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As the new president of Burger King Corp.’s North American business, Steve Wiborg was charged with leading a brand suffering from declining sales and a limited menu. Under siege from a market flooding with fast food hamburger competition, it was struggling to keep its foothold in its narrow niche of 18- to 34-year-old male burger consumers.Yet at the same time, the company was initiating a four-pillar strategy to enhance its menu, overhaul the restaurant image, streamline operations and improve marketing communications, even phasing out the company’s Burger King mascot. Wiborg had the opportunity to apply his 20 years of experience…
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:01

How "social" do you need to be?

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If you have heard any of the buzz on the street lately, you are aware that social media is here to stay, and the businesses that leverage this channel and participate strategically can reap rewards. “While it is true of social media marketing today that, ‘if you’re not in, you’re out’,” says Kevin Hourigan, President and CEO of Web design, Web development and online marketing agency, Bayshore Solutions, “A very valid question is; how ’in’ do I need to be?”Smart Business spoke with Hourigan about how to get the most out of social media, and what the right social moves…
Barry Wolfson joined Tervis at a time when the company was expanding nationally, increasing sales and enjoying double-digit revenue growth. From the outside, it was a CEO’s dream. Internally, the company’s 700 employees could barely keep up.“When your business is growing 60 percent a year, it’s everything you can do to just focus on running the business day to day,” says Wolfson, CEO since 2010.“I just think that there wasn’t an opportunity for anyone to say ‘Hey, we need to step back for a moment,’ because there really wasn’t time to step back.”By restructuring the business in a way that…
John Bauer has had a long career background in the food business, so much so that in 2011, he was appointed to the U.S. Agricultural Advisory Committee for the benefit of his expertise. As global trade in agricultural products has increased, keeping up with the nature of the industry today takes a certain set of skills. These are also skills that Bauer has been honing over the last 34 years.“We had boom times and had some recessions, but the situation now is all together different,” says Bauer, president and CEO of Basic Food International Inc., an established, Fort Lauderdale-based supplier…
If you frequently watch the Home Shopping Network, then you probably recognize Tony Little. He’s that energetic fitness guy with a ponytail and baseball cap, standing next to some healthy product, talking to you about changing your life and saying, “You can do it!”Maybe you were convinced, and maybe not. But for Little, “you can do it” is much more than another sales tagline used to sell exercise equipment. It’s a personal philosophy for success.“I’ve just always felt that whenever you hit that roadblock, there are a zillion other ways around it,” says Little, founder, president and CEO of St.…
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:21

Joy Gendusa: Something new

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In business, you’re either growing or you’re shrinking. There are a number of proven ways to grow and not least among those is innovation. Even if you’re in a business that’s been around forever and you have tons of competition, you can still innovate.Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean you invent the latest, greatest new product. For instance, look at Progressive Insurance with the marketing concept of Flo and “Name Your Price.” Although you’ve always been able to name your price at any insurance company just by raising or lowering your deductible, Progressive was innovative in the presentation of this concept and…
Saturday, 31 December 2011 19:02

Online resolutions you should make for 2012

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It’s the time of year when we reassess and make resolutions, and it’s a great time to set goals for growing your business. “Today’s reality is that the online space is the preeminent place where business research, communications and transactions occur, even for the most niche enterprises,” says Kevin Hourigan, President and CEO of Web design, Web development and Internet marketing agency, Bayshore Solutions.Smart Business spoke with Hourigan about the most important actions that companies should be taking to get to and stay on their “A-game” online.What are the smartest online resolutions for my business this year? There are many…
Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez was physically starting a new Miami law office from scratch. She didn’t have a team of employees. She didn’t have an actual office yet. From a support standpoint, however, she had a stacked deck.Joining McDonald Hopkins LLC as its newest managing member in 2011, Rodriquez had the rich culture and resources of a firm with an 80-year history of client service success.“So it really was very much of a start-up operation, except that I had a really good solid team supporting me all the way,” Rodriguez says.Smart Business spoke with Rodriguez about the keys to entering a…
At his company’s national convention last year, founder and CEO Ed Kaloust was unsure of how to handle the announcement for Medi-Weightloss Clinics’ employee of the year. The problem wasn’t identifying a worthy candidate, but narrowing the success stories down to just one person.“We just had three spectacular employees,” says Kaloust, who has grown the weight loss company from start-up to $16.5 million in revenue in 2011.So he decided to announce three winners.In today’s economic environment, having too many good people is hardly a problem a CEO is worried about. In fact, Kaloust says having the right people in the…
Like many CEOs, Ray Titus got a reality check when the U.S. economy tanked in 2008. With his franchise development services company coming off 20 straight years of year-over-year growth, the idea of not growing was at the very least a foreign concept.“It was all great and roses and now the last couple of years have been really trying and challenging,” says Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group, which owns and manages approximately 1,400 franchise locations in 50 countries, including well-known brands such as SIGNARAMA, EmbroidMe and Billboard Connection. “We were in a position to grow again as usual, and…
Tuesday, 29 November 2011 16:02

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In every business’s growth plan, performance goals are set for specific business units with corresponding resource budgets allocated to support the plan. It used to be assumed that anything “tech” was under the purview of the IT department. So responsibility for building and maintaining the first corporate websites naturally evolved in the IT area.“As digital tactics have become major channels in business marketing today, key ‘tech’ performance requirements have shifted,” says Kevin Hourigan, President and CEO of Web design, Web development and Internet marketing agency, Bayshore Solutions. “A critical element in today’s business growth plan is to make sure resources,…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 19:02

Who should own your website?

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In every business’s growth plan, performance goals are set for specific business units with corresponding resource budgets allocated to support the plan. It used to be assumed that anything “tech” was under the purview of the IT department. So responsibility for building and maintaining the first corporate websites naturally evolved in the IT area.“As digital tactics have become major channels in business marketing today, key ‘tech’ performance requirements have shifted,” says Kevin Hourigan, President and CEO of Web design, Web development and Internet marketing agency, Bayshore Solutions. “A critical element in today’s business growth plan is to make sure resources,…
President Lisa Faller sees client loyalty as a direct reflection of her company’s commitment to going above and beyond for clients. Today, FKQ Advertising + Marketing’s client list includes numerous relationships that span decades.“That speaks volumes about our focus on generating the client’s desired result,” says Faller, whose family founded the Clearwater-based firm in 1961. “You can do a really good job and you can deliver and please a lot of people, but at the end of the day, if you are not year over year making that happen, then your tenure is probably short lived.”FKQ’s self-defining philosophy of “whatever…
Until the credit and financial crisis struck, Ted Bernstein was primarily focused on the successful niche that his insurance company served in the market.“We were guilty of not looking at the macro picture of our industry and where change was going to affect us,” says Bernstein, the president and director of Life Insurance Concepts Inc.As the supply of capital began to shrink and many people stopped spending money on life insurance premiums, demand for the company’s niche ebbed. What do you do when the product that you are selling no longer fits with what your customers need?You start from scratch.Through…
In the wake of disasters such as the 2010 Gulf oil spill, it seems many consumers took on the belief that corporations and businesses have little social or environmental conscience and too often focus on sales and profit as the sole concern. Not only is that notion largely incorrect, it is wrong for the simplest reason: such an approach would be bad business.Too often, businesses are lumped together as profit-driven enterprises with no thought of how their actions help or hurt the community. However, the business leaders that I work with and speak to on a regular basis understand that…
When CEO Lauren John Reid joined PuroSystems Inc. in 2010, the company’s PuroClean brand was already the fastest-growing franchiser in the $210 billion property damage restoration industry. But despite a decades-long track record of restoration industry experience, Reid had no concept of what it meant to run a decentralized franchising operation.“You are dealing with a group of people that in some cases maybe were at an executive level one day, and then all of a sudden they are out of a job, and the next day they are running their own business,” Reid says.“This is my first kind of ‘ivory…
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 09:46

Tony Little: Step out to stand out

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After a cold winter, a group of kids is lined up alongside the edge of a lake. One kid challenges the next to jump in, but he balks. So does the child next to him, and the one standing on the other side. Each one protests, afraid to jump in what could be icy water.At last, one boy announces, “I’ll do it!” After taking a deep breath, in he goes. Emerging seconds later with a great big grin on his face, he tells the others, “Hey, it’s not bad at all!” And within moments, the rest of the group dives…
A significant amount of John Treace’s career has been focused on returning failing businesses to profitability by retooling their sales and marketing areas. So time and again, he’s come into a company where the sales organization was the needlepoint for other problems.“Of course, the sales operation of a company really is the heart and soul of the company,” says Treace, who is the founder and CEO of JR Treace & Associates LLC. “The performance of everyone else in the business is weighed and justified on the performance of the sales team. … It all shows up in sales.”Smart Business spoke…
Thom Stork was walking through The Florida Aquarium one day when he passed by the shark exhibits. As he watched the divers swimming in the tanks, his curiosity led him to begin posing questions to a nearby employee: ‘How many people go in the tank? How often? Has anyone ever been bitten?’ And before long, he asked the kicker: ‘Can we put our guest in there?’“He looked at me like I was crazy, ran away and came back a few days later,” says Stork, who became president and CEO of The Florida Aquarium Inc. in 2002. “Then he said, ‘OK.…
Of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s 213 restaurant locations, Chris Elliott has eaten at 50 of them to date. He’s tasted every single item on the menu and is prepared to tell you what he thinks, good and bad. Yet that kind of honesty was harder to dish out last March when he joined the company as its new CEO. After eating at several of the restaurants, Elliott had the difficult task of sitting down with his franchisees to tell them candidly, your food isn’t very good.“What franchisee wants to be told by a new guy, who they think doesn’t know anything…
If your company’s computers are still using the last generation of network technology, it might be time to consider an upgrade — especially if you are planning to virtualize any of your processes or data.“The previous standard for most companies has been traditional T1 lines, which were not cost effective and had limited bandwidth,” says Carlos F. Olortegui, manager of the Enterprise Metro Ethernet Division with Comcast Business Services. “Metro Ethernet technology is more cost effective, reliable, robust and scalable, and it allows you to adjust bandwidth measurements with ease.”Smart Business spoke with Olortegui about how this technology could benefit…
John Wanamaker, founder of Philadelphia’s historic Wanamaker’s department store, once said, “I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted – I just don’t know which half.” In online marketing today, metrics can tell us exactly which dollars spent on pay-per-click advertising clicks wound up converting to a lead or sale and which may have been ‘wasted.’ “On average less than 3 percent of online shopping search clicks today end up in a lead or sale ‘conversion,’” says Kevin Hourigan, President and CEO of Web design, Web development and Internet marketing agency, Bayshore Solutions. “However there is a tactic…
The importance of disaster recovery has not changed. However, the term itself and the impact a disaster can have on your business has changed dramatically, especially now that businesses rely so heavily on technology.“Not too long ago, a disaster could simply be defined as inclement weather,” says Joe Hovancak, manager, Enterprise Ethernet Division, Comcast Business Class. “Today, the term takes on a whole new meaning.”Smart Business spoke with Hovancak about the changing field of disaster recovery and how to be ready when disaster strikes.How has disaster recovery changed and how can a business develop a recovery plan?Today’s businesses are not…
Techniques for optimized search engine marketing make a quantum leap every year. As more media appears on the web, customers have many more ways to find out about competing products and services, and the search engine optimization (SEO) methods required to keep your business in front of customers online become more complex.“The cost of not strategically executing SEO is loss of significant business to your company and to the gain of your competition,” says Kevin Hourigan, President and CEO of Web design, Web development and Internet marketing agency, Bayshore Solutions.Smart Business spoke with Kevin about the critical items your Search…
Because it meant coming out of retirement to take the reins at MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., Richard Sasso did have some reservations when the company first asked him to lead its North American expansion in 2004. Yet with his track record in the industry — and having served as the president of his own cruise line, Celebrity Cruises, in the past — it didn’t take long for those reservations to give way to excitement. First of all, Sasso realized he already had a great product and brand to build on with the MSC parent company.“We think that the product itself…
Friday, 30 September 2011 20:04

Appetizing offering

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As a bariatric physician, Dr. Sasson Moulavi — known by his patients as “Dr. Sass” — builds strong, lasting relationships with them based on sincerity, openness and honesty. So it makes sense that as the founder and CEO of his own weight management business, he believes the way to gain customers long term isn’t through flashy advertising or gimmicks but though the same philosophy of putting client needs first. Since launching Smart for Life Weight Management Centers in 2003, Moulavi has grown the company and his popular “cookie diet” to $70 million in revenue in 2010.Smart Business spoke with Moulavi…
Friday, 30 September 2011 20:07

Smooth transition

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As interim CEO of Innovaro Inc., Asa Lanum’s central focus was on restructuring the company and bringing its cost structure in line with revenues during a period of decline. Yet by the time he had the interim title removed in April 2011, his objectives had shifted.“It’s interesting if you’ve been in a period of decline for a while, when you reach the point where you try to turn, it’s like flying an aircraft,” he says. “The plane is losing altitude and you’ve got to do something or it’s going to hit the ground. So you do the right things and…