June Spotlight Sponsor – Ellen Sanders, ES Consulting

SPECIAL OFFER TO ALL SYNERGY participants during the month of June from our Spotlight Sponsor!

ES Consulting Solutions, LLC
Ellen Sanders

Offer Expires: August 31, 2011
Free two to three hour safety and recordkeeping audit.

Audit is designed to review the follow:
*OSHA 300 logs
*Worker’s Compensation evalution
*Training Requirements
*Safety Handbook
*Facility walkthrough

WFIR interview with Ellen Sanders by Lynda McNutt Foster:

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What is the biggest mistake you see small business owners make when it comes to meeting OSHA requirements?

Owners may be aware of regulations but aren’t sure how to go about or even identify safety issues and apply them to their own business. This can greatly affect the company’s profitability, worker retention and engagement.

What types of fines can a business owner get a result of not complying with OSHA rules and regulations?

The actions of the employer determine the level of fines. Employee exposure, the hazard present, and the employer actions in making the company a safe place to work are key. Not complying can bring penalties ranging from $5 000 up to $70000 per violation.

What should a small business owner do to comply with OSHA requirements?

Perform a safety and health audit. This provides a mechanism in identifying, and evaluating what needs to be done. The audit program should include review of applicable documentation such as illness and injury reports, OSHA 300 logs, workers’ compensation files, hazard analysis, exposure data, past OSHA inspections, health and safety manuals, and training records. The audit should also include a walkthrough to indentify hazards in the workplace which also helps provide the person conducting the audit a better understanding of the business.

May Spotlight Sponsor – Robyn Goodpasture, FitStudio365

Synergy participant special! (Certificate good through June 30, 2011.  Contact synergizemybusiness at gmail.com to redeem)

Robyn Goodpasture, FitStudio365

Robyn Goodpasture, Exec Weightloss Coach

Sign up now for your FREE, one-hour, private laser focused weight loss coaching session with Robyn. During the session you will discover what’s blocking you from reaching you your highest level health and wellness goals and you’ll leave with a plan to reach them!

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More of Lynda Foster’s  WFIR interview with Robyn:

What are some things that business owners should avoid when it comes to food and managing stress?
Do NOT have unhealthy “comfort food” or emotional trigger food easily accessible. It is critical to eat healthy, balanced, low starch carb meals through out the day. This will make it a lot less likely to derail and start on a carb binge.

What are some quick tips for busy business owners to stay healthy?
Determine that you are your best resource and your best client. Treat your workout time and eating time as VALUABLE.  Honor your commitment to you!  Sleep, even when you feel overwhelmed.   Rest helps up function and think better.
Hydrate. drink water for every non – water drink you consume.
Pack food and always have HEALTHY, protein based snacks on hand. This will solve a ton of issues.

What advice would you give someone who has very little time but wants to be as healthy as possible?
If you HAVE no time to take care of yourself, then you need to have a heart to heart with YOU.   Three to four hour per week, for self care is simply NOT too much to ask.   Ask yourself what nonproductive, nonhealthy time stealers, you are engaging in, then go to BATTLE.  You are in control of your scehdule. Tell people you have an appointment – you do not have to tell them with who or why! 5 minutes COUNTS.  Rethink what you “THINK” is meaningful exercise. Park FARTHER AWAY. If you don’t have to get out of your car to get your food, do NOT get that food.
Remember “Motivation is an ACTION not A FEELING”

April Synergy Spotlight Sponsor: Interview with Brian Duvall of Duvall Media

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Lynda: Hi, Brian. What do you see as the biggest mistake business owners make with their online marketing?

Brian: Great question, Lynda. The biggest mistake I see on most websites is that they spend too much time talking about themselves on the home page. Business owners want to tell the world how great their products, services, and staff are so they usually put it all on the front page. The problem is that the customer or prospect isn’t ready to read about how great you are just yet.

Have you ever met someone at a social gathering who spent their whole time talking about themselves? No matter how hard you try changing the subject they just keep talking about themselves. How does that make you feel? You can’t wait to get away from them, right? People respond to your website home page the same way.

Lynda: So what can we do to fix the problem?

Brian: I like to use a simple technique called the Golden Ratio to help me evaluate how effective the writing is in any of my marketing materials, including web pages. Here’s how it works. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle dividing the paper in half. On the left side write the words “You & Your.” Then on the right side write “I, Me, Mine, We, Our, Company Name & Logo”.

Then look at your marketing materials (your web page) and count the number of times you use the words You and Your and write that number on the left side. Then count the number of times your company name or logo and the words I, Me, Mine, We, and Our appear. Write that number on the right side of the page. The Golden Ratio is at least 3:1 You and Your to I, Me, Mine, We & Our. If it isn’t then you need to re-write your message. People want you to talk to THEM. They need to know that you understand what they need and want. They aren’t ready to hear about you yet so talk about them first so they WANT to stay and listen to you.

Lynda: Then where do we put all the stuff about ourselves and our company?

Brian: All the stuff about how great you are, how wonderful your product and services are, and how well trained your professional staff is goes on the About Us page. This tends to be the second most looked at page on your website. Grab people’s attention on the home page by making a compelling offer that will solve their problem or meet their needs then on the About page you show them why your company can deliver on the claim you made on the home page. The About page is where you offer PROOF.

Lynda: Wow. Great information, Brian. What else should we look for on our website?

Brian: There are three key elements you MUST have on your website if you want it to make money or generate leads for your business. The amazing thing is that more than 92% of the websites I review do NOT have these elements. All of my clients ask me to do an evaluation their website to improve its performance… make more money or get more leads. So, what I am offering visitors to the Synergy Sessions website for the month of April is a $300 Website Home Page Evaluation for FREE. There is no obligation to use my services. You will get a list of recommendation that you can take action on right away to immediately improve your website.

Synergy Spotlight Sponsor – March 2011

Charlotte Mason, Advantage Resource Group

Charlotte Mason, Advantage Resource Group

Charlotte Mason with Advantage Resource Group is the March Synergy Spotlight Sponsor!

What’s the biggest mistake you see small business owners making in relation to their employee company policy?

They don’t have one.  They often don’t have an employee handbook or other policies in place.

And why is that a problem?

Employees are then not clear on what is expected of them and company guidelines they need to follow so that business and the employee can be successful.

What’s another mistake you see small business owners make in regard to management of their employees?

Lack of employee of motivation and retention policies.  Employees need feedback to know that they are appreciated and are doing their job in a satisfactory manner.  They need to be recognized for their achievements and they need to feel that they are an integral part of the organization.

What is the impact on a business if their employees aren’t continually trained?

Work may not be done in a consistent manner in relation to company policy and procedures and the result of that is potentially poor customer service, customer retention, low efficiency, and slower growth in a competitive marketplace.

Business owners are very busy juggling many different priorities, so they tend to not document things in regard to their employees as well as they should.  What is the potential impact of poor documentation and not keeping up to date on legal requirements?

If business owners don’t comply with State and Federal regulations this can result in fines, some very significant.  I read somewhere recently that since January of 2009, more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal aliens have been audited for I-9 compliance. This has resulted in $50 million in fines for employers.

Fines can range from $500 with the record being $16,000 for a violation.  I think some small business owners think these types of forms and regulations apply to big business only, but that’s not correct.  All businesses that have employees are subject to many regulations that can carry substantial fines if the company is found in violation.

Synergy Participants can receive:

Free Human Resource Audit.  This audit includes a review of your compliance with state and federal regulations and other HR practices such as hiring, orientation, training, performance evaluation and termination.  Time will be spent onsite reviewing these areas, and a report will be prepared and delivered that summarizes the audit and provides recommendations for improvements, if needed.

Learn more about Charlotte and Advantage Resource Group at each of the sessions this month, listening to WFIR, or contacting her at cmason@advantageresgroup.com , www.advantageresgroup.com. or call
(540) 774-9705

February – Spotlight Sponsor

Jeff Smith, Principal with The Titan Group

Jeff Smith, Principal, The Titan Group

Jeff Smith, principal with The Titan Group is the Synergy Spotlight Sponsor for February 2011.  Jeff leads the field of executive coaches focused on leadership and peak performance in the field of Human Resources.  He is a charter participant of Synergy and a featured speaker for our organization.  Jeff facilitates training throughout the US and was the keynote speaker in 2010 for the Jame Madison University commencement ceremony.

You can contact Jeff Smith at jeff@titanHR.com.
Find his company information at www.titanHR.com.

Spotlight Sponsor – Jeff Smith, The Titan Group – February

Jeff Smith, principal with The Titan Group is the Synergy Spotlight Sponsor for February, 2011!

Here, he answers a few questions for small business owners about what it takes to be a leader:

Jeanie Patterson Spotlight Sponsor – January 2011

 a continuation from WFIR interview with Jeanie Patterson on appreciation marketing.

What are some other tools to help businesses appreciate their customers?

Setting up customer reward systems.  Businesses keep track of what their customer buys and then rewards them based on the amount they are purchasing, like all of the major credit card companies do now.

Another good one is customer appreciate events.  Sometimes that can be as easy as an ice cream social.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, it just has to be executed in a way that your customers feel appreciated by you and your business.

Thanking and rewarding customers for their referrals.   Ignoring the work and effort it just saved you for having that new customer referred to you or business instead of having to go out and obtain it on your own, is worth a lot!

If your a business to business situation, offering to bring your customer a free lunch is very much appreciated.

Don’t forget that your customers have multiple choices of companies to do business with and it’s easier than easier to find them, so appreciate them.

For more information on appreciation marketing, contact Jeanie Patterson at sendingrealcards@gmail.com or (540) 798-7282.

If you want to find out how SendOutCards can benefit your business to grow it’s appreciation marketing efforts, attend an learning session at the Holiday Inn, Tanglewood in Roanoke any 1st or 3rd Tuesday from 6:30p-7:30p.  The entry level package to get started using their system is only $99! 

New River Valley Sponsor

Radford University Small Business Development Center




Sponsor: Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center

Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center

Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center