Friday, April 30, 2010

South Florida Small Business Spotlight: Nebcreations

This week’s spotlight is on a South Florida graphic designer, Nebcreations.  Remember to share with your friends and associates and let them know about this local small business!  Also, if you know of a Miami or South Florida small business that should be spotlighted, feel free to let me know at:

Small Business Spotlight: Nebcreations

On Facebook: Nebcreations Fanpage

What is your business name?


How long have you been in business?

A year and a half

What industries do you serve?

We are open to serving anyone who needs graphic/web design work

What motivated you to start your own business?

I was motivated to start my own business because I wanted to give other designers and marketers straight out of college an opportunity to showcase their skills. I also had a strong desire to give back to the community doing something I truly loved to do, which is graphic design work.

If there is one aspect of your business that sets you apart, what would it be?

The thing that sets us apart is our friendly and dedicated customer service team. We stand by our customers every step of the way throughout the designing process, and give them continual feedback and updates on their projects. Our high quality designs is also something that sets us apart.

What is your favorite part about owning a business?

My favorite part about owning a business is the fact that I can be my own boss. It has allowed me to follow my dream and passion of becoming a graphic designer.

Who is your ideal client/customer?

Our ideal client/ customer are non-profit organizations, and other small businesses.

What is something that you have learned as a small business owner that could assist other small businesses?

As a small business owner, I have learned that having a good team by your side really makes a difference in the running of a business. People that are passionate and friendly, and work hard for our customers is key to the success of any business.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your business?  What is it?

In our business, we make it a point to work with all of our clients on a one-to-one basis. It is a goal of ours to show excellent customer service to our clients. In the future, we also hope to begin offering internships to other designers, marketers, and individuals in the field of management. We want to help out others by offering them more experience, so that they can go ahead and have a better and brighter future.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

LinkedIn Conversation: What are the greatest challenges facing your small business?

In addition to giving small business owners access to information and networking events, one of the goals of this blog is to create a forum for discussion for small business owners.  In order to facilitate this, I often ask questions of group members of the various LinkedIn groups I am a member of.  The responses vary, but I believe the questions allow small business owners to think about what they are doing and how they can improve.  This week I asked of the International Trade Network group: What are the greatest challenges facing your business?  I thought I would share my own response and another response that was give.  Share your thoughts and possible solutions in the comments section below.

Robert Rogers-

My great challenges that I am overcoming are creating connections and helping small businesses know and understand the value of having a small business attorney.  Connections are critical in any industry because that is what leads to ongoing business and improved word of mouth referrals.  The key efforts that I am making are in creating the appropriate environment when small business owners can see how I operate and what services I offer them.  Effectively and appropriately injecting myself into the conversation is critical.

Alexander Anisimov-

I guess it's establishing new contacts and moreover earning trust of the people you work with, because it requires time and patience. And of course, implementing the new deal at the very start is the most difficult. But if you've got the thing going it gets easier.

(Alexander runs a materials supply business.  For more information, click here.)

What challenges are you seeking to overcome?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

5 Ways to Research a New International Market for Small Business

Because technology and resources are making the globe smaller and smaller, small businesses need to consider options of expanding their operations internationally.  As with any new market, though, expanding internationally has its potential problems as well.  Here are 5 ways to research a new international market for your small business:

Follow the News-

You would be surprise to know how much you can learn about potential markets when you watch the news.  What countries are discussed and why?  Which countries are going through political changes or opening their doors?  Which businesses are moving into new regions and why?  To be successful in any market, it is critical to have as much information as possible.  As you follow the news, you can identify areas of interest and that will lead you to other areas of research.

Investigate Potential Local Competitors-

Once you hone in on a specific country or region that you think would be a future launch point, it is next important to research any potential competitors in that region.  Focus in on the local competitors.  What is their market share?  What are their relationships with government entities?  Do they maintain any cultural identifications with their local communities?  It is critical to learn what type of “home court advantage” businesses are given to know how best to compete in that market.

Seek Out Possible Partnering Opportunities-

Sometimes, operating internationally is much easier when you can find a local company to partner with.  Someone who knows the lay of the land and how to get access.  Also someone that may be more familiar to your clients/customers.  It is critical to research who you could work with when seeking to break in to a new market.  Pay attention to what their strengths and weaknesses are.  How can they assist your business?  Do the have the capacity to do what you need them to do?  Is there a good “personality fit”? Are they willing to take direction and protect interests?

Determine if Your Product/Services is Ready for That Market-

Just because something works where you are does not mean that that product will easily translate into a marketable item in a new country.  Research how interested those future customers/clients are in your type of good or service.  What type of client education is going to be necessary in order to alert them to the benefit of you product?  What potential culture pitfall might you run in to because of branding/product naming that should be prevented by adjustments.  May international companies run in to marketing issues because they don’t pay attention to meanings of translations and market needs in a new country.

Review Potential Government Compliance Issues-

Most importantly, you need to evaluate how you can legally do business in that respective country.  What is the filing requirement for an international company?  What restrictions do they have on foreign investment?  What potential real estate ownership issues might impact you?  How can you protect or license any intellectual property that may be important in that new venture?  What do you need to do in order to enforce contracts or protect your interests?  Which entities do you need to register with in order to do whatever you are planning on doing?  International regulatory concerns can be very problematic for a business owner and should be carefully evaluated and consulted in order to manage interests and expectations in the new market country.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

South Florida Small Business Events

Here are some of the upcoming international business events in the Miami and South Florida area:


Miami Herald: Business happenings around South Florida-

Here is the link to the Miami Herald’s list of weekly business events.


Latin Business Club of America: Networking Event-

Join Latin Business Club of America
for another fantastic
Networking Event
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
20 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami FL 33132
Where Flagler Meets Biscayne



Over $1000*  Cash Raffle and Prizes will be given away
Valet parking available: $10
Our last cash winner went home with almost $500

In 2009, we gave away over $15,000 in cash and prizes
*$1000 refers to the combined value of cash and prizes that will be given away

Latin Business Club of America
Networking Event

Joining us at our networking event will be:

The Doral and Airport West Chamber of Commerce
The Florida State Hispanic Chamber
Latin Chamber of Commerce of USA (Camacol)
Peruvian American Chamber of Commerce of Florida
American Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce
Panamanian American Chamber of Commerce


South Florida International Business Expo-

Business-to-Business Expo
Business-to-Business Trade Show – Free Seminars - Awesome Networking – Trading After-Hours

Organized & Supported by Members of the “Alliance to Promote International Trade”

INFO: Broward (954) 565-5750 Palm Beach County (561) 683-8414 Miami-Dade (305) 278-1811

or or Register to Exhibit @

or under Products & Services at


Broward County Chamber of Commerce, South Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Foreign Trade Association, World Trade Center Miami, Peruvian American Chamber of Commerce of South Florida, Bolivian Business Council, Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, Caribbean Trade Center, Chile U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Colombian American Chamber of Commerce, Costa Rican American Chamber of Commerce, Dominican American National Chamber of Commerce, Doral Business Council, Ecuadorian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Miami, El Salvador American Chamber of Commerce, Florida China Chamber of Commerce, Greater Miami Aviation Association, Hialeah Chamber of Comer & Industries, Nicaraguan American Chamber of Commerce, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce Miami, Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Broward County, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce Inter-American Chapter, Venezuelan American Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce, Enterprise Florida

TEAM EVENT – Together Everyone Achieves More

@ The Miami Free Zone

2305 NW 107th Avenue, Doral, FL 33172

Up To 300+ Exhibitors & 5,000+ Business Exec’s

International Trading After Hours
Business Expo: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

commemorating world trade week 2010

3:30pm – Seminars, Opening Ceremony & Business Expo, 8:30pm – Raffles, 9pm end of expo.

FREE ADMISSION with RSVP Below to Seminars & Expo Includes Hors d'oeuvres, Great Networking & much more!!!

Exhibitor Space Only

6Ft Table Exhibitor Package $175.00

Oversized VIP Exhibitor Space $350.00

Membership & Exhibitor Packages Include:

6 Ft. Table Expo Package, 1 Year South Florida/Broward County Chamber Membership, Free $295 Ad In the South Florida Business News Newspaper, A Tile Ad ($240 Value) for 90 days on, Full business listing in our 4 Color Referral Directory, Your Member Discount faxed and e-mailed to all members, Free Classified ad, Free Job Posting, Free Article Submission, Free Coupon ad, Free Professional Gallery Listing plus Much Much More……

ONLY $425.00* (Value $2,320) or OVERSIZED VIP Spot Only $625.00 (Value $2,995)

RSVP PLEASE __#Attending May 12th __Exhibitor Registration May 12th __Send Info RE: Below

Company Name __________________________________Contact Name___________________________________



___6Ft Table Exhibitor Package $175.00 ___Oversized VIP Exhibitor Package $350.00

_Pkg #1-6’ Package & 1 YR Membership $460* _Pkg #2 – Oversized VIP Exhibitor Spot & 1YR Membership $660.* *= Includes One Time $35 admin fee

_Check ck.#_____ Tot Amt $______ Electricity – $25 Extra Log Onto to register and pay on-line

__ MC,VISA,AE,DISC #__________________________________________________Exp. ________Sig._____________________________

Any refunds requested on this show will be honored towards future shows or advertising. No cash or credit card refunds. BCCC/SFCC is a 501 c 6 non-profit org.

Fax With Payment To (954) 566 - 3398
Or Mail to SFCC BCCC 2425 East Commercial Blvd. Ste 103, Fort Laud. FL 33308

81 Consecutive Sold-Out Trade Shows, Over 16,075 Exhibitors, Over 329,000 Attendees, Millions of Dollars in Transacted Business, Partnerships, Alliances, Contracts, New Customers, New Relationships, New Products!!

INFO: Broward County (954) 565 -5750 Palm Beach County (561) 683 - 8414 Miami-Dade County (305) 278 - 1811

Join the Broward County & South Florida Chamber of Commerce on Facebook by clicking here

Follow the Broward County & South Florida Chamber of Commerce on Twitter - Click thru on this link

For the next 30 days, all business owners in South Florida are entitled to one free job posting on the Broward County & South Florida Chamber of Commerce websites. Send the Job Offered Title and any description of this position and any contact information to

To see the 2009 Official Broward County Referral Directory on-line, log onto

To see the 2010-2011 Official South Florida Referral Directory on-line before it goes to the printer, log onto

To see the most current issue of the South Florida Business News Newspaper on-line, log onto


University of Miami: Multi-Chamber Networking Event-


Green Day Hialeah-



14th Annual Lawyers Strike Against Child Abuse Bowling Tournament-


We're Going Bowling!

Family Resource Center of South Florida Presents the

14th Annual Lawyers Strike Against Child Abuse

   Bowling Tournament

Saturday, June 12, 2010     

Registration 12:30pm

Tournament 1:00 pm


B o w l i n g  C e n t e r

9275 SW 40th St · MIAMI · 305.221.1221

Registration Fee                                        Limited Space!

$350 team/lane                                                    Live DJ

4 bowlers per lane                                    Raffle & Auction

includes shoes & lunch!                                                 


Questions, call (305) 960-5536

All proceeds to benefit:


bowling lanes

Monday, April 26, 2010

Educating the International Small Business Owner

Here are some interesting articles and blog posts for international small business owners:

The Global Small Business Blog: How to do Business in India-

This article discusses and links to some great resources if you are a small business owner interested in doing business in India.  It is always important to make sure you cover all your bases when entering in to a new market.

America’s Best Business Practices: What Color is Your Small Business?-

Here is an article that gives some insights into the “Green Revolution” and its impact on small businesses.

E-Zine Article: Two Million Jobs Are Coming to the United States-

Here is an article about the potential impacts of the Export Initiative of the White House.

Entrepreneur Daily Dose: Listening in on the President's Entrepreneurship Summit-

Here are some insights that will help small business owners understand the focus and direction of the President regarding entrepreneurship.

MoneyTalksNews: Five Steps to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business-

Small businesses often grow from a hobby or interest of a small business owner.  Here are some tips if this is something you are considering.

MyVenturePad: Do you blog for international business?-

Here are some tips about the role that blogging can play in marketing your international small business.

The Daily MBA: The Fun of Guest Posting-

Another way to promote your business/material is by guest posting on some other small business blog or forum.  Here are some reasons why it may help your small business.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Week In Review: Small Business Blog

Here is what we were talking about this week:

Small Firms Need a Healthcare Checkup as Laws Evolve

Robert Rogers’ Miami Herald article on the impact of Health Care Reform on Small Businesses.

International and Small Business Events in South Florida: Week of April 19, 2010

A sampling of events and resources that are on the horizon for Miami small businesses.

5 Ways to Improve Your Small Business Operations

Some times for all small business owners, start-ups and seasoned, that will help improve operations.

International Articles and Resources for Global Small Businesses

Some great places to go in order to get information for international small business success.

South Florida Small Business Spotlight: SOLUTIONS Insurance Services

This week’s Small Business Spotlight.


Enjoy and share!

South Florida Small Business Spotlight: SOLUTIONS Insurance Services

This week’s spotlight is on a South Florida insurance company, SOLUTIONS Insurance Services.  Remember to share with your friends and associates and let them know about this local small business!  Also, if you know of a Miami or South Florida small business that should be spotlighted, feel free to let me know at:


Small Business Spotlight: SOLUTIONS Insurance Services


What is your business name?

SOLUTIONS Insurance Services

How long have you been in business?

3 years, 4 months

What industries do you serve?

Not focused on any one industry – the partners in the business have significant experience in healthcare including private physician practice, hospital and insurance as well as wireless telecom and the non-profit sector.  Our commercial clients cover many industries including medial, video production, interior design, restaurant/bar and more.

What motivated you to start your own business?

To prove that excellent customer service could be provided in this field.

If there is one aspect of your business that sets you apart, what would it be?

We cover group and individual clients. For our business clients we have additional business support services including payroll processing, human resources and employee training and development.

What is your favorite part about owning a business?

The ability to adapt quickly to fit a customers need.

Who is your ideal client/customer?

Two – 1) Self employed individuals or individuals with families that need health coverage. 2) small businesses with 4 or more employees that would like to offer benefits as well as save money while doing so.

What is something that you have learned as a small business owner that could assist other small businesses?

Many small business owners do not realize the flexibility they have in offering employee benefits and the potential tax savings.  It’s possible to offer benefits to your employees with NO cost to you and potentially even with a tax savings.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your business?  What is it?

Contact Information: 

954-839-6375 or 800-928-7449 ext 1670

Thursday, April 22, 2010

International Articles and Resources for Global Small Businesses

Here are some places to get articles about international small business:

The Global Small Business Blog

Small Business CEO

25 Small Business Experts

The Entrepreneurial Mind

Go Global Without Waiting to Grow Up- Small Business Trends


Operating in the international environment can be difficult.  Listed below are some resources for global small businesses to use.  For more visit:

International Small Business Resources

CNN Money International Small Business Resource

IRS International Taxpayer Issues- Small Business

Guide for International Small Business- Import/Export International Small Business- Import/Export Guide

Wells Fargo International Small Business Banking Services

American Express International Small Business Resources

UPS Capital Program for International Small Business

Reuters International Small Business News

International Small Business Guide to International Dispute Resolution

Small Business Notes- International Trade Information

International Council for Small Business

International Small Business Finance Information

International Small Business Guide from My Own Business

International Small Business Resources from the European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship

SBA Export Finance Program for International Small Business

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

5 Ways to Improve Your Small Business Operations

Every small business wants to find more efficiencies, save on costs and thereby generate a greater profit.  Add your comments on things you think also help.  Here are 5 ways that a small business owner can improve their small business operations:

Establish a Plan

The first key to any sort of improvement is the lay out a plan.  Put it writing and spell it out clearly.  Planning can occur on many different levels and at many different times.  If your company has several areas of operation, you can address one issue at a time and therefore spread out your planning time.  Regardless of how you structure it, though, it is critical to create a plan for your operations.

Research Your Industry

It is critical to constantly educate yourself on what you are doing.  Take a look at your competitors.  What are they doing to be successful?  Why are they doing what are they doing?  What can you do better?  Also, take a look at businesses that started in your industry and then failed.  Why did that happen?  What did they do that lead to failure?  How does that compare with what you are doing?  Also, research the processes that you use in your business and compare those to similar industries and see what they do.

Measure Your Changes

For any plan to really be successful, you need to have a way of measuring success.  When you sit down and plan out the things that you will do to improve your operations, it is critical that you spell out how you are going to measure it.  What are you doing to track the changes?  Who is in charge of documenting the information?  What numbers are most important for you to see that the changes are working?  Make sure your plan comes with a way of evaluating it.

Re-evaluate Your Small Business

Always take time to go back to your original plan and re-evaluate the things that you are doing in your small business.  How have the circumstances changed?  What can we continue to improve?  What is working?  What should we discontinue?  This process of re-evaluation is enabled by effectively created metrics under your plan, as addressed above.  Always be willing to make adjustments to improve your business, but have a real reason for when you make those changes.

Delegate in Your Small Business

As much as is practicable in your business, assign tasks to other people either internally or via out-sourcing.  This becomes even more effective when you have a good handle on the talents of the individuals that you are using for delegated work.  If you know your employees well, you may be able to delegate some tasks, such as social media management, that might not normal fall under the purview of their responsibilities but that they have a great aptitude for.  The more you can maximize everyone’s efforts in the business the better your operations will be.


What are your thoughts?  Add you comment below:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Small Firms Need a Healthcare Checkup as Laws Evolve

Health care reform generated a lot of discussion and debate.  Now that the bill has passed, small business owners need to evaluate the impact that the new law will have on their operations.  Because of the importance of the issue, I wrote the following article for the Miami Herald.  What are your thoughts?

Miami Herald Article:

Friday, April 16, 2010

South Florida Small Business Spotlight: A Virtual Assistant 4 You

Each week, I spotlight a different small business with the intent of showcasing the variety of skills and opportunities that are presented in the small business community.  This is also to give small businesses a voice on their product/service as well as running a business.  For more questions or a request to be spotlighted, please send me an email at:

This week the spotlight is on: A Virtual Assistant 4 You.  One of the key elements of owning a small business is knowing how and when to outsource tasks to other people or businesses.  A Virtual Assistant 4 You assists other small businesses manage administrative tasks so that the business owner can focus their time on what they do best.  Learn more below:


What is your business name?

A Virtual Assistant 4 You - I help small business owners create more time in their day so they can make more money in their business.

How long have you been in business?

I have worked as a Virtual Assistant (VA) on a part-time basis for over 20 years for several clients.  I started my full-time VA business just over 1 year ago.

What industries do you serve?

My skill set can be applied to virtually any type of industry.  My clientele consists of:

  • Attorneys
  • Authors
  • Executive Business/ Personal Coaches
  • Freelance & Technical Writers
  • Motivational Speakers
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Personal Fitness Trainers
  • Retail Store Owners
  • Software Consultants
  • Etc.

What motivated you to start your own business?

As previously mentioned, I have worked part-time in my field for over 20 years.  I chose to follow my passion for a career I enjoy, and am now translating it into a full-time business.  I also wanted to have more freedom to create a more balanced life with my family.  I am able to work from home and devote quality time to my 5-year old son, Spencer.  Becoming an entrepreneur has been a very rewarding journey, on many levels. 

If there is one aspect of your business that sets you apart, what would it be?

I help entrepreneurs remove items off of their “To-Do” list, so they no longer have to spend nights and weekends just managing the “busy work” of their business.  They can stay focused strictly on the long-term growth and success for their business.  I provide my own office space, equipment and software.  My clients pay me strictly for the time I work for them, which is 100% productive time.  When clients work with me, they have a sense of having a partner in their business. I help them by managing their administrative workload and I provide them with ideas and strategies for their business they may not have thought of themselves.  I offer a presentation titled “10 Benefits of Working with A Virtual Assistant 4 You” on the front page of my website at

What is your favorite part about owning a business?

I enjoy the fact that I can be in charge of creating my own marketing ideas. Being able to express myself through the messages I share on my blog and my website has been most rewarding.  My business actually reflects who I am and what I love to do.  I also love that I run my business out of my home office, so I no longer feel like I am “wasting time” driving back and forth to an office each day, and I am able to cut costs on fuel.  I can’t wait to start working every morning and the fact that I can sip on my coffee in my robe and slippers and craft a blog post is very appealing.

Who is your ideal client/customer?

My ideal client is typically a small business entrepreneur or “solo”preneur who works from their home office.  They know they need an assistant, but they don’t have additional office space, extra equipment and software.  I provide all of these items with my service.  A client may have a need for someone to assist them on an “as needed” basis or for a set amount of hours each month, and they pay strictly for the time I work them.

What is something that you have learned as a small business owner that could assist other small businesses?

I would suggest to other small business owners to never stop marketing.  Although you may feel you have enough clients in the “pipeline”, you want to continue to find creative ways to market your business.  I offer my services to clients to assist with that process, so it doesn’t feel like a never-ending task.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your business?  What is it?

I work with clients who either are perfectly capable to manage their workload, but simply don’t have the time and/or clients who don’t enjoy or know how to manage their administrative workload.  Either way, I can help.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

LinkedIn Conversations: What is the Most Effective Way to Market an International Business?

Effective marketing is critical for any business but can be especially nuanced for small businesses that operate internationally.  Here are small business tips from the latest LinkedIn conversation:

What is the most effective way to market an international business?

(From the International Business group on LinkedIn)

From Glynis Ross-Munro:

I've done a lot of international marketing (and taught it) for a niche market (ultra precision engineering). You have to be culturally fluent, very internet savvy, good at written communication and have excellent CRM skills. You live and die by your passion for your CRM system.
Trust and networking don't need face-to-face interactions. They need time, integrity, my-word-is-my-bond (but check the numbers and follow up), patience and (again) cultural fluency. They need a lot of thought about what constitutes meaning and value for "the other guy." (These days I teach cultural fluency and communication across distances and differences too.)
Another important issue is that networking with international business and economies or cultures can be done with someone who is almost your next door neighbor. I spend about a third of my year's work on and similar unpaid projects, bringing together binationals from the megaregion where I live, building connections and creating opportunities for people to learn how to work together. The global economy is merely a series of circuits of connection - marketing means climbing on to these circuits in ways that fit the needs of others, and delivering what people need, effectively, sustainably and in a differentiated, valuable way.
:) Glynis

From John Papathanassiou:

I agree with most of your comments. But, there are regions/trerritories in this global marketplace that do require face to face meeting, especially in some of the devoloping regions of the globe. Maybe not immediately, but you will reach a point in the relationship that the face-to-face meeting is a must. This will help reinforce "my-word-is-my-bond" and able you to explore other products, markets, and services in that territory.

From Glynis Ross-Munro:

Hi John
I agree completely. In some cultures, business will never happen until you have eaten together, and in others, there is simply no way forward without spending time together.
It's also a question of the the difference between marketing and sales. You can create awareness of your products and services, build your brand etc in many long-distance ways, but a significant sale often depends on a more powerfully immediate demonstration of your claims of quality and service, and proof that you consistently act in a way that creates value and deserves trustworthiness.
In diffuse and collectivist cultures, that really means face-to-face.
In parts of Africa, that is still the only possible way to do business.
Nevertheless, I have sold millions of dollars of equipment to people I have never met, even from Far Eastern cultures, through patient, ethical communication and consistent responsiveness, with reliable and helpful information. This was within a recognized brand, but it was very interesting to watch how the nature of business changed (letters of credit becoming unsecured simple bank transfers etc).
Marketing means different things in different cultures, but one thing that always amazes me is how quickly people find out who is trustworthy and who isn't. The world is a very small global village where reputation is concerned. :)glynis

From John Papathanassiou:

Well put and very insightful.
All the best,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

5 Ways to Get New Clients/Customers

Every business owner knows how important it is to constantly feed the stream of clients or customers they are doing business with.  Here are five tips that, if diligently followed, will help your business increase in clients or customers.

1) Provide Good Service/Good Products

First and foremost, you really need to provide a product that people want.  Providing good service or a good product will do two things with current clients/customers: First, it will keep them interested and they will return for more services.  Second, they will share their positive experience with friends and neighbors in similar situations and refer your services.  Existing clients can be some of the best marketers for your business, so it is critical that you provide them with as many great experiences as possible.

2) Create a Buzz

There are many ways to get people to talk about what you do or produce.  More traditional forms of working with traditional media can be beneficial in many instances.  Uses services like HARO and research local news organizations or industry journals in order to find opportunities to contribute on topics of interest.  Respond to those areas and issues that fit your circumstances and comment in articles that match your expertise.  Also, there are many opportunities to use new media like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to manage and increase the conversation about your products.  The most important elements of creating buzz are persistence and a little luck.  Stay the course and you find ways to generate interest in your product.

3) Talk to People

It is key to take advantage of every chance you get to tell people about your products or services.  Consistent communication with service providers or former clients will keep your business on their minds.  Talk about what you do at dinner parties, networking events and trade shows.  The more people you can speak with about your services, the more likely you are able to receive new clients or referrals.  Go to lunch with other people, seek out opportunities to meet new people and then talk with everyone that you can.  You never know who might be interested in what you do.

4) Get Exciting

For all of the above ideas to really work, you have to be excited and exciting.  If you are passionate about what you do or provide, people are going to be more likely to listen.  Otherwise, all of the above run the risk of coming off as annoying or pushy.  If you are enthusiastic about what you do and what you provide to others, that enthusiasm will rub off on them and they will be more interested in what you do.  They will want to learn more.  Some will turn into clients.  Others will spread that enthusiasm to others.  Get excited about what you do, be exciting to others and you will see increases in clients/customers.

5) Follow-up

Finally, it is necessary to follow up with people.  If you say that you will do something/contact them, then do it.  Some client or customer relationships make take several months/years to develop, but if you stay on top of the relationship, they often turn in to great client relationships.  The more ways you create opportunities to follow-up, the better able you are to track the effectiveness of all your efforts to get new clients.  Create benchmark/action items for each person that you speak with to track how you will follow-up.  Consistency in all of the above will create opportunities to gain more clients.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Miami and South Florida Business Events

Here are some upcoming event for South Florida and Miami-area businesses.  If you know of other events that should be listed, please let me know:

Miami Herald Event List-

The Miami Herald outlines upcoming events at the above linked page.

March of Dimes Happy Hour-



Colombian Chamber of Commerce Event:


The Colombian American Chamber of Commerce in Miami, cordially invite you to participate in EXPOCOLOMBIA that will be held in Miami April 23rd, 24th and 25th of  2010.

Pre-screened business-to-business meetings will take place Friday April 23rd from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.. All meetings are free of charge for U.S. counterparts, but appointments are required. To schedule your one-to-one appointments with the visiting delegation, contact Juliana Figueroa at 305-4249128 or


The Organization of Women in International Trade Event:

The Organization of Women in International Trade
(OWIT- South Florida)
The National Association of Women Business Owners
The Professional Black Book Club
Nicole Shelley Models by The One On One Group
(International Business Networking)
April 28, 2010
Viceroy Miami
Club 50
485 Brickell Avenue,
Miami Florida 33131
Welcome Drink
Hors d'oeuvres
Business Networking
followed by
After Hours Beauty Bar
Light Entertainment
Informal Modeling
Door Prizes
Business Image Stylists
Gift bags and more....
Music by
Saxophone Player, Andrea
Dress Code: Business Chic
$10 members
$20 non members


Miami Finance Forum Event:



Center for Hemispheric Policy Mexico Event:


Mexico: Opportunities for Change


Gabriel Casillas

Chief Economist, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Mexico City

Luis Rubio

Chairman, Center of Research for Development (CIDAC), Mexico City;

Co-Chair, “Mexico Under Calderón” Task Force

Manuel Suárez-Mier

Economist in Residence, School of International Service, American University; Washington, D.C.;

Former Representative of Mexico’s Attorney General in the United States, Embassy of Mexico

This event is generously underwritten by the Tinker Foundation


Supporting Organizations:  Georgetown University Club of Miami, Miami Council for International Visitors, Oxford University Society and US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce

Media Partners:  AméricaEconomía, Hispanic Target Magazine, Latin Business Chronicle, LATIN TRADE, LatinFinance

and Mercado de Dinero

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Location:  JW Marriott Hotel

                 1109 Brickell Avenue

Time: 8:00-8:15 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

           8:15-9:45 a.m.  Presentations and Discussion

Program Fee:  $30; Academics and students – free admission with valid ID

Registration: By email to or by fax at (305) 284-9871.

Payment:  Please make check payable to Center for Hemispheric Policy. Mail check with registration form to: Center for Hemispheric Policy; P.O. Box 248297; Coral Gables, FL 33124-6535.

Cancellation policy: By email, fax or telephone, before 12:00 noon, Monday, April 19, 2010

For more information, please call Patricia Salinas at (305) 284-3707, or visit our website at .


Broward County Chamber of Commerce Expo:


I wanted to let you know that I am one of the speakers tomorrow at this event! 

*7:30 pm - 8:00 pm (Palm Theater): Law of Attraction Marketing & Client Manifestation Tactics with Coach Evie

Grow Your Business Seminar

Program at the South Florida

Chamber of Commerce Expo

April 13.

When You RSVP the event is FREE!!!!!


Listen to 18 Speakers for FREE!!!

"Grow Your Business Seminar at

South Florida / Broward County Chamber of
Commerce Expo


WHEN:                April 13 (Tuesday), 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM

WHERE:              Embassy Suites Hotel in Boca, 661 NW 53rd

                            Boca Raton FL, 33487

HOW MUCH:       Free*

(Only when you  RSVP with the link in this email, otherwise $10)


RSVP with this link and save the $10 admission fee and attend at NO COST as
our guest (but you must RSVP).
EXPO SEMINAR SCHEDULE - 2 Tracks to Choose From:

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm: Check-in

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm (Palm Theater): Take the Stress Out! The Fastest
& Easist Technique to Reduce Stress in Your Business & Personal Life

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm (St Croix): Alternative Financing Options for
Small Businesses in Today's Economy by Palm Beach Small Business Development
Center (SBDC)

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm (Palm Theater): Keys to Successful Networking in
this Economy

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm (St Croix): SBA Programs & Services presented by
the Small Business Administration

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm (Palm Theater): Financial Solutions for Business
4:30 pm - 5:00 pm (St Croix): Top 10 mistakes Businesses Make When
Taking Credit Cards + 12 Requirements to be "PCI Compliant"

5:00 pm - 5:30 pm (Palm Theater): Simple Ways to Maintain Your
Health, Work & Life Balance

5:00 pm - 5:30 pm (St Croix): "Mindstorming, Networking & Referral
Session" for Women from the Chamber's NEW Women's Division(5-6pm)

5:30 pm - 6:00 pm (Palm Theater):

How to Increase Your Staff Productivity and Get 40 Hours of Work for 40 Hours of Pay

5:30 pm - 6:00 pm (St Croix): continued..."Mindstorming,
Networking & Referral Session" for Women from the Chamber's NEW Women's
Division (5-6pm)

6:00 pm - 6:30 pm (Palm Theater): How to Win US Federal Government
Contracts for Your Small Business

6:00 pm - 6:30 pm (St Croix): Globalization: The Future of
Business (and how you can cash in)

6:30 pm - 7:00 pm (Palm Theater): How to Turn Ideas Into Businesses
in 1 Day

6:30 pm - 7:00 pm (St Croix): 7 Benefits of Creating a Corporate
Wellness Program for Your Business

7:00 pm - 7:30 pm (Palm Theater): Getting Started with Online
Marketing and Social Media for Business

7:00 pm - 7:30 pm (St Croix): Healthy Life = Healthy Business.
Tips on Business & Health Success from a Doctor in Business. PLUS Live Q & A
with a Board Certified Doctor. $2,000 in Raffles.

*7:30 pm - 8:00 pm (Palm Theater): Law of Attraction Marketing &
Client Manifestation Tactics with Coach Evie

7:30 pm - 8:00 pm (St Croix): Running a Service Business in This
Economy presented by the Palm Beach SBDC

8:00 pm - 8:30 pm (Palm Theater): "Game Theory" & Entrepreneurship

Attend some or all, but be sure to check out the exhibitors at the EXPO 
while you're there!
The Seminars are packed with information and NOT sales pitches. All seminars
will start ON-TIME and are 30 minutes in length. We, along with the South
Florida / Broward County Chamber of Commerce are committed to helping you
grow your business and enhance your professional skills.
RSVP Now to get your ticket emailed to you so you can Attend Free:


Monday, April 12, 2010

Reading About Business:

There is a lot of good content for business owners.  Here are some entries to check out.  If you have any suggestions, feel free to add a comment-

Best Biz Practices- The Entrepreneurial Journey

Learn about another entrepreneur journey and developing their business.

E-zine- International Marketing and Advertising Translation - The Top 20 Blunders, Mistakes and Failures

Learning from others mistakes and ensuring that we do not make them again is good medicine for any small business.  Check out this article on some classic international marketing blunders.

Entrepreneur Magazine- Daily Dose: Marketing, Board Members and Online Documents

Here is a list of resources for small business owners.  Help for your small business can come in many ways.  These are good places to start for marketing and leadership assistance.

Social Media for Hispanic Small Businesses

Everyone talks about the positives and negatives of social media for small business.  Here is a post that addresses social media in a cultural context.

My Venture Pad- Word of Mouth the Magic Miracle?

What type of word of mouth buzz are you creating for your small business?

The Small Business Advisor- Protect your Intellectual Property

Intellectual property can be a critical element to businesses of any size.  What is your small business doing to ensure that it is protected.

The Daily MBA- Five Reasons Why You Need the Media

A good PR campaign can go a long way to generate interest in your small business.  Make friends with the media.  If you can make their life easier, they will work wonders for your business.

BusinessWeek- Social Networking Tips from Kindergarten

Get tips on using basic principles to succeed in a social media campaign.

Friday, April 9, 2010

South Florida Small Business Spotlight: Pati Vargas Entertainment

Each week, I spotlight a different small business with the intent of showcasing the variety of skills and opportunities that are presented in the small business community.  This is also to give small businesses a voice on their product/service as well as running a business.  For more questions or a request to be spotlighted, please send me an email at:

This week, the spotlight is on Pati Vargas Entertainment.  Look for them to help out with your next event or promotion. Enjoy getting to know the company!

What is your business name?


How long have you been in business?

3 1/2 YEARS

What industries do you serve?


What motivated you to start your own business?


If there is one aspect of your business that sets you apart, what would it be?


What is your favorite part about owning a business?


Who is your ideal client/customer?


What is something that you have learned as a small business owner that could assist other small businesses?


Is there anything else that you would like to share about your business?  What is it?


Thursday, April 8, 2010

LinkedIn Conversations: What is Your Greatest Asset in International Business?

Each week I will start a different conversation in a LinkedIn group about a topic of use for small business owners.  I will post the responses to that conversation here in the blog with links to the contributors.  Often it is in the conversation that we get the solutions we need for our business.  Below is the first conversation:

What is your greatest asset in international business?

(From the International Business group on LinkedIn)

From Atacan Arica-

I would like to use couple of bullet points for this question. I would assume that people commenting after me will change the priority of my list with their own experiences...
1) Language abilities well enough to understand the minute details of proper wording & correct translation in the context.
2) Great understanding of the culture/country/history of the colleagues that you are dealing with. Understanding of their "National Pride" factor.
3) Understanding of the business customs and how it is conducted (office table or dinner table) as well as time management expectations-a New York minute is different than New Delhi minute.
4) Understanding of how the management decisions are made and who makes them. How do they say "no" to you or to your business endeavor. Different management styles (American, European or Eastern) will yield different results.
5) Finally: Patience.
Hope this helps.

Response from Ursula Pfahl-

Excellent list of attributes required for success in doing business internationally.

Response from Lionel Frey-

Well said. The cultural aspect cannot be understated. There are so many varying customs when it comes to things like even presenting a business card to friends in other countries that it really pays to make an effort in understanding those nuances even prior to beginning building relations in those markets. Recent experiences in both Brazil and India show marked differences in certain aspects, while some other aspects seem more universal.
A deeper understanding of those customs results in more trust built, which inevitably leads to stronger opportunities for business.

Response from Jay Banerjee-

All contributors correctly state the key factors. On how to ensure success and grow your business in the particular region depends (depending on the nature of the business), on having a trusted, dependable and well-respected local partner, or presence. Many failures and financial misadventures are attributable to either a lack of it or the determination to develop the local foothold over time, as a Global Company doing business locally. Would you agree?

Response from Eric Delarue-

To what Robert said, I would add
6/ Respect: Too often would-be exporters treat their overseas clients as second rate customer, i.e "we should do business the way we do it here in the U.S"
7/ Understanding that " I am interested " in China does NOT mean " I am interested" in Germany, i.e the ability to interpret the same business statement across various business cultures

Response from Atakan Arica-

I would agree with you that it is crucial to have a local trusted partner and It should be cultivated over time as you stated.
Market entry strategies (as well as exit strategies) will be different based on your product/service and usually needs to be modified for the local tastes/needs. A competent partner is certainly valuable to work with customization as well as creating the backbone infrastructure for the local human talent management for expanded operations. A steady pipeline of qualified personnel with the right management team will create the necessary sustainable operations and hopefully the profits as well. Local operators can also mitigate the political risk as well as the unfortunate corruption in certain environments.
My last paragraph sounds very cliche but I have met many successful & and smart operators that did not subscribed this simple plan & in return, they lost their sizable investments in foreign countries.

Response from Arthur Michael Devine-

My best asset is understanding people. This helps overcome all barriers.

Response from Marty Gofberg-

My best assets is the ability to communicate and help parties and stakeholders in conflict come to a equitable solution that is durable and long lasting. The tricky part is the turning those assets into viable business revenue,
Hence the reason for this social networking site and the ability to connect with so many potential consumers of dispute resolution services worldwide.
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of service.
Kindest regards to all !
Marty Gofberg

Response from Joe C. Burke-

I would add: a nonstop, proactive effort to understand the cultural and business practices of each country in which you would operate. Also, a concerted effort to learn how to pronounce and remember, names. It is a great insult to mispronounce someone's name in many cultures.

Response from B. Lee Jones-

Understanding...the people, their culture and their language. Being multi-lingual has always opened many doors for me in business.

Response from Dirk Seggelmann-

I believe to summarize, it comes down to exactly the two success factors that matter most in any business: Information and Communication
You need to not only be able to speak to people in their native language, but also be able to know what they truly understand when you say something. If you consider information not a product, but a human process of interpretation, I think you are on the right way to get inside the business and the people in the foreign country.
I know this might be a rather academic or philosophical rather than practical approach, I find it an important perspective nonetheless that should help you formulate the questions that you should be asking your future partners/customers in the foreign country.
Good luck,

Response from John Papathanassiou-

I like Lee Jones' response. It is straight to the point and accurate. I would have also included patience, lots of patience, as well.
In working the international marketplace, do not be rushed. Learn the ground rule well and quickly, because each country/region/territory has its own idiosyncrasies.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

5 Ways to Improve Your Contracts

Every small business owner should have a good handle on what is in each of their contracts and should play some role in their development.  The reason for this is that contracts can play an important role in shaping the nature of the business that is performed.  Here are five “c’s” to focus on while developing your contracts.  Feel free to add any suggestions that you may have in the comments:

1) Clarity

Make sure that you and whomever you are contracting with understand the nature and the terms of the contract.  While it is relatively simple these days to purchase or download template contracts for your small business, it does not necessarily mean that they will be a clear outline of what the two parties are planning on doing.  For a contract to be truly effective, it needs to be clear.

2) Conversation

Take the time to discuss with the necessary parties what everyone thinks their role and others’ roles are in the agreement.  A contract, in essence, is the written summation of what the parties agree their roles and responsibilities are.  Talk about it.  Negotiate it.  Make sure everyone understands what they should do and what others expect.

3) Consistency

Contracts are much easier to manage if you establish a level of consistency in each transaction.  While each deal is different, there are many similarities from deal to deal.  The more consistency you can create, the easier your job is.

4) Cooperation

Too many people feel like business needs to be dog-eat-dog.  Real, meaningful business is about relationships.  Work hard to establish those relationships and then use any agreement to maintain that.  Work together to build consensus on what the business relationship will be.  Create opportunities to succeed and be reasonable with mistakes.  We all make them.

5) Cohesiveness

At the end of the day, it is important to make sure that your agreements work together.  This can mean across deals (duties and responsibilities in one contract should not conflict with duties and responsibilities in another contract) as well as within a specific contract.  Make sure that there is harmony in the work that you are doing and there is less likelihood of difficulty.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Impact of Values in a Cross Cultural Business Context

Included below is an interesting article about business, values and international transactions.  Most of the principles about these interrelationships and connections internationally actually have direct application in the work that you do locally.  Miami, where I practice and live, is a very cosmopolitan place with numerous cultures and values represented.  Because business is fundamentally about creating and maintaining effective relationships, it is critical to know the values and background of those with whom you are interacting.  This occurs both locally and internationally.  Here are some great insights about that process:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Partners for Self Employment Small Business Seminar:

I will be teaching at the following event-








Business Entity Workshop Outline:

I. Title

a. “Understanding Florida Business Entities”

II. Discussion items

a. What are my options for business structuring in Florida?

b. What are the general tax consequences of each business entity?

c. How will each business entity protect my personal assets?

d. Learn how to use company structure to create flexibility in ownership.

e. How can I structure my business to prepare for future success and growth?

f. How can I change my entity if a different one is a better fit for my company structure?

g. Review concerns specific to small and emerging businesses regarding entity setup.

III. Sidebar Items

a. Develop a general understanding of business entities in the state of Florida

b. Gain valuable information from an attorney about how to use the Florida business entities.

c. Due to limited seating please RSVP:

d. When: April 7 2010

e. 7pm-8:45pm

f. Where: 3000 Biscayne Blvd. Ste. 215, Miami, FL 33137




Thursday, April 1, 2010

Taking Your Small Business International

Below is a link from that explains some of the things that small business need to consider when exploring international expansion.  The article gives a good breakdown of the different types of international work that a small business can get involved in as well as lists some good resources to consider.   A key element to consider when reviewing this resources is a proper evaluation of capacity and understanding of potential markets.  These pointers address legal issues in international business generally, but each country and market will present distinct ways of operating and challenges to success.  Enjoy the article.

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