BY KELLY WRIGHT
I am going to say this as candidly as I know how: Re-think your website redesign!
It's a new year so you might be thinking you have to do something quickly and drastically to give a boost to your business. You need a new look, more bells and whistles, a fabulous eye-catching color scheme. Realistically, redesigning your website will NOT necessarily help you find the results you want from your web presence.
Let's take a closer look at the big picture. You decide to give your website a makeover (and maybe it is time to examine some of the platforms you are using). You hire a web designer, spend the next three months studying, calculating, considering your new design. After all is said and done, you shell out about $3,000.
Now you wait for your new website to bring more traffic and more customers.
And you wait and wait ...
In today's digital world, you need a complete web presence and a big part of that is a website designed for growth. Gone are the days of building it and letting it run on its own. Your website, as well as your overall web presence, needs constant attention, updating, fine-tuning and marketing adjustments. It is a never-ending prospectus. When you adopt this mindset, you'll notice a difference in your business.
One of the most important decisions you can make at the beginning of this process is your choice of web designer. A growth-driven web designer will be your partner for the long term, working with you to plan, develop, implement and test the best strategies to grow your business.
Kelly Wright is owner of ZK Dezigns in Gulfport. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTOS BY ROB MOORMAN, MOORMAN PHOTOGRAPHICS
More than 150 local business and nonprofit leaders and community activists packed the Vinoy in St. Petersburg for LocalShops1’s 2016 Community Awards.
The event, emceed by 10News WTSP journalist Noah Pransky, featured keynote speaker St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, who praised local businesses, touted the city’s commitment to local, and recognized LocalShops1’s mission to boost local businesses as the biggest buy local organization in the state. The awards included 16 Best in Business winners, four Community Awards recipients, and LocalShops1’s member of the year.
Below it the press release with all the details!
Event website: BestInBizTampaBay.com
For more information: Ester Venouziou, 727-637-5586 or email@example.com
AUG 15, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ST PETERSBURG, FL – More than 150 local business and nonprofit leaders and community activists packed Marchand's restaurant at the Vinoy on Sunday, Aug 14, for the annual LocalShops1 Community Awards and 8th Birthday Bash.
The event was emceed by Noah Pransky, investigative journalist with 10 News, and featured keynote speaker St Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, who praised local businesses, touted the city's commitment to local, and recognized LocalShops1 as the biggest buy local organization in the state.
The awards spotlighted the Best in Biz finalists and winners in 16 categories, and also honored four Community Awards recipients. The Community Awards recipients were selected by the Awards Committee consisting of LocalShops1 members Andrea Farnum, Mermaid Bay Mercantile Co.; Michele Tuegel, Michele Tuegel Contemporary; and Robin King, Out of the Weeds & Three Birds Tavern. Each honoree received a custom mosaic designed by Gulfport artist Susanne Vernon. The honorees were:
Best social media presence
Staying power (10+ years)
Most iconic style
Best kept secret
Area's biggest cheerleader
Best 501c3 non profit
Write-in candidate for president
Best story/future best-selling author
In addition, LocalShops1 recognized Robin King of Three Birds Tavern and Out of the Weeds as its member of the year.
LocalShops1's Community Awards were made possible with the support of Moorman Photographics, DJ MC White and videographer Jade Taylor Isaacs. Table sponsors included C1 Bank, Great Explorations Children’s Museum, My Hope Chest, St Pete Arts Alliance, Three Birds Tavern and writer Cheryl Hollon
Prize contributors included Beach Drive Inn Bed and Breakfast, Chart 411, C1 Bank, Clothing with a Kiss, D-gallerie, Eco-Musings Soapery and Such, Funky Town Boutique, GateauOChocolat, Grow Financial, Gulfport Chamber of Commerce, Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces JewelScent by Charis, Mangia Gourmet, Mermaid Bay Mercantile Co, Michele Tuegel Contemporary, Museum of Fine Arts, St Pete, Peace of Yoga, Perfectly Posh Charis, Practically Pikasso, Nauti Narwhal, Olive + Lemon Creations, Out of the Weeds, Radish & Company, Red Hot Tiki Spicy Gourmet Market, Souzou, Stash, Three Birds Tavern and Time Systems.
For media inquiries or more information, please contact Ester Venouziou at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-637-5586.
By now you should be aware — and have prepared — for the Department of Labor’s change in overtime regulations (in effect Dec. 1, 2016), which doubles the exempt employee annual salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. But if you’ve been ignoring DOL’s repeated reminders, hoping the legislation would not be enacted or enforced, here is what you need to know: It’s time to implement changes.
Overtime law is mandated by the 1932 Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires companies to pay employees who work more than 40 hours a week overtime equal to one and half the normal rate of pay. In other words, if a $10/hour employee works 50 hours one week (defined as any seven consecutive work days), he or she must be paid $10/hour for the first 40 hours worked and $15/hour for the next 10. States may add other requirements on top of the federal directive. In California, for example, workers are paid overtime for hours worked daily over eight in any 24-hour period, and any seventh consecutive day worked, regardless of total weekly hours.
But to avoid overtime pay, many employers classify full-time workers as salaried employees and pay them just the required federal minimum. If they work extra hours, they get comp time to use the following week, but no overtime pay.
The new regulations doubles the minimum pay for full-time salaried employees from $23,660/year to $47,476/year. If that concerns you as an employer, then I suggest you stop reading now. That amount is scheduled to be increased again every three years, beginning January 1, 2020.
Faced with the December compliance deadline, businesses of all sizes rushed to make changes. Ignoring the changes is not an option. There are two ways employers can adapt:
Your company will have to implement a system to record hours worked and keep records to show compliance with the law. Recorded hours worked for overtime-exempt employees is clearly defined in the law, and one of the most common violations investigated by the Department of Labor.
OO OO OO
Before you take to the streets to protest the Fair Labor Standards Act, keep in mind the law also protects children from working during school hours and from doing dangerous jobs. The act also ensures equal pay for equal work for employees regardless of race or gender, and protects older workers from discrimination. In fact, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the Fair Labor Standards Act the most important piece of legislation since the Social Security Act of 1935.
In business, as with all things, it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Response and compliance to these changes, correct classification of employees, and implementation of technology to help manage and control labor costs will ensure your company’s sustainability and success for years to come.
The Fair Labor Standards Act
The act, issued by the Department of Labor, doubles the exempt employee annual salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. The DOL estimates the change (in effect Dec. 1, 2016) will impact 4.2 million workers.
What does it mean?
Salaried employees who earn less than $47,476 a year must be converted to nonexempt status and paid overtime wages. A salaried employee who works extra hours one week may make up for it by leaving work early the next week, but nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours a week must be paid overtime.
Barry Rubin is president of the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce and principal of Time Systems in St. Petersburg. He can be reached at email@example.com.
St. Petersburg area residents are in for a special treat the second Sunday of every month this winter: A local business is bringing a free movie night downtown, with the help of other local businesses.
Cinema Squatch, which specializes in independent and cult classic movie parties and outdoors events, partnered with the Sunscreen Film Festival and the Museum of Fine Arts to bring the movies, shown on a 40-foot projection on the museum’s north wall, overlooking downtown’s waterfront.
“We have a love for movies from our childhood, so you will see a lot of ’80s and ’90s classics, with some ’70s and 2000s sprinkled in,” says Ryan Tarrant, who owns the business with his wife, Heather.
In addition to Sunscreen and MFA, this season’s top movie sponsors include Hartney Realty Firm, Cerulean Blu, Bayfront Health, GulfShore Bank, DJ Fresh Events, TBT and LocalShops1.
“We are so thankful to have the support of these community organizations,” Tarrant says.
Movie night begins with trivia and music, and often features special guests or locally produced independent short films, in addition to the featured title. Snacks and drinks are available from food trucks and local restaurants, but guests are also welcome to bring their own food.
Besides the Second Sunday Movies, Cinema Squatch offers movies for private parties and community events, as well as a Dive-In movie series at Hollander Hotel’s HH20 Pool in downtown St. Petersburg.
SECOND SUNDAY MOVIES ON THE MFA LAWN
Movie nights start at 5 pm with music, trivia and games, and the movie begins at dark (6 to 6:30 pm, depending on the month). Admission is free, and guests may bring chairs, blankets and snacks. Food is also available for purchase. For details check out cinemasquatch.com or the event pages on Facebook, at facebook.com/cinemasquatch.
Dec. 11, Christmas Twist Double Feature: How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)
& Gremlins (1984)
Jan. 8, Gasparilla Inspired Event: Hook (1991), starring Robin Williams as Peter Pan
Feb. 12, In Time for Valentine’s Day: Romeo + Juliet (1996) & performance by Studio @620
By Barry Rubin
Live Local! contributing columnist
In the more than 20 years I have spent working in my business, coupled with service to several trade associations, civic groups and serving as president of a chamber of commerce, I have spoken with thousands of business owners. Not once, not in a single instance in all those years, has anyone ever said they have too much free time.
So could I in good conscience try to convince them to actively participate in trade associations, civic groups or a chamber? I can and I do, because memberships work. Membership is an effective strategy to help your business thrive.
Being part of an organization shows that the business is involved in the community, and helps establish the owner as an industry leader, one who uses good business practices. That builds consumer confidence in your goods or services. And being involved keeps you abreast of important, ever-changing issues and trends in your community and provide you opportunities for networking and getting new business leads. Being a part of an organization often can also give you a bigger voice on the local, county and state levels in regards to regulations, taxes, and policy.
A single whisper turns into a collective shout, much more likely to be heard.
What organizations should you join?
In weighing the decision to join a particular group, consider realistic goals, find out whether you know someone who is already a member of the organization, and ask about programs and time commitments. There is an organization out there perfect for you, and your business.
Barry Rubin is president of the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce and owner of Time Systems in St. Petersburg. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Purple Dot Yoga Project
Finding peace through yoga
Kate Berlin started Purple Dot Yoga Project in St. Petersburg in 2015 to help raise awareness for domestic violence and relationship abuse and to use yoga practice and philosophy to foster healthy relationships and empower survivors.
“Our biggest accomplishment is how well we’ve been able to bring the community together,” says Berlin, 27, who puts together events that include yoga sessions, guest speakers and vendors. Purple Dot Yoga Project (purpledotyogaproject.org) also collaborates with local yoga studios and yoga teachers to further raise awareness and offer donation-based yoga classes.
The 501c3 nonprofit organization also offers complimentary one-on-one yoga services to domestic violence survivors at CASA in St. Petersburg and The Spring of Tampa Bay in Tampa.
Online, they help empower survivors of violence through their #SurvivorStories campaign. The goal is for survivors to share their experience and for others to read and understand the complexities of relationship abuse, Berlin says. Another campaign, #PowerfulWomenProfiles, encourages strong women in the community to share success stories after overcoming adversity so someone going through hard times can feel inspired and hopeful, Berlin says.
Long term, Berlin has lofty goals for her organization, including creating trauma training for yoga instructors, yoga workshops and virtual support groups. “We combat violence by spreading love,” Berlin says.
Rotary Club of St. Petersburg Sunset
Worldwide reach, locally focused
Rotary is a volunteer organization started in Chicago in 1905, and it has since grown to more than 1.2 million business and professional leaders united worldwide. The goal is to provide humanitarian service and help build goodwill and peace.
In St. Petersburg alone there are six chapters, including The Rotary Club of St. Petersburg Sunset (stpetesunsetrotary.org), founded in 2010. The evening club of “young and young at heart” professionals raises money for the St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s Family Residence, which helps newly homeless families stay together and helps them find homes again, says Christy Fellas, the club’s public relations chairwoman.
Members of the 501c3 nonprofit organization also come together to listen to engaging speakers, organize service projects, and network with other Rotarians.
One of the club’s biggest annual events is Engage St. Pete, a collaboration with St. Petersburg Young Professionals. The evening is filled with talks designed to ignite change by helping to connect young professionals with community leaders and local causes. Past speakers have included St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Councilwoman Darden Rice and other city officials and community activists.
“Compelled, informed, and engaged people make St. Petersburg a great city,” Fellas says.
Community leaders, public officials and business owners packed the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg for LocalShops1’s seventh annual Birthday Bash and Best in Biz Awards, presented by C1 Bank. During the sold-out celebration, emceed by Noah Pransky of 10 News, LocalShops1 also presented its annual Floppy Hat Award for Community Service, given to a community member who goes above and beyond to support local businesses. This year’s recipient was St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, recognized for his initiatives including the Small Business Tour.
Best Established Business
Rick’s Home Theatre Store, judges’ vote
Jessi’s Restaurant, popular choice
Best New Business
Out of the Weeds, judges’ vote
Mangia Gourmet, popular choice
Best @ Grassroots Marketing
Michele Tuegel Contemporary, judges’ vote
Pipo’s Cuban Cafe, popular choice
Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ, judges’ vote
Gold & Diamond Source, popular choice
The Kind Mouse Productions, judges’ vote
Paws for Friendship, popular choice
Best Established Business
Bella Babies, Pinellas Park
Big Sea Design, St. Petersburg
Grand Kitchen & Bath, St. Petersburg
Rubin Health Center, St. Petersburg
The Peaceful Warrior Massage, St. Pete
Best New Business
Big T Printing, St. Petersburg
Central Oddities, St. Petersburg
Enigma, St. Petersburg
Dr. Johanna Turner, Clearwater
La V, St. Petersburg
Locale Market, St. Petersburg
Roadside Attraction, Largo
St. PetersBARK, St. Petersburg
Best @ Grassroots Marketing
Degrees of Success, Tampa
Richter Publishing, Tampa
Stash- a Place for Yarn, St. Petersburg
The Fashion Movement, Tampa
Backyard Getaway, Bradenton
Cerulean Blu, St. Petersburg
Fresh Threads, Tampa
Gallerie 909, St. Petersburg
Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce
Time Systems, St. Petersburg
Birds of Paradise, Bradenton
CASA, St. Petersburg
Creative Clay, St. Petersburg
ERA, St. Petersburg
Fulfill Your Destiny, Tampa
Grand Central District, St. Petersburg
Limbo Chihuahuas, Gulfport
Toastmasters District 48, Gulfport
Three Birds Tavern
Degrees of Success
Toastmasters District 48
Grand Kitchen + Bath
Live Local! is a LocalShops1 publication.
For advertising information email email@example.com
How to transition from solopreneur to employer without going nuts
By BARRY RUBIN, Live Local! contributing writer
For many sole proprietors, making the leap to employer is a gigantic undertaking with far-reaching regulatory issues and tribulations that keep even the most sound sleepers up at night. These steps will help them avoid the pitfalls of this exciting yet terrifying transition.
Clearly identify your business needs
Hire smart, not fast. Define a job description and salary range for the new position. Consider if outsourcing may be a better option. Remember to include all benefits, paid time off, bonuses, and other compensation that would be attractive to a potential hire. Calculate payroll taxes, benefit expenses and required insurances such as workers compensation and general liability where applicable to assure you are not over-extending the business.
Post your job opening
There are dozens of websites that will list your position for a fee or for free, including LinkedIn, Monster.com and more. But be sure to post offline, too, with local job services offices and college career services, which are always looking for opportunities for students and graduates. A help wanted ad in the local paper is classic, and still effective, depending on your industry. I have also found word of mouth from your network is a very good place to start. Before long you will have interested applicants, and are ready to move on the vetting and interview process.
As a small business owner you talk about your business all the time, but the during an interview with a potential employee it’s best to listen and ask the right questions. Prepare your questions ahead of time and make sure to cover the basics:
• Tell me about yourself
• How will you contribute to the company?
• What is an example of the biggest professional challenge you have faced?
Encourage specific answers, and wait for the potential employee to finish completely. The applicant’s thought process is as important as the answer itself. It’s also important to note that questions about race, color, age, marital status, gender, sexual preference, ethnic background, disabilities or country of origin are not only awkward, but illegal. Laws differ state to state, but avoiding these topics is best practice.
You did it. You made an offer to a potential employee and they accepted. First and foremost you must verify that each new employee is legally eligible to work in the United States. Have the employee fill out Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. You are required to get each employee’s name and Social Security Number and to enter them on IRS Form W-2. To know how much income tax to withhold from employees’ wages, you must have a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate on file for each employee. You also need a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), and register with your state labor or employer division. Obtain Worker’s Compensation Insurance (if required), and post an “Employee Poster,” which is required by the Federal Government and most state and/or local governments.
Congratulations, you’re an employer
It’s time to set policy, for now and the future. You need to set expectations of the position, how hours are tracked and work is evaluated. Be patient and instructional on how you want things done, but make sure to listen, too, as new ideas are often better ideas. And after all, you’re paying this person to improve the business, so let them do that so you can continue to grow and add more employees. Then the whole process starts all over again.
Barry Rubin is president of the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce and president and founder of Time Systems, a technology company in St. Petersburg. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live Local! is a LocalShops1 publication. For advertising information email email@example.com.
A column in Forbes magazine says it best: “Supporting the small businesses in your community creates local jobs and keeps the local economy strong and healthy, but more than that, they help make our communities places where we want to live.” Here are four Tampa Bay businesses doing just that. — Ester Venouziou, LocalShops1 founder & Live Local! editor
John Riesebeck constantly gives back to the community by sponsoring the food at fundraisers and offering free space for nonprofit events. His restaurant, Smokin’ J’s BBQ in Gulfport,
recently hosted Beaming Hope Church’s community outreach program, which gives groceries and clothes to those in need. Not only did the restaurant let them use their space for free, but
they also helped get the word out about the event, bringing in more than 100 residents, and they kicked in free hot dogs for everyone. A few weeks later they set up a booth at a volleyball tournament, and gave all the profits to VETSports, a nonprofit that helps helps veterans.
Taking care of their own
Jason Sulisufay and his staff at Jessi’s Restaurant in Pinellas Park helped one of their servers fighting breast cancer find low-cost health insurance and they set up a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $3,000. The restaurant also linked her with Women with Purpose, a nonprofit that helped with rent money. Jason’s efforts were recognized by the National Restaurant Association, awarding Jessi’s the 2015 Restaurant Neighbor Award in Florida. “I love giving back to the community when possible,” Jason says.
Pam Adams recently came across a man whose home was in desperate need of a paint job. The homeowner was going through tough times — his wife had left him and his sister died of breast cancer — so he was alone to take care of his three children. Pam, owner of Gulf Coast Painting & Waterproofing in St. Petersburg, offered to do the job first and collect payments later, in small, manageable installments. “It’s not about giving people hand-outs,” Pam explains. “We just try to do our best to help someone who’s in need, someone who deserves it.”
Supporting other local businesses
When Robin and Jack King moved to St. Petersburg and opened Three Birds Tavern, they immersed themselves in the community. They make it a point to do business with other locally owned businesses and they go out of their way to help promote and help as needed, especially ones just starting out. Most recently they hosted a book launch party for local author Cheryl Hollon. “I truly believe that we rise by lifting others,” says Robin. “But moreover, I feel internal joy watching my friends and colleagues experience success. It just makes each day a little brighter.”
Live Local! magazine is a LocalShops1 publication.
For information on advertising email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ready to call it quits, ditch the corporate world, be your own boss?
Two local entrepreneurs have some advice for you.
Be prepared to do it all
Todd Moore worked for Nike Corp. for almost 10 years, managing major accounts including those for JC Penney and the U.S. military. But it wasn’t until starting his own business, Big T Printing in St. Petersburg, that he realized just how much more he still had to learn. He explains:
“I quickly found out about the small details. I now had to create everything! No more reports from the accounting department. No more support from human resources. No more company-driven branding strategy. I am the accounting department. I am the human resources department. I am in charge of developing the branding strategy. Let’s not forget, this starts by developing my own logo! At the end of the day, after all of the customers have been satisfied, I can now start to create some sort of analysis of my business. Well, wait, I have to clean the bathroom first.
“My advice for a start-up entrepreneur is to be prepared to take on everything. Be prepared to work long hours and never be able to ‘leave it at the office.’ Stay focused on the core principles in business and quickly build a support structure around you to handle the small details.”
“Work the business on the side as long as you can, bank as much money as you can” says Peter Radizeski, founder and president of RAD-INFO, a Tampa company that offers business consulting and marketing services. And always keep this in mind: It is harder than you think. Here is more advice for entrepreneurs: It takes planning, knowledge and discipline to run a business. Yes, you need all three. Talk to as many business owners as you can, especially in the field you are jumping into. Learn to sell. That will be your greatest skill.
Live Local! is a publication of LocalShops1, Tampa Bay's leading advocate for small businesses.