3rd Generation Family Business
Most people cringe at the term 'family business'. They say "how could you possibly do business with your family members and get along at the end of the day?". Not only did I get to work side by side with my father my whole life but now I get to work with my kids everyday as well. It is truly a surreal experience I would not trade for the world.
My son, Brad Factor, started working for the business full time in 2009 and has really transformed a lot of our technology and business practices. He oversees the whole operation. My daughter, Amanda Factor, came into the business full time in 2012 and brought her expertise in marketing, social media, and sales to build the brand and ensure continued growth.
Statistics with family business are quite alarming. Less than 13% of family businesses are passed to the third generation. We are happy that we have surpassed that 13% and hope to have our business reach a 4th generation and beyond.
Here are the key characteristics that we feel can improve the success rates of future generations of any family business:
8. Value family traditions. Brad, Bill, and Amanda Factor go for lunch together almost every single day. If you are at Manny's Deli around1pm, you can usually find us there talking business, politics, or the Blackhawks.
9. Preserve the family reputation. You have to be extremely conscious of how you carry yourself socially as your actions inside and outside of work reflect not only on yourself, but also on your family and brand’s reputation.
10. Trust. You can't successfully run a family business without trust. We have a family business with only 3 family members but everyone has different thoughts and ideas and you have to know that you can trust these people and that every person involved genuinely wants the best for the business.
Promotional products are a unique way to build your brand because they create such a strong connection with people. Think of how many times you’ve heard of a customer referring to a favorite pen or favorite coffee mug. This type of connection strengthens your brand!
And the benefit of a strong brand leads to increased sales. Research shows that 21% of recipients made a purchase after receiving a promotional product. As you can see from these charts, promotional products are a powerful tool in your marketing mix.
Changing over to a Hosted VoIP solution will save your business money. This solution consists of three main components. These components are the Service Provider, the Wide Area Network (WAN) or connectivity better known as the bandwidth provider, and the network in your office known as the Local Area Network (LAN).
Each one of these components plays a critical role in creating a proper VoIP Solution. Any one of these components if not properly optimized will cause your solution to fail. Most often the blame goes to the Service Provider. However, the issue most often lies with the Bandwidth provider (the WAN) or the office network (the LAN).
Let’s dive into each of the three components.
The Service Provider: This is the company that provides the software being used and the voice minutes. The Service Provider determines the available feature set and system functionality.
Important questions to ask:
The WAN or Bandwidth provider: This is also known as the Internet Service Provider or ISP. In today's VoIP deployments most customers run with the BYOB being Bring Your Own Bandwidth. In such cases many of these Bandwidth providers will promise the moon and stars all for $1.95. The fact is, you get what you pay for when it comes to a VoIP solution. Some ISPs actually look for VoIP traffic and will disrupt that VoIP traffic. The low cost providers, including cable and DSL service, are over-subscribed. These providers have what I like to refer to as the bathtub effect, meaning only so much water can get through the drain when you want to empty the tub. The #1 Reason why VoIP solutions do not work well or fail is the Bandwidth provider.
In today’s market, the reality is it can truly be better for a client to upgrade to a more expensive ISP which offers better throughput and a Service Level Agreement (SLA). The service might seem to be slower but it actually is faster when speed tests have been performed. Important questions to ask:
Your Network better known as the LAN: I have been amazed at what I have seen. I have seen switches placed under people's desks, cabling run across the carpeting, the use of multiple routers and weird wireless devices, and cables which have been spliced together. I have seen routers which do not work with VoIP deployed in a network and I have seen switches circa 2000 deployed. Typically an investment in the LAN is required prior to deploying a successful VoIP solution. Questions to consider include:
There is a lot to consider when deploying a proper VoIP solution to maximize your profit margin as I have discussed above. The three main areas being the Service Provider, the Bandwidth or ISP (most customers use a BYOB model), and your on-site network or the LAN. All three of these need to be in working order prior to deploying a proper VoIP solution.
For additional information contact Open One Solutions, Inc. at 855-BIZ-VoIP (855-249-8647) or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you remember your first BEA meeting? I do. It was November of 2001. I was younger, at least half an inch taller and less experienced. I was looking to grow my business, but was also more than a little apprehensive about attending my first BEA meeting.
Entering a group of 30 plus people was intimidating. While I was invited by an existing member who our firm had a strong relationship with, I knew I would be going into a room of total strangers. Would people talk to me? Would they like me? What value could I bring to the group? Will this be a waste of time? Will I be embarrassed? Will they have eggs…and bacon? These and so many other real and irrational thoughts circled in my head.
Turns out the group was filled with people like me. They ran businesses. They had clients. They were interested in creating win-win relationships. They were doing the things that led to being successful in business and life. They were interested in what they could learn from others. And they, too, were once nervous about coming to their first BEA meeting.
I realized early on that the BEA could be a powerful resource and tool. I invited more experienced members for coffee, and got to know and understand them by asking loads of questions. This helped increase my learning curve in business. I invited my network to visit the BEA, as it was a positive reflection on me, and I knew they would find value in attending. I was able to access members who were happy to serve as a sounding board. After a time, I even received a number of referral opportunities.
Later, I joined the BEA Board, and was able to see how the organization functioned, and how those that were on the Board ticked. I eventually was fortunate to become president of the BEA for the 2007 and 2008 term.
I credit this experience as president in catapulting my career. The opportunity to speak in front of the group on a regular basis provided me the confidence to speak to any group. The lessons I learned are practiced every day. The opportunity to lead the Board, create direction, and build on the relationships cemented in the BEA was paramount in my decision to start North Star Benefits in 2008.
Talk about scared. Back in 2008, I knew that I needed a change, and I was confident that the best situation would be to have my own firm. However, that didn’t stop the nervousness.
I drew on my past experiences, thinking of other times when I was scared of doing what I knew was right. I thought back to the days before my first BEA meeting. Thought about the fear that comes from taking risks, and reflecting afterwards on how those fears were unfounded. I focused on the success, and pulled the trigger on starting what has been the best decision of my career. Thank you BEA.
Now, go out there and do something that scares you!
Wrap it up. Recap your major points. Lastly give the audience a call to action. Drive the audience to do something based on your recommendations. It could even be as simple as “think about it”
Thinks to keep in mind:
Have someone else double check you work. You do not what to post a blog online with spelling and grammatical errors, even worse, factual errors. Double-check everything!
Add a picture
Most blog publishing outlets have a space for a picture. A featured image is a great way to capture you audiences’ attention when they may not even be looking for your blog. This is a must when publishing your blog on social media! Make sure you are not infringing on copyrights. Here is a great website for royalty free images that you can place in your blog. http://pixabay.com
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