The goal: To be a credible vendor/supplier at the time of purchase consideration

by Mike Romanie

FUEL Marketing and Sales

Michael is a hands-on Executive with more than 25 years experience profitably driving marketing, branding, sales, and operations for public and private companies ranging from start-ups and turn-arounds to divisions of multi-billion dollar multi-national entities. Michael’s career milestones include executive teams; raising more than $75 million from public and private sources, producing 2 IPOS (NASDAQ), being an officer of two Publicly traded companies and a divisional executive of three multi-national and two multi-billion dollar companies. Michael has managed operations with full P&L responsibility and has recruited and managed teams from start-up to more than 350 employees with national and international staff, highlights include; • At a technology products and services company reversed an operating loss and posted profits at 300% above plan within one year of accepting P&L. • Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for an imbedded microprocessor company securing 180 design-in’s with major companies including Nortel, IBM, Lucent and others. Lead the Recruitment of U.S. and Canadian Independent Sales representatives (70+), and 15 Design Support Development Partners, to rapidly gain market presence and design support. • Virtual Marketing and Sales Officer for a consumer software company: Increased revenue from $1.3MM to over $6.1M in less than 18 months. Closed key retailers including; QVC, BigLots!, Penney’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, TJX, Walgreens.com, The Shopping Channel (Canada) and others. Co-Managed multi-national Independent Rep. Firm covering accounts including; Costco, SAM’s Club, BJ’s, Target, Office Max, Office Depot, Best Buy and others. Developed Australian distributing accounting for 15% of annual revenue.

Start-ups do not have a Brand or reputation and while immediate sales are critical, long term success hinges upon your ability to become a creditable vendor/supplier at the time of purchase consideration. Simply stated; “Will the buyer seriously consider us and our products or services when they need to buy”.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Blog Posts, Marketing

Get the tech outta here!

by Bryant Hilton

Great Communicate

Bryant Hilton is the founder and president of Great Communicate which helps clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, to bootstrap startups, to leading non-profit organizations, leverage communications to help meet their organizational objectives and tell their unique story in a crowded marketplace. Great Communicate manages client campaigns ranging from environmental advocacy, to brand development and management, to media relations and marketing consulting. The firm’s core philosophy is that with the right tools anything can be communicated well and anyone can be a strong communicator. Bryant has nearly 20 years of communications experience from agency and corporate backgrounds, public and private companies, corporations and non-profit organizations, and U.S. and international work. Before founding Great Communicate, Bryant was the global corporate responsibility communications manager for Dell, creating and executing communications strategies for the company’s sustainability, diversity and philanthropic efforts. Bryant built and launched the environment communications function at Dell and prior to that managed consumer market communications for the company at positions in the U.S. and Europe. While at Dell, Bryant represented the company on the Green Grid’s communications committee and at the Technology and HIV Working Group. Bryant joined Dell from Dittus Communications, in Washington, D.C., where he was a director of media relations, representing clients including the Business Software Alliance, Americans for Computer Privacy and Surfwatch. His previous experience includes communications manager roles at MCI, Ketchum Public Relations and the Personal Communications Industry Association. Bryant holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Georgetown University and currently resides in Austin, Texas. He is a member of the board of directors of Keep Austin Beautiful.

It’s an inevitable situation for any small business; any computer equipment, no matter how advanced it was at time of purchase, will eventually be ready for retirement. Improper disposal of equipment can create a number of risks for your business. The good news is that proper disposal is easier, and more affordable, than ever before.

Topics: Blog Posts, Content Type, Green Business

Business Bank of Texas ranked No. 1 by SNL Financial

by Kelly Jackson

Jaxzen Marketing Strategies

Kelly is the CEO of Jaxzen Marketing Strategies. Career Marketing Communications professional and innovative small business owner. At Jaxzen Marketing our strategy is to work with teams to align marketing activities with sales goals, and then to measure their effectiveness in terms of leads converted. By developing integrated marketing communications plans around this objective, we’re able to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Monday, March 22, 2010 8:58 AM ET
A look at the class of 2007

Topics: News

Is the non-compete clause in your employment contract enforceable?

by James Blake

The Blake Law Firm, PLLC.

James Blake is a growth-oriented business attorney who strives to be a creative business partner, to identify value-add opportunities, and to crystallize the relationships, structures, and processes that will drive your commercial success. James Blake practices law in Texas and Hawaii, and has protected the interests of businesses across a broad range of industries, including technology, construction, service and retail, food and beverage, franchisors and franchisees, product manufacturers, and investors. His work experience encompasses commercial transactions, litigation, and advising business operations in the U.S., Africa, and Asia. James was an editor of Law Review at the University of Hawaii and conducted international commercial law research for the Institute of Asian Pacific Business Law. He served as the Official Reporter for the 2008 IAPBL China Enterprise Bankruptcy Law Symposium held in Hong Kong, and in the same year worked at a large firm in Singapore. James currently advises clients in international business and investment issues in addition serving his client’s legal and business needs in Hawaii and Texas. Currently based in Austin, Texas, James is an avid writer and enjoys speaking at business-law seminars in addition to his legal practice. In his spare time, James enjoys sculling and kayaking on Ladybird Lake, outdoor photography, and supporting visual and performing arts.

You can’t believe everything you read – even when it’s your own contract. Many employers believe that their non-compete clause provides legal recourse against employees who leave a company and take its business processes and/or clients. Yet Texas case law has not been very kind to employers trying to enforce these provisions. To avoid loss and heartache, it’s imperative for business owners to get sound legal advice and to make wise decisions in selecting and managing their employees.

Topics: Legal, Blog Posts

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Using a 13 week cash flow forecast to manage your business

by Sam Thacker

Business Finance Solutions

Sam Thacker is a partner in Austin Texas-based Business Finance Solutions. He has spent the last 16 years in the banking and finance industry as a commercial lending officer, banking consultant and advocate for small business financing. He has originated over $400 million in loans to hundreds of businesses in many industries. Sam has been on the financing end of numerous businesses over his banking career. Sam is a nationally respected working capital finance professional and writer. In addition to helping small companies obtain working capital financing using a variety of assets, Sam writes a widely read finance column which appears three times a week in many traditional and online news outlets throughout the United States. He writes about the challenges of small business finance, accounting, and best business practices. He has been praised by readers for his ability to explain a complicated financial concept in easy to understand terms. Sam also writes a once a month business column for the Austin Business Journal . Sam regularly teaches classes at Texas State University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on financing small businesses, financing government contracts, and other topics of interest to small businesses.

Having a current and detailed cash flow forecast can mean the difference between thriving and closing your doors in a rough economy. Even in a fast growing business having a strong cash flow forecast can mean insuring that ever changing working capital needs will be met.

Topics: Operations, Business Best Practices, Accounting & Finance

Managing your traditional working capital line of credit

by Ed Lette

Business Bank of Texas

Ed Lette is Founder, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at Business Bank of Texas. Serving as a licensed CPA since 1983, Ed’s extensive experience in the banking industry has led him to become the founding president of four national bank charters including Business Bank of Texas, N.A., and the chief financial officer of five national banks during his 45 year career. Ed serves as director of the Texas Bankers Association District 4, chairman of the Executive Advisory Council to the School of Business at Texas Lutheran University, and is a life member of the Texas Association of Business.


Many businesses have a traditional working capital business line of credit with their bank but haven’t sat down with their lender to really understand how the credit line should be used.

Generally, lines of credit are short-term loans (one year or less) that should be used to finance current assets on your balance sheet. A good rule of thumb is that short-term debt should always be used to support short-term assets. Long-term debt should be used for purchasing assets that have a life of one or more years.

Topics: Management, Bank Customer Tips, Accounting & Finance

Picking a commercial collection agency requires doing some homework

by Sam Thacker

Business Finance Solutions

Sam Thacker is a partner in Austin Texas-based Business Finance Solutions. He has spent the last 16 years in the banking and finance industry as a commercial lending officer, banking consultant and advocate for small business financing. He has originated over $400 million in loans to hundreds of businesses in many industries. Sam has been on the financing end of numerous businesses over his banking career. Sam is a nationally respected working capital finance professional and writer. In addition to helping small companies obtain working capital financing using a variety of assets, Sam writes a widely read finance column which appears three times a week in many traditional and online news outlets throughout the United States. He writes about the challenges of small business finance, accounting, and best business practices. He has been praised by readers for his ability to explain a complicated financial concept in easy to understand terms. Sam also writes a once a month business column for the Austin Business Journal . Sam regularly teaches classes at Texas State University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on financing small businesses, financing government contracts, and other topics of interest to small businesses.

Even the best managed company will occasionally need to use the services of a commercial collection agency. Picking one that fits your company’s personality while still being effective in collection efforts can require some research and homework.

Topics: Operations, Management, Blog Posts, Accounting & Finance

Keeping accurate mileage records for the IRS is crucial

by Ed Lette

Business Bank of Texas

Ed Lette is Founder, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at Business Bank of Texas. Serving as a licensed CPA since 1983, Ed’s extensive experience in the banking industry has led him to become the founding president of four national bank charters including Business Bank of Texas, N.A., and the chief financial officer of five national banks during his 45 year career. Ed serves as director of the Texas Bankers Association District 4, chairman of the Executive Advisory Council to the School of Business at Texas Lutheran University, and is a life member of the Texas Association of Business.

Nearly all businesses require some kind of travel by their employees using their personal vehicles. The IRS recognizes several methods for allowing deductions by your business or the individual employee. Knowing what is required is crucial because it is one of the IRS’s most looked at deductions for businesses.

Topics: Operations, Management, Accounting & Finance

Investing in a small private company is not for the faint of heart

by Sam Thacker

Business Finance Solutions

Sam Thacker is a partner in Austin Texas-based Business Finance Solutions. He has spent the last 16 years in the banking and finance industry as a commercial lending officer, banking consultant and advocate for small business financing. He has originated over $400 million in loans to hundreds of businesses in many industries. Sam has been on the financing end of numerous businesses over his banking career. Sam is a nationally respected working capital finance professional and writer. In addition to helping small companies obtain working capital financing using a variety of assets, Sam writes a widely read finance column which appears three times a week in many traditional and online news outlets throughout the United States. He writes about the challenges of small business finance, accounting, and best business practices. He has been praised by readers for his ability to explain a complicated financial concept in easy to understand terms. Sam also writes a once a month business column for the Austin Business Journal . Sam regularly teaches classes at Texas State University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on financing small businesses, financing government contracts, and other topics of interest to small businesses.

If you are not experienced in making investments in small private companies, you should know what your risks are before you make a decision to invest. This is especially true if you are not involved in the day to day operation of the company.

Topics: Management, Blog Posts, Strategic Planning, Accounting & Finance

Understanding your sales and franchise tax nexus can sometimes be confusing

by Sam Thacker

Business Finance Solutions

Sam Thacker is a partner in Austin Texas-based Business Finance Solutions. He has spent the last 16 years in the banking and finance industry as a commercial lending officer, banking consultant and advocate for small business financing. He has originated over $400 million in loans to hundreds of businesses in many industries. Sam has been on the financing end of numerous businesses over his banking career. Sam is a nationally respected working capital finance professional and writer. In addition to helping small companies obtain working capital financing using a variety of assets, Sam writes a widely read finance column which appears three times a week in many traditional and online news outlets throughout the United States. He writes about the challenges of small business finance, accounting, and best business practices. He has been praised by readers for his ability to explain a complicated financial concept in easy to understand terms. Sam also writes a once a month business column for the Austin Business Journal . Sam regularly teaches classes at Texas State University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on financing small businesses, financing government contracts, and other topics of interest to small businesses.

The term “nexus” means connection between two items in a series. Taxing authorities use the term to describe the connection between your activities in two or more jurisdictions and your obligations to collect and remit sales tax as well as pay state income or franchise tax.

Topics: Management, Blog Posts, Accounting & Finance

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