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Episode 7: 3 Important Areas of Your Business to Focus On

What You Will Learn:

  • Importance of technology
  • Legal protection when starting a business
  • Benefits of reviewing your finances

About Stan Hladik

Stan Hladik began his career as a State Farm Insurance agent in 1989. After diving into the insurance world and learning all of the ins and outs of the industry, Stan transitioned to Hanson & Ryan Insurance where he became a partner in 1997 and then Vice President of Operations. In 2015, Stan established The Secret Insurance Agency in Totowa, NJ. For the past five years, Stan and The Secret Agents have been a trusted agency for all of their clients.

Resources:

Speaker 1 (00:00):
Being proactive, not reactive gives every business owner the opportunity to think through and make the best decisions for their business with our world is busy and confusing as it currently is. Even the strongest, most seasoned business owners might find themselves reacting to issues that they didn't see coming with his 30 plus years of experience, helping business owners make the right decisions, your host Stan Hladik.

Stan (00:25):
Welcome to Secret Sauce 365. The podcast where we answer the questions business owners ask themselves every day. Hope we have many new listeners that have come out to hear this solo cast, something a little bit different today, where I'm going to spend a few minutes just kind of going over all the things I've learned over the last few months with the excellent guests I've had. Owning a business is so complex and running it and making it successful. There's so many parts. And many times we're living, focusing on the top line and growing our business. And often we overlook the investments we need to make in quality vendors. I'm going to look back and share some of the thoughts I have here. Three different professionals who have joined me. and one of those was Anthony Bongiovanni President of Micro Strategies in Parsippany.

Stan (01:21):
I really valued Anthony's time. He's been in the technology sector, hooking up computer systems, you name it, cloud solutions for different businesses. And, we went over some things that really were striking to me, with what's going on in today's world, as far as, cyber warfare and hacking. So, many times we're on the go, we're running our business and we forget to insulate our business and protect our infrastructure. Anthony taught me strategies about how to secure your system from cyber hacking, how to have the right insurance solutions in case it does happen and how to continually update for hackers and make sure you have state-of-the-art firewall protection. He mentioned how you have to go about upgrading your systems routinely. Some things on an annual basis. Some things may be every three to five years, but you consistently have to invest in technologies because technologies can make our business run so much easier.

Stan (02:26):
You know, we've all heard the jokes that one day we'll all be replaced by robots, but I'm sure if business owners could do that effectively, that would happen. Um, and there's a lot of technology solutions that can make that happen, streamline things, and really make a business hum. You know, we often are running on six or seven of eight cylinders, but to truly get to eight cylinders, I don't see how you do it without investing in your technology and in a changing world where, you know, IT strategies, you have people working remotely, people all over the place. You really have to have a handle on it and know what's going on. So I ask all of our listeners who might've missed that podcast to please go back and give a listen to that. We also spent some time with Mark Gross.

Stan (03:14):
Mark Gross is, is one of the best attorneys I've ever seen. Mark is a partner at Fox Rothschild in Morristown and also New York City. They're all over the country. But Mark shared with me so many interesting things, as far as you know, where do I start? You know, when you start a business, you need to start it right? You need legal protection, legal advice, the right contracts with vendors in place, the right contracts with, you know, salespeople within your organization, the right contracts with customers, you know, whether you're transacting, online or in person, you really need to have good legal consult that you're following the rules of the game and that you are insulated and protected from lawsuits because no matter how much equity you can grow, it could all be lost without, you know, the right liabilities and liability protections.

Stan (04:07):
So one of the interesting things, if you get a chance, I want you to listen to this podcast is fantastic, is we all answer email, as quickly as possible, right? We want to get back to our customers. We want to get back to our, potential prospects and our vendors. And, and sometimes we do that too quickly. And Mark reminded me, you don't have to answer an email immediately. Sometimes you take a few hours. Sometimes you need to take a few days, especially if it's a contractual email, because an email string, according to Mark can become a contract. And that contract could be legally binding without signatures, just like a verbal agreement or a handshake could be. And you really need to, before you hit that, send button on an email, read it over. Not once, not twice, maybe a few times.

Stan (04:58):
It depends how important that email is because someone may look back on it in a courtroom a month down the road or three years down the road. And that's going to hold weight as to what you put in that email. And if you're not sure, then you get someone like Mark involved to review it, polish it, and then you send it. So, you know, be smart with email usage, we're all relying on it and we're all firing things off. And I'm not sure we're giving it a second thought, but Marc was an eye-opener reminding me to do that. If you get in any legal trouble, if you don't know, we talked about having things in our contracts and restricted covenants and all these things that are vital to protect your business. So when you're ready to sell it, you're able to sell it without having any strings attached or any problems.

Stan (05:45):
So constant contact throughout the year with good general counsel is safe, sound advice. It may cost a little on the expense line, but it'll come back to you in spades while we're talking about money. I got to talk about my time spent with Kathleen Alexander, partner at Saks Accounting firm, recently moved to Parsippany, New Jersey. Wonderful, wonderful firm. Talking to her, was an eye-opener as well because it's amazing how we transact and we put data in whether it be QuickBooks or handwritten or folders, and we just don't analyze that data and we save it and then years go by and we're like, oh, that's a lot of data. You have to look at it monthly, if not monthly, at least quarterly and make sure it's right, because if you try and go back to it, at the end of the year or the next year, you're going to forget what was where and who was what and who to go back and ask.

Stan (06:48):
But if you get into a regular routine, as Kathleen suggested of reviewing financials monthly and making sure they're right, then at the end of the year it's a piece of cake. Tax returns become easier credit lines, or going for a loan, boom, it's right there. We hit a button, we don't have to go in and clean it up and do all those things that are just going to take us a lot of time. Kathleen reminded me to invest in technology in automation because that seriously helps the accounting part of the business too. And to really just have best practices, something I could say is going to happen through every podcast we have. Everybody we bring on is a stellar in their field and they all say the same thing. If we could have best practices around the office, the end of the day, we're going to sleep a lot better at night. And that's it for this solo cast. I hope you can go back, if you haven't listened to them, and listen to those pearls of wisdom from Anthony, Mark, and Kathleen in the legal technology and accounting fields. And until next time, have a good day.

Stan (07:57):
Thank you for listening to another episode of Secret Sauce, 365. Your feedback is how we grow. So please leave us a rating and review on your favorite platform. And if you want access to even more great information, go to Secret Sauce365.com.

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