December 2017 Sponsor: Nicole Davis

Nicole Davis, Reliance Financial Services

Reliance Financial Services provides financial analysis, consulting, divorce financial planning and forensic accounting services to a diverse group of clients in St. Louis, Missouri. We provide financial analysis and expertise to help our clients:

• Investigate financial matters and develop solutions to address issues
• Problem-solve and generate options overcoming disputes and financial obstacles
• Gain financial clarity and establish financial security for the future
• Make well-informed financial decisions – in business, dispute, and family matters

Our services are suitable for the following purposes:

• Litigated, Mediated, and Collaborative Divorce
• Partnership and business disputes
• Sale of a controlling or non-controlling interest in a business
• Financial analysis and planning for business growth and transition

If you, or someone you know, feels frustrated from a lack of financial information, clarity or direction, then let us know. We can provide the financial anlaysis, interpretation, and "what-if" options needed to make well-informed decisions impacting business and personal finances.

To learn more, visit http://reliancefinancialadvisor.com/

November 2017 Sponsor: Richard Terry

Richard Terry, Accolade Kitchen & Bath

Accolade Kitchen & Bath designs and installs luxurious and functional living spaces where my clients feel like they are on vacation. We accomplish this by turning their:

  • Kitchens into gourmet playgrounds
  • Bathrooms into spa-like retreats
  • Closets into personal sanctuaries

So, if you or your friends are feeling frustrated with your living spaces, let us show you how we can create an environment for you that feels like you're on vacation in your own home.

For more information, visit http://www.accoladekb.com/

Every Challenge Has a Solution

In this presentation called "Every Challenge Has a Solution," e4e partner Cathy Sexton describes her four step process for overcoming challenges in the workplace. She explains how to identify a problem, find the core causes, brainstorm solutions and how to implement one specific solution.

September 2017 Sponsor: Kristy Carder

Kristy Carder Enterprises, LLC

Helping companies reinforce their brand through the use of Promotional Products, Apparel and Custom Gifts. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Kristy has helped thousands of companies increase sales and market awareness. Kristy will sit down with you - discuss your event, your goals, your target market, your budget and find that perfect item that will help you connect with your clients. Business is all about creating that personal experience - making them want to work with you - Kristy Carder will find creative ways to make that happen. It might be business - but it's important to make it personal!

For more information, visit http://www.kristycarder.net/

August 2017 Sponsor: Lori St. Clair

Lori St. Clair

On Target for Profitable Growth is a CFO, accounting and bookkeeping outsource service that helps small- and medium-sized businesses reduce costs, streamline financial processes and pursue profitable growth.

For more information, visit http://getontargetnow.com/

5 Points of Wellness

In this presentation called "5 Points of Wellness," e4e partner Dr. Dan Fazio explains some of the core principles of leading a healthy and fulfilling life. He distills the concepts into five key points and weighs the importance each.

How to Use a Microphone Like a Pro!

In this presentation called "How to Use a Microphone Like a Pro," e4e partner Steve Gamache explains how to use a microphone to enhance professional presentations. He discusses the do's and do not's of using a microphone and offers tips on microphone positioning, speaking and volume control.

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Navigating the Changing Landscape of Social Media

In this presentation called "Navigating the Changing Landscape of Social Media," Karen Fox discusses the value of social media for businesses in connecting with clients and customers. She explains the importance of developing a media strategy, the changing trends in social media and the advantages of different social platforms.

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Contrarian Panel: The Trouble with Time Management

Led by e4e partner Dale Furtwengler, the "Contrarian Panel" explored this question: "Why is it that we still feel the pressure of time." The panel and audience had a lively discussion, captured in this video...

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Do You Know Who You Are Working With?

In this presentation called "Do You Know Who You Are Working With?" e4e partner Ann Prenatt explains the importance of professional relationships and how they relate to success. She introduces three core principles of building positive relationships between coworkers and business partners.

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Are You Buried in Bookkeeping?

No business starts out with the expectation of failure, but when small business owners neglect the bookkeeping side of their business they’re setting themselves up for trouble. Proper management of the financial side of your business can make all the difference between whether you succeed or fail. And making sure the numbers are in order is just as important as sales when it comes to building a business that can go the distance.

Office lady being scared because of too much paperwork to do

If keeping detailed, accurate records is not your strength or you don’t have the time to give it the attention it deserves, it makes sense to hire a professional whose primary job is making sure all aspects of your business finances are in order. There are some things to consider when choosing someone to handle the finances for your business however, so here are a few tips for what to keep in mind.

 

  • In regards to bookkeeping, consider expertise and experience over cost.

Many small businesses are tempted to hire someone to handle their business finances based solely on cost of the services. This might seem logical, especially with start ups where money is tight. But choosing solely based on cost or having an unqualified person handling your accounting can be a monumental mistake!

The money side of your business is far too important to entrust to just anyone, and trying to save a few dollars can lead to big headaches down the road. Especially when it comes to taxes. A good accountant may cost more than that neighbor who does it to earn extra money on the side, but they’re trained to expertly handle the services you need.

When you think about it in terms of peace-of-mind and what you would be able to do instead of slaving over the books – like doing the things that bring in the money – investing in a competent accountant is clearly a sound investment in your business.

Get recommendations, shop around, and get quotes from several accountants before making a decision, but don’t let the cost of services be the only deciding factor.

  • Get clear on what you need them to do.

A good accountant can be a valuable, strategic addition to your business on many levels. The services offered by accounting firms can vary though, so give some thought to what types of services you need before signing on with someone. Are you looking for someone to just handle your taxes on a yearly basis or do you want a broader list of ongoing services? Are you the type of person who considers throwing receipts in a shoebox “filing” and wants someone to manage everything financial or will you be doing some of the tasks yourself?

Are there things about your specific industry requiring someone who specializes in that area? Would you like someone who not only deals with numbers, but also offers expert guidance with respect to financial and management decisions – in other words, someone who can fulfill a consulting role as well as bookkeeping? CPA’s can often function as expert business consultants in addition to handling numbers.

If you’re unclear of the services available or unsure of the level of services you would like, talk to other entrepreneurs or ask accountants you’re interviewing. There may be ways an accountant could help that you haven’t even thought of.

  • Choose someone who is a good fit for you.

Your relationship with your accountant is hopefully going to be a long one, so choose someone you find easy to work with. You want someone with a high level of expertise, but also someone whose personality is a good fit with yours.

Working with an accountant means letting that person into the heart of your business and entrusting them with your finances. It is one of the most important decisions you can make as a business owner. You need someone who cares about the success of your business. You need someone who is trustworthy. You need someone who has the diplomacy to handle difficult, but necessary, conversations. And you need someone who has a good sense of humor, which can be a real plus at tax time. (I’m only half kidding.)

Hiring an accountant to keep track of the money coming in and going out can be a big relief for business owners. And knowing you have a professional on your side who understands crunching numbers and what’s needed for success can free you up to do more important things. Just make sure whoever you choose is qualified to handle the job. The success of your business may depend on it.

John Brandvein has been in public accounting since 1958 and founded Brandvein & Co. in 1994. Not only does John have copious knowledge regarding all things accounting and taxes, he provides his clients the best possible support and stability, while being gracious and humorous in the process of delivering excellent service. You can reach John at 314.725.5514 or email him at john@brandvein.com

Video: Online Marketing

If you have a website and want more customers, you need to effectively maneuver at the intersection where your growth and marketing goals align.

Will Hanke is a global thinker who understands the need to strategize around the growth of your business at a high level and a sequential thinker that helps people drill down to simple actions they can take daily or weekly to become expert at marketing their business. He offers suggestions for how to ensure marketing messages are target-specific so that they meet the unique goals and objectives of a variety of prospects. He supports viewers to easily take action steps that result in tangible increases in sales and customer volume. Key activities he presents in this video include:

  1. Defining your target market and creating personas for the range of individuals within it
  2. Creating content relevant to your customer persona’s and providing it in a variety of mediums
  3. Promoting your content to reach the market you seek by determining where are they at when they consume, where they are relative to the personality of each social media outlet, and by customizing your email marketing and postings per your persona’s and their traits and habits
  4. Telling prospects what to do next by including simple calls to action on every page, using a a variety of options they can engage in to receive something from you or offer something to you

An SEO expert on effective web development and design, Will Hanke is a master at leveraging the power of the internet for your advantage. Will Hanke is Owner of Where Is My Business and can be reached at will@techlh.com

Video: Setting Goals

Got a great goal to achieve? People ask Scott Kolbe for advice because he’s practicing great habits, getting great results and achieving great goals.

Scott Kolbe, expert in marketing and promoting people so they have confidence and shine, is a role model in doing the same himself. He therefore speaks from experience. This presentation begins with a success story of his own that makes his topic believable, relevant and useful to all who have a dream to achieve goals that may be both bold and challenging and require discipline to successfully occur. In this lively, thought-provoking and information packed presentation, Scott covers the following on setting and achieving goals:

  • Consequences of setting goals – While there are some negative consequences to every choice, Scott creates some compelling positive consequences to making your goals important and giving them priority status.
  • Imagining achievement of what seems impossible – whether it is in your business or personal life, achieving goals impacts every aspect of your life and teaches you to become an expert at controlling the process not the outcome
  • Setting specific boundaries around organizing your goals – how many to select, how to capture them and keep them front and center, and how to minimize other distractions
  • Igniting Your Goals – How to envision your goals and ponder them until they are meaningful and inspiring to you in a manner that builds greater motivation
  • Should Your Goals be in Synch? – How goals fit into the big picture of your life and what milestones help you build the momentum you need to keep a balance and a steady increase in results you want
  • What are SMART Goals – Making sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound
  • What Stops Us from Achieving Goals – Negativity from within and without, being too activity-driven rather than purpose-driven, competing, comparing, perfectionism, isolation, poor planning and more
  • Steps To Make Sure You Achieve Your Goals – Setting yourself up for success through planning, support, and tracking and celebrating progress along the way
  • Planning What You Will Do Next

People are asking Scott Kolbe for advice now because he’s a role model for setting and maintaining habits, getting great results and achieving his goals. He has run the good race, literally and figuratively, as he practices discipline in many areas of his life, personally and professionally. Scott was recently recognized as one of the fittest CEOs in St. Louis area due to his rigorous physical conditioning and achievements in fitness events as well as his many awards for commitment to excellence in his workplace.

Scott co-owns KolbeCo Marketing with his wife Lauren. For more information on this topic and other marketing, social media and PR strategies and practices, visit www.kolbeco.net or contact Scott at 636-379-3895 x 13

Flying Blind

Following a competitor’s lead blindly, is the equivalent of abandoning your flight plan and taking off into a blizzard. The results can be devastating.

What does aviation have to do with your pricing strategy?

Imagine you are a seasoned pilot. You have filed your flight plan, then a massive snowstorm hits. Visibility is zero and winds are gusting up to 30 knots. Are you going to take off? Not unless you have a death wish, right? You know the dangers of flying blind.

Yet business owners fly blind time and time again. How? Imagine your competitor comes out with an improvement to its offering. You worry the enhancement is going to give them competitive advantage so you scramble to effect a similar improvement. You just took off in a blinding snowstorm.

First, you do not know whether their customers or yours, will value this enhancement. Unless your competitor is raising its prices to reflect the additional value and their customers are paying that price, you don’t know whether the enhancement has any perceived value to the customer.

Second, many business owners give away these enhancements without ever asking for higher prices. Their rationale is they will gain ‘competitive advantage’ and garner a ‘larger share of the market.’

Think back to a time when you employed this strategy. Did you gain market share? I’m not a betting man, but I would willingly bet you did not gain any additional market share. There are simply too many factors that buyers consider beyond price in making their buying decisions.

Let us assume your competitor created an enhancement and decided not to raise prices in hopes of gaining market share, which did not happen. Your competitor drove up its cost structure without gaining any additional revenue. All the costs associated with developing and marketing the enhancement was wasted. That means its operating margins just dropped.

Worse yet, you just followed them blindly. You also incurred additional costs without the benefit of additional revenues. To compound the problem, you do not have any better idea than they do about whether or not your customers value your improvement because you did not ask them to pay for it. Ouch!

It is counter-intuitive, but following a competitor’s lead in enhancing their offerings without evaluating their approach and the impact it will have on their bottom line, is the equivalent of abandoning your flight plan and taking off into a blizzard. The results can be devastating.

Dale Furtwengler is the author of the internationally acclaimed book, Pricing for Profit. His company, Furtwengler & Associates, Inc., helps companies get higher prices regardless of what their competitors or the economy are doing. For more pricing/branding/marketing/sales tips visit his website, PricingForProfitBook.com

Video: Accountability

Personal accountability is a game-changer. Sales Expert Bill Prenatt facilitates reflection on the systems needed and habits to change in order to get new results.

Seasoned sales expert Bill Prenatt has decades of firsthand experience and a proven track record managing large teams of people who he has assisted in staying self-motivated and accountable in order to get results. He starts his presentation by demonstrating through a key question to the audience, that most people lack formal training related to holding one’s self and others accountable even though healthy accountability is a crucial organizational game-changer. In his presentation, Bill addresses the following:

  1. Systems and their importance in supporting the management of work activities and measuring outcomes
  2. Relying on masters of accountability who have left us a legacy of wisdom to draw upon for living a better life through personal choice
  3. Statistics concerning the low number of people who take personal responsibility
  4. Resources to support healthy development of intrinsic motivation and personal responsibility
  5. A excellent practical example of an accountability system to clearly illustrate a, daily method for staying motivated, focused, on task, prioritizing and creating new habits that bring success
  6. Five C’s or values that build trusting relationships and accountable communications
  7. Recognizing symptoms and getting to the core reasons and solutions for transforming poor follow-through into responsible behaviors
  8. Accountability systems including problem-solving strategies, the use of SMART goals in order to be specific and supportive relationships where people share challenges, support change and celebrate successes

Bill Prenatt is CEO of Simply Successful and Executive Director of e4e. If you are interested in learning more about the art and science of taking control of your life, contact Bill at bill.prenatt@simplysuccessful-llc.com. He will always have a generosity of spirit and much practical wisdom to share.

Workbook – Tools Strategies Systems

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Writing Tools Template

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Judy Ryan – Build Caring Relationships

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e4e 2013 Big Event Sessions

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