Dec 2023 Small Business Showcase Magazine

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December 2023

Success Stories: MEET GAIL SAVICK

From Nomadic Beginnings To A Michiana Staple p. 6

The Art Of Business Branding: A Designer’s Perspective p. 18

Overcoming Adversity:

The Inspiring Journey Of Zella Mae p.15

THRIVING ENTREPRENEURSHIP: The Rise Of Business Ventures in the 50s and Beyond! p. 28


Mindset P. 23



CONTENTS TOC & Our Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Letter from the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Letter from the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Meet Gail Savick From Nomadic Beginnings To A Michiana Staple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Finding Joy in the Sales Grind: Harnessing Humor for Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Turning First-Time Buyers into Loyal Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Leveraging ChatGPT (AI): Empowering Small Business Owners in the Digital Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Researching Organizations of Interest Stage Two by Bill Bagley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Navigating the Freelance Landscape: A Review of Top Platforms by Melissa Rowe-Lane . . . . . . 23 Unleashing the Leader Within: Wisdom from the Greats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24


Essential Reads for Small Business Owners . . . . . . . . . . . 25

The Art of Business Branding: A Designer’s Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Embracing Harmony: A Guide to Navigating Workplace Conflict and Stress . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Overcoming Adversity: The Inspiring Journey of Zella Mae . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Thriving Entrepreneurship: The Rise of Business Ventures in the 50s and Beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Guerrillapedia - Mindset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16



Greetings from the President As the season of bustling sales and dynamic marketing approaches, the fervor to push businesses into the black intensifies. Black Friday sales commence weeks ahead of the traditional date, setting the stage for a whirlwind of holiday commerce. Amidst this hustle, a softer but significant call emerges—a call to rally behind small businesses. “Small Business Saturday” and “Buy Local” signs beckon, echoing the sentiment that every day should champion these enterprises. For me, the ethos of supporting small businesses resonates deeply. Why limit this advocacy to just one Saturday? Shouldn’t every day be a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit embodied by small businesses? This sentiment lies at the heart of Small Business Showcase Magazine. We are the voice amplifying the stories and endeavors of small businesses—their uniqueness, fervor, and trailblazing innovations. These enterprises stand unparalleled, offering products and experiences unavailable in mainstream outlets. They are the foundation that builds the intricate design of greatness in the United States. As we navigate the holiday rush, Small Business Showcase Magazine stands tall, celebrating the distinctiveness of each business owner. Here’s to a season of prosperity and an upcoming year filled with the boundless spirit of small business! Andy Garza, President Small Business Showcase Magazine


From the Editor-in-Chief Dear Readers, As we find ourselves on the cusp of the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to share thoughts that resonate deeply with both our business ethos and the spirit of this special time. The holidays, beyond the twinkling lights and joyous gatherings, hold a unique power—they embody the essence of connection. It’s a time when we pause from the hustle and bustle of our professional lives to embrace the warmth of family, friends, and cherished moments. This season offers us an invaluable chance to reflect on the year gone by, appreciate our accomplishments, and recharge for what lies ahead. In the world of business, it’s easy to get caught up in targets, strategies, and bottom lines, often forgetting the human element that drives it all. Yet, I’ve always believed that the heart of any successful endeavor lies in the people—their passion, dedication, and collective spirit, just like we have here at Small Business Showcase Magazine. Reflecting on this, I’m reminded of the incredible dedication I’ve witnessed within our own community. Each one of you, through your commitment and innovation, has contributed to our shared success. The collaborative efforts, resilience in the face of challenges, and unwavering determination deserve admiration. Amidst the festivities, it’s crucial to acknowledge the hard work of our teams, partners, and associates. Their unwavering support and camaraderie have been the bedrock of our achievements. Let’s take this season to express gratitude, extend appreciation, and celebrate these bonds that go beyond business meetings and spreadsheets. On a personal note, the holidays hold a special place in my heart. I recall the joy of spending time with loved ones, the laughter echoing in our home, and the simple yet profound moments of connection that leave lasting impressions. It’s these moments that enrich our lives and remind us of what truly matters. As we navigate the intersection of business and the holidays, let us carry forward the values of empathy, gratitude, and togetherness. May this time rejuvenate our spirits, strengthen our resolve, and pave the way for a prosperous and fulfilling year ahead. Wishing you and your loved ones a holiday season filled with joy, peace, and moments that inspire. Warm regards, Deb Ammerman Editor-in-Chief Small Business Showcase Magazine 5

From Nomadic Beginnings To A Michiana Staple Gail and Steve Stavick embarked on a remarkable journey that would forever shape their lives. Setting aside any doubts, they sold all their possessions with the intention of starting fresh in the enchanting paradise of Hawaii. Though their dreams of island life did not come to fruition, they remained undeterred in the face of a pivotal crossroad. Serendipity intervened when Gail and Steve stumbled upon a warehouse brimming with exquisite, custom blankets. The irresistible opportunity to share these cozy creations with the world propelled them to seize the moment and establish their own venture - The Blanket Hog. Initially, The Blanket Hog operated as a seasonal pop-up business, which quickly garnered substantial success. Encouraged by their achievements, Gail and Steve embarked on an adventurous endeavor to explore different locations. Their journey began in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, followed by prosperous ventures in Richmond, VA, Champagne, IL, and Rockford, IL. Each location spanned six months, with the remaining six months dedicated to attending trade shows to complement their seasonal presence in malls. However, life had further surprises in store for the enterprising duo. A sudden curveball materialized when Steve fell ill, demanding substantial treatment and recovery time. Yet, determined to persevere, they confronted yet another crossroad. Opting to establish their shop at the U.P. Mall in Mishawaka, Indiana, where they could rely on the support of their caring family, Gail shouldered the responsibility of managing the store while Steve concentrated on regaining his health.


As they settled into the welcoming Mishawaka community, Gail and Steve nurtured their newfound home. In pursuit of growth and expansion, they diversified their product line and cultivated a formidable online presence. Alongside their cherished blankets, The Blanket Hog began offering personalized metalworks, sports-themed yard signs, and fully customized cornhole game boards. The triumph they experienced at the U.P. Mall became the catalyst for transforming their enterprise into a year-round business, occupying a more expansive and impressive location than ever before. Today, The Blanket Hog beckons visitors at the U.P. Mall, where an array of personalized blankets and an abundance of delightful products await discovery. Gail and Steve’s journey, from their adventurous beginnings to becoming an adored establishment in Michiana, stands as a testament to their unwavering commitment, resilience, and the boundless passion they inject into bringing comfort and joy to others. Within the walls of The Blanket Hog, a heartfelt craftsmanship and personalized details enlivens every cherished keepsake, radiating warmth and fostering cherished memories. Whether you step through their physical store doors or immerse yourself in their online realm, you’ll encounter the genuine care and dedication infused into each and every item. Therefore, venture into The Blanket Hog at the U.P. Mall and allow Gail and Steve to guide you through a realm of customized blankets and a treasure trove of delightful offerings. Let their story inspire you to embrace unexpected odysseys, find solace amidst challenges, and create enduring moments of joy. By Andy Garza


Grins and Deals: Embracing Humor in the Sales Circuit Finding Joy in the Sales Grind: Harnessing Humor for Success

Salespeople, the unsung heroes of the business world, face a unique challenge every day. From charming customers to closing deals, the life of a salesperson is a rollercoaster of emotions. To celebrate the quirks, the humor, and the trials and tribulations of the sales profession, we’ve embarked on a journey through the hilarious world of sales. Buckle up, dear readers, because this is a wild ride! 1. The Art of the Cold Call, or “Dial-a-Joke” If there’s one thing salespeople excel at, it’s the cold call. Imagine calling a complete stranger and trying to convince them to buy something they didn’t know they needed, all while pretending you’re their long-lost friend. It’s like telling a knock-knock joke at a funeral. The secret to success here? A sense of humor. Sales professionals often rely on their witty one-liners and well-practiced charm to keep those calls going. After all, laughter is the best icebreaker! 2. The Eternal Quest for the Perfect Elevator Pitch Salespeople are always on the hunt for the elusive “perfect” elevator pitch. Crafting a 30-second speech that can turn a skeptical stranger into a paying customer is a bit like trying to find a unicorn in a haystack. You tweak, you refine, you practice in the mirror until you start to resemble a motivational speaker on a caffeine bender. And when you finally deliver that pitch, it’s often met with as much enthusiasm as a soggy napkin. 3. “Sorry, Wrong Number!” The dreaded “Sorry, wrong number!” is a salesperson’s arch-nemesis. You’ve just poured your heart and soul into an impressive pitch, only to be abruptly informed that you’ve called the local pizza joint. But hey, even pizza places need office supplies, right? It’s all about adapting and finding common ground. 4. Sales Meetings: A Comedy of Errors Sales meetings are a unique blend of inspiration, frustration, and sometimes just pure confusion. Picture a room full of enthusiastic salespeople trying to explain the latest product while simultaneously trying to decipher the boss’s jargon-laden PowerPoint slides. If you’ve ever played a game of corporate bingo during a sales meeting, you know that phrases like “synergistic integration” and “value-added paradigm shift” should win you a prize.

5. The “Salesy” Wardrobe Salespeople often have a unique sense of fashion. They’re the ones who can rock a business suit during the day and transition seamlessly to a Hawaiian shirt for an evening pitch. Their closets are a vortex of dress shoes, golf shirts, and a seemingly endless supply of branded pens that mysteriously multiply. 6. The Spreadsheet Symphony In the world of sales, spreadsheets are both a blessing and a curse. They’re like the conductor’s score for the “Symphony of Sales.” When your formulas work flawlessly, it’s like a perfectly played Mozart composition. But when they don’t, it’s a chaotic, off-key rendition of a heavy metal cover. All you can do is laugh at the absurdity of it all. 7. The “Just Checking In” Follow-up We’ve all received those friendly, yet slightly passive-aggressive, “just checking in” emails from salespeople. It’s as if they’re saying, “I haven’t heard from you in a while, and I’m worried you’ve been abducted by aliens.” The art of the follow-up email is a delicate dance of politeness, persistence, and the occasional sprinkling of humor to break the ice. In conclusion, the world of sales is a comedy of errors, a blend of wit and wisdom, and a masterclass in persistence. Salespeople might not always get the laughs they deserve, but they certainly know how to find humor in the ups and downs of their profession. So, next time you encounter a salesperson with a glint in their eye and a cheesy grin, remember, they’re not just selling a product; they’re selling a slice of life’s absurdity. And if you ever need a good laugh, just ask a salesperson for their favorite customer story. You won’t be disappointed!



Turning First-Time Buyers into Loyal Customers As a business owner, I understand the tremendous value of turning first-time buyers into loyal customers. Acquiring new customers is undoubtedly important, but it’s equally crucial to cultivate lasting relationships that result in repeat business. Through my own experiences, I have discovered some effective strategies that can help any business owner transform firsttime buyers into devoted, repeat customers. Let’s dive into some key steps that have proven successful for me:

5. Provide exceptional post-purchase support The relationship with your customer doesn’t end once a purchase is made. Make sure to provide outstanding post-purchase support. Offer prompt assistance, address any concerns or issues promptly, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to customer satisfaction. When customers feel supported and their needs are taken seriously, they are more likely to become loyal advocates for your brand.

1. Provide an exceptional first impression First impressions are lasting impressions, and this holds true in the realm of business. From the moment a customer interacts with your brand, make sure to deliver a top-notch experience. Whether it’s through friendly and professional customer service, an inviting physical store, or an intuitive and user-friendly website, ensure that every touchpoint reflects your commitment to excellence.

6. Request and act upon customer feedback Don’t underestimate the power of customer feedback. Actively seek reviews and opinions from your customers to understand their experiences and what you can improve. Embrace constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth and innovation. Not only will customers appreciate being heard, but they will also perceive you as a business that actively listens and values their input.

2. Exceed customer expectations To stand out in a competitive market, go above and beyond what your customers expect. Surprise them with exceptional service, personalized touches, and unexpected benefits. When a customer’s expectations are not only met but exceeded, they are more likely to not only return but also share their positive experience with others.

7. Continuously innovate and adapt To foster customer loyalty, it’s important to continue evolving and staying ahead of your competition. Actively seek ways to improve your products, services, and customer experience. Monitor industry trends and listen to the changing needs of your customers, adapting your offerings to meet those demands.

3. Stay connected through effective communication Communication is essential in maintaining relationships with customers. Reach out to first-time buyers through targeted emails or personalized messages, expressing your appreciation for their patronage. Stay connected by providing updates on special promotions, new products, or relevant industry information. A carefully crafted newsletter or a well-maintained social media presence can help foster a sense of community and maintain top-of-mind awareness among your customers.

Remember, turning first-time buyers into repeat customers is an ongoing process that requires effort, dedication, and continuous improvement. By prioritizing exceptional experiences, ongoing communication, and personalized attention, you will lay the foundation for lasting customer relationships. Investing in customer loyalty will not only result in repeat business but also in customer advocacy, word-ofmouth referrals, and a strong reputation, which are invaluable to the long-term success of any business.

4. Offer loyalty programs and incentives Rewarding customer loyalty is a tried-and-true method of building lasting relationships. Implement a loyalty program that offers exclusive perks, discounts, or special access to upcoming products or events. By offering incentives for repeat purchases, you not only encourage customers to return but also make them feel valued and appreciated—a key aspect of building customer loyalty.

So, let’s strive to go beyond transactional interactions and build meaningful connections with our customers. Together, we can cultivate a loyal customer base that sets our businesses apart and paves the way for a prosperous future.


- Staff Writer


The Art of Business Branding: A Designer’s Perspective

As a graphic designer with over 30 years of experience, I’ve had the privilege of working with a wide range of businesses, from startups to established corporations. Throughout my career, I’ve come to understand the profound impact that effective business branding can have. In this article, I’d like to delve into the world of branding from a graphic designer’s point of view, exploring what it is and why I believe that every business, regardless of its size or industry, should prioritize creating a strong brand identity. What is Business Branding? At its core, business branding is the process of creating a unique and cohesive visual and emotional identity for a company. It encompasses various elements, including logos, color schemes, typography, imagery, and even the tone of communication. Beyond the visuals, branding also includes defining a company’s mission, values, and culture. It’s about creating a story that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart from competitors. As a commercial artist, my primary role is to translate these intangible elements into tangible design elements, creating a visual representation of a brand’s identity. I take the brand’s essence and craft it into logos, marketing materials, and everything in between. Why Does Every Business Need Branding? Visual Consistency: A well-designed brand is all about visual consistency. When customers see your logo, colors, or font, they should instantly recognize your business. This consistency builds trust and reliability. Memorability: In today’s fast-paced world, your business needs to stand out and be memorable. A well-crafted brand ensures that your business remains in the minds of your target audience. Think of some of the most iconic logos – they are unforgettable. Trust and Credibility: People are naturally drawn to things that are aesthetically pleasing and well-organized. A strong brand 12 exudes professionalism and trustworthiness. It tells your customers that you care about the details.

Emotional Connection: Design can evoke emotions. Your branding should aim to create an emotional connection with your audience. The right design elements can communicate your values and mission, allowing your customers to relate to your business on a deeper level. Competitive Edge: In a competitive marketplace, a well-crafted brand can give you a significant advantage. It helps you differentiate yourself from competitors and position your business as the go-to choice in your industry. Adaptability and Expansion: As your business evolves and grows, your brand can evolve with it. A strong brand provides a framework for adaptability, allowing you to expand into new markets and ventures while maintaining a consistent identity. Increased Value: A strong brand can increase the perceived value of your products or services. People are often willing to pay a premium for a brand they trust and admire. This can result in higher profitability. In my design work, I’ve witnessed firsthand how a well-thought-out brand can transform a business’s image and prospects. It goes far beyond just creating a nice logo; it’s about crafting a visual language that communicates your brand’s personality and values. From my perspective as a designer, business branding is not a luxury but a necessity. It’s the bridge that connects a company’s vision to its customers. Every business, regardless of its size or industry, can benefit from investing in creating a strong brand identity. If you want to leave a lasting impression, inspire trust, and stand out in the competitive landscape, start by defining and designing a brand that truly represents who you are. It’s a journey worth embarking on, and it’s a decision that can profoundly impact the success of your business. - Deb Ammerman



Overcoming Adversity: The Inspiring Journey of Zella Mae Life’s path isn’t always a clear melody; sometimes, it’s a symphony of challenges that test our resolve. Zella Mae, a testament to the strength of determination, has composed her own tune despite the dissonance of personal adversity. Her story is one of talent and passion interwoven with the intricate threads of resilience. Yet, the chords of her life weren’t harmonious from the start. Growing up amidst a tumultuous family dynamic, nurturing her musical gifts seemed an unattainable dream. Adding to the discord was an abusive relationship that clouded her aspirations. However, in the face of these obstacles, Zella Mae chose a different tune—one of resilience and unwavering determination. Seeking solace and a path to change, she ventured into the uncharted territory of alternative therapies, specifically “Energy Healing.” Initially unfamiliar with this practice, her desperation to steer her life toward positivity led her to embrace it. Surprisingly, this venture not only improved her life but also ignited an insatiable curiosity for the science behind this form of therapy. Eager to unravel its mysteries, Zella delved into understanding the nuances and mechanisms that rendered it effective. Armed with newfound knowledge and an unyielding spirit, she seamlessly integrated energy healing into her repertoire, alongside her lifelong passion for teaching piano and voice. The journey wasn’t smooth; focus became a relentless struggle. However, a change in surroundings proved pivotal. Relocating to the South Bend area became the catalyst for resurrecting her music instruction while expanding her practice in energy healing. The transformative power of energy healing rejuvenated Zella Mae’s creative spirit, birthing a myriad of ideas that shaped her aspirations. Her vision expanded beyond personal success; it became a beacon for a community. Inspired by this newfound vigor, she embarked on creating a non-specific genre community choir—an oasis where the love for singing supersedes boundaries. Her dreams didn’t halt there. Zella Mae envisioned wellness workshops integrating energy healing into the fabric of corporate well-being. Her determination propelled her to offer one-on-one sessions in piano, voice, and group energy healing, extending her services globally through the digital realm. Today, Zella Mae stands as a testament to resilience and determination, a beacon of hope for those navigating the tumultuous waves of adversity. Her thriving business not only echoes her passion but also encapsulates the healing essence that the world so desperately needs. In her resolute journey, Zella Mae’s symphony of talent, passion, and determination echoes loud and clear, inspiring us to orchestrate our lives against the odds and compose our own melodies of success. - Andy Garza 15

Guerrillapedia - Mindset Welcome to the Guerrillapedia, where the mindset is the bedrock, the very circuitry that powers every facet of guerrilla marketing. I often liken it to the motherboard of all business strategies—it encompasses the entirety of your enterprise, from the visual appeal of your establishment to the intricate workings that include every team member, especially yourself. Stepping into any business, I swiftly gauge its mindset. I anticipate a barrage of marketing cues—a symphony of company signs, logos, and where fitting, the attire of employees adorned with the brand’s identity. These elements should coalesce into a seamless portrayal of your business. Your sanctuary, your first impression, should exude the pride you have in your company. However, there have been instances where I’ve entered a business and found myself adrift, uncertain if I was in the right place. No signs, no logos on attire, no indication of their identity through business cards or marketing materials—a missed opportunity to captivate a potential client or customer. Each of these instances represents a chance, or regrettably, a missed chance to market your brand. The fundamental aim of marketing is twofold: establish your identity and etch your company’s name into the minds of people. Guerrilla marketing teems with tactics to achieve this, but it all commences with the fundamental notion that every facet surrounding your business is an avenue for marketing. Seize as many of these opportunities as possible. Overlooking too many occasions translates to feeble brand recognition and consequently, a loss in market share. In our forthcoming issue, we’ll delve deeper into these “mindset” opportunities, exploring ways to harness them for maximum impact. Stay tuned as we unravel the strategies that revolve around nurturing the very essence of guerrilla marketing—the mindset. Andy Garza is well known as the Guru of Guerrilla Marketing. He has over 30 years of experience using Guerrilla Marketing to launch 4 businesses. Andy has also reached top-level sales status in 4 different industries including Flooring, Auto, Furniture, and Senior Financial Planning. Presently the President and CEO of Big Gorilla Sales and Marketing Training, Andy has become a sought-after speaker for entrepreneurial groups, including a featured speaker for Notre Dame’s Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program as well as his own training seminars in both Marketing and Guerrilla Sales. Andy has extensive experience in Magazine Publishing having owned New Homeowners Guide and Senior Financial Digest. Now one of the Founding Partners and the President of Small Business Showcase. 16

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Leveraging ChatGPT (AI)...

Empowering Small Business Owners in the Digital Age In the rapidly evolving landscape of modern entrepreneurship, small business owners face a multitude of challenges. From resource constraints to the complexities of marketing and customer engagement, navigating these hurdles requires innovative solutions. One such solution that’s increasingly becoming indispensable is leveraging AI-powered tools like ChatGPT. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, stands out as a versatile language model capable of understanding and generating human-like text based on the input it receives. Its capabilities extend far beyond casual conversation, offering a wealth of possibilities for small business owners seeking to streamline operations, enhance customer interactions, and boost productivity. Here’s how ChatGPT can revolutionize various facets of small business management: Customer Support and Engagement One of the critical aspects of any business is customer support. ChatGPT can serve as an ever-present virtual assistant, handling customer queries, providing instant responses, and offering personalized recommendations. Whether it’s addressing frequently asked questions, guiding users through troubleshooting steps, or even facilitating product recommendations based on preferences, ChatGPT can significantly improve customer satisfaction and retention.

Market Research and Insights Understanding market trends and consumer behavior is crucial for small businesses. ChatGPT can analyze vast amounts of data, offering insights into market trends, customer preferences, and competitor analysis. By processing and interpreting this information, it empowers entrepreneurs to make informed decisions about product development, marketing strategies, and business expansion. Personalized Experiences In today’s hyper-personalized world, customers value experiences tailored to their preferences. ChatGPT can assist in creating personalized interactions by analyzing customer data and generating customized recommendations or responses. Whether through personalized email campaigns, tailored product suggestions, or interactive website experiences, this personal touch can significantly enhance customer engagement. Limitless Adaptability One of the most significant advantages of ChatGPT is its adaptability. It can be integrated into various platforms and applications, from websites and social media channels to chatbots and customer relationship management systems. Its flexibility allows small business owners to leverage its capabilities across multiple touchpoints, ensuring consistent and efficient communication with customers.

Streamlining Operations For small businesses aiming to optimize their operations, ChatGPT can automate routine tasks. From scheduling appointments and managing calendars to assisting with inventory management and handling basic administrative tasks, integrating ChatGPT into workflow systems can save time and resources, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on core business strategies. Content Creation and Marketing Creating compelling content for marketing purposes is often a challenge for small business owners with limited resources. ChatGPT can generate engaging blog posts, social media content, product descriptions, and even ad copy. Its ability to understand context and generate coherent, relevant text makes it an invaluable tool for maintaining an active online presence and attracting potential customers. 18

However, while ChatGPT offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to use it responsibly and ethically. Ensuring data privacy, providing transparent information about AI interaction, and constantly monitoring and improving the AI’s responses are crucial steps in utilizing ChatGPT effectively. ChatGPT represents a game-changing tool for small business owners, offering efficiency, scalability, and enhanced customer engagement. Embracing this AI technology can empower entrepreneurs to overcome challenges, drive growth, and thrive in an increasingly competitive business landscape. As AI continues to advance, ChatGPT stands as a testament to the transformative power of intelligent automation in supporting small businesses worldwide. - Staff Writer


Researching Organizations of Interest In the November Issue of Small Business Showcase, we talked about graduating seniors and how to locate various job opportunities. Once you have done is critical to learn as much about the employing organizations as possible. This is ‘Stage Two’ of the interviewing process.

STAGE TWO Once you have located the opportunities that exist ‘out there’ and you have pinned down an interview or two, the next step is to gather information on the organization(s) with which you are going to interview. Again, your college placement office is a valuable resource in locating background information on numerous organizations hiring entry-level personnel. College-based and public libraries also offer literature which can prove helpful in gaining some insight into an organization and their operations. As well, the respective local chamber of commerce has numerous directories that can assist in familiarizing you with an interviewing firm.


If you have access to a Dun & Bradstreet data base, this can also be useful. Professional publications, as mentioned earlier in locating opportunities, many times provide reference information on various organizations related to a specific industry. But in the final analysis, the most obvious, most valuable, and yet the most overlooked source for gathering background information on a firm is the targeted organization itself. It just makes sense that if you are going to interview with a specific organization, you should call someone internally and ask for material related to their operation. Most people fail to do this because they are afraid that by calling directly for information indicates that they do not know about the organization, and this will reflect negatively on them. This is not true. Quite the contrary is true. Direct research demonstrates interest and initiative. Furthermore, if the truth were known, the person you interview with probably will never know you directly requested information on their respective organization. They will just assume that it is your responsibility to do so, and if you don’t — that is when the negative begins to show through.

BILL BAGLEY CEO & Personal Advisor Bagley Consulting

Several sources can be tapped in an organization to gather relevant material for interview purposes: · Human Resources Department · Marketing Department · Public Relations Department · Receptionist Various pieces of information are normally available for this purpose: · Recruiting Brochures · Internal Newsletters · Annual Report Regardless of how you gather the information, the key is that you check the sources and make certain it contains accurate information; then go about reviewing it carefully and forcing essential elements to memory. This information is invaluable to you in preparing for the interview session itself.

Bill has more than 40 years of experience leading HR & Recruiting, HR Compliance, Career Development, and Partner Coaching efforts for business professionals throughout the United States. For 20 years he served as Regional HR & Recruiting Leader for Deloitte…retiring as a Firm Director. During his tenure, Deloitte was named, six times, to Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America. He recruited, trained, and mentored thousands of individuals during this time, and played a key role in designing and delivering a nationally-recognized leadership program aimed at preparing Senior Managers for admission to Deloitte’s Partner ranks. He currently consults with the leaders of various businesses on ‘ Human Capital Issues,’ ‘Leadership Topics,’ ‘Succession Planning,’ ‘Vision & Strategy,’ and ‘Business Development Initiatives.’ Bill began his professional business career with Coopers & Lybrand and following his 20-year tenure at Deloitte was HR and Recruiting Director for Barnes Dennig & Company for 8 years and a Business Advisor for VonLehman & Company for 4 years. He currently is back in private practice with his son, Scott Bagley, as CEO and Personal Advisor for Bagley Consulting. Prior to his business career he spent 3 years as a Career Planning & Placement Director and Assistant Football Coach at Manchester College. Bill has designed and delivered numerous professional development programs. He has taught leadership concepts for Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, the MBA program at Xavier University’s Williams College of Business, the University of Kentucky, Miami University, University of Notre Dame, and the University of Cincinnati’s Lindner Honors PLUS Program. Clients Bill has served: Deloitte; Viking Partners; KMK Law; VonLehman & Company; Cincinnati Financial; Taft Law; Barnes Dennig & Co.; USI; Northlich; LEC; The Matrix Companies; North American Properties; Mubea; Mueller Roofing; Intelligrated; Convergys Analytics; Bartlett Wealth Management; Crescent Park; Clarke Power Services; UGS; Fascor well, he has presented at numerous leadership seminars. He has authored three books: Impact Interviewing; Why Accounting?; Navigating Toward Academic and Career Success (endorsed by retired Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, Dr. Tony Alessandra, Platinum Rule Author, and Brian Tracy, Goals!). Bill holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Indiana University, and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education from Ball State University. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He and his wife, Marla, have two sons and eleven grandchildren…and Springer Spaniel, Molly. 21

Navigating the Freelance Landscape: A Review of Top Platforms In today’s dynamic and interconnected world, the freelance industry has witnessed an unprecedented surge in popularity. Individuals from diverse backgrounds and skillsets are embracing the flexibility and autonomy offered by freelance work, transforming the traditional employment landscape. To cater to this growing demand, a multitude of freelance platforms have emerged, providing a virtual marketplace where freelancers and clients can connect and collaborate. Among the plethora of options available, three platforms have consistently stood out: Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer. Each platform boasts unique features and caters to specific needs, making it crucial for freelancers to carefully evaluate their options before selecting a platform that aligns with their goals and expertise.

Fiverr: A Gig Economy Hub for Micro-Services Fiverr has carved a niche for itself in the gig economy by catering to bite-sized projects, often referred to as “gigs.” This platform is ideal for freelancers offering specialized services, such as graphic design, content writing, and social media management. Fiverr’s standardized pricing structure makes it easy for clients to navigate and purchase services, streamlining the process for both parties. Pros: • User-friendly interface • Simple pricing structure • Quick and easy project initiation Cons: • Lower average project value • Limited project scope • Increased competition due to low barriers to entry

Upwork: A Versatile Marketplace for Skilled Freelancers Upwork is a prominent freelance platform known for its comprehensive project listings and rigorous vetting process. Freelancers on Upwork undergo a thorough screening to ensure they possess the necessary skills and experience to meet client expectations. This approach instills confidence among clients, attracting high-value projects and fostering long-term partnerships.

Freelancer: A Global Marketplace for Diverse Talent Freelancer boasts a vast global network of freelancers, spanning over 200 countries and territories. This extensive reach provides clients with access to a diverse pool of talent, while freelancers gain exposure to a wide range of international opportunities. Freelancer’s project categories encompass a broad spectrum, from web development and software engineering to marketing and creative design.

Pros: • Renowned reputation for quality freelancers • Access to high-paying projects • Comprehensive project listings

Pros: • Global reach and diverse talent pool • Broad range of project categories • Wide range of pricing options

Cons: • Competitive bidding process • Monthly membership fees • Complex project management tools

Cons: • Highly competitive bidding environment • Potential for lower-quality project opportunities • Limited client protection measures


Choosing the Right Platform: A Strategic Decision The decision of which freelance platform to utilize should be based on a thorough assessment of individual needs and preferences. Freelancers should carefully consider their skillset, experience level, project preferences, and desired financial compensation when making their choice. For freelancers with established expertise seeking high-value projects, Upwork offers a promising avenue. Fiverr is well-suited for freelancers providing specialized services and seeking quick project engagements. Freelancer’s global reach and diverse talent pool make it an attractive option for freelancers seeking international opportunities. Melissa Rowe-Lane Author • Bachelor of Science in Design • 3 Years In conclusion, the freelance landscape presents a multitude of Melissa(Mel) believes in the power of design and has a Bachelor opportunities for individuals seeking flexibility and autonomy in of Science in Design from Full Sail University. She has worked as a their work. By carefully evaluating the strengths and limitations Freelance Designer since 2020 and works as a visual designer for of each platform, freelancers can strategically position M&D Advertising. When not working on design projects, she spends themselves for success in the ever-evolving world of freelance her free time crocheting and spending time with her husband of 23 over 20 years. work.

Unleashing the Leader Within:

Wisdom from the Greats

In the grand scheme of history, leaders have always played a pivotal role in shaping the course of our world. These visionaries, thinkers, and doers have left behind a treasure trove of wisdom that continues to inspire and guide us in our own leadership journeys. As I reflect on the incredible lessons from these iconic figures, I find myself inspired to embrace the challenges of leadership with renewed vigor and passion. Join me as we explore the wisdom of these famous leaders and uncover the secrets of effective leadership.

1. Mahatma Gandhi: Leading Through Example Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation, once said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” These words resonate deeply in the realm of leadership. True leaders do not merely point the way; they lead by example. They embody the values and principles they wish to instill in others, serving as beacons of inspiration and guidance. When we lead by example, we create a ripple effect that encourages those around us to follow suit. It’s a reminder that our actions speak louder than words, and our commitment to our vision can inspire others to join us on the path to change and progress. 2. Winston Churchill: Resilience in the Face of Adversity “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts,” declared Winston Churchill, the indomitable leader during World War II. Leadership often entails facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, and resilience is the key to overcoming them. Churchill’s unwavering determination in the face of daunting odds reminds us that leadership is not for the faint of heart. It requires the courage to persist, adapt, and learn from both triumphs and setbacks. As leaders, we must be resilient, staying committed to our mission and continuously striving for excellence. 3. Nelson Mandela: The Power of Forgiveness Nelson Mandela, an icon of peace and reconciliation, said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” His leadership was defined by the remarkable ability to forgive and bridge divides, leading his nation out of the darkness of apartheid and into a brighter future. Mandela’s wisdom teaches us that true leadership requires the capacity to forgive, foster unity, and build bridges, even when it seems like an impossible task. It’s a reminder that the power of compassion and forgiveness can transform societies and individuals alike. 4. Eleanor Roosevelt: The Value of Empathy Eleanor Roosevelt, a champion of human rights and the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, noted, “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” Her words underscore the vital role of empathy in leadership. Empathy allows us to connect with our team, understand their needs, and inspire them to reach their full potential. It’s a reminder that leadership isn’t just about making decisions; it’s about caring for the well-being of those under our guidance. 24

5. Steve Jobs: Innovating for a Better Future In the realm of business and technology, Steve Jobs famously declared, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” His visionary approach to leadership transformed Apple Inc. into one of the most influential companies in the world. Leadership involves pushing the boundaries, embracing change, and driving innovation. As Jobs demonstrated, it’s the ability to envision a better future and inspire others to join in the pursuit of that vision. Conclusion: A Tapestry of Leadership In the mosaic of history, these legendary figures have woven a tapestry of leadership wisdom that continues to inspire and guide us. Leadership is a dynamic journey that requires a deep understanding of oneself, a commitment to one’s values, and a passion for inspiring others. By incorporating these timeless lessons into our own leadership style, we can become the change-makers, the resilient problem-solvers, and the compassionate leaders that history remembers and admires. Let us embrace the challenges, lean on the wisdom of the greats, and lead with purpose and determination, knowing that we have the power to make a lasting impact on our world.

Essential Reads for Small Business Owners

In the ever-evolving world of entrepreneurship, achieving success goes beyond sheer determination. It calls for a blend of knowledge, foresight, and an openness to embrace change. For small business owners like you, the journey toward success is a mosaic crafted from various experiences, strategies, and insights. To enhance and strengthen your entrepreneurial skills, here’s a short list of thoughtfully selected books that aim to motivate, educate, and fuel your pursuit of excellence. 1. “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill A classic in the realm of personal development and success literature, Napoleon Hill’s “Think & Grow Rich” is a timeless masterpiece that transcends generations. Hill’s exploration of the mindset, beliefs, and actions necessary for success serves as a foundational pillar for aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. Through the analysis of success stories and the distillation of principles employed by accomplished individuals, this book ignites the entrepreneurial spirit and imparts invaluable lessons on ambition, persistence, and the power of thoughts in shaping one’s destiny. 2. “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries Eric Ries’s “The Lean Startup” has become gospel for modern entrepreneurs seeking to navigate the volatile startup terrain. By advocating for a methodology centered on validated learning, rapid experimentation, and iterative product releases, Ries reshapes traditional notions of business development. Entrepreneurs learn how to pivot, adapt, and evolve their business models based on real-time feedback, mitigating risks and maximizing opportunities in an ever-changing market landscape. Continued...25

Essential Reads for Small Business Owners


3. “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek At the core of every successful business lies a compelling purpose that transcends profit margins. Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” challenges entrepreneurs to delve into the fundamental question of ‘why’ their businesses exist. By dissecting the concept of the Golden Circle - why, how, what - Sinek emphasizes the importance of communicating a clear and resonant purpose to inspire customers, employees, and stakeholders. This book is a guiding light for cultivating a purpose-driven culture that fosters loyalty and sustained success. 4. “Good to Great” by Jim Collins In the pursuit of business excellence, Jim Collins’s “Good to Great” is an indispensable guidebook. Through meticulous research and analysis, Collins identifies the distinguishing factors that propel companies from mere competence to enduring greatness. With insights into leadership, disciplined thought, and unwavering commitment to core values, this book equips entrepreneurs with the principles to transcend mediocrity and chart a course towards sustainable success. 5. “How Change Really Happens” by Sierra Melcher Change is the heartbeat of progress, and Sierra Melcher’s “How Change Really Happens” is a beacon guiding entrepreneurs through the tumultuous yet transformative seas of change. Melcher’s work is a roadmap that explores the psychology behind change, unraveling its intricacies and presenting actionable steps to navigate and harness it for business growth. With compelling anecdotes and research-backed strategies, this book redefines change as an ally, not an adversary, in the entrepreneurial journey. These books serve as catalysts, nurturing the seeds of innovation, resilience, and strategic thinking essential for small business owners to thrive in an ever-evolving landscape. As you embark on your entrepreneurial odyssey, let these literary treasures be your companions, illuminating the path to prosperity and fulfillment.


Embracing Harmony: A Guide to Navigating Workplace Conflict and Stress

Yet, amidst these conflicts, stress invariably creeps in. The weight of responsibilities, deadlines, and expectations can feel suffocating at times. In these moments, I’ve learned to embrace self-care as a non-negotiable priority. Whether it’s through mindfulness practices, exercise, or simply taking breaks to rejuvenate, nurturing our mental and physical well-being is paramount. Moreover, reframing perspectives has been a game-changer for me. Viewing challenges as opportunities for personal and professional development has shifted my mindset. Each obstacle is a chance to learn, adapt, and emerge stronger. This perspective not only eases stress but also fosters resilience in the face of adversity.

Another crucial aspect is establishing In the hustle and bustle of our professional boundaries. Recognizing the limits of lives, the undeniable truth is that conflict workload and setting reasonable expecand stress often find their way into our tations for oneself can prevent burnout. workplace. As someone who has tread Learning to say no when necessary is not through these turbulent waters, I’ve come a sign of weakness but rather a testament to realize that these challenges can either to self-respect and maintaining a healthy break us or make us stronger. Through work-life balance. trials and tribulations, I’ve gathered insights and strategies that I believe can Above all, I’ve discovered the power of pave the way to harmony amidst the seeking support and building a network chaos. of allies. Colleagues, mentors, or even

Remember, each obstacle is an opportunity to showcase your strength and resilience. Embrace these moments as chances to learn, grow, and evolve. By navigating conflicts with grace and managing stress with self-compassion, we pave the way for a harmonious and thriving workplace. As I continue on my journey, I am reminded that in the dance of professional life, conflicts and stress may arise, but it is our response to these challenges that truly defines our success and fulfillment. Here’s to embracing harmony in the midst of chaos—may we all find peace and strength in the face of adversity.

professional counselors can provide Firstly, when faced with conflict, it’s crucial guidance and a fresh perspective. Sharing - Staff Writer to approach it with a calm and collected experiences and learning from others’ mindset. Emotions can run high, but journeys has been an invaluable source of taking a step back to assess the situation inspiration and strength. can work wonders. I’ve found that active listening and understanding the perspec- In essence, handling workplace conflict tives of all parties involved can often and stress is not just about finding quick uncover solutions that were previously fixes but embracing a mindset of unseen. resilience, empathy, and self-care. It’s about transforming challenges into Communication plays a pivotal role in stepping stones toward personal and resolving conflicts. Constructive dialogue, collective growth. devoid of blame and focused on finding common ground, acts as a beacon of hope. It’s not merely about speaking but truly comprehending each other’s viewpoints. I’ve witnessed how a genuine conversation can transform seemingly insurmountable conflicts into opportunities for growth and understanding.


Thriving Entrepreneurship: As I delve into the vibrant world of entrepreneurship, I find myself intrigued by the stories of individuals who embarked on the exhilarating journey of starting a business later in life. Often portrayed as a domain dominated by the young and restless, the entrepreneurial landscape has witnessed a remarkable surge of innovators launching ventures in their 50s and beyond, challenging the conventional notions of age and success.

One such inspiring figure is Vera Wang, who revolutionized the fashion industry by founding her iconic bridal wear company at the age of 40. Her relentless passion for design propelled her into an industry where youth was often considered essential. Yet, Wang defied the odds and carved her niche, becoming a beacon of success for aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into uncharted territories later in life. Similarly, the story of Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), stands as a testament to the triumphs that can emerge from later-life entrepreneurship.


Sanders, in his 60s, embarked on a quest to share his secret recipe with the world. Despite facing rejection from numerous restaurants, his perseverance led to the birth of an empire that redefined the fast-food industry.

What sets these entrepreneurs apart is their reservoir of life experiences and wisdom amassed over decades. Contrary to the belief that starting a business demands youthful vigor, these individuals leveraged their wealth of knowledge, networks, and resilience to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship. Studies have shown that older entrepreneurs often exhibit a higher success rate due to their seasoned perspectives, adaptability, and ability to mitigate risks. Their businesses tend to thrive, benefiting from a deep understanding of industry nuances and a well-honed intuition developed through years of professional and personal experiences. Take, for instance, Diana Nyad, who at 64 became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage. Her determination and resilience epitomize the

The Rise of Business Ventures in the 50s and Beyond

unwavering spirit of entrepreneurs who venture into uncharted waters later in life. Nyad’s accomplishment serves as a powerful metaphor for the perseverance and tenacity that fuel entrepreneurial endeavors, regardless of age.

stories of Vera Wang, Colonel Sanders, Diana Nyad, and Joy Gendusa underscore the limitless potential embedded within individuals who dare to embark on entrepreneurial ventures later in life.

Moreover, the digital age has opened new avenues for older entrepreneurs. With access to online resources, mentoring platforms, and a global market at their fingertips, individuals in their 50s and beyond are embracing technology to actualize their entrepreneurial dreams. The story of Joy Gendusa, who founded PostcardMania in her late 30s and turned it into a multimillion-dollar enterprise, showcases the boundless opportunities available in the digital realm.

Pondering over these captivating tales, I’m reminded that entrepreneurship knows no age limits. The unwavering drive to pursue ambitions, coupled with an unyielding spirit, surpasses the boundaries of time. These entrepreneurs, regardless of age, embody resilience and serve as guiding beacons for aspiring business leaders on their individual paths. To find kinship with Andy Garza - President of Small Business Showcase Magazine, in this remarkable group is both thrilling and humbling—a testament to the power of inspiration within our shared journey here at the Small Business Showcase Magazine.

However, challenges persist. Access to funding, societal stereotypes, and the fear of failure often loom large for older entrepreneurs. Overcoming these hurdles requires a blend of determination, resilience, and a supportive ecosystem that acknowledges the value of experience in entrepreneurship. The landscape of entrepreneurship is evolving, embracing diversity in age, experiences, and backgrounds. The success

Deb Ammerman Editor-In-Chief Small Business Showcase Magazine


IN THE BEGINNING... We’ll be chronicling the entrepreneurial journey of handpicked “Esteem” MBA graduates from Notre Dames elite Idea Center. For the next 4 years we will follow the progress with an initial interview and subsequent interviews every 6 months. Stay tuned for in depth accounts and learning every step, every hurdle and every defining moment of their journey. Join us frequently on and our page on Facebook and be among the first to discover the inspiring stories and practical insights from upcoming issues of Small Business Showcase Magazine. Experience the power of entrepreneurship and connect with a community of passionate individuals who are striving to make a difference in the business world.

Small Business Showcase Magazine Email: Authors: Andy Garza, Deb Ammerman, Bill Bagley, Melissa Rowe-Lane 30

Photos: Gary Riggs Photography © 2023 Small Business Showcase Magazine, All Rights Reserved



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