Business Owners Speak Out

B2B Edition, Vol. 2
A collection of short interviews and education from local business owners with amazing insights to today’s challenges. This week’s edition of “Business Owners Speak Out” focuses on B2B companies.

ActionCOACH Doug Winnie (DW) and team virtually sit down with business owners to learn how they are working through COVID-19. Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic as well as ideas on how to avoid making common mistakes. And be sure to look at special offers from these businesses – we can all use a little extra help right now!

And, most importantly, visit the company websites. Reach out to those who offer services you can use. Let’s support each other and get through this together!
Special Offers!
Storyteller Promotions: Contact Ruth for free Note – Mouse Pad
QUB Development: Free consultation. 15% off until the end of the month on all services.
The Oggero Law Firm: One 30-minute free telephone or video consultation
Gulf Global Synergies: A free consultation for small to medium-sized businesses
LFD Communications: Half off your first consultation
Datalinx, LLC owner, Paul Haldi

Established in 2001, Datalinx LLC provides consumer and business credit reporting services. We help individuals and business process their data with all four credit bureaus.

DW: Who is your target audience?
PH: Small to medium-sized businesses with 50 or more accounts. Our biggest verticals are rental properties and automotive shops.
DW: What is the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
PH: We haven’t had any cancellations, but we aren’t seeing any new business. In the last few weeks our call volume is very low, and this isn’t normal. I say we’re lucky to be holding steady.
DW: What have you done to make a difference?
PH: Normally we wouldn’t do a lot of specials or discounts due to bureau restrictions. However, we have been offering free consultations, especially with those who have been affected like rental properties. We help them understand the new or adopted rules for lending.
DW: What’s most inspiring to you today?
PH: The concern that the vendors we work with have for their consumers. This affects everybody and each action has a trickle-down effect. If my vendors are helping me, I can help my clients, who can help others and so on. 


Contact: (425) 780-4530 phaldi@datalinxllc.com

Sesh Coworking owner, Maggie Segrich

Sesh Coworking is Houston’s first and only women focused flexible workspace. We opened at the beginning of this year and we provide a warm, clean, and centering workspace to anyone, not just women, who needs a place to work.

DW: Who is your target audience?
MS: Our target audience includes professionals such as accountants and Realtors, and others located in central Houston who want to get out of their homes to work.
DW: What is the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
MS: We have been closed since everyone was ordered to work from home. A space like ours doesn’t work under the guidelines. Once we can reopen, we will have a sliding fee scale so more people and small business owners can use our space at a lower price point.
DW: What are some actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
MS: We have opened our Facebook page to the public and offer resources there. My business partner and I are both working moms, so we wanted to include resources to help women like us. There are lessons and games for kids as well as some business resources.
DW: It’s been said that the smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that can help others?
MS: As an owner or CEO, you have to give yourself breaks and time away from the business. It is impossible for a human being to work nonstop and not burnout. Also learn from your competitors mistakes!
DW: What is most inspiring to you today?
MS: I wrote handwritten cards to our members and that made me feel really good. Not only did I feel like I was accomplishing something, but I also felt that I was bringing joy to someone’s day.

Contact: (281) 764-9380
Storyteller Promotions owner, Ruth Mallon

At Storyteller Promotions, we believe there is a story behind every brand, and we would like to help tell yours. We strive to find the right product or design that best tells your brand’s story. Your brand is your story, and your story is our business! Let’s look beyond your logo and dive deep into your brand.

DW: Who is your best customer?
RM: Our best customers are owners or branding coordinators of mid-sized businesses.
DW: What is the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
RM: The truth is promotional products are not top priority right now. Business owners have to consider payroll and overhead when cash is being distributed, and we aren’t making the cut. For the clients who are still ordering, the problem lies with our suppliers. Do they have what I’m looking for and how much is it going to cost me?
DW: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
RM: We have been hitting the virtual networking scene and bumping virtual elbows for prospecting. With our existing clients, we have been reaching out just to keep the relationship going.
DW: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that can help others?
RM: When you own a family business, it is important to define the roles of each player early on. You have to understand each person’s strengths and weaknesses and place them where is most beneficial.
DW: What is most inspiring you today?
RM: Those that are out making our country run. The essential workers that have to get out there and keep showing up has been very inspiring.

Contact: (713) 447-2864 info@storytellerpromotions.com

QUB Development owner, Saadia Mirza
QUB Development is a boutique graphic design and SEO website marketing firm. The company also designs and enhances mobile apps. We sell relationships between a business and their customers. 

DW: Who is your target customer?
SM: Small to mid-sized businesses that have had minimal or no marketing and they don’t have in-house marketing resources. And we support other marketing firms with their workloads. We specialize in working with new businesses and new locations.
DW: What’s been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
SM: People are taking digital marketing a lot more seriously. In Houston and in Texas, we often rely on word of mouth. Digital marketing gives you a better reach to let people know about you. A lot more people are calling to ask “Hey, how do we get serious about this? How do I improve my online presence?” We’re basically helping people reintroduce themselves to the community because they’re reopening in a new world and that includes new marketing strategies.
DW: Are there one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
SM: We’re offering a free COVID business consultation on how to revive your marketing, even if you can’t do it with us if you’re financially struggling at the moment. We can give you some ideas. We’re trying to give out as much information as we can. I’m doing Zoom consultations, so I can see your face. That way I can see how you’re responding to technology and where I can help ease that for you.
DW: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes and then wise people will also learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you guys made along the way and how can other entrepreneurs learn from your experience?
SM: I’ve made a ton of mistakes and I think every day I probably make at least one. So, I listen more than I talk. If a customer is providing information, I listen to their source of pain and suffering. I did not do that when I first started. There is usually a reason they’re upset and frustrated.
DW: What’s inspiring to you today?
SM: Definitely my family, my friends and my loved ones. Right now, if they’re healthy that’s all I’m asking for.
 
Contact: (832) 878-4107 saadia@qubdevelopment.com
Procurigence owner, J. Grant Caplan
Procurigence, Inc. is a consulting firm serving the meetings, managed travel and hospitality industry. Travel and travel entertainment expenses are among the top three largest controllable costs of most businesses. We advise companies about their travel programs, policies, contracts, execution, and travel risk management. For example, if an employee is traveling and becomes sick or injured and needs to return home, we help companies anticipate and plan for that.

DW: Who’s your best customer or your target audience?
GC: Corporations with $300,000 or more in annual travel expenses (airline, hotel and other travel-related costs), and individuals responsible for managing or planning meetings; buying or managing organizational travel; and buying or managing operational sales, marketing or revenue management products or services.
DW: What’s been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
GC: Not being able to travel to business meetings and having conferences that are postponed to later this year. I speak frequently at global business travel association conferences and events.
DW: What actions have you taken to make a difference? 
GC: We have helped companies reexamine their travel risk management plan to be better at it the next time anything happens. These plans are critical to help prevent or reduce risk if something unexpected occurs, such as a pandemic and travel is restricted.
DW: Can you think of any mistakes you’ve made over the 20 plus years that other entrepreneurs can learn from your experience?
GC: Yes, absolutely. In order to protect my clients, I have learned to impress upon them the value of risk management.  
DW: What’s most inspiring to you today?
GC: It’s people’s open attitudes towards getting beyond this crisis and continuing life through it. It’s not about just curling up in the fetal position and being sad. From a business sense, it’s about being more open to the possibilities of the world.

Contact: 832-554-6346
The Oggero Law Firm owner, George Oggero
The Oggero Law Firm provides legal services to a variety of business sectors including real estate and real estate investment; estate planning and probate; business matters; bankruptcy; and general litigation.

DW: Who’s your best customer or your target audience?
GO: My target audience is Houston-area Realtors, specifically those who represent sellers, and lenders.
DW: What’s been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
GO: There is a slowdown in some aspects of my legal practice such as litigation because we can’t visit corporate offices. It has affected business development to an extent. I spend a lot more time working on my website to increase my online presence and make it easier for people to do things remotely. I am still doing real estate transactions and closings. And I’m an online notary and everybody signs their documents remotely and it is all done. Realtors can’t show homes but they’re trying to the best as they can. It just slowed things down for everybody.
DW: What actions have you taken to make a difference in the business, and is it working?
GO: I am increasing my marketing presence and staying in touch with people a lot more. Hopefully that will pay off.
DW: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes and then wise people learn from mistakes of others. Can you think of any mistakes you’ve made along the way that other entrepreneurs can learn from?
GO: Yes. The key is to not convince yourself you can do it all. You have to have help. You have to have somebody who can do things that you might be able to do, but It’s not worth your time to do it. The other thing is to establish processes early on. They may be modified or amended but you have to have a plan for each day.
DW: What’s most inspiring to you today?
GO: What’s most inspiring to me today is how small businesses, like myself, have reacted positively to this pandemic.

Contact: (713) 364-5759 

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