In this SeizeYourBusiness.com entrepreneur video, jointly hosted by MakingRealEstateFun.com, our guest Scott Mathis discusses ROI (Return on Investment), Cash-flow, Long-term Goals and Strategy, Balance between location and Finance, Mapping out a business plan and tailoring your finish to the current market.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: And our guest today is Jim Catalano from Catalano and Caboor and also The Music CPA. We had Jim’s dad, Jerry, on a couple episodes ago, and that quickly became one of our most popular lawyer episodes ever. I’m really happy to have Jim here.
Jim, why don’t you tell us about your role in the firm, and actually maybe give us a refresher on what Catalano and Caboor is all about too.
JIM CATALANO: Sure. I’m the marketing director for both entities; I’m in charge of the social networking and the websites as well as the networking groups and putting the name out for the firm.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: And I forgot to mention our topic today is going to be networking tips.
JIM WASZAK: Which brings me to a question: So today’s world everybody wants to do everything on social media, but there’s still a role for person-to-person networking, isn’t there?
JIM CATALANO: Indeed. Indeed, there is. It’s very important that -- Some of the younger crowds they don’t really -- They’re more about what’s on their smart phone. But the above 30 is really appreciative of person-to-person, and the biggest thing I’ve seen at networking groups is that always have a lot of business cards on hand either on your person or in your car. There’s so many times I’ve been in a networking group where I’ll be like, “Hey, can I have your card?”
“I ran out.” It’s like you can still maybe connect afterwards, and maybe they’ll send you an email; maybe they won’t.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: Today we’re going to talk about asking the right question of your client or customer. Thanks for being with us today, Bill.
BILL CHU: Thank you, Kevin.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
BILL CHU: Sure. In terms of my business, I’m a mortgage broker with Wintrust Mortgage here locally in the western suburbs; I’ve been in my business for more than a decade. A common question I get from either clients and/or business partners is what is your specialty, what is your niche. My niche, as I look back at my ten years of producing in this business, really is to help clients especially ones with complicated financials. So finance whether it be their first home purchase or their ongoing home purchases.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: So if you come across someone who isn’t a picture perfect candidate for a loan at first blush, you can work with them to get their financials in order and try to get them qualified for them; is that basically what you’re saying?
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: I’m joined by Amanda Hark from Heartland Bank, and tell me again -- 504 loans; is that the topic today?
AMANDA HARK: SBA 504 loans, yes.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: Okay, SBA 504 loans. Amanda was telling me about that yesterday, and it seems like a great deal and a great way to refinance your existing commercial loan. Amanda, I’m going to let you take it away. Let’s start by telling me little bit about yourself and what you do.
AMANDA HARK: Sounds good. I currently work for Heartland Bank and Trust. I’ve been in banking since 1998. I started out as a teller, worked my way up, was in credit for many, many years. I really do think that that is what creates a good banker is having a firm knowledge of financial statements, and accounting, and all of that stuff. After I did that, I decided I know a lot of people; I like numbers; but I really, really enjoy people, small businesses. It’s time to be a loan officer.
JIM WASZAK: Mohammed is a very interesting fellow who has done a lot of different things. He’s owned five different businesses; he was at one point a news anchor in Houston; and is now focused on a company called Center for Strategic Solutions. The real mission of it is to get people back to work create more jobs in the States. He has worked on reshoring programs, which is bringing items back into our country to manufacture, and has become in this process kind of a guru of knowing about government programs that can actually help companies.
Often we hear the worst thing that can happen is somebody walks in your door and says, “Hey. I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” We joke about that, and there certainly are enough things the government does to get in the way of small business owners, but there are some things that the government actually can do to help. So, Mohammed, why don’t you give us -- What drove you into this work?
MOHAMMED FAHEEM: Thank you for bringing me on here. What brought me to this -- Long story short, it was purely by accident. What brought me into business was by accident. I was working with Fisher Scientific for their light signals, Fisher Scientific division. Three years out of college worked with them in the Middle East, came back to the country, got married. My wife didn’t want to go back to Saudi Arabia, so we stayed over here. First year in Chicago had a head on collision with an 18 wheeler. You talk about getting a kick in the behind. I was basically paralyzed and couldn’t walk for two years after that.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: I’m really excited about our guest today. It’s Jerry Catalano from Catalano and Caboor. He owns an accounting business that’s really thriving. And we’re going to talk today about combining your passion with your business and hear a little bit about his story how he built it up from the ground. Now, how many accountants do you have working with you?
JERRY CATALANO: We have a total of 24 staff, and it’s in that 5 administrative staff, and the rest are all professionals and paraprofessionals.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: Thanks for taking the time for being with us, Jerry. Why don’t you tell us a little about your backstory and the firm’s backstory.
JERRY CATALANO: Okay. Well, Catalano and Caboor & Co. Ltd., we’re certified public accountants and consultants. I’ve been a CPA for 46 years, and one of our niches is entertainment. We have a niche called the music CPA, and we have a website called the music CPA.
The way I got involved with that. I was in a rock band in the 60s. And in 1970 I actually did A&R work. What A&R work is -- You go out and look for acts and sign them. I was working for a company called Zark Attraction, which was a management company for these bands. I believed in Chicago talent. I was 21 years old, so as naïve as I was, went out and signed acts. One of the acts that everybody told me about at that time was a group called TW4. They said you got to go see these guys. So I said okay. They used to rehearse in a basement of an apartment building, and they were really good. But they were playing covers, and I said I want only original material. I’m signing actual material. They said we got some; we’re not done with it. I said when you get some original material, I’d like to sign you. You know who that band turned out to be? STYX. For God sakes. They were called TW4 because they were twins and four other guys. That’s what their original name was.
JIM WASZAK: So, Lisa, tell us a little bit about what you do at Ruffled Feather. I know you’re the marketing person there, but --
LISA HUGHES: Absolutely. I’ve been there almost eight years, and what my job is there is to confirm and book golf events. We host about 120 golf outings throughout the golf season. Sometimes there’s a few in the day. Sometimes we don’t have any, but the goal is to really book business and sales. And over the years I’ve just been the contact for the marketing. I think it’s just I believe in marketing. I think it’s a squeaky wheel, good solution. I think it’s important to be out. People know that you’re there because if they don’t hear you constantly, then they kind of forget about you, and they’ll go to your competitor. So I get involved lot of in the marketing and--
JIM WASZAK: It seems to me one like one of the challenges would be how do you know who’s having an outing, you know?
LISA HUGHES: Absolutely. I get that question a lot actually. Like how do you –
JIM WASZAK: Because most companies need book keeping. They need Internet; they need lawyers. How do you know who needs an outing? It could be anybody.
LISA HUGHES: You’re absolutely right. A lot of people ask because a lot of my job is going out and finding business. It’s not necessarily banging on a door. You all know there’s a lot of golf courses in the Chicago areas for such a short season. However, not all accommodate outings. You have the banquet space available. It’s something that you either the business you go after, or you don’t.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: Our guest is Saad Yusuf from Plego Technologies, and our topic is going to be automating the sales process. Saad, thanks so much for joining me today.
SAAD YUSUF: You’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me. Appreciate it.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: So, tell me about Plego Technologies.
SAAD YUSUF: Well, Plego Technologies is a software application development company. We are based right here in Downers Grove next to O’Flaherty Law. Been here for about 5 years, but we’ve been in business for about 15 years. Started in ’02, so 14 and a half years. We started off building simple websites. We started off doing wireless networking. We really developed into an application development company. We were in Westchester from 2002 through 2012. We specialized in building software applications for our corporate clientele such as ERP systems.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: What’s an ERP system?
SAAD YUSUF: Enterprise resource planning. It kind of runs your entire business. It handles your inventory. It handles your product information, your employee information. Basically enterprise resource planning.
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Kevin owns O’Flaherty Law, a general practice law firm with locations in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, and Naperville, Illinois. O'Flaherty Law's attorneys have expertise in many areas of law including but not limited to divorce and family law; civil litigation; estate planning; business and corporate representation; commercial and residential real estate law; elder services, probate and guardianship; immigration; bankruptcy law; and dui, traffic and criminal defense.
Jim owns Success Enhancement, Inc., which is geared toward helping you solve management problems in a way that is fun and engaging by using improv comedy techniques and role plays.
Participants will see how to behave differently in the type of situation identified as an area for improvement.
Please feel free to e-mail Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (630)272-3895
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