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Category Archives: Entrepenuers

Mr. Rhodes to present at the next FundingPost event

Mr. Rhodes to present at the next FundingPost event

Are you looking to meet investors and learn more about raising capital in Houston? You do not want to miss this event. Get registered for the FundingPost Investor RoundTable on Thursday, June 16th, 2016. FundingPost has hosted 350+ sold-out venture events in 23 cities over the past 15 years.

This next Houston event is located at The Work Lodge here. The Work Lodge is a member only shared workspace with modern offices, amazing conference rooms, and a meaningful business community. We will have several investors in attendance and several investors on our panel to discuss the Houston Start-up community and how to raise capital for your start-up.

We will have a panel of local and out-of-town investors focused on pitching to early-stage investors, and what it really takes to get them to write you a check! We will be discussing the things that are most important to them when they are considering an Investment, the best and worst things an entrepreneur can do to get their attention during a pitch, and, of course, the best ways to reach these and other Investors. There will be plenty of time for networking with the Investor panelists during the breaks and networking party!

20 entrepreneur attendees who sign up will get the option to pitch their business idea in 1 minutes or less in front of the investor panel.

Along with the pitch competition, there is an educational and networking component to the event. All attendees will be gaining an understanding of what investors are looking for in the Houston market and what our entrepreneurs are building. All attendees will be able to market themselves (including their products and/or services) throughout the event through networking with one another.

Location

Location: 118 Vintage Park Blvd., Suite W  Houston, TX 77070
Date: Thursday, June 16, 2016
Time: 3:00 – 5:30
Cost:
– Entrepreneur: $45
– Investor: $55
– Table Sponsor: $500

Speakers

  • Steve Tinkle, Chief Doer of Sumo Business
  • Robert Rhodes, Rhodes Holdings LLC
  • Cody Cupp, Principle, Founder – UNEE GROUP- HAN Member
  • Jason Kaminsky, Venture Partner, Propeller.vc
  • Casey Minshew, Texas Director, FundingPost.com – Opening Remarks

 

Please go to the FundingPost website for more information and to register for this event…

 
 

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How To Win Making Cold Calls

This article was written by Joel Rivera of Turn Key Tile TX


So you have the job of making calls for the new company, a realtor, started a business, or anything that requires you pick up that phone/cell. It may be a little daunting but as the saying goes, you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So in sales terms, you wont get closer to that appointment then sale if you don’t pick up that phone. An alternative is cold walking/ driving, but that another topic. I used to make calls for about 5-7 hours a day, three months straight, and you can learn a lot in that time frame to persevere when you have to pay bills next month. You just have to do it. Start. Go. Now! So for those of you out there that just don’t know how to make calls, I’ll leave you with this article and tips that helped me along the way. This was my method that worked for me, but you can always refine yours based off of your industry. I wrote this for the purpose of how to get started, setting those appointments, getting passed the gate keepers/secretaries, staying focused, setting goals and following through. This is step one of the PCC Program.

The PCC Program Process

  1. Make sure you get comfy. I would recommend to make calls for at least an hour or more 1-4 times/week. Preferable times to call is late morning, 9am to about 12pm, and resume from 2pm-6ish pm. Some times the decision maker stays late.
  2. You need to know where to find the leads. Depending on what you have at your disposal, you may already have a list or need to make your list. If you’d dot have leads, go through directories, phone books, trade magazines, referrals, Google search pages, online directories such as Houzz.com for example, which caters to every trade such as custom home builders, carpenters, tile installers, etc. Google it.
  3. Have yourself a notebook to take notes or whatever you need to make sure you know where exactly to look next time you need to reference a note. I would suggest this for two reasons. One, it lets your jot down appointment info and contact info and two, measure results. Remember, what gets measured improves over time. This will help you understand how you will progress through your journey to becoming a PCC Program graduate. What I did to keep track of my calls were simple tally marks. Tally mark all your calls, then appointments you set, and finally how many you closed. As you will notice, its a numbers game. With time you will become more proficient at setting appointments in less time and less calls made.
  4. Once you’ve set up shop, create a simple excel sheet to take notes and input all info acquired. If you work for a company, they may provide you with programs dedicated to keeping track of every single thing such as http://www.salesforce.com. Attached you can see what I used for your use as well. I didn’t use Sales Force because I don’t need to save that much data. If your company has a system, use it.
  5. Now its time to call. Below I have detailed some strategies that I implemented and really helped me bypass gatekeepers, set up appointments, and get one step closer to that sale. Cold calling is not a short term process, it is a steady long term investment of your time that will pay off for you.

Route with Unknown DM’s Info

First step is to begin by asking who is in charge of what you’re calling for. This person you seek is also known as the decision maker (DM). You will get hit with some objections I hear very often. Here’s where you need to know what to say and stay on top of it until you succeed.

Introductions

Hello I’m calling with (_Company_) and was trying to get in touch with the person in charge of (X) or that handles the (X) account.

Here you’ll be asked by Gatekeeper (GK)/assistant what you do exactly. Be broad in your response. Most GK’s are trained by the DM to filter through people like you. Here’s what I’ve used below.

Objection 1: They’re busy at moment or are not in. “Can you email me your stuff to send it to them?

Solution: Have a default email (available for download) typed up introducing yourself with links to a gallery on your website and any social media (SM) links that show any reputable accolades/awards/reviews etc. you’ve earned. BBB, Houzz, FB, Twitter, Yelp, etc. will help. Before you hang up ask them to confirm they received it by emailing you back. It helps a little more with their commitment. Once sent, you must take note of when you sent it and follow up within 2-3 weeks.

Objection 2: We have someone already and we’ve been happy with their work.

Solution:  Agree with them and ask to send them an email. You never know when things can go wrong and they may just need you one day. With smart phones being able to search for anything in your phone, make sure to put keywords you think they may use to search for you in your email. The main thing to do here is follow-up in 2 months or more. Don’t be too pushy on these. Even after the 2 month follow-up, do it again 3 months later or so. You have to feel it out and know when is a better time to call. Don’t be pushy but don’t stop calling. Persistence is key.

Objection 3: Can you call me back later?

Solution: Call them back stating who you are again and that you’re just following up.

Route with Known DM’s Info

With this known info, you can breeze through a little more easily. Here’s how I would respond to the GK or even when the DM answers the call.

GK/DM: Will ask who’s calling.

You: “Hi this is (Name), with (Company Name), how have you been?” -The most important thing about your first contact with the GK/DM over the phone is that you need to SOUND as if you’ve spoken to them in the past already. You have to sound as if you’ve known them and hung out with them previously even though you have not. I would follow up with this.

GK/DM: “Good, how can I help you?

You: “Well I’m Just following up from that last time we spoke about 3 months back. You were busy at the moment and you told me to call you back, so I’m just following back up with you.” or you can say “I’m just calling you back since you said you were busy and told me to reach back out to you.”  They may follow up asking what you spoke about. Keep it broad or let them know you didn’t have time to explain your product/service so you’re following up now. You have to remember that the DM has a lot on his/her plate and will sometimes want to cut right to the chase if necessary over the phone. Now’s your chance to either pitch your product/service or set up that appointment. Feel the situation out. One thing I’ve learned is that DM’s talk to a lot of folks over the phone, so they’ll assume you’ve talked before using this technique and give you that small window of time to speak to them.

Words or Phrases to Avoid When Calling

Below I have placed common words and phrases to avoid in my opinion when conversing with GK’s/DM’s over the phone. Try to look up alternative words on thesaurus.com.

  • I’m calling with the advertising department.
  • Advertising
  • Sales Rep
  • Buying
  • Promotion we have
  • It will just take a little bit of your time
  • I’m with the marketing department
  • Can I send you something?” -You may want to resort to this last, but avoid it as much as possible. The goal is to meet in person.

Words or Phrases to Use When Calling

  • I was assigned to your account and will be the point of contact for you now” Assure you can claim this account. If your co. has a process of claiming it, do your research first. This statement makes the client think you’re now the point of contact for whatever they need. This helps you reduce their chances of going to someone else. Its not a guarantee but it improves your chances of them reaching out to you first. This also gives the perception of them thinking they have a personal rep they can now call on when they need. Remember, your job is to save time for the DM.
  • If we can just take a look at project (x) or bid on it would be great.”- This helps you not be so pushy.
  • I can visit your location”- You save them the time.
  • I noticed you have a promotion available to you. When can you come in for me to show you what you can get?
  • We do work off commission, so if you can, can you please ask for me when you come in? If I’m with a  customer, just wait for me please by browsing” or “can we meet (day) at (time)?” Always get them to come in, meet them on site or meet in person.
  • Is there a way for you to come into the store so I can show you? Its kind of hard to explain over the phone.
  • How about (Day) at (Time)?”- Always drive the conversation. Don’t let them tell you a day and time. If you do, your chances will go down of meeting them and they’re controlling the sale.
  • I’m just following up from that last time we spoke. You were busy at the moment and you told me to call you back. So I’m just following back up with you.”- Keep this simple. Be confident and act like you’ve known them. So that means you’re sounding upbeat and excited to meet with them. Smile too when you’re speaking to anyone over phone. Its a psychological way of changing the mood of things. Even though you did not talk to them at all, just tell him/her that you called about 6 months back and you’re just following up with them. One thing I’ve learned is that DM’s talk to a lot of folks, they wont remember everyone.

PCC Program Tips

  1. Do not focus on your commission. It’ll come. IF you FEEL and KNOW that what you’re selling is of great quality, and you know your customer will see the value in what you’re selling, both the product/service and your ability to convince/persuade/sell the customer will make bring you money. Speak to the client with passion and honest intention to help them solve their problem/s. When you can think to solve their problem/s, they can sense it, and know you sincerely want to help them.
  2. When calling DM’s, you have to remember they’re very busy and have a lot on their mind. Just because they do not return your call right away or at all does not mean they’re interested. DO NOT stop calling them or following up for an appointment. Keep calling until you’ve set an appointment. I repeat, DO NOT stop calling them until you set an appointment. You should temporarily stop calling when you feel that they really do not need your service/product of course. But that does not mean you have to stop completely following-up. Hold off for about 2-3 months and then call again.
  3. Keep a reminder in your phone calendar, computer or just notated on an excel sheet so that you can call them back.
  4. One thing to remember is if you work at a retail store where customers come to you, save every single number in your phone so that you can follow-up with each one. I realized that most of my business came from reoccurring clients. Don’t let the other rep take your customers. Show how you help them in each and every way, and the next time they do go with another rep by accident, they will see the difference between your efforts to solve their problems and the little effort the other rep put forth.
  5. If the DM says to call back at a certain day or time,  notate it and call back when they said to. They could be testing you. Remember, persistence pays.
  6. Be persistent. Persistence truly does pay. Stay strong, remember to measure how your results are doing. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Be Patient and eventually something will hit. Each call you make gets you more experienced and with experience comes the knowledge to overcome objections faster. The faster you can learn, the faster you will get the swing of cold calling and closer to those sales. Remember what Warren Buffet said, “The more you learn, the more you earn”. So get your experience to learn so that you can earn. It all starts with the phone.
  7. Know that this is also a very effective way to getting appointments, but not only is this effective, it can also save you from spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on other forms of advertising that may not work.
  8. Always attempt to speak to the DM or meet the DM in person.
  9. If you work for a company that doesn’t have a very reputable name to get in with the DM, for example newspapers, use another name the company goes by. When people think of newspapers, they think adverting on paper, yet you’re calling for web optimization. For instance, the Houston Chronicle is owned by Hearst Media. Say you’re calling with the digital department of Hearst Media, you’re their new rep in charge of their account and would like to set up an appointment. Be creative and confidence will come with experience.
  10. Stay Consistent. The hardest part is starting. Get over the hump and you’re golden after a couple of weeks. Trust me.

Try these techniques out for at least a month or so and see what it gets you.  For any questions, tips or suggestions, please reach Joel Rivera at uhcoogs27@gmail.com or twitter- @hoeltx,  Facebook at facebook.com/ILIKEJOEL. Any and all feedback is important. Thanks…

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in BLOG, Business, Entrepenuers

 

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Interest rates and usury in Texas

All of us use credit to one extent or another, and businesses many time are either successful or fail depending upon how they use their credit. Understanding rates of interest and what is legal is important to managing your business.  Usury “refers to the charging of an exorbitant interest rate on a loan” as quoted from the Texas Attorney General’s website.

Business or commercial loans are made for business operations or investor and are governed by Chapter 306 of the Texas Finance Code.  These loans can bear an interest rate of eighteen percent (18%) annually but may float with inflaction up to twenty four percent (24%), with loans exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand ($250,000) being able to go up to twenty eight percent (28%) annually.  The law governed motor vehicle sales makes the highest rate capped at twenty seven percent (27%), but pawn shops can charge as high as two hundred and forty percent (240%) annually – yup, that’s right!

Consumer (personal, family, and household use) loans vary greatly in their structure and the usury laws have a lot of interesting interactions and are governed by Chapter 342 of the Texas Finance Code.  Other rates:

  • Without an agreement, six percent (6%) annually is the cap.
  • With an oral agreement, ten percent (10%) annually.
  • Credit cards interest from banks domiciled in Texas are capped at eighteen percent (18%), but outside of Texas the credit card companies can charge much higher – take a look at the bank’s charter to see which state they are issuing your credit cards from.
  • Business or commercial loans maximize interest rates change depending upon if you are represented by counsel as well.

All in all, I have seen just about everything, and a lot that is apparently not legal.  If you have more detailed information that you’d like to post here, please feel free to comment, and we’ll get to the bottom of what you are working with.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in BLOG, Business, Entrepenuers

 

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Your business plan on steroids

As you can imagine, our organization sees a lot of business plans – good and bad ones.  The ones that stand out to me are the ones that concisely state their business model and do so in a simple format.  I am not talking about the formats that look like they paid a huge sum on graphics designers, I’m talking about the ones where they know the key performance indicators of their business, they’ve planned their progression and they show the goals associated with that progression.

The article “18 Ways to Make Your Financial Model Stand Out to Investors” by David Teten seems like he is of the same thought process that I am.

Also, while you’re reading articles, I found this article “How to do guarantees right. And how we grew a business by 49% by adding a guarantee.” by the Conversion Rate Experts website.  This is something that one of Rhodes Holdings LLC’s sister companies, Online Sales Juggernaut, is dealing with right now.

Funding

Lately, Rhodes Holdings LLC is doing a great deal of funding, but not public companies – private companies.  We have a sister website, Key To Funding, that is making great progress in bringing in new clients.  We have done a number of fundings in the past three months – equipment leasing, factoring (including spot factoring), acquisition financing, and other formats.  We’re very excited about our progress.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2015 in Business, Entrepenuers

 

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OTCQB Snapshot

Go to http://web.otcmarkets.com/OTCQB-Americas-Venture-Market/ for more information straight from the source of this infographic.

 

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In the U.S., the age of lawlessness…

In the U.S., the age of lawlessness…

Preface

Some of you may think that this post has to do with politics, but I would disagree with you.  Some of you will think that I am “throwing the first stone“, as in Jesus’ statement in John 8:7 when the Pharisees were going to stone a woman caught in adultery and he said, “…Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (New International Version of the Bible), but they would be wrong as well.  I freely admit that I am as guilty as any and all in the United States of what I will talk about next…

My Supposition

For some time, something has been rumbling around in my mind.  Something unsettling.  Something I have had a hard time distilling down into a concise statement that I could then ponder what’s next.  Something that is effecting everyone in this country, the United States of America (“USA“).  Something that will effect my children, and their children, and their children’s children.  Something that I believe WE, the citizens of the USA need to be mindful of, address in our discussions, and start to address in our actions. So what is this “supposition” that I set forth?

  1. The Founding Fathers of the USA founded this country on the “rule of law“.
  2. As a people, We flourished as We allowed this principle to take root in our every day life, our political life, our religious life, and our personal lives.
  3. When We shared our values – and that word is key, “shared“, not “forced down their throats” not “conquered them and forced them to acknowledge” and not “used our superiority to show that we are right and they are wrong” – the rest of the world listened.
  4. When We showed our values by helping the rest of the world, sharing of our bounty (sorry for using the old fashioned word, but that captures my thought), the rest of the world saw what the “rule of law” could do for them.

Am I getting old?  Am I yearning for a better time, a time of my youth?  Nope, I think that we have been missing the boat for some time now (and I mean decades beyond my lifetime), and now the “chickens are coming home to roost“.  So I would like to explore, first my supposition and its individual pieces.  Then, in future blog posts, I would like to set forth some points for us all to start a discussion around and hopefully right the ship…

Rule of Law

So what do I mean by the “rule of law“?  On the surface, it sounds simple but man has been struggling with these issues since Socrates in ancient Greece, or if you are technically inclined, by Plato‘s and Xeonphon’s writings referencing Socratic ideas and discussion (see Plato’s Republic as one of the best known of these).  If we break this down into three distinct contexts, it becomes somewhat easier:

  • Rules according to law“;
  • Rules under law“; and
  • Rules according to a higher law“.

Rules according to law” states that the government will act only under clearly written rules, regulations, and legal principals.  But most importantly, “Well established and clearly defined laws allow individuals, businesses, and other entities to govern their behavior according (United States V. E.C. Investments, Inc., 77 F. 3d 327 [9th Cir. 1996]).  Before the government may impose civil or criminal liability, a law must be written with sufficient precision and clarity that a person of ordinary intelligence will know that certain conduct is forbidden.”

Rules under law” states that no one is above the law.  In England, this started with a group of 13th century Barons protecting themselves from a tyrannical monarch with the Magna Carta (the English Monarch is subject to the law).  Following this tradition, the U.S. Declaration of Independence had a group of Colonial rebels throwing off the yoke of injustice by a king who suspended the very laws that the Magna Carta started and the English Parliament enacted.  The Constitution of the United States of America established the American codified laws, with the Bill of Rights enumerating them further.

There is no better example of how the U.S. government should work than the impeachment of Richard M. Nixon – it reigned in the executive branch of the U.S. government and held out that even the President of the United States is still subject to the law (UNITED STATES V. NIXON, 418 U.S. 683, 94 S. Ct. 3090, 41 L. Ed. 2d 1039 (1974)).

And finally that “rules according to a higher law” pertains to the what is alluded to in the Declaration of Independence when it says,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…

That the written laws require governments to treat all persons equally under the law.  Now we all know that the U.S. Civil War pertained to this, but maybe not the way we were taught in elementary school – property rights were at risk.  I’m not saying that slavery was right or wrong (BTW, I personally think that it was wrong), I’m saying that Abraham Lincoln stole property from U.S. citizens without recompense.  This of course sets up a huge issue for government – if a law is morally wrong, should they still be required to uphold it?

Why even the United Nations, an organization that I don’t particularly feel embodies anything close to what I would hold the United States of America accountable to states as part of its website:

Promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels is at the heart of the United Nations’ mission.  Establishing respect for the rule of law is fundamental to achieving a durable peace in the aftermath of conflict, to the effective protection of human rights, and to sustained economic progress and development.  The principle that everyone – from the individual right up to the State itself – is accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, is a fundamental concept which drives much of the United Nations work.

I think that much of the world understands, at least with their head, what the “rule of law” should me, but the problem right now is that every one applies it to everyone else and not themselves – either individually, state wise or nationally.

Coming soon…

Later this week, more on my supposition #2, #3, and #4.


 

Citations

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in BLOG, Business, Entrepenuers

 

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What were they thinking…

First, I must apologize for the dearth of information on the public markets and financing techniques therein over the last four months coming from our BLOG.  Our associated group of organizations (Rhodes Holdings LLC, ReCap Marketing & Consulting LP, and American Equity Fund LLC) have been involved in a number of actions to protect shareholder value as well as having been asked to put together a number of “go public” projects for clients.  With that said, expect a new focus on providing a look into what is going in the public markets…

OTC Markets

Since the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“J.O.B.S.“) Act was signed into law on April 5, 2012, there has been a “promise” in the air that it would help get capital formation for the micro-cap market started again.  This really hasn’t happened since the Congress and President can’t seem to get their acts together (pun intended), and the Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC“) hasn’t released the details on how it will enforce the J.O.B.S. Act provisions, like changes to internet marketing of stocks (general solicitation).

OTC Markets Group Inc. had hoped that this Act would help drive their business, but alas FINRA is all about limiting the markets that OTC Markets Group Inc. serves by making it impossible to deposit shares in Pink Sheet companies as well as OTC:BB companies.  The crux of the problem that those of us working in the

Seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commi...

Seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

micro-cap arena are facing is that even if you follow all the rules (register your shares, pay cash for stock, etc.), the broker dealers and their compliance departments are running scared of the SEC and FINRA’s rules, so stock just doesn’t get sold.  If no stock gets sold, that capital doesn’t get re-invested into other micro-cap stocks – thus, the velocity of money associated with micro-caps has ground to a halt.  Read what OTC Markets Group Inc. has to say:

In a few cases, it has eased regulation and shown that at least some of those in Congress listened.  The J.O.B.S. Act did make it so that issuers did not have start filing SEC mandated disclosure statements (10Q, 10K, 8K, etc.) until they reach 2,000 shareholders – previously it was 500 shareholders triggered filing requirements.  Read CFO magazine‘s article on banks de-registering:

All in all, the J.O.B.S. Act has not helped us reach its stated goal – helping jump start capital formation.  It may still help, but those of you who thought that crowd funding was going to take over capital formation, it hasn’t delivered the goods.

Accredited Investors

The J.O.B.S. Act did make some changes to the accredited investor definition, which would be very helpful.  The original 1933 Act definition is as follows for Rule 501 definitions.  Here is what the General Counsel of Second Markets had to say about the proposed implementation in his letter to the SEC.  In general, we at Rhodes Holdings LLC are keeping track of what is happening in the marketplace that will make it easier for our clients to access the capital they need.  Here are some websites associated:

 

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