Here’s a collection of short interviews from local business owners with amazing insights into today’s challenges. This week’s edition of “Business Owners Speak Out” explores a variety of industries and what they are up to.


ActionCOACH Doug Winnie (DW), Cathy Reinhold (CR), and Lydia Navo(LN) 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, and learn how to avoid making common mistakes. Be sure to check out special offers from these businesses. We can all use a little extra help right now!

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!

 

 

January 1st, 2021

 

 

 

Eye Elegance is an eyeglass dispensary that specializes in distinctive eyewear. They make and sell eyeglasses based on the latest styles. Daniel Protz started the business in June 1989 as an eyeglass dispensary to make and sell great eyewear products. In running the company, Protz emphasizes a high level of service that gives customers a look that’s all their own.

 

 
 
LN: Who is your target customer?
DP: Anyone who wants their eyewear to be unique and different and wants to stand out. If you want cookie-cutter glasses, we’re not the right place for you.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
DP: The lack of foot traffic has been a negative impact. Because people aren’t coming to the local shopping center, the people who visit us specifically want to shop for eyewear. Therefore, we don’t have many chances to work with people who just discover us by walking by. Many people are too scared to have face-to-face interactions at all. But the level of service we provide dictates that most of our customer interactions happen face to face. Also, the shows at which the latest eyewear styles are showcased aren’t happening.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
DP: We’ve looked for alternate routes to getting new styles into our store. We’ve also worked to make people feel safe by following health guidelines.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
DP: Don’t micromanage. When you do that, you’re burning the candle at both ends and the middle. Don’t pay your employees to do the work and then go along behind them and do it yourself. If you’ve hired quality people, let them do their jobs.
LN: What is inspiring to you today?
DP: Seeing young people who want to do their research, look at the product, and interact face to face before spending their hard-earned money motivates me.
 
Contact: (713) 622-4411

 

 

 

Koala Insulation helps customers lower their energy bills and feel more comfortable. They install insulation of a variety of kinds in residential and small commercial buildings. They also install energy efficiency upgrades, like air sealing and thermal imaging. Owner Ray Tong says that he likes to advise customers on their best course of action, whether that means the customer wants to install insulation or not.

 

 
LN: Who is your target customer?
RT: We serve a wide variety of customers, but we are an excellent fit for the owner of a single-family home who has high energy bills or feels uncomfortable in the heat of summer.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
RT: Anyone who has a house over 20 years old probably needs to upgrade their insulation, but insulation tends to be out of sight, out of mind. It’s a long-term investment. In this time of economic uncertainty, many people are holding off on upgrading their insulation. Also, lumber prices are high. That means that new construction isn’t being framed, which means that no insulation can be installed on those projects.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
RT: We’ve focused on marketing intelligently to people who need it. We have also worked to remain competitive on price.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
RT: Make sure you’re getting the best price so that you can pass the best price on to your customers. At one point, I received a recommendation about a particular supplier. We used them for a while, but I found out later that we had been paying more than necessary. Always vet the prices that suppliers quote to you.
LN: What is inspiring to you today?
RT: Hearing successful business owners’ stories, such as the story of someone who grew their insulation business rapidly in recent times, inspires me to do the same.

Contact: (713) 493-2063

 

Koala Insulation: Call to get a free estimate of your insulation needs, and get $200 off any service worth $1,000 or more when you mention ActionCOACH

 

 

 

TNC CPAs is a business planning and financial management consulting firm that helps businesses and nonprofit organizations examine their strengths and grow successfully. It uses accounting technology and streamlined operations to improve customers’ bottom lines. The company offers a full range of services to Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), including compliance, operations support, and coaching, and it provides operational and financial consulting services that link data with strategies to increase clients’ profitability and have a positive impact on the local community.

LN: Who is your target customer?
WN: Our target customer is any company that needs to expand its accounting and operations capabilities without hiring more staff. We often embed teams of 2 to 5 people within an organization, enhancing their reporting and other capabilities. We work with a wide array of companies and have a special connection with the construction industry.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
WN: We had already designed our company to operate remotely, so there was minimal disruption. Surprisingly, we have had more opportunities to help people.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
WN: We started a new company to help our customers with technology implementations. They are using more and more technology, so that has been helpful to them. Also, since many of our customers keep us on a monthly retainer, we were able to help many of them obtain PPP loans for no extra charge.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
WN: I should have found a business coach earlier. My coach has helped me think about helping people in expanded ways. Also, make sure the coach you get can help you meet your specific objectives. For example, if you want to climb the corporate ladder, an executive coach might be best for you. For a solopreneur like me, the need is a little different. Finally, pay extra attention to ensuring that your values and those of your employees, clients, and vendors all match up.
LN: What is inspiring to you today?
WN: Helping people get paid for doing what they love to do inspires me.
 

Contact: (832) 287-1709

 

Get two free mentoring masterclasses when you visit our website

 

 

 


Satori Marketing provides a full suite of marketing services. The company offers marketing services from public relations to graphic design to videography. Marche Warfield helped start the company in 2007. Since then, she has led the company to great success.

 

 
 
 
 
LN: Who is your target customer?
MW: We serve a broad array of private and public clients who need excellent marketing services.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
MW: The private sector is not spending money, and when they make cuts, they cut their outside help first.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
MW: We’re working remotely now. We learned in 2008 to diversify our client base and pursue certifications, which has helped this time around.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
MW: Don’t do your own marketing! That’s one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen small businesses make. And when you reach out for help, have your plan and budget together and ready to go.
LN: What is inspiring to you today?
MW: How many people voted in the election this year inspires me.
 
Contact: (713) 680-2274

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Tierling was working in the oil industry in the 1960s when he encountered a significant problem. Pipeline operators would find a leak in one of their pipes. But even if they found and fixed the individual leak quickly, it was likely that many other sections in that pipe were likely to begin leaking soon. So, Tierling started Unisert Multiwall Systems, Inc., to repair sections of potentially leaky pipe through the use of a patented combination of plastic lining and cement grout.

 
LN: Who is your target customer?
KU: Companies that own oil pipelines are our target customers.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
KU: Nothing is happening in the industry right now. We are watching energy policies closely. Also, restrictions based on the COVID-19 crisis have kept us from our regular projects, such as those in offshore Peru.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
KU: We are bouncing multiple balls and thinking about which way to go. We have been quarantined out of a lot of places, as I mentioned. The only places we can go to are here within the country, so it makes it difficult to take action at all.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
KU: Never rely on only one company or country. Doing so puts you at risk if a single problem comes up.
LN: What is inspiring to you today?
KU: I have a lot of hope for the future.
 
Contact: (936) 441-7722

 

 

 

 

 


Henry Adaso is a digital storyteller. For the past 15 years, Adaso has helped clients tell their stories through digital marketing, brand strategy, content marketing, and more. He also offers clients help with pivoting their marketing strategy and improving the effectiveness of their emails. His goal is to help businesses become more successful through marketing and brand storytelling

 
 
 
 
LN: Who is your target customer?
HA: My target customer is anyone who is doing remarkable work and wants to reach more customers who will appreciate what they have to offer.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
HA: People cut marketing when times are hard, even though that’s a lousy strategy long-term.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
HA: The nature of marketing is that it is continually shifting, and that’s especially true now. The situation today is continuously changing. You have to be better at pivoting than ever and understanding how to shift. That’s why I wrote my eBook called The Marketing Pivot. It has guidance on marketing during a crisis. I’ve made it available for free on my website.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
HA: Trust yourself and trust the process.
LN: What is inspiring to you today?
HA: I’ve had the time to think about living a meaningful life. Pursuing that goal inspires me.

Contact: (713) 261-9291

 

Henry Adasa: Visit Henry’s website to get the Winning Emails Toolkit for free

 

 

 

Clean Meal offers healthy desserts to Houstonians. They provide cakes, jelly, hazelnut spread, and more products that satisfy cravings without spiking blood sugar. Along with her nutrition coach husband, Karelis Urrutia operates the company. She started the business after friends and family couldn’t believe that the treats she prepared could be healthy.
 
 
 
 
 
LN: Who is your target customer?
KU: Someone who has a sweet tooth but wants a healthier option that tastes great is a target customer. Our options are great for people who have diabetes or follow keto diets.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
KU: This business is a COVID-19 baby. My husband and I lost our engineering jobs due to the crisis. We had worked on healthy snacks and general nutrition on the side for a good while before we started. It allowed us to focus on Clean Meal full time. Mother’s Day was remarkably busy, and Father’s Day was even bigger for us. The holidays are shaping up to be very high volume.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
KU: We moved to a commercial kitchen to ensure all of our cooking methodologies would be safe. We also follow any needed precautions when delivering our products.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
KU: You have to bake customer service into what you do. My customers are extremely picky. I have to be very patient in answering what sometimes seems like an endless stream of questions.
LN: What is inspiring to you today?
KU: Making my daughters happy with healthy cakes and cake decorating.

Contact: (281) 662-3338

 

Clean Meal: Get 10% off your order when you mention this interview. Or get a free red berry jelly when you mention ActionCOACH 

 

 

 

Chef Soren Pederson was born and raised in Denmark. He learned early on to value using fresh local ingredients. After working as a chef in private clubs and restaurants throughout Houston, Pederson launched his business in 2013. Now, he creates customizable menus for events, and he procures ingredients from local farmers to ensure that each part of his clients’ meals is full of the maximum flavor.
 
 
 
 
 
XC: Who is your target customer?
SP: Traditionally, nearly any group that needed good food at an event would have been a target customer, but right now, it’s smaller groups that want a nice meal without having to prep and clean up.
XC: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
SP: There are no big events to cater. People aren’t comfortable doing things like that, though many seem almost to be ready. We don’t offer buffet-style service right now; everything is plated.
XC: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
SP: We’ve focused on smaller dinners involving friends, families, or neighbors that want to get together.
XC: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
SP: Take non-profits and other opportunities that give free help seriously. I may not make money off of an event, but if it gets me in front of my target market, so they can taste what I do, then it could turn into something delicious eventually. Always do a great job at those events; if people like your work, it will help build your business.
XC: What is inspiring to you today?
SP: This year has given us time to step back and think about our lives and consider how we might change our priorities to focus on what’s important.

Contact: (832) 603-1835

 

Chef Soren Pedersen: Receive 15% off your next event when you book through Chef Soren Pederson’s website

 

 

 

Crest Printing is a commercial printing company with 50 years of deep roots in Houston. Crest offers a full spectrum of services, from graphic design to business cards to trade show materials. The company’s goal is to build your brand while staying within your budget. Steve McHale has been with Crest for more than 30 years.
 
 
 
 
CR: Who is your target customer?
SM: Traditionally, we work with many oil and gas companies. We are a good fit for doctors’ offices and law firms, as well as trade shows.
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
SM: Everything slowed down quite a bit. The oil and gas industry is down to a crawl. Trade shows aren’t happening, at least in person. Some of our clients went bankrupt. Since people are working from home, their businesses have fewer printing needs. We had to furlough some staff. Thankfully, the business has picked up lately.
CR: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
SM: We are shipping more materials to our customers. We worked on our website to make it easier for our customers to order online. We are very focused on marketing. We also restructured our leases to account for the current economic climate. Our PPP loan is helping to see us through.
CR: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
SM: Be transparent with customers. Alert them of potential issues ahead of time. If you’re not sure you can meet a hard deadline, or if a press breaks down, throwing a tight schedule into question, they need to know right away. And you need to have a backup plan to ensure that if something breaks down, you’ll still be able to meet the deadline.
CR: What is inspiring to you today?
SM: It is inspiring when we get a phone call from someone who has been trying to find a printer who is open and can handle their job. When we complete the job successfully, and a client leaves a positive Google review, that’s a good feeling.

Contact: (713) 658-8256

 

Crest Printing: Have Crest Printing print a photo up to 24″ x 36″ for free when you mention ActionCOACH

 

 

 

Brightspot takes marketing initiatives from concept to completion. They function as an outsourced marketing and design department. Brightspot’s goal is to find the brilliance in an idea and turn it into a bright light that inspires a response. The company serves as a marketing department for small businesses and a supplement to large companies’ marketing departments. Erica Waters co-founded the company in 2011, alongside her best friend.
 
CR: Who is your target customer?
SM: We purposely targeted many different industries when we were building our business. That way, if one sector goes down, the others can carry us through.
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
SM: We love to collaborate and to draw energy from each other. That’s harder to do when we’re not in the office.
CR: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
SM: We’ve focused on using technology well without killing our culture. Using videoconferencing has allowed us to see clients all over the country. Overall, despite the challenges, we’ve still had one of our best years.
CR: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
SM: First, if you are considering pursuing a business opportunity, listen to your gut. Then, if there is a red flag, don’t continue in that direction. If you have a partner, make sure you have a partnership agreement that works for you. My business partner is my best friend. We always make business decisions that allow us to continue our friendship. Finally, avoid drama with your employees and clients. As we say, “Don’t let crazy in the door.”
CR: What is inspiring to you today?
SM: Performing artists who can’t perform as they usually do and are getting creative in how they engage their audience online and get their message out.

Contact: (832) 856-2298
 

 

Brightspot Creative: Receive a free consultation or website audit when you mention ActionCOACH

 

 

 

BoxDrop Mattress offers discount mattresses. The company buys directly from the manufacturer and passes the savings on to customers. They operate mostly on an appointment basis to provide a positive shopping experience and give franchisees a more outstanding work-life balance. Robin Smith runs a local Houston franchise.

 
 
 
CR: Who is your target customer?
RS: Anyone who needs a good night’s sleep is a target customer.
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
RS: The crisis doesn’t seem to have affected our business much overall. We have fewer walk-ins in our store. But we operate mostly on an appointment basis anyway, so COVID-19 didn’t have much of an impact on our business. Appointments were our company’s focus long before COVID-19 lockdowns, so surprisingly, we are on track to meet our goals.
CR: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
RS: The BoxDrop corporate team trained us to pivot during this time. They have worked with us to help us advertise effectively. At the same time, the company’s fundamental strategy works well, especially in times like these.
CR: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
RS: Do your research as to your initial financial setup. Make sure that your line of credit is as favorable as possible.
CR: What is inspiring to you today?
RS: The opportunity to build a successful business that fuels a good lifestyle inspires me every day.
 
Contact:  (346) 843-2455
boxdroprosenberg.com

 

 

 

 

 

Chipmonk Bakery’s expanding kitchen offers treats for keto dieters, diabetics, and other people with special dietary needs. David Downing and Jose Fernandez co-founded Chipmonk Bakery when Jose was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Jose relied on his background in health and nutrition for information to help him fix his blood sugar. Then, he and David had the bright idea to develop tasty baked goods that would not have a negative impact on the blood sugar levels of people like Jose who have special dietary requirements but love to enjoy yummy baked goods.

 

LN: Who is your target customer?
ZH: Our target customer is somebody who’s looked at their diet and seen that processed carbs and sugar are bad for them. They want to make a change but still have a sweet tooth.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
ZH: Initially, we experienced a surge in our business because we had already set ourselves up for e-commerce. However, the overall economic situation had a negative impact on our revenue. Also, companies that make cheap cookies have poured millions into e-commerce advertising.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
ZH: We’ve continued to focus on quality. We review our marketing ROI weekly to see what works well and what does not. We improved our website, gathered customer feedback to speed up, and simplified key tasks. We also began to focus on wholesale. We put our products into grocery stores and other shops that are a good fit for our brand.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
ZH: Focus on transparency. Jose and I were friends before we started this business, but if we were ever to make assumptions about what the other person knows, it would strain our relationship. Each month, we sit down and set monthly goals. We talk about those goals together and hold each other accountable. Also, don’t let business consume you. If your business isn’t doing well at this moment, it doesn’t make you a personal failure. Find things outside of the company that makes you happy.
LN: What is inspiring to you today?
ZH: The perseverance of society inspires me. I see lots of love and support among both families and friends, and even strangers, and that motivates me.

Contact: (832) 377-0436

 

Chip Monk Bakery: Get 15% off your online order when you enter the discount code ACTION15 at checkout

 

 

 

Give Me a Thumbs Up helps businesses automate their requests for customer reviews. This activity can help businesses get more customers inexpensively, and the reviews also validate other advertising efforts. They will get your business noticed by potential customers, specifically on Google. Joe Axline worked in the advertising industry for many years before he began Give Me a Thumbs Up.
 
 
 
 
 
CR: Who is your target customer?
JA: Our target customers are small businesses with less than 10 to 20 reviews or companies with poor reviews.
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
JA: Surprisingly, this has been a good time for our business. I enjoy face-to-face meetings, but those aren’t happening right now, which is a negative impact.
CR: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
JA: We pivoted to an online model. That’s worked well. I’ve been able to meet many more people and have opened up a whole new market. Now I have customers in many states, and even outside of the country. In addition, I have automated everything I can internally. Now we have all digital contracts, invoices, and so on.
CR: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
JA: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Businesses will often go out of their way to help you. I have a business coach and a marketing person, and they have done a great deal to help me start my business.
CR: What is inspiring to you today?
JA: Seeing how people have adapted to new technology and how they are ready to rock and roll keeps me enthusiastic.
 
Contact: (832) 612-9454

 

Give Me A Thumbs Up: Go to our website to get a free analysis of your online reviews.

 

 

Each week we highlight different businesses in Houston & surrounding areas. Stay updated every week and see what businesses were posted in our 12,000 plus database. Also, check the special offers from each of these businesses in the end. If you would like your business posted and shared with our database and guarantee new leads for your business, sign up with the link below.

If you know of a business owner wanting to be interviewed for this complimentary educational newsletter please send us an email by replying to this one!

Please be safe, cautious, and follow all guidelines. Remember to support your local business and be kind to one another. 

 

**This offer is completely complimentary for all Businesses.

Sign up here: http://bit.ly/BOSO-Newsletter

 

 

Previous Newsletters

 

B.O.S.O Newsletter – October 2nd

B.O.S.O Newsletter – October 16th

B.O.S.O Newsletter – October 30th

B.O.S.O Newsletter – November 13th

B.O.S.O Newsletter – December 11th

 
 
 
 

Other Resources