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From the Executive Director
Do you have the support you need to achieve your goals?
Were you one of the 90 people who attended the State of the Network Breakfast on January 30? If so, then you shared in the energy of that day. All thanks to you - our members, teams, Board of Directors and staff: without you, we wouldn't have a network!
Click here to see more photos
If you did attend, you heard me share the following story. I share it again because I believe it reflects the essence of SSWBN.
After the January lunch I received an email from a first time guest that reads:
Just wanted to send a quick follow-up thank you for this week's lunch... I immediately felt comfortable and relaxed with the group from the very start and truly got a sense of strong relationships at both the professional and personal levels ...
... Thank you again, I look forward to the breakfast...!
SSWBN is about developing relationships.
Each individual develops relationships for different reasons. Some want to increase their client base. Others are looking for collaboration partners or education. Some people work alone and seek inspiration and camaraderie.
The common thread for all of our members comes down to: develop relationships.
Do you have the relationships you need to achieve your goals in 2014?
To develop the relationships you need you must commit to show up and speak up.
- Show up at events and on social media. Be visible. Be seen. Be authentic.
- Show up with an interest in helping others. Introduce them to other people. Or maybe you're luck and your business can help them.
- Show up with an interest in helping yourself. What support do you need to achieve your goals? Know what you want in advance.
- Promote yourself in a clear, confident and concise way.
- Follow-up and nurture relationships (without always trying to sell something).
- Do you need a service provider to make your business life easier? Are you looking for collaboration opportunities? Ask for what you want.
- Get curious about other people. Engage in conversation. Find out about their businesses. What do they do for fun? What support do they need? How can you be of service?
SSWBN provides an opportunity for you to meet people you may not otherwise get to meet, and to develop the relationships you need to achieve your goals.
The rest is up to you. Attend events, engage in conversation, follow-up and nurture relationships. SSWBN gives you many opportunities to show up and speak up. Are you taking advantage of the opportunities?
Let SSWBN connect you to the resources you need to achieve your personal or professional goals in 2014.
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
I recently sat down with a new member for coffee, someone starting a new business similar to mine. She has run into some road blocks: having a hard time finding the appropriate commercial insurance; dealing with the decision to become an LLC, a DBA, or to incorporate; how to market her innovative idea.
Hearing her story brought me back to five years ago when I was just starting out -- or starting over for those of you who know the history. I hadn't a clue as to where to start, but knew enough to reach out and ask for help. Now here comes this woman, who some may view as my competition, asking ME, little old ME, for help! I could hardly stand it! I wanted to pinch myself. Five years can feel like forever, or it can feel like a moment -- it all depends on what day it is. But to a new business, five years can seem like an entire lifetime (and for some businesses that's the sad truth). With those years evolves a story, and this woman wanted mine.
After sharing her background and how she got her start, she asked for my history. Without getting into the real dirty stuff, I gave her the cloudy overview -- she saw right through that and asked the tough questions, and pressed me for the ugly details. I told her how at one point, I had the "Itty Bitty Shitty Committee" renting too much space in my head, and that for too long I held onto bartending, and did not want to live in the fear that Errands Etcetera would fail, and people would think that I, too, was a failure.
I shared that in the place where that fear is, that uncomfortable pit in your stomach where you contemplate, "What was I thinking?" THAT is the place that success likes to hide out. It is only when you embrace that emotion and realize that the feeling is new, and instead of hightailing it back to your comfort zone you allow yourself to experience something new, you reap the benefits. Sure, there will be times where you'll get that discomfort in the pit in your stomach, and it will turn out to be just a stomach bug; but there will be many, many, many more times where that feeling will lead you a place you never dreamed of.
The best thing I did for myself when I got that feeling was to reach out and connect with someone. I learned along the way that just because I was a solo-entrepreneur, it did not mean I was in this alone. I had people in my life who had experienced every single thing I was feeling at one point or another. I bounced ideas off my mentors, and I reached out for coaching help (and I still do when facing unknown territories). I was never afraid to ask someone to meet for a cup of coffee. Sometimes I needed to just sit in my own mess and soak it in, and sometimes I wanted someone to sit in the mess with me. At other times, and most often, I wanted someone to feel inspired by and with whom to connect.
It is true that everyone has a story, but I challenge you to find the one that sounds most like a fairytale and then dissect it. Most stories, at least the good ones, have ups and downs -- a reason to want to stick around for the ending. Maybe you are in the beginning phases of writing your story, or maybe you have multiple novels under your belt -- I'd love to hear from you and learn more about your story!
Let's connect and share stories!
Law You Can Use
George Boerger, Boerger Law
Business Check-Up - Six Essential Areas to Review
Many successful people use beginning of the year is a great time to stop and evaluate the operation of their businesses. The failure to pay attention to the legal details of any business operation can lead to some very expensive consequences. The following are six essential areas you should not neglect.
1. Are your annual reports up to date?
If you are operating your business as a corporation or limited liability company ("LLC") in the Commonwealth you are required to file an annual report. The annual report for a corporation is due on the 15th
day of the third month following the close of the accounting year for your company (i.e. March 15 for a calendar year taxpayer). Annual reports for an LLC are due on the date the LLC was organized with the Commonwealth. If your company fails to file its annual report its charter may be cancelled. Make sure your company's annual reports are current.
2. Are your corporate documents in order?
Do you know if your corporate documents are organized and up to date? Do you know where your minute book is located? (If you don't know what a minute book is then you should schedule a consultation with your attorney as soon as possible.) If you had a change in ownership (e.g., did your co-owner leave the company or did a new person buy into your company?) - do your corporate stock records reflect this change? Do you have minutes of your annual meetings or minutes which approve major activities over the past year? These are just a few of the items you should review to make sure your corporate records are both current and accurate.
3. Are there any lurking employment issues?
If there are others working in your business do you classify them as employees or do you treat them as independent contractors? The classification of an individual as an independent contractor instead of an employee is an area which has generated a fair amount of controversy over the past few years. If you treat an employee as an independent contractor and are audited by the Commonwealth, you could face significant back tax liability and fines if the Commonwealth asserts that the individual should be classified as an employee.
Do your key employees have non-disclosure or non-compete agreements with your company? If not, do you think they are needed? What would happen if your top salesperson quit tomorrow and went to work for your biggest competitor? A non-compete agreement could help protect you if this were to happen.
4. Have you updated your customer agreements? Do you have one?
If you have an agreement with your customers now is a good time to review the agreement to make sure it addresses all of your key concerns. If you don't have a customer agreement do you need one? Have you had issues with any customers this past year? If so, are there terms in your agreement which can help address and hopefully prevent these issues from recurring? You may have an agreement that is working very well - and if that is the case - great. However, it is always a good idea to review your agreement or have it reviewed by your attorney to help prevent potential problems.
5. Does your current business structure still make sense?
How do you operate your business? Are you a corporation, a limited liability company, a limited partnership, a general partnership or a sole proprietor? If you have not thought about the business structure of your company within the last few years it is good to make sure your organizational structure provides you with the protection you need.
6. What will happen to your business if you die this year? Will your business survive?
If you want your business to continue after your death it is very important to have an effective estate plan in place. This is very important if you have a child working in the business and want that child to continue with operations after you are no longer around. If you have other children who do not work in the business, it is even more important to have an estate plan in place.
The above six areas are some of the more important points you should address to keep your business running smoothly this year. Taking the time to pay attention to the legal needs of your business is important.
If you have a business lawyer you should speak with him or her about these issues. If you don't have a business lawyer, call me for a no-cost initial consultation.
George H. Boerger
161 Summer Street, Suite 4
Kingston, MA 02364
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.
It may not seem like it yet, but the days are getting longer. Soon all of this snow will be a distant memory! In spite of the wind and weather, many of our members continue to reach out to one another to make meaningful Connections. Here are a few success stories to brighten up your February!
Janet LaBerge of Dirty Deeds and Good Deeds would first like to thank all the members who voted and badgered friends to vote for her for Idea Cafe's Entrepreneur of 2013. The support meant a 4191 vote total, which was enough to win! Congratulations, Janet! She continues, "Thank you to everyone who shops at Good Deeds and recommends it to their friends for a great shopping experience. This last weekend felt like old home week, with a chance to visit with Jim Della Volpe, Katie Howard, Cheryl Terrell of Comfort Keepers, Alison Schirone of Yarns End, Patty Dunigan of Biz Checks Payroll, and Susan Peters of Mt. Vernon Mortgage, who brought her friends, the Helens. We have been open for only seven months and our store is always packed with kind folks who enjoy the treasure hunt. Thanks for supporting our vision and mission."
Janet also thanks George Boerger, of Boerger Law, for hiring Dirty Deeds to move his office to their new digs in Duxbury. "Thanks as well, to Robin Feltoon of Holly Tree Dental for hiring Dirty Deeds to clean out her basement. Thank you to Susan Carmichael, recently retired from Elizabeth Pineault, CPA for choosing Dirty Deeds to remove items from her condo so it would sell quickly.
This month we have words of praise and recommendation from two sources for Holly Tree Dental. Janet LaBerge said, "I have been entirely impressed with every aspect of this business. Robin Feltoon replaced a filling for me and there was NO pain, NO bad smell and NO numbing all day from the Novocain. Nice to have someone concerned about my overall experience who uses the most modern tools available in a beautiful office setting." In addition, Kim DeGust of Molisse Realty Group said, "I contacted Courtney Brady after a bad experience with my last dentist. Holly Tree Dental does so many little things to ensure the patient is comfortable, including a massaging dental chair. But most importantly, Courtney is very good at her job. My teeth look great and the experience was pain free!"
Alison Schirone of Yarns End sends thanks to Maureen Elliott for doing a bit of extra running around to get some Yarn's End shirts monogrammed. Alison said, "It was clear to me she went above and beyond to get them delivered to us in a timely way. Also, many thanks to Gretchen Gold of Wish List Consignment for suggesting that Yarn's End appear on Channel 9's The Phyllis Show, an interview program that airs on Weymouth CATV. It was a wonderful experience and we would not have heard about it if Gretchen didn't suggest us!"
As we heard at the State of the Network breakfast recently, it's important to attend SSWBN meetings and social events and follow up with people whom you have met. Maybe you could offer a discount to fellow SSWBN members. Maybe you could call someone you met at breakfast and find out how you can help them. Maybe YOU could make a Connection! When you do, let me know about it!
Songs of the Colonial Days
|Above and Beyond|
|Kim DeGust, Real Estate Professional|
Congratulations to Janet LeBerge of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Good Deeds, recently named 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year by Business Owners Idea Café! Each year readers nominate business leaders who have made an impact over the last year, and Janet earned the most online votes (4191). Of the many great things that voters and nominators had to say about Janet, an example reads: "[She] does so much for the community. Dirty Deeds helps people deal with difficult transitions with ease. And the proceeds from her Good Deeds shop help a different charity each month by giving them a very substantial check. Her staff is amazing -- they always make you feel welcome." Read more about Janet and her award here.
Congratulations to Cheryle Brady of Ameriprise Financial, recently recognized as the Five Star Wealth Manager for 2013. The award is based on ten objective criteria including education and professional designations, one year and five year client retention rates, and number of client households served. Cheryle serves on the SSWBN Membership Team.
As always I love to hear about your announcements, successes and awards, whether you earned them in your personal life or your professional life. Please direct all submissions to my new
February boasts three Featured Businesses.
Does a lack of energy keep you from performing your best as a business owner or leader? Meet Kat Ogar, Health Coach and owner of Infinite Health and Wellness. She will help you create a healthy you so that you can create a healthy business. Read how by clicking here: clicking here
Meet Hilary Troia of Home Instead Senior Care in Pembroke, a former retail executive looking for a new direction when her husband "sold" office furniture -- and in a way his wife -- to somone who would become Hilary's manager and franchise owner: click here
SSWBN founding "sister" Nancy Boyle designs many yoga classes for specific and unique student populations, such as Yoga for Golfers; Yoga for Boomers and Beyond; Chair Yoga for Seniors; and Yoga for the Office Environment. How does she do it? Read her story at Read her story.
Networking Lunch and workshop
11:45am - 1:30pm
Sponsor and Host: Dave & Buster's, Braintree
Learn how to create a compelling answer to the question, "What do you do?" and then practice on fellow attendees.
New Member Orientation
8am - 10am
Corporate Park, Pembroke
Learn how to get the most out of your SSWBN and learn networking strategies to help you develop the relationships you need to achieve your business goals in 2014. No fee, RSVP requested.
7:30am - 9:30am
Linden Ponds, Hingham
Money Strategist and CPA Wendy Sabin shows you how to find your "profit sweet spot." RSVP requested.
STATE OF THE NETWORK
PHOTOS courtesy of
SSWBN Board of Directors
From L-R: Jessica Foley-Dave & Busters, Alison Schirone-Yarn's End, Dr. Lisa Lewis-Chiropractor, Kathleen Keegan- Real Estate Rocks, Kat Ogar-Infinite Health & Wellness, Rebecca Coletta- Coletta Law Office,
Premiere Pros, Jack Burke-Eastern Bank,
Stacy Doherty-Errands Etc.
Missing from photo: Nicole Peterkin-New York Life,
Nancy O'Keefe-Simple Small Business Solutions, Paula Lind-O'donoghue Insurance,
|SSWBN Newsletter Team|
From L-R: Patty Funder-LaserLight for Men and Women, Stacey Shipman, Executive Director-SSWBN, Kristen Ford-Hernandez-Premeire Pros, Lynne Feingold-Songs of the Colonial Days, Kim DeGust-Molisse Realty Group, Stacy Doherty - Errands Etc, Michelle Lathrop - SSWBN
|SSWBN Marketing Team|
From L-R: Lauren Cloutier-Cloutier Photography, Reiko Beach-Toolbox, Inc, Alison Schirone-Yarn's End, Kat Ogar-Infinite Health & Wellness, Elizabeth Beach Hacking-Shelf Genie, Cathie Briggette, NSK Inc
|SSWBN Membership Team|
From L-R: Cheryle Brady-Amerprise Financial, Susanna Griffin - Bank of Canton, Jean Delaney - Father Bill's, Michael Christopher-Datasource, Betsy Donahue - Donahue Commercial Real Estate Kathleen Keegan-Real Estate Rocks, Jessica Foley-Dave & Busters.
Stacey Shipman, Executive Director
Geri Presby, Bookkeeper
Michele Lathrop, Membership Coordinator
From the Editor
Wants & Needs
One of the things that members bring up from time to time centers on non-business related wants and needs, which would nevertheless be appropriate to share with other members.
In the past, we have shared such "wants and needs" at networking events:
- Does anyone know where I can borrow a PowerPoint projector?
- I have four tickets to the Plymouth Philharmonic this weekend that I need to pass along to someone who can attend.
- Does anyone have a bookcase they want to get rid of, no wider than four feet and no taller than three feet?
- I am running for Business Woman of the Year and need your votes to help me to win.
We decided to try it as a new column in the newsletter. We will publish these submissions in a classified ad style, and they may be personal or business-related -- but not business promoting. It will work if we all follow a few reasonable rules:
- Ads will not be edited. They will be accepted or rejected, and it is up to the sender to contact the editor for any action s/he does not understand.
- Ads may NOT promote your business or overtly request new customers/clients.
- Limit word count to about 40 words, or character count to about 200 (including spaces).
- Neither the Managing Editor, the Newsletter Team members, nor the SSWBN staff or organization takes responsibility for the effectiveness of any advertisement.
- Ads must to conform to ideals of common decency and business politeness, and of course must be legal.
- Use the standard format that we will define -- and possibly RE-fine over the next few months.
- Send your Wants & Needs directly to the Managing Editor, Patty Funder, at email@example.com by the 26th of the month for inclusion in the next month's issue of the newsletter. So that the editor can easily recognize it among routine Emails, please put "SSWBN Wants & Needs" in the subject line.
The format has three basic parts: identification, details, and contact information.
- Write the first word of your ad as either WANT or NEED. Capitalize it and make it boldfaced.
- Write enough of the details that it will result in you getting your want or need met as closely as possible.
- Complete it with your contact information: your name; your business name if you want (it may establish your identity to someone who does not know you well); and an Email, telephone number, or other way to get in touch with you.
Using this section of the newsletter, members can look to fellow members for something they need or want that is NOT for the purpose of directly building their business. In fact, you may advertise something that is more personal than business - but appropriate! Some examples include:
WANT: Two solo-preneurs seek up to eight additional very small business owners to form a roundtable. Call Wanda at 781-555-0000, or Billy at 617-555-1111. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
NEED: I need to borrow or rent a PPT projector for presentation in Apr. Text Josephine at 781-555-0000 asap.
WANT: Office furniture for new biz, prefer dark wood: L-shaped dsk; two bkcases, prefer matching; exec chr w/ hi back; credenza; 2 side chrs; leather couch/love seat. Call Chester 617-555-1111. Email info@newguy,com.
serves as your Managing Editor of the SSWBN Compass.
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