YLR logo mini     Your Legal Resource Newsletter

     September 2007

Fall is a great time for newLori beginnings.  The kids are back to school, networking groups are in full swing, and many businesses launch new products or services.

 

In this issue we will feature

some new business launches you may not be aware of. 

 

Tell us your stories.  What great ideas have you come up with late at night, or driving home, or in the shower...?  Did you put any of those ideas into action?  We'd love to hear your best and worst ideas and what became of them.  Maybe we'll feature your story in a future issue, with your permission of course!

 

As part of our "dream team" services, Your Legal Resource works with entrepreneurs who have a great idea and we help them launch that idea into the market place with the assistance of other professionals. These professionals often include attorneys, CPA's, contract CFO's, business managers, business consultants, business plan writers, marketing professionals, and various funding sources. 

 

No successful entrepreneur built a significant business entirely alone.  Most will agree it is a long journey, and one which requires skilled "traveling companions".   Most startups encounter the "chicken or egg" dilemma.  Which comes first:  funding to hire the necessary experts, or the necessary experts to add value to the business plan/business model in order to secure funding?  The companies and individuals we've worked with found the latter to be true.  

 

Let us know if you need additional contacts or resources to get your "great idea"  off the ground.  We'd love to help! 

 

To learn more, visit: www.bestlegalresource.com.

 

All my best,

Lori

 

Lori Williams, President

Lori T. Williams, PC

Your Legal Resource

248-594-4470

 

Smart Women Have Landed!

 

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With a successful launch this summer, memberships to Smart Women's Cafe are increasing, and there is plenty of value for the  members, including free tele classes to support women in their personal lives and careers, plus a panel of experts, a library full of resources, one on one coaching, and more! 

 

(To visit or sign up for the cafe, go to: http://www.smartwomenscoaching.com/members/go.php?r=11&i=l2)

 

 

For women business owners, women entrepreneurs, or women thinking about a business of their own, check out the Idea Lab at the Cafe. 

 

 

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Here's a few upcoming FREE teleclasses offered by Experts of the Idea Lab:

 

September 26, 2007, 7pm ET: Brainstorming Ideas for your Business

 

October 24, 2007,

7pm ET:

Brainstorming action steps for your Business Ideas

 

November 14, 2007,

7pm ET:   Brainstorm marketing ideas for your business in 2008

 

December 12, 2007,

7pm ET:  Year-end reflection: share what you've learned in '07 and envision for '08

 

 

Free Classes are for Cafe Members.  To join for only $19/mo, click on this link or copy to browser:

 

http://www.smartwomenscoaching.com/members/go.php?r=11&i=l2

 

 

(Paid teleclasses may be available to non-members at a later date.)

 

 

 Other News for Cafe Members: Smart Women's Cafe coffe cup

 

Starting in September, you can participate in a contest called Find Your Purpose-Find Your Passion, which will award lifestyle and business 'makeovers' to the winners, such as financial makeover, de-stress makeover, inside out personal branding makeover, how to reinvent your life through writing, reinventing your internet business. 

 

Contest details can be found on the website, www.smartwomenscoaching.com, sometime in September. Prizes will be awarded in January to contest winners.  Good luck!

 

You can still sign up to be a Cafe Member, for only $19/mo.  Click on this link or copy to your browser:

 

http://www.smartwomenscoaching.com/members/go.php?r=11&i=l2

 

 

 

Events You Don't Want To Miss!

 

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Momference:  A Meeting Of The Moms!

Global Telphone Summit October 1-7, 2007 devoted to Educating Moms, Empowering Women, Celebrating YOU!

 

Too busy for travel, but need some support as a mom entrepreneur or at home mom?

 

Then join others just like you in the first-ever Mom-focused event conducted 100% via telephone.

Choose from over 40 nationally renowned experts who will address challenges you face as a mom and woman.

 

Tele-Conference Offers powerful and actionable strategies on topics such as:

     Guilt-Free Self Renewal
     Juggling Work and Family
     Organizing your home, your
        work and your kids

This will be one Life-Changing Experience!

It's time to Invest in Yourself to benefit both you and your family.  For details and sign up, click on link or paste into your browser: 

 

 

This week-long event gives you access to experts in parenting, career, relationships, home, self-care and more without the hassle of parking, commuting or getting a babysitter! Listen live on your telephone, or download the audio and listen when you're in your car or after the kids are in bed. Register now and get access to all the great Momference extras like articles, contests and bonus prizes! Click here or paste into your browser: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In This Issue

Article 1: Smart Women Have Landed!

Article 2: What Can Go Wrong In Your Business

Article 3: Great Ideas Put Into Action! Local Entrepreneurs...

 

Join Our Mailing List!

 

Quick Links

www.bestlegalresource.com

 

 

 

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Results Of August Newsletter Contest

Top 5 Ways Our Readers Generate New Business:

 

1) Referrals through relationships

 

Dave Biskner, Business Development Manager of Synergy Plus Solutions, says:  "I've found joining an association and then getting involved by joining one of their committeess to be a good referral generator. I've gotten new relationships and business both from fellow committee members and from attendees at events the committee puts on."

 

In a similar vein, Beverly Cornell, Director of Corp Sales for Iterotext, says: "Belong to a networking group that generates business for you.  Don't just join a group because you like the people.  Liking people is good, but make sure that you are connecting with the ones who are great business referral partners for you.  The best group may be one that you create for yourself.  I am in the process of starting my own International Business Group so that I connect with people who understand my business and my clients."

 

2) Do your homework!  Then Ask For Help

Coach Preston True, of Accomplishment Coaching, prefers making requests for introductions.  He says, "I find this to be one of the most basic, effective and MOST overlooked or avoided business generating idea around.  Here's how I do it: 'Hi Lori, its Preston.  Would you be open to introducing me to Bob Smith?  He may or may not be interested in what I have to offer, but he owns a law firm that I'm interested in working with.'  All I've done is do some research, learn that Lori knows Bob, and then make the request.  I've gotten 90% of my clients this way."

Similarly, Beverly Cornell, Director of Corp Sales for Iterotext, does her 'homework' on linkedin.com.  She says, "Sign up and use LinkedIn, and I do mean use it.  Don't just sign up and expect people to come to you.  Spend 10 minutes a day exploring connections and inviting your trusted clients and referral partners." 

 

 

3) Position Yourself As An Expert

 

Coach Preston True, of Accomplishment Coaching, says:

 "Share ALL of your knowledge through writing articles and public speaking.  These two methods make up the other 10% of my clients.  This does take a bit longer than making requests, but when you write an article or speak on a specific topic you have a captive audience and you position yourself as an expert.  People get to have an EXPERIENCE of you on their own terms and then choose to follow up with you.  So when they do and you learn they read your article or heard you speak, you know they're at least highly interested.  A final thought on this, don't hold back with regard to sharing your stuff.  There seems to be a fear that "if I share too much information, they'll take it and run without paying me for it".  Perhaps that will happen with about 2% of the population.  The other 98% will NEVER implement your ideas even though they love them.  Sharing more creates a more powerful experience for your prospects."

 

 

4) Search Engine Optimization/Driving  Traffic To Your Business On The Web

 

Susan Harter, Partner In CS Concierge Services, says:  "Understanding how to get your website listed on the first or second page of search engines is critical.  99% of our business and  business inquiries are generated from our website. I finally understand the "Keyword" concept and other generators that get my webpage listed.  Additionally, I have learned how to list my business through as many "free" listings as possible (such as Local,com, MichiganBusiness.com, Yellow Pages on-line) associating with Affiliates, and "pay per click" (even though I did not want to pay), there is no way around it in order to get a higher listing for people outside of your community radius to "find" you."

 

5)  Get Your Name Out There!

 

Elaine Simpson, owner of Buckingham Real Estate and Senior Options & Solutions, says:  "I suggest that one takes every opportunity to talk about their business, especially if it is unique.  Making more people aware of what you do and how much you enjoy it, whether it is at lunch, in line at the coffee shop at your son's football game, whatever the location or event, be ready to bring it up and talk positively about it."

 

Barb Delozier, Executive Assistant at Magna International, says:  "networking and keeping yourself out there and mixing with people is the best way to get business.  You never know when you will meet someone who will give you the big break."

We even had some comments on the worst way to generate new business.

 -Chris Lakatos, Co-Owner of Network Pods, had this to say: "I was asked, 'do you have your checkbook on you? I have a blank proposal in the car (mind you I was in his office), would you like me to get it so you can sign it?' I thought to myself, ' WHAT is going on' ?"


 

 

 

Favorite Reads Of Our Readers:

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1)  Personality Plus, by Florence Littauer

CPA Cheryl Bida says:  "What a way to laugh and learn.  Learning what the temperaments are will help you understand yourself and others, including family and business associates.  Knowing why people are the way they are can help you to better understand their way of thinking or looking at situations.  Truly enjoyable!"

 

 

2)  Moloka'i, by Alan Brennert

Karen Gutman, owner of Signed Sealed Delivered, says:  "If one is looking for an end of summer escape, this is a wonderful book!  It's an historical fictional saga beginning in the 1890's , about a girl sent to spend most of her life on the island of Moloka'i in Hawaii in what we all call a leper colony.  The character development, scenery, plot, and history is all amazing!  You won't want it to end!

3)  A Gift of Valor, by Michael Philips

T. Paul Anderson, accounting consultant and non-active duty Marine, says:  "A Gift of Valor" is an absoultely tremendous read that gives a clear shapshot of the quality of men and women who understand the importance, that I learned (during Vietnam) just as our fathers did during WWII, of the rights and freedoms we now enjoy. It also relates the true feelings and desires of the Iraqi people (as opposed to what our media feeds us). More people need a clearer perspective of why it should also be important to them."

4)  The Dip, by Seth Godin

Beverly Cornell, Director of Cor Sales for Iterotext, says: "This book helped me, a 'type A' personality, understand it is important to put all my energy into my passion, and that it is ok not to waste my time on the activities that are not working for me.  I was raised to give 110% all the time and I want to be the best in the things that bring me happiness.  I often times get caught up in activities that do not generate revenue or that do not bring me joy.  I learned NOT to spread myself thin in so many areas.  Focus in business is very important and the key to true success.  I highly recommend anything written by Seth Godin."

 


5) The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

 

Coach Preston True, of Accomplisment Coaching, says: "

What you put out is what you get.  Boy was this book a lesson for me."

 

6)  The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do, by Ken Blanchard

 

Coach Preston True, of Accomplisment Coaching, says: "  This is one of the best "how to" books with regard to servant leadership.  Want to be an effective leader?  Stop bossing people around and start serving them."

 

7)  Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God's Deliverance

by Beth Moore

 

Susan Harter, Partner in CS Concierge Services, says:  "Regardless of a person's religious affiliation, it is a great book concering how to get "unstuck."  So many of us get to a point both personally and professionally where we feel like we are in some kind of "pit" and we cannot navigate our way out.  Beth Moore does an excellent job of letting us know that all of us are in pits throughout our lives at some point; however, we need to understand how we got there, how to get out, and how to avoid them in the future.  It is a great read for the principles to apply to our business lives as well as our personal lives."

 

8) Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins

 

Barb Delozier, Executive Assistant at Magna International, says:  "I'm not a history buff whatsoever, but this narrative about this man's life in the Peace Corps and how underhanded our government truly is was eye-opening to say the least.  Upon my recommendation, I had lots of people read it and they felt the same way.  What made it especially interesting was that he intertwined his personal life with historical facts which made it all the more interesting--some intrigue, suspense, romance--what a read!!"  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By: Guest Spotlight Columnist Greg George,

Managing Partner of GTI Risk Management

 

I thank Lori for this opportunity to share a few thoughts and experiences where our firm has helped clients.  My desire is to create awareness for others by illuminating mistakes that might have been avoided with a little planning and guidance.  The overall theme in these real life case histories is: "don't be these guys". 

 

What can go wrong in Your business?  A lot, if you don't think about a few basics to start with. 

 

Do you outsource?  What mandates do you have in your contracts? Do you require vendors to screen their employees using your criteria?

 

A software developer lost a $500K contract and is still fighting litigation on two fronts, from his former client and against the staffing company he hired.  The staffing company brought on for support supplied four engineers; the sole intent of the [foreign national] engineers was to appropriate Intellectual Property and send it offshore - they succeeded.  A simple Social Security Number trace used to verify identity might have avoided this; the numbers the engineers provided to the staffing company belonged to other people, as we discovered in the first step of our internal investigation. Through computer forensics and other tracing we were able to help identify a sophisticated offshore distribution channel for pirated products and other technology, but the damage is done.

 

 business meeting 3 people

Checks and balances on financial controls

 

A partner in a small construction firm emptied all four general accounts amounting to more than $877K, loaded up two trucks full of equipment and along with an accomplice (his wife) left the area, moving several hundred miles away.  Since there was confusion about who actually owned what among the partners, law enforcement took little interest.  An operating agreement or other documentation establishing who owned what share of anything was virtually non-existent.  The other two partners did sue and successfully received judgments against the former partner.  Through various asset tracking methods we were able to identify key transactions and locations where "new" accounts were now held. 

 

When working financial investigations, a powerful intelligence tool is a subpoena.  Once you know where only a few of the records are located and obtain them, with a little forensic accounting help you can begin pulling together other information leading to where else you need to go.  We were able to assist the plaintiff partners with recovering a good chunk of the money taken, since the absconding partner sold off all the equipment.  However, the time lost and expense of this effort shut the business down for several months.  As a starter to help avoid a situation like this, establish policies requiring a minimum of two signatures on all checks beyond $5K, along with similar limits on credit and debit cards where practical.  I'm sure your accounting firm has several more ideas.

 

Another planning tool which may have helped prevent this scenario is an operating agreement with a trigger clause.  Trouble had been brewing between this partner and the others, however when the company was formed the partners neglected to include, or later add, a trigger clause in the LLC operating agreement to allow a majority of the "Partners" to buy out another partner for any reason by paying him his share of the company plus 10%, or other similar arrangement.  Not unlike marriages, business partnerships come with no guarantees.  The rule here, ALWAYS use experienced legal counsel with expertise practicing in the area of your special needs.  You'll never regret it.

 

 

Employee Misconduct and Sabotage

 

This victim is a small but growing company with only 18 full time employees and makes this experience all that more important to others in a similar status.  An IT employee, also part of the employers' internal compliance auditing team, learned he was to be fired a few weeks before the event took place; he also harbored a lot of ill feelings regarding two managers as we later learned.  After hearing a few rumors, during a routine audit of email backup systems, he came upon several emails between management and the HR person discussing his termination.  Not only did he start copying everything he thought important from the company's servers sending it offsite, including sensitive information regarding other employees and customers, as there is a huge black market for selling stolen identities;  He is also believed to have planted a time delayed Trojan [we can't prove it, but the timing was dead on].  IT meltdown hit a month after he was fired, shutting down all systems.  This also hampered computer forensic analysis, but we were able to pull together enough to show most of the data he accessed and when.  The incident was expensive and took a good amount of time to restore everything. 

 

The company did not want this to become public for obvious reasons. The case is nearly two years old now and occurred before the onslaught of new data breach laws came into play in many states, so they have limited options.  Through negotiations with the former employee and his attorney, he agreed to make restitution for the damage including restoring systems costs and company down time, and return data taken in exchange for the employer not involving law enforcement or taking civil action.  If the data ever surfaces anywhere, he will be prosecuted and he knows that now.  He honestly thought he would never be caught.  Rule: never, under any circumstances, use employees for audits or other oversight analysis and reporting.  Bring in objective, independent outside experts that report only to the CEO.  Regarding policy, inform all employees that the company conducts periodic audits.  However if the matter is an ongoing investigation, keep the information confidential between you and legal counsel.  Installing a threat intelligence assessment and analysis tool behind the firewall to monitor and report all port communications through a dashboard console is also an excellent practice, and very cost effective.  This company didn't have such protections and it could have stopped/identified the Trojan plant, any hacking attempts and other unauthorized data gathering from the inside - immediately.

 

 

Trade shows and conferences, a haven for corporate espionage.Has your hard drive been downloaded?  Who else read your email this morning?

laptop 

At a recent conference in San Francisco, we provided security oversight and close executive protection for C-level officers of two client companies and several of their board members attending.  Much goes in to this type of mission, including identifying security breaches that may affect our client's business and personal safety, managed from a command and control center we establish on site - inside the vendor display area, 30,000 square feet was occupied by 827 booths and other activity areas.  The engineer on our team pulled out a PDA and other small gadget tools that intercept wireless communications, and do other things.  37 laptop IP addresses came up along with the company name of each, split about evenly between buyers and suppliers, and several were large buyers and suppliers along with a few defense contractors, and our clients were among them. 

 

We could have accessed and downloaded any information we wanted to from these laptops.  We were also able to monitor any wireless phone discussion at will, and use any cell phone to eaves drop on a conversation, even if the phone was turned off.  Rule number 1: assume ALL wireless communications can be monitored or hacked, and without much effort.  Rule number 2: assume everyone wants to know everything they can about you and what you're doing, especially in this environment.  We can share many horror stories ranging from competing reps attempting to steal customer data from others, to outright corporate espionage to gain information on new products debuting at a tradeshow or technology and other proprietary information that is still under development.  Engineers are a specific and complex breed of professionals, but they love to talk.  And it doesn't take much social engineering and well-planned baiting from those seeking the information to get the ball rolling.

 

 

 

What is your policy regarding laptop and cell phone use away from the office?  One suggestion is to remove cell phone batteries while in all general venues of a conference and when in meetings.  Back at the office, use a hard line for calls - and have those lines checked, it's not a difficult process.

 

___________________________________________________________

 

 

My intent was to share a few general examples illustrating risks that can be easily mitigated or avoided all together with a bit of prior planning, awareness, and strong policies.  If you have any questions regarding your company's specific operations, give me a call any time.

 

Also check out this valuable resource for more scarey stories, sad but true: www.csoonline.com; explore articles on piracy, fraud, insider threats [the biggest weakness in any enterprise] and many other threats that are watching you and your company from the dark side, everyday!

 

  

 

 

About the author and GTI:

 

Greg has directed many intelligence, security management and tactical operations while assigned to the National Security Agency and other departments within the intelligence community and government services at the command level; including the White House, Central Intelligence Agency and State Department under three administrations.  Greg also adds international experience as director of investigations with task force responsibilities assigned outside of the United States.  Serving private industry, Greg assists decision makers with assessing risk, identifying threats, internal investigations, fraud and managing complex commercial litigation.  A noted speaker, Greg has provided many programs to law enforcement, corporate staff, insurance industry risk managers, law firms and professional associations, also teaching as an adjunct professor at Humber College Center for Justice Studies, Essex College, and Lake Superior State University.

 

Greg has been Managing Partner of GTI Risk Management since 2004, a risk consulting firm providing a world class team of intelligence analysts, risk advisors and security architect engineers.  Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, GTI has a company history extending back to 1962.   For more information about GTI, please visit www.gtiriskmanagement.com or call

877-315-6075.

 

 

"Great Ideas Put Into Action!" Smart Women's Cafe.idea lab.lightbulb

  

 

     Here's What  A Few Local Entrepreneurs

    Are Up To ....

 

We've worked with many entrepreneurs and startup companies the past few years, by providing legal resources, or funding resources, or "dream team" services to help advance their business along the journey from idea to marketplace.  Some are already in business, but launching something new; while others are new startups. 

 

In this issue, we are previewing 3 companies in growth or start-up mode.  For confidentiality reasons we cannot disclose any privileged information or financial projections in this newsletter, but can provide appropriate documentation to qualified interested parties upon request.  If you have an interest as a prospective investor or consultant for any of these businesses, contact [email protected]

 

 

EVEREST MANUFACTURING SOFTWARE: Accounting Software For The Manufacturing Industry

 

Everest Manufacturing Software is an established software company that specializes in automating key business processes for small and medium sized manufacturers. There are currently dozens of manufacturers using Everest Manufacturing Software. The software is currently sold and supported directly by Everest and through a small network of resellers. The product and company have been noted in the industry for excellence.

 

Senior management plans to change the way the software is delivered by converting it to an ASP or on-line based system that is accessed through the Internet. By doing so, the software can be "rented" or subscribed to by the customers, eliminating the need for the customer to pay large upfront licensing and equipment fees. This delivery model reduces barriers to entry for the customer and creates a steady flow of recurring revenue for the company. Delivery and implementation of the software will be substantially easier because of the on-line model and because the software is centrally located at a local data center.

 

Everest Manufacturing Software has drawn the interest of the leading on-line accounting software vendor and plans to attend and display the software at their annual convention in October.

 

Funding is needed to underwrite the conversion of the software to the new platform, to take the new version to market and for infrastructure.

 

 

GENCO INDUSTRIES:  Hand Held Traffic Control Device

 

 

Genco Industries is a start-up company with a mission to develop and market high-quality new products.  Our first product is a Hand Held Traffic Control Light for police officers, law enforcement agencies, first responders, and traffic control personnel.  This traffic light would allow police officers to restore traffic flow at an accident, incident, or traffic light failure.  We have a working prototype, business plan, and financial plan.  We have several letters of support, including one from the Michigan State Police.  Recently, the National Institute of Justice was seeking concept papers on officer deployable traffic control devices, so the market need is clearly there. 

 

This traffic light could save lives, reduce injuries, save vehicle fuel, and reduce law enforcement agency operating cost.  We received an utility patent and a second patent is pending for the traffic light.  Genco's owner and proprietor, Eugene Stephens, has over thirty years of business experience and devotes his full time efforts to the traffic light project.  Genco is seeking start-up funding and multiple rounds of investment.

 

 

 

GYMPULSEgympulse logo

 

Gympulse is the 'ipod' of exercise equipment. Our company, Novo Fitness Products, specializes in compact, portable and inexpensive fitness equipment and offers stunning design and function.

Working the entire body with over 40 exercises and weighing less than 5 lbs. Gympulse can literally be used anywhere, anytime. Research shows that there is a huge trend emerging toward consumers exercising in the privacy of their own homes, apartments, offices or hotel rooms. Studies show that most people that purchase annual gym memberships pay more per VISIT on average than the cost of Gympulse! Additionally, traditional 'home' exercise equipment is expensive and space hogging. Gympulse is neither.

It's inventor and company founder is a 3 time Stanley Cup winning trainer

with international experience and marketability. He has worked with such names as Eminem, Anna Kournakova, Kid Rock and Cuba Gooding Jr.

 

Our executive and advisory boards have experience in manufacturing, distribution, marketing and advertising. Gympulse is functionally prototyped, provisionally patented, costed for manufacturing, and we have identified multiple distribution channels, including e-commerce, major hotel chains, retail, direct marketing, and even the US Military!

Negotiations with investors are pending and we expect a 2008 product rollout.

 

To learn more about these and additional startup businesses we're working with, contact [email protected].

Your Legal Resource provides more than legal services.  We connect the right client with the right professional in many industries.  Our referral partners all come from relationships we've developed over the years, so we know them as people of integrity who will treat you fairly and they have the experience and professionalism you deserve.   We've either hired them ourselves, or served on committees together, or worked together in the business or legal community, and from that we developed a business relationship and friendship. 

 

Let OUR people be YOUR people the next time you need a professional resource. 

 

For more information, visit www.bestlegalresource.com.

 

Sincerely,
Lori

 

Lori Williams, Attorney and President

Lori T. Williams, PC--Your Legal Resource

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