Business Connection


July 2014

Lancaster Chamber of Commerce

 Executive Board

Chairwoman of the Board
Tamara Stoebe, Stoebe Services
Josh Mann, Mojave Partners

Mark Troth, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Troth REALTORS
Vice-Chair Secretary
Gina Rossall, Superintendent, Westside Union School District

Monica Grado, George's Cleaners

Stan Turner, Edwards Federal Credit Union
Past Chairman of the Board
Gene Melchers, Melchers Construction Co.
Sandy Smith - Chief Executive Officer, Lancaster Chamber of Commerce   
Board of Directors
Chris Chapleau - American Business Machines


Sgt. Theresa Dawson - Lancaster Sheriff's Dept.


Rosemary Mann - Camille's Sidewalk Cafe


Nelson Rasse - High Desert Broadcasting


Bridget Razo - Antelope Valley College


Katie Nelson - Hunter Dodge


Lynn Roth - SOL Graphix, Inc.


Dave Saltman - Passantino-Andersen


Chris Spicher - Antelope Valley Florist


Bernie Longjohn - Choices in Learning National Foundation




Antelope Valley Fair Parade Applications Are Now Available!


Please click on the link below to download your application today! 

2014 Antelope Valley Fair Parade Application   

For more information please contact the Chamber office

(661) 948-4518 

Interested in Becoming an Ambassador?


Ambassadors have a unique opportunity to represent the Lancaster

Chamber at many events, including breakfasts, luncheons, mixers, ribbon cuttings/grand openings and more!  Through this involvement, ambassadors are able to represent the chamber while also representing and marketing their own businesses--it's truly a "win/win" relationship!



 If you or someone at your place of business is interested in

 participating in our comprehensive training series and ultimately

 becoming an ambassador, please contact the Chamber: (661) 948-4518

Business After Hours Mixer



Antelope Valley Fair to Host the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce
August Mega-Mixer  



The event will be held at the Turf Club, drinks &  hor'dourves will be served.  With Mega-Mixers, your opportunity to network with others is greatly increased as these mixers are large-scale and are FREE to our members!  


If you are interested in hosting a mixer at your place of business, please contact Sandy at the Lancaster Chamber office for more information:

(661) 948-4518 

Please click on the link below to visit our events calendar

Lancaster Chamber Events Calendar 


 Law Offices of



A Professional Corporation




Mark E. Thompson

Kevin L. Von Tungeln Leonard A. Cosgrove


 Visit our Learning Center

(661) 945-5868


  The State Bar of California - Board of Legal Specialization




Helping Support Your Local Chamber is a


Take advantage of these special rates for chamber members!!


Newsletter Ads

Color or Black & White


Business Card - B&W: $50.00


Business Card - Color: $100.00


3 x 5  Blank & White: $100.00


3 x 5 Color: $200.00


Web Page Banner Ads


Please go to

and look under Services/Internet Ads for description and pricing.


Chamber Membership Lists


Labels by Alpha: $50.00

Email Data: $50.00


2014 California Packets Are Here!!!


Employer Poster Set: $25.00

UI & SDI Pamphlets (10): $17.00

Sexual Harassment 

 Pamphlets (10): $17.00

Paid Family Leave

Pamphlets (10): $13.00

Workers' Compensation

Pamphlets (25): $14.00


*Employer Poster Set Available in Spanish & English - Laminated Upon Request w/Additional Fee


Please call the Chamber for more information:

 (661) 948-4518 





What can the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce do to help grow YOUR business???


Membership Benefits 

  • Chamber Website
  • Monthly Business Connection E-Newsletter
  • Membership Directory
  • Membership City Map
  • Radio Talk Show - Free
  • Super AV Expo
  • Quarterly Mega Mixers


Monthly Events 
  • Membership Luncheon
  • Members Lunch & Learn
  • Business-4-Breakfast



Discount Advertisement 

  • AV Press - Chamber Page
  • Video Commercials
  • Web Video - Business Showcase


Please call the Chamber for more information:

 (661) 948-4518 



Mission Statement 


To Serve the Community by Promoting, Protecting, Encouraging and Developing Local Business



New and Renewing Members




 Introducing Our Newest Members!



Aces Smoke Shop

Joseph Albinana

43440 10th Street West

Lancaster, Ca 93534

(661) 236-9959

[email protected]



Belladonna Gift Boutique

 and Tea Room

Donna Sebunia

44054 10th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534

(661) 942-0106

[email protected]



Brush For Life, Inc.

Lynelle DeRoo

2851 W. Ave L Suite #182

Lancaster, CA 93536

(661) 917-0404

[email protected]



Extremely Clean Professional Janitorial

Debbie Collins

5601 Laurel Avenue

Palmdale, CA 93552

(661) 547-8177

[email protected]



Garay's Gardening Services

Hernan Garay

(661) 406-4644

[email protected]



Home James

Steven Givens

(661) 916-3602

stevgiven[email protected]



Jurate (Eva) Calko

(661) 206-8059

[email protected]



Mary Kay

Tina Hadden

(661) 510-8916

[email protected]



William Jewelers

Mohammad Hoghoughi

39522 10th Street #E

Palmdale, CA 93551

(661) 272-4666

[email protected]



Zero Degrees Custard & Ice

Patricia Vergara

711 West Lancaster Blvd.

Lancaster, CA 93534

(661) 917-4473

[email protected]



Phoenix Textile Restoration

Tom Davies

21029 Itasca St.

Chatsworth, CA 91311

(818) 576-1080

[email protected]




We Are Pleased to present our Renewing Members



Antelope Valley Press

PO Box 4050

Palmdale, CA 93590


Member Since: 1915


ISU Stephen B. Marvin Insurance

43700 17th Street West,

Suite 101

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1937


Monte Vista Building Sites

42220 10th Street West,

Suite 101

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1940


George's Cleaners

44759 Beech Avenue

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1947


Antelope Valley Florist

1302 West Avenue J

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1956


Desert Operating Co

2557 Still Meadow Lane

Lancaster, CA 93536


Member Since: 1961


Halley-Olsen-Murphy Funerals & Cremations

44831 Cedar Street

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1961


Coldwell Banker/Hartwig RE/Burle Patterson

43912 20th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1976


WA Thompson Distributing Co

45545 Trevor Avenue

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1976


A V Engineering

129 West Pondera Street

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1985


Camacho Auto Sales

412 Auto Vista Drive

Palmdale, CA 93551


Member Since: 1985


A V Alcoholism & Drug Council

311 East Avenue K 4

Lancaster, CA 93535


Member Since: 1986


Antelope Valley Animal Hospital

1326 West Avenue N

Palmdale, CA 93551


Member Since: 1987


Metro Floors, Inc

44109 Yucca Avenue

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1987


Lancaster Moving & Storage

45652 Division Street

Lancaster, CA 93535


Member Since: 1987


Michael Glass DDS

44563 10th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1987


Law Office of Thompson Von Tungeln, A P.C.

857 West Lancaster Blvd

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1987


Universal Electronic Alarm

709 West Avenue I

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1987


Antelope Valley Health Care

44445 15th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1987


Antelope Valley Hospital

1600 West Avenue J

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1987


Insurance Associates

940 West Avenue J

Lancaster, CA 93539


Member Since: 1987


Edwards Federal Credit Union

44288 10th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1987


A V Ford/Lincoln Mercury/A V Mazda

1155 Auto Mall Drive

Lancaster,CA 93534


Member Since: 1987


American Cancer Society

815 Lancaster Blvd, Suite 115

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1988


T V Land

PO Box 1467

Rosamond, CA 93560


Member Since: 1990


Ramon's Restaurant

1431 Rosamond Blvd, Suite 10

Rosamond, CA 93560


Member Since: 1992


Critical Car Care, Inc.

5022 West Avenue M

Quartz Hill, CA 93536


Member Since: 1993


Century 21 Yarrow, Pete Kennedy

44143 20th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1995


California Tile Supply Company

42704 10th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1996


K-Swiss Shoe Outlet

44950 Valley Central Way, Suite 102 1/2

Lancaster, CA 93536


Member Since: 1996



Kuzyk Law

1700 West Avenue K, Suite 101

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 1996


Joshua Memorial Park & Mortuary

808 East Lancaster Blvd

Lancaster, CA 93535


Member Since: 1998


Devonshire Inn

2076 West Rosamond Blvd

Rosamond, CA 93560


Member Since: 1999


Prestige Assisted Living

43454 30th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93536


Member Since: 1999


Melchers Construction

PO Box 1468

Rosamond, CA 93560


Member Since: 2001



2511 Rosamond Blvd

Rosamond, CA 93560


Member Since: 2001


Caramel Pastries

562 West Lancaster Blvd

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2007


Mission Bank

43830 20th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2007


Airstream Heating & Air, Inc

44823 Beech Avenue

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2007


JMS Travel & Event Services

4083 West Avenue L Suite#152

Lancaster, CA 93536


Member Since: 2007


The Pacifica Company

190 Sierra Ct. Executive

Suites B-109

Palmdale, CA 93550


Member Since: 2008 

Puchlik Design Associates

859 South Raymond Avenue

Pasadena,CA 91105


Member Since: 2009


Business Mastermind Queen

710 West Kettering, Apt #315

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2011


The Tech Gods

43625 Sierra Hwy, Suite D

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2012


CrisCom Company

9550 Topanga Canyon Blvd

Chatsworth, CA 91311


Member Since: 2012



Horn Plumbing

408 West Avenue J 10

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2012


Vince's Pasta & Pizza

2833 West Avenue L

Lancaster, CA 93536


Member Since: 2013


Comfort Hearing Aid

Centers LLC

620 West Avenue L, Suite 105

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2013


State Farm Insurance
 Robert Breiner

917 East Avenue Q 9

Palmdale, CA 93550


Member Since: 2013


Double 'D' Cupcakes

818 West Avenue L

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2013


Premier Valley Properties

42115 21st Street West, Suite B

Lancaster, CA 93536


Member Since: 2013


Vallarta Supermarkets

12881 Bradley Avenue

Sylmar, CA 91342


Member Since: 2013


MidAmerican Solar

15637 Avenue A

Rosamond, CA 93560


Member Since: 2013


Innovative Coatings Technology

1055 West Avenue L 12

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2013


R. Rex Parris Law Firm

43364 10th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93534


Member Since: 2013





For those of you who have utilized all the wonderful features of our new website, we are confident that you have seen interest in your business grow!  We are seeing triple the traffic on our site since we rolled out the new product in late October!  It's easy for our members to use and navigate and the free marketing tools that are included are state-of-the-art!  If you have not yet had the opportunity to request optimization of your member page, upload coupons, classified ads, and member-to-member discounts, or submit your events and meetings to our community calendar, please log in to your account and take full advantage of these exciting ways to market your business on both our website and our mobile app!  If you need us to re-send your log-in information, please contact us at


 (661) 948-4518




In the coming months, the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with

Destination Lancaster, will
be opening the official Lancaster Visitor's Center!  This center will be housed in the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce lobby and will feature information on local businesses, lodging, dining, and events for our out-of-town visitors!  We plan to offer small souvenirs and local postcards as well--stay tuned for more information on this exciting new venture!


In This Issue
August Mega-Mixer hosted by AV Fair
New and Renewing Members
Six Important Tips for Choosing Your Retirement Destination
City of Lancaster News and Events
SCORE Tips for Small Businesses
The Month In Pictures
Lancaster Chamber of Commerce July Luncheon  
The State
of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce
Presenter: Josh Mann, Chair-Elect for the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce   

Please join us for our monthly luncheon on July 9, where our Chairman of the Board elect, Josh Mann, will be presenting our 2014 State of the Lancaster Chamber.


We are extremely excited to share with you, our members, the strides we have made in the past fiscal year.  Increased membership, a new and improved website, and  educational opportunities are but a few of the changes that have implemented for the benefit of our members.

Please come join us as we share more detailed information about each of these areas and also about other improvements that we have made to ensure that the financial commitment that our members continue to make through their annual membership dues are coming back to them in a tangible and meaningful manner.


The Lancaster Chamber Board of Directors and staff are extremely proud of our efforts during fiscal year 2013/14, and we cannot wait for you, our members, to feel the same pride!


RSVPs are strongly suggested for this event.


Lancaster Chamber members:       $20 (pay online) or

                                                                   $25 at the door


Non-Members:                                 $25 (pay online) or

                                                                   $30 at the door

                    EVENT INFORMATION


Date: July 9th


Time: 11:30am - 1pm


Location: J.P. Eliopulos Hellenic Center 43404 30th Street West, Lancaster 93536 


Chairwoman's Message
As I begin my term as the 2014/15 Chairwoman of the Board, I am excited about the many ways that we can continue to grow our membership and  member opportunities! I'm very pleased with our 2014/15 Board of Directors which includes myself (Tamara Stoebe), Chair Elect Josh Mann, Secretary Gina Rossall, Treasurer Mark Troth, Vice-Chair Monica Grado, Vice-Chair Stan Turner, Immediate Past Chair Gene Melchers,
and Board members Chris Chapleau, Sgt. Theresa Dawson,  
Nelson Rasse, Bridget Razo, Lynn Roth, Bernie Longjohn, Dave Saltman, Rosemary Mann, Katie Nelson and Chris Spicher.
Sandy Smith was promoted on July 1,  and her title changed to Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer. A well-deserved promotion for a very hard working lady! We're excited by the ideas that Sandy brings to the table, and the partnerships that she has enriched by her hard work and diligence.
August 5th is our BIG mixer at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. We hope that you'll take the opportunity to join us for a great evening of networking and lots of great giveaways.
I am looking forward to this next year, and I hope that I will bring value and excitement to the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce as we implement new plans and goals this year.
Are you involved? Do you want to be involved? Want to know more about becoming involved? You can call the chamber office at (661) 948-4518.
I'd like to end this message with a Networking Tip:
Develop a solid 45-60 second Elevator Speech - can you concisely deliver an overview of your business at a drop of the hat? Practice, Practice, Practice, and then test out your 30 second commercial at our next Business 4 Breakfast at Schooner's, 7 a.m. July 24th.
See you soon - and thank you for this opportunity to serve.
Chairwoman of the Board
Tamara Stoebe  

 Six Important Tips for Choosing Your

Retirement Destination




Courtesy of Cobb Doerfler & Associates, CPA    Accountants and      Tax Preparers    




With health care, housing, food, and transportation costs increasing every year, many retirees on fixed incomes wonder how they can stretch their dollars even further. One solution is to move to another state where income taxes are lower than the one they currently reside in.


But some retirees may be in for a surprise. While federal tax rates are the same in every state, retirees may find that even if they move to a state with no income tax, there may be additional taxes they're liable for including sales taxes, excise taxes, inheritance and estate taxes, income taxes, intangible taxes, and property taxes.


In addition, states tax different retirement benefits differently. Retirees may have several types of retirements benefits such as pensions, social security, retirement plan distributions (which may or not be taxed by a particular state), and additional income from a job if they continue to work in order to supplement their retirement income.


If you're thinking about moving to a different state when you retire, here are five things to consider before you make that move.


1. Income Tax Rates


Retirees planning to work part-time in addition to receiving retirement benefits should keep in mind that those earnings may be subject to state tax in certain states, as well as federal income tax if your combined income (individual) is more than $25,000. Combined income is defined as your adjusted gross income + Nontaxable interest plus 1/2 of your Social Security benefits. If you file a joint return, you may have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a combined income that is more than $32,000. If you see this scenario in your future, it may be in your best interest to consider a state with low income tax rates (Pennsylvania, Arizona, or New Mexico for instance) or no income tax such as Florida, Nevada, Alaska, or Washington state.


2. Income Tax on Retirement Income


Income tax on pension income varies for each state. In 2014, three states, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Mississippi do not tax it at all. In twenty-one other states a portion of pension income is exempt, and fifteen states tax pension income in its entirety. Remember however, that state tax laws, like federal tax laws are always changing. Call us if you have any questions about tax law changes in your state.


3. Tax on Social Security


In 2014, fourteen states tax social security income in addition to taxing social security income at the federal level. Among them are Colorado, Connecticut, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont, and West Virginia.


4. State and Local Property Taxes


Despite a decline in property values, property taxes have not decreased for most homeowners. Some states however, offer property tax exemptions to retirees who are homeowners and renters. Again, this varies by individual state. Please consult us if you have any questions about your state or the state you are planning to move to.


5. State and Local Sales Taxes


State and local sales taxes may or may not be a factor in the overall decision about where you decide to retire, but keep in mind that only five states, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon do not impose any sales or use tax.


6. Estate Taxes


Estate tax may or may not matter, depending on your estate and whether you care about what happens to your estate after you die. Like other state taxes, estate tax varies depending on which state you reside in. In eighteen states, there is a tax on estates below the federal threshold amount ($5.34 million in 2014). Three states, Delaware, Hawaii and North Carolina, use the same threshold amount as the IRS when figuring federal estate tax, and three states have no estate tax whatsoever--Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arizona.


So what's the bottom line? When it comes to retirees, relocating, and taxes there are a number of factors to consider--including the overall tax burden. And, as you've read here, not all states are created equal. If you're thinking about retiring to another state, please consult us first. We'll help you figure out which state is best for your particular circumstances.


We Can Help

If you'd like to better understand the ins and outs of your business and create sound guidance for internal decision making, you might consider cost accounting.
And we can help. Allow us to evaluate your business from top to bottom and determine the real cost of each component. With that as a foundation, we can help you draft budgets, adjust pricing, keep an appropriate level of inventory, and much more. Give us a call today.





      Join us for business, stay for breakfast!


               7:00 a.m. Thursday, July 24, 2014


Event Location


Schooners Patio Grille

2797 W. Ave L, Lancaster 93536 (30th St. West)
Table Sponsor


 Light House Studios - Buddhika Ekananyaki 

(661) 547-8732


To RSVP please contact the Chamber Office

Phone: (661) 948-4518

Fax: (661) 949-1212

Email: [email protected]



Cash Prize $50.00 - 1 Winner will be chosen at every breakfast


 Sponsored by: Vic's Bimmer and Collision Center, Victor Vega  (661) 945-0703



*Please note - If you RSVP and do not attend you will be invoiced for $10.00








Lancaster Desert Vineyard Announces 20th Annual Global Leadership Summit Simulcast


 The annual, internationally broadcasted, Global Leadership Summit (GLS) takes place August 14 and 15 this year. 300 locations worldwide will simulcast the event, which will once again draw leaders from around the world with personal stories, expertise in their field, and unrivaled leadership experiences to share. Attracting more than 190,000 viewers across the globe, the GLS is one of the premier leadership learning opportunities of the year. For the third year, this event will be broadcast live right here in the Antelope Valley at Desert Vineyard Christian Fellowship, 1011 E. Avenue J, Lancaster, from 8am to 5pm on both Thursday, August 14 and Friday, August 15.

"In public office, as well as any other profession, there is an absolute necessity for leaders who are willing to stand up and take bold steps to achieve their vision," said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. "Any endeavor will be made or broken by the quality of leadership it has to guide it, therefore any engagement that promotes enhanced leadership qualities is one definitely worth our time."

The diversity of background, culture and experience provided by the prominent figures who will comprise this year's summit faculty ensure a very well-rounded perspective on the subject of leadership. The 2014 GLS lineup includes: Bill Hybels, Founder & Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church (the host site); Tyler Perry, Filmmaker-Actor-Philanthropist; Jeffrey Immelt, President & CEO of General Electric; Susan Cain, Author & Viral TED Speaker; Wilfredo De Jesús, Pastor & TIME's 100 Most Influential People 2013; Patrick Lencioni, Best-selling Author & Founder of The Table Group; Carly Fiorina, Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard & Chairman of Good 360; Ivan Satyavrata, Senior Pastor of Assembly of God Church in

Kolkata, India; Bryan Loritts, Founder & Lead Pastor of Fellowship Memphis Church; Joseph Grenny, Social Scientist for Business Performance; Allen Catherine Kagina, Commissioner General for Uganda Revenue Authority; Louie Giglio, Pastor of Passion City Church & Founder of the Passion Movement; Erica Ariel Fox, New York Times Best-selling Author & President of Mobius Executive Leadership; and Don Flow, Chairman & CEO of Flow Companies Inc.

The Global Leadership Summit offers an invaluable opportunity for growth and learning, as well as a more in-depth development of both intuitive and rational knowledge. Participants are challenged to choose courage over comfort, innovation over stagnation, and leading over simply existing where you are.

"Every person is a leader in some capacity and will benefit greatly from the Global Leadership Summit," added Mayor Parris. "I encourage all to attend, young to old - especially students looking to be future leaders for their communities, organizations, and beyond."

Information and registration details for the 2014 Global Leadership Summit are available at To view the GLS promotional videos, visit: Summit Videos
         Promote YOUR business FREE of Charge
  FREE Chamber Radio 
Talk Show
 "Minding Your Business"
    Saturday, 12-1pm
 Call Anna Zarley: (661) 948-4518


As valued members of the employer community, the Employment Development       Department (EDD) is notifying you of the upcoming changes to Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits. PFL is a component of the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, which is employee funded and administered by the EDD. 


Currently, eligible workers can receive up to six weeks of PFL benefits within a 12-month period to care for a seriously ill child, parent, spouse or registered domestic partner, or to bond with a new child. On September 24, 2013, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 770 to expand coverage to include care for a parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling beginning July 1, 2014. For more information about PFL coverage, benefits, and eligibility requirements, visit the EDD website, refer to the PFL Fact Sheet,

or call 877-238-4373.





Expert Tips for Sales and Customer Loyalty





Article by Steve Engelhardt SCORE Mentor; Former Sales & Marketing Vice President  

Sales are an indispensable part of running a successful small business. Yet many entrepreneurs shy away from the role because of long-held misperceptions, or they simply don't feel comfortable doing it. All it takes is a better understanding of the how and what's of sales to gain a better appreciation of the process. Indeed, many entrepreneurs find that they're better at sales than they thought, and come to enjoy the challenge and experience.  

Steve Engelhardt, who has extensive experience in all aspects of sales in a variety of industries, addresses some of the issues associated with sales in the small business environment.

What's the difference between marketing and sales? Marketing includes responsibility for advertising, market research, literature production, trade show display development, input on new products, etc. On the other hand, sales are a function of marketing-approaching customers and closing sales.

Sales are obviously important. So why do so many entrepreneurs seem to dislike the idea of having to do sales? Because of some old stereotypes and bad personal experiences, many people just don't want to call themselves salesmen. However, the fact is that every person spends a good portion of their day selling.

One of the first things people need to do is quit calling themselves marketers, account managers, etc. The sooner you stand up and puff your chest out and say "I am a salesman," the better off you will be.

Do you feel most entrepreneurs pay enough attention to sales when laying the groundwork for their small businesses? If not, what are some common elements that get overlooked? When starting out, you need to realize that nothing happens until you sell something and that your prospective customers will not come to you. You have to get out and sell and continually promote yourself to build clientele. That's where we get back to the other marketing functions-Will you need ads and if so, where? How will you distribute discount flyers? If the product needs support people, when do you need to bring them on?

What are the key elements of a sales plan? A plan must take many things into consideration: * A realistic estimate of what you can sell each month * Product cost for those sales * Sales expenses

Sales plans are good, but they are just that-a plan. And the only way to know if it's working is by developing forecasts based on good data. If a business is working 10 deals, for example, how many will they close, and how long is the sales cycle from first call to signing?

Can you provide an example of how this works? If your sale cycle is six months, your sales plan has to reflect that there will be only 6 months of potential sales this year. If you close only 30 percent of the deals you propose, your sales plan must show that you need to be proposing at more than $3 million if you want to sell $1 million. This is where the forecast comes in. If you look at all of your prospects, and they add up to $2 million, then you know that with a 30% close rate, you cannot sell $1 million.

Many entrepreneurs and their front-line employees may fear they lack the skills to be effective at sales. What are some techniques to help them feel more comfortable with the role? * Sincerity. Most entrepreneurs have that. They believe in their product and have a passion for it otherwise they would not do it. * Relate to the prospect the WIIFM of the deal. "WIIFM" means "what's in it for me." If you can tell prospects what is in it for them-i.e., how they'll benefit-you will win. * Treat each and every sale like what you want the most is the NEXT sale to that customer. Unless I treat you right on this sale, I won't get the next sale and that is the easy one; it's the one I really want. So in the current sale, work to do it all correctly then support the product and get that easy next sale.

OK, so you decide to hire sales professionals for your small business. Are there key skills, experience, or attributes to look for? * Look for someone who has excellent training and a verifiable record of success. Ideally, you want someone who has succeeded at selling a similar product and has established contacts in that arena. * An entrepreneurial mindset and the ability to create the support they need. Maybe they compensate for a lack of literature by making a killer PowerPoint presentation, or integrating other technology to make a case to customers. * A good knowledge of the competition and industry. * An interest in business of sales itself. I call these types students of sales or students of the industry. They regularly read motivational books on sales, participate in industry associations and subscribe to industry publications.

Is there still a place for "cold calls" in the Internet age? Oh yes! The old methods are still the best, especially those generally related to making a cold lead warm. If you can at least get a name of the decision maker that is a start. In any industry, most businesses know each other via industry associations, etc. A great way to melt the ice is to ask your client at company X if he knows his counterpart at company Y. Then you can call company Y and tell him company X said to call. That's called reference selling, and it's a huge way to get your foot in the door.

What are some other tips for getting connected to the right people? The Internet, specifically company directories, can be a huge help in finding the right name. Also, if you are looking for the CFO, she may be listed in the firm's online financial statements. If you are looking for the VP of sales, he may be listed in press releases for new products. The head of manufacturing may have spoken at an industry conference.

If I get someone on the phone, and it is the wrong person, I always ask to be transferred; frequently the person will do it. But once I get the new person, I always say "hey I was just talking to X over in manufacturing and he said I should talk to you." Once again, you're getting a referral.

What are some simple ways to build customer loyalty so that they'll keep coming back and hopefully spread the word about your small business? Most people have a lasting memory for people who treat them well, especially if they went beyond what was necessary. Most people will be very loyal and even pay a premium if the service is well beyond the norm.

It also helps to be responsive. Never let a call or email go more than four business hours before returning it. Even if you don't know the answer right away, return the message to say you're working on it. You never know when a customer has his boss breathing down his neck and your tardiness is putting him in a bad light.

Staying in touch with customers is always good for building loyalty and perhaps, finding new ways to serve them. Should you be up front about wanting to do more for them, or is a more subtle approach better? Yes, be up front about who you are and what you do and that you would like the opportunity to earn their business.

How can you turn a problem or complaint into an opportunity to win over or win back a customer? I made thousands of dollars in sales from problem clients because I read their mindset and what was needed to make them happy. The old adage that the customer is always right still holds true, as they are the one with the checkbook. If getting that next sale I mentioned earlier means eating some profit or going out of your way on the current sale, do it. What's more, former problem clients make great references because they will say to others that they had a problem and you stepped up to do the right thing. These kinds of references can be invaluable.

In your career and as a SCORE mentor, you've encountered a wide variety of business types and scenarios. Is there one bit of sound advice that all of them can take to heart? Running a successful business to me is about two things: * Have a plan and work it.   * Manage by the numbers. Have a good system of financials and manage with them. Watch your account receivables-these are loans you are making, and you want to get paid; watch the expenses-run lean and mean; and manage for profit-don't get blinded by revenue.

Want more sales and customer loyalty advice? Get free, confidential mentoring from Steve Engelhardt or other SCORE experts today. And get more helpful tips and strategies delivered to your inbox by subscribing to SCORE newsletters.


The Month In Pictures



 Lancaster Optometry 

 Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting


 Lancaster Optometry 

 Community Queens Assisting with Ribbon Cutting    


 Lancaster Optometry  

 Miss Lancaster Haley Arntz   


 VIP House of Hair

 Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting


 VIP House of Hair 

  Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting


 Zero Degrees Frozen Custard and Ice

  Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting

 Zero Degrees Frozen Custard & Ice    

  Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting  


Zero Degrees Frozen Custard & Ice   

Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Community Queens

 TownePlace Suites Marriott   

  Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting


TownePlace Suites Marriott   

  Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting


TownePlace Suites Marriott   

  Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting CEO, Sandy Smith and

Shandra Goben   


Lancaster Chamber Luncheon 

 Guest Speaker

Lt. Mark Stevens of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Commercial Crimes Bureau  



 Table Sponsor

Chris Perosi with The Tech Gods



 $50.00 Sponsor, TownePlace Suites Marriott, Shandra Golan

Winner Ben Bahrami with AAMCO


 Best Commercial Award to


 2014 Installation Dinner  

 Vicki Medina Swearing In Our

Board of Directors

 2014 Installation Dinner 

 Small Business of the Year Award 

Lynn Roth, SOL Graphix

 2014 Installation Dinner 

 Medium Business of the Year Award 

Paul Kinison, Aerotech News

 2014 Installation Dinner 

 Large Business of the Year Award 

Erin Vines, Antelope Valley College

 2014 Installation Dinner 

 Honoring Our Outgoing Executive Officers

Gene Melchers, Dr. Douglas Weber,

Paul Kinison and Ann Hill (Not Pictured)