BOSO: Still Working On It – 20th Edition

 Special Offer!
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.

ActionCOACHes 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!
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Texas Best Roof & Construction owner, Joe English
Texas Best Roofing and Construction and its team of knowledgeable managers, roofing personnel, and insurance professionals have thorough training in estimates, insurance protocols, procedures, and the complexities of the posturing and positioning of insurance companies for fair settlements.

CR: Who is your best customer?
JE: Much of my business comes from residential real estate customers who need work done to their roofs before moving. We also get referrals from clients that have been affected by hail, so we have many insurance jobs.
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
JE: The real estate market has cooled off during this pandemic fortunately, it hasn’t affected us very much. People are concerned with physical contact, but we’ve taken all the necessary precautions.
CR: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
JE: We’ve implemented social distancing for our workers while they’re out on site. We’ve created new contactless sales that lean more on the marketing side instead of the in-person interactions we have always used. We are considering other ways to help people through no-contact services, too.
CR: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
JE: Before COVID, when we came across an issue, we devised an outline that separated it into important components so that we could address it fully. Then, we asked ourselves what policy we could create to avoid problems like the one we had before us. Also, we needed to understand how to be more proactive. We put all of these new systems in place for the future.
CR: What is inspiring you?
JE: During this time, people have had a chance to spend time with their families, and it has been a time of reflection and, hopefully, growth. As a nation, we have had a moment to pause and reassess our values.

Contact: (832) 888-6922
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Texas Cumputers Work Inc. owner, John Burk 
Texas Computer Works, Inc., serves various independent producers and develops software tools that give customers low-cost, easy-to-use management solutions for production data needs. People can integrate the company’s products as a total system solution or install them individually. The systems are useful for local area networks, standalone computers, laptops, and portables.

LN: Who is your target market?
JB: We mostly serve independent producers and oil and gas companies.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
JB: My business partner and I have been in business together for 35 years. Five years ago, we closed our office to work from home, so coronavirus has not affected us a lot. We communicate by phone or through email. The plummet in oil and gas prices affected us more than COVID-19, and some of our clients went out of business. There is a connection between those things. But oil and gas companies continue to produce, so that has kept our business cycle up.
LN: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
JB: We have moved our software from our office computers to our home computers. Other than that, we haven’t changed anything significantly.
LN: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
JB: I like that concept. Smart people ask questions. Ignorant people think they know everything. Always ask questions. Once you know the facts, you can come to your own conclusions.
LN: What is inspiring you?
JB: I always ask questions and I motivate myself. This business inspires me as well.
 
Contact: (713) 827-7111
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Exceptional Pediatric Therapy owner, Nedra Woods 
At Exceptional Pediatric Therapy, the primary goal is connecting pediatric needs through therapeutic interventions. The company’s therapists offer the knowledge, dedication, and compassion necessary to treat delays in speech and occupational skills effectively. Services include occupational therapy, a service that helps children prepare for and perform important learning and developmental activities, and speech therapy, which is the treatment of speech and communication disorders. Our goal is to make therapy effective, fun, and interesting for each child. 

CR: Who is your target market?
NW: Our target market is young people with language-based learning disabilities, stuttering, autism, ADHD, and more.
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
NW: Initially, we had to wait for the governor’s green light to offer telehealth visits. Afterward, we were able to have the kids come back with peace of mind. With COVID-19, the way we offer services has changed, and we have found we actually need to increase the therapy staff to meet the demand. Therefore, we are hiring.
CR: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
NW: We’re trying to provide our services in a school setting as independent contractors. Depending on where the pandemic goes, we will have to adjust on a day-to-day basis. We want to get our therapists back as a whole. Hopefully, by the end of August or September, we can fulfill that goal.
CR: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
NW: You have to research your area of business before you go into it. Six months to a year is a good starting point. Things you don’t know can cost you a lot of money. When you’re starting, you don’t have a lot of money to waste. Be smart and do your research.
CR: What is inspiring you?
NW: With everything going on in the world right now, we have to think about how we can get through it. I am just a person who enjoys what I do. The greatest thing we can do is find ways to leave a positive imprint on the world, and this job allows me to do that while doing what I love.

Contact: (832) 487-9872
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Executeam Staffing President, Laura Bowen
Executeam Staffing, a leading Houston employment agency, provides total staffing management solutions based on the straightforward principle that both parties should mutually benefit from the partnership. The agency’s priority is to realize what’s important to the client and offer a broad range of services. These include direct hire and temp-to-hire services for various disciplines, including office, accounting, and professional employment opportunities in Houston.

LN: Who is your target market?
LB: Healthcare companies in Houston are definitely in our target market.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
LB: Our staffing side has been extremely busy with individuals in response to COVID. We’ve had a lot of business in the public healthcare sector. It feels like our recruiters are working non-stop and seven days a week because there is a huge need for people in the healthcare sector. We have a big demand and not enough candidates at the moment.
LN: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
LB: We do all interviews virtually through Zoom. We have been accommodating people to get back into work smoothly. Overall, we have found that we are one of the businesses that are doing okay, but we are still flexible, and we make accommodations to help candidates and clients.
LN: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
LB: I quickly realized that I couldn’t do it all myself. The best thing to do is teach others so they can empower themselves and make it on their own.
LN
: What is inspiring you?
LB: The resilience of my team. They put a lot of effort into giving back to the community by providing personnel and that has a direct, positive effect on them.
 
Contact: (713) 952-6760
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You Squared Media President, Tracey Clecker
You Squared Media is a full-service advertising agency with a personalized client approach that is unique when compared with other firms. The team of marketing professionals shares a passion for doing great work delivers the results clients expect. With more than 35 years of experience, You Squared provides graphic design, digital media, and much more. They believe advertising shouldn’t resemble a game of darts; instead, it’s about simple math, knowing the media market, and caring about clients.

CR: Who is your target market?
TC: Our target market includes ATP companies. We also have hospitals, restaurants, hotels, stores, and banks on our client list.
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
TC: Our business has dropped dramatically, but we are surviving because we have a lot of clients. Since we are working remotely, we’ve had to downsize our office space. We’re hoping that business will pick up again.
CR: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
TC: It’s been all-hands-on-deck since business slowed down, and we’re trying to find ways to market ourselves more. We focus on social media and make increases in other areas like that to connect with people. It has been a time to think about the team and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
CR: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
TC: Always value your employees and make sure that your employees appreciate the work they are doing and have the same passion for the job.
CR: What is inspiring you?
TC: People who are staying positive and trying to find the good in this situation inspire me. I love to see businesses thrive, so I like to see my team helping clients.
 
Contact: (713) 880-3387
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Elaine’s Florist & Gift Baskets owner, Elaine Ousley
Elaine’s Florist and Gift Baskets started in Houston in 1992. With a team of experienced and passionate designers, Elaine’s has become one of the city’s leading floral businesses. The shop produces beautiful, long-lasting arrangements for every need.

LN: Who is your target customer?
EN: Our target market is women-owned businesses.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
EN: We had a loss of our fall season commencement sales. In our industry, the summertime is a slow season. When the pandemic began, many events were canceled and that was the most significant impact.
LN: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
EN: When we make a delivery, we set the arrangement on the ground, ring the doorbell, and then take steps back to practice social distancing. Fortunately, we didn’t have to close because the city listed us as an essential business. We’ve also had customers wear masks when they come into our shop.
LN: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
EN: Before I went into business, people always told me to get a personal banker. I didn’t think it was all that important because a bank is just a bank. But you can develop a relationship with your banker, and that is huge in the long run.
LN: What is inspiring you?
EN: I guess what is inspiring to me right now is that our business is still doing well even though we’re in the pandemic. It’s inspiring to me that people always find comfort in flowers.  
Contact: (713) 661-6788
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Royal Travel owner, Maqsood Farid
Royal Travel is a travel agency specializing in sending Muslims for Hajj and Umrah for the last 25 years. Maqsood Farid and team pride themselves on going the extra miles to ensure visas arrive on time, procedures are thoroughly explained and you have all the necessary information worthy of such an investment in your life. Royal Travel provides international tickets on various carriers, including Emirates Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Qatar Airways. 

CR: Who is your target market?
MF: Our target market includes Muslims who want to travel to places near and around Saudia Arabia for cultural and religious reasons.
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
MF: Travel restrictions have impacted my business directly. Being that we are a luxury business, we weren’t considered essential and have to close our doors. Currently, we don’t see luxury travel kicking back up for another two years.
CR: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
MF: We are working with passengers to book future travel. We’re negotiating with them and the airlines to see if they will sell tickets for the future. Airlines are also struggling with cash flow problems.
CR: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
MF: We made the mistake of letting the goals of others pressure us into taking on too much. This can cause a ripple effect of changes that spiral out of control.
CR: What is inspiring you?
MF: Islamic belief is that everything that happens, happens for the best.

Contact:  (281) 498-1800
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Castle Rock Communities owner, Greg Yakim
CastleRock Communities is a Texas home builder that builds single-family, detached homes in premier master-planned communities in the Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas areas. The company offers more than the traditional home buying experience. You can request information online, have one-on-one consultation meetings, and utilize real-time virtual showings and tours. You can even buy your new CastleRock home online.

LN: Who is your target market?
GY: We build in 15 geographic markets. Every community is filled with demographics related to employment and other buying factors.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
GY: We cannot explain it, but our growth this year is 40 percent over last year. We are having a hard time keeping up with the demand. The company has had historically high sales every single month.
LN: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
GY: We still have people coming to the office. We have always had online sales and we are prepared for that more. Lately, we have had more people who are serious about buying and have already done their research. Therefore, our capture rate has gone up.
LN: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
GY: I have been in business for a long time. Here at CastleRock, we do things right and hire the right people, so we sleep soundly at night.
LN: What is inspiring you?
GY: When I ask people what our product is, they answer “homes.” That isn’t true; homes are our vehicles. Our actual product is career opportunities. My job satisfaction comes from watching people achieve their goals and dreams.

Contact: (832) 582-0030
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Sand Oak Unifrom Embroidery owner, Reem Lahham 
Sand Oak Uniforms and Embroidery, Inc. is Houston’s source for custom uniforms. The retailer offers a wide range of medical uniforms, workwear, and accessories. The company also offers custom embroidery.

LN: Who is your target market?
RL: Our target is anybody in grade school who needs uniforms and anybody in the medical field.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
RL: We had to close down for a couple of weeks, and we still have fewer customers than normal. Our online sales picked up as a result of people not leaving their homes.
LN: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
RL: We require all of our employees to wear a proper mask and wash their hands before and after helping customers.
LN: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
RL: We appreciate the importance of catering to our customers and treating them how we would like to be treated. Our customers are number one, and we strive to make sure our customers feel that way. We would not give a customer an unfinished product; we would not be proud of ourselves. You have to learn to treat your customers with respect.
LN: What is inspiring you?
RL: Our customers who we can treat with respect and a smile. The way they smile when they receive the product.

Contact: (713) 789-0356
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Advantage Ambulance Service LLC owner Eric Walker
Advantage Ambulance Service is a standby medical service company that provides quality patient care during events and ambulance transport in emergencies. Advantage Ambulance Service also provides professionally staffed First Aid stations for all occasions. Advantage uses only licensed medics, and the management team has a combined 60 years of experience with patient care.

LN: Who is your target market?
RL: We attend many sporting events. Lakewood Church, PVAMU, TSU, and other organizations that need standby ambulance service hire us.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
RL: There have been no sporting events or church events. We have a few contracts still running such as racetracks and university clinics. We are running less than 25 percent of our business right now.
LN: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
RL: Well, it is difficult right now. We push to meet goals and stay on track with where we want to be, but we do not see ourselves hitting our original goals for 2020. We usually do football and soccer events, but now everything is cancelled, so we have pivoted and reached out to other people who might need our services.
LN: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes have you made that could help others?
RL: I can share tips rather than mistakes. You have to streamline ideas. When you put your mind to things, keep to it.
LN: What is inspiring you?
RL: My job at the fire department. I can go out and be hands-on with the community.

Contact: (281) 910-8928
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. 🙂
Executeam Staffing: Executeam has consultants available to help your company reconfigure its workspace to follow distancing guidelines.
Sand Oak Uniform & Embroidery: Customers can get a free backpack for spending $55 or more on a product. Contact Sand Oak to learn more
 
 

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