Questions to Answer Before Starting Your Search for Your Manufacturing Facility

by Nathan Smith

Austin Tenant Advisors

Nathan Smith is a commercial real estate advisor and owner of Austin Tenant Advisors, a local commercial real estate company that specializes ONLY in representing the best interests of business owners and companies in the search, selection, negotiation, and occupancy of office, retail, and warehouse space. Early on Nathan saw a need for business owners and companies to have the same expert advice as Landlords when it comes to leasing and purchasing commercial properties. In fact, he doesn't want to just level the playing field, he strives to educate and advise them in a way that puts them in a position of strength so that they find the best spaces and negotiate the best deals possible. Nathan graduated from Texas State University and had the opportunity to serve his Country in the Air Force Reserves. Nathan is married to Jennifer and has two children. He is also a die-hard cyclist and runner and has competed in numerous short and long distance triathlons and Ironman competitions.

Are you a manufacturing business looking for space for your business? If so, you’ll be interested to read our easy checklist of questions to answer before getting started. There are many factors to consider when looking for warehouse or industrial space for your manufacturing facility including distribution requirements, storage needs, location, delivery, and loading/unloading.

Topics: Business Operations, Featured, Content Type

Security Begins at Home

by Daniel Diner

Business Success Center

Daniel Diener is the Chief Financial Officer of the Business Success Center (BSC), a City of Austin certified green business. It provides sales and financial strategies and advice to owners of product and service businesses. It received a Small Business Administration (SBA) five-star national award and the Austin Business Journal named it a top 20 management consulting firms. Diener is an NCRC Certified Technical Advisor and a speaker on entrepreneurship and other issues. He is also co-creator of the award-winning “City Management Academy”, the “Owners MBA” and the SBA’s monthly marketing workshop. He owned and ran the Entrepreneurs’ Association and ran a business hatchery and accelerator. Along with partner/wife Jan Triplett, Ph.D., he developed the Business Navigation Matrix that maps the business goals from Idea Stage to Transference. They also are authors of the OnCourse Business Assessment™
, OnCourse Business Glossary & Bibliography and Power Processes for Business Success. He is a small business and neighborhood activist. He was a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business and has served on several boards, including the Governor’s Small Business Advisory Board, Students Involved in Free Enterprise, and the Allandale Neighborhood Association. He is a member of Central Texas Association of Guaranteed Government Lenders and has been active with traditional and alternative funding sources for many years. He is a QuickBooks and Aclivity software partner. For his successful work with small business, the SBA named him its Financial Services Champion of Texas and the five-state region.

Is your company safe from internal threats?

Cyber security is certainly critical. It’ s something to be concerned about and to use every effort to stop or prevent.

But there are security breaches that aren’t coming from terrorists on the outside. They’re coming from the inside. The people who commit them would be astonished to know that they were guilty of harming their company. The results can be disruptive enough to kill sales, drive away staff, or potentially kill the company. It’s not really espionage but it’s definitely company sabotage.

They can also be harder to stop.

The cause: talking too much about the wrong things to the wrong people.

The culprit: the boss.

Do you recognize any of these security breaches?

• No Secrets

The food manufacturer who responded to a simple question by someone she just met who revealed her secret way to solve a major production problem. She was proud of what the company had done. The idea of trade secrets was foreign to her.

• Give Away

The hardware manufacturer that kept giving away product and prototypes to his friends to use so no one knew where the inventory was or what was being copied.

• Double Give Away

The same manufacturer also was notorious for giving “friend of X” pricing. He didn’t even do it consistently. That would at least have meant it was predictable and the CFO could have dealt with it. It drove the Sales Manager crazy because she’d quote one price and “the friend” would tell her that the boss said it would be less. She finally quit from frustration just before a big national trade show.

• Emotional Dumping

The service company with legitimate complaints about suppliers. In public meetings, the boss kept sharing them with his customers. He drove people away.

• Gloom and Doom

The world and what happens in it isn’t always right. Being politically active and engaged is important. But it can be too much. The owner who is too vocal all the time raises other questions. Stakeholders and customers feel that they’re more concerned about politics than producing a good product and serving their needs.

These security breaches are probably more familiar, especially to almost any Human Resource manager:

• Bad Employee Speak

Talking, texting, or emailing people in or out of the company about fired or suspended employees in ways that are negative opinions but not facts. The courts have judged this to be defamation and charged the company and the perpetrator large fines (Gambardella v. Apple Health Care Inc.) http://www.employeerightspost.com/2009/05/articles/defamation/a-simple-case-of-defamation/. Also read: http://www.weil.com/news/pubdetail.aspx?pub=8737

• Wrong Employee Speak

Talking, texting, or emailing people in and out of the company about employees in a suggestive way or in a way that would be offensive. Employees who’ve quit over this frequently win healthy harassment judgments (Harris v. Forklift Systems). http://www.aauw.org/act/laf/library/workplaceharassmentcases.cfm

I’m sure there are more that should be added to this list.

What can you do?

1. Knowing what to watch out for is a simple way to start. Add to this list or refine it to suit what you see happening or what has happened.

2. Put a process in place to prevent it from happening.

If you’re the boss, watch what you say. If you can’t control it, get an independent ear and eye to listen to you before you give that speech or read what you send out before it goes out. You may have to go to the effort to get someone else to compose it using your concepts. It’s worth it to protect your company.

If you’re the boss of such a person, try counseling and training them. Put checks in place. Last resort: replace them or move them to some position where they can do less harm.

If you work for such a boss, there may be little you can do but look for another job because this business isn’t going anywhere.

As Walt Kelly’s cartoon character Pogo said to Porky, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Photo courtesy of Ben Goodger, goodgerster on Flickr

Topics: Business Operations, Featured, Content Type

Retirement Plans for the Small Employer – Part 2

by Tom Carter

Retirement Plan Fiduciaries, LLC.

Tom Carter is the owner of Retirement Plan Fiduciaries. He has been working with qualified retirement plans since 1987. Over his career he has worked in the following capacities: · Fiduciary · Investment Advisor · Actuary · Record Keeper · Third Party Administrator · Consultant · Employee educator – having done over 1,000 meetings in his career Tom likes to pride himself on knowing both the investment side and the plan qualification side of the business. This allows him to take a holistic approach to retirement plan consulting. Tom has worked for: · ML&R Wealth Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Maxwell, Locke & Ritter · Plan Data, which was bought by Invesmart, which was later bought by Standard Insurance · Howard Johnson & Co, a retirement plan consulting firm bought by Merrill Lynch Tom graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with an Applied Mathematics degree in 1987. He also served in the United States Marine Corp from 1981 to 1987. Tom is married to his college sweetheart, Sue, and has three kids, Alicia, Robyn and Patrick. He loves to coach youth sports and golf in his spare time.

As we discussed in the prior blog there are many different options for a company that is interested in setting up a retirement plan. In the prior blog we discussed the IRA based options and in this article we will discuss qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)’s and Defined Benefit Plans.

Topics: Business Operations, Featured, Content Type

What Makes a Great Business Culture?

by Mike Martin

The Karis Group

Mike was born, raised and spent a large portion of his professional career as a healthcare CEO in Baton Rouge, Louisiana before moving to Central Texas in 2003. He achieved success as a senior-level executive in several different industries and career paths but most enjoyed those that afford him the opportunity to make a positive impact on peoples lives. The attainment of a Bachelor of Science and Masters in Public Administration degree from Louisiana State University after completing military service was the foundation for Mike’s life-long career of service to others. After serving in the administration of Louisiana Governor David Treen, he began a career in healthcare as the CEO of a regional, non-profit, cancer treatment, research and education center. It was during these years that his passion for the patients led him to champion causes for quality, affordable patient care – regardless of ability to pay. Mike’s experience as a seasoned healthcare executive coupled with a real desire to serve others led him to The Karis Group in January, 2010. Having witnessed the devastation that the incongruences in healthcare pricing structures, reimbursement mechanisms and collection systems have on the average family in America, Mike saw an opportunity to “have a transformational impact on peoples’ lives” through the products and services offered by Karis. Mike resides in Georgetown, Texas with his wife of over 33 years, Mary Beth. His spare time is devoted to involvement in his church and community service.

A Time Magazine poll found that less than half of American workers are satisfied with their jobs. The lost productivity of actively disengaged employees costs the US economy $370 billion annually. In many cases, there is a direct correlation between employee engagement and satisfaction and the growth and success of a company, but how do companies keep their employees both engaged and satisfied?

Topics: Business Operations, Content Type

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Pros and Cons of Leasing or Buying Commercial Property

by Nathan Smith

Austin Tenant Advisors

Nathan Smith is a commercial real estate advisor and owner of Austin Tenant Advisors, a local commercial real estate company that specializes ONLY in representing the best interests of business owners and companies in the search, selection, negotiation, and occupancy of office, retail, and warehouse space. Early on Nathan saw a need for business owners and companies to have the same expert advice as Landlords when it comes to leasing and purchasing commercial properties. In fact, he doesn't want to just level the playing field, he strives to educate and advise them in a way that puts them in a position of strength so that they find the best spaces and negotiate the best deals possible. Nathan graduated from Texas State University and had the opportunity to serve his Country in the Air Force Reserves. Nathan is married to Jennifer and has two children. He is also a die-hard cyclist and runner and has competed in numerous short and long distance triathlons and Ironman competitions.

Should You Lease or Purchase Your Office Space?

One of the most costly and most important decisions that businesses can make is how to pay for its office space. Specifically, should the business lease or purchase its office space? Since the issue is complicated, here are some things to keep in mind:

Topics: Business Operations, Content Type

Retirement Plans for the Small Employer – Part 1

by Tom Carter

Retirement Plan Fiduciaries, LLC.

Tom Carter is the owner of Retirement Plan Fiduciaries. He has been working with qualified retirement plans since 1987. Over his career he has worked in the following capacities: · Fiduciary · Investment Advisor · Actuary · Record Keeper · Third Party Administrator · Consultant · Employee educator – having done over 1,000 meetings in his career Tom likes to pride himself on knowing both the investment side and the plan qualification side of the business. This allows him to take a holistic approach to retirement plan consulting. Tom has worked for: · ML&R Wealth Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Maxwell, Locke & Ritter · Plan Data, which was bought by Invesmart, which was later bought by Standard Insurance · Howard Johnson & Co, a retirement plan consulting firm bought by Merrill Lynch Tom graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with an Applied Mathematics degree in 1987. He also served in the United States Marine Corp from 1981 to 1987. Tom is married to his college sweetheart, Sue, and has three kids, Alicia, Robyn and Patrick. He loves to coach youth sports and golf in his spare time.

As we discussed in the prior post “Why Should a Company Sponsor a Retirement Plan”, there are many reasons a company should sponsor a retirement plan. However, once an employer decides they want to implement a plan they need to decide which one. This can be confusing and it is our intent with these next couple articles to shed some light on the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Topics: Business Operations, Featured

10 Commercial Leasing Terms You Should Know

by Jennifer Smith

Austin Tenant Advisors

Jen Smith is the go-to source for smart, savvy Facebook marketing and advertising. Equal parts tech researcher and social media maven, Jen brings over 15 years of online marketing experience to the table, helping her clients connect powerfully with their consumers – and injecting serious know-how into their brand's social presence on Facebook. Jen gives businesses the tools to use Facebook to grow their bottom line and whip their customers into an excited frenzy, while making the Facebook marketing process "like"-able for everyone She is also the owner, along with her husband Nathan, of Austin Tenant Advisors, an Austin commercial real estate firm that specializes in tenant representation. In addition to being an active commercial real estate advisor, Jennifer also brings more than 15 years of marketing and sales experience in the high tech industry to the Austin, TX. 

After living in Austin for 15 years, she is also a self-proclaimed Austinite and loves everything about Austin from shopping to eating at trendy restaurants to catching a live music show.

Most types of business have their own unique lingo that can cause outsiders to scratch their heads in confusion. Commercial real estate and leasing is no exception. If you intend to negotiate a lease, spend the time researching the language used in lease negotiations and agreements. Being prepared will help you receive the best terms possible.

Topics: Business Operations, Content Type

How You and Your Company Can Save Time and Money on Health Care

by Mike Martin

The Karis Group

Mike was born, raised and spent a large portion of his professional career as a healthcare CEO in Baton Rouge, Louisiana before moving to Central Texas in 2003. He achieved success as a senior-level executive in several different industries and career paths but most enjoyed those that afford him the opportunity to make a positive impact on peoples lives. The attainment of a Bachelor of Science and Masters in Public Administration degree from Louisiana State University after completing military service was the foundation for Mike’s life-long career of service to others. After serving in the administration of Louisiana Governor David Treen, he began a career in healthcare as the CEO of a regional, non-profit, cancer treatment, research and education center. It was during these years that his passion for the patients led him to champion causes for quality, affordable patient care – regardless of ability to pay. Mike’s experience as a seasoned healthcare executive coupled with a real desire to serve others led him to The Karis Group in January, 2010. Having witnessed the devastation that the incongruences in healthcare pricing structures, reimbursement mechanisms and collection systems have on the average family in America, Mike saw an opportunity to “have a transformational impact on peoples’ lives” through the products and services offered by Karis. Mike resides in Georgetown, Texas with his wife of over 33 years, Mary Beth. His spare time is devoted to involvement in his church and community service.

Health care is an integral component of an employer’s and employee’s everyday life with two-thirds of non-elderly individuals receiving their health insurance through their employer.

Topics: Business Operations, Content Type

Why Should a Company Sponsor a Retirement Plan?

by Tom Carter

Retirement Plan Fiduciaries, LLC.

Tom Carter is the owner of Retirement Plan Fiduciaries. He has been working with qualified retirement plans since 1987. Over his career he has worked in the following capacities: · Fiduciary · Investment Advisor · Actuary · Record Keeper · Third Party Administrator · Consultant · Employee educator – having done over 1,000 meetings in his career Tom likes to pride himself on knowing both the investment side and the plan qualification side of the business. This allows him to take a holistic approach to retirement plan consulting. Tom has worked for: · ML&R Wealth Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Maxwell, Locke & Ritter · Plan Data, which was bought by Invesmart, which was later bought by Standard Insurance · Howard Johnson & Co, a retirement plan consulting firm bought by Merrill Lynch Tom graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with an Applied Mathematics degree in 1987. He also served in the United States Marine Corp from 1981 to 1987. Tom is married to his college sweetheart, Sue, and has three kids, Alicia, Robyn and Patrick. He loves to coach youth sports and golf in his spare time.

Small employers often get to a stage in their development where they ask themselves if they should start a retirement plan for their employees and shareholders. This is often a difficult decision because of the complexities of the different types of plans, the costs to set up a plan and/or the responsibilities/liabilities in setting up a plan. I plan on discussing some of these issues in later articles, but this article focuses on some of the advantages to the employer and its shareholders.

Topics: Business Operations, Content Type

7 Facts You Need to Know about Strategic Alliances

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.

Strategic alliances aren’t just for professionals.

They occur in naturally and successfully by those least concerned about their professional image:

Topics: Business Operations, Management, Content Type

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