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for and by charlotte-area small business owners and entrepreneurs

preneurs of minds a marriage the

“FAST AND RELIABLE—IT’S wHy I mADE THE SwITCH.” For PrintWorks, speed is key. This three-woman shop offers specialty printing and design services for businesses in town and across the country. So they trust Time Warner Cable Business Class for the High-Speed Internet and Phone solutions they rely on to keep their customers happy. Because being productive isn’t just something their small business wants to be—it’s what it needs to be.

Joanna Puritz PrintWorks | Wilmington, NC Customer since 2012


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The 30-Day Money Back Guarantee applies only to newly subscribed TWC Business Class Internet Access Service and Phone Service at a pre-wired location. TWC must receive customer’s cancellation request for all eligible services at the location within the first 30 days after installation. Upon receipt, the eligible services will be disconnected without penalty, and TWC will issue a refund for any standard installation charges up to $300 and the monthly recurring fees paid for the first 30 days, excluding any toll-free or other billable long-distance call usage, directory assistance or operator services charges. All offers and services not available in all areas. Actual speeds may vary. Some restrictions may apply. Subject to change without notice. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Time Warner Cable Business Class are trademarks of Time Warner Inc., used under license. ©2014 Time Warner Cable Enterprises LLC. All Rights Reserved.



Features 10 TIPS


To Improve Your

B2B Email Marketing


By Adam Holden-Bache

DO 10 Tips to 2

How many times have you opened an email that interested you but found it was unclear what you should do? There was no obvious link or call to action. And if you managed to find a link and click-through, the website was a dead end. Avoid this scenario as much as possible by being direct about what you want readers to do. Draw their attention to the clickable content, and make sure that after they click, your landing page or website offers a clear path to conversion.

Improve Your B2B Email Marketing Effectiveness




Make your email scannable.

Email recipients seldom read every word in an email from top to bottom. Eighty percent of readers scan emails for content that catches their attention. Prepare your email so that key messages stand out. Break apart your copy. Use headers and subheaders. Use bold copy, bullets, and lists. Add color or create whitespace to lead the reader’s eye to your most important content.

Use a preheader.

A preheader is a short text summary that displays after the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox. It is taken from the first lines of copy found in the email. Many mobile, desktop, and web email clients provide preheaders, so recipients get a glimpse of what the email contains before they open it. Because most senders do not add a preheader, what typically displays is “view this email as a web page” or a similar message. Marketers that include an interesting preheader will provide another reason for recipients to open their emails.






Most email recipients only see the top part of the email in their inboxes, especially users on mobile devices. If you have a lot of content, make sure you state your offer and provide a call-to-action at the top of the email message. In many cases it’s best to place your offer and call-to-action (CTA) at the top of the email, and then below that provide supporting content. At the bottom of the email, re-state your offer and CTA. With both placements, recipients who have read through the email can take action by clicking the bottom links, while those who were immediately interested can click through using the links at the top.

Having a goal seems like a no-brainer, but many email campaigns fall short when it comes to having purpose. Your emails must be focused on achieving your business goal. And the goal should be obvious to you and your recipients. Remember: without a goal you can’t achieve success.

Provide a clear path to conversion.

When using email to market your business to another business, it’s natural to want to develop campaigns that showcase the professional side of your organization. The challenge for most B2B marketers is to appear professional while creating messaging that engages and promotes an actionable response by their target audiences. Here are a few tips that should help you to generate more opens, clicks, and conversions on your next B2B email campaign.


Business Partnership: A Marriage of Minds

Aby Marriage Melisa LaVergne of Minds


the tribe



Marrying Creativity and Technical Savvy

A Strong Foundation For Investment


Dan & Sara

Conscious Capitalists


Brian & Edwin

Andy & Robin

Two Heads Are Better Than One


JC & Bianca Insured Heart



These brave souls are true copreneurs—partners who have gone all in with their personal and professional lives. While their backgrounds and businesses are diverse, they all express a deep respect for their partners that carries a tone of greater intimacy than commonly heard from “normal” business or life partners. These partners share all the same ups and downs. They understand one another on a whole different level.

Brewed to Perfection

Jonathan & Crystal Float Like a Butterfly, Text Like a Teenager


Randy & Crystal Tending Each Other and Their Guests




Mark & Sharai

Russ & Wendy

Ernest & Priscilla

Caring Leads the Way


you give?


Zahava & Pooran

Frank & Pilar

Meet 26 Members of the TRIBE

Laughter Forges a Winning Production


How do you


FEEL How do


Bill & Karen Creating a Chocolate Legacy





Steve & Paula

When it’s time to step away from their desks and give their minds a break from the day-today routine, many small business owners actively contribute their time, talents, and treasures to local nonprofits. The feeling they get from giving back to the community motivates and re-energizes them. The organizations featured on the next few pages are just a few of the worthy 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the Charlotte region. Visit their websites to learn how to donate or get involved. All photos courtesy of the organization represented unless noted otherwise.

Hands on Charlotte Hands On Charlotte’s mission is to inspire, equip, and mobilize a diverse corps of volunteers to strengthen our community. It connects people and businesses that are looking for service opportunities with organizations that need volunteers. Visit for more information.


Special Qs What’s your favorite afternoon pick-me-up?

.... 10

Put your offer AND call-to-action above the fold.

Have a goal (and make it obvious).


table of contents

Good Stuff Inside What is the kookiest

entrepreneurial idea you ever had?......


What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

..... 54

What’s your theme song?

............... 56

Departments .............. 4 b2bTRIBE Manifesto.......... 5 Contributors.................. 6 News Briefs................... 8 Also Do.................... 18 Save the Dates............. 60 Ad Index................... 62 TRIBE Index................ 63 Eye Candy................. 64 Publisher’s Note

Our focus is remarkably uncomplicated.

We help human beings communicate an engaging message in an authentic way to capture the hearts and minds of clients and community. From conversations and presentations to pitches and keynotes, we’ve got you covered.

Give us a call today at 704.374.0423. We’re a friendly bunch and we would love to talk. Lissie Shaver

Julie Haldane

Jeff Serenius

Michael Rogers

Amber Lineback

Patrick Sheehan

Lou Solomon


Contact and ask about a b2bTRIBE special offer for on-camera courses scheduled for: • February 5/6 • March 5/6

• April 9/10 • May 7/8

• June 4/5

Interact Studio 210 1435 West Morehead Street • Charlotte, NC • 28208 704.374.0423 •

publisher’s note


to b2bTRIBE® magazine! Welcome to the second issue as we at b2bTRIBE share the realities of life for entrepreneurs and small business owners with 100 employees or fewer. It’s been exciting to grow our audience and base of supporters. It’s been even more exciting to get your feedback and comments and especially to hear the stories of new connections and re-connections made through this magazine. We are striving to make the magazine a valuable voice for the Charlotte small business and entrepreneurial community. I don’t accept the notion of balancing one’s work and personal lives. I see them as ONE life and choose to immerse deeply in it. Similarly, many business owners are so passionate about their businesses that they incorporate their work into every aspect of their lives in order to fuel sustainability, enjoyability, and profitability. They may go as far as going into business with their significant others. In this issue we are focusing on such copreneurs, as well as the comparison of business partnership to marriage. My husband of 28 years, Larry, is the creative director for SPARK Publications. He’s been part of the business behind the scenes since I launched it sixteen years ago. However, six years ago he came on board full-time. We’re a 24/7/365 couple. We’ve learned ways to create separation from office life and home life, although I’m guilty of blurring the lines often. Like most business owners, my brain is forever seeing opportunities, asking questions, and thinking of new directions. Larry keeps me grounded and lifted and always laughing. Sometimes I’m laughing through the tears. Business ownership is NOT for the faint of heart. Having my best friend, strongest supporter, and love of my life with me every step of the way is an unquestionable and empowering gift that I deeply treasure. Please send feedback and suggestions about this magazine to Thanks for letting us play. Come join the b2bTRIBE!

b2bTRIBE magazine v2 > Winter/Spring 2015 Fabi Preslar Publisher Melisa LaVergne Editor Larry Preslar Director of Creativity Merissa Jones Creative Goddess Genna Baugh Production Princess Sofi Preslar Production Assistant Christina Ainsworth Marketing Assistant Nicole Ayers, Proofreader Design and Production by SPARK Publications Advertise: or go to Provide feedback & suggestions: Submit story ideas: 2116 Crown Centre Drive, Suite 300 Charlotte, NC 28227 704.844.6080 / b2bTRIBE b2bTRIBE® is published semiannually by SPARK Publications and distributed in the Charlotte region. Subscribe online at subscribe. Acceptance of advertising does not mean or imply the service or product is endorsed or recommended by b2bTRIBE or SPARK Publications. POSTMASTER: Send corrections to b2bTRIBE, Address Change, 2116 Crown Centre Drive, Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28227. ©2015. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.


This manifesto was written by the publisher and is used diligently to develop each issue of b2bTRIBE magazine. If these words describe or inspire you, please sign up for your complimentary subscription to the magazine and encourage your business-owner colleagues to do the same. (Just because you have a copy of the magazine does not mean you’ve opted in to receive our email invitations to be in the magazine.) Visit to join the TRIBE!

manifesto b2bTRIBE

is a community of ENTREPRENEURS and SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS —supporting, uplifting, educating, and laughing with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. We work hard, build smart, and play harder. We’re CREATIVE and RESOURCEFUL.

We are

We are

Independents, Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated. We are multi-dimensional, MULTI-CULTURAL, multi-racial, multiethnic. We are straight, gay, married, single, divorced, widowed, wounded, and EMPOWERED. We’re a rainbow of PERSONALITIES peppered with type A and high D—and various degrees of ADD.

mostly unemployable, yet we know how to work for thirty bosses at once. WE ARE SERVERS to our clients, our staffs, our communities. We charge fairly and give genuinely. We laugh often and deeply. We are PASSIONATE.

We are introverts who have been transformed to functional extroverts; we are extroverts taking relationships to new heights. We are dreamers with goals. WE ARE POSITIVE AND ENERGETIC. We love technology, simplicity, complexity, and nature. We thrive to challenge the status quo; BREAKTHROUGHS and DISRUPTIONS are our norm. WE


We differ in practices and opinions; we are unique. We infuse our unique beliefs into our businesses, and our businesses are viable and profitable. WE ARE THE BACKBONES of our cities and our countries.

We are

united as a tribe. We are entrepreneurs and small business owners SERVING ONE ANOTHER and the community. We strive for and obtain EXCELLENCE.

© 2014 Fabi Preslar, Publisher, b2bTRIBE 5

contributors Since b2bTRIBE® magazine is still in start-up mode, I’m both the editor of the magazine and a significant contributor. I look forward to the day when I can focus on the editing. I did immensely enjoy writing the cover story for this issue, and while I’m not a business owner, I do hope my enthusiasm makes up for what I lack in experience. Fabi and I would like to thank the contributors who lent their talents for various portions of this issue. We’re also deeply appreciative of the advertisers who have supported the magazine thus far. We encourage all readers to wave the magazine about under the noses of marketers who want to reach small business owners and entrepreneurs! And please encourage your business owner and entrepreneurial friends to sign up. Signing up is free, and it’s how you get invited to be in the magazine! Much love and thanks for reading,


Nicole Ayers is the freelance editor behind Ayers Edits. While she’s held many jobs in her life, including stints as a server, camp counselor, telemarketer, print shop lackey, bartender, and teacher, editing is her favorite because she combines her love of reading with the fun of wordplay. When she’s not marking up manuscripts, she’s chasing the little people in her life, snuggling with her dog, or seeking new adventures with her husband. Sometimes you’ll even catch her at a yoga class. Visit her online at Tim Coffey has been a professional photographer for over fifteen years. He recently relocated his business to North Carolina from Connecticut to be closer to family. He specializes in commercial and editorial photography. View samples of his work online at Noelle De Atley has been involved in the performing arts all her life as a musician, actor, stagehand, stage manager, and producer. She’s also been involved with information technology for the past thirty years and employs her unique combination of creativity and

technology skills in her business, Creative Thinking Group, LLC. One of her proudest accomplishments was working with the Los Angeles City Council after the 1992 riots to help produce Celebrate L.A. at the Greek Theatre. Find her online at (Yes, that’s tinkers as in “to fiddle with.”) TJ Petrino and his wife, Rebekah, run Charlotte Photography. Their passion for capturing moments and creating beautiful images is what brought them together many years ago. Find them online at Sofi Preslar is the production assistant and occasional in-house photographer at SPARK Publications. Great hair and creativity run in her family. If she ever wins the lottery, she plans to bid adieu to Charlotte and spend her time following and photographing her favorite bands on tour around the world. She might send home some pictures if we’re really nice. To become a contributor and help other business owners shine, contact Melisa at

news briefs

Julie Bee, founder of BeeSmart Social Media, was a volunteer business coach to a team of West Virginia University college students in the 2014 WV Statewide Business Plan Competition. She plans to participate in the 2015 competition. Holly Bretschneider, president and founder of BoutiqueProfits. com, just launched her latest offering: Coffee & Coaching with Holly, a monthly group coaching call for business owners. Visit for details. Photographer Tim Coffey of Tim Coffey Photography has launched Carolina Works, a photo blog celebrating North Carolina business people and sharing their insights with the community. Check it out at northcarolinaworks. Coffey is also looking for interesting business people to feature. Contact him at to suggest someone for the blog. Charlotte Community Radio has secured a broadcasting home within SEEDS, 100 Gardens’ training center in NoDa. Movein day is set for January, and live shows begin streaming in February. Charlotte Community Radio is a non-profit, communityfocused, volunteer-run, Internetbased, community radio station. Chloe’s Playhouse, named the 2011 Best Dog Walker by Charlotte Magazine, offers dogwalking and pet-sitting services to Southwest Charlotte. The company is pet first aid certified, licensed, bonded, and insured, and is a member of Charlotte Area Professional Pet Sitters. ecomdash completed a new software integration for its multichannel inventory and order management tool. It is now fully integrated with Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Sears, as well as most of the popular ecommerce website platforms like Shopify, Magento, and Bigcommerce. Small- to medium-sized businesses


selling online can handle it all from one central dashboard. Get It Together is now offering workshops on credit and cash management. Details on upcoming workshops are available at Entrepreneur Brandon Uttley has started Go For Launch, a site to help others learn to start and grow a successful business. Uttley has started several companies, including the successful web design firm carbonhouse, where he served as president from 1999 to 2008.


you don’t toot your own horn, who will? b2bTRIBE will! Only subscribers to the magazine are invited to share their news briefs.

Get on it.

Insurance agent Sharon Nuttall, owner of Health Insurance Solutions since 1999, has completed certification to assist clients with the N.C. and S.C. health insurance marketplaces. She is recognized as an expert specializing in the individual health insurance market. Jack A Heil CPA CFF PFS now offers personal chief financial officer services to solo business owners, helping them to start, grow, and exit their business successfully. JAJ Nonprofit Resource recently expanded its services for nonprofit organizations. In addition to grant research and writing, communications, and fundraising, the agency now offers bookkeeping, payroll services, tax services, business planning and assessment, marketing, funding, fundraising strategy, and branding.

J.O.Y. Coaching has launched “Recharge Wednesdays,” a silent journey to the Well of Mercy in Harmony, N.C., (one hour from Charlotte). Participants have an opportunity to walk an amazing labyrinth and to experience the serene walking trails, energizing meditation time, and a delicious “peace” meal. Contact Geri Crooks at 704.622.6469 for details. Lain Consulting LLC was named the 2014 Minority Business Enterprise of the Year by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. And the CEO, LaPronda Spann, received the Charlotte Business Journal’s 2014 Women in Business Achievement Award and was also selected to Leadership Charlotte’s Class 36. Serial entrepreneur Karin Solomonson has launched mundo99 to help entrepreneurs (and others) expand their worlds by getting organized. If papers are your nemesis, learn a great filing system to get paperwork under control. Operation College Scholar has been accepted as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization by the IRS and may now begin accepting tax-deductible charitable donations to further its mission of guiding middle-class to lowerincome families through the college-to-career journey. Our Town America named the Charlotte Our Town franchise “2014 Franchisee Of The Year.” Jane McElhaney, the franchise owner, and her team added over one hundred new sponsors this year. Our Town helps new movers feel welcomed into their communities while sponsor businesses gain new, loyal, long-term customers. Possible Web now offers full marketing automation to make its inbound marketing solution truly “end-to-end.” Creating a revenue-generating online presence has always been the continued on page 14


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Southern Garden

any time of year, rain or shine! Southern Garden Events is a 2,500-square-foot indoor atrium with lush greenery, garden fountains, and chirping finches. It is easily accessible from uptown Charlotte, SouthPark, and Ballantyne, and offers ample parking for your guests. Whether your event is casual or formal, give it some Southern charm at Southern Garden Events.

9101 Monroe Rd., Suites 110 & 120, Charlotte, NC 28270 704.849.7646 corporate meetings & events | networking events | holiday parties | bridal & baby showers wedding rehearsal dinners & receptions | birthday & anniversary parties | other special events

Q What is your favorite afternoon pick-me-up?

“Juggling, literally. Taking a break to toss a few balls in the air helps me clear my mind and pump blood to my brain for my next creative idea, strategic shift, or next-level recommendation.”

– Sherre’ DeMao, SLD Unlimited Biz Growth Inc.,


“My favorite afternoon pick-meup is taking tae kwon do with my two daughters. My ‘low energy’ time is mid-afternoon, but it’s turned into my ‘high energy’ time! Two added bonuses besides the workout and the increase in energy are (1) I train with my two daughters and (2) it’s super fun to listen to people’s expressions when I say ‘Oh, I can’t meet then. I have tae kwon do!’”

– Tara Goodfellow, Athena Educational Consultants, Inc.,

“I am currently working on an art campaign called MFT31 (Middle Finger to 31). When I turned thirty-one two years ago, I started this campaign, and the goal was to paint a representation of each day of my life. I have continued this campaign not only to take a break from work but also to reflect my thoughts on the world around me.”

– Fred Sexton, Mouse and Man Digital Marketing,

 My favorite afternoon pick-me“ up is having a late lunch with my best friend and husband, taking the time to share our highs, lessons, and gratitude for the day. Usually there is a good laugh in there somewhere.”

– Geri Crooks, Brisbane Academy,

“I like to hike with my dog in the woods near my house whenever possible. The solitude of walking alone with Jinx (my lab) is always relaxing and gives me time for contemplation.”

– Tom Grogan, Vistage International,

“Arbonne fizzy sticks.”

– Mike Ferretti, PostNet Printing & Graphics,

“Nap! I get up every day at 5 a.m. and am on the run all day. If there is an opportunity for a nap, I’ll take that anytime. It can be only ten minutes. That energizes me and gets me going.”

– Chia-Li Chien, Value Growth Institute,

 A nap. Just twenty to thirty “ minutes around 2 p.m. makes a huge difference in my ability to ‘keep going.’ I’ve also found that a short nap improves my thinking and problem-solving ability. I almost feel like I have two days in one: the energy I have in the morning, and then the energy I have after my nap.”

– Deborah Bosley, The Plain Language Group,

 Getting outside for a run is my “ favorite afternoon pick-me-up. There is so much of my day I can not control. . . . I can control my run. The pace, the route, the sounds. While running I am strong, creative, and confident. Finishing a run is a taste of success—a taste that leaves me wanting more, and after a run I’m ready to go after it!”

– Suzanne Phillips, Charlotte Dog Runner,

 A cold, crisp apple and some “ iced coffee, and sometimes I like to watch movie trailers! Yes, odd. But being immersed in snippets of stories helps focus me when I’m creating an identity for a client. It’s important that messages be concise and give you a complete feel for the company. Being exposed to the three-minute world of movie trailers gets me in that mindset!”

– Camine Pappas, C and Company,

“Going for a walk or having lunch with a friend. One gets the blood going, and inevitably, my friends make me think!”

– Mel Miller, CLTC, Business Sorority, 11

“Snack-size Kit Kats! Just enough to get me through the rest of the day, but not too much that I’m bouncing off the walls!”

– Tony Proctor, Proctor & Associates Tax and Bookkeeping Service,

“Pinterest. I like to pop on and spend about ten minutes looking through all of the inspiring images on my feed. It offers a creativity pick-me-up and always motivates me to jump back into work for the day.”

– Heather Johnson, The Creative Stack,

“Some days I get home around 4 p.m. to beat rush hour. After throwing the ball with my eightyear-old son for twenty minutes, I’m ready to crank out another hour or two of creative work.”

– Andy Dinkin, CBC MECA,

“Break away from the desk and look at nature in my back yard. Gives me the perspective I need to continue.”

– Julie Jahn, JAJ Nonprofit Resource, LLC,

“I like to get out of my office and walk around the fulfillment facility. Usually around 3:30 p.m. there is a marked increase in activity as the race begins to pick, pack, and ship the latecoming orders before the carrier pickups. On good days you can almost feel the energy as the pace picks up. The chitchat is replaced by calls of encouragement, and a team of ten people work as one body to clear the last of the orders. The ability to watch hundreds of small packages be loaded onto a truck at the end of the day brings an easy sense of satisfaction that my years in a corporate environment simply could not provide. It’s quite easy to see what’s been done each day as something tangible, rather than a number on some line in a spreadsheet.”

– Steve Thomson, Sweetwater Logistics,


“Protein shake with strawberries and blueberries. It prevents the afternoon crash and gives me sustainable energy.”

– April Simpkins, HRS&S Consulting,

“I put it off as unnecessary for a long time, but now I can’t imagine my afternoon without my Keurig brew station. While I wouldn’t brew a pot of coffee in the afternoon for myself, I now can treat myself to hot tea or a cappuccino with little effort or clean up. Afternoon delight!”

– Eileen Schlesier, SleeveShirt Consulting,

“Getting out for a walk in the sunshine and fresh air always re-energizes, refreshes, and recenters me, while clearing the clutter from my brain.”

– Holly Bretschneider, Blue Sky Business Academy {rebranding from Boutique Profits}, continued on page 14

by Deborah Peterson

Properly managing cash flow can make or break many small business owners and solopreneurs. Unfortunately, most financial planners and accountants are accustomed to dealing with people who are flush with cash. They provide well-meaning advice about tax deductions, investing profits into retirement accounts, and using accrual accounting as a strategic planning tool. Many of them have also never started or owned a business and don’t realize that focusing too rigidly on the future can sometimes be a detriment to your present.

Before I embarked on my entrepreneurial adventures, I was in charge of trust banking operations and technology at a major bank in upstate New York. That position came with heavy responsibility for strategic planning. I found that having a

five-year strategic vision was nice, but planning out that far was a waste of time. Too much could change. So my strategic plans went out a year, and even in that shorter time frame, I kept them flexible.

Strategic Timelines Are Subjective

When I became a business owner, I began taking an even narrower view, especially when it came to cash flow. I realized that my optimum strategic planning window was six months. I would think ahead and determine the minimum amount of money I would need to pay expenses on the business and personal sides, and then make sure I kept enough cash accessible and in my control to cover my needs. That optimum

Keep your money accessible, and stay in control of the cash in your business. Your money needs to be where you need it when you need it. window may be slightly more or less for other small business and microbusiness owners depending on their revenue models. But from experience, I’ve found that six months is a good benchmark.

Disclosure: Money Counts, Inc. is an independent company with securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through Summit Financial Group, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.



Your Cash Should Be in Your Pocket

Deborah Peterson, president of Money Counts, Inc.

I now provide financial planning advice to individuals and to entrepreneurs and small business owners with twenty employees or fewer, a niche with unique needs and challenges. I’ve already hinted at the most important advice I give to my clients, but I’ll say it clearly and repeat often: keep your money accessible, and stay in control of the cash in your business. Your money needs to be where you need it when you need it. What do you have to change to make that work? Come see me. I’ll help you clarify your priorities, put together a plan that works for your unique circumstances, and keep an eye on your progress while you focus on your work. 704.315.5623 11121 Carmel Commons Blvd., Suite 400 Charlotte, NC 28226 13

continued from page 12

“I love time in nature. It feeds me in such a deep place. So whether on a walk or by a window, I am happy with a tree!”

– Adeola Fearon, MyOla Creations,

“My fav afternoon pick-me-up is a dirty chai tea latté! That shot of espresso keeps me going for the rest of the afternoon into the evening!”

– Shawna Baker, Xtend Barre Charlotte,

“A walk in the woods. No matter what, it clears my head. The trees remind me that my only job, really, is to BE and grow in the way I’m naturally attuned to grow. Magically, in that more open, grounded state, ideas and solutions just flow without me even trying.”

Laura Neff, Life Leadership Coaching,

continued from page 8

company’s focus, and new features and systems make that ROI easier to realize and measure. Mike Ferretti of PostNet Printing & Graphics has expanded his franchise centers to four locations, a first in PostNet franchise history. Mouse and Man now offers a comprehensive web evaluation for your company, which will provide a deep insight of your current Internet presence beyond aesthetics. The website evaluation looks beyond the visual components to evaluate content, indexing, and linking. You’ll learn your website’s strengths and weaknesses from Mouse and Man’s recommendations and guidelines. “Child Care Decision: Three Things to Look For” is now available for free at pickyparents.


net. Picky Parents helps working parents make decisions about childcare and preschool. Sandy Carlson, senior financial advisor and chief compliance officer at Charlotte’s Rinehart Wealth Management, recently added certified divorce financial analystTM credentials to her list of accomplishments. Carlson is also a certified financial planner and certified public accountant. San Marco Coffee, Inc., has introduced Fresh Cups for your single serve coffee brewer. Fresh roasted and made to order, more than 290 flavors are available in regular and decaffeinated along with exclusive gourmet coffee blends. Visit sanmarcocoffee. com for more information. Steve Babcock, owner of Soft Wash Wizard, was featured on the fall 2014 brochure cover

“Zumba is my afternoon pick me up. I have learned there is nothing a little soca, salsa, or reggaeton cannot resolve. I stalk local gyms online for drop-in Zumba all over Charlotte. Outside or inside. At a gym or even in my own living room if I can’t find a class. Something about enjoying dancing while working out helps release so much stress and reenergizes your body all over.”

– Ulunda Baker, UBsmart, Inc.,

“Great music and a quick dance! Picks me right up!”

– Lillie Marshall, New Possibilities Coaching,

“Working from a home office, a doggie break always helps, just stopping what I’m doing and spending a little time with Ginger, my bichon, is a great pick me up.”

– Ralph Jannelli, Custom Advertising Products,

for Rowan Community College’s Small Business Center. Sounds Like Joe now provides custom music production, sound design, and audio services to media producers and businesses. It specializes in making stories and marketing come to life through music and sound. SPARK Publications invites business owners to attend “How Do I Get My Book Started and Custom-Published?” To register go to Xtend Barre Charlotte has launched a VIX (Very Important Xtender) Membership program. The franchise network liked the name so well, several other studios have started using it! It’s a threemonth membership that includes discounts on retail, ability to freeze packages, free classes for friends, and exclusive membership classes.

by Chia-Li Chien

Have you ever noticed how in business, as in life, everything can become routine? The day-in and day-out pursuit of growth and profitability can make you feel like you’re a Moses, wandering in the wilderness, looking for the Promised Land.

Ways Out of the Wilderness

But in actuality, there are things to look forward to and work toward, with end results that will be rewarding as well as profitable. So let’s explore three types of succession planning, and stop this pointless wandering. Employee succession often begins with the formation of a key management team in which a business can operate and function with or without the owner or founder. Employee succession usually can occur 1) when there is an internally identified successor promoted to CEO or 2) when a successor is an outside replacement of the CEO. In a study entitled “Will Succession Planning Increase Shareholder Wealth? Evidence from Investor Reactions to Relay CEO Successions” published in the February 2003 edition of the Strategic Management Journal, Wei Shen and Albert Cannella Jr. recommended that the board closely monitor the succession planning process. Customer-driven succession is based on the sustainability of product innovation, relationships, and image built around the founder or owner’s vision.

When Steve Jobs passed away, it took Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, a few years to restore the confidence of the board as well as consumers. Leadership, by keeping a focus on innovation, relationships, and image, can ensure a smooth transition with and for a new leader. Investor succession is basically any internal or external transfer. The owner’s investment, to put it simply, changes hands with another investor.



How a Succession Plan Can Lead You to the Promised Land

Chia-Li Chien, succession strategist at Value Growth Institute

board to monitor the succession plan implementation early, as well as have a founder/owner stay on as a consultant for a period of time.

The Promised Land

Your overall succession strategy and planning may take several years, so remain agile and flexible, ready to accommodate changes when they arise. There are several equity value drivers, or strategies, that a founder, owner, or investor will look for prior, during, and post-succession. The most used strategy is to increase operating efficiency or increase operating income (EBIT). Another method is to increase sales. In “Firm Buyouts, Private Equity, and Strategic Change,” an article in the spring 2009 Journal of Private Equity, Louise Scholes and her coauthors says it’s a good idea to install a non-executive director on the

Your overall succession strategy and planning may take several years (hopefully not forty), so remain agile and flexible, ready to accommodate changes when they arise. The good news is that you’re not alone. My firm can help you determine the right succession strategy for sustainability of your team, customers and investors, implementing and monitoring your return on investment along the way. After all, don’t you think you deserve to enjoy the “promised land”? 704.268.9378 10130 Mallard Creek Rd., Suite 300 Charlotte, NC 28262 15




To Improve Your

B2B Email Marketing

Effectiveness By Adam Holden-Bache

Having a goal seems like a no-brainer, but many email campaigns fall short when it comes to having purpose. Your emails must be focused on achieving your business goal. And the goal should be obvious to you and your recipients. Remember: without a goal you can’t achieve success.


How many times have you opened an email that interested you but found it was unclear what you should do? There was no obvious link or call to action. And if you managed to find a link and click-through, the website was a dead end. Avoid this scenario as much as possible by being direct about what you want readers to do. Draw their attention to the clickable content, and make sure that after they click, your landing page or website offers a clear path to conversion.




Put your offer AND call-to-action above the fold.

Have a goal (and make it obvious).

Provide a clear path to conversion.

When using email to market your business to another business, it’s natural to want to develop campaigns that showcase the professional side of your organization. The challenge for most B2B marketers is to appear professional while creating messaging that engages and promotes an actionable response by their target audiences. Here are a few tips that should help you to generate more opens, clicks, and conversions on your next B2B email campaign.

Most email recipients only see the top part of the email in their inboxes, especially users on mobile devices. If you have a lot of content, make sure you state your offer and provide a call-to-action at the top of the email message. In many cases it’s best to place your offer and call-to-action (CTA) at the top of the email, and then below that provide supporting content. At the bottom of the email, re-state your offer and CTA. With both placements, recipients who have read through the email can take action by clicking the bottom links, while those who were immediately interested can click through using the links at the top.


Make your email scannable.

Email recipients seldom read every word in an email from top to bottom. Eighty percent of readers scan emails for content that catches their attention. Prepare your email so that key messages stand out. Break apart your copy. Use headers and subheaders. Use bold copy, bullets, and lists. Add color or create whitespace to lead the reader’s eye to your most important content.

Use a preheader.

A preheader is a short text summary that displays after the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox. It is taken from the first lines of copy found in the email. Many mobile, desktop, and web email clients provide preheaders, so recipients get a glimpse of what the email contains before they open it. Because most senders do not add a preheader, what typically displays is “view this email as a web page” or a similar message. Marketers that include an interesting preheader will provide another reason for recipients to open their emails.


Plan for a mobile audience.

Did you know that over 50 percent of your emails are probably read on a mobile device? A 35-40 percent open rate on smartphones and tablets is now commonplace. Make your emails mobile friendly by minimizing content, using links and large buttons with plenty of padding (so they are touch-friendly on small screens), and using responsive email templates that dynamically adjust to the size of their viewing environment.

Always be collecting data (the ABCD rule).


Business transactions are made by people, and relationships matter in business. A relationship can trump price or features when a buyer is making a purchasing decision. Even in B2B emails, you should show that a person is behind your messages. Try using a person’s name instead of your business name as the sender. Add a personal greeting. Add a personal photo. Write the email like you’d speak in person. Be clear, helpful, and concise. Be human.


Your email marketing efforts are only as good as your list, and a larger list will give you more opportunities for success. Up to one-third of your email list will go bad every year due to changed or expired addresses, so always collect opt-in data whenever and wherever you can. Place email opt-in forms in multiple locations on your website, at offline and online events, at trade shows, at point of sale, on social channels, and anywhere else appropriate. Request data wherever you can in order to grow a quality list.


Show you’re human.

Analyze your results.

An email campaign doesn’t end when you hit the send button. Reviewing campaign performance is a must for any serious B2B marketer. Good marketers will evaluate campaign performance, understand how it performed against business goals, and use what they’ve learned from campaign analytics to improve their future marketing efforts.

What makes’m an expert:

Test, test, and test again.

What? You’re not testing? Well, it turns out not many B2B marketers are. So on your next campaign test something. Anything. Try two different subject lines or two different offers. Try a different layout, or test personalization. And remember that the point of testing is to increase performance to help you achieve your business goal.

Adam Q. Holden-Bache Mass Transmit Adam Q. Holden-Bache is CEO and managing director of Mass Transmit, a B2B email marketing agency. Mass Transmit provides email marketing tools, services, and expertise. Adam’s forthcoming book, How To Win At B2B Email Marketing: A Guide To Achieving Success, will be available in early 2015. Visit to pre-order, view a sample chapter, and opt-in for email updates. All pre-orders will receive a signed copy of the book. 17


also do:

Business owners who are signed up and subscribed to b2bTRIBE receive an invitation to share their expertise in the magazine. No sales pitches are allowed, but you know where to find them if you want to know more.

bits of wisdom from the tribe

Write Clearly and Simply By Deborah Bosley

Every single piece of written information that comes from your company either improves your image or distracts from it. To keep your brand fresh and relevant, be sure all your written information is easy for people to understand and use. That means eliminating jargon, making action easy to find, editing out extra words, and being helpful and friendly. Nothing is more frustrating than having your potential customers not understand the information you’re sharing with them. Easy-to-read and easy-to-use information increases trust, improves the bottom line, decreases call-ins, and generates new customers. Deborah Bosley is owner and principal of The Plain Language Group. Learn more at

Business Insurance 101

The Remote Workforce

Below is a coverage decoder when you purchase insurance for your business. Property Coverage: Protects your owned buildings, business property, and inventory. General Liability: Protects against liability claims for bodily injury and property damage arising out of your premises, operations, products, and completed operations; and advertising/personal injury liability. Auto: Protects against liability and property damage claims arising out of the use of your vehicles. Coverage can be purchased against damage to the insured’s own vehicle. Workers Compensation: Protects your employee (or the employee’s family) due to a job-related injury (including death) resulting from an accident or occupational disease. It is required in N.C. when you have three or more employees. Cyber Liability: Protects against a variety of both liability and property losses that may result when your business engages in various electronic activities on or through the Internet.

Many organizations utilize this business strategy for a number of reasons including saving money on office space and offering work/life balance. There are, however, some very critical points to consider with this business model. How will you provide tech support if the employee’s computer malfunctions? Remote workers are still covered by worker’s compensation policies. How will you address safety and injuries? To what lengths will the company go to safeguard confidential information? How does this impact paid time off? There are a myriad of issues to think through when establishing a work-from-home model that is fair to both the organization and the employee. Those issues include managing performance, establishing trust, and setting clear expectations of work time and work load. The success of this model depends on expectations and guidelines that are transparent.

By Edward Tillman

Learn more about Edward Tillman of The Tillman Agency at 18

By April Simpkins

Learn more about April Simpkins of HRS&S Consulting at

Buff up Your Networking Skills

Find an Accountability Partner

Connect Others. Do you know a business that needs a position filled? Also know someone looking for extra work? Connect the two! The company will have the help it needs, the individual will have the work he or she wants, and you’ll be known as a valuable networking resource. Follow Up. Let the people you connect with know that you value meeting them. Send a follow-up email to let the other person know you appreciate his or her time. Treat Connections Like People. It’s great when you find someone whose knowledge can give your business an edge, but remember to acknowledge business contacts as people rather than assets. Provide contacts with assistance when needed. It’s a chance to prove you are a reliable connection and that you care about businesses other than your own.

My neighbor has a career in a similar field, and we meet once a month to check in. If not for our monthly meetings, my business would still be an idea. Every month I choose a couple of items that I need to complete—website update, digital portfolio creation, new headshot—and I tell C. She often has great suggestions for how I can accomplish my tasks. The next month I report back on my progress. Being your own boss is tough, especially when the tasks are hard, boring, or time-consuming. I’m much more motivated when I know that I have to “report” back to my partner. And at those meetings where nothing has gone right, she lets me wallow and then kicks my hiney into shape. Having an accountability partner is one of the best business decisions I ever made.

By Asaad Malak

By Nicole Ayers

Asaad Malak is the owner of Malak Jewelers. Learn more at

Learn more about Nicole Ayers of Ayers Edits at

The Marcom Resource for Corporate Marketers Sales and marketing professionals, from startups to $billion corporations, have relied on us to deliver professional marcom services for more than 30 years—and without retainers or contracts. If your job involves marketing to other businesses, and you find yourself running short of the time, talent, insight, experience, or just plain wherewithal it takes to get ©2014 SELMARQ

it done right, we may have just what you need. See for yourself at 704-365-1455 • 19 B2BtribeAd.indd 1

5/28/14 2:29 PM

Tend Your Bridges

Scale your Sales Efforts

Everyone is a potential client or at least knows one. Take care of these relationships—or bridges—that might lead to new business. You might get referrals from babysitters, supermarket cashiers, hairdressers, wait staff at restaurants, and people in your Zumba class! Even if someone chooses not to hire you, always answer any questions and make sure they know that you’re always happy to take their calls. Sometimes people who don’t hire you may still recommend you to their friends and colleagues for whom you’re a better fit. It pays to be pleasant and helpful!

Feeling like there’s not enough time in the day to do sales for your business? Consider the following ideas to scale your sales efforts. Save time by using a CRM to track conversations with prospects and clients, making them easier and faster to retrieve. Checkout Sidekick (, a free app from HubSpot. It alerts you when emails are opened and read so you can time your calls when you’re already top of mind. Virtualize your sales process: add content to your website that addresses common sales questions or objections; add sales offers to your website that provide value to prospective customers; and create standard email replies with links to blog articles. Prioritize your day by establishing your sales funnel and knowing where each prospect is in the sales process.

By Lee Bierer

Lee Bierer is the president of College Admission Strategies. Learn more at

Profit-Size to Optimize Income By Sherre’ L. DeMao

Too many business owners stop at their P&Ls to assess profitability. Real aha moments happen when you look beyond. Profit-size your offerings. Look beyond which products or services gain you profit by margin or volume in sale. Also prioritize each offering based on least labor intensive; most distinctive; internal expertise and competency; ease in delivery/ turnaround; adaptable and scalable; internal efficiencies within operations; compliments additional income streams; and growing market demand. Profit-size your market segments. Knowing which types of customers are more profitable will help you promote offerings more effectively. Compare different segments based on most profitable services used; least saturated by competition; least labor intensive to serve; seeks multiple offerings/capabilities; values service/support; high likelihood of repeat or referrals; growing sector; and attracted to core competency and expertise. Sherre’ L. DeMao is the CEO and strategy maestro of SLD Unlimited Biz Growth Inc. Learn more at 20

By William McKee

William McKee is a founding partner of Knowmad, a digital inbound marketing agency. Learn more at

Do More of What You Want By Ellen Yale

If you turn down business that does not fit your idea of fun, you will make space for people you really want to work with and work you truly want to do. The trick is to listen to your gut to figure out exactly what is the right fit for you. Think about what makes you lose track of time. If you think, “Wow! I can’t believe I get to do this today,” then you are on to something. Do the work that makes you shine. Do the work that gives you energy instead of sucking the lifeblood out of you. And trust yourself. When you are in your zone of genius, you will attract the people and the work that make your heart sing. Learn more about Ellen Yale at

FIDO Improving Your Bottom Line By Suzanne Phillips

Want to increase your productivity and improve your health? Get a dog! Dogs in the workplace prompt breaks, which optimizes productivity. Dog owners get more exercise than non-dog owners. Owning a dog has been linked to lower blood pressure, better heart health, and even stronger bones. Interacting with dogs lowers the production of cortisol and increases the production of serotonin. This lowers stress levels preventing the negative effects of chronic stress, which include cognitive impairment, lowered immunity, and blood sugar imbalances. Dogs are a common bond to help start conversations and create relationships. Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression. The responsibility of caring for a dog makes owners feel needed. A dog just may be the furry Rx you need for success. Learn more about Suzanne Phillips of Charlotte Dog Runner at

FIVE Senses of Brand Building By Camine Pappas

 ou walk into the lobby and everything looks great, but Y there’s just something off. The scent of a very overly-sweet candle makes your eyes water. After reaching the front entrance to a new boutique, you find that the door sticks. Hmmm. It looks great on the outside, but if the door is warped, what else is wrong? You’d order dessert, except the air conditioning is making you shiver. Gone! These examples represent the unvoiced complaints common among those who decide NOT to buy and illustrate how the overlooked area of “sensory balance” can sabotage your brand. Gathering information about your product is not only visual, it is also deeply emotional. All five senses work together to help you to either stand out or disappear. Mastering the art of sensory branding is sure to help you leverage your success! Learn more about Camine Pappas of C and Company at

Great App for Staying Organized

By Karin Solomonson Download Errands To-Do List by Yoctoville from your mobile app store. As the name suggests, it’s a simple way to keep track of those errands you have to run, so you can have shopping lists and plan the most efficient way to get it all done. I started using this app for keeping track of to-dos that I usually had on a sticky note, but now I use it for so much more. You can create multiple task categories like “to call,” “financial,” “home,” “work,” “discuss with hubby,” and “discuss with kiddos.” If you think about it, a lot of your “to-dos” actually need different things done before the task is really completed. By changing categories, you can manage all of your to-dos without constantly re-creating a list. Learn more about Karin Solomonson of mundo99 at

Prepare to Recruit By Deanna Arnold

Recruiting a new employee can be a daunting and time-consuming task for a small business, but it is one of the most crucial. Here are a few tips to ease the pain and help save time and money. Do a little prep work in the beginning and have a written job description so that you, and the candidate, know what the responsibilities are. Create a list of interview questions that are designed to solicit the information you need. Use the same questions for each candidate. Use your current employees as a source of referrals and offer them an incentive for referrals. Use your network and social media sites to target the right candidate. The day of big job board postings are gone. Don’t wait until you need to hire someone to start looking for someone. Start with a plan, use your resources, and be prepared! Learn more about Deanna Arnold of Employers Advantage LLC at 21

Prioritize Your Digital Marketing By Dawn Kole

Business-to-business digital marketing has historically been a bit slower in adopting all things Internet. However, a new sense of urgency is taking hold. What should the priorities be for a comprehensive business-to-business digital marketing plan? Get your message out there on: Google, Yahoo, Bing Industry-specific trade organizations Industry-specific educational organizations and schools Any site that publishes content that attracts your customers Bloggers, conference sites, certification sites, community sites, directories Your best customers’ sites Your best business partners’ sites Your best vendors’ sites Business ranking sites, e.g., BBB, Forbes, etc. Award sites Don’t get complacent—the digital world is constantly changing. A good review every six months by an outside consultant will keep you focused on the right things at the right time. Follow this and you will be well on your way to mastering your digital presence— and beating your competition. Learn more about Dawn Kole of Digital DNA Marketing at

Google Your Business By Heather Johnson

Google your business. Make sure your business listings are all up to date with the correct information. Think about how much business you could be losing out on with a wrong contact number out there! Heather Johnson is the founder of The Creative Stack. Learn more at


Get Your Email In the Cloud

By Kevin Caldwell Lots of people are still using old email protocols (anything with a POP3 protocol) where things are not syncing up between their devices. With cloudbased services, mail, calendar, and contacts all sync up beautifully. When you modify it on one device, the changes show up on another. It helps so much in day-to-day productivity. Consider converting to a cloud-based system like Microsoft 365 or Google Business Apps. Learn more about Kevin Caldwell of RU Seeing Red Tech Solutions, your anger-free tech provider, at

Create a Solid Social Media Presence By Julie Bee

Many small business owners are overwhelmed by social media marketing. With the few actions listed below, they can create a solid social media presence for their companies. Use the 90/10 rule. Promote your company only 10 percent of the time on social media. The other 90 percent should be fun, interesting, and relevant to your audience. Blog. Content marketing continues to make headlines because it works. Start by writing one blog post per month, and then try one per week. Do this consistently, and you will see an increase in website traffic. Engage your existing clients. Businesses often focus on gaining NEW clients from social media, but what about your existing clients? Pay them some attention on social networks, and you’ll forge even stronger relationships with the companies that already do business with you. Julie Bee is the founder of BeeSmart Social Media. Learn more at

Before Terminating an Employee

Strong You = Resilient Business

Review your employee handbook to ensure that you’ve adhered to any progressive discipline or termination procedures previously disclosed. Review the employee’s file to ensure that you’ve documented infractions over the course of employment. Understand the limits on at-will employment. While employees can generally be fired for any reason or for no reason, they cannot be fired for certain retaliatory or discriminatory reasons. Consider whether a severance package should be offered to either reward an otherwise exemplary employee or to manage litigation exposure. Have a plan for the termination “meeting.” It can take place in person, in writing, or by phone. Find the appropriate balance of answering the employee’s questions but not talking yourself into litigation.

Your business is only as strong as you are resilient. Try these stress elimination strategies. Mentor a young entrepreneur. The focus you put toward helping an emerging entrepreneur will not only bring you good karma, but will also remind you what made starting your own business so worthwhile. When you look to inspire others, you can recapture your own inspiration. Identify your theme song. Find a song that means something to you and resonates with your goals. Start off each day playing your song loud and proud. If you feel the need to break into dance, we won’t tell anyone. Know when it’s time for a break. Time away can give you new perspective, time for recharging, and in extreme cases, time to fall back in love with why you started your business in the first place.

By Rhonda L. Patterson, Esq.

Rhonda L. Patterson is the managing attorney at The Patterson Law Office, PLLC. Learn more at

Membership comes with monthly meetings and tons of great benefits.

The Charlotte Business Owners group is a forward thinking group for business owners. The CBO members come together, network with other business owners and learn through helpful presentations. We meet once a month for our business meeting and at times we schedule evening networking events.

By Eileen Schlesier

Learn more about Eileen Schlesier of SleeveShirt Consulting at

You are cordially invited to the join the Charlotte Business Owners group!

Annual Membership is only $125. EACH MEETING INCLUDES: • 45 minutes of person to person networking. • 20 second elevator speech for each group member at each meeting. • Two presenters sharing ways to build your business (no sales stuff)! • Food and drink provided. • Fish bowl drawings with great prizes.

For more info call (704) 840-4137 or email at 23




ABy Marriage Melisa LaVergne of Minds 24


In his best-selling book Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, Harville Hendrix says that when we seek mates we subconsciously select people who, for better or worse, possess traits similar to our early caregivers or we do things that prompt or promote those traits. So for example, let’s say Billy had a mother who was verbally abusive. Billy will either

subconsciously seek a partner who is verbally abusive or will consciously seek one who is not and then subconsciously prompt her to become verbally abusive. And when she does finally burst, he gets a weird, subconscious satisfaction that this is how the world and love are supposed

Having an equal other with whom to discuss ideas, vet decisions, and share in both triumphs and failures is a powerful comfort. to be. Eventually, Billy and his partner will split up, and the cycle will repeat. Hendrix calls this an “unconscious partnership” and goes on to advocate for

Rise Up Consulting

friends or acquaintances coming together and realizing they could be so much more; laughter and wine and a crazy idea that becomes a sober discussion. It sounds like romance, but this tale is serious business. “Copreneurs” (couple + entrepreneurs) refers to married or otherwise romantically involved people who are running a business together. (The term hasn’t found its way into the English dictionary yet, but the Internet has adopted it anyway. It’s just a matter of time before Merriam-Webster catches up.) But many business professionals who run businesses together liken the professional relationship to a marriage with all the same emotional commitment and legal entanglements. So perhaps all business partners are copreneurs. For the sake of the next few pages, let’s borrow that notion while we examine the ups and downs of the intimate, emotional journey of running a business with a partner.

“The Newlyweds” While Rise Up Consulting is in its infancy, its founders share a wealth of experience from which to draw. Alex Ruby holds a juris doctorate from Pepperdine University and worked in the legal field for more than thirteen years before becoming a real estate broker. Robin Blair worked for Aramark for thirteen years, first as a food service director and then in risk management, before launching her own pet-care business. Michael Aldea has had several careers, including teaching, engineering, marketing, and CRM management. He holds an MBA from the Citadel.




Go For Launch

The tale so often begins with the thrill: eye contact over coffee and the realization that two minds can occupy the same thought at the same time;

“The Bachelor” Go For Launch is Brandon Uttley’s fifth startup business. He’s going solo this time as he offers his personal insights on what it takes to launch a business. Prior to life as an entrepreneur, Uttley worked in the public relations field and served at several of the area’s most-respected firms. He holds the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation from the Public Relations Society of America and served as president of the Charlotte chapter in 2009. 25

and describe how to achieve a “conscious partnership.” His method involves a whole lot of self-examination (know thyself!), learning a new way to communicate, and then learning about one’s partner. The early phases of a business partnership begin similarly with either a conscious or subconscious attraction to some trait the other person possesses. It could be skills, knowledge, capital, or experience one feels is needed to help the business succeed, or it could be a set of beliefs, values, or behaviors that just feel right, or some magical combination of things. And having an equal other with whom to discuss ideas, vet decisions, and share in both triumphs and failures is a powerful comfort. Alex Ruby, Robin Blair, and Michael Aldea recently partnered to launch Rise Up Consulting to help other business owners start and grow their businesses. Their diverse backgrounds and skill sets make for a well-rounded team, which they say is the most important factor in their decision to partner, but they talk more about the intangible benefits of their partnership. “Whenever we all got together and started talking about the business, it was just so engaging and energetic we kept coming up with bigger ideas. The puzzle pieces just fit. We have similar ethics and attitudes, and our priorities line up very well.” Brandon Uttley is a serial entrepreneur who recently started his fifth business, Go For Launch. Through a blog, an email newsletter, an e-book, and soon online courses, the company shares Uttley’s insights on starting 26

that goes away, and you have to roll up your sleeves and muscle forward with the business. If you’re not both in alignment and in it for the right reasons or mutual reasons, then there can be problems.” Ruby, Blair, and Aldea seem to be a newlywed trio in full alignment and open communication with each other. They have a solid partnership agreement in place and have a clear understanding of each others’ personalities and motivations. It just may be a happily ever after.

“Whenever we all got together and started talking about the business, it was just so engaging and energetic we kept coming up Marriage with bigger ideas. Setting aside the spiritual aspects, functions in our The puzzle pieces just society asmarriage a legal contract with both fit. We have similar stated and implied obligations. Stated obligations might include ethics and attitudes, not committing adultery, which is mentioned in traditional and our priorities marriage vows and is against the law in twenty-one states. Implied line up very well.” obligations might include not

a successful business. He shares sobering advice for “newlywed” business partners: “There are lots of benefits to having a partner. You have somebody who can help make decisions, balance your decisions, and effectively double the work output. And in the early days, there’s a honeymoon phase, just like with a marriage. After a while,

radically altering one’s personality six months after marriage or not spending every dime in the joint bank account on a trip to Vegas with college buddies. Smart couples spend time before marriage talking through all their expectations, some even going so far as having premarital counseling with a minister or psychologist or meeting with an attorney to create a prenuptial agreement. Business partners should be no less thorough in talking through their expectations and obligations with an attorney and a certified public accountant to develop a partnership agreement. But even the most rock-solid prenup can fall apart if something goes horribly wrong with the marriage. Harvey

Here Comes Billy With a Baby Carriage

“It really starts with the concept that a business is a living, breathing entity,” says Smith. “In a partnership, there are really three people in that relationship: the two partners and the business. The euphemism that the partnership is a marriage extends further—the business itself is the baby in that

“It really starts with the concept that a business is a living, breathing entity. In a partnership, there are really three people in that relationship: the two partners and the business.”

Carolina Business Coach

relationship. When we look at it through that lens, it becomes not just a transaction but rather an experience between individuals.” Sleepness nights and bleary eyes are rights of passage for all new parents. But after the initial shock and sluggishness wears off, a system emerges. Mom is best at soft bedtime songs, while Dad does funny voices and rough snuggles that rouse sleepyheads from their beds. Mom is the fair but firm disciplinarian, while Dad handles the world’s most perfect grilled cheese sandwich. (Insert your own gender-neutral examples however you like.) For business partners, the division of labor is a crucial aspect of maintaining boundaries. Bryan Meredith and Sue Johnston (a married couple celebrating their eighth anniversary in July) teamed up with Craig Utt to open Queen City Q three years ago. The trio forms a solid business unit and has never had a disagreement.

“The Premarital Counselor” Harvey Smith of Carolina Business Coach has had a few careers over the years—first as a schoolteacher, then in sales and marketing for the textile industry, and finally as a business, sales, and career coach. He is certified as a business coach through the International Coach Federation and UNC Charlotte’s coaching certification program. He is also certified as a behavior analyst, values analyst, and career management coach.

“The Old Married Couple” Queen City Q

Smith of Carolina Business Coach says there are different types of partnership agreements, but unfortunately most of them only cover such things as rights, roles, responsibilities, compensation, conflict of interest clauses, and contingencies if something happens to one of the partners or if one of them wishes to leave the partnership. Smith’s method does not differ vastly (at least on the surface) from the work Hendrix does with married and engaged couples. Smith begins with assessments that help his clients gain a better understanding of their own preferences and behaviors, what he calls “how they show up in the world,” and then their business partners’ preferences. Then he teaches his clients how to communicate effectively with one another, a skill set that includes proactive listening and paraphrasing information back in addition to sharing one’s own thoughts and opinions. Smith emphasizes the dual responsibility we each have to (1) understand the person on the other side of the table and what it takes to be successful with him and (2) help him understand how to be successful with us.

The actually married couple of Bryan Meredith and Sue Johnston teamed up with Craig Utt to open Queen City Q in 2012. Meredith comes from a technopreneur Meredith (technology entrepreneur) background. After shutting down his previous business, he and Johnston were discussing what to do Johnston next. Johnston wanted to open a small sandwich shop. Meanwhile, Meredith and Utt met via Twitter and regularly played basketball together. One day Utt Meredith asked Utt if he knew of any restaurants that might be ripe for buying. Their discussions evolved into Queen City Q, which was named the best BBQ joint in town by Charlotte Magazine. 27

Utt says, “We all play to our strengths and don’t try to do each other’s stuff.” Utt, who has been in the restaurant marketing business for eighteen years, handles the marketing of course. Meredith has owned and operated several businesses over the years and manages operations and technology for the restaurant. Johnston is the detail-oriented member of the team and makes sure the look, feel, and experience in the restaurant is always up to her standards.

b2bTRIBE and its contributing writers talked to a host of other business partners (as you’ll see in the TRIBE section), and the division of labor came up consistently as key to a successful partnership. It’s a matter of respecting the other’s strengths and trusting them to fulfill their side of the bargain. Single parents have a tough job, and though many of them carry the full weight of the burden heroically, having two strong

A “-Preneur” Glossary

The use of plain old “entrepreneur” as an allencompassing term for adventurous business owners is so last century. Why accept existing, mostly functional words when we can invent new ones? So comes the parade of alternate “-preneur” words that, frankly, save characters for denizens of the Internet. If you have more -preneur words to share, post them as comments at www.b2btribe. com/preneur-glossary. artpreneur: a visual artist (painter or sculptor) who is also an entrepreneur handling the business side of marketing and selling his or her own work. authorpreneur: a writer who is also an entrepreneur handling the business side of marketing and selling his or her own work. coentrepreneur: joint venturer (French).1 copreneur: an entrepreneur in a business partnership with his or her spouse, domestic partner, or significant other. edupreneur: a person within the public schools who takes hands-on responsibility in creating and developing a program, product, service, and/ or technology for the enhancement of learning consistent with the stated goals of and supported

parents gives such fortunate children a head start in life.


“It’s not personal; it’s just business,” is probably the stupidest thing anyone ever said, at least in

by that organization;2 an entrepreneur who operates a business that addresses educational issues. enviropreneurTM: term trademarked by the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, Montana, referring to entreprenuers who “enhance environmental assets.” greenpreneur: an un-trademarked alternative to enviropreneurTM. intrapreneur: a corporate executive who develops new enterprises within the corporation: first known use,1978.3 micropreneur: an entrepreneur who operates a very small business typically with five or fewer employees. musicpreneur: an independent, polymath musician who takes care of both the artistic and entrepreneurial aspect of his or her music career.4 solopreneur: an entrepreneur who operates a small business with no employees, sometimes in addition to holding a full-time job in a separate field. socialpreneur: a social entrepreneur; one who creates a business to remedy some of society’s problems while still making a profit; a socially conscious individual who generates social value from his or her efforts.4 technopreneur: an entrepreneur involved with high technology; first known use, 1987.3

1. Source: 2. Source: Donald E. Leisey and Charles Lavaroni, The Educational Entrepreneur: Making a Difference (San Rafael, California: Edupreneur Press, 2001). 3. Source: These have actually made it into the dictionary! 4. Source: A listing on Urban Dictionary doesn’t really qualify as making it into the dictionary, but it’s a step up from random Internet references.


this writer’s opinion. We spend most of our waking lives in our workplaces. Business is personal and can be deeply emotional. And sometimes business goes badly. Partners may disagree on the direction the company should take. Personal conflicts may be left to boil and fester until something radical must be done. One of the partners may be unable to fulfill his or her agreements for some reason. Or the business may fail. Whatever the reason, sometimes a divorce becomes necessary. A local entrepreneur who asked to remain anonymous said that business relationships are human relationships. If the business relationship isn’t working out, you don’t have to stay in it. You can break up. But be an adult—have a conversation before it gets really

“You have to pick your partners well. You have to know what it’s like to have a conversation with them before you put that dotted line out there for everyone to sign. If you pick them right to start with, then you’re generally going to be okay.”

bad, so you can move on in a productive manner. Bringing it back around to a more positive note (because no one wants to end with divorce), Meredith emphasizes the importance of choosing a partner well to mitigate negative issues down the road: “You have to know what it’s like to have a conversation with them before you put that dotted line out there for everyone to sign. If you pick them right to start with, then you’re generally going to be okay.” Melisa LaVergne is the resident word nerd at SPARK Publications, a design firm and publisher of b2bTRIBE. She marries the most amazing man on earth in May 2015, after which she will be Melisa Graham. Connect with her on Twitter @1smelisa.

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the tribe


Steve & Paula



Bill & Karen

Zahava & Pooran

Marrying Creativity and Technical Savvy

Creating a Chocolate Legacy



Andy & Robin

Frank & Pilar A Strong Foundation For Investment


Two Heads Are Better Than One


JC & Bianca


Insured Heart


Brian & Edwin

These brave souls are true copreneurs—partners who have gone all in with their personal and professional lives. While their backgrounds and businesses are diverse, they all express a deep respect for their partners that carries a tone of greater intimacy than commonly heard from “normal” business or life partners. These partners share all the same ups and downs. They understand one another on a whole different level.




Mark & Sharai

Russ & Wendy

Ernest & Priscilla

Dan & Sara

Conscious Capitalists


Brewed to Perfection

Caring Leads the Way


Laughter Forges a Winning Production

Jonathan & Crystal Float Like a Butterfly, Text Like a Teenager


Randy & Crystal Tending Each Other and Their Guests

Uncommon Treasures

Steve and Paula Chapman know exactly what it takes to start a business, and they share their expertise with clients at Small Business Learning Center. Paula wrote their first business plan on an Atari in 1985. They’ve “always had small businesses going and start-up projects,” but they didn’t begin working together seriously until she was laid off from her corporate job in 2001. By then the technology to create a one-stop learning center for small businesses caught up with their brainchild. When recounting their history, Steve looked to Paula for the details. “She’s my calendar.” When they first went into business together, they hired a business coach to teach them how to play to each other’s strengths. “We have clear delineations between what each one of us does. Steve is the creative, and I’m the technical.” They keep their partnership strong with compromise and lots of talking. Working in different rooms of their home is key to keeping the peace as well. Paula says the best thing about working with Steve is that “there is someone there who’s got your back.” Steve adds, “In life and in business, too. We’re each other’s best friend.” – story by Nicole Ayers image by Tim Coffey

Steve and Paula Chapman Marrying Creativity and Technical Savvy 31

Frank and Pilar Lleras A Strong Foundation For Investment

Coming from entrepreneurial parents and having backgrounds in the financial services industry has served these young entrepreneurs well. Frank and Pilar Lleras started their company, Optimum Income Property (OIP), from their bedroom during the middle of the recession while still working full-time corporate jobs. Headquartered in Charlotte but international in scale, the company helps private equity investors find and develop income-producing residential and commercial real estate. Nearly six years later, their full-time job is running OIP and caring for their infant daughter together. Frank handles the revenue generation side of the business by identifying investment opportunities and managing investment strategies, while Pilar manages expenses and operations. The separation of duties prevents conflict and establishes a clear leader for each area. They also limit talk about work to business hours, setting aside one hour each day for formal, one-on-one discussion about business issues, decisions, and project updates. They’ve gone so far as to completely remove office operations from their home. “We do not bring work home with us. We’d rather stay late nights at the office and get it done than bring our laptops with us to our bed,” said Pilar. “We have a sofa bed, a shower, and personal toiletries supplies at our office. As simple as this may sound, it has actually had the biggest impact on keeping the boundaries of separation clear, allowing us to enjoy our home and personal time even more.” — story by Melisa LaVergne image courtesy of Frank and Pilar Lleras


Dan and Sara Garcés Roselli Conscious Capitalists

“Four kids, seven businesses, eight boards, and a partridge in a pear tree”—so Dan and Sara Garcés Roselli describe their regular schedule. With so much going on, it’s hard to imagine how they make time for one another. They keep the romance alive by scheduling date nights when business talk is not allowed. “It sounds unromantic in a way to say this, but you have to be purposeful about your spousal relationship.

Otherwise the boundaries get completely blurred,” said Dan. However, Sara notes that her favorite date nights are the spontaneous ones sitting on the back porch enjoying dinner alone together when the kids have scattered to do their own things. These serial entrepreneurs launched Packard Place four years ago and consider it an important part of their legacy. It serves as a center for the entrepreneurial

community offering access to technology, education, mentorship, and co-working space. It’s also the home of several incubators, including Queen City Forward, RevTechLabs, and QCFinTech. Dan calls it “conscious capitalism,” a for-profit venture with positive community impact built into the mission and business model. — story by Melisa LaVergne image by TJ Petrino 33

It is true—the best men have all been taken. Brian Cockman and Edwin Gil spend more time talking about each other than about themselves. When pressed though, each emphasizes how hard he works in his distinct role for their mutual business, Café Perfecto. The company offers single-origin, directtrade coffee grown on the El Socorro family farm in Edwin’s native country of Colombia.

Brian has the experience and knowledge for marketing, while Edwin handles sales and puts Juan Valdez to shame with a velvety voice and authentic South American accent. Their success lies in knowing their strengths and having defined roles in both personal and professional endeavors. For example, while Edwin, one of Charlotte’s most prominent artists, works on a social art project,

Brian Cockman and Edwin Gil Brewed to Perfection


Brian will go to South Africa as a volunteer for infants with HIV. They say faith, family, and friends are the keys to their happiness, which brings an infectious smile to those around them. They met ten years ago and have been a couple for the past six. “We do not have to agree, but when we are home, we love,” said Brian. — Story by Noelle De Atley Image by Sofi Preslar

Five years ago, Sharai Lavoie was working as the director of financial services for a network of healthcare companies but wanted her own business. Her husband, Mark, came from a technology background. They knew accounting services were increasingly moving toward technology solutions and cloudbased software, so they combined forces to create Lavoie CPA PLLC, a managed accounting services firm, and its technology division, LCT2. Sharai manages day-to-day operations for the firm, and Mark handles IT-related issues when he’s away from his full-time job at an insurance firm. The professional relationship has bled into their personal relationship in the best way. When they have projects to tackle at home, one of them is elected the “project manager” to define the vision and assign tasks. The couple celebrates their tenth anniversary in May and says the best part of running a business with a spouse is the feeling of complete trust and caring. Sharai says, “I think that you’re a little bit more in tune, and you’re less likely to internalize things quickly with your married partner than with just a pure business partner.” But she warns, “If you have a strong marriage, it makes it easier.” — story by Melisa LaVergne image by Larry Preslar

Sharai and Mark Lavoie Caring Leads the Way 35

The Ciordias and Dietzes Creating a Chocolate Legacy

Bill & Karen Dietz


Father, mother, daughter, and son-inlaw in business together. What could possibly go wrong? The Ciordias and the Dietzes know there are many potential pitfalls. Good communication is key to their success. Robin uses her natural gifts to bridge the gap between her parents and husband. She says, “Everybody has a different way of speaking to each other, and I know how everybody talks.” What started as a way to make extra cash selling chocolate truffles at local farmers’ markets has turned into two chocolate storefronts. Not only does The Secret Chocolatier serve the customers who wander in, they create corporate gifts as well. Since their business is still in its nascency, Andy and Robin Ciordia don’t have many opportunities to escape from work. They set a time each night when shop talk is no longer allowed. And nobody wants to have a business meeting around the Sunday dinner table. There’s lots of laughter at both sites. Robin says, “I’m like a kid in class because I’ll raise my hand before talking to Andy when he’s on the computer. I’m like, can I talk? Can I talk? Or I’ll send him a text.” Andy adds, “And I like her. She’s fun to be around.”

Karen and Bill Dietz make up the other half of The Secret Chocolatier. Through trial and error, they have found ways to ease their working relationships. Bill says, “I’m a loner. I was a solo person in the kitchen for thirty years.” Karen remembers, in the early days, that if she started to talk to the kitchen while Bill was busy, Andy would say, “Karen, there’s an invisible wall here.” These days she (mostly) remembers to enter her requests into the computer, where one of the other three can check them when they’re not busy. Long hours. Small spaces. Family opinions. What keeps these couples together? Having two locations has alleviated the stress of being in close proximity, but there’s something sweeter that binds them together. No, it’s not sticky caramel. It’s Logan, Andy and Robin’s son. Bill says, “Logan knows this place as well as I do. When a three-year-old takes over, it’s like nothing else is around. There’s nothing but him. I forget work.” The Ciordias and the Dietzes are building a chocolate legacy for Logan, one truffle at a time.

Robin & Andy Ciordia

— story by Nicole Ayers image by Sofi Preslar 37

Russ (the extrovert) and Wendy (the introvert) Gill of Professional Communications provide smart video marketing for professionals. Working in the informality of their home (no, they don’t edit video in their bathrobes), laughter helps these high school sweethearts succeed. Russ uses his creativity and technical know-how to capture the images, and Wendy uses her storytelling talent to weave everything together. “I

bring the work in the door. Wendy gets the work out the door.” Wendy takes a walk to signify that the workday is done. Russ hasn’t found a strategy for leaving work at the office, particularly since “the office” is part of their home. “I live my work. I sleep with my cell phone under my pillow. I love what I do.” When they both need a break, they escape to hiking trails. A shared background in

education gave them the push they needed to collaborate and turn Wendy’s small business into a success. Russ jokes, “She’s my boss.” They believe that customer service is the cornerstone of their business. “We share wanting to do right by the client. We both do a really good job of customer service.” — story by Nicole Ayers image by Sofi Preslar

Russ and Wendy Gill Laughter Forges a Winning Production


Pooran Okhovat and Zahava Thornton co-own Poza Salon in Myers Park where they are all about hair and believe no two heads are alike. In 1998, they met in cosmetology school in Charlotte. After graduation, they worked at two different local salons over a six-year period before deciding to open their own. The name came easy as it’s a combination of POoran and ZAhava. The best thing about having a business partner, they say, is that two heads are almost always better than one but admit it can slow down decision making, like when it came to finding a new salon location after being in SouthPark for eight years. These stylish entrepreneurs, who have two small children and recently married after being together for twelve years, like the flexibility that owning a business together provides. They can take turns being home with the kids and traveling. When Pooran spent a month visiting family in her native Iran this summer, Zahava held down the fort. While typical business partners need boundaries, Pooran and Zahava say they have none between their personal and professional lives and love it that way. They even share clothes. — story by Colleen Brannan image by Chuck Eaton

Pooran Okhavat and Zahava Thornton Two Heads Are Better Than One 39

JC and Bianca Alvarado Corazon Asegurado (Insured Heart)


JC and Bianca Alvarado began their Allstate insurance agencies in 2006 from what they call a “relentless desire to be free.” While they have created a strong foundation for their growing family, their entrepreneurial pursuits are less about money and more about building a legacy and good quality of life with one another. For their first few years in business, they had trouble 40

disconnecting from work since they had to wear so many hats. But now they have a strong support team to which they can delegate responsibilities, leaving them time to focus on their strengths and even to give back to the community. At work they view each another as sources of knowledge, counting on the other for unique expertise. Two locations also helps them maintain boundaries and, as JC

put it, “keep it clean.” Originally from Ecuador, JC continued, “After work, well that’s when I unleash the Spanish love. I have to keep my game up with my Cuban.” The romance is clearly alive and well between Bianca, a Miami native with Cuban heritage, and her South American sweetheart. — story by Melisa LaVergne image by Sofi Preslar

This is not the first rodeo for Jonathan and Crystal Kearse Nazeer. They have been married for fourteen years, have four awesome kids, and had a previous business that taught them many lessons. They took the time to breathe before starting JKN Boxing, an event marketing and fitness business that fills their evenings and weekends between other full-time jobs. They emphasize their faith for keeping focused. While Crystal chases after the two youngest children, Jonathan speaks of how she keeps him honest like a regular business partner cannot. “My first phone call is to my best friend, and it has to be Crystal.” They have learned to respect each other’s buttons and to work together to make time for their family. Crystal is the calm in the center of a storm of activity. She has no problem closing the door for business. Jonathan is allowed to keep talking, even when he’s home alone. The laughter over cell phones is infectious. Texting and phone conversations happen in bed, down the hall, and from every room. They call it the next intercom system for the house. Why yell when you can call someone in the next room or let your thumbs do the talking at the end of a day.

Jonathan and Crystal Kearse Nazeer Float Like a Butterfly, Text Like a Teenager

— story by Noelle De Atley image by Sofi Preslar 41

Randy and Crystal Provance Tending Each Other and Their Guests 42

Running The Southern Gourmet and Southern Garden Events keeps Randy and Crystal Provance on the go, but they carve out times of rest. They make a point to close twice a year to recharge and give Piccolo, their silky terrier, the special attention he’s missed during busy seasons. They also travel to Jamaica, their honeymoon destination, every other year. Crystal says that “leaving the country seems to be the only way to completely escape.” Because these two work in different parts of their business, there are days when they don’t see each other. They debrief at home with a fifteenminute window to share work items. The best part of working together is that “I never have to worry that the other person is handling my guests, my money, my business the way I would.” And on the rare occasion when they disagree, Crystal teases, “You can’t fire your husband.” Now that Southern Garden Events, an indoor garden treasure for corporate and personal parties, is open, they are “looking forward to making experiences for our guests ... to create these memories of people’s life celebrations.” Crystal and Randy Provance have a lot to celebrate themselves. — story by Nicole Ayers image by Sofi Preslar

Ernest and Priscilla Perry founded Perry’s Fine, Antique & Estate Jewelry more than thirty-five years ago with fifty coffee cans full of “unwanted” jewelry Ernest didn’t have the heart to melt down for scrap. Proving that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, Perry’s is now one of Charlotte’s most respected jewelry stores and offers an extensive collection of modern, antique, and vintage pieces.

Because Ernest and Priscilla are heavily involved in the community as individuals and on behalf of their company, their personal and professional lives often intersect. A majority of their weekends are spent at charity events. However, they always make time to get away, relax, and separate from their professional relationship by visiting the coast or even flying to Jamaica.

Priscilla also credits Perry’s new location for helping them maintain healthy boundaries. After sharing an office for twenty years in their previous location, the new offices put them on opposite sides of the building. “We love it!” — story by Hadley Pacheco and Melisa LaVergne image by Tim Coffey

Ernest and Priscilla Perry Uncommon Treasures 43

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We are the b2bTRIBE. 45


What is the kookiest entrepreneurial idea you ever had? Perhaps more importantly, did you act on it? “I’ve had an idea for years. It’s a small, handheld device that comes with two buttons. One, when you press it, makes the sound of ‘canned laughter’—the kind you hear on TV sitcoms. The other, when pressed, is the sound of a drum ‘rim shot’—the kind that rang out when an old-fashioned comic made a wisecrack. The name of this device would be called ‘Everyone’s a Comedian,’ and the idea is to utilize it ‘appropriately’ at an event or gathering of any type when conversing with one or more people. By ‘appropriately,’ I mean when one tells a joke, and NO ONE laughs. Just press the button for self-satisfaction. Have I taken any steps to implement it? No, not yet. Anyone want to help me become a millionaire with this idea? However, if anyone steals the idea, I’ll come after them with banana peels and throw them at their feet.”

– Joel Kweskin, Caricatures by Joel,


“ The site allows people all over the world to tell a story about the nicest person they have ever met or interacted with. Yes, I built a website with that domain. The site is live although no content has been added.”

– Fred Sexton, Mouse and Man Digital Marketing,

“My husband thinks it’s kookie, but I prefer to look at it as following my bliss. I love decorating with antiques, flea market finds, and unique custom pieces. It’s a hobby that I thought I’d cultivate into a business: 61|24 Designs. I’ve developed a signature pillow to serve as a center piece for the line of interior accents I’m cultivating and would eventually love to have a storefront.”

– Wendy Accetta, W. Accetta Design,

“Night golf. Looked into buying night vision goggles from the military. Spoke with a few golf courses. Contacted golf ball manufacturers about special golf balls. Never went any further than that.”

– Danny Fischer, FranNet Carolina,

“I think about starting a shirt company. I want to be able to buy very high-quality, 100% white cotton women’s dress shirts and 100% white cotton tshirts that are made in the U.S. but are not see-through and do not fall apart after three washings. I think this is a slam dunk because I hear women all over the place complaining. Not my wheel house. I would pay a lot of money for both of these!”

– Chris McLeod, Giving Matters Inc.,

“Making hand-sewn bibs and blankets for babies. I found that my sewing skills were really not up to the challenge, so I quickly moved on to something I was more suited for.”

– Lillie Marshall, New Possibilities Coaching,

“In 1995, just after the birth of my son, I had an inspired idea to create a website that sold children’s books and included reviews by actual readers. I had mapped out the whole revolutionary strategy and revenue model, but before I could go any further with it this little website came on the scene. It was called Amazon!”

– Holly Bretschneider, Blue Sky Business Academy {rebranding from Boutique Profits},

“When I was about eight or nine, one of my favorite pasttimes with my friends was playing in the creek. We would follow it for miles, moving rocks, finding crayfish, and enjoying the cool water on a hot afternoon. One day, we had a brilliant idea. We were catching crayfish and tiny black snails to keep as new pets, when we decided that everyone in the neighborhood would want them too. So instead of a lemonade stand, we set up a ‘creek pet’ stand. Yes, we waved cars down. Yes, we truly tried to sell crayfish and snails. No, it wasn’t a good business plan.”

– Karin Solomonson, mundo99, 47



How do you

When it’s time to step away from their desks and give their minds a break from the day-today routine, many small business owners actively contribute their time, talents, and treasures to local nonprofits. The feeling they get from giving back to the community motivates and re-energizes them. The organizations featured on the next few pages are just a few of the worthy 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the Charlotte region. Visit their websites to learn how to donate or get involved. All photos courtesy of the organization represented unless noted otherwise.

Hands On Charlotte Hands On Charlotte’s mission is to inspire, equip, and mobilize a diverse corps of volunteers to strengthen our community. It connects people and businesses that are looking for service opportunities with organizations that need volunteers. Visit for more information.


A Child’s Place A Child’s Place (ACP) works to erase the impact of homelessness on children and their education. Homeless children live in unstable conditions that include shelters, pay-by-the-week motels, doubledup or tripled-up with others, and in cars. Because of the instability they experience, these children are hungry twice as often as other children; sick four times more often; two to three grade levels behind; twice as likely to repeat a grade; and experience emotional and behavioral problems three times more than their housed peers. ACP works to remove these barriers. Visit for more information.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation exists to help the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library create a community where reading, learning, and imagination thrive. The foundation believes that free and open access to information can change lives for the better and build a brighter future for our community. Pictured here is a young student who received a new library card as part of a partnership library card drive between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Learn more about the Library Foundation at — images by Robert Christopher Photography 49


Green Teacher Network One of the most powerful ways to teach STEM topics to school children is through schoolyard gardening and garden-related topics. The hands-on work teaches children about environmental sustainability, natural habitats, water cycles, and much more. Green Teacher Network facilitates collaboration among 145 area schools (half of which are in economically disadvantaged areas), 800 educators, and twenty-five resource partners in support of schoolyard garden projects. It is also working to implement the Growing Entrepreneurs program within twenty area schools. The program allows these schools to grow “crops� for area farm-totable restaurants to generate funds for further garden projects at those schools. Visit for more information.

Classroom Central provides free school supplies to over 100,000 children living in poverty in six school districts in the Charlotte area and to the teachers who serve them. Visit for more information.

Classroom Central 50

Carolina P.A.W.S. is a network of compassionate Carolinians—all volunteers—who are devoted to helping abandoned and abused cats and dogs throughout the greater Charlotte area find loving homes. These photos show just a few of the furbabies who have found forever homes through Carolina P.A.W.S.

Carolina P.A.W.S.

Visit for more information. — images by Dani Bano Photography

Lupus Foundation Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans and their families. It can be an incredibly painful, unpredictable, exhausting disease that is difficult to diagnose because it imitates a host of other illnesses. The North Carolina chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America supports research and early diagnosis efforts, as well as patient support and advocacy. Pictured here are lupus thriver, Amy Scruggs, and her friend, Addie Loeffler, who donated her kidney to Amy shortly after last year’s Lupus Mardi Gras Gala. The 2015 gala falls on February 21. Visit for more information. — photo by Desmond Ebanks of GlamourByDez 51


Home for Heroes As odd as it may sound, coming home can be difficult for many veterans. They face challenges finding housing and jobs, as well as reintegrating into a society that is sometimes oblivious to what it takes to ensure our nation’s security, freedom, and liberty. Home for Heroes was established in 2011 to provide affordable housing, a safe environment, and community linkages to female veterans transitioning to civilian life after active tours of duty. Visit for more information.

pride entrepreneur education program

for a brighter future

Pride Entrepreneur Education Program exists to help eliminate future socio-economic disparities in the African American community by promoting education, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship among youth ages fifteen to twenty-five. Visit for more information.


Dress for Success Charlotte helps disadvantaged women achieve financial independence by offering a support network and tools for economic self-sufficiency. It provides professional attire and career development resources, including a professional women’s group, one-on-one coaching, mentoring, resume writing, and interviewing skills—all at no cost. Volunteers’ time, talent, and treasure are always needed and appreciated. Visit for more information.

The Women’s Inter-Cultural Exchange is building and bridging social capital among women of diverse cultures, fostering cross-cultural awareness, and developing the infrastructure for community dialogue, engagement, and programming. Visit for more information.

The Ballantyne Country Club community has joined together to spread breast cancer awareness and Rally for the Cure. BCC Rally’s mission is to bring men, women, and children together to help raise breast cancer awareness and offer financial support for Rally for the Cure ®, to benefit Susan G. Komen. Visit for more information.


The USO of North Carolina leads the way to enrich the lives of America’s military in the Carolinas. Its mission is to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families. Founded in 1941, the USO of NC is a nonprofit, charitable organization, relying on the generosity of North Carolinians to support its programs and services. The USO of NC touches more than 700,000 lives annually, helping our troops and their families through education, wellness, transition assistance, and resiliency programs across the state. Through the Every Moment Counts campaign, the USO of NC is rallying businesses and individuals to support our troops and create everyday moments that Americans take for granted.



Visit for more information.

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“I worked at a gas station when I was fourteen and saw firsthand how poor inventory management will undoubtedly lead to internal theft.”

– Andy Dinkin, CBC MECA,

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

“In high school I was a telemarketer for a mausoleum. If I could sell burial space as a high schooler, selling human resources services as an adult is a breeze.”

– April Simpkins, HRS&S Consulting,

“My first job was selling fish and lobster at the local market. If you can sell fish, you can sell anything!”

– Priscilla Perry, Perry’s Fine, Antique & Estate Jewelry,


“I was a vacuum cleaner salesman for Electrolux. I had to go door to door selling the product to housewives.”

– Fred Sexton, Mouse and Man Digital Marketing,

“Working a corner in New Orleans wearing a mask as J.J. from Good Times. The show was being syndicated on the former UPN network. I wanted to be on the street team and drive the cool UPN van around but didn’t know I would have to ‘dress up and hit the corner’ (as my roommates and friends affectionately referred to it). It helps me to laugh at myself when something doesn’t go quite as planned and just keep pushing until something successful happens.”

– Tony Proctor, Proctor & Associates Tax and Bookkeeping Service,

“I’m not sure it’s weird, but the hardest job I ever had was being a teacher’s assistant for a brilliant kindergarten teacher. Here’s what I learned: (1) every person is motivated by different rewards—clients too; (2) handling a roomful of five-year-olds is much harder than anything I do now; and (3) making plans but being flexible is a secret to doing well.”

– Deborah Bosley, The Plain Language Group,

“I don’t know if it was the weirdest, but it was the best job ever: lifeguard at Myrtle Beach one summer. I learned that if you provide a service that people want you’ll never go hungry (or without a date).”

– Tom Grogan, Vistage International,

“While in high school I worked in the Rhode Island State House. As I recall we were officially ‘marble restoration technicians,’ though that was just a fancy name for those of us tasked with cleaning the floors, bathrooms, and stairways. Our shift started around 7 p.m., and we finished up usually around 1 or 2 a.m. I witnessed some interesting things in the late hours in the darkened offices that we cleaned. I saw most of the state’s politicians regularly and quickly recognized the difference between a public and a private persona. Cleaning the equivalent of a football field of marble each night taught me the value of using the right tools for the job, and if you just keep your head down and keep moving the mop, the end will come. Changing the bucket water often helps as well. I also learned if you give people a target, they will keep the stream where it needs to go.”

“I used to operate a one-man business (me) to take cars apart in a junk yard. I would take engines out, strip fenders, glass, gas tanks, etc. How did it help me with my job today? Since I worked mostly on foreign cars at the time, they took problem solving to figure out how to disassemble the pieces without destroying them and ‘blowing a gasket.’ You learn how to look at a situation, figure out an order to strip down the pieces, and then one more important thing—be able to put it back together.”

– Paul Jamison, Jamison Realty,

“When I was completing my master’s degree in health promotion, I did an internship at the student health center. Among the things with which I was tasked was teaching students how to use a condom using a wooden, er, model. Out of this came at least two things that have helped me in business: I can accomplish anything as long as I don’t worry about embarrassing myself; and I’m pretty much shockproof!“

– Sharon Nuttall, Health Insurance Solutions,

“I was a blackjack dealer in the casinos in Lake Tahoe, California, during college and law school. This fabulous job exposed me to abundance, nudged me outside my comfort zone, and challenged me to learn new things (including how eating chocolatecovered espresso beans can help you survive a three-hour drive home through the mountains after working 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.!).”

– Holly Bretschneider, Blue Sky Business Academy {rebranding from Boutique Profits},

– Steve Thomson, Sweetwater Logistics, 55

Q What’s your theme song?

“’Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’ by McFadden and Whitehead. I heard this song as a kid and have always held on to this song as a song to motivate me through everything. I play my theme song whenever I’m preparing for a presentation and new opportunity. My theme song rocks on!”

– Rhonda Caldwell, The Main Event, Inc.,

“’Brave’ by Sara Bareilles. My mom sent me the YouTube Video when I was struggling with my TED talk, and it really inspired me to break through my resistance to being more vulnerable.”

– Chris McLeod, Giving Matters Inc.,


“’Don’t Block The Blessings’ by Patti LaBelle. These words, ‘There’s no gain living in the past, / Wishing for yesterdays we no longer have, / Each new moment brings me some, / Brand new chance to overcome,’ sum up all my efforts in life as I regularly focus my attention forward and understand that each day brings a new opportunity to succeed. I play this whenever I feel like I’m not good enough.”

– Bridget B. Sullivan, Ignite Charlotte,

“’What’s Up’ by 4 Non Blondes when I need motivation.”

– Ralph Jannelli, Custom Advertising Products,

“Classic Stevie Wonder. ‘As’ takes me to another place. It speaks to how I want to live my life letting people know that the love I have is for always.”

– Adeola Fearon, MyOla Creations,

“’A Change is Gonna Come’ by Sam Cooke. The recording is the best performance of the classic tune, is great-sounding analog audio, and the message—the message—breathes all the elements of struggle and victory that I (and most of you) can relate to. I play it whenever I want to burst under the pressure.”

– Joe Miller, Sounds Like Joe LLC,

“My theme song depends on the day and how it’s going—whether I am the pigeon or the statue!”

– Julie Jahn, JAJ Nonprofit Resource, LLC,

“’Read All About It (Pt. III)’ by Emeli Sandé. The lyrics are like a call to your soul, begging you not to hide your light and to bring your unique voice to the party of life. I play it whenever I want to be reminded not to play small.”

– Holly Bretschneider, Blue Sky Business Academy {rebranding from Boutique Profits},

“’Counting Stars’ by OneRepublic. I love the lyric, ‘Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.’ So true with owning a small business. Even though the days are long and sometimes stressful, I feel so much more alive than I did sitting at a desk for eight hours a day in corporate America. It’s my go-to when I’m having a really stressful day and wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. Totally puts things back into perspective!”

– Shawna Baker, Xtend Barre Charlotte,

“’Hero’ by Mariah Carey because it reminds me of what we all have inside if we get still and listen. I play it when I need to be reminded and feel uplifted.”

– Lillie Marshall, New Possibilities Coaching,

Jam Session

Visit to listen to an eclectic playlist of songs and artists recommended by the b2bTRIBE. If you discover a new favorite artist, you can thank these TRIBE members who contributed recommendations from their playlists. Adeola Fearon, MyOla Creations Camine Pappas, C and Company Holly Bretschneider, Blue Sky Business Academy Heather Bishop, Chloe’s Playhouse Fred Sexton, Mouse and Man Digital Marketing Andy Dinkin, CBC MECA Joe Miller, Sounds Like Joe LLC Lillie Marshall, New Possibilities Coaching April Simpkins, HRS&S Consulting Julie Jahn, JAJ Nonprofit Resource Tara Goodfellow, Athena Educational Consultants, Inc. Ulunda Baker, UBsmart, Inc. Laura Neff, Life Leadership Coaching Tom Grogan, Vistage International Rhonda Caldwell, The Main Event, Inc. Bridget B. Sullivan, Ignite Charlotte Chris McLeod, Giving Matters Inc. Ralph Jannelli, Custom Advertising Products Shawna Baker, Xtend Barre Charlotte Carlos Salum, Salum International Resources Eileen Schlesier, SleeveShirt Consulting Steve Gatter, Underdog Business Strategies Donna Hinkle, Picky Parents 57

“’Acapella’ by Karmin. It’s got a great beat to it, and the acapella part is pretty funny. I love to listen to it when I’m running. It makes me laugh and bob my head at the same time, and that ain’t easy to do when you’re running.”

– April Simpkins, HRS&S Consulting,

“Bruce Springsteen’s ‘No Surrender.’ I believe the secrets to success are hard work and accepting a challenge when it comes your way. This song talks about never backing down. I play it when I need to focus on an important task I’m not excited about.”

– Andy Dinkin, CBC MECA,

“’Come On Eileen’ by Dexys Midnight Runners. You can’t help but dance when this tune comes on. It’s my personal motivational song and always puts a smile on my face.

– Eileen Schlesier, SleeveShirt Consulting,

“’Roar’ is my 2014 theme song for UBsmart, Inc. It came out about the time I launched, and I could just relate to Katy Perry’s lyrics so much. I play it mainly when people are trying to make me feel like I should give up. Or they tried to make me give up, and I refused and came out like a lioness proud of her pack!”

– Ulunda Baker, UBsmart, Inc.,

My theme song is ‘Flamenco Sketches’ from Miles Davis’s legendary Kind of Blue jazz album because it represents the confluence of mastery with extraordinary improvisation in the context of flawless collaboration—a viable metaphor for an entrepreneurial venture, already studied by many. The piece is built on a few notes that spark an architecture of feeling for each musician, culminating in Bill Evans’s exquisite piano solo (a religious experience for sensitive ears). I play it anytime that I need to be reminded that Beauty exists and that I want to live in it, that Life is bigger than its sorrows when you learn how to feel it.”

– Carlos Salum, Salum International Resources, Inc.,


“’Suddenly I See’ by KT Tunstall. It reminds me of who I am and the impact I can have when I’m at my best, when I take deeply good care of myself, so I can give from my best to the world around me and people in my life. I play it ... well ... just about anytime! It confirms me on my path when I’m feeling good, and it rights me back to my path when I’ve strayed!”

– Laura Neff, Life Leadership Coaching,

“And when you get the chance ‘I Hope You Dance!’ Don’t miss it when you hear the music playing and someone is offering you a hand. Get on the floor even if no one offers or accepts, even if no one else is there, and daaaance.”

– Donna Hinkle, Picky Parents,

“When writing, lyrics are distracting. I’ve come to appreciate and thoroughly enjoy all of Mozart’s nonoperatic pieces. Shuffling through my Mozart collection is a perfect background for writing.” – Steve Gatter, Underdog Business Strategies,

“’You Know I’m No Good’ by Amy Winehouse, ‘Perfect Island Night’ by Bobby Caldwell, ‘Eyes for You’ by Daryl Hall, ‘All of Me’ by John Legend, and ‘Sigh’ by Praful. I always have music going on around me. My usual daily playlist consists of a mix of soul and rock from the ‘60s and ‘70s as well as classic artists like Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. I get a lot of requests when I sing along, but I do it anyway.” – Tom Grogan, Vistage International,

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save the dates

Meet, Greet & Learn Pencil in these networking and learning events, and check the websites as the dates approach. Each provides opportunities to learn something new and meet strong business connections.

February 2015 Tuesday, February 24 Ballantyne Briefings Location to be determined This quarterly speaker series offers networking and an informative, action-oriented topic. Like the page on Facebook and join the email list for updates. Date to be determined NC IDEA Spring 2015 Grant Cycle begins NC IDEA is a nonprofit organization that provides early funding for promising high-growth companies in North Carolina, focusing on information technology, medical diagnostics and devices, material sciences, and green technologies.

March 2015 Saturday, March 21 Charlotte Business Guild 2015 Gala & Awards Ceremony NC Music Factory Join the Charlotte Business Guild in celebrating business owners in Charlotte’s LGBTQ community.


Tuesday, March 24 The Greater Matthews Business EXPO Carmel Baptist Church Don’t miss the Matthews Chamber’s annual business expo. Meet and mingle with business owners from the area. You might find a new vendor or client, or develop new relationships that lead to great things. Thursday, March 26 Business Showcase The Park Expo & Conference Center Come to the 15th Annual Business Showcase to network and find out about the products and services provided by 150 exhibitors and sponsors. Tuesday, March 31 Nonprofit Trends for Organizational Founders CPCC Central Campus Nonprofit organizations have developed and grown to be an integral part of today’s society. There have been significant changes in the nonprofit sector, and as a result, the changes have raised questions about how organizations will operate and maintain their infrastructure. Through trends, start-up and established

nonprofit organizations can better prepare themselves for sustainability and growth. Staying “in the know” will be the best way to plan and prepare as a nonprofit entrepreneur. Date & location to be determined 40 Under 40 Awards Who will the Charlotte Business Journal name as this year’s young professional movers and shakers? Keep an eye on the journal’s site to find out. Date & location to be determined Advanced Manufacturing Awards The Charlotte Business Journal partners with Centralina Economic Development Commission to recognize and celebrate process excellence, leadership, and collaboration in advanced manufacturing in our region. Date & location to be determined Lake Norman Chamber Annual Business Expo Meet business professionals in and around the Lake Norman area

at this annual event that draws from 1,500 to 2,000 people.

April 2015 Wednesday, April 8 YP Awards location to be determined The Charlotte Chamber Young Professionals will honor upand-coming leaders ages twenty-one to thirty-nine. Tuesday, April 28 Ballantyne Briefings location to be determined This quarterly speaker series offers networking and an informative, action-oriented topic. Like the page on Facebook and join the email list for updates. Date & location to be determined Charlotte Chamber Transportation Summit Join the Charlotte Chamber to learn about transportation initiatives in and around the region that will impact economic development and the business community.

May 2015 May 4-8 National Small Business Week Every year since 1963, National Small Business Week honors the economic impact of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Tuesday, May 12 Doing Business with the City of Charlotte Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center From buying office supplies to contracting for cleaning services, the City of Charlotte uses all types of small businesses. A city

representative will describe vendor programs and its purchasing process models: Request for Quote (RFQ), Invitation to Bid (ITB), Request for Proposal (RFP). Find out what you need to know to locate contract opportunities. Wednesday, May 27 Marketplace: Procurement Opportunities for Small Businesses Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center, DURHAM, NC Learn how to sell your goods and services to federal, state, and local governments. This biennial reverse trade show puts small business owners in direct contact with contracting officers from government agencies and large prime contractors. Wednesday, May 20 Picnic at SouthPark Symphony Park The Charlotte Chamber SouthPark Chapter hosts this annual, outdoor event to showcase businesses in the SouthPark area. Come for food, entertainment, and networking. Thursday, May 21 Small Business Success Stories location to be determined Join the Charlotte Chamber NorthWest Chapter to hear from successful entrepreneurs David Jones of Peak 10 and Jerald Melburg of the Jerald Melberg Gallery.

June 2015 Thursday, June 4 Ballantyne Business Bash Ballantyne Corporate Park The Charlotte Chamber Ballantyne Chapter hosts this annual, outdoor event to showcase businesses in the Ballantyne area. Come for food, entertainment, and networking.

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save the dates

July 2015 Wednesday, July 22 Summer Schmooze location to be determined The Charlotte Chamber Metro Chapter hosts this annual, outdoor event to showcase businesses in the Center City area. Come for food, entertainment, and networking.

Recurring Events Business Networking International Light of Christ Church Join BNI’s weekly Tuesday morning meeting of fellow small business owners, helping each other grow each others’ businesses.

Pitch Breakfast Packard Place On the second Wednesday of every month, entrepreneurs from two or three companies have an opportunity to practice their pitches in front of an audience. Pitching companies give a brief presentation, followed by feedback from panelists (who represent the finest mentors Charlotte has to offer) and the audience. Plus, everyone gets free breakfast and coffee! Introduction to the Charlotte Startup Scene Packard Place On the first Tuesday of each quarter (January 6, April 7, July 7, and October 6), get a primer on startup activity in Charlotte and an introduction to local resources available for entrepreneurs.

Do you have a third or fourth quarter 2015 event designed to help small businesses owners? Please send the event date, name, location, brief description, and website address to

ad index Ballantyne Business Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover Carolina Office Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Charlotte Business Owners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 E4 Carolinas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Foundation for Financial Planning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Hoskins Park Ministries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 HRS&S Consulting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Interact. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 J.O.Y. Coaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Matthews Chamber of Commerce. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Michael Lobiondo Photography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Money Counts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Moyer, Smith & Roller, P.A.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Perry’s Fine, Antique & Estate Jewelry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Professional Communications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 SELMARQ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Sonitrol Security Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Southern Garden Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 SPARK Publications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Back Cover Take Control of Your Days. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Time Warner Cable Business Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Value Growth Institute. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


Supporting Business Building Community The Matthews Chamber of Commerce is the chamber of choice in the greater Matthews area for businesses of all sizes that want to build their contacts and clients through networking and fellowship. The monthly meetings and events serve over 850 members!

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b2bTRIBE Index Allison Fowler Photography Allison Fowler 64 Allstate - The Alvarado Agencies 40 Bianca Alvarado 30, 40 JC Alvarado 30, 40 Athena Educational Consultants, Inc. 11, 57 Tara Goodfellow 11, 57 Ayers Edits 6, 19 Nicole Ayers 4, 6, 19, 31, 37, 38, 42 BeeSmart Social Media 8, 22 Julie Bee 8, 22 Boutique Profits/Blue Sky Business Academy 8, 12, 47, 55, 57 Holly Bretschneider 8, 12, 47, 55, 57 BRANSTORM Colleen Brannan 39 Brisbane Academy 11 Geri Crooks 8, 11 Business Sorority 11 Mel Miller 11 Café Perfecto 34 Brian Cockman 30, 34 Edwin Gil 30, 34 C and Company 11, 21, 57 Camine Pappas 11, 21, 57 Caricatures by Joel 46 Joel Kweskin 46 Carolina Business Coach 26, 27 Harvey Smith 26, 27 CBC MECA 12, 54, 57, 58 Andy Dinkin 12, 54, 57, 58 Charlotte Community Radio 8 Charlotte Dog Runner 11, 21 Suzanne Phillips 11, 21 Charlotte Photography 6 Rebekah Petrino 6 TJ Petrino 6, 33 Chloe’s Playhouse 8, 57 Heather Bishop 57 Chuck Eaton Photography Chuck Eaton 39 College Admission Strategies 20 Lee Bierer 20 Creative Thinking Group, LLC 6 Noelle De Atley 6, 34, 41 Custom Advertising Products 14, 57 Ralph Jannelli 14, 57 Dani Bano Photography 51 Digital DNA Marketing 22 Dawn Kole 22 ecomdash 8 Ellen Yale Coaching 20 Ellen Yale 20 Employers Advantage LLC 21 Deanna Arnold 21 FranNet Carolina 47 Danny Fischer 47 Get It Together 8 Giving Matters Inc. 47, 56, 57 Chris McLeod 47, 56, 57 GlamourByDez 51 Desmond Ebanks 51 Go For Launch 8, 26, 27 Brandon Uttley 8, 26, 27 Health Insurance Solutions 8, 55 Sharon Nuttall 8, 55 HRS&S Consulting 12, 18, 54, 57 April Simpkins 12, 18, 54, 57 Ignite Charlotte  57 Bridget B. Sullivan  57

Jack A Heil CPA 8 Jack A Heil 8 JAJ Nonprofit Resource 8, 12, 57 Julie Jahn 12, 57 Jamison Realty 55 Paul Jamison 55 JKN Boxing 41 Crystal Nazeer 30, 41 Jonathan Nazeer 30, 41 J.O.Y. Coaching 8 Geri Crooks 8, 11 64 Kent Youngstrom 64 Lain Consulting LLC 8 LaPronda Spann 8 Lavoie CPA PLLC 35 Mark Lavoie 30, 35 Sharai Lavoie 30, 35 Life Leadership Coaching 14, 57, 58 Laura Neff 14, 57, 58 Malak Jewelers 19 Asaad Malak 19 Mass Transmit 17 Adam Holden-Bache 17 Mouse and Man Digital Marketing 11, 14, 47, 54, 57 Fred Sexton 11, 47, 54, 57 mundo99 8, 21, 47 Karin Solomonson 8, 21, 47 MyOla Creations 14, 57 Adeola Fearon 14, 57 New Possibilities Coaching 14, 47, 57 Lillie Marshall 14, 47, 57 Operation College Scholar 8 Optimum Income Property 32 Frank Lleras 30, 32 Pilar Lleras 30, 32 Our Town America 8 Jane McElhaney 8 Packard Place 33 Dan Roselli 30, 33 Sara Garcés Roselli 30, 33 Patterson Law Office, PLLC 23 Rhonda L. Patterson 23 Perry’s Fine, Antique & Estate Jewelry 43, 54 Ernest Perry 30, 43 Priscilla Perry 30, 43, 54 Picky Parents 14, 57, 58 Donna Hinkle 57, 58 Possible Web 8 PostNet Printing & Graphics 11, 14 Mike Ferretti 11, 14 Poza Salon 39 Pooran Okhovat 30, 39 Zahava Thornton 30, 39 Proctor & Associates Tax and Bookkeeping Service 12, 55 Tony Proctor 12, 55 Professional Communications 38 Russ Gill 30, 38 Wendy Gill 30, 38 Queen City Q 27, 28 Bryan Meredith 26, 27, 28 Craig Utt 27, 28 Sue Johnston 26, 28 Rinehart Wealth Management 14 Sandy Carlson 14 Rise Up Consulting 25, 27 Alex Ruby 25, 26, 27 Michael Aldea 25, 26, 28 Robin Blair 25, 26, 27

Robert Christopher Photography 49 RU Seeing Red Tech Solutions 22 Kevin Caldwell 22 Salum International Resources, Inc. 57, 58 Carlos Salum 57, 58 San Marco Coffee, Inc. 14 SLD Unlimited Biz Growth Inc. 10, 20 Sherre’ DeMao 10, 20 SleeveShirt Consulting 12, 23, 57, 58 Eileen Schlesier 12, 23, 57, 58 Small Business Learning Center 31 Paula Chapman 30, 31 Steve Chapman 30, 31 Soft Wash Wizard 14 Steve Babcock 14 Sounds Like Joe 14, 57 Joe Miller 57 SPARK Publications 4, 6, 14, 29 Fabi Preslar 4 Sweetwater Logistics 12, 55 Steve Thomson 12, 55 The Creative Stack 12, 22 Heather Johnson 12, 22 The Main Event, Inc. 56, 57 Rhonda Caldwell 56, 57 The Plain Language Group 11, 18, 55 Deborah Bosley 11, 18, 55 The Secret Chocolatier 36, 37 Andy Ciordia 30, 36, 37 Bill Dietz 30, 36, 37 Karen Dietz 30, 36, 37 Robin Ciordia 30, 36, 37 The Southern Gourmet and Southern Garden Events 42 Crystal Provance 30, 42 Randy Provance 30, 42 The Tillman Agency 18 Edward Tillman 18 Tim Coffey Photography 8 Tim Coffey 6, 8, 31 UBsmart, Inc. 14, 57, 58 Ulunda Baker 14, 57, 58 Underdog Business Strategies 57, 58 Steve Gatter 57, 58 Value Growth Institute 11, 15 Chia-Li Chien 11, 15 Vistage International 11, 55, 57, 58 Tom Grogan 11, 55, 57, 58 W. Accetta Design 47 Wendy Accetta 47 Xtend Barre Charlotte 14, 57 Shawna Baker 14, 57 Nonprofits featured in this issue A Child’s Place 49 BCC Rally 52 Carolina P.A.W.S. 51 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation 49 Classroom Central 50 Green Teacher Network 50 Hands on Charlotte 48 Home for Heroes 52 Lupus Foundation 51 Pride Entrepreneur Education Program (PEEP) 52 USO of North Carolina 53 Women’s Inter-Cultural Exchange 52 63

eye candy

block party by Kent Youngstrom acrylic and pencil on canvas, 36” x 48”

“I’m Kent. And I’m an artist. But not the tortured kind. I create one-of-a-kind images—no two are exactly the same. Some are big. Some are small. Some have words. Some have none. But what I really do is make people feel happy + free. They don’t even have to know why. After all, happy + free is a great place to be. My art is a happy collision of street and fine art for a home office or secret lair.”

–Kent Youngstrom, artist,


Photo by Allison Fowler

SPARK Publications 2116 Crown Centre Drive Suite 300 Charlotte, NC 28227


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Day One

b2bTRIBEÂŽ, your local magazine by and for small business owners, racked up national awards in 2014. 2014 MarCom Platinum Award for magazine writing 2014 MarCom Platinum Award for magazine special edition design

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b2bTRIBE v2 > winter/spring 2015  

The second volume of a Charlotte-area magazine for and by small business owners and entrepreneurs

b2bTRIBE v2 > winter/spring 2015  

The second volume of a Charlotte-area magazine for and by small business owners and entrepreneurs