SOP Association Applauds Committee Passage of H.R. 5236

The ESOP Association applauds Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) for their roles yesterday in introducing and supporting H.R. 5236, the Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018. The bill, which was introduced today and approved unanimously by the House Small Business Committee, seeks to redress longstanding inequities in how the Small Business Administration (SBA) administers its loans with respect to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).

“The SBA was authorized to loan to ESOPs in 1979,” said Rep. Velazquez. “Unfortunately, this tool has been rarely used, due to a lack of understanding of the business structure and cumbersome transition requirements.”

Rep. Chabot, the Committee Chair, bolstered H.R. 5236 by adding a chair’s amendment, and also urged other committee members to support the bill.

“H.R. 5236 provides important reforms to how the SBA treats employee owned businesses,” he said during the Committee meeting. “From updating reporting statistics to capturing accurate data, to codifying ownership transition plans, H.R. 5236 will provide clarity to small businesses that truly need it.”

The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

Rep. Velazquez thanked Rep. Chabot for his support. She also pointed out that she had worked very closely with the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on supporting employee ownership.

“The support of Rep. Velazquez, Rep. Chabot, and Sen. Gillibrand underscores that ESOPs and employee ownership merit and continue to receive support that is bipartisan and bicameral,” said ESOP Association President J. Michael Keeling. “As Rep. Velazquez noted in her remarks, Baby Boomers own a vast number of businesses in this country, and as those owners prepare to retire, their companies may face uncertain futures. No businesses should shutter, and no employees should lose their jobs, when becoming employee owned is a perfectly sound, well researched, well regarded business option. This bill will make it easier for businesses to pursue that alternative, with help from the SBA.”

Black Couple Launch Disruptive Health Tech Company

The black community suffers from many health complications and are often on the patient end of the health care industry. Very rarely do we hear stories of black innovators in the health tech space.

Meet Jamie and Jilea Hemmings who are married tech entrepreneurs who launched a disruptive new platform called Best Tyme (besttyme.com), the easiest way for physicians and medical sales reps to coordinate meetings.

A sleek work-hack for life-science professionals, the app allows clinicians to set preferences for when and how sales reps meet with them, and sales reps to structure their day by zip-code with an automatic calendar, meals and even routing function!

The app is available on iPad, Android, iOS and web. Free trial downloads are also available on the Apple & Google App stores. Once the trial is complete there is a monthly subscription for the representatives.

To date the couple has raised over $200,000 in VC funding to grow their team and launch a revolutionary product.

“We are thrilled to launch Best Tyme to the market,” said Jilea, Best Tyme’s CEO and Co-founder. “BestTyme is going to revolutionize how doctors and medical sales representatives schedule appointments and at the same time show the potential of black innovators in the space.”

Modern medicine coexists with, and informs, pharmaceutical research and development efforts. However, as any practicing clinician knows, workday time is precious and even more precious is a doctor’s attention.

Most physicians prefer to critically evaluate novel pharmaceutical products and that is best done when meetings with sales reps are concise, convenient and on-point.
The BestTyme app is poised to help doctors take control of when and how they interact with medical sales reps and advance high-quality communication between the two disciplines.
The BestTyme app is designed for physicians.

With the BestTyme app, office staff can refer all sales reps to a central source where physicians have set food preferences and available appointment times. This is a simple yet powerful way to coordinate pharmaceutical sales visits and lunches and take control of a busy practice while staying up-to-date on the latest advances.

As an added bonus, our data shows this simple trick can reduce clinic administrative staff time by up to 10 hours per week.
“My administrative staff absolutely LOVE BestTyme! Any time new reps call, my staff refers them to BestTyme so that they can schedule appointments directly with me,” one [Chicago area] clinician said.
The BestTyme app is also designed for sales reps.

With the BestTyme app sales reps can enter the zip code they want to target and instantly generate a full schedule for the day. The app adds GPS routing and food order functions and even lets you update physicians as you go!

This is a simple yet powerful way for reps to optimize face-time with clinicians. Not only can they minimize friction with office staff, they can address each client’s preferences for time and setting to make for higher-quality interactions.

This app saves time for busy sales reps. One Fort Lauderdale rep said: “In less than 30 minutes, I scheduled five new appointments. The best part: I didn’t even make one call!”

Best Tyme was founded by life-science professionals

BestTyme was founded by four experts with a combined four decades of experience in pharmaceutical sales and front-line medicine. The app was created with the goal of reducing friction in the clinic for all parties.

The company’s mission is to use technology to enhance effective communication of critical advances between two rapidly-advancing disciplines with a high-impact on patient care.

Jamie and Jilea are pharmaceutical representatives with 25 years of combined experience in the trenches who wanted to make their face-time with clinicians more meaningful and hassle-free. As Jamie says, “Best Tyme improves operational efficiency ten-fold.”

Dr. Anisio and Alexandra are a physician/administrator team with 20 years of combined experience on front-line care who wanted to stay informed on pharmaceutical advances, without losing critical efficiency in task-switching from patient care to scheduling.

Alexandra said, “Best Tyme has saved our practice hours a week in scheduling rep visits. While we loved interacting and learning from the sales representatives before Best Tyme, the planning took far too long.”

Shared Harvest Fund Launch Platform Dedicated to Eliminating Student Loan Debt Through Volunteer Projects

In response to the growing $1.3 trillion student loan debt crisis in the U.S., Shared Harvest Fund, (https://www.sharedharvestfund.org/), is introducing practical, impactful, and sustainable opportunities for professionals saddled with student debt to pay back their loans.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about 44 million Americans are carrying some form of student loan debt. The new company has created a platform for skillful professionals to give back to impactful organizations by engaging in volunteer work to benefit the social causes they believe in while reducing their own student debt.

“I wanted to combine a way to help alleviate our troubling debt burden and the detrimental health cycles we see daily rooted in stress while being able to help nonprofits who so desperately need it,” said NanaEfua B.A.M, founder and CEO of Shared Harvest Fund. “Shared Harvest Fund came from our team’s deep desire to create a meaningful side hustle that would change the discourse from not making enough to giving back and making a difference. Our approach simply starts with investing in people who do good work, so we can be the change and beauty we want to see in the world.”

For a small membership fee, volunteer users sign up for the platform, build a profile page, post their skills, social causes of interest, and start building their network. Once volunteers are paired with a nonprofit organization and complete the service, Shared Harvest Fund will award a stipend to the user and make a payment directly to the student lender in $500 denominations. Users can complete as many projects they desire, earning up to $5,000 a year max up to the maximum amount of their student loan debt.

Co-founder Briana DeCuir of the Shared Harvest Fund.

Shared Harvest Fund benefits include:

  • Student loan debt relief
  • Student loan debt management education
  • Promoting and supporting a culture of volunteerism
  • Nurturing emotional, mental, and physical health through service
  • Building a positive community network around a shared societal burden
  • Organizations in need get the qualified help they deserve
  • Changing the culture of employee benefit packages by promoting and supporting jobs that offer student loan repayment options

B.A.M was inspired to start the company after realizing that even as established professionals, she and her husband were not able to afford to have her stay home with her newborn son because of their combined student loan burden.

Shared Harvest Fund Co-founder Briana DeCuir added, “Learning how to live a debt-free lifestyle offers the opportunity to avoid some of the emotional and physical health burdens that occur with the level of stress attributed to excessive debt.”

Shared Harvest Fund is launching a Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sharedharvestfund/shared-harvest-fund-shf) to seek investments to launch its platform and will start paying down the student loan debt of their subscribers as early as July 2018.

If Companies Can Reinvent Themselves, So Can We…

For nearly a decade we’ve lived what Charles Dickens penned as “the best of times and the worst of times” in his 1859 novel: A Tale of Two Cities. Americans are recovering from one of the worst economic recessions since the Great Depression of the 1930s; major corporations have collapsed; people are being devastated by job loss, prolonged unemployment, home foreclosures, overwhelming debt, loss of their entire life savings, and suffering with the highest rates of stress, anxiety, and depression that America has seen in decades. Economists and business analysts have characterized this as the Era of Disruption.

Additionally, companies are faced with increased competition, accelerated change, and overwhelming complexity. It’s in times like these that we see a clear distinction between good and great companies who reinvented themselves and were prepared for this season of disruption, and those that barely survived, became irrelevant and ultimately ceased to exist. Companies such as Blockbuster, Borders Books, Harold’s, Circuit City, Linens ‘n Things, Lehman Brothers, Kodak, and many others either filed bankruptcy and/or went out of business because they were not poised or positioned to navigate through these waters significant change.

The Pizza giant, Dominos, is a great example of reinvention. After consumer surveys revealed

that their pizza tasted like cardboard, they went on national TV to admit that their product needed an overhaul. Subsequently, they introduced a new recipe and brand campaign. Lego, whose profits soared in 2009 to 63% when sales across the country were tanking did so by expanding to Asia and increasing sales in Europe. Of course, a blockbuster movie and a celebrity endorsement from David Beckham who admitted that he was building a Lego Taj Mahal added an increased boost to their sales and brand. Starbucks continues to reinvent itself. Not only are they still opening stores in new markets such as China and Europe, but they now enjoy a strategic partnership with the “brand queen” herself—Oprah Winfrey, and  launched the Oprah Chai Tea in 2014.

There are many other examples, but if these companies can reinvent themselves in this era of disruption, why can’t we as individuals do the same? As a success and leadership coach, and author of the bestselling book, Reinvent Yourself: Strategies for Achieving Success in Every Area of Your Life, I am intimately aware of the number of individuals who are at a crossroad in their lives and experiencing the effects of the global recession listed above.

If Companies Can Reinvent Themselves, So Can We

If Companies Can Reinvent Themselves, So Can We

In examining the strategies that successful companies employed in reinventing themselves, below are six key traits that they possessed and that we can apply to our own lives:

  1. They recognized that redefining what success looks like was a necessity. “What does success look like in your life?” is one of the first questions that I ask my coaching clients. Chances are, your definition today is different than it was 10 years ago, and what you thought was important then, is no longer a priority. As ‘life’ happens and we experience defining moments (good and bad), we have to constantly redefine what success looks and be willing to adopt new mindsets, skill sets, and strategies that enable us to shift with the vicissitudes of life.
  2. They were clear about their purpose and they stayed true to their mission and vision. Unfortunately far too many individuals can’t say the same. I ask this question of audiences around the world, “how many of you know your purpose and are living it?” Less than 25% of the hands go up. To identify your purpose, think about where you are the most gifted; what you would do if you knew you wouldn’t fail and you had the money to do it; and what you are most passionate about. Knowing your WHY brings meaning and fulfillment.
  3. They knew when to reprioritize their goals. As your definition of success changes, so will your goals. They should be aligned with your purpose and reviewed frequently for adjustments. If you want success in every area of your life, I suggest setting goals each year towards five key areas: Family/Household, Financial, Health/Wellness; Professional and Career Development, and Spiritual Enrichment.
  4. They consistently rebranded themselves. Whether you believe it or not, all of us have a brand. Your brand is ‘who you are’ and ‘what others know/say about you.’ It’s how you present yourself and the impression and aura that you leave. In essence, it’s your communication skills. This is particularly important in your career because hiring, promotions, new assignments, and performance decisions are made based on what others know about you. If you don’t know your brand, ask your friends, colleagues, co-workers, and your direct supervisor and start reinventing your brand.
  5. They made the tough financial decisions while also making great use of their corporate assets (physical, financial, and talent). This couldn’t be a more appropriate time to reestablish your financial management plan [i.e., budget], or to create one for those who have never done so. Examine spending habits and investments to determine where to make adjustments. Identify multiple ways of utilizing your gifts and talents to make money, and learn from the mistakes that may have contributed to the financial losses you suffered during the recession.
  6. They built and capitalized on strategic relationships and alliances. It’s been said that “your network, can determine your net worth.” Evaluate your inner circle to determine whether you are surrounded by N.I.O.P.s (negative influences of other people) or O.Q.Ps (only quality people), and establish diverse and mutually beneficial relationships that will enable your success.

Reinventing yourself is not just another buzz word, nor is it a fad. It is a journey, and a real solution to the realities of life that both organizations and individuals will inevitably face. Those who respond proactively and intentionally will be better positioned to enjoy the best of times even when the worst of times hit. And those who do not, will become extinct.

African americans can reinvent themselves and how we take on small business.

Dr. Davis, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CSP, is President of SDS Global Enterprises, a strategic development solutions firm that specializes in Global Talent Management strategies. She is an accomplished corporate executive, a certified senior Global HR and Talent Management expert, a success coach, and a Master of Reinvention.