but the cash was a life saver. The imaginative portrayal above represents just one situation where a small business owner found himself with onerous monthly payments on his small business property. The story could have been one where the factors were all very positive for the growth and enhancement of the company, yet the company accepted a short term repayment program, or a higher interest rate, because it was the easiest capital to access quickly. When the business recognized the benefits it can experience from lower payments and longer repayment terms, SBA financing became attractive. SBA financing may also appear attractive to the small business owner whose short term real estate loan comes due on a balloon balance with their bank. Banks by nature are short term lenders, and they typically style their repayment terms to include a balloon balance owing after the loan matures in three years or five years. To the small business borrower, the balloon feature represents loan renewal risk. The small business owner does not know who will own the bank, who will be managing the bank, the state of the economy, or the interim condition of the business at the time the balloon balance comes due and ready for renewal. They don’t know for sure whether the bank will renew the loan. With SBA loans, if over half of the loan proceeds were originally used to purchase or renovate real estate, the SBA loan www.SBTMagazine.net

is eligible for a 25 year repayment term. The SBA real estate loan is a permanent mortgage with no balloon balances or loan renewal risk. In addition to financing or refinancing small business real estate costs, the 25 year SBA real estate loan can also provide funds for working capital, new business equipment, renovations, or business expansion. An SBA loan can be a very versatile small business real estate loan! The primary mandate for an SBA lender contemplating refinancing of small business real estate loans is that SBA requires the lender to provide a lower interest rate and/or longer repayment terms such that the small business borrower can lower their payments by at least 10 percent. The savings in the loan payment is considered a method for freeing up working capital to grow the business, and that causes the SBA loan request to be eligible in accordance with refinancing guidelines. For whatever reason the small business owner wants to stretch out their loan terms and lower their payments, the SBA loan program can be a good option. In general, SBA loans offer small businesses with lower down payments, longer repayment terms, and easier qualifying criteria than conventional bank loans. A small business borrower that maintains healthy deposit balances and has a long track record with their banker may not need SBA financing. Unfortunately, in a time where more big banks are taking over the small community banks, accommodations for small business financing becomes more and more challenging. It is much easier for the big banks to accommodate middle market and public companies. The SBA loan program continues to be a life line for many small businesses. Because of the volume of small businesses that contribute to the health of the U.S. economy, the SBA loan program remains a significant economic engine for job growth at home! SBA government-backed loans are available in amounts up to $5 million per borrower. For more information about SBA loans for small businesses in Texas, please contact: Bruce Hurta is Business Lending Manager of Members Choice Credit Union SBA Lending 281-384-2595 bhurta@mccu.com brucehurta.wordpress.com (Bruce’s SBA lending blog) SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Marketing Does Create Customer Experiences By Errol D. Allen

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ecently my wife contacted a carpet cleaning company for service after receiving a promotional mailer. During the conversation she was informed that this particular promotion was not available after a certain date, which by the way was the previous day. After hearing this news and reviewing the mailer, my wife advised the representative that she did not see the “good until” information on the document. The representative apologized and stated that yes; this was her company’s error. My wife then asked if the promotion would be honored because of the error, to which the representative replied, “Ma’am, yes we will honor your request. Believe me; we’ve received a multitude of calls because of this mistake.” Marketing plays an integral role in the success of any business. It’s necessary to promote one’s products or services to gain exposure and hopefully new customers. It’s also important to remember that your marketing efforts do create customer experiences. There’s more to a marketing campaign than just creating a marketing message. Let’s examine this a little further. Whose Involvement Is Required? - Unless one is a soloprenuer or ultra small business, it’s rare that the marketing department develops, implements and processes the influx of phone, walk-in or internet traffic. Usually customer service personnel are tasked with responding to customer inquiries, order requests, etc. in regards to the marketing campaign. It’s crucial to identify what internal services are required to make the marketing campaign a resounding success! Asking simple questions such as what are we promoting? How long will the promotion run? What are we asking our prospective respondents to do? What

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will we have to do internally to process respondents? In answering these and other questions, you will certainly identify the persons or departments necessary for a seamless campaign implementation. Say What You Mean To Say - In the above carpet cleaning company scenario, the representative was in the hot seat. It appears that she may have been instructed to hold to the deadline, even though it was not included on the promotional. If the customer did not bother to mention the fact that the deadline was not evident, then don’t offer to honor the promotional. If the customer does mention that the deadline was missing from the promotional then go ahead and honor it. The fact that the deadline was missing from the promotional assisted in creating my wife’s initial experience with this company. Make sure that your marketing material contains all the necessary/ intended information for prospective respondents. Imagine how many more calls the company may have received as respondents sought to take advantage of the promotion before the deadline if it was plainly visible on the mailer. I wonder how many respondents actually mentioned the missing deadline and how much it actually cost the company to honor the promotion. Your marketing materials are often potential customers’ first experience with your organization. It’s best to start any relationship off on the right foot. Are We Ready? After laying out all of the plans, make sure that the persons handling the hoped for traffic are fully educated on the marketing campaign. Pricing, product/ service features, shipping times, refund process and guarantees are just a few items to cover during your marketing

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campaign education. Persons assigned to speak with campaign respondents create a customer experience through their ability to confidently answer questions and process new sales. If your marketing campaign requires respondents to receive service in their homes as in my wife’s scenario, are you adequately staffed to do so in a timely manner? Your ability to quickly provide whatever campaign respondents purchased is crucial to the success of the marketing campaign. When utilizing the Internet for marketing purposes, how easy is it for respondents to get the same information provided via an inbound phone call? Is the purchase acknowledged and is a timeframe given for expected receipt of goods/services? As more and more of today’s customers are utilizing the Internet to make purchases, make sure this option receives attention in regards to your marketing campaigns. Developing and implementing marketing campaigns are an integral part of an organization’s growth. Remember that the reason for marketing your products/ services is to get people to take action. Make sure that your marketing campaigns are created with the understanding that they create customer experiences. If one takes the time to determine Who’s Involvement Is Required, reviews marketing materials to insure the marketing message Says What You Mean It To Say and considers what’s required to process responses in order to say Yes when asked Are We Ready?, then there is a great possibility that great customer experiences are sure to follow! Errol Allen – Customer Service Engineer can be emailed at errol@errolallenconsulting.com or call him at 1-800-830-4167. www.errolallenconsulting.com

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Treat Your Growing Business to a Business Line Of Credit By: George Rose, Wells Fargo V.P., Business Relationship Manage George Rose, Wells Fargo V.P.

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aybe it was the candy shop that sold gum drops the size of golf balls. Or the comic book store downtown that ate your allowance and left your fingers black with ink. Or, maybe, it was the family-owned roller rink where you skated in endless circles under pink, yellow and blue disco lights. Whenever, wherever it happened, you’ll never forget it. It was the moment you knew you wanted to own your own business. Fast forward to now. After endless planning, countless late nights and one giant leap of faith, you’re living your dream. After a couple years in the market, your business is thriving. You’ve got a solid group of clients, income is steady and your continued growth potential seems guaranteed. You’re in a perfect position to start thinking about how a line of credit could benefit your business. With a couple of years under your belt, you have the perspective you need to understand how a consistent financing source could enhance your operations and make your business run even more smoothly. Talk with your banker to understand the ways your business could benefit from a line of credit, including: Short-term working capital Maybe it’s a desktop printer, a water cooler or a couple of new chairs for the lobby. Or, maybe it’s last year’s taxes. A line of credit can be a great way to cover short-term, business-related purchases or fundamental operating expenses. “Seasonal” help Is managing your businesses’ seasonality a challenge? Maybe you need to invest in materials each summer for a return each fall. When income doesn’t flow steadily, coming up with cash to carry you through the lean times can often be difficult. A line

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of credit can help cover the “slow” times to even out your overall financial picture. Check with your financial services company to find out if you can link your business checking account to your business line of credit. If this option is available, you’ll likely be able to transfer money between the accounts for even easier financial managementt, Payroll Even if your business experiences seasonality, your staff, and their need to be paid, does not. A line of credit can help ensure that you’re able to successfully manage payroll obligations even during slow times. Before visiting with your banker about a business line of credit, ask yourself the following questions: Have you been in business at least three years? Your financial performance over time is usually a pretty good measure of where you’ve been and where you’re going. To get a conventional line of credit from most financial services companies, your application will have a better chance of being approved if you’ve been in business for at least three years, or sometimes less if you’re a current customer. If you’ve been in business less than three years, consider asking your banker about line of credit options assisted by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Have you filed for bankruptcy within the past 10 years? If either you or your business has declared bankruptcy within the past 10 years, chances are lending will be difficult to obtain unless you have repaid all of your creditors. The best way for you to re-establish a good credit record is to repay your creditors as soon as possible. Continued on page 37

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Your Next Step

N.E.E.R. Beats F.A.R. - The Secret to Effective Grassroots Marketing By Jack Warkenthien

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s a fellow small business owner, I know we would all be more profitable if we discovered other firms that can stand to benefit from contributing to a Network of Existing Economic Relationships; hence the acronym, N.E.E.R. Picture a virtual BNI group, on steroids; or a Master Mind group without the annoying monthly meetings. You become a crusader for a small handful of firms that you trust, and they do the same for you! Each member of this “network” becomes an extension of your sales force, without the burdensome overhead. Do you see it? Now, compare this no cost marketing approach, to the alternative: Firing At Random, or F.A.R. The sad truth is that most business development professionals have no method to their madness; they’re just another example of the “random walk model.” They wander from one networking event to another, with no tangible goals, targets or strategy. We learned in “Alice in Wonderland” that, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Do you want to ensure you are on the right path to profitability? An excellent example of a business owner who “gets it” is my fellow SBT Publisher’s Advisory Board member and contributing writer, Craig Klein, CEO of SalesNexus. If you don’t know Craig or his fantastic online CRM and email marketing firm, you need to contact him, but only if you want to increase your sales, of course! Craig, as part of his N.E.E.R. Marketing Strategy, has aligned with Michael Halper, CEO of SalesScripter. If your sales and business development

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efforts include using the telephone, for inside sales, you need to carefully assess SalesScripter. They will create your phone scripts, automatically, based on your desired outcomes. Now picture Craig and Michael coming together to help you, with their combined sales efforts. But wait… there’s MORE! (Borrowed from a Ginsu knife commercial, I believe.) Craig and Michael, combined, bring a great value equation. Now, NextStep Solutions, and yours truly, joins the mix to create a triumvirate that provides a total solution for any client who wants to accelerate their sales faster than they could if they had to seek each of us out individually. Now, all three of us divide and conquer, making sales calls and introducing the value to our candidates. Do you see the leverage this N.E.E.R. Marketing Strategy can deliver? We have, in essence, tripled our sales force, and quadrupled our productivity, in serving you, our next client. Take this template and apply it to your own situation. The key is to align with firms that compliment you, providing more “touch points” on the value circle, which your next client seeks. The essence of “Grassroots Marketing” is to resign yourself to the fact that you are never off the clock! Regardless of what it says on your business card, you are the Ambassador for your company, your cause, or yourself. To that end, you’ll always be around strangers, or people we call contacts. Contacts are people you meet for the first time, and you have no clue as to their qualification or interest level. Being cognizant of your

relationships network, you now have three choices when meeting these new people:

• IGNORE: This is a safe and easy bet.

Whether you’re on an elevator, in a hotel lobby, or at a convention center, there’s nothing uncomfortable about ignoring people. Of course there’s nothing profitable about it, either.

• ACKNOWLEDGE: Better than the

first choice, this is where you at least acknowledge the person, with a comment like, “How about those ‘Stros?” Or, “It’s sure hot today.” This is what I’ve coined a nonversation. That’s where two people talk, and don’t say anything meaningful. (Heck, anyone can pull a word from a dictionary. I choose to make up cool sounding words!)

• ENGAGE: This is clearly the best

choice of the three. This is where you do one of two things, easily and sincerely. The first is a tasteful compliment (i.e., “That’s sure a great looking tie!”) You will be amazed at how the body language changes immediately and the voice raises an octave or two. Or, you can find out what you have in common with a person. I challenge you to always do it in three questions or less. It can be done and I’d be happy to demonstrate it. After you find the common ground, let the relationship begin!

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reestablished. Jane became the CEO and Matt became the CFO. It wasn’t easy for them. In fact, they had a very rough time making a go of things. Not only had they not been making any money, they had lost a lot of money. They knew that they were passionate about the idea and that there were ways to execute projects and strategic initiatives while doing it with the people intact.

the intention is to pick an area of healthcare and then just do it,” explained Ms. Henry. Typical clients of Xcution are billion dollar companies. On occasion, they’ve been called in to help their cohorts in the small business industry and they will use the same methodology but they typically scale everything down to a framework that could be anywhere from a one to two day facilitated strategic planning session and then fo l l o w e d u p quarterly.

Even though this was Jane’s passion, she wasn’t really sure how it was going to manifest. She had thought at one point that they were going to lose their house but by the end of 2008, When Jane and they landed their Matt first began, first big contract. they rented one Ms. Henry was so office in the excited that she b u i l d i n g w h e re literally ran down they are located the street screaming, but they now have “Yes, this is taken over the amazing!” Somehow, entire floor. Their they had managed “Common communication barriers are not present in the Xcution Culture.” goal is to eventually to get past those Xcution believes in removing the “Human barriers to execution”, take over the growing pains. a unique phenomenon that occurs when pressure builds up around teams. e n t i re b u i l d i n g They were finally By simply learning how to release this pressure, one can be at within the next able to hire their the cause of creating extraordinary results. couple of years! first employee and Xcution is currently after that, they never looked back! in California and they plan to have a presence in the Northeast at some point as well. They currently have grown to 30 employees. Out of that 30, part of the group works in the Information Technology Division, Jane’s ultimate goal is that they create an incubator to help another part focuses on Exploration and Production, and there launch people into the corporate world who have great ideas. is also a small division that deals with Mergers and Acquisitions. “My goal is to continue working on my people. They are so They recently branched into Healthcare which they are really talented that they have taken some of our ‘pie in the sky’ ideas and excited about. They plan on doing with healthcare what they did methodologies and really taken it to a whole new level of for exploration production which is to really empower the people knowledge. I just couldn’t be prouder of them,” boasts Jane. who know what needs to happen to create this change in the country and give them the platform to do so. When it comes to giving back to the community, Jane has a soft spot in her heart about giving first without any expectation of Xcution is a preferred provider to MD Anderson and in the oil and receiving. Her company is very active in the WBEA (Women’s gas industry. Some of their clients include Chevron, BP, and Business Enterprise Alliance) group. Jane is on their Board Enterprise Products. How it usually works is that a company will and Matt is on the finance committee. Several of their team call Xcution and tell them that they have an idea or they have a members are on various committees as well. Jane received the problem where they just keep hitting walls and need help to get WBEA Advocate of the Year Award for 2012. past that point. They will say to Xcution, “We want it implemented; get it done.” Jane also participates in the Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. Xcution has organized with their clients to After accepting the task, Xcution will ask that company to help donate time at the Houston Food Bank. In addition, Xcution gives them understand when they implement this objective, what all of their employees volunteer time. As a result, one of their does success look like? Then Xcution will build a plan and an employees recently gave a seminar that helped promote women infrastructure for them to accomplish that with their people. “We getting back into the workforce. Xcution also buys lots and lots of have a documented methodology that we use. Our methodolGirl Scout Cookies! ogy is ‘industry agnostic.’ We are bringing it into healthcare and SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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When Jane was very young, her parents divorced. It seemed like that was the catalyst that propelled each of them into finding themselves and becoming successful entrepreneurs. Both of them started their own businesses and surprisingly, they remained good friends until Jane’s father passed away 13 years ago. As Jane was growing up, she spent a lot of time in her parents’ offices. She still remembers going on sales calls with her dad and to this day, she feels it was an incredible experience that she had the opportunity to learn so much from both of her parents. Jane’s mother will jokingly ask Jane, “So when do I get to bill you for my coaching advice?” Jane replies, “That’s when I get to take care of you when you’re old and can’t think straight any longer!” Jane added, “We are pretty much a young company. Everyone here is in their 30s and 40s and I want to thank everyone’s parents who are supporting us right now. They are constantly on the ringer, helping us out, and making sure we’re successful! So boomers who are out there, we’ve heard you and we are following your advice.” Matt explained that he and Jane are quite different. She is more of a risk taker and Matt is more risk adverse! Matt grew up in a more “Leave It to Beaver” household. Still married today, Matt’s father is an accountant and professor and his mother was a teacher. She retired a few years ago as a Principal. Matt’s life was more regimented because his mother would be home around 4PM and would fix dinner in time for Matt’s dad who would arrive home around 5:30PM. It’s interesting that even though Matt’s parents worked for the same company for years in a stable situation, they now have three children who work in high risk, high reward, own your own businesses. Matt’s youngest brother, Reid, works at Xcution and Matt’s middle brother, Reagan, owns his own engineering firm in Florida.

they end up being “mini” facilitators at school. It is not uncommon for the Henrys to receive reports that their daughters are “incredible leaders and peacemakers!” Matt elaborated, “We have always tried to have quality time with our children and when one of us is working, the other is using that time to dedicate their attention to the children so there is a balance.” The Henrys believe in working hard and playing hard as well. In their off-time, they love to go to Disneyworld. They go about four or five times a year. They also have an RV and they try to do little trips as often as possible. They are teaching their girls golf and tennis. Matt grew up playing tennis and Jane grew up playing golf. Jane interjected, “We’re country club people.” Jane summed it up quite well when she remarked, “Matt is great at showing us risks and he is incredible with financials. His consulting experience in the financial sector has been extremely helpful. If this business was entirely up to me, I don’t think that we would have lasted and if this business was entirely up to Matt, I don’t think that we would have lasted either!” The Henrys are successful at home and at work because they keep it balanced. In addition, they have clearly defined roles in what they do. Matt is very grounded and Jane is extremely focused; but they are both equally passionate about their business. Last but not least, Jane and Matt share a great appreciation for each other and their abilities and because of this perfect union, Xcution will continue to grow onward and upward!

The Henry’s two children, Rachel who is eleven and Jordan who is five, are so thoroughly immersed into the Xcution methodology that

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KEY TAKE-AWAY NOTES 1. When you first get in business, watch your cash. 2. Every company needs to know their numbers – their revenue, their expenses, their ratios. That will help with all decisions. 3. You do have to take on debt to expand. 4. Give first; then receive. The best way to build relationships and get new business is to be giving back to the community. 5. Do protect your intellectual property. Get confidentiality agreements signed by your employees. 6. Watch your benefits; you can actually create entitlement in your own company. 7. Read the books “Ownership Thinking” and “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. 8. It’s okay to bring your children to the office. When they get older, they will have a better appreciation for what you do. 9. If you work with your spouse, you need to respect each other’s role in the company and be able to separate work from home. Matt is the CFO and Jane is the CEO at work but once they arrive home, they have a different scenario for the family. 10. It is possible to have a family business because the loyalty is outstanding. 11. Hire slow, fire fast. 12. Have someone to bounce ideas off of such as a spouse who works with you. If you aren’t married, it’s good to have a thought partner; somebody who doesn’t think like you. Another option is to get together with peer business owners. www.SBTMagazine.net

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Getting Organized: Five Tools You Must Have By: Holly Uverity CPO®, Office Organizers

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t’s important to use the correct tools for whatever project you’re working on, whether it’s hammering a nail, painting a room, scheduling meetings or getting organized. There are industry specific tools, i.e., proprietary software and job specific tools, i.e., a hammer. Both types of tools are valuable and both need to be used appropriately. There are also universal tools that anyone can use, regardless of their industry and regardless of their job, to help them get and stay organized. Following are my top 5 tools for getting and staying organized; anyone can use them and everyone should.

• Spiral Notebook A simple spiral notebook tops my list. It must open like a book; it can be bound on the top or the side but it must be able to be flipped open and closed. The size is not as important as the fact that it flips open. A lined pad of paper doesn’t work the same way as a bound notebook. Once you start flipping the pages of a pad, everything but the most current information gets lost because you never flip “backward”; you only flip “forward.” Additionally, because the paper is perforated at the top, eventually the top few pages will begin separating from the pad and eventually will come off altogether. With a bound notebook, the information never gets lost because the notebook is designed to be used both forward and backward. Use one notebook to replace scratch paper and sticky notes and you’ll never lose an important piece of information again. • Trash Cans, Recycle Bins, Shred Bins Statistics show that 80% of what you file you never reference again. If the purpose of saving something is to refer back to it and you never do that, why are you saving it in the first place? Trash cans, recycle bins and/or shred bins are great first defenders in the war on clutter. If you don’t save it in the first place, it never gets an opportunity to become clutter. Ensure that your bins are large enough to SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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suit your needs; if your cans or bins become too full too quickly, buy larger ones. And be sure to place them where you will actually use them and not just where they look good. You want function over form.

• In and Out Boxes Instead of calling it an In Box, call it a Dump. You need a place to dump stuff in your office so it doesn’t become a pile on your desk. Your Dump box will help keep your desktop surface clear and thus, effective. Training your officemates to use your Dump box will also ensure that you no longer come back from lunch to find work in your chair. You work through your Dump on a regular basis and work that needs to be done goes into your Action Drawer (see below.) An Out box works the same way; instead of piling things up on your desk that need to leave your office, put them in the Out box. Even if it’s your job to distribute what leaves your office, accumulate your Out items, then take a break and distribute them all at once. • Action and Reference Drawers Every desk should have one drawer set aside for action items, work that needs to be done, projects to be completed, current, hot, or active, whatever you call it. It is the one place your “work” goes. Having one location has multiple benefits; you no longer search through piles for work that needs to be done and when new work comes in, you know immediately what to do with it. It eliminates having to ask yourself, “What am I going to do with this?” If it’s work, it goes in this drawer, period. The same is true for reference, information you refer to constantly in order to get your work completed belongs in a reference drawer. Making room in your desk for these two important drawers eliminates clutter, makes a huge visual impact on your office and allows you to focus on what you need to get done instead of getting distracted by what is scattered all over your desktop.

Continued on page 39

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Mobile Relationship Manager

The best way to manage CONTACTS, CALENDAR & COMMUNICATIONS All in one app. All on your iPhone & iPad.

FROM THE CO-INVENTOR OF ACT!, MIKE MUHNEY

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

www.VIPorbit.com I

PG PG36 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013 | 3PG 18 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2013

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Subtle Signs of Stress By: Tina Marie Jones

Tina Marie Jones

A

s business owners, we are accustomed to a certain amount of “stress” in our day. We become master jugglers of time and attention, money and resources to accomplish our goals. Over time, the juggling of all aspects of our business while striving to maintain healthy family and social lives can add up to feeling overwhelmed. Stress is a commonly used term that can conjure up a picture of a person pulling their hair out or sinking their face in their hands in despair. Those forms of stress are easy to recognize, but there are hidden signs of stress that often go unaddressed, building to cause major mental, physical and emotional issues that can take us out of our game. Recognizing stress in its subtle forms and knowing how to manage it can keep us moving forward with clarity, calm and steadfast momentum.

1. Beware of the “yes syndrome.” You know the

drill; someone sees us in the hall and asks for a report. In passing, we commit to getting it for them and think to place it on our growing “to do” list. When our minds are moving in multiple directions at once and someone asks for something, we can automatically get into patterns of saying “yes” without really weighing the costs of adding another thing to our already busy plates. When we hear ourselves, or see others saying “yes” to requests in a hasty manner, this can be a subtle sign of stress. Mastering the art of saying “no”, or “not now” gracefully, is key to maintaining boundaries of our time and precious attention. Placing a deep breath pause before your reply and commitment allows you to slow down any

automatic response that could add regretted tasks to your plate.

2. The list of tolerations grows deeper. In your

mind run through the list of things you are tolerating in your life right now. Tolerances can look like things you have put off, conversations you may be avoiding, items that seem to always be on the “to do” list, areas of life that are “just good enough,” and those you have to “put up with.” Tolerances can add an amazing amount of stress to your day and create a hamster wheel of distractions in the mind. A great way to manage tolerances is to take 30 minutes once a month and write your list of tolerances down on paper, mentally visiting all areas of your life: your house, office, car, relationships, projects and health. Then set aside one or two tolerances a week to handle or enroll helpful people to knock out the list with you and feel your stress lessen.

3. Holding it in. We were taught that there is

a right place and time for managing certain things and that there is a wrong place and time. Sometimes when we want to say something or address an issue it may not be the right place or the right time. We tuck it away waiting for the right time to bring it up. Despite our manners, not speaking up when our intuition signaled the need, builds stress. Learning how to acknowledge your insight and honor the situation, while requesting a time to share in an appropriate way, gives room for expression and keeps stress at bay. Simply scheduling a time to discuss something that crossed your mind allows the other person to know your desire to share and honors your need to speak up.

Continued on page 39 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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Continued from page 19 Never Network Alone

Continued from page 29 YOUR NEXT STEP N.E.E.R. Beats F.A.R. - The Secret to Effective Grassroots Marketing

event planner kept in mind for the group’s benefit. Before the next event, email it to the planner as well as a few of the people you met.

For most of you, hearty CONGRATULATIONS are in order. You have chosen to read the fastest growing magazine in the country, which deals with Main Street, and not just Wall Street! Great choice! If you haven’t chosen to join, and assume a leadership role, in an organization of like-minded business professionals, now’s the time and don’t delay! When they asked the notorious thief Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, he replied, “that’s where the money is!” I suggest you assess where the money is regarding your choice of organizations and events to attend. As you meet like-minded professionals who “get it”, invite them into your Network of Existing Economic Relationships.

All of these ideas are meant to keep you from being isolated or alone during a networking event, which is half the battle. The purpose is to meet new people, but just as importantly, to serve people. These ideas will hopefully force you into a new pattern and out of your comfort zone, which ideally will lead to new business relationships. You may be nervous but I know this it is a lot safer for the life of your business!

Bertrand McHenry is the best selling author of “The Only Business Book You’ll Ever Need.” In addition, he is the President/Owner of The Referral Institute of Houston, President of MainStreetChamber Houston Bay Chapter, & the host of “Business Builders Radio” CBS Radio TALK 650AM. You can reach him by phone at 281-401-9852, email him at bertrand@referralinstitutehouston.com, or visit him on the Web at www.referralinstitutehouston.com

Jack Warkenthien, CEO, NextStep Solutions. Email him at jwarkenthien@nextstep-solutions.com or call him at 832-344-6998 www.nextstep-solutions.com

Continued from page 28

Treat Your Growing Business to a Business Line Of Credit Have you consistently paid your bills, business and personal, on time? Most financial services companies will pay close attention to how you have handled your personal debt. While an occasional late or missed payment is understandable, if you consistently pay late, you may not qualify for business credit. If you find that you are consistently running short of cash, then you should take steps to trim expenses, increase sales revenues or raise equity for your business. Has your business been profitable for the last two years? Generally, most financial services companies will want to know if your business is indeed profitable before developing a line of credit. Before talking with your banker, be prepared to show your business has been financially successful. Tax returns, balance sheets and expense account reports are quick ways to determine if you’ve shown a profit in the last few years. If your business is not profitable, it may be difficult for you to make the payments on your line of credit. You may want to examine your expenses for opportunities to cut back and look at your sales for opportunities to increase revenues. You’ve worked hard to make your dream of owning your own business a reality. Talk with your banker to learn how you can help ensure the continued success of your business.

George Rose is a Vice President and Business Relationship Manager for Wells Fargo. He has served in small business banking in Houston TX for over 10 years. George can be reached via email: george.rose@wellsfargo.com

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Continued from page 15 Old Dogs, New Tricks: Entrepreneurs of All Ages Have Something to Learn

Continued from page 16 Doing Business in Brazil

The enormity of Brazil and the complexity of its culture can seem overwhelming. Nevertheless this should not discourage you from doing business there. Brazilians are a friendly people and are keen to collaborate with the international community. Together, we can ensure that everyone prospers and benefits from the rise of Brazil.

Successful Entrepreneurs Are Learners When I give a talk on relationship management, I often tout the notion that everybody sells. In fact, I go so far as to say that Einstein was a salesman, and what he sold were his theories and ideas. In the same way, I believe that every entrepreneur worth his salt is not only a salesperson, but they must also be a lifelong learner. Whether it’s learning how to use a new technology, or how to apply real-life principles to up-and-coming virtual platforms, entrepreneurs adapt.

Ludmila (Mila) Rusakova Golovine, Founder/CEO and President of MasterWord Services, Inc. is a graduate of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston. Mila started her company with a vision of seamlessly connecting people across any language, any time, and any culture so she understands the complexities of the global marketplace and excels at providing language solutions based on creative thinking and strategic planning.

If it’s true that success stands on the shoulders of those before them. Old dogs, young dogs, we all have something to learn, and something to teach. Whether it’s adapting to a new technology developed by a younger generation or adopting a time-tested principle modeled by an older generation, true entrepreneurship knows no age. I think that is the most important lesson of all.

She can be reached at mgolovine@masterword.com or 281-589-0810

Mike Muhney is the co-inventor of ACT! is now the CEO & co-founder of VIPorbit Software, creators of VIPorbit mobile relationship management apps for iPhone, iPad and Mac. viporbit.com

Continued from page 17 A Blended Lesson Continued from page 17 Developing Leaders: Part One

was completely unexpected. I immediately took to Good leaders know that in order with to beher, asand effective as Twitter to start a conversation we met possible, theyweek must always be and growing and learning. later in the to grab drinks talk collaboration. Surprise ofevokes emotion, andleadership emotionskills, evokes Regardless what they think of their they underestimate the positive impact and an areaction. only asNever effective as what their superior, direct reports, unexpected gesture can create –– especially when it peers perceive of their skills. comes to your customers. While thisbeen seems basic, an it’sExecutive amazingCoach how When themuch resultsofhave compiled, advice is results followed. mediaa willinfrequently sit with yourthis trainee, review and Social put together isn’t that different from the We IRL will world. mighthow seem Personal Development Plan. talkItabout to easy to shrug off an interaction made over social find that Executive Coach and developing a Plan in media. (KitchenAid, I’m looking at you.) But more and next month’s article. more, the lines between life online and off-line are blurring. We have to treat online interactions with the same care and consideration we use in real life. We appreciate thoughtful, kind, creative people in real Lorraine is the president of Lessons in Loyalty. life, soGrubbs we appreciate thoughtful, kind, creative social You can contact Lorraine at 281-813-0305 or by email at media accounts. lorrainegrubbs@gmail.com www.lessonsinloyalty.com We also appreciate free blenders.

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Aimee Woodall/Black Sheep can be contacted at 832.971.7725 or email her at aimee@theblacksheepagency.com Theblacksheepagency.com

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Continued from page 34 Getting Organized: Five Tools You Must Have

• One Calendar System

I am constantly amazed at how many people juggle their calendars, or worse, don’t use calendars consistently. It’s impossible to keep everything in your head, so why try? Many people like to keep work and personal appointments in separate places, but that can cause missed appointments and double bookings if you don’t have access to both calendars at the same time. Using one calendar system can make an immediate difference in your stress level. I recommend using one system and developing a method to differentiate personal from work appointments; color is a great way to indicate which appointment is which. If you’re an Outlook user and share calendars but don’t want your office to see your personal appointments, you can create them so they will see that you are not available but they won’t be able to see the details of the appointment.

Holly Uverity, CPO® is the owner of Office Organizers – The Entrepreneur’s Organizer. She can be reached at 281.655.5022, www.OfficeOrganizers.com or www.FB.com/OfficeOrganizers.

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Continued from page 36 Subtle Signs of Stress

Physical Signs of Stress Some physical signs of stress we may easily pass off as normal or simply a sign of aging. But as they grow from infrequent to chronic, we reach for pain relievers, therapy, or other programs to help us with the symptoms of stress, never addressing the root cause of the stress. This is like switching out the bandage and not healing the wound. Physical signs include: • Low Energy • Inability to Focus • Memory issues • Easy to anger • Hair falling out • Weight gain • Headaches • Crying • Insomnia

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Perceiving these signs as indicators of stress in our lives, and seeking appropriate means to address the stress or dissipate it from the body in healthy ways, will stop the building snowball effect of stress that can jeopardize health and risk our businesses success. When we manage our subtle stress in more effective, efficient ways, the bigger things in life that could derail us, seem to not be so big. Taking up yoga, network spinal analysis, meditation, NLP, walking in nature, are some holistic ways to dissipate stress before it dissipates you. Here is to your peace, clarity and continuous momentum!

Tina Marie Jones, President, Tina Marie Jones & Company, Consultants, Coaches & Advisors. www.tinamariejones.com, tinamariejones@mac.com, 888-721-4204

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LOOKING LOOKING FOR FOR AN... AN...

LOOKING LOOKING FOR FOR A... A...

ATTORNEY? ATTORNEY?

TITLE TITLE AGENT? AGENT? LOOKING LOOKING FOR FOR A... A...

LOOKING LOOKING FOR FOR A... A...

REAL REAL ESTATE ESTATE AGENT? AGENT?

MORTGAGE MORTGAGE BROKER? BROKER?

WHERE YOU GO TO WORK

713-681-7001

Advertiser’s IndexIndex Advertiser’s Advertising Design Systems.................................. 20 Autism Speaks ............................................................... 18

HCC Cohort 6 Congratulations.............................. 24 Keystone Resources .....................................................39

Champions School of Business Development........ 1

NAWBO................................................................. 14 Laughlin & Associates ................................................. 18

Champions School of Business Development ............... 18 Champions School of Real Estate. ..........................

NAWBO ..........................................................................36 Nerium................................................................... 27

Brooke Vallaire ............................................................... 4

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

Sales Nexus ............................................................... 24

Courthouse Direct................................................. 40

Renewal by Andersen........................................... 39

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

Sales Nexus.......................................................... 18 Suzanne Chadwell/OFI ..............................................18

Deborah Healon Interiors ....................................... 19 Gwen Juarez Photography.................................... 20

TG Designs........................................................... Design ....................................................................31 TG 33

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

HCC Cohort 6 Congratulations

................................ 16

Steven Kay ....................................................................40

WBEA

.......................................................................2

Houston Business Legends..................................... 2

VIP Orbit................................................................ 35

Houston Houston Hispanic Chamber.................................. 34 Minority Supplier Development Council ..........

WBEA...................................................................... 4

Houston Hispanic Chamber .......................................19

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

Houston Minority Supplier Development Council................... Inside Back Cover

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SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 2013

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

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

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SBT September 2013 Edition  

SBT September 2013 Edition

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