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From the Executive Director
2014: Three Tips to Develop Stronger, More Productive Relationships
I recently picked up the telephone to call a colleague I hadn't talked to in a while (I'll call her K). I caught K on a "bad" day. We spent an hour on the phone. I listened and offered guidance only when asked. She was heading off to a conference for the weekend and didn't want to go. As we hung up I said, "Have fun!"
When I saw K the following week, after she returned from the conference, she greeted me with a hug. "Thank you so much for the phone call last week. You got me off the couch, running my errands and packing my bag for the trip. I had a great time. I told everyone I was there because of you."
Later that same day K called me to share a story. She ran into a colleague who needed support. Because K felt good, she could offer her colleague support and guidance, too.
Helping people is contagious. To develop more productive relationships consider the following three tips. Then watch your relationships flourish.
Be Genuine. Words mean things. Say what you mean. Say it with respect and compassion.
Be curious. Instead of thinking, "How will I benefit?" think instead, "How I can help someone today?" Ask questions, be interested, listen more than you speak.
Stay in touch. Whether you send a note via email or snail mail, connect on social media, or pick up the phone and say hello, it is important to stay in touch on a regular basis if you want to create strong, productive relationships.
How about you? How do you develop productive relationships? Send me an Email and maybe you'll see your tip shared in a future blog or newsletter column!
Join us at one of the following events to develop productive relationships in 2014.
Lunch, Thursday January 16: Abington Ale House, sponsored by Elizabeth Beach-Hacking, Shelf Genie. Click here for more information.
State of the Network Breakfast: Thursday January 30. Meet the new Board of Directors and hear about new programs for 2014! Learn more and/or register here.
P.S. Looking for an opportunity to ask for what you want? Contact me to learn more about how SSWBN can become part of your marketing and promotional plan in 2014. We have a variety of sponsorship and partnership opportunities starting at $50. Don't miss out on an opportunity to share your skills and to ask for what you want!
Message from the President
Years ago, a fellow roundtable member talked about having a word for the year. For this newsletter I contacted her to see if she would share this concept and what her word for 2014 is. Here's what Kat Ogar had to say:
Every year I pick a word that I want to represent the incoming new year. I refrain from jumping at the first thing that comes into my head. Usually I mull it over for a month or two starting in November to see what resonates with me. Last year I chose AWAKEN and I can honestly say this has been a year of awakening for me. I have learned things about myself that have brought about a lot of personal growth. My word for 2014 is JOY. I chose it because I realized this year that I spend a lot of my time and energy on work and growing my business -- which I love; but my family belongs on the top of my list and that's where I get my joy. I'm looking forward to seeing where the journey takes me.
In keeping with Kat's tradition, my word for 2014 is PLANNING. This year, I PLAN to make the South Shore Women's Business Network success a priority. I PLAN to attend the events, and I PLAN to use the members as a source of business for both my personal and professional needs. I PLAN to connect with other members to learn more about what their purpose is, and see if I can help to create the necessary connections for their success.
I PLAN to make this year Errands Etcetera's best year yet: from growth to financials to staffing, I have a PLAN in place, with action steps to make sure I stay on track to my end goal.
I PLAN to make my health and myself a priority, by taking steps to good self-care for the well-being of myself.
If you want to travel to a place you've never been, you need to have a plan -- are you going to drive there? Would it make more sense to take the train? Perhaps it's somewhere you can only fly to reach. Regardless of the mode of transportation, you need to have a plan to get there, as well as map to ensure that you are on the right path. How many times have you been a passenger where the driver refuses to ask for directions? Can you remember how frustrating it was for everyone involved?
Is this a lesson that you can apply to running your business? You want success, but success looks different from person to person; so having a personalized plan becomes that much more important. You need to know what your destination should look like and what you're going to do once you get there.
For me it's clear that 2014 is all about having a plan that I can communicate with my team, and having benchmarks by which to measure my progress. What is your word for 2014? Please feel free to share it with me, I'd love to hear it and why it's so significant to you!
"A dream without a plan is just a wish" -Katherine Paterson
Cheers to a happy, healthy, successful 2014!
Law You Can Use
|Rebecca Westerlund Coletta, Esq.|
How the Law of Gravity Compares to Working with a Business Lawyer
Happy New Year! -- the time of year full of new beginnings and new plans!
Writing this column every other month initiates a new plan for me. My goal is to bring you food for thought on legal topics that are relevant to you.
To achieve that goal, I am inviting you to submit topics to me that interest you from a legal perspective; that is, what would you ask a business lawyer if the meter were not running? (N.B., lawyers charge by unit time for their services, which includes listening to your story and advising.) If you let me know your questions, I will hit on as many of them as space and time allowal in this column. You must bear in mind that my responses and advice will be general, and you will still need to hire an attorney for advice on any particular situation. Remember: the goal is to provide food for thought rather than legal advice.
As you begin your new year and take stock of your company, your prospects and your challenges, I invite you to also look anew at the legal health of your company. This is a time to look at your strategy and review any legal risks facing your company, both now and down the road.
Frequently smaller companies talk to business attorneys only when they make a big change, such as start a business, buy property, sell a business, or something of similar magnitude. Larger companies, on the other hand, usually have in-house legal counsel as part of a management team who knows the business goals and proactively plans for legal issues that could interfere with short- and long-term goals.
If you don't regularly work with your business attorney, consider calling him or her and asking to sit down and review your plans. The goal would be to make sure that you understand the legal environment and the laws that may impact you today or down the road -- including when you try to sell your business or go after a new opportunity.
As a business lawyer who has worked on transactions for smaller and larger companies, as both in-house and as an outside lawyer, I know that my knowledge is more useful as I know more about a client's business and their priorities. I like to get to know my clients before a crisis or major change hits. Your attorney will be more help to you if you include her or him in planning, and you help her or him to understand your business and the challenges and opportunities that you see.
To prepare you for such a sit-down and to make better use of your time while the meter is actually running, here are some questions to consider:
- What are your biggest risks and fears? If something were to go wrong in your business, what is it most likely to be? Is there something you can do to minimize or protect against those risks?
- What works and doesn't work in your agreements with customers? Can you streamline this process with better contracts?
- Do you get what you need from suppliers? Are you able to make sure that your agreements lay out expectations in a way that produces better outcomes?
- What legal issues are being discussed in your industry literature? Have you looked at those issues in relation to your own business?
- If you own a business with other people, do you have a plan in place for ownership if someone needs to leave the business due to illness, death or disinterest? If it is your own business, do you have a succession plan that will allow your family to benefit from the value you have built in your business?
- Are you operating as a limited liability entity? If not, what are the benefits and costs of doing so? If you are, are you following basic procedures (such as signing documents as an officer of the entity rather than personally) to limit your liability to the assets of the entity?
- Do you have trademarks or copyrights that you need to protect?
This kind of proactive process facilitates the growth of your business while protecting the value you are building. This is not to suggest that you want to become mired in worries about the law all the time. Most business owners and corporate professionals do not have time to go to law school while they are running their businesses.
Be grateful that you do business in a stable country which has a set of laws and courts that make business more predictable. (If you have cringed a time or two at this thought in recent years, consider the special problems of doing business in a third world country with an unstable political system. I have worked on matters involving many other countries, and have come to appreciate the relative stability of our laws.)
Think of it this way: in our business and personal lives we rely upon laws all the time without needing to know the law. An example is the law of gravity: you don't need to know the law of gravity to stay on the ground. And I hope that you don't walk around afraid that you are going to fly off the face of the earth if gravity stops working.
Most of what business lawyers do is not as difficult as rocket science, but lawyers do have a body of knowledge that helps them to navigate relevant laws and make sure you don't trip over them, and that you use them properly as you grow your business. The issues that may matter from one business to another can vary greatly depending on your industry, the size of your business and similar factors. This is why you should never depend upon my column and other online legal publications for legal advice for your specific situation. This isn't just a general caveat to protect myself: the law really can be frustratingly fact-specific and you should be careful when applying what you read to your own situation
Engage your lawyer to put his or her body of knowledge to use for you.
Even if you do your homework and spend the time for your lawyer to get to know your business, you may not foresee all of the legal issues that can crop up in a year. But when you pick up the telephone, your lawyer will need to address only the immediate issue, without using valuable time during a crisis getting to know you and your business from scratch..
Rebecca Westerlund Coletta, Esq.*
Coletta Law Office
620 County Road
Hanson, MA 02341
Becky Coletta is the principal of Coletta Law Office and has provided representation to a variety of large and small companies since graduating from NYU School of Law in 1990. She is a member of the Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut bars. She is also a member of the SSWBN Board of Directors, the South Shore Chamber, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club of Hanson.
This column constitutes legal advertising, and is designed only as an information service. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it should not be relied upon as legal advice. Legal advice is provided only after a careful review of the specific facts provided by a client after formation of an attorney-client relationship.
Happy New Year everyone! The turn of the year is recognized the world over as a point of transition: a time to turn over a new leaf, start with a clean slate, discard the old in favor of the new.
When you think about yourself or your business, what is it that you would change? For change to be successful and long-lasting, it should be made in small increments. So start small -- start with a call or an email to another business in our Network for help with whatever it is you need help with to keep your New Year's resolution.
Rosemarie Lanchester of Everything You Wish For, and RKL Business Associates, Inc. wishes to acknowledge and thank one of our Silver Partners, George Washington Toma TV and Appliances, for their wonderful service. She said, "Several years ago, when I remodeled my kitchen, I purchased all of my kitchen appliances at GW Toma in Weymouth. I knew their reputation for high quality and great s
ervice. Recently I had a technician to my home to replace my refrigerator gasket and fix my dishwasher. At that time, I was made aware of another issue with my fridge, that the fan needed to be replaced. I decided to wait for that repair. Some weeks later, when I thought it prudent to not put it off any longer, I ordered the part and the same tech came out to install it. I was amazed that he didn't charge any labor or service for that call. All I paid for was the part! This wasn't an easy replacement for the technician -- he had to lay on the floor and spend several minutes with the project. I'm so grateful for their professionalism and care! I expressed my gratitude to my technician in hopes he would pass it along to management for being so supportive to our Network, as well as for making a customer very happy. In this day and age there are a lot of bargains out there in the marketplace, but there is no competition for the excellent service I have received from George Washington Toma!"
Judy Rizzo of Rizzo Plumbing & Heating LLC sends a big thank you to Stacy Doherty of Errands Etcetera "... for helping me deck the halls! She carefully brought boxes and boxes of Spode China out of storage, and washed and dried it so I could use it for the holidays!" said Judy. "This china is very special to me because most of it was given to me by my Mom, so I really appreciate that Stacy treated it with TLC. Also, Thanks to Kristen Ford-Hernandez of Premiere Pros for sending me a great customer in Weymouth -- I appreciate the referral."
Stacy Doherty of Errands Etcetera herself sends a bit shout-out to Lois Wood with LW Creative. "Thanks for taking the time to review my website with me. Your suggestions are great and I look forward to moving to the WordPress platform!" Stacy also sends thanks to Brilene Faherty with the Bullfinch Group for hosting the December Coffee with the President. Last but not least, Stacy sends her warm thanks to Lori Cook of A Fork in the Road @ Bryantville and Alison Schirone from Yarn's End for the great suggestions to a recent blog piece. "I loved sharing your tips for a well managed Thanksgiving, and my readers appreciated the ideas!" Stacy said
So now that we have passed through the door of the New Year, make it your resolution to make a connection this month or to share of yourself with someone from our Network. Make it a priority to come to an event to meet new people and old friends. Introduce yourself and your business to others in the Network. When the need eventually arises, you and your business will be the first to come to mind for them.
Songs of the Colonial Days
|Above and Beyond|
|Kim DeGust, Real Estate Professional|
What were your most positive networking experiences in 2013? Did you attend an event that was particularly inspiring? Did you develop relationships? As you are reflecting, think about what worked well for you as you plan to build networking into 2014. Wishing each of you a healthy and prosperous New Year!
Congratulations to Sue Rego of Sampson Insurance, on her recent appointment to the Board of Directors of Vital Impact,which focuses on providing support to women over 35 who are transitioning careers and enrolled in an educational program to achieve this goal.
Congratulations to Nancy O'Keefe of Simple Small Business Solutions who is one of only 39 out of a field of 275 to be selected to participate in the Hell Yeah Star Program, a celebrity speaker mentorship program with Larry Winget, national keynote speaker and best-selling author, and Suzanne Evans, speaker, author and business coach. The program is designed to help you write a book, get the look, prepare your talk and get the polish to speak nationally -- even on TV! Nancy said, "It is an incredible opportunity to expand my business reach and help more entrepreneurs."
And as always I love to hear about your announcements, successes and awards -- both personal and professional. Please direct all submissions to my new e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coughlin & Company Real Estate
(781) 363-0485 cell
serves as your Managing Editor of the SSWBN Compass.
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Coffee with the President -
Come meet with the president and learn more about the network and how it can help grow your business.
Abington Ale House
Elizabeth Beach Hacking,
Connect with professional women and men, entrepreneurs, innovators and influential leaders in the community.
Participate in a facilitated networking activity and
introduce yourself to the group.We look forward to helping you develop productive relationships in 2014
NOTE: This lunch takes place on a Thursday. Mark your calendar!
State of the Network
7:30am - 10:00am
Hear from SSWBN teams, staff and board members about exciting programs and plans for 2014
Meet your 2014-2015 Board of Directors
Meet the SSWBN staff
Network with like-minded professional women and men who live or work south of Boston
Dave & Busters
|Jessica Foley, Dave & Busters|