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Volume 14: Issue 1        

January 2013

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Your Small Business: Winning in the New Year 

A Checklist to get Your Business Started on the Right Foot  

There is definitely a lot of talk about the national economy right now. Topics like falling off the fiscal cliff, raising taxes, reducing the federal deficit, and slow economic growth (2.5% growth forecast for 2013) have dominated the headlines and our thought processes.

Based on what is currently happening in our nation, it is a normal response to be cautious (maybe even downright fearful) of the future. Matter of fact, for many of us, it is so easy to become consumed with the negative aspects of our economy and the daily difficulties we face, that we miss the wonderful opportunities that are before us. The upshot is that we can become so consumed with working IN our business, dealing with the daily grind, that we fail to work ON our business as competent entrepreneurs creating a sustainable model that will thrive in most any national economy.


"You may not be able to affect the national economy, but you are able to affect your personal economy."       Zig Ziglar


To help us get out of this "wrong thinking" trap, let's carve out a couple of hours over this first week of the New Year to think about the following steps:


Step 1: Review 2012


Firstly, review 2012. Make a short list and think about each month. Reflect on your moments of excellence. What did you do really well? What were YOUR "Best Practices" for your office? Think about what worked and gave you success. What didn't work? How were my core values reflected in my business? No need to overcomplicate this process just be honest and positive. Celebrate your good accomplishments in 2012. Learn from your poor decisions.


Step 2: Ask "What would I do with my business if I could do anything?"

Just brainstorm with no voice of criticism to hold you back. Write out all the ideas that come to mind. Where do you want to be with your business and your life in 5 years' time? In 2 years' time? At the end of 2013?


Read the full article here. 
Finding the Cutting Edge 
Innovative and Unique
Every company has to have a strategy. Specifically, you need one that effectively creates a buzz in the marketplace without the complexities and numerous graphs. A successful strategy should create significant value and lead to sustained growth and returns.
Remember that strategy should generate a unique value. This is especially important in crowded markets, where competition is widespread and the numerous choices can overwhelm the customers. A cutting-edge strategy demonstrates that the company is doing something special, different and that it suggests greatness.
Dell Computer created unique value incredibly well in the 1990s with their built-to-order product customization and direct-to-customer sales channel. As a result, they restructured conventional value propositions and chains that catapulted the company to a dominant role in the technology sector that has continued to the present day.
Not only should a strategy be unique but it should create new markets as well. In order to gain new customers in a marketplace where so many competitors are vying for each and every one, producing breakthrough value is essential. FedEx did this effectively with their overnight delivery, and have profited handsomely as a result. Cutting-edge strategies demonstrate value by leading markets and its consumers, instead of just responding to their current desires.
Strategies should create value by providing things that inspire excitement, intrigue and joy via exceptional functionality, design and execution. For example, Sony created the Playstation game system that was both incredibly electrifying and thrilling, and setting off a $20 billion computer game industry in the process.
Another aspect to consider with a strategy is that nowadays, it's no longer about mass markets but instead "markets of one" as the principle value driver.  Currently, Capital One has 29 million holders of its credit cards, and no two have the same terms. The company's digital capacity allows it to canvass thousands of possible combinations instantaneously. For example, a person with a bad credit history and a fondness for fusion jazz will receive a card with an entirely different set of financial marketing arrangements apart from someone with a great credit history and a love for the Chicago Bulls.


Finally, the strategy should provide an employee-driven value. The traditional scenario of a few high-ranking executives and high-priced consultants determining strategy, and then pushing it down for others to execute is destructively anachronistic. Real value and its corollary, competitive advantage, accrue to organizations that fully invest in and capitalize on the talents of their people. Top management sets broad strategic priorities and directions as well as clear values and culture. But within those parameters, cutting-edge strategy and accountability, a.k.a. value, bubbles up from anywhere. This is a quantum departure from conventional "empowerment" and "employee participation."


Value can be created by an all-hands strategic involvement. At GE Capital, entrepreneurially-minded employees are held to bat around "crazy" business-enhancement ideas and put together project teams to take those ideas to fruition. Intel and Merck take that idea a step further by funding employee-driven startups. For example, Intel provided $100 million in seed capital to different employees who have put together viable plans for high growth businesses that fit into Intel's mission.

Therefore, a cutting-edge strategy should center in constant innovation with a constant focus on the consumer's needs. It should offer an approach that's unique, startling, trendbreaking as well as customizes value. This done by a "collaboration on the run:" all hands working together as strategic partners, obsessing on speed. When this process is ignited and fueled by top management, something wonderful happens. Strategy becomes an agile, market-centric collaborative process. It can also be incredibly exciting.

The Business Crystal Ball: 2013 Trends 

What does the next year hold for business? Read on!  

The fact is we can't be 100% sure of what the next big thing will be, but through a mix of professional opinion educated guesses and downright wishful thinking I like to think I do have a rough idea.  


As a player in the Internet space I would have liked to make all of these predictions from a tech angle, but alas the world we live in today is as online as it is off. This realization has already hit many off us.  In 2013, I expect it to reach a critical mass and significant change the way we use the internet in our businesses.


A Return to Off Line Charm


Our stats show that as many as 60% of hits to our clients sites come from offline inspirations to view the site.  This means that we see users visiting from websites where there were no links to our client's site or we see them going on line specifically to see the site.  This can only be the result of an offline conversation or a call to action that originated on TV, at an event or otherwise between people in the real world.  This means that the impersonal approach taken by many companies today: inside sales telemarketers, automated answering messages during business hours, SEO "expert" advised key word loading, mass email letters and non re-targeted pay per click advertising campaigns are gradually becoming less effective.  Consumers have already realized that certain links, articles and reviews online are just empty self-aggrandizing hype.  Businesses are realizing that they need to reintegrate live/local customer service, hire outside sales people, write sincere blog entries and print old-fashion high quality communications.  Business that want to stand out in 2013 would be wise to be early adopters of this trend.


Mobile Mania


That's not to say that tech is no longer chic in 2013.  Quite the opposite, industry stat's show that people are more likely to share, like, follow and tweet from a LTE (4G) smartphone or tablet than they are with an old fashioned laptop. We see a large number of businesses and brands replacing their static web presences with what we developers call "adaptive websites".  These are web pages that are designed to load differently depending on the screen size of each user's device. Clever developers can sit down with their clients and target the pages even further: based on GPS, time of day, original geographic origin of the device or even whether the user has visited the clients website before. It is almost as if users are getting their own personalized data special only to them - not quite, but almost.  What's more is that businesses can fully personalize the experience they have with users by creating a web app.  Because they cost so much less than they did just 4 years ago, many small and medium sized companies can now afford to reap the benefits of having an app.  Benefits like being able to push offers and promotions to smartphone and tab users even if they have turned off the app.  Another revenue-boosting benefit comes from apps that generate loyalty code on user's device screens, saving thousands in printing, cutting and distributing loyalty cards.  In 2013, with new devices on the market bring new operating systems we will see more apps being developed and more users becoming accustomed to using them.


On Shoring / Back Shoring


Gone are the days when it was considered good business to farm out revenue-critical processes to contractors in places with cheap labor, poor English and vastly different business cultures.  A decade of stories ranging from unintelligible customer service reps to botched IT jobs has damaged the transcontinental off-shoring industry.  Recent increases in income in places like India and Ukraine relative to the slower growing developed economies have put paid to the off-shoring model as a way to definitely save money. Instead, US, Canadian and European companies are opting to contract outside suppliers closer to home.  The US contractor market is packed with excellent call centers, large accounting "farms" and some of the world's most innovative web software developers.  What's more is that customer service personnel and web developers in your country are also consumers of your products.  Companies who stay on shore have fewer glitches, delays and profit leaks.  If you want your business to begin reaping the rewards of home talent, then 2013 should be the year that you bring your projects back home.


Augmented Reality


Last but definitely not least is the increase in augmented reality (AR) applications. AR is all about seeing things on device cameras that aren't there in real life. AR ranges from very basic functionality (toddlers taking pictures with Cartoon Characters) to, say, a video of you flying with a cgi flock of flamingos.  This tech is the latest craze in the popular sense, but it has actually been around for a couple decades.  The difference now is that we have a perfect storm of conditions for companies to maximize marketing results by building AR into things like mobile apps - where the user can create content all centered around a character or product and then share same with friends and contacts in the social networks.  So far, we have seen 


1. a concert with augmented reality sponsors that show-up on your camera phone screen when you take pictures of the stage

2. a treasure hunts that use tablets to label different locations based on GPS positioning and object recognition in the tablets camera view finder

3. a state lottery app where you upload pictures of you saying what you would do if you hit the jackpot - with money and lottery balls raining all around you

4. an NBA basketball team that has an AR segment in their mobile app where fans can wear the team's play-off ring or create a video here they appear to guard one of the players


Of course each image or video captured can be uploaded to Facebook, Twitter etc and shared with friends, fans and followers. Like mobile app technology, AR used to be more expensive to do in the past.  Now, we see AR prices looking more affordable for many smaller and medium-sized companies.  As we go into 2013, we are expecting a larger number of Main Street businesses to inquire about AR and ultimately jump on the bandwagon.


All and all it promises to be a good year: a return to old-fashioned customer service, an uptake in mobile technology and a reliance on local talent to get the job done.  


Parker Lake is an experienced digital consultant who works with organizations of all sizes to make their technology simple, effective, scalable and affordable.  He and his team of developers solve web, mobile app and software issues for businesses.  
Reach him by phone (305) 790 8569 or email: plake@certatim.com 


VR Continues to Match Qualified Buyers with Businesses for Sale

In today's business climate, our clients demand quality and professionalism. We applaud our VR network for the recent successful transactions:


Independent Pharmacy, $650,000 - Greenville, SC     

Plastics Recycling Company, $595,000 - Waukesha, WI    

Interpreting and Translating Agency, $495,000 -  Greensboro, NC 

Accounting Practice, $250,000 - Edmonton, AB    

Barber Shop $59,000 - Springfield, MO  

To learn how you can become a successful owner of a business, contact a VR office today!  





Successful Meat Market
VR Business Sales of New Haven, CT, a leader in the sale of privately-held companies, recently facilitated the strategic sale of a successful meat market company for $850,000.

The transaction, which closed last month, was handled by Rimas Pileika, a business intermediary specialist. The business was a long established community staple with over $3M in annual revenue and was pre-qualified for SBA lending.

Premier Fertilizer Company
VR Business Sales, located in Austin, TX, the leading business intermediary firm in the area, has recently facilitated the strategic sale of a Premium Fertilizer Brand for $295,000.

This is a well-known branded organic lawn fertilizer that has been sold in Texas since 1987.  The fertilizer has a state wide appeal and a loyal following. This business produces the product and sells to a number of regional distributors.

Tom Gottlieb
, a VR business intermediary, represented the seller throughout the transaction.


Retirement Community/Commercial Property
VR Mergers & Acquisitions, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, announced it has been engaged to sell a local chain of pizzerias over 18 years old.

This is an unbelievable company with excellent profitability and a market with a lot of loyalty clients. Its main product is entirely handmade pizza and lasagne, which is complemented with buffalo wings. there are three locations and facilities. This company presents an excellent opportunity.

Please head to the VR Web Site and contact the office in San Juan for further details.
Public Accounting Business
VR Business Sales, located in Wichita, Kansas, the leading business intermediary firm in the area, has recently been engaged to assist in facilitating the strategic sale of an public accounting business.

Located within 1 hour of the Wichita metro and under the guidance of the current owner for over 20 years, this well-established public accounting practice has been assisting clients in the community for over 50 years.  Specializing in tax returns, this practice is currently in the enviable position of having to turn away new clients.  A well-trained core of full-time, part-time and seasonal personnel combined with a solid support staff is in place for the new owner.  The seller is willing to assist the buyer through 2013 tax preparation season and is open to discussing a limited role in the future. 

Click here for more details.



Health & Beauty Products Distributor, Florida: $1.2M  

Independent Pharmacy, Florida: $599K   

Commercial Fleet Graphics Company, California: $189,000 

Flower Shop, Texas: $140,000 

Large Beauty Salon, Georgia: $39,000 





VR is celebrating over 33 years as the world's only network of full-time professional business intermediaries that addresses the needs of small and mid-sized businesses.

VR Has Sold More Businesses In The World Than Anyone


Now is a Great Time to Become Part of VR!
VR Artesia NO 1 2009With baby boomers selling their businesses to retire, corporate executives frustrated with their jobs and managers looking to buy a business to replace their corporate position, NOW is a great time to become part of VR!

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In This Issue
Your Small Business: Winning in 2013
Finding the Cutting Edge
The Business Crystal Ball: 2013
New Transactions
New Engagements

From the VR Blog 

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