CEO Skills for Startups

May 16, 2016 Comments off


What type of organization will you create?

On May 10, 2016, Russ Barnes presented a seminar titled “CEO Skills for Startups”. Colonel Russ Barnes is Senior Business Advisor for Systro Consulting, an organization design firm specializing in business scaling.  He has more than 30 years’ experience drawn from military service, franchise ownership and consulting.  During his military service, Russ flew combat missions and held senior leadership positions at Air Combat Command Headquarters, The Pentagon, US Strategic Command, US European Command, and US Central Command…to name a few.  This seminar stressed the significance of knowing who you are and how to use your skills to become the best leader that you can be.

What does a CEO do? Being an effective CEO begins with knowing who you are and knowing how to think as a CEO.

Who are you? Your success depends on the strength of your personality. Be authentic.

  • Inventor/Innovator: Creates ideas and improvements
  • Entrepreneur: Turns ideas and improvements into profitable products and services
  • Executive: Turns profitable products and services into a scalable company

Learn about yourself

Leadership Self Awareness

  • Directive
  • Influencer
  • Meaning Making

Assessment and Testing

  • Personality (MBTI, DiSc, Holland)
  • Skills (Strength Finders 2.0)


Taking Action

Five components that will help focus your thinking as a CEO and guides the company to achieve desired outcomes:

  • Keep focus on the purpose
  • Provide leadership
  • Open and effective lines of communication
  • Appropriate management
  • Build and maintain culture


The Systro Empowerment Model is a lens through which to think about the decisions you make as the CEO.



Skills of a CEO

  1. Team Building (Customers, Leadership)
  2. Talent Management (Communication)
  3. Strategic Planning and Execution (Management)
  4. Influence ( Culture)

Customers: The reason why the company exists, without a customer you don’t have a business.

Leadership: Emphasize that there is no wrong style of leadership; there is only effective and ineffective. Effective leadership is dependent on the culture of the followers.

Communication: The way in which the workforce connects.

Management: Create an environment that enables the most effective use of resources, time, money and people.

Categories: News

Be Bold Not Obnoxious

April 15, 2016 Comments off


“Corporate America has no god but I love it”

How to make a positive impression in business? On March 23, 2016, Helen Dowler presented a seminar titled “Be Bold, Not Obnoxious”. Helen is a Communications, Operations, and Strategy & Planning Executive with experience in Procurement, Corporate Real Estate, and Sales Operations. She held various executive positions at Hewlett-Packard (HP) responsible for leading the creation of communication strategies, executive reporting and presentations, organizational transformation and design, strategic planning, operational excellence, employee engagement and development, and university hire and intern programs. This seminar emphasized the importance on making a positive impression in business.

Six steps to embrace ambition and use it to your advantage

  1. Admit that you are ambitious
  2. Get over it, ambition is great
  3. Embrace your ambition
  4. Plan for your ambition
  5. Share your ambition
  6. Help other with their ambition

Setting and realigning priorities

What is important today, is not what will be important tomorrow. Learn to let go when needed.

How do you tell others that their priority is not yours?

Let others know that what you are doing is just as important as what they are doing.

Eight steps on how to win when dealing with difficult people

  1. Don’t get sucked in
  2. Hear them out
  3. Don’t cave in
  4. Bring them back to topic
  5. Start problem solving
  6. Stop them
  7. Not everything is as it seems
  8. Nobody is perfect, even you


The difference between bold and obnoxious people

Bold people will use tools to generate an influence while obnoxious people will try and break you down. An observant mind is your greatest weapon. Be focused and flexible.

Use change to your advantage:  

Change is going to happen regardless, just make sure it works in your favor

  1. Let it go
  2. Embrace the change
  3. Focus on your future
  4. Continue delivering
  5. Understand the bigger picture
  6. Stay positive
  7. Communicate, then communicate again and again


Fear of rejection or self- sabotage: Lose the fear, make NO work for you

  1. Ask why
  2. Learn from what others share with you
  3. Explore your other ideas
  4. Question your own ideas
  5. Repeat as often as possible and keep going


Your attitude and behavior determines your success

Five benefits to staying positive:

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Increase success
  3. Be more productive
  4. Win and retain more customers
  5. Share your attitude


Categories: News

Dino Eliadis Seminar series

January 22, 2016 Comments off


Over the summer, Dino Eliadis, President of DE, Inc. Management Consulting presented a three part seminar series focused on the stages of developing, expanding and maintaining a business. The first seminar of the series was entitled “Transitioning from Inventor to Entrepreneur: Turning Your Vision into Reality”. This seminar focused on the development portion, touching on the difficulties entrepreneurs face when converting an idea into a marketable product. Part two of the series was entitled “Business Growth Simplified” and was centered on the expansion factor, highlighting what elements often effects business growth. Finally, part three was entitled “At What Stage of the Growth Cycle are You and Your Business?”. This seminar focused on the maintenance portion by helping companies identify their position in the Business Growth Cycle and what steps they should take to maintain or advance their position.


Part 1: Transitioning from Inventor to Entrepreneur: Turning Your Vision into Reality

Inventors frequently struggle to turn their ideas into cash because they don’t have a basic understanding of what gives “value” to their idea. Dino Eliadis’ presentation “Transitioning from Inventor to Entrepreneur: Turning Your Vision into Reality”, illuminated the difference between inventors and entrepreneurs and underscored the symbiotic connection between an entrepreneur’s personal and professional aspirations. Eliadis defined an inventor as someone who creates a device or develops a process, while an entrepreneur takes that device or process and turns it into a marketable product that could generate profit. In order to transition from idea to product, an entrepreneur must invest a lot of time and money, thus if an entrepreneur’s personal and professional aspirations are in conflict, one side of the spectrum will suffer.


Part 2: Business Growth Simplified

Why has the growth of small business posed a challenge for small business owners? Continuing his seminar series, Dino Eliadis presented a seminar titled “Business Growth Simplified”. This seminar highlighted reasons as to why small business owners are having such difficulty expanding their business. In his presentation, he professed that business owners have not had enough exposure to the business growth cycle, causing an issue for small companies looking to expand. Understanding the business growth cycle is a crucial tool to aid in the development of a business. Business growth is a process that requires time and patience. In order for your business to strive and expand, you must know the stage that your business is in.

Five Stages of Business Growth

  1. Existence – Existence deals with obtaining consistent cash flow. This is the initial stage of business development.
  2. Survival – Pre-established profit goals have been met and achieved. This stage links to the success stage.
  3. Success – The business owner can choose to continue to expand the business or to simply sustain the business’ success. If the owner continues to expand the business, they will move onto the rapid growth stage.
  4. Rapid Growth – During this stage it is crucial to manage the finances to assure that growth does not outpace financial resources.
  5. Maturity – The Company is able to diversify into other markets as well as expand the products or services they offer.

However, there are contributing factors that can slow down the growth and progress of the business.

Two Factors Impacting Growth

  1. Owner Factors
  2. Company Factors

As a business owner the goals of your business should align with your life goals. If the entrepreneur’s professional and personal aspirations are in conflict, the growth of the business will be hindered. In addition to owner factors, systematic issues within the company can also impact the growth of a business. To attain complete success both of these factors must be eliminated.

Part 3: At What Stage of the Growth Cycle are You and Your Business?

To conclude this three part series, Dino Eliadis, presented a seminar titled “At What Stage of the Growth Cycle are You and Your Business?”. This seminar was conducted as a roundtable discussion that focused on identifying what stage of the business Growth Cycle a company is in and what should be their next move to progress to the next level.

Eliadis emphasized the importance of creating systems to run your business so it can be self-sustainable. Investors are more likely the purchase or invest money into a business that can run itself. Thus, having operations in place such as a transition and succession plan makes your business a more desirable investment. Working with what you have to develop your clientele and carving out a space in the market for your business should be a business’ main focus and investment funds will come later.

“The question is not how to get 1 million dollars, but how can I do it without 1 million dollars.”

Dino Eliadis is a senior-level business professional with 30 years of leadership experience and MBA credentials ranging from executive positions in corporate and consulting engagements. Dino currently concentrates on assisting small business owners in growing their companies to self-sustaining businesses. His company DE, Inc. provides business owners with tools that rapidly assist in fixing a company’s marketing, sales and operations.


Categories: News

Social Media Timesavers + Making the Case for Mobile Marketing

September 3, 2015 Comments off


How do you manage running your own business along with social media marketing demands and still have time for other activities and a life of your own? On July 16, 2015, Ken Countess, Managing Director of The Countess Group Marketing and Communications, presented a seminar titled “.” This seminar highlighted social media management strategies and the importance of mobile marketing. Ken Countess has years of experience in the industry, including 22 years at Motorola and ties with Microsoft. His current business, The Countess Group, is a full service marketing company.

In today’s virtual and fast-paced world, the average person has an attention span of only 7 seconds. The way businesses market their services or product must be adapted to take advantage of these new advertisement platforms. Thus, Countess emphasized the importance of getting the message across quickly. He discussed various strategies to manage social media accounts and avenues to find content pertaining to your business. Countess recommended the use of post-scheduling applications as a more effective use of time.

Social Media Marketing Tools:

  • Scheduler – Scheduling applications allow you to maintain a consistent flow of content by scheduling posts months in advance.
  • Engagement –Social media platforms are an interactive and collaborative environment; sharing and liking other’s post can increase your reach.
  • Analytics – Countess mentioned that an important aspect of social media marketing that is often overlooked are the analytics. The analytics provide insight as to what content and time slots your audience respond to the most. This is important to optimize your reach and visibility to potential customers.

Facebook and LinkedIn are about quality content, while twitter is aimed towards quantity of content. Countess explained that popular social media sites, such as these, emphasize relevant news. Multiple posts per day are necessary to increase your visibility since newsfeeds and timelines are constantly updated with the latest material.

Recommended Posts:

  1. Facebook: 2-3 post daily
  2. Twitter: 6-11 post daily
  3. LinkedIn: 2-3 post daily

Mobile Marketing

In addition to discussing social media marketing tools, Countess discussed the importance of mobile marketing, stating that 91% of American Adult own a cell phone and 90% of mobile searches leads to an action. Having a mobile responsive websites provides easy reading and navigation on mobile devices.

Although adapting and managing marketing strategies can be time consuming, there are useful tools and applications that can help you and your business become more efficient.

Categories: News

Recent Developments in Patent Law: How does it affect our Business?

September 3, 2015 Comments off


How do the ever changing patient laws affect your business? On April 30, 2015, Tom Toner, registered patent attorney at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, presented a seminar titled “Recent Developments in Patent Law: How does it affect our Business?” This seminar highlighted the effects of recent Supreme Court opinions regarding patent law and how their decisions affect businesses.

Important Supreme Court Decisions Affecting Patent:

  1. Bilski v. Kappos (2010) Business Methods
  2. Mayo v. Prometheus (2012) Biotech Methods
  3. AMP v. Myriad (2013) Biotech Compositions
  4. Alice v. CLS Bank (2014) Software

Clarity of Patent Law

Patent law was established to protect “anything under the sun made by man”. Exception to this includes laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. Toner explained that the root of the problem seems to lay in “abstract ideas” and “natural law”; but what constitutes as an abstract idea? And everything is dictated by the laws of nature, thus making the patents approval process even more difficult. Toner stressed the benefit of understanding technology in order to make informed decisions; lack of knowledge and understanding leads to poor decision making. Despite this, Toner remains optimistic about the clarity of patent law.

Patent Options

The USPTO Interim Guidelines attempted to clarify these questions, but the issues still remains. Toner advised to see a patent attorney when addressing these issues. There are several types of patents: Utilization patent, Design patent, and Plant patent. Depending on your idea there are different options other than patents to protect your idea, such as copy right protection or trade secrecy.

Patent v. Trade Secret

  • Obtaining a patent is a long process typically 4-5 years
  • Trade secrets are only effective if they are kept secret
  • Patents expire after a time period
  • Trade secrets might stifle innovation

Academia Conflicts

At this seminar Toner also addressed how academia conflicts with patents as it relates to funding. Most academic grants that fund research requires publication. In contrast, if someone wishes to pursue a patent it is wise to publish less.

Categories: News

Going Global: An International Business Seminar

April 29, 2015 Comments off


What does it take to be a business entrepreneur in an international market? On April 16, 2015, Robert Francis, a managing partner at Milford Communications Partners, presented a seminar titled “Going Global: An international Business Seminar”. This seminar highlighted the do’s and don’ts for the international business market. Robert Francis has 45 years of international business experience. When first entering international markets Francis’ goal was to prove that international investments can be just as profitable as domestic ones. Today, he follows the slogan “Develop your international business for fun & profit.”

In today’s global economy, international business is vital in order to be competitive. Francis got his start in Japan. He and his team originally had difficulties converting from Japanese to American standards. Thus, Francis emphasized the importance of doing research on which ever market you are entering, due to the fact that many standards and regulations vary across countries. Importantly, Francis advised to make sure patents have as much international coverage as possible. A patent in the U.S is only honored in the U.S. In addition to economic and political regulations that may differ, there are also many cultural components to consider. Marking strategies that are culturally appropriate in American society may not be in a different another country. Even product names may not translate well. Francis recommended having a ground team of locals to assist with these components.

Advice from Bob:

  1. Pick a market
  2. Develop a plan
  3. Research economic status of market
  4. Research market consultant officials in the country
  5. Notify officials prior to your visit!

“Fail Early!”

Francis could not stress enough the importance of market research when doing international business. He made a point to say that it’s better to find out that a market is not worth the investment early, than to invest a lot of time and money and find out later. He informed that many countries have market consultants available to public. Francis recommended notifying officials prior to your visit because it allows them time to compile information specific to your goals.

Have fun and make money BUT! Consider:

  1. Payment & collections
  2. Financing options
  3. Shipping options
  4. Taxes and duties
  5. Export licenses

Although entering an international business market can be fun, there are many factors to consider. Planning and research were the highlight points of this seminar.

Going Global 4-15-2015

The world of patents is constantly changing. Please join us on April 30 in the USF Connect Oak View Room as we host our recent development in Patent Law Seminar presented by, Tom Toner, registered patent attorney at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLp.

Categories: News

Presentations that Build Investor Confidence

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Featured image

What does it mean to build investor confidence? On March 31, 2015, Joe Yazbeck, the Founder and President of Prestige Leadership Advisors, presented a seminar titled “Presentations that Build Investor Confidence”. This seminar highlighted the do’s and don’ts for achieving an effective presentation as well as being a proficient speaker.  Joe Yazbeck is also the author of the successful book No Fear Speaking, one of Amazon’s best sellers.

In his presentation, he professed that “Confidence is the key in making money. The more you know the more you profit.” Whether it is being interviewed for a job or looking for someone to invest in your idea, executives are likely to pick the individual that has expressed the most self-confidence. Whenever a person possess self-confidence it demonstrates to investors that he or she has the credibility in the argument or product that they are producing. This credibility is what brings in investors.

“Presentation is an artful science”.

To achieve an effective presentation, you must first determine what your purpose is and who your audience is and what they want. When building a presentation, be sure to have supporting sources so that you are able to prove the points that you have given your audience. When speaking to your audience, you want to raise the level of reach to people by becoming a commanding speaker.

The 5C’s of a Commanding Speaker includes:

  1. Caring
  2. Comfortable
  3. Credible
  4. Confident
  5. Charismatic

Though being a commanding speaker is an important aspect to having a successful presentation, there are three essentials connections that the speaker must achieve to fulfill their purpose:

  1. Speaker must be connected to the message
  2. Speaker must be connected to the audience
  3. Message must be connected to the audience

Be sure to avoid the following speaking mistakes:

  1. Having an unclear purpose
  2. Failure to meet audience
  3. Having an unknown product or outcome
  4. Lack of organization
  5. Overloading the audience with information
  6. Having insufficient support
  7. Vocal Monotony

In closing, Joe Yazbeck disclosed that “You should keep things varied in your presentation. Do not allow your PowerPoint to dictate your presentation and don’t ever let time dictate your presentation.”

Many times entrepreneurs are faced with the challenge of expanding and taking their business global. Please join us on April 16 in the USF Connect Oak View Room as we host our International Business Seminar presented by Robert Francis, Managing Partner at Milford Communications Partners, serial entrepreneur and seasoned industry professional with extensive senior management experience.

Categories: News

Creative Research Strategies Seminar Overview

November 6, 2014 Comments off

kburnsOn September 23, 2014, Kelli Burns, an associate professor of public relations in the School of Mass Communications at the University of South Florida presented a seminar providing the overview of secondary research sources and primary research methods.  Dr. Burns is the author of Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster our Fascination with Population Culture.

In her presentation she states that  research is included in every step of marketing, and market analysis drives the market strategy. As a company,you first need to find out if the target market is a feasible market, and if there is an opportunity to for growth in the industry. If there is growth in the industry then you need to state your unique selling proposition, usually known as the USP, to determine what makes your product or service different from other homogeneous products. Then, you need to do research on your competitors to set your price, and finally estimate your sales potential.

Before starting your research, determine what is your “goal,” what do you want to find out from this research?

However, if you have already developed a customer base, it is important to do a customer satisfaction survey to find out what they think of of your service.

On the other hand, if your product is a new invention that people are not familiar with, there needs to be a demonstration on how to use your product and that helps a lot with promoting your product.

When doing your research, you can use  websites such as IBIS, LexisNexis, Marketline Advantage to find more information about the industry of your business.

Today, for all companies, social media presence is vital. Social media presence allows your company to connect with current and potential customers. In addition, it provides you with feedback regarding your product/service from customers. While maintaining your social media, keep in mind that visual sights are becoming more popular therefore, post relevant visual images to increase engagement from your audience. To monitor your social media, you can use websites such as Social Mention, Addict-o-Matic, and Google alerts to find out who is looking for you, to help specialize your target market.

Sometimes, start-up companies need crowd-funding for their ideas, good places to start are,, and Indigo.gogo. Besides from receiving funds for your creative ideas, it is good for feedback if you place a preview of your product. This also gives you a chance to your test your product before officially launching it. Also, it is important to do surveys throughout your operations, using survey sites such as surverymonkey,com. As a tip, it is better to use close-ended questions and open-ended questions if you are looking qualitative answers from your customers or if you already have focus group for your market research. If you operate a store or a restaurant, it is even better if you can ask your customers to do a real time survey using mobile methods such as cell phones or tablets to answer a few questions about their satisfaction level and thoughts about your product/service.

Discussing furthermore about social media presence, Dr.Burns also recommended to identify the social media influencers in your industry. Social media influencers are those who buzz about new things that are coming out, such as YouTubers, and Bloggers depending on your product.

If you would like to view her presentation for more information, click here.

Café CONNECT Puts the “Chow” in Clam Chowder

June 9, 2014 Comments off

Cafe Image1

Have you ever wondered, “Where can I find the best clam chowder in Tampa, possibly the world?” Well, wonder no more. For those days when you forget to pack your lunch, mosey on over to Café CONNECT in the USF Research Park Galleria to grab a bowlful (Or cupful. But trust me, you’ll want a bowlful!) of the most satisfying clam chowder your stomach has ever encountered. The clam chowder from Café CONNECT can be summed up in three words: rich, creamy and DELICIOUS. Okay, so we may be overselling it a bit, but why don’t you just let your taste buds be the judge of that. Next lunch break, head over to Café CONNECT, grab a bowl of the clam chowder, a spoon, some complimentary oyster crackers and get your grub on.

SEO 101

June 9, 2014 Comments off

You often here about SEO, but what exactly is it? Bilal Saleh, Principal Partner at E-Nor, explains the SEO basics in his seminar  “The Essentials of Online Marketing Optimization.”

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website for your audience, which in turn optimizes your website for the search engine. Most marketers spend money to optimize campaigns to satisfy Google.Bilal Saleh

Let’s start with the four steps to online marketing:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Find your audience
  3. Engage your audience
  4. Convert your audience

When approaching SEO, ask yourself, “Why do I exist online? What exactly do I want people to ultimately do when they come to my website?” Read more…

%d bloggers like this: