Write. It. Down.

I’m a commercial litigator. Fighting over contracts is what I do almost every day.

It still amazes me how often I see smart, successful business people making simple mistakes in their transactions that end up costing them thousands of dollars in damages, settlements, and legal fees. Over the next several months, I’ll be offering tips that you can use in your everyday business that will help you avoid these pitfalls.

In this first installment, I’ll start simple: Write. It. Down.

I’m not trying to suggest you need to have a full-blown thirty-page agreement every time you order your monthly supplies from your distributor or hire an IT contractor to spruce up your webpage. But you do absolutely need to write something down with the general details of every agreement you reach as part of your business.

Don’t try make this too complicated. It can literally be two words on a cocktail napkin, or a short email to yourself. It would be better if it included a date and time, as well as all the key details. Even better if it was something (like an email) you sent to the other party, and best yet if they responded and confirmed. But for now, you don’t even have to go that far. You just need to develop the habit of creating something in writing you can point to when a dispute arises (and a dispute will arise), that will support your side of the story.

Now, this isn’t to say that simply writing down, “ordered 10,000 business cards from Jennifer,” will automatically mean you’ll prevail in a lawsuit against Jennifer if there is a dispute over your order. It’s not always that simple. But in every case in which a dispute arises, you will be exponentially better off if you can point to something that was written down at approximately the same time as the agreement and that supports your view.

Many times – especially if the other side doesn’t have anything in writing that they can point to – you can avoid the necessity of lawyers and lawsuits all together. After you tell them you wrote down the agreement when it was made, and it lines up with your story, they’ll usually back down. But if you don’t have anything to defend yourself, it’s their word against yours and they’ll have no incentive to move on.

The bottom line is this simple tip will save you money and heartache in the long run. This issue most frequently arises when the disputed amount is big enough to create a huge burden for you, but not big enough to justify paying a lawyer. Unless you can get out early (which “writing it down” will help you do), you’ll be stuck paying someone money you don’t owe, or paying a lawyer to defend a dispute that is worth less than the legal fees.

So, the message is simple: just write it down.

Jared SuttonJared Sutton is in the commercial litigation group in the Phoenix office of Lewis Roca Rothgerber, LLP, which is a proud corporate partner with NAWBO’s Phoenix Chapter.

Why, as a woman business owner, would the Corp’s Conation Nation Symposium be of interest/benefit to me?

Why, as a woman business owner, would this Symposium be of interest/benefit to me?

1.) Learn to leverage your instinctive strengths.

Most successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common:  Their success is driven by their strengths.  Business owners who leverage their instinctive talents can build more productive teams and reduce stress in their lives.  Kolbe Corp’s Conation Nation Symposium on May 7th in Scottsdale, AZ, will give you strategies for using your conative strengths to grow your business and improve your life in ways that you about most.

2.) Keynote presentations by Kolbe Corp Founder Kathy Kolbe, and by Rich Vincent, Ph.D., most recently Amazon.com’s Vice President of Talent and Leader Development.  

Dr. Vincent will be speaking about the need for a more resilient work force that is:

  • less bureaucratic,
  • more responsive, and
  • “fit for purpose” with the right people in the right position”

3.) Breakout session featuring consulting experts Angelique Rewers and Phil Dyer

Angelique and Phil will share the latest research and key insights you must know to maximize the emerging opportunities in the $12 trillion+ corporate B2B marketplace and land high-paying corporate clients.

4.) Dynamic presentations on such topics as:

  • Business consulting best practices
  • Essential leadership qualities for tomorrow’s business owners
  • Personal productivity
  • Transforming a sales culture

5.) Awesome networking opportunities

Register Now: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/conation-nation-symposium-may-6-8-2015-tickets-12696283927

Corporate Partner Highlight: Kolbe Corp

What this business offers:

Kolbe Corp strives to identify the nature of creative instincts and enable individuals to unleash the boundless power of their own natural strengths to improve personal productivity, enrich relationships, and launch rewarding careers.  Employers can use Kolbe Corp resources for recruiting and selection, for developing highly productive and stable teams, and for improving individual performance and communication.  Parents and educators can use these resources to help students and family members find their best modes for learning and for accomplishing tasks.

More than one million individuals have completed Kolbe assessments.

Kolbe Corp’s online assessment, the Kolbe A™ Index, is used by individuals and organizations throughout the United States and in 34 other countries on five continents to find and develop top talent, increase productivity and build effective teams. Kolbe solutions are currently available in English, Spanish, French, and German.

Owners:

Kathy Kolbe, chairman

David Kolbe, CEO

Amy Bruske, president

What makes the business unique

Kolbe Corp is the only company that measures conation.  For most of the past century, researchers have focused on understanding and quantifying the cognitive and affective aspects of the mind while paying relatively little attention to the conative (or volitional) aspect.  The conative part of the mind pertains to how an individual solves problems when given the freedom to act instinctively.  Kolbe Corp has been the leader in research on conation for four decades.

Why should NAWBO members choose your product or service?
Kolbe Corp provides insight, not available anywhere else, into what drives human behavior.  Using such solutions as the Kolbe A Index and our suite of products and consultative services, business owners can build more productive teams and improve their bottom line.

Further, for the individual business owner, the Kolbe A Index is the only validated assessment that measures a person’s conative strengths. Not just another personality test, Kolbe helps you to understand the talent you were born with and how to Be Your Best Self.

How long have you been a NAWBO Corporate Partner?

Since 2011.

Why did you decide to become a Corporate Partner?

Kolbe Corp is a women-owned business, and we believe in supporting the mission of NAWBO.

Read more about the upcoming  Kolbe Corp’s Conation Nation Symposium on May 7th in Scottsdale, AZ

Corporate Partner Spotlight: Western International University

What this business offers: University offering associate, bachelor, and master degrees

Owner: Western International UniversityWest

What makes the business unique? 

For over 35 years, Western International University® (West)—a university built for working adults—has provided degree programs focused on real-world skills, taught by faculty who also work in the fields they teach. Pursuing a degree must be manageable for today’s exceedingly busy lifestyles. Our model allows flexibility in scheduling your weekly coursework and delivers a quality education in today’s fast- growing fields, for about half the cost of many other universities. Bringing together “affordable” and “education”—two words not usually seen in the same sentence—is our commitment.

Biggest daily challenge: Marketplace awareness—West offers a unique format and value for working adult students, and we need to get the word out.

Why should NAWBO members choose your product or service? New students can try their first required online course at West with no financial obligation, to see if West is a good fit. You’ll only be invoiced for the 3-credit introductory course if you choose to continue at West.* Visit west.edu/nawbo for complete details.

How long have you been a NAWBO Corporate Partner:  Since June 2014

Why did you decide to become a Corporate Partner? West is proud to support NAWBO as a Corporate Partner and through use of our campus facilities for NAWBO events, and NAWBO members can take advantage of our affordable education options for themselves and their employees.

Corporate Partner Highlight: Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

What this business offers: Plumbing Service, we offer options and solutions for all plumbing needs, including Water Heater, Drain and Leak service needs.

Owner: Linda Stanfield

What makes the business unique? We cater to busy homeowners that want to have options, that don’t have time to wait for a plumber, that want to be sure they get a safe, clean and neat plumber they can trust, that can fix the plumbing need right the first time. That offers real options to make life better, that fits into their budget, that other plumbers don’t offer. We cater to women homeowners, we are prepared and ready with a fully stocked truck, with all skills we need when we arrive. I offer award winning  service like my mother would like.

We were the first plumber in the state to win the BBB ethics award and the 2nd to win it a 2nd time.

Why should NAWBO members choose your product or service?

We are women owned! Because we understand women, busy women, we work with our customer’s needs, we work around their schedule, we hire right, we train our plumbers better to work with women and our needs.

We understand that plumbing emergencies never happen at a good time. We only send plumbers to a homeowner, that I would send to my own mothers home. We offer services that many other plumbers don’t, we have friendly 24/7 live phone service to help get the right plumber to the door. We are set up to help with small or large jobs, we have the skills, the right team members and the right equipment, we offer the latest technology to make repairs options better than we did years ago.  We are celebrating our 29th year in business.

How long have you been a NAWBO Corporate Partner? 4 yrs and I think but have been a nawbo member for 8 yrs.

 Why did you decide to become a NAWBO Corporate Partner? Because it is the right thing to do, I want to support NAWBO, I Love what NAWBO does for other women business owners, I love the education and group of people that belong and I want to get my business name in front of all that may need plumbing service they can count on.

 

Corporate Partner Highlight: Schmeiser, Olsen & Watts

TestWhat this business offers: Protection of your business assets.  In particular, we help you protect your intellectual property assets, which includes patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.  In today’s global and computerized world, often the most important assets a business owns are its intellectual property assets.  This includes the ideas, logos, websites, know-how, good will, customer  loyalty, etc. of the owner, and all of its employees.  These assets should be protected from theft by your competitors, just like you lock your doors to protect your hard assets.

Owner: Al Schmeiser and partners.  We are a small business, with about 15 people at our office in Mesa, Arizona.


 

What makes the business unique? When you call us, a person answers the phone!  We specialize in helping small businesses.  Every business needs to identify its intellectual property assets and then protect them.  We  keep current on changes in intellectual property laws and precedents around the world, so that you don’t have to.  Online businesses and assets stored in “the cloud” are changing the way business is handled and protected.  We are a law firm that values every one of its clients, whether you are an individual inventor, a small business owner, or a large business.  We will take the time to understand your specific needs and help you address them at a minimum cost to you.  You will never be “just a number” to us.

Biggest daily challenge: Organizing, prioritizing, and delegating.  I’m a pretty good organizer, but I find myself wanting to keep track of each detail of my client’s cases, instead of letting my assistant or others do their jobs.  As my client, you know I will be personally watching over your case.  But I have to practice spending my time on my priorities and getting others to handle the details.

Why should NAWBO members choose your product or service?  We care, and we know intellectual property so you don’t have to.  We tailor the services we provide to your needs and budget. We listen, we are here for you, in person or on the phone, when you need us,  and we are very helpful!

 How long have you been a NAWBO Corporate Partner?  Since 2012.

 Why did you decide to become a NAWBO Corporate Partner?  Being involved in NAWBO helps me, and my clients, grow and reach full potential.   I find in my business that besides helping my clients with their intellectual property needs, I also provide input on other services or product needs.  Not because I provide these services or products, but because I have a wide array of clients that each provide a service, and so I tend to be able to put people who need a product or service in touch with someone who provides that product or service.  NAWBO’s mission is similar – to help its members reach their full potential and grow their business.  Being involved in NAWBO helps me to reach new businesses that need my services, and also lets me know what other services and products NAWBO members are providing, so I can pass along the word.

 

Written by:

Karen E. Jachimowicz,  Patent Agent

18 E. University Drive •Suite 101 • Mesa, AZ 85201
O: (480) 655-0073 • F: (480) 655-9536 • E: karenjay@iplawusa.com
Assistant: Kelly Legnon •O: (480) 655-0073 • E: klegnon@iplawusa.com

Desert Diamond Award Winner Despins Printing Acquires NAWBO Breed Three Dog Marketing

Splash MarketingDespins Printing in the Scottsdale Airpark has provided printing services for over 30 years.  Their high quality graphic design and print services has been highlighted in several publications and they have received several prestigious awards.  Despins is a strategic partner in the community providing solutions for  traditional color offset printing, on demand digital printing along with wide format signs and displays using environmentally friendly strategies. Despins defines sustainability as providing the best outcome for your community and your client.

For the last four years, Three Dog Marketing quickly rose to prominence by providing innovative, simple tools to help small business owners create effective marketing and sales strategies. Three Dog Marketing embraced the power of digital marketing and combined it with time tested sales strategies to create instant income for clients. Three Dog Marketing understands the overwhelm that marketing brings to most small business owners.  They focus on simple solutions, working with clients over time to create a cohesive marketing and sale approach that is customized to the needs and goals of each client.

In October 2014, Despins Printing acquired Three Dog Marketing to create a simple, effective all in one marketing solution to serve our clients.

“Our clients come to us because they need something printed. We create high quality tools and now we can now help them use those tools more effectively,” commented Jackie Wszalek, President of Despins Printing and Graphics.

Bringing together the power of marketing and sales strategy with the quality printing and graphic design that is needed to execute those sales effectively is the dawn of a new era. So it deserves a new name.

Splash Marketing!   Print

Splash Marketing provides simple, effective marketing tools to help businesses make more money. Visit the office to meet the highly experienced Splash Marketing team or take advantage of their newly expanded printing options including large vinyl decals, banners and large scale signs.

Schedule a complimentary One on One marketing assessment to get your marketing questions answered by an experienced small business strategist, Kristin Slice, Marketing Director of Splash Marketing.  With every marketing assessment, you walk away with the 3 no cost tips to improve your marketing and sales strategy instantly.

In a world where marketing can get so complicated, Splash Marketing is here to help you make more money.  Simple.

 

Don’t just print. Market.  Splash Marketing!

 Click Here to schedule your complementary Marketing Assement. 

Visit us online at www.splashaz.com or www.despinsprinting.com

For more information, contact

Jackie Wszalek,  President

Despins Printing and Graphics

A division of Splash Media Group, Inc

15770 N. Greenway Hayden Loop Suite 101

Scottsdale, AZ  85260

480-483-0166  jackie@despinsprinting.com

Corporate Partner Highlight: Gravity Web & Design

Business Name: Gravity Web + Design

What this business offers: Web Design & Development, Graphic Design, and Brand development.

Owner: Denis Day & Dorothy Wolden

What makes the business unique? At Gravity Web + Design we love a challenge, with the principals of the firNEW_Gravity-Logo-Finalm having over 40 combined years experience in web and design, our boutique firm has helped hundreds of clients develop and implement solutions – from web sites to fresh brand identities, marketing collateral, and direct mail campaigns. Whatever the finished product may be, our team works with clients to find compelling, memorable and functional solutions.

The Gravity culture and mission statement can be summed up in a simple statement: “Our brand is our clients last experience with us.” We are a dedicated group of talented professionals who truly enjoy creating beautiful and functional websites and design. We take our work seriously, but have fun doing it!

Biggest daily challenge – It’s difficult to pin point just one because as a business owner the challenges can change on a daily basis. However, overall it’s probably managing people.

Why should customers choose your product or service? But there’s much more to our business than code and pretty things. Our clients rely on us to keep projects on schedule, on budget and on track. We pride ourselves on professionalism and responsiveness that equal our abilities. We bring to the table a network of contacts that we can call on to support our clients in other areas of their business. Our clients are our friends and peers and we like to consider ourselves a partner, not a vendor, and our clients see value in that.

How long have you been a NAWBO Corporate Partner? Since 2009

Why did you decide to become a NAWBO Corporate Partner? We were looking for a way to give back to NAWBO since our membership has been one of the instrumental reasons for our business growth.

What has worked better than you anticipated? The connections and business referrals that we get through NAWBO have definitely been more that anticipated. We are very grateful that members, corporate partners use our services and refer us as well.

 

Corporate Partner Highlight: Western International University® (West)

What this business offers: University offering associate, bachelor, and master degrees

Owner: Western International University

What makes the business unique?

For over 35 years, Western International University® (West)—a university built for working adults—has provided degree programs focused on real-world skills, taught by faculty who also work in their field of study. Pursuing a degree must be manageable for today’s exceedingly busy lifestyles. Our model allows flexibility in scheduling your weekly coursework and delivers a quality education in today’s fastest growing fields, for nearly half the cost of many other universities. Bringing together “affordable” and “education”—two words not usually seen in the same sentence—is our commitment.

Biggest daily challenge: Marketplace awareness—West offers a unique format and value for working adult students, and we need to get the word out.

Why should NAWBO members choose your product or service? New students can try their first required online course at West with no obligation. If they choose to pursue their degree at West, tuition for the first course is just $200.* Visit west.edu for complete details. (*Pricing effective July 1, 2014; subject to change.)

How long have you been a NAWBO Corporate Partner? June 2014

Why did you decide to become a NAWBO Corporate Partner? West is proud to support NAWBO as a Corporate Partner and through use of our campus facilities for NAWBO events, and NAWBO members can take advantage of our affordable education options for themselves and their employees.

Orchard Medical Consulting

OrchardMainLogo

What this business offers: Workers’ Compensation case management

Owner: Robin Orchard

What makes the business unique? As a nurse-owned and operated company, we understand the importance of staff retention. We have a generous recruitment and retention bonus program, and we routinely offer small perks.  A Honey Baked ham or turkey breast is on its way to every employee, as we have annually in the spring.

Robin Orchard

Owner of Orchard Medical Group and A NAWBO Past President

Biggest daily challenge: Marketing and sales within a budget.  Our ideal client is one who is a medium to large sized regional or national company. Ensuring we show appreciation to our long term clients, while bringing in new clients mean we need to be creative and stretch our marketing budget consistently.

 Why should customers choose your product or service? Because we treat every injured worker as if he/she was our only one.  Our case loads are kept at the lowest in the industry and so we can really make a difference getting people back to work quickly.

 How long have you been a NAWBO Corporate Partner? I think since 2006?

 Why did you decide to become a NAWBO Corporate Partner? I wanted to give to an organization that has done so much for me.  I also feel compelled to pay it forward to emerging woman business owners.

What has worked better than you anticipated? The connections I have made within NAWBO have been extremely beneficial to my professional growth as a business leader, as well as my business growth.  Many people underestimate the level of education and resources you are provided when you attend the luncheons!

Read more about Orchard Medical Consulting on their website http://www.orchardmed.com/