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AmiSights: Financing the Future For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

AmiSights: Financing the Future For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

By MultiFunding

The weekly AmiSights Podcast will feature dynamic interviews with entrepreneurs, thought leaders, various industry CEOs, industry professionals, public speakers, and more about their unique insights, practices, and valuable life experiences. Join Ami Kassar, CEO of MultiFunding, and his humor on the show that can help you grow and transform your business.
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137: The Secret Sauce to Being a Financial Cook

AmiSights: Financing the Future For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Nov 02, 2023

141: Want to Sell Your Business? Learn What to Think About With Len Bruskiewitz
Nov 28, 202325:46
140: Taking Care of Your Staff So They Can Take Care of Your Business
Nov 21, 202325:20
139: Acquired to Acquirer: How This Entrepreneur Grew Her Business through an Acquisition
Nov 14, 202335:02
138: A Fresh Look at Venture Capital: A Technology-Based Group Changing the Rules
Nov 07, 202329:24
137: The Secret Sauce to Being a Financial Cook

137: The Secret Sauce to Being a Financial Cook

In this week's edition of the AmiSights podcast, we talk to Michael Brady. Michael is a consultant with LPL Financial and the managing partner of Independent Advisor Group, where he mentors approximately 35 advisors and oversees the books of business owned by IAG, which total more than $200 million in assets. He tells us how he grew his business from the ground up, starting with a bunch of smaller accounts and eventually scaling up.

“The way our industry works is you get a little bit of growth, a little bit of growth, and then a shot up,” he said. “All of a sudden, something happens, something breaks your way, and boom, next thing you know, you reach the next plateau.”

The main topics of today's episode will be how Michael reshaped his business after the sudden death of his business partner and made sure his partner’s family was taken care of, fulfilling the plan he proposed before his death. Michael will also talk about how he provides added value to his clients by offering more than just investment advice, focusing on what impacts their lives and future. He also goes on to say the way you invest your money should be based on when you're going to use it.

Connect with Michael:

Check out Independent Advisor Group:

Recorded on 9/8/23

Nov 02, 202325:41
136: Making Decisions on How to Show Up in a Crisis as a Leader

136: Making Decisions on How to Show Up in a Crisis as a Leader

In this week's edition of the AmiSights Podcast, I found myself as the LIVE case study when an unexpected branding exercise unfolded in this episode with our guest, Deb Gabor. Deb Gabor is the founder and CEO of Sol Marketing, a strategy-led marketing firm. Known as the “branding queen,” Deb and I talk about what companies should do, if anything at all, to respond to difficult topics such as the current crisis in Israel and Gaza.

“My hope is that we are going to help leaders navigate the thought process behind whether or not they should make a statement, and when,” she said. “And if they do decide that they're going to make a statement, how to construct that in a way that serves them, other people, the community, their employees, and people at large serves in the right way.”

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to take a stand on a sensitive issue. These include asking yourself if you have a dog in this hunt, and should you make a statement? How do you actually construct that statement in a way that doesn't put you in that awkward position of damned if you do, damned if you don’t? Should you use your company as a platform for precipitating a change you want to see in the world? Who is your ideal archetypal customer?

Connect with Deb:

Recorded on 10/17/23

Oct 24, 202339:39
135: The Godfather of Mexican Cheese, Leader of a Multi-Million Dollar Business
Oct 17, 202318:37
134: How the Way You Talk Can Impact How You Are Being Heard

134: How the Way You Talk Can Impact How You Are Being Heard

Oct 10, 202320:01
133: Are Universities Doing a Good Enough Job of Educating Future Entrepreneurs?

133: Are Universities Doing a Good Enough Job of Educating Future Entrepreneurs?

In today’s podcast, we talk to Dr. Jeff Cornwall, co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneurial Mind, LLC, and Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship at Belmont University, where he founded its entrepreneurship program in 2003. Shortly after retiring, Jeff was diagnosed with cancer last year, which changed his outlook on life. “I wasn't sure I was going to retire, but between COVID and Generation Z, I decided it was time to retire from my professorship, and I planned to be pretty active. The university hired me back to do a half-time consulting job on a new curriculum program. And I'm working on a new book and was working pretty much full-time once I retired,” he says. “Then I came down with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which fortunately they caught early enough. But I guess that was the wake-up call. It was time to adjust my priorities a little bit.” The main topics of today's episode will be what’s working—and not working—in entrepreneurship education today. We will also talk about the state of mentorship for entrepreneurs, where the holes are, and Jeff’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs (hint: you don’t know everything).

Connect with Jeff:

Check out Entrepreneurial Mind:

Recorded on 08/21/23

Oct 03, 202325:10
132: From a Lucky Encounter to a Lifelong Career

132: From a Lucky Encounter to a Lifelong Career

In today’s podcast, we talk to Winnie Hart, founder and Chief Strategic Engine of TwinEngine, a brand growth agency fueled by purpose, and best-selling author of the new release, “Stand Out as a Thought Leader.” She tells us why she wrote this book and how it differs from other business books.

“We have such a massive opportunity to, especially as entrepreneurs and as business leaders in this world, to really be clear about what we stand for, and the difference we make in the world, and to find a way to share it with other people. And that's what the book is all about,” she says. “I wanted to write a book that you actually do, and this book is structured to help people to actually do the work because thought leadership is practice.”

The main topics of today's episode will be how living and working in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina taught Winnie how to be self-sufficient and prepared for future crises like COVID. We will also discuss how being your true self at all times will make you a better leader and how Winnie’s journey in Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) since 2004 helped save her business and transform her thinking. 

Connect with Winnie:

Check out TwinEngine:

Sep 26, 202330:06
131: Scale Your Business Rapidly While Maintaining Happy and Productive Employees

131: Scale Your Business Rapidly While Maintaining Happy and Productive Employees

In today’s podcast, we talk to Gabe Abshire, founder and CEO of Utility Concierge, a one-stop-shop for setting up utilities and home services—such as electricity, cable, internet, phone, and smart security—when moving into a new home. Gabe explains how he came up with the idea for the company and why it is of value to customers, real estate professionals, and service providers.

"We're going to save you time. We're going to talk to you, find out what you need and what you're looking for in the house, and we're just gonna say, ‘here's your options, check, yes or no.’ We go to work making all those connections and setting appointments so you don't have to do that," he explains. "We figure it's about a couple of half days on the phone, trying to set everything up. And we can do that in a 30-minute phone call, get everything taken care of for you."

The main topics of today's episode will be how the company goes up and down with housing demand and how the pandemic changed the business model from in-office to remote. We will also talk about how to retain strong company culture with employees working virtually.

Connect with Gabe:

Checkout Utility Concierge:

Sep 19, 202334:18
130: Learn How to Scale Up From a Six Time Exit Entrepreneur

130: Learn How to Scale Up From a Six Time Exit Entrepreneur

In today’s podcast, we talk to Mac Lackey, a former professional soccer player and an entrepreneur who has built and sold six companies. Currently, Mac is mentoring entrepreneurs via ExitDNA, his exclusive program for founders and entrepreneurs who want confidence and clarity on the exact steps they need to take now to create the option for a successful exit in the future. He explains how his experience as an athlete prepared him for the business world.

"Whether it's entrepreneurship or traditional business, or whatever people pursue in life, what is required to achieve success in a sport at a high level is discipline, drive, and hard work. And if it's a team sport, it requires all kinds of interpersonal dynamics, dealing with others, and communication," he explains.

Mac talks about how he turned a frustrating experience with his daughter’s soccer tournament into a company he eventually sold to NBC Sports. He stresses why it is crucial to surround yourself with team members who are aligned with not just your business goals but also your morals and ethics. We also talk about why entrepreneurs should bootstrap in the beginning and seek funding after creating something solid and what Mac considers before becoming an angel investor Connect with Mac Lackey: Checkout ExitDNA: Recorded on 07/06/2023

Sep 12, 202338:45
129: Getting around AI to Continue Human Connection in Digital Content

129: Getting around AI to Continue Human Connection in Digital Content

In today’s podcast, we talk to Wendy Lieber, Co-Founder and CEO of ContentBacon, a subscription-based company that works with companies to help tell their story through all different types of tasty custom content. She explains how her company’s niche is content storytelling.

"The best customers for us are companies that know who they are, know who they're trying to target, and utilize us to help tell that story in a compelling way," she explains. "I'm a big believer that most companies, if not all, usually have a very compelling story to tell. They're just usually doing it poorly or not at all. And we help solve that problem."

The main topics of today's episode will be how the subscription content model results in outsourced marketing for clients and how clients measure the effectiveness of her company’s services, and whether or not everything has to be measured in order to be effective. We will also chat about how to use AI tools to be more effective and efficient, rather than replacing creativity and the story behind the name ContentBacon.

Connect with Wendy:

Check out ContentBacon:

Recorded on 06/29/2023

Aug 29, 202331:46
128: The Power of Love That Made a Legacy Business in Langa, Cape Town

128: The Power of Love That Made a Legacy Business in Langa, Cape Town

In today’s podcast, we talk to Mbasa and Sabu Siyaka, brothers who each run successful businesses in the township of Langa, about nine miles from the Cape Town City Centre in South Africa. Mbasa runs Mzansi Restaurant, which was started in 2008 by their parents, Nomonde and the late Vuklie Siyaka. Sabu runs Ubizo Events & Tours, which also started in 2008. 

Ami visited Mzansi Restaurant while he was in South Africa earlier this summer for EO’s global conference. While the restaurant and experience were great, the family and entrepreneurial spirit were what made it so special. 

The Siyaka brothers tell us more about their community and what they learned from their parents.

“It’s the oldest and smallest township with thousands of cultures,” Sabu says about Langa. “Whenever we have celebrations, everyone sits together; no VIPs. We all respect one another because we believe that we breathe the same air, we got the same blood.”

In today's episode, will talk about how word-of-mouth through social media and sites like Trip Advisor built their business after several years of operating at a loss. We will also talk about how learning every aspect of the business teaches an entrepreneur how to lead and how opportunities don’t come to you, but rather you need to work hard and go out and find them.

Checkout their business below:

  • Mzansi Restaurant:
  • Ubizo Events & Tours:

Recorded on 06/23/2023 *Due to Mbasa and Sabu Siyaka experiencing unstable internet connection, there are moments where it has caused audio lag when streaming audio.

Aug 22, 202339:13
127: How Starting Over Can Be the Best Thing for Your Business in the Long Run

127: How Starting Over Can Be the Best Thing for Your Business in the Long Run

In today’s podcast, we talk to Ian Meierdiercks, Founder and Chief Planner of IM Wealth Partners, a company he launched in 2003 to provide clients with financial planning and concierge services. He tells us how he takes a holistic approach to wealth management, considering all aspects of a client's financial life.

“There's all the things that I saw at my old firm that I thought could be done in a different way…I just put together a best hits and created something that now we call the financial concierge,” he explains. “Everybody needs to deal with tax issues and estate planning issues and business issues and cash flow issues and investing and insurance, but no one usually has a team to do that. So, we quarterback that team and either bring in our own partners to do that outside of our core competency or we deal with theirs.”

In this episode we will focus on why during rough times, you should stick with your plan and core business philosophies. We will also be evaluating how much risk you are taking as we get back near the highs and why you should understand your tax return and where the needle is moving. *Securities offered through SA Stone Wealth Management Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC Advisory Services offered through SA Stone Investment Advisors Inc. Recorded on 06/22/2023

Aug 15, 202327:05
126: Making Decisions in Line with Your Passion and Purpose, Not Money

126: Making Decisions in Line with Your Passion and Purpose, Not Money

In today’s podcast, we talk to Brian Brault, Transformational Leadership Trainer and Corporate Retreat Facilitator of Legacy Of Significance, a company he launched in 2018, based on living out his purpose of creating a positive impact in the lives of others. He tells us what he loves most about his new venture.

“I love doing retreats just because it's the ability to be personal, intimate with people and help them kind of move forward on their own journey of self discovery…But also I love the executive education programming that we do,” he said. “When we love what we do, and we feel like we're adding value to the world, whether it's our family or our neighborhood or the globe, I think we show up differently in the relationships in our life.”

The main topics of today's episode will be how getting fired from the company Brian started pushed him out of something he didn't really want to be in anyways, allowing him to do what he wanted for the rest of his life. We will also talk about how he prioritizes his family with “Papa days” and how he stresses the importance of listening to understand versus listening to fix or listening to reply.

Recorder on 06/05/2023

Aug 08, 202337:09
125: Delegate to Elevate Your Company Without the Ego

125: Delegate to Elevate Your Company Without the Ego

In today’s podcast, we talk to Jeremy Jenson, Founder and CEO of Encore Search Partners, a 38-person executive search firm in Houston. He tells us about his journey since starting the business in 2013, and how he plans to stay the course with his talented staff despite uncertainties in the economy.“

We think that going into the face of a downturn, being fully staffed, and almost even overstaffed, is really an opportunity for us to capture market share while our competitors are laying off,” he said. “That way, when things recover, hopefully in 18 months, 24 months, or whatever the economists say, our market share percentage will actually take a much bigger piece of the pie.”

The main topics of today's episode will be learning how to delegate and work on your business instead of in it and how the recruiting business is cyclical but not completely insulated from economic downturns. We will also talk about being intentional about improving things in your life, one at a time, with an accountability partner such as a life coach.

Recorded on 06/02/2023

Aug 01, 202331:13
124: Navigating the Ever-Evolving Digital Payments Landscape

124: Navigating the Ever-Evolving Digital Payments Landscape

In today’s AmiSights Podcast, we talk to Craig Span, Founder and CEO of GlobeTopper, a prepaid B2B gift card concierge firm that helps clients navigate the ever-evolving digital payments landscape. Craig explains how being laid off from a major communications company after just nine months was the best thing that could have happened for his career, allowing him to focus on his own business.

“My years of experience in the telecommunications business kind of led me to the path of recognizing that there was something that in my previous company we weren't serving,” he said. “I was passing leads off to other companies. It was essentially recharging prepaid mobile phones. And so that was kind of the impetus to get it started.”

The main topics of today's episode will be building culture in a virtual company, how COVID was actually a positive for Craig’s company as everything moved digitally, and how a company that typically isn’t in the gift card business can utilize the gift card.

Recorded on 06/01/2023

Jul 25, 202325:57
123: Get Your Books in Order and Make Better Business Decisions in a Stress Free Way

123: Get Your Books in Order and Make Better Business Decisions in a Stress Free Way

In today’s podcast, we talk to Michelle Galligan, CEO and co-founder of Keep Financials, a firm providing outsourced accounting and CFO services for small businesses. Michelle’s company provides CFO services, conducting a monthly review of the financials and picking out the five to 10 most important things that help entrepreneurs understand where they are, what's going on in the business, and if they have any risk.

“One of the most satisfying things to me is when our clients say things to us like, ‘You helped me sleep better at night. I finally know what's going on in my business,’” she said. “Nobody gets into business so that they can keep their own books. We really exist to support entrepreneurs.”

The main topics of today's episode will be how to use a line of credit, how Michelle’s company grew from local to national, and when she made the leap from working in her business to working on her business.

Recorded on 05/31/2023

Jul 18, 202325:15
122: One Thought Leader's Perspective on the Current M&A Market

122: One Thought Leader's Perspective on the Current M&A Market

In today’s podcast, we talk to Robin Stanaland, owner of RMS, a company that helps business owners value, market, and sell their businesses. Robin, who is based in Houston, also runs eight Vistage groups, spending more than 1,000 hours a year in one-on-one coaching conversations with CEOs and business owners. While the next six to 12 months are anybody’s guess on the economy, Robin says preparation is key.

"As a CEO, you have a contingency plan already thought through, and you know what the levers are and what your actions are going to be should things start to decline," she said. "As long as you've got a good contingency plan, then you can operate with ease, going towards growth and building your company. And if things don't happen that you don't have to execute on that plan, that's great, but at least you've thought through it, and you have it for the worst case."

The main topics of today's episode will be the impact of higher interest rates on mergers and acquisitions and the value of being approachable and personable to clients. We will also talk about the themes that are resonating throughout all of Robin’s Vistage groups and the changes in SBA guidelines, including partial buyouts and equity requirements.

Recorded on 05/26/2023

Jul 11, 202336:44
121: Fletcher Helps Us Solve Hard Hiring Problems and Understand Behavior Assessments

121: Fletcher Helps Us Solve Hard Hiring Problems and Understand Behavior Assessments

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Fletcher Wimbush, Founder, CEO, and Lead Executive Recruiter for The Hire Talent, a talent assessment company that solves difficult hiring problems primarily for companies with 0-250 employees. Fletcher tells us how he got into the industry and shares how to find the top talent.

“I spent literally my entire life since I was 16 thinking about this,” he said. “My father was a management consultant, like a business coach. And he developed these really cool behavioral aptitude assessments. He was an introvert – like a researcher, scientist kind of guy. And I was like this crazy outgoing extrovert…My dad was chirping at me in the background saying, ‘get the right people on the bus and good things are gonna happen inside of your organization,’ and that just stuck with me for some reason.” 

The main topics of today's episode will be the importance of talking to the right references, the most effective questions in interviewing, and the differences between assessment tests.

Recorded on 05/24/2023

Jun 27, 202330:41
120: Ready to Franchise Your Company? Get the Ball Rolling with the “Franchise King”

120: Ready to Franchise Your Company? Get the Ball Rolling with the “Franchise King”

I am thrilled to have Tom Spadea as our guest on the AmiSights Podcast.  Tom explains that his firm, Spadea Lignana, helps people turn successful businesses into franchises by providing regulatory guidance, franchise agreements, and structural support. They work with companies with a proven track record and high profitability, aiming to help them achieve generational wealth through franchising.

The conversation touches on the importance of having processes that can be duplicated to create consistency and brand awareness. Tom emphasizes the need for a successful and profitable business before considering franchising, highlighting that potential franchisees are attracted to the value and unique aspects of the company. 

"I think those franchisors that have real good emotional intelligence and they've taken the long view when they're building relationships and they're making their franchise successful, even sometimes at their own short-term quarrel, they're the ones who really make it", says Tom. 

We discuss the significance of selecting the right franchisees and the common mistake of selling franchises without proper screening.

Recorded on 06/08/2023

Jun 20, 202325:21
119: As an Entrepreneur, Beware of Letting Your Stress Get To Your Employees

119: As an Entrepreneur, Beware of Letting Your Stress Get To Your Employees

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Jessica Harrington, owner of Journey to Yourself, a company she started in 2020 that provides a six-month series of interactive corporate workshops focusing on habits and tools for employees as well as 1:1 coaching for employees on stress management. Jessica tells us how keeping the small stuff under control and nipping aggravations in the bud early on can prevent burnout or damaged relationships.

"My mindset on stress is that a lot of it is self-caused on how we perceive it and how we're handling it," she explains. "And so that's what I want to teach people is what stress is, because it is every day, and making sure it doesn't become something chronic or burnout."

Jessica started her career in the drug and alcohol addiction field before going back to school and earning a master’s degree in public health. While she is not a certified therapist, she specializes in implementing actionable steps.

"My main bread and butter would be my corporation workshops. I go into offices once a month for six months, 45 minutes, no meditation, no yoga, no PowerPoints, just super interactive activities of working around what is stress, communication, time management, all those kinds of fun things, and bring that into the office place," she says.

Stress, whether in your personal or professional life, typically builds up from reactions to everyday, mundane occurrences.

"We tend to focus on the big stressors in life. We can talk about the bills, we can talk about relationships, we could talk about the drama at work, but those little things – that there's no creamer when I thought there was supposed to be creamer, the traffic, the Dunkin donut line – those things are what starts to add up and what helps in the blow up when we actually have a bigger stress," she says.

Breakdowns in personal relationships also tend to build up over a series of small things that go unchecked until it is too late.

"Those tiny things add up because that's how life works. A lot of times we all are just having our own racing thoughts that we don't even realize when we hurt or bother somebody else sometimes because we are all in our own little world," she said.

Listen here as she also discusses how to navigate perceived tone in texts and emails and the importance of face-to-face interaction in a remote world. Recorded on 05/09/2023

Jun 13, 202328:28
118: A Trip Down Memory Lane for Ami Kassar Before Becoming the President of EO Philly

118: A Trip Down Memory Lane for Ami Kassar Before Becoming the President of EO Philly

Talk about mixing things up a bit: instead of being the co-host on today's podcast, I am the guest – along with my better half Bethany.

We share our experience visiting South Africa – that I tried to memorialize on this episode. We talk about the experience of going on safari, sitting in my grandfather's seat in the synagogue I grew up in, and visiting the orphanage in Langa township.

It was all driven by the Entrepreneur Organization's Global Leadership Conference, which we were honored to attend.

Recorded on 06/01/2023

Jun 06, 202330:34
117: How Running a Business Goes from Checkers to Chess for This Female Entrepreneur

117: How Running a Business Goes from Checkers to Chess for This Female Entrepreneur

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Angela Pointon, Owner and President of 11outof11, a digital marketing agency that offers outsource content marketing services and HubSpot expertise and training. Angela tells us about what makes her tick and the inspiration behind her book, “Stop Blending In: The 7 Steps for Achieving Thought Leader Status and Standing Out in Your Field.”

She explains that when she was working for an agency, she was working 60-70 hours a week, commuting an hour each way and hardly seeing her then-very young children. While she climbed the ranks to COO, she was burnt out and took some time off to freelance before launching 11outof11 in 2017.

“Our business model is comprised of a lot of subcontractors – people who really own their own work-life balance and choose how much they want to work in their life versus spending time traveling or doing other things or spending time with family,” she said. “Being able to empower people to own that themselves and dictate that whatever that means for them is something that really makes me tick and gets me excited.”

She admits she didn’t know much about running a business when she first started, but loved the newness of the first few years.

“With every client that signed, I got really excited, and ‘I can't believe they want to work with us’ was more my attitude going into that, not because I didn't think that we could deliver, I was just kind of a kid in the candy store, just excited that it was taking off and growing and making money and also empowering people to build a life that they wanted,” she said. 

As the business grows, she is trying to spend more time working on her business rather than working in it, and empowering others to take control and do what they do best. 

“Delegation is a lot about trust. It was really about building the team and providing training or coaching in areas that they needed to grow,” she said. “If it's not done the way I want, I swoop back in and do it myself. That's my bad behavior from a delegation perspective. When you have people who actually do things better than you could, you get away from that feeling.”

Listen to learn about what marketing expertise her company provides, how she thinks tools like ChatGPT will affect content creation and how she sets goals.

Recorded 05/08/2023.

May 30, 202332:52
116: What an Ecommerce Marketing Guru Did When the World Shut Down

116: What an Ecommerce Marketing Guru Did When the World Shut Down

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Jon MacDonald, founder and president of The Good, an ecommerce conversion rate and customer experience optimization advisory that helps brands understand the clicks and movements of their website visitors, and use that data to convert more existing visitors into buyers. Jon also tells us how he spent his extra time during the pandemic writing a step-by-step book, “Opting in to Optimization.”

“I said, ‘If I come out of COVID, what is the one thing that I could really do for the business that is going to move the needle?’” he says. “The more I thought about it, the more I thought, I have time to write a book and share with the world our thought process on how we optimize over the past 15 years for ecommerce brands. I started by interviewing my teammates, my core team members at The Good, and said, ‘if you could tell the world anything, what would it be? And let's figure that out.’”

The book, available at bookstores,, and Amazon, where it has been a bestseller the past four or five months, is aimed at ecommerce founders or managers who are at the second or third stage of growth, Jon says.

“The third level is really when they start to dial it up. You are spending money to drive traffic, it's working. Now you want to get a better return on that ad spend. Those are the folks who really will get the most out of that book,” he said. 

While his company primarily works with large companies like Nike, Adobe and Xerox, he started a new wing called The Good Ventures which provides products for small businesses, such as the UserInput tool. 

The Portland, Oregon company’s name, The Good, derived out if its “mission is to remove all of the bad online experiences until only the good remain," Jon says. 

While doing good by its customers, the company also does good by its employees and the community as it is a certified B Corporation. 

“We put a lot of emphasis on culture, making sure that we have the right teammates, who embody and are attracted to that benefit corporation where we're putting people and planet before profits,” he explains. 

Listen here to learn how Jon’s larger-than-average shoe size prompted him to delve into ecommerce optimization, how Obama’s first presidential campaign changed digital optimization, and how The Good was prepared for what was coming when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit China.

Recorded 04/11/2023.

May 23, 202336:45
115: Are You Navigating Economic Landmines Successfully?

115: Are You Navigating Economic Landmines Successfully?

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Chris Earley, an ex-franchisee, founder and president of Liberty Inspection Group, based in Media, Pennsylvania. Chris tells us how he started his own home inspection company after getting his feet wet with a franchise. He also talks about diversifying his business to make it through the fluctuating real estate market. If your business is or isn’t experiencing shifts because of economic factors, let Chris’ story inspire you on how to navigate economic landmines.  

“The franchise was good for us for a couple years; the business-in-the-box was really, really good – kind of got me going faster than I would have ordinarily,” he explained. “But after a few years, it was just kind of like a waste of my royalties. I'm giving them 11% of everything I make, and I'm not getting any value in return.”

He was one of the first franchisees to leave the company and was only in year eight of a 10-year non-compete agreement. So, he switched the name and kept the number and kept all the same clients. Although the franchisor came after him and he had to pay their attorney fees, it was worth it for him as he made back the money that he would have paid in royalties within a year.

Although the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 took its toll as he didn’t have any income coming in, people began to “buy houses like crazy” and everybody was getting an inspection. But for the past 12-18 months, not only has the volume of sales down, but people are waiving inspections.

To compensate, he decided to start a handyman division, Canopy Building Services, with a separate C corporation and separate employees from the inspection side. Both companies share resources and have the same leadership team. The business model is also similar to Liberty’s as they both incorporate Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and operate on traction.

Listen here as Chris also discusses what people should be aware of before selling their house, how his peer groups helped him through tough times, and the possibility of franchising his business.

Recorded 04/10/2023.

May 16, 202331:56
114: The 5 I’s of Leadership and How It Drives Your Top and Bottom Lines

114: The 5 I’s of Leadership and How It Drives Your Top and Bottom Lines

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Marissa Levin, a five-time, 30-year entrepreneur, speaker, best-selling author, mindset expert, and globally recognized growth and spiritual strategist. In today’s episode, she tells us about her latest venture, I5 Conscious Leadership, a leadership education and consulting firm guided by a mission to elevate the consciousness of the world through leadership.

"At the heart of all of us is a beautiful spirit, and my spirit is definitely one that is here to uplift and empower others," she said. "My lifetime legacy mission – LLM – is to empower 1 billion people to live their most joyful lives. And I do that through the work that I do, through 30 years of entrepreneurship of helping people move past their self limiting beliefs, their deeply ingrained patterns that hold them back, and really step into their highest potential and remember who they are."

The impetus for this mission goes back 30 years to when she branched out on her own after working for a man who capped her value way below her worth, despite her education and how much money she was bringing into the company. She started her first business, Information Experts, a strategic communications and education firm. She launched the firm as a solopreneur with a $35,000 contract and grew the organization to approximately $14 million in revenue and 75 employees until she exited in 2012. 

The model for her latest business, I5 Conscious Leadership, is intention, identity, integrity, insight, and inspiration.

"The first thing is you have to create a baseline, you have to know what you’re working with," she said. "We start with an assessment of the organization in terms of where they are with their leadership. So many of the problems that can be avoided come from having the courage and the awareness to do the work to bridge the gap between how the leaders see themselves and how the employees see themselves."

The gap leads to disengagement, which according to research through Gallup and other sources, is high. The research finds that only 21% of employees are engaged at work, 90% of employees are fully miserable and 60% of employees are emotionally detached. 

Listen here to learn more about the types of businesses I5 serves (hint: all types and sizes), how Marissa’s public speaking boosts her business, and the importance of building a trusted team around you.

Recorded 04/07/2023.

May 09, 202337:10
113: A Serial Entrepreneur Takes His Horrific Accident and Turns it Into a Business

113: A Serial Entrepreneur Takes His Horrific Accident and Turns it Into a Business

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Joe Torres, CEO and president of Developmental Therapy Associates, based in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. He also runs a software development company and a real estate group and holding company. In this episode, Joe tells us how a near-fatal incident changed the trajectory of not only his career but also his life. 

In 2012, he was riding his motorcycle to the gym when he was hit head-on by another vehicle, changing his life forever. He spent a month in the hospital and three months in a wheelchair and was introduced to the industries of physical, speech, and occupational therapy and rehab. 

"I didn’t know anything about it because up to that point, I never broke a single bone, and in that one accident, I broke over 22 of them. Both femurs, which I now have titanium rods and screws everywhere," he said.  "I was introduced to this amazing industry that I would argue till I'm blue in the face helped me live whatever my normal, my new normal, would be." 

A year later, he met his wife, who was, incidentally, a speech therapist. 

"I immediately was enamored with her even more so because of her profession, and what it just did for me a year prior to even meeting her," he said. 

A few years after that, the company his wife worked for went up for sale, and he put in the sweat equity to explore ways of making it happen.  

"It was a multitude of different things. One, I took some of my other investments that I had and liquidated them and put that towards the purchase. The other was an SBA loan," he said.  

While learning the ins and outs of an SBA loan and business acquisition was a challenging experience, he was comfortable in the decision because of his wife’s experience and knowledge of the company.  

While he is not a clinician, he believes that actually helps in running the business.  

"What happens is a clinician, whether it be a medical doctor, primary care, dentist, it doesn't matter, they're actually clinical first, their mind is not business. Their first thought is, ‘I want to help people.’ And then what starts to happen is they find themselves in the middle of this business that they have no real earthly idea of running," he said. 

Although the company is growing with four locations in North Carolina, hiring licensed practitioners continues to be the biggest headwind. 

Listen here to learn more about how Joe and his wife divide the business duties based on their individual strengths and how a strong leadership team allows him to balance all of his business interests, as well as a few hobbies, too.

Recorded 04/04/2023.

May 02, 202331:04
112: Maximizing Business Value: Benefits of Thinking about Exit Strategies from the Start

112: Maximizing Business Value: Benefits of Thinking about Exit Strategies from the Start

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Tom Bronson, founder and president of the Business Transition Summit, as well as Mastery Partners and Mastering Mergers and Acquisitions. All three companies empower business owners to maximize business value and serve business owners in different capacities to help them achieve their dream exit. In this episode, we focus on what every business owner needs to know about business exit strategies for business success.

“I am what most people call a serial entrepreneur. I have owned, operated, and sold 100 businesses in my career,” he said. 

For every business that comes on the market, only 17% of them actually reach a closing table, meaning there's an 83% failure rate for businesses that attempt a transaction.

“My team and I started thinking about the things that we did in our businesses to make them more attractive and more valuable and prepared them for going on the market,” he said. “And so we developed our own intellectual property around this where we do an assessment of the business, then we build a roadmap to get the business from where they are today to where they want to be, then we help that business owner and team execute that roadmap and ultimately reach a transaction.” 

His theory is that entrepreneurs should be thinking about their exit strategy when they first start up or buy a business, if not before.

“I have never gotten into a business without first thinking through what my exit strategy is going to be because I know that I'm not going to own this business forever,” he said. “Every business on the planet will eventually transition, because we have an expiration date.” 

In order to be ready for a successful exit, a business must avoid owner dependency at all costs. He advises owners to document the tasks that only they know how to do, then teach somebody else how to do them and watch somebody else do some of those things. 

“I get rid of all of those non-strategic things that I'm doing so I can spend more time thinking about strategy, and the business just starts improving,” he said. “If you can't take time out of your business, then your business is owner-dependent, and you need to find a way to solve that. That is deal killer number one.”

Listen here to learn what Bronson believes are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make, who makes a good candidate to sell your business to, and how to transition the leadership team.

Recorded 03/28/2023.

Apr 25, 202346:29
111: The Comeback of Rosati Ice, America's First Italian Ice Company

111: The Comeback of Rosati Ice, America's First Italian Ice Company

In today’s podcast, I talk to Rich Trotter, a U.S. Army veteran-turned-entrepreneur who has led Rosati Ice for over 25 years. We talk about the catastrophic consequences caused by the pandemic shutdowns and how his employees pulled together to keep the company afloat. By having such loyal and dedicated employees, Rich has been able to continue his legacy and stay true to his value of “Mission First, People Always.”

After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point and serving five years as an artillery officer, Rich eventually joined his dad's soft pretzel business. When the company was sold, Rich bought Rosati Ice – the "best Italian ice company" – in 1997 and adjusted the business model.

Instead of making the highest profits of the year just during the three or four months of summer, he focused on selling to K-12 schools to give him steady profits throughout the year. That model worked fabulously – making up 70% of the company's sales – until schools were suddenly shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“When the pandemic hit, it dropped our revenue by more than 50%,” he said. “On paper, the company became bankrupt very quickly.”

Support from his friends, family, and peer group kept him going during tough times. But it was his dedicated employees who saved the business. In December 2020, after asking the bank not to foreclose on the company, he laid off the entire staff, including himself. Half of the employees arrived the next day knowing they wouldn't be paid.

"They knew that if they stayed away, the business would certainly not stay in business. And they did whatever they needed to to help keep us afloat,” he said. “And to them, I'll be forever indebted.” 

He also is forever grateful to his wife of 41 years, Debbie, who provided a respite at home from the grueling days at work. 

"The support and space she gave me were off the charts," he said. "It allowed me to catch my breath when I did come home. She allowed me to stay completely focused on the business. And when it came to the family, all she wanted me to do was enjoy it, my kids and grandkids." 

Now that schools are back in session, Rosati Ice still has a big hole to climb, but sales are inching toward pre-pandemic levels. 

Rich is entirely hands-on, tracking the business' cash daily and constantly traveling to reconnect with customers he hasn’t seen in a few years due to the pandemic.

Recorded 03/31/2023.

Apr 18, 202320:23
110: Demystifying Stakeholder Capitalism and Helping Build Thriving Stakeholder Businesses

110: Demystifying Stakeholder Capitalism and Helping Build Thriving Stakeholder Businesses

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Kent Gregoire, Co-Founder of Stakeholder Business, which is on a mission to help entrepreneurs transform their companies for maximum impact. In addition to his work with Stakeholder Business, he is also the Founder and CEO of Symphony Advantage. Being one of seven certified conscious capitalism consultants around the world, Kent wants to create more opportunities and solve more problems for stakeholders. The main topics of today’s discussion will be conscious capitalism and stakeholder capitalism.

"Conscious capitalism is a way of being able to express, through business, how to elevate humanity to solve worthy problems for society and the planet," he explains. "Conscious capitalism itself is also a theory where stakeholder capitalism becomes the practice around creating companies that not only just say they do good, but their representation of what is happening is also doing well for other people."

While it may seem that conscious capitalism consists simply of giving a percentage of profits to a particular charity or creating a foundation, Kent says it goes deeper than that. It is a deliberate operating model set in place from the get-go rather than waiting to see if the business turns a profit. And it doesn't just have to relate to sharing profits. 

"You can engage your stakeholders to help them innovate, find out what their purpose is, help your stakeholders be successful," he said. "If your stakeholders are successful, it's going to help you innovate in your organization, help you get access to products from other organizations faster, and help you with retention."

Learn more as Kent explains the five elements of stakeholder capitalism and how it changes business for good.

Apr 11, 202344:16
109: How One Entrepreneur Did a 180 from Running Salons to Launching a Tech App

109: How One Entrepreneur Did a 180 from Running Salons to Launching a Tech App

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to serial entrepreneur Celeste Trapp, who has started an exciting new venture after nearly 20 years in the salon business. Celeste has begun her next venture as the CEO and Founder of Whoz, a SaaS social invite and engagement app to help companies and associations engage and retain their valued employees and members. 

After working more than 10 years in marketing, Celeste founded Hair M – one of the first high-end men’s grooming salons – in October 2003. Based in Portland, Hair M had seven salons at its peak. The pandemic, combined with social unrest in downtown Portland, took its toll on the operation, cutting her locations to five.

Her new venture, a SaaS social invite and engagement app called Whoz, has been nine years in the making.

“In life, I think that people are either an organizer, a joiner, or a no-goer,” she explained. “I'm an organizer. I love bringing people together doing all kinds of things. And I get a lot of joy out of seeing those connections happen. What I realized over the years is there's just not a good tool to do that.”

Sure, Facebook groups and Slack channels help people connect. But often, they end up creating a lot of noise for some who aren’t interested in the conversations that don’t align with their interests. The Whoz app will allow users with specific interests, like golf or travel, to connect at specific times and places. 

We ask Celeste about the differences between launching a brick-and-mortar business and a tech app. Obviously, she says, an online-based business doesn’t have to deal with building maintenance and rising rents, but also doesn’t need as many employees, thus greatly reducing overhead. 

But the same “creative problem solving I just get so jazzed up about” remains constant in any venture. 

Celeste also shares how she plans to make money with her new app and what she plans to do with her salons when she hits it big with Whoz.

Recorded 03/27/2023.

Apr 04, 202333:18
108: Why Contract Lawyers are so Important to a Small Business Owner with Donya Gordon

108: Why Contract Lawyers are so Important to a Small Business Owner with Donya Gordon

In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Donya Gordon, a contract attorney who focuses on commercial contracts, eCommerce M & A transactions, contract dispute resolution, distress business sales, and escrow services. The main focus of today’s conversation is what an entrepreneur should do to prepare for a successful transaction before the deal arrives on the attorney's desk.

After working with prominent law firms and as a judicial clerk for several years, Donya went out alone a couple of years ago without any outside financing. As a result, she is a one-woman show, except for contractors who help with heavy loads. 

E-commerce is especially hot now, coming off the pandemic, with much movement in buying and selling businesses. Donya explains the importance of having an attorney specializing in e-commerce to guide entrepreneurs through the process. 

"You don't want just to do this blindly," she says. "If your car breaks down, you're not fixing it yourself. And if you need a root canal, you're not doing it yourself. So why do you think you can be the attorney in a transaction? I encourage people to have a lawyer, but encourage you to get an e-commerce lawyer instead of just a lawyer."

We ask Donya what buyers and sellers can do well in advance to prepare for negotiations. 

For buyers, make sure you have the money, she says. For sellers, make sure your financials are in order. You don't want poor bookkeeping or debts hampering the sale. And make sure you continue to put your foot on the gas. Just because you have an interested buyer doesn't mean you can give up. Deals can fall through at the last minute; ensure you have done your due diligence until the papers are signed.   

Recorded 03/23/2023.

Mar 28, 202330:16
107: Controlling How You Scale Your Business with Josh Watson

107: Controlling How You Scale Your Business with Josh Watson

Welcome back to the AmiSights Podcast! Today we welcome our new Co-Host, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka the SBA Queen. On this episode, we talk to Josh Watson, founder of EIS Automation, a Las Vegas-based manufacturing automation company focusing on product handling and end-of-line solutions. This is a must see episode for entrepreneurs in exponential growth mode. We discuss how to finance growth and how saying no can lead to success.

Josh, who grew up in the printing industry, worked for a larger company when he decided to go out on his own in 2012. However, he maintained a consulting contract with his former employer until 2017. Since then, he has seen steady growth, including a big bump during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, when he was considered an essential service catering to the medical space. 

Although he has considered adding angel investors, he realizes that comes with risk, especially since he is in the hardware world, which is very capital-intensive and has much longer build times than just a software business. 

He reached his “aha moment” last year when he realized he was in a position to pick and choose his customers rather than accepting every bid that came across his desk. 

"You have to look at where you want to go and not get distracted by the shiny things on the side of the road," he said. "Not every opportunity should be taken, especially if you have a goal in mind in the direction you want to go."

He is weighing his immediate and long-term needs with higher interest rates. After all, interest rates can go down, and the monthly payment is the point to worry about.  

Looking back, he realizes he needs to trust the process and not sweat the small stuff. 

"You always cook it hotter than you eat it. So a lot of situations resolved themselves," he said. "It requires a lot of personal growth."

We learned a lot from Josh, and we’re sure you will too.

Recorded 02/22/2023.

Mar 21, 202338:56
106: Eric Schurenberg: Is Media Integrity Possible in a World of Endless Information?

106: Eric Schurenberg: Is Media Integrity Possible in a World of Endless Information?

In today’s podcast, I talk to Eric Schurenberg, editor-in-chief of Amplify Publishing Group and former CEO of Inc. and Fast Company.

After a long and successful career as a writer and editor, Eric manages a "concierge book publishing company." The opportunity was created, he says, by the "broken state of traditional book publishing in which book publishers are no longer able to fulfill the model of being the impresario for your book." Instead, in the hybrid model, the author is the client and can make most of the decisions and keep most of the money.

Eric is also heading the Newsroom Trust Project, a not-for-profit startup he describes as a "boot camp for working journalists to help them engage with…the declining state of trust in the profession."

We discussed media integrity, which is leading to our divided country. With all the information and the opportunity for anyone to be a "reporter" on the internet, who do you trust?

Whether it is a self-published subscription-based platform like Substack or a large organization with ample resources like the New York Times, news organizations need to control how they are seen out in the world and how they can deliver information worthy of people's trust, Eric says. And remember, those in the middle are responsible for keeping checks and balances on local and state government.

It’s a fascinating topic that has no easy answers. Listen to our conversation here.

Recorded 02/10/2023. 

Mar 07, 202330:14
105: Unlock Your Digital Marketing Potential with Scott Empringham’s 8-Step Framework

105: Unlock Your Digital Marketing Potential with Scott Empringham’s 8-Step Framework

In today’s podcast, I sat down with Scott Empringham, CEO and Owner of Empringham Media. We talked about what an entrepreneur should know about embracing A.I. technology and how to explode their business in 90 days or less with his 8-step social media framework.

Much has changed in the marketing world over the past 20 years, and Scott has seen it all, including almost losing everything a couple of years ago when two of his largest clients went out of business.

He picked up the pieces quickly and started over using his own 8-step framework, and now he is busier than ever teaching his clients how to win using digital marketing.

“It was a horrible thing I went through, but the best thing I went through to help small businesses and rebuild my own business,” he said. “I shifted my focus from big car companies to working with small businesses.”

He explains the process he takes businesses through to build and maintain their marketing strategy.

The first question that needs to be asked is, "who is my ideal customer, and what problems can I solve for them?"

He also discusses how to use AI intelligently and shares his favorite success story, which involves a mom-and-pop restaurant that adapted and thrived during the pandemic.

Scott is a recognized digital marketing and social media expert with 20+ years of expertise helping over 1,000 entrepreneurs, small businesses, and Fortune 50 companies (Ford, HomeDepot, etc.).

His services include providing step-by-step growth strategies via an on-demand social media course, VIP mastermind coaching for CEOs and marketers, and full-service agency support.

Scott’s committed to helping small businesses and offers a complimentary monthly workshop to help businesses answer three key questions: “Where do I start?”, “What do I say?”, “How do I get it all done in less time and less money?”

Recorded 01/24/2023. 

Feb 28, 202324:35
104: Seth Barnes: Building an 8-Figure National Brand with Your Spouse

104: Seth Barnes: Building an 8-Figure National Brand with Your Spouse

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Seth Barnes, Co-Founder and CMO of Raddish, on building a business with your spouse - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Seth is the Co-Founder and CMO of Raddish, a cooking club for kids! Each month tens of thousands of kids learn to cook with Raddish's thematic kits, activities, and tools discovering that the kitchen is the tastiest place to learn. In his role, he oversees marketing, product, technology, and customer service. Before Raddish Seth held senior marketing roles at, and United Online. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Raddish Founder Samantha Barnes and their two children.

Recorded 01/25/2023. 

Feb 21, 202326:50
103: Unlock Innovation and Drive Explosive Growth with Josh Linkner

103: Unlock Innovation and Drive Explosive Growth with Josh Linkner

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Josh Linkner, Author & Speaker, to discuss how the pandemic grounded him as a speaker - but did it change his life forever? 

Josh Linkner is a Creative Troublemaker. He has been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million. He’s an internationally recognized expert on innovation and is the author of four books on the subject including the New York Times Bestsellers, Disciplined Dreaming, and The Road to Reinvention.

Josh is passionate about starting and building companies. He’s the co-founder and Managing Partner of Muditā Venture Partners - an early-stage venture capital firm - and was previously the CEO and founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners. Over the last 30 years, he's helped over 100 startups launch and scale.

Today, Josh serves as Chairman and co-founder of Platypus Labs, an innovation research, training, and consulting firm. He has twice been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is a recipient of the United States Presidential Champion of Change Award.

Josh is also a passionate Detroiter, the father of four, a professional-level jazz guitarist, and has a slightly odd obsession for greasy pizza.

Recorded 01/20/2023. 

Feb 14, 202316:37
102: Stephan Aarstol, One of the Biggest Success Stories in Shark Tank History

102: Stephan Aarstol, One of the Biggest Success Stories in Shark Tank History

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, on if he had to do it all over again, would he have gone on Shark Tank?

With over two decades of Internet experience at the executive level, Stephan is an Internet industry veteran. He has founded a number of ventures including the No Middleman Project, Tower Electric Bikes, Tower Paddle Boards, the Tower Beach Club, Sidepot Gaming, and more.

Founded in 2010 and funded by billionaire Mark Cuban, Tower Paddle Boards is one of the biggest success stories in Shark Tank history. With only $100K in lifetime sales at the time of the 2011 pitch, Cuban invested just $150K, and since then Tower has done well over $40M in sales. In 2014 with a staff of just 5 people and revenues of $5M, Tower was named the #1 fastest growing private company in San Diego by the San Diego Business Journal. A year later Tower was #239 on the INC 500 list of America's fastest growing companies. Tower was the #1 brand out of over 2 million 3rd party sellers signed up for the pilot Amazon Exclusives program, and he and his company were mentioned by name in Jeff Bezos’ 2015 annual letter to stockholders. Tower was named to Internet Retailer's 2016 "Hot 100" list of the world's most innovative e-retailers.

Stephan holds an MBA in New Venture Management from the University of San Diego. He is a widely published entrepreneurial thought leader and he speaks regularly at Harvard Business School on the recently published HBS case study, “Selling on Amazon at Tower Paddle Boards”.

In 2015, to challenge long held delusions about unhealthy start-up work culture, Stephan moved his whole company to a 5-hour workday and would later write a book titled “The Five Hour Workday” about the experience, which would spread the idea to tens of millions of people worldwide, and get press in over 20 countries (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and more). He was subsequently hailed, "The World's Best Boss" by Hamburg Germany's #2 newspaper, MorgenPost, and "America's Best Boss" by the UK's Daily Mail.

Recorded 01/18/2023. 

Feb 07, 202325:24
101: Biggest Challenges Ahead For Businesses In The Equipment Rental Industry, with Josh Nickell

101: Biggest Challenges Ahead For Businesses In The Equipment Rental Industry, with Josh Nickell

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Josh Nickell, VP of the American Rental Association (ARA), on the biggest challenges ahead for businesses in the equipment rental industry. 

Josh is a rental industry specialist focused on helping businesses get more out of less. Businesses, like rental, face new challenges and increased complexity and have the potential to reshape our economy.

Josh grew up in the rental industry as a 3rd generation rental entrepreneur. Over the last 20+ years, Josh has had the opportunity to run one of the fastest-growing rental companies in the country (4x Inc. Magazine — Inc. 5000 winner). In addition, he’s spent time at a national rental company, consulted with local rental companies, served as a board advisor for startups and rental marketplaces, and worked in rental-specific software for companies worldwide.

Recorded 01/17/2023. 

Jan 31, 202317:15
100: Your Guide to Accountability with Michael Caito

100: Your Guide to Accountability with Michael Caito

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Michael Caito, owner and CEO of Management Action Programs (MAP), to discuss what MAP is, how it works, and how it compares to EOS or Scaling Up. 

Michael’s entrepreneurial roots date back to the early 1990s when he and two partners launched Restaurants on the Run with a mere $6,000. Michael spent the next 20 years building that business. When the company sold in 2015, it was valued at 12x EBITDA and scaled 10 markets, 600 people, and $40 million in revenue. Michael contributes much of that growth and success to his implementation of the MAP Management System™. In December 2017, Michael purchased MAP, the very company that helped him so much over the years.

A member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization for 20+ years, he’s served as a past Global Chairman and traveled to over 25 countries, engaging with countless company owners and organizations. Michael is also active in the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

Recorded 01/13/2023.

Jan 24, 202337:31
99: How the Pandemic Created an Opportunity to Evolve and Grow with Jimmy Walicek

99: How the Pandemic Created an Opportunity to Evolve and Grow with Jimmy Walicek

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jimmy Walicek, Co-Founder and COO of CLUBWAKA, on his journey managing CLUBWAKA pre, during, and post-pandemic. 

Jimmy is the Co-Founder and COO (Chief Opportunity Officer) of CLUBWAKA, a company that offers sports leagues, social activities, and events for adults over 21 with the mission of fostering lifelong friendships.

With over 25 years of experience in the customer service industry, he holds degrees in Engineering and Economics from the University of Virginia and is actively involved in EO Richmond, an organization that helps entrepreneurs achieve their full potential through networking, collaboration, and continued learning.

Recorded 01/12/2023.

Jan 17, 202321:09
98: The Lows, Highs, and Challenges of Being a Certified EOS Implementer with Stas Balanevsky

98: The Lows, Highs, and Challenges of Being a Certified EOS Implementer with Stas Balanevsky

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Stas Balanevsky on the life of a Certified EOS Implementer - the lows highs, and challenges.

Stas is an entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development, and business management. He has worked in a wide range of industries including medical devices, sporting goods, digital media, retail and e-commerce, and international finance.

From 1994 to 2007, Stas was the Vice President and Co-Founder of V&S Corporation, an international healthcare equipment and supply integration business focused on creating, financing, and delivering healthcare projects in the developing world.

Following his exit from V&S, Stas held EVP and GM positions in digital marketing companies that focused on digital and performance marketing campaigns. His primary responsibilities included business development, complex negotiations, and business management.

Stas is currently a Certified EOS Implementer. He is a local speaker, and a member of the Western New York Vistage trusted advisor group and serves on the board of Holimont Ski Club.

Recorded 12/23/2022.

Jan 10, 202317:50
97: Helping Leaders Master both the Inner and Outer Game, with Peter Schwartz

97: Helping Leaders Master both the Inner and Outer Game, with Peter Schwartz

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Peter Schwartz, Vistage Chair and CEO Coach, on what he means when he talks about helping leaders develop their inner and outer game.

Peter has over 30 years of experience taking early-stage concepts and companies to maturity. He has been a Chair with Vistage Worldwide since 2005. In 2013, Peter was named Best Practice Chair for the Washington DC/Baltimore market. A Master Chair and 4-time STAR award winner, Peter was selected from over 550 Vistage Chairs to receive the Robert Nourse “Vistage Chair of the Year” award in May 2016. In 2020, Peter received the “Don Cope Memorial” Award, the highest honor a Vistage Chair can receive.

As a Vistage Chair and CEO Coach, Peter became fascinated with leadership development early in his Vistage Career. He believes leadership development is at the center of the Vistage Value Proposition. Consequently, he has obtained a number of certifications in leadership development, in particular, The Leadership Circle and The Leadership System. Peter uses this instrument/program extensively in his Vistage Practice. Recently 13 senior leaders of a Fortune 50 company formed a “Vistage Inside Group”. This group went on a year-long leadership development journey utilizing the TLC 360 profiles and the accompanying Leadership System.

Peter resides in Reston, VA, and Mt Pleasant, SC. He graduated with a BS in Psychology from Old Dominion University. He is a graduate of Georgetown University's Leadership Coaching Certification; Harvard’s “Immunity to Change” Coaching program; and is currently leading the Vistage/Stanford Executive Leaders Program for select Vistage CEOs in the Mid-Atlantic.

Recorded 12/21/2022.

Jan 03, 202318:32
96: How To Finance Your Future Today with Patrick Donohue

96: How To Finance Your Future Today with Patrick Donohue

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Patrick Donohue, founder of Hill Capital Corporation, about his book, Breakout Valuation, and his key lessons for entrepreneurs.

Patrick is an entrepreneur and valuation expert who got his start with a lemonade stand at age four and bought shares of Coca-Cola at age ten. As an investor, stock analyst, and advisor to numerous entrepreneurial ventures, he offers unique insights into the dynamics of money and business.

The founder of Hill Capital Corporation, a private investment fund that finances and supports emerging growth companies, Patrick holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, has served on the boards of Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Minnesota and the CFA Society of Minnesota and founded 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie.

Recorded 12/07/2022. 

Dec 20, 202222:06
95: Acquisition Entrepreneur, Eric Rozenberg is in The Hot Seat

95: Acquisition Entrepreneur, Eric Rozenberg is in The Hot Seat

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Eric Rozenberg, acquisition entrepreneur, speaker, podcaster, and two times Amazon bestselling author, on how he's thinking about his search to acquire his next company and how he is going to finance it. 

Eric Rozenberg has helped thousands of entrepreneurs grow and manage their business better. His purpose is to inspire people with integrity and honesty, help them take action, get results, and develop their business and their Life.

For two decades in his previous life, Eric has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and produced award-winning sales meetings, incentive trips, product launches, and conferences in more than 50 countries across diverse industries. He believes organizations must create meetings and events that are not only breathtakingly memorable but which bring corporate strategies to life and amplify team motivation/performance.

His podcast "The Business of Meetings" is the first podcast in the Meetings & Events Industry dedicated to business owners. Every Tuesday, listeners learn something new they can apply in their business and/or get inspired by amazing guests.

His first book, Meeting at C-Level, is the first book on the « Why ? » of a meeting. It has been endorsed by 20 of the most influential leaders from the corporate and association worlds and helps professionals to position themselves as strategic partner.

His second book, Before It’s Too Late, A Love Letter to my Daughters and America, is a story of grit, perseverance, and courage. It describes why and how he and his wife brought their daughters to America and why it is the greatest country on Earth.

Eric is a current member of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) and The Strategic Forum. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Demoucelle Parkinson Foundation in Belgium and was the first European to serve as Chairman of the International Board of Meetings Professional International (MPI), the largest professional association in the Meetings and Events Industry.

Recorded 12/08/2022.

Dec 13, 202225:17
94: Jenny Feterovich: What Does it Take to Follow Your Dreams?

94: Jenny Feterovich: What Does it Take to Follow Your Dreams?

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jenny Feterovich, Executive Producer at Arcadius Productions Inc. about her favorite stories and lessons learned from her TV Show, Start Up.

Partners Gary Bredow and Jenny Feterovich are responsible for producing the critically acclaimed and Emmy nominated PBS series "Start Up" and "A Craftsman's Legacy", internationally distributed documentaries "High Tech Soul", "Urban Roots", and "Bridging the Gap" as well as branded content for major corporations including American Express, Chrysler, The UPS Store, State Farm, Coca-Cola, Ford, and Microsoft.

Arcadius is responsible for over 1500 hours of national television programming.  As the Executive Producers of the PBS series "Start UP," going into its 5th season in the fall of 2017, they show extraordinary people that have followed their dream of creating a small business.  As one of the top 4 business shows on TV, they have helped paved the way for other popular business focused programs.

Arcadius is dedicated to telling real stories and giving viewers the unique opportunity to see life through the experiences of our characters.

Recorded 11/21/2022. 

Dec 06, 202226:29
93: Leverage Competitive Intelligence to Overcome Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz

93: Leverage Competitive Intelligence to Overcome Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jeff Berkowitz, founder and CEO of Delve, on assessing political and reputational risks — and what those can do to businesses that don’t take them seriously. 

Jeff is the founder and CEO of Delve, Washington’s preeminent competitive intelligence and risk advisory firm. Delve helps heavily regulated and highly scrutinized sectors − including energy and utilities, life sciences, financial services, and beyond − anticipate and mitigate public affairs challenges.

Founded in 2015, Delve specializes in helping companies, industry groups, and advocacy coalitions stay ahead of the curve on the political and reputational risks and opportunities at the intersection of policy and business. Today, the firm provides high-stakes counsel and insights to C-suite executives, public affairs professionals, and their teams across a range of sectors.

Recognized by POLITICO as an “opposition research and policy ace” and "one of the best-known policy and opposition researchers in D.C." by The Daily Beast, Jeff previously served as the Research Director of the Republican National Committee (RNC), where he served three tours under four chairmen across five election cycles. At the RNC, Jeff helped to craft the GOP response to current events and long-term initiatives, ranging from Supreme Court nominations to Obamacare to the Dodd-Frank financial regulations.

Jeff also served on staff or advised on five major presidential campaigns and has shepherded research and messaging operations at The White House, the U.S. Department of State, and several prominent private sector and non-profit organizations.

As a member of the Forbes Business Council and a leader in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Jeff provides both commentary and guidance to businesses and industries of all sizes. He also sits on the board of the America’s Future Foundation, a nationwide network fostering the next generation of liberty-minded leaders.

Recorded 11/18/2022.

Nov 29, 202223:08
92: Engage Prospects, Build Relationships and Drive Revenue with Josh Sweeney

92: Engage Prospects, Build Relationships and Drive Revenue with Josh Sweeney

On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Josh Sweeney, President of FounderScale, on bleeding-edge strategies and tactics for scaling a B2B business. 

Josh Sweeney is a seasoned entrepreneur, whose relentless drive has given him the platform to build big ideas and even bigger companies.  One of his successes, Atcore Systems, was acquired in 2016 by a leading partner in the CRM industry. 

Experiencing the impact of various sales and marketing challenges over the years, Josh founded FounderScale. He has made it his mission to help founder-led organizations increase sales. Because of his passion for growth and forward-thinking, he donates his time to the Entrepreneur Organization of Atlanta, guiding and promoting other entrepreneurs through experience sharing and camaraderie.

Recorded 11/18/2022. 

Nov 22, 202220:16