The Small Business Leadership Dilemma

by Mark Johnson

President of Xtrii, and Global Technology Advisor

Mark Johnson is a global technology advisor with more than 30 years of successful business results. His experience includes roles as a global Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and innovative, business leader for organizations ranging from $15 Billion+ and 100,000+ employees, to small, fast-paced, rapid-growth companies. Mark currently serves as President of Xtrii (www.Xtrii.com), an executive-level, technology consulting firm that works with C-level executives to provide proven technology leaders that help them address their most pressing technology challenges and risks. He has worked with companies to achieve extraordinary success that is globally recognized for technology excellence, such as the 4-time repeat winner of the national award for the best Information Technology organization, the national “Innovator of the Year” award, and Microsoft’s “Global Technology Innovation” award. Mark has been featured in Bloomberg Business Week, Computerworld Magazine, CIO Magazine, and many other national publications. He is a frequent keynote speaker and technology advisor on how companies can best leverage technology for optimal business outcomes.

A common challenge for small businesses is finding the right leadership resources for key roles. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

Topics: Technology

Austin: A Great Place to Start a Business

by Kathy Tremmel

Tremmel Law

Kathy Tremmel has significant experience both as a business attorney and corporate executive. Her career spans both legal practice and business management and she opened her own solo law practice in January 2010. In additional to running her own practice, she also is of Counsel with Selman, Munser & Lerner, which is a business transaction law firm in Austin, Texas. Ms. Tremmel has more than 10 years’ experience as a business attorney, providing transactional legal services to a diverse client base, from start-up ventures to well established companies. She helps companies with all their contracts, including customer agreements, non-compete agreements, employment agreements, buy-sell agreements, loans, and leases, helps people set up new businesses, and represents buyers and sellers of businesses. In addition, Ms. Tremmel has 10 years of management experience working with start-up companies. As VP of Operations at Tusker Group, an international litigation support company, Ms. Tremmel led international teams, managed production and quality issues, handled price negotiations, worked closely with clients to determine the scope of their projects, provided project management services, and developed, implemented and documented best practices for processing and training. Ms. Tremmel earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Colorado School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College. She is a Texas licensed attorney and a certified Project Management Professional.

The startup atmosphere in Austin, Texas is considered the best in the United States, according to Inc.com’s article on surge cities. The article cites the reasonable cost of living, loads of sunshine, well-educated people, the “Live Music Capital of the World” and the city’s fun streak as reasons people flock to Austin. The city is growing four times faster than most of Silicon Valley, drawing talent and startups from all over the country.

Get in the zone: Investing in Qualified Opportunity Zones

by Mark Puzdrak

CPA

Mark Puzdrak is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with more than 13 years of professional experience helping small to medium-sized businesses with their tax and accounting needs including individual, corporate, and partnership income tax returns along with business and individual tax planning. Mark is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Texas and Pennsylvania. He earned both of his bachelor of arts degrees in accounting and finance from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. Mark is committed to delivering tax and planning services that meet each client's unique objectives with a focus on services for small to medium-sized businesses as well as clients in the Real Estate, Manufacturing, Entertainment, and Professional Services industries. Mark lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Kelly. He enjoys reading biographies, visiting small Texas towns, and the occasional scotch and cigar.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) created a new opportunity for business owners and taxpayers with capital gains to shield taxes on those gains if the investment is made into a Qualified Opportunity Zone.

Does your business have the right infrastructure in place?

by Jan Triplett

Business Success Center

Jan Triplett, Ph.D. is the CEO of the Business Success Center (BSC), a City of Austin certified green business, that provides sales and financial growth strategies, planning, and implementation. She is also a professor in Business and Professional Skills for the online MBA program at Mary Baldwin University. Triplett is a national and international speaker, author of A Networker’s Guide to Success and co-author of Thinking Big, Staying Small and Easy to be Green. She published The Networker ” magazine for over ten years and moderated KUT radio’s nationally syndicated program, “The Next 200 Years”. She was co-creator of the award-winning “City Management Academy” and the “Owners MBA” and co-founded the Entrepreneurs’ Association Hatchery incubator and accelerator. She is a small business activist. She served as a White House Conference on Small Business and Congressional Summit delegate, served on the Mayor’s Task Force on International Infrastructure, initiated the Northcross IBIZ District and recommended portions of Austin’s Big Box Ordinance. She was a founder of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas and the Greater Austin International Coalition. The SBA honored her as Texas’ Small Business Advocate. She has also earned her CBTAC and Director credentials. Her company received a Small Business Administration (SBA) five-star national award and the Austin Business Journal named it a top 20 management consulting firm.

When it comes to running a business, too much infrastructure is a waste; so is too little. In either case, it’s tough to maintain stability in uncertain times and grow when the time is right without the right supports in place.

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The Stock Market in 2019: Are you trading or investing?

by Dave Sather

Sather Financial Group

Dave Sather is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and President of the Sather Financial Group, Inc. Sather Financial Group is a $400 million “fee-only” wealth management firm based in Victoria. Sather Financial is ranked as one of the top independent wealth management firms in the country according to Financial Advisor Magazine. Dave was raised in El Paso, received his B.A. in Business Management from Texas Lutheran University and received his M.B.A. from Texas A&M University. He has spent the past twenty years in the financial analysis, investment and banking industries. Dave is an adjunct professor in the business program at Texas Lutheran University. Additionally, Dave is a director of Business Bank of Texas as well as the Chairman of the Finance and Investments Committee for the Brownson Children’s Home and is a member of the Executive Advisory Council at Texas Lutheran University. He resides in Victoria, Texas.

Between December 3rd and the 24th the stock market fell more than 15%. The headlines were bold:

“US stocks log worst year since 2008.”

“Worst December stock performance since 1931.”

“Worst Christmas Eve performance ever!”

“Corporate Profit Crunch Looms.”

One person I know liquidated their entire portfolio December 23rd exclaiming they analyzed the “charts” and everything was going down. They added that a recession was guaranteed to happen in 2020. The media chimed in with unending dramatization on the end of times as we know it.

The Strategy Behind Selling Your Business, part two: preparing to sell

by Kathy Tremmel

Tremmel Law

Kathy Tremmel has significant experience both as a business attorney and corporate executive. Her career spans both legal practice and business management and she opened her own solo law practice in January 2010. In additional to running her own practice, she also is of Counsel with Selman, Munser & Lerner, which is a business transaction law firm in Austin, Texas. Ms. Tremmel has more than 10 years’ experience as a business attorney, providing transactional legal services to a diverse client base, from start-up ventures to well established companies. She helps companies with all their contracts, including customer agreements, non-compete agreements, employment agreements, buy-sell agreements, loans, and leases, helps people set up new businesses, and represents buyers and sellers of businesses. In addition, Ms. Tremmel has 10 years of management experience working with start-up companies. As VP of Operations at Tusker Group, an international litigation support company, Ms. Tremmel led international teams, managed production and quality issues, handled price negotiations, worked closely with clients to determine the scope of their projects, provided project management services, and developed, implemented and documented best practices for processing and training. Ms. Tremmel earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Colorado School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College. She is a Texas licensed attorney and a certified Project Management Professional.

This article is Part 2 of a two-part series focusing on selling your business. Read part one here.

An estimated 70% of the businesses listed for sale do not close. It takes significant planning and preparation to successfully exit a business. The more transparent you are about any major business decisions, the more likely you are to build trust with a potential buyer. This can, in turn, result in obtaining a better price for your business. There is no guarantee that the right buyer will be interested in buying your business when you want to sell it, but here are some practical steps you can take to better position your business for sale.

How to manage employee schedules during the holidays

by Kay Oder

Insperity

Kay Oder has owned six companies, has been a resource to thousands to businesses and brought solutions to help business owners minimize risk, improve business performance and navigate today’s highly regulated and complex “business of being an employer”.

Today, Kay uses the insights gained throughout her career as a speaker, business owner and business advisor. Audiences enjoy her candid, informed perspective on HR related topics as well as her razor-sharp southern wit.

Kay is also a Certified Business Performance Advisor with Insperity, the $2.6 billion business performance solutions provider she has called home since 1993. Kay has consistently been among the company’s top producers during her 20 plus years with the organization, earning Insperity’s highest honors, including the Top Volume, Circle of Excellence and the Chairman’s Club awards.

Prior to Insperity, Kay was the President and Co-founder of Texas Valve Specialists, a supplier in the oil and gas industry. She has also owned companies in the construction, demolition, machining and promotional apparel arenas. She spent four years as a client of Insperity and upon selling her last venture, joined the Insperity team.

From an early age Kay demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, beginning at age six when she sold cantaloupes from her parents’ front yard, which she offered three for fifty-cents, with a free puppy.

Kay and her husband, Dale, relocated to Austin from the Houston area in 1996 when a theft occurred in their family: their granddaughter was born and stole their hearts, so they had to follow.

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2016 revenues of $2.9 billion, Insperity operates in 61 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.

The holiday season can bring a host of social gatherings, gift exchanges and visits with family and friends. While these things make this “the most wonderful time of the year” for many people, they can create a dilemma for businesses, leaving workplaces sparse or with sidetracked employees.

To avoid a lull in productivity, employers may consider implementing the following tips this holiday season:

Topics: Human Resources

Final exam time: Are you a crammer or a planner?

by Mark Puzdrak

CPA

Mark Puzdrak is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with more than 13 years of professional experience helping small to medium-sized businesses with their tax and accounting needs including individual, corporate, and partnership income tax returns along with business and individual tax planning. Mark is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Texas and Pennsylvania. He earned both of his bachelor of arts degrees in accounting and finance from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. Mark is committed to delivering tax and planning services that meet each client's unique objectives with a focus on services for small to medium-sized businesses as well as clients in the Real Estate, Manufacturing, Entertainment, and Professional Services industries. Mark lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Kelly. He enjoys reading biographies, visiting small Texas towns, and the occasional scotch and cigar.

As we move through December, students will start taking final exams.  Think back to your school days; were you a crammer or a planner? Imagine studying and preparing all year for an exam on material that is completely new to you. You are told you can study for twelve months and the exam will begin after a one month wait. This is the situation we find ourselves in with the new tax law. The time for studying will end this month, and after about another month to approve tax forms, update tax software, and provide tax information, the final exam will begin. Will you receive a passing grade on your tax return exam?

Protecting your money ten years after Madoff

by Dave Sather

Sather Financial Group

Dave Sather is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and President of the Sather Financial Group, Inc. Sather Financial Group is a $400 million “fee-only” wealth management firm based in Victoria. Sather Financial is ranked as one of the top independent wealth management firms in the country according to Financial Advisor Magazine. Dave was raised in El Paso, received his B.A. in Business Management from Texas Lutheran University and received his M.B.A. from Texas A&M University. He has spent the past twenty years in the financial analysis, investment and banking industries. Dave is an adjunct professor in the business program at Texas Lutheran University. Additionally, Dave is a director of Business Bank of Texas as well as the Chairman of the Finance and Investments Committee for the Brownson Children’s Home and is a member of the Executive Advisory Council at Texas Lutheran University. He resides in Victoria, Texas.

Ten years ago this month, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme unraveled in front of the world. Like a bad nightmare, the swindler made $65 billion evaporate from people’s lives. With the benefit of hindsight, we can identify some legitimate questions investors should have asked of Madoff that are just as relevant today. There will always be another con-artist. You cannot prevent someone determined to commit crimes—but you can hold them at arm’s length.

Topics: Accounting & Finance

10 signs that you need to evaluate your business’ Information Technology

by Mark Johnson

President of Xtrii, and Global Technology Advisor

Mark Johnson is a global technology advisor with more than 30 years of successful business results. His experience includes roles as a global Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and innovative, business leader for organizations ranging from $15 Billion+ and 100,000+ employees, to small, fast-paced, rapid-growth companies. Mark currently serves as President of Xtrii (www.Xtrii.com), an executive-level, technology consulting firm that works with C-level executives to provide proven technology leaders that help them address their most pressing technology challenges and risks. He has worked with companies to achieve extraordinary success that is globally recognized for technology excellence, such as the 4-time repeat winner of the national award for the best Information Technology organization, the national “Innovator of the Year” award, and Microsoft’s “Global Technology Innovation” award. Mark has been featured in Bloomberg Business Week, Computerworld Magazine, CIO Magazine, and many other national publications. He is a frequent keynote speaker and technology advisor on how companies can best leverage technology for optimal business outcomes.

Technology plays a key role in every modern business. If it’s been a while since you’ve assessed your business’ information technology practices, there’s never been a more crucial moment to get up to speed. Digital transformation continues to reshape the business landscape, meaning digital leaders will capture new market share and laggards will struggle to gain traction.

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