DiscoverAIDtoNAV - Clear Direction for Small & Micro Business with Robert Earl
AIDtoNAV - Clear Direction for Small & Micro Business with Robert Earl
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AIDtoNAV - Clear Direction for Small & Micro Business with Robert Earl

Author: Robert Earl

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Small & Micro sized Businesses contributed over $2 Trillion to the U.S. economy last year, yet they are provided with little guidance to help them navigate in the marketplace. AIDtoNAV will share information, insights, strategies, tactics and encouragement that small & micro sized business owners will not be able to find any place else.
7 Episodes
How to Use Creativity to Sustain Your Micro Business During The COVID-19 Period with Tracy Mayo Tracy Mayo is the owner and mortgage broker for Savvy Mortgage Lending located in St. Pete’s, Florida. She is a certified mortgage planning specialist who left the corporate world to start her own mortgage practice. In this episode, Tracy describes the benefits and challenges she experienced in her journey from the corporate world to a business owner. She talks about the advantages of being in control of who she works with as opposed to how it was dictated to her as an employee. Listen in to learn micro business growth strategies that Tracy uses to keep her business afloat during this COVID-19 period. You will also learn the importance of supporting the community as a small business before marketing to them. “We made a very quick decision that if we were going to keep business coming in the door, we had to get creative about it because I’d rather lower my commission and make less on each transaction than to make nothing.”- Tracy Mayo What You Will Learn:• [1:11] She explains how she made the transition from the corporate and cubicle world to start a mortgage practice.• [2:15] The advantage of being in control of who you work with as a business owner as compared to working for someone else.• [3:38] Learning how to offer clients what you’re promising as part of providing great customer service.• [4:54] How she consistently communicates with her clients even when they do not have any active transactions.• [6:17] She explains the software system that sends information to their existing clientele.• [7:45] She describes some of the benefits and challenges she has faced as a micro business owner.• [9:59] She mentions some of the causes they support in the community including the LGBTQ community in St. Pete’s Florida.• [12:14] The inclusivity of St. Petersburg community which makes it a place for everyone even with all the differences. How it has helped them market their business to the community.• [13:45] She describes how they were caught off-guard by the many expenses needed to run a business when they first started.• [15:00] The importance of having a coach to get you out of your comfort zone.• [16:22] Why they decided to lower the commission that the lenders pay them to sustain their business.• [18:16] The importance of marketing even when you’re losing money during the COVID-19 period to stay ahead when things resume normalcy.• [21:00] Learn to get creative in your business during hard times to stay in front of your audience. Relevant Links:Website: Tracie Mayo Interview Transcript Robert: My next guest on the AIDtoNAV podcast is Tracie Mayo. Tracie is the owner and mortgage broker for Savvy Mortgage Lending located in St. Pete Florida. She's a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist, and she talks about how she left corporate life and the cubicle world to start her own mortgage practice. Tracie Mayo, welcome to the AIDtoNAV podcast. How are you doing on this beautiful Tampa Bay day? Tracie: Hey, Robert Earl, I'm doing great and the weather's awesome as always in paradise. But yeah, we're doing great. Robert: So, Tracie in the intro I went over you are the founder, owner, mortgage broker of Savvy Mortgage Lending. You were in the corporate, really the cubicle world, and made that decision to branch out on your own, like a lot of micro business owners to do. How was that transition and has it been everything that you expected or more? Tracie: It was a hard transition. Yeah, we were in the cubicle environment. I was an in-house lender with Keller Williams. Great location to be a part of, but I was kind of stuck in that cubicle. I really, really needed to work with other realtors. I had other realtor clients. I needed to get out of the office, and we needed a little more control over the processors to make sure everyon...
On this episode of AidToNav Podcast, Robert sits down with the W3 business development coordinator, Ken Jones. W3 Insurance is a top 100 casualty and insurance agency in the United States providing risk management for clients since 1925. Ken offers a unique perspective on the importance of insurance for Small business amid COVID-19 and how it can help your business withstand rough of the times. Ken shares insights on how to choose the right insurance and key tips to consider when dealing with an agent. He also shares the interesting analogy of cheap parachute that essentially means, “You only get insurance when you need it and if doesn’t cover the loss or the claim, you paid a premium for nothing.” With over a decade of experience in the insurance industry, Ken surely knows a thing or two about insurance. Tune in. In this episode you will learn: ● Right question to ask an agent● Importance of Insurance for startups and SME’s● Things that W3 does to give back to the community TimeStamps: [0:16] About Ken, a snippet of his Journey[2:14] Call the Coast Guard - Ken's Story[4:27] How W3 focuses on Small Businesses[5:51] Best piece of advice for Small business owners to choose the right type of insurance[[14:31] Talks about mistakes micro-businesses are making with their insurance choices.[16:50] Difference between Property and Casualty[20:38] What’s the biggest mistake an SME’s make[24:07] How important is planting those seeds for the business that’s . Networking Quotes: “Insurance is not profitable to an agency until it’s 3rd year.” “Getting somebody on price means they are likely to leave you on price.” “We don’t feel like we are better because we are bigger, we feel like we are better because we are client-centric.” “Risk Management is never an issue until it’s an issue.” Resources Mentioned: Recommended Book E-Myth: Website: Connect with Us: Website: Ken Jones Interview Transcript Robert: I have dealt with some form of insurance and insurance agents for the past 20 years, yet it wasn't until I moved to Florida just over four years ago that I really understood the need for insurance. Throw on the experience of dodging Hurricane Irma and the following guests moved from just being on my phone to being in a speed dial position. My guest is Ken Jones, Business Development Coordinator for W3 Insurance, Wallace, Welch, and Willingham a top 100 property and casualty insurance agency in the United States providing risk management for clients since 1925. Clients of W3 Insurance include companies as varied as solopreneurs all the way up to the Dali Museum and every size in between. Ken has a 2-20 Property and Casualty License and began his insurance career in 2008. Ken Jones, welcome to the AIDtoNAV podcast. How are you doing today? Ken: I'm great. I'm practicing my social distancing working from home Robert. Robert: It's really an interesting world that we're in right now and especially for those small and micro-sized businesses. I know you as a doing that business development and you've had to get a little creative with reaching out and doing things from a distance. Ken: Yep. Yeah, we're exclusively, our agency is about 115 employees headquartered downtown St. Petersburg. We also have a satellite office of about 10 individuals in Sarasota, but probably 85% of us are working from our home offices now. We haven't suffered productivity. So, this could be the future for a lot of us. Robert: Sure could. Well, you know, I was going into my intro before you got on about insurance and I didn't really realize a lot about insurance until I got to Florida. I knew it was there, but we're dealing with real-time insurance with hurricanes,
Carissa Reiniger is an entrepreneur and small business growth expert and the founder of Silver Lining, a company that has helped over ten thousand small businesses hit and achieve their financial goals. She is also an author.In this episode, Carissa talks about the strategies that she uses to help small businesses achieve their goals by adjusting their behaviors. She explains the macro view of small businesses that make them beneficial and crucial in a community more than big businesses. Listen in to learn the importance of rethinking your business’s strategy during the COVID season with small and eventual changes. You will also learn the need to be at your best mindset while planning for the future of business in these hard times. “The privilege and opportunity of being a business owner is that you can choose your own path. You can choose who you do business with, you can find people who’re aligned with you, and you don’t need to do business with everyone to make a good income.”- Carissa Reiniger [9:31] What You Will Learn: • [0:49] She explains why she started helping small businesses grow and how that has changed from just a micro view but to both micro and macro view of a small business. • [3:09] The importance and contribution of small businesses in the community while they make a profit. • [6:54] She explains how her business operates with a model of making changes and finding success in more than just money while helping other small businesses do the same too. • [11:27] How they build the SLAP plan for small businesses to adjust their behavior and achieve their goals. Why small businesses need to rethink their strategy during this COVID-19 period. • [18:06] How small changes in smart work will eventually pay off with your business as opposed to expecting immediate unrealistic changes. • [21:27] How Carissa is challenging herself to get a pilot’s license as a way to live her life to the fullest. • [23:07] She talks about the ‘Thank You Small Businesses’ movement that gives thanks to small business owners doing great things with gifts and experiences for their amazing work. • [26:20] Robert relates the passion of sports fans with that of small business owners. • [28:07] How to adjust your mindset to tackle your future and that of your business in this COVID-19 period. Relevant Links: Website: LinkedIn: Carissa Reiniger Interview Transcript Robert: In this episode of the AIDtoNAV podcast, we catch up with Carissa Reiniger. Carissa is an author, entrepreneur, and small business growth expert. She founded Silver Lining and her company has helped over 10,000 small businesses hit and achieve their financial goals. Carissa, welcome to AIDtoNAV. How are you doing today? Carissa: Thanks so much. I'm doing good. You know, we were just talking crazy times, but I'm hanging in there. I'm doing good. Robert: So, you are the founder of Silver Lining. Tell me more about Silver Lining and especially the focus on micro-business, small business. Carissa: Yeah. So, I started 15 years ago, which makes me feel old, but it's true and when we started Silver Lining 15 years ago, my mission was to do whatever I could to help more small businesses succeed. That mission has just gotten stronger. Every year I'm in business I’m more committed to that idea and you know, when I started the company, I was a bit naive. The reason I cared about it, is I met all these amazing business owners, micro-business owners who were amazing at what they did, passionate about the work, they did worked hard, deserve success. So often I saw them struggle to find new customers, get to profitability, get to sustainability. And I felt a really deep passion to help those individual people to help an individual make money doing what they love.
Pat Knauer is an author and coach focused on helping micro-businesses get more clients through ways like marketing strategies and content marketing. She is also a speaker, a trainer, and has authored two books ‘Success Begins in The Corner Office’ and ’45 Minutes Breakthroughs’. In this episode, Pat talks about the mistakes that small businesses are making by involving third-party platforms instead of personally engaging and marketing to their audience. She also narrates her journey of how she ended up becoming passionate about helping small businesses bring revenue through their marketing strategies. Listen in to learn some beneficial strategies you can utilize to actively engage and eventually market to your audience. Learn how to also seek help and not do everything alone when you’re struggling with your business. “You can only really handle what you already know how to do and if you don’t know how to do something, get help.”-Pat Knauer [28:07] What You Will Learn: [1:09] The mistakes of building your business on third-party platforms like Facebook instead of networking in a way you can control. [4:49] How to actively engage with people in your audience before you start marketing to them. [6:34] How to take control and connect with people you’re networking with. [8:23] Learning how to market for small business by constantly marketing to your prospects. [12:28] Ways to let our audience know you’re thinking about them especially during hard times. [14:46] She narrates her journey from accidentally landing in the business of helping small businesses to becoming passionate about it over the years. [20:32] How to effectively manage your time as a small business owner who wants to generate revenue. [21:42] The importance of having an automated system that helps send valuable information to new people you put in your system, simplifying your overall tasks. [25:04] Learn to think of what you can do today to bring your business revenue rather than waiting for tomorrow or next year. [27:18] Why you need to get help when you’re struggling as a business owner plus adding an effective system for the success of your business. Relevant Links: Website: Pat Knauer Interview Transcript Robert: Our next guest on the AIDtoNAV podcast is Pat Knauer. Pat is an author and coach focused on helping micro-businesses get more clients through marketing strategies, content marketing. She's also a speaker and trainer. She's the author of two books. "Success Begins in the Corner Office" and "45-Minute Breakthroughs: How I find 10K in 45 minutes for Small Businesses." We're going to talk about that topic and much more coming up. Pat Knauer, welcome to the AIDtoNAV podcast. How are you doing today? Pat: I am awesome. I am so excited and jazzed to be here. Robert: Fantastic. Published author I went through some of that in the intro really focused on small business, micro-business. What's the number one mistake in 2020, even pandemic aside that small and micro businesses are making? Pat: The number one mistake they're making is that they're not networking. They're not spending enough time getting out there and meeting people in their communities and in their target market. They're instead trying to rely on doing things like online marketing, relying on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram thinking that's going to be the way to get their message out there and they're not doing it the right way. So, because of that, they're actually doing their business harm when they could actually bring in a lot more business. Robert: So, they're going through these third party systems or going through systems that they don't really control. They're adding a level of complexity to their business because then they have to l...
Jamie Van Cuyk is the owner and lead strategist of Growing Your Team. She is a speaker, podcast host, and an expert in hiring and small business team building and people management with small businesses. She inspires people through her work and her podcast which is a must-listen for micro-businesses. In this episode, Jamie shares how she discovered her love for small business team building and helping small business owners with hiring and managing teams. She explains the processes she takes her client through in making sure they do need to hire and hire the absolute right candidate for their organization. Listen in to learn the importance of looking at your employees as a return on investment rather than a liability. “I have goals, I have things I want to achieve and being a small business and where I want to go whether it’s one year, five years from now, I want my business to be much bigger than it is now.”Jamie Van Cuyk What You Will Learn: Jamie explains how she learned to become a business owner by doing what she loved doing. That is when she found her love for building teams and helping small business owners become good managers. [1:04]How business owners commit their biggest mistakes when hiring by copying others and their lack of knowledge on who to hire. [3:35]Are there lessons to be borrowed from winemaking to apply in hiring? Jamie explains what the two processes have in common. [5:00]How not to look at hiring as expenses but as a return on investment. The common fears she helps her clients work through when hiring. [7:22]Jamie gives tips on how business owners can ensure that they’re inclusive of diversity. Learning to give a level playing field to all candidates without biases based on ethnicity, race, gender, or and religion. [11:35]What is the process she takes her clients to recognize if they need to hire or not? She also tells her clients what they need to look for in a candidate. Three things that must qualify a candidate! [18:44]The onboarding process. How she helps the team member be part of the organization with timed progression. [23:52]The growth she’s seeing for her business in the next 12 months. The importance of looking at the achievements and not just the finish line. [25:46] What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments. Relevant Links: Episode 3: Jamie Van Cuyk Interview Transcript Robert: My next guest on the AIDtoNAV podcast is Jamie Van Cuyk. Jamie is the owner and lead strategist of Growing Your Team. She’s a speaker, podcast host, and expert in hiring and building teams, and most importantly, people management with small business. She inspires people through her work and through her podcast, which is a must-listen for micro-businesses. Welcome back to the AIDtoNAV podcast. Jamie Van Cuyk, how are you doing today? Jamie: I’m doing well. How are you? Robert: I’m doing absolutely fantastic. You have taken a focus of moving from your corporate world to helping small and micro-businesses grow their team and particularly focus on hiring and building up that team. Tell me how did that come about? Jamie: Yeah, so it’s kind of a path that got me there. The short version is I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So, I went into corporate saying, I’m going to learn everything I can while working from someone else so I can be better once I figure out what type of business I want to run. So, did that for years went down the management path, because I said, I can hire someone to do everything else in my business. I’m never going to hire someone to run the business, so I need to learn what it means to be a good leader. Finally, I got up the nerve to leave. Corporate started a business with my husband and software development realized I hated it about six months in and said...
The deadline is fast approaching from the SBA for micro business owners to apply for Payroll Protection Loans (PPP). This program is available for small businesses as well as independent contractors, solopreneurs and gig economy workers. Welcome back to the AIDtoNAV Podcast. I'm your host Robert Earl, and we're providing clear direction for micro and small businesses to navigate through the marketplace. Today going to spend some time... At the time of this recording, it is June 24th. There's a deadline for, as of this point government assistance under the PPP program, the Payroll Protection Program. So, I want to spend a little bit at a time here on the podcast urging you if you haven't already to take advantage of the program. Short little window for you to get your application in and talk to you about some of the programs that are available. Then we're going to in the second half of the show, talk about forgiveness. The guidelines changed for the forgiveness on the 16th of June and so we want to make sure that we're covering those bases as well. So, I'm going to go ahead and switch on over here to the PPP website on If you are listening to this on a podcast I'm going to include links on our website so that you'll be able to follow along. But I've just gone to and as we go through this, we'll go full screen here on The best place that I've been able to find is going underneath the funding programs, under loans, and then go to the Coronavirus relief options. When that pulls up, there's going to be a little bit of a splash screen, but here's the information that we're really going to take a little bit of time and focus in on your options that are available through this. So, there is the Payroll Protection Program. This Payroll Protection Program is for small businesses. We can argue about the definition of small businesses, but it's available for small businesses, solopreneurs, those that are involved in the gig economy, those that are independent contractors. So, this covers your real estate agents. This covers your insurance agents. Even though you're brokered with another company or that you are paid out as an independent contractor under another company you can qualify for this program and what this program is going to do. So, let's break this down very, very simply. If last year in your gig economy that you made, and I'm going to make the math very, very simple here, that you made a total of $12,000 from this gig. Well, what they're going to do is they're going to take the information and you're going to have to verify, validate your $12,000 that you made. Usually, this is going to be done through your tax return. I'm not a tax accountant, but your information say on a Schedule C, is the information that you're going to be able to provide. This isn't the total amount that you made. So, although the amount that you took home, you might've had a gross 1099, it might have been $100,000. You might've had expenses that you claimed that left you with, and I'm making this simple for the math, $12,000. They're going to take that amount, divide it by 12. So, they're going to figure that you made $1,000 a month and with this $1,000 a month, the PPP will give you a loan up to two and a half times what your amount is. So, as a solopreneur, as a gig economy with no employees, you still are eligible because that 12,000 that came in after expenses was your payroll. This is the amount that you had as a payroll coming in, that you then would have paid taxes with the remainder of your 1040 or with your self-employment taxes that you paid. So, this two and a half times would also apply if you had two employees. It would be the amount that you paid out in payroll time's two and a half and that's the amount that the PPP would provide for you. Now, this payroll protection, if we go ahead and click on the payroll protection,
This first episode is being recorded as business is coming back to life here in the United States. I'm located in the Clearwater Florida area. It has been business as usual for some businesses that start to open back up as now restaurants, bars are reopened. As I was heading out to the beach yesterday, a couple of the establishments, although they're only supposed to be operating at about 50% capacity the tables were booked. There were a lot of people in there and not going to get political here, but we're still seeing cases reported. We've flattened the curve but definitely have not seen a reduction over the last little bit.
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