Posted on | November 6, 2015 | No Comments
by Mary Ann Miller, President/CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce
Once a month,the Tempe Chamber hosts an open house where current and future members can drop by, see our offices, meet Chamber staff, and learn more about what we do. This month I was talking to a new member about our efforts to advocate for our business. I explained how most business owners and managers are focused on operating and growing their businesses,and so we watch out for regulations and mandates that could cause them problems.
The new member looked at me and said, “You’re the linemen. ”
He said, “You always hear about the great plays of the quarterback and the receiver, and the linemen don’t get a lot of credit. But if they aren’t making the blocks, the quarterback is down.”
Yup, we’re the linemen.
We’re on the front lines every day watching for City, County, State and Federal laws and regulations that can impede your growth or create a disadvantage relative to businesses in a neighboring community. We work with neighboring chambers and other organizations on regional issues. We provide the cover so you can run down the field.
A working group of the Tempe City Council is exploring impacts of an ordinance requiring Tempe employers to provide earned sick leave to their employees. As your business advocate, the Tempe Chamber wants to ensure that any proposed ordinance or regulation would not adversely impact Tempe businesses or put them at a competitive disadvantage relative to non-Tempe businesses. In order to gauge the potential impacts, we’d appreciate your answering this short survey about the sick leave policy at your business.
Posted on | October 28, 2015 | No Comments
The Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the minimum labor standards in the US. They have issued new rules for overtime that will go into effect in 2016 (pending any changes between now and then).
Basically, anyone who earns under $24.25 per hour, $970 per week, or $50,440 annually cannot be “exempt” from overtime. This level changes, because it is calculated at 40% of the average earnings of salaried employees. If you have workers that are affected, you have two choices:
– Pay them 1.5x pay for every hour over 40 in a week
– Reduce their hours to 40 per week
The rules will be finalized by mid-September, to go into effect in 2016.
States also have labor standards. You must comply with the higher of either the state or the federal rules.
For additional free business resources, visit our helpful Tools for Business site.
Posted on | October 9, 2015 | No Comments
By Bryan Young, Law Offices of David Michael Cantor
Tempe, Arizona has a great reputation for lively nightlife and fun-filled events that keep people dancing until the wee hours. With so many local attractions and opportunities for alcohol consumption, it’s critical to be sure to avoid drinking and driving. This is something that law enforcement and local governments take very seriously. To ensure the public safety, police agencies seek to clamp down on dangerous automotive activity, especially after-hours.
DUI, short for “Driving Under the Influence [of alcohol or drugs],” is a criminal offense that, unfortunately, too many people (young and old) choose to take on in the course of having a good time. In addition, the State of Arizona has two further classes of DUI offenses, Extreme DUI and Super Extreme DUI, depending on a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). These offenses are far worse than DUI or “normal” DWI charges and carry more severe punishments — for instance, possible jail sentences can be up to 10 times as long, and you must pay for the jail time. Prior DUI convictions from any state bring even harsher sentences in all cases. An experienced Tempe DUI lawyer will fight for the right of all DUI offenders to have jury trials, but the State of Arizona is particularly punitive when it comes to these crimes.
Blood alcohol content levels are typically what is used to gauge a person’s amount of intoxication and therefore, their impairment for driving. If the levels are above a certain threshold, there is no need for further proof of intoxication, however, officers may attempt to administer other tests such as eye tests, walk-and-turn tests and one-leg-stand tests during field sobriety testing. If you are pulled over for suspicion of a DUI in Tempe, our firm advises that you politely refuse these tests. In fact, the very first thing you should do is ask to speak with a Tempe DUI attorney. Read more
Posted on | October 6, 2015 | No Comments
Through the six-month Women in Business Mentor Program, participants will learn how to assess their values, create a vision for their life, and live with purpose and passion.
Are you ready for the challenge?
Candidates selected for the program will develop into stronger, more capable leaders while increasing their business skills and learning how to grow into positions of greater importance and value.
Monthly organized events and workshops are complemented by one-on-one meetings and outings between the mentors and their protégés. At the conclusion of the program, participants will have gained a better understanding of their true self and life goals.
The program runs from December 2015 through May 2015 and culminates with a graduation ceremony at the 2015 Women in Business Conference. Applications are being accepted through October 14. Click here for more information or to apply.
Here’s what some previous participants had to say about the program:
“This program set me on a new course in life! The very first week of the program I had some major breakthroughs about my own personality and how I had been hiding who I really was to please others. After that session I went straight to Barnes and Noble to buy an ‘ideas book’ and have kept it ever since, and it has helped me to rediscover who I am and brought me great joy and confidence!”
– Jennifer Wagner, Protégé, University of Advancing Technology Read more
Posted on | October 2, 2015 | 2 Comments
Sometime this week many of you will receive a ballot in the mail for the Tempe Union High School override. We at the Tempe Chamber urge you to vote “Yes.”
The override is needed to replace computers, purchase books, repair sidewalks and fences, replace PE equipment, and retire decade-old buses. And the difference a homeowner will pay in taxes is less than a cup of plain coffee.
School finance is a complex and confusing array of state and local funding. Funds allocated for one purpose can’t be used for another, and districts are required to regularly go back to the voters for approval. This provides a great opportunity to review the proposed spending and judge the financial performance of district administrators.
We believe that the TUHSD board members, superintendent and administrators have done an excellent job in managing the District, achieving high levels of excellence with tightening resources. We are confident that the override is reasonable and that the funds raised will be maximized to benefit our students.
So when you get that ballot in the mail this week, show your support for our students, our schools and our community by voting “Yes.” Sign it, seal it and mail it by October 29.
You can find more information on the override at www.YesSupportOurSchools.com.
Posted on | October 2, 2015 | No Comments
by Tim Ronan, Attorney, Ronan & Tagart & Chairman of the Board, Tempe Chamber of Commerce
There comes a point in every business owner’s career when they are no longer running their business. Some companies chose to go public, brining on investors who share the responsibilities, but many owners will have an opportunity to identify a successor to continue their legacy. A business owner needs to assess what is wanted or expected from a business sale and the best objective in planning an exit strategy.
There are four primary methods of exiting a business: (a) transfer to family members, (b) use an Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP); (c) sell to a third party, whether an individual or another business entity; and (d) execute a company liquidation. If you understand the different types, you are in a better position to plan your business exit the way you want to exit.
Many business owners want to keep their business in the family. Exit planning for the owner’s children can provide financial stability for family members who may not be able to earn a comparable income with another employer. In addition, it allows the owner to stay actively involved in the business with the children until the owner’s selected departure date. This also often affords the owner a luxury of selling the business for whatever price the owner needs for retirement, even if the value of the business is actually less than the price.
Unfortunately this exit planning strategy may cause increased family discord and friction in the event one child is more involved in the business and, therefore, the logical choice to succeed the business owner. Unless the children are otherwise equally provided for in another manner, siblings may end up feeling snubbed. In addition, while the business owner may want a child to take over the business, that child may be unable or unwilling to maintain the business at its current level.
Few business owners actually complete that exit process for a number of reasons. As a result, it is important to review and set up another contingency plan for conveying the business to another party.
Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP):
ESOP’s are qualified retirement plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). In the case of ESOP’s, more than half of the owner’s investment must be derived from the owner’s company equity interest.
An ESOP creates a third-party buyer in the form of the company’s employees. More importantly, the employees usually have a vested interest in success of the company. ESOPs are established as a trust with trustees who can initially include a business owner. The ESOP trust then can either have cash deposited for purchase of the currently issued company equity interests or the deposit of newly issued equity interests.
Contributions to the trust by the company generally are tax deductible, with certain limitations and since the transaction is considered an equity sale, the owner selling avoids paying capital gains. Equity interests are then distributed to employees, usually based on compensation levels, and increase in value tax-free until distribution.
Planning ahead is important in a third party sale. Situations in which the business owner wants to retire or move on, often result in a reduced-price sale. If exit planning begins three to five years before the sale this option can be the best way to cash out.
Ideally, the business owner should receive a majority of the purchase price in cash at closing. Otherwise, the business owner is taking a significant risk. If there is a promissory note it should be secured by a pledge agreement securing all the company assets.
The best way to avoid this risk is to receive the full purchase price or more than a fifty percent initial down payment at closing. Unfortunately, over the last several years this has been difficult due to the economic downturn. Fortunately, SBA loans are becoming increasingly available and more parties having the funds for these types of investments.
Businesses owners opting to liquidate (often because no purchaser will pay more than, or as much as, the value of the business assets) sell the assets, collect any outstanding accounts receivable, pay off the bills, and keep any cash that remains, if any. Usually this is an exit plan because the business has insufficient income-producing without the owner’s direct efforts even if the asset value is significant. So even if the assets value is significantly greater than the revenue, still no purchaser will pay more than, or even as much as, the value of assets.
The best example of this type of business is service businesses, which are thought to have little or no value without the owner. Liquidation produces the smallest return for the owner, so it’s best to plan ahead and ensure the owner does not just rely on a sale to fund retirement.
Posted on | September 29, 2015 | No Comments
The East Valley Business Expo takes place on Oct. 21 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. at St. Xavier University, 92 W. Vaughn Ave. in Gilbert.
Held just once each year, it is one of the most powerful, versatile and cost-effective marketing tools available to the business community. Here are some tips to get the best value during your experience.
- Bring your business cards. You must show one to gain admittance. You’ll also need plenty for the raffles, prizes and hundreds of new contacts and leads you’ll meet!
- The absolute number one complaint we hear each year is this: “Company X came to my booth pitching their product for 15 minutes and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I need that time to talk to potential customers!” Don’t be that person. It’s appropriate to politely introduce yourself and, where fitting, share a business card and handshake. Then thank the exhibitor for their time and move on. Offend them by hogging their booth and you are guaranteed a bad reputation and a spoiled relationship.
- Don’t “Trick-or-Treat”. Trick-or-treaters are those people who go from table to table taking handfuls of pens, candy and other promotional items. It’s fine to take one – that’s what they’re there for. It is completely unacceptable to sweep a pile into your goody bag.
- Engage in conversation. The companies are there to meet people like you. Have a conversation, even if there doesn’t appear to be an immediate need or connection for your company. You never know where it will lead.
- Have a follow up plan. Make sure you have an action plan for outreach with other attendees you meet to help foster a stronger network. Also, if you enjoyed your experience as an attendee, consider taking it to the next level in 2016. Contact us to get on the list to be an exhibitor next year when the East Valley Business Expo comes to Tempe!
- Set clear, measurable objectives. Are you focusing on getting leads, launching a new product or reaching a new market?
- Appoint a coordinator with overall responsibility for planning and budgeting your booth. Make sure everyone involved understands the objectives of exhibiting and is prepared to carry out your plan. Select your best people to participate. Their performance is central to the success of your exhibition.
- Successful trade shows are promoted equally by exhibitors and organizers. The four chambers of commerce (Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa) organizing this event have planned extensive marketing coverage to promote attendance. You can multiply this effort by promoting your own booth to known prospects and existing customers. Use of personal invitations, social media and communications will reward you with increased attendance. Link to the www.EastValleyBusinessExpo.com website on your home page for added traction.
- Engage the attendees! Your booth must be interesting. Sometimes you only have a few seconds to get their attention. Booth design, great graphics, a focal point and well-trained, motivated booth personnel are important. Get professional help where you need it. Many of your fellow chamber members can provide professional assistance with booth design, graphics, promotional products, printing, door prizes, etc.
- After the event is over be prepared to follow-up. Deciding now how you’ll impress prospects with your customer service techniques after the Expo places you ahead of your competitors and begins filling your order books.
Posted on | September 14, 2015 | No Comments
Each year the Tempe Chamber of Commerce names one high-achieving woman as the Business Woman of the Year. And once each year, three of them meet with the public to talk about what it takes to succeed.
On September 17, the Business Woman of the Year Roundtable provides the chance to hear from recent recipients of this prestigious award. These amazing women will have a conversation about what it takes to succeed in life and business as they share inspirational stories about their lives and experiences.
Jodi Polanski, Robin Trick and Christine Wilkinson comprise the panel.
Jodi Polanski is the current Business Woman of the Year. She is the Founder & Executive Director for Lost Our Home Pet Foundation.
Robin Trick is the co-owner and operator of House of Tricks Restaurant.
Christine Wilkinson is Senior Vice President and Secretary of Arizona State University, as well as the President of the ASU Alumni Association.
“The Business Woman of the Year award recognizes the valuable contributions each woman has made to the business community and to the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. Theiar hard work and dedication have made an admirable and positive impact that we are proud to recognize,” said Mary Ann Miller, President and CEO of the Tempe Chamber.
The event takes place on Sept. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. RSVPs are required.
Posted on | August 26, 2015 | No Comments
by Mary Ann Miller, President/CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce
The Tempe City Council is looking at a proposal to place on the ballot a Charter Amendment that would allow for the creation a publicly financed election system in Tempe.
This is a bad idea.
Here are just a few reasons to oppose this:
- Publicly financed elections neither increase transparency nor curb the costs of campaigns. In fact, a 2010 GAO report showed that “…in each election cycle new strategies have emerged to leverage aspects of the public financing program by candidates and their supporters to gain advantage over their opponents.” Additionally, “(t)he trend of rising independent expenditures as an alternative to contributing directly to candidates is clear….”
- The implementation of publicly financed elections at the State level has not decreased political acrimony nor increased nonpartisanship. More than a dozen years after its implementation, individuals are still reporting they feel disenfranchised from the process.
- The proposed fee increase places an additional burden on people who are least likely able to bear it.
- Tempe has a number of deferred capital improvement and maintenance projects. Taxpayer dollars are better spent on parks, roads and other city infrastructure.
- Tempe’s campaign finance system already requires detailed reporting of donors and donations.
- The program underestimates the cost and liability of an Independent Oversight Committee charged with “…making decisions, including conclusions of law…” as per the Program Overview.
- The Independent Oversight Committee would have little oversight itself, with the Committee members choosing their own successors.
The ballot language itself is vague, and a public meeting on August 24 presented more evidence as to why this should not move forward. Even those in support of the program were confused and had concerns about how the program would be structured: Is the funding method appropriate? Is the funding level sufficient? Should it be set up on a first-come basis, or should it be a shared pool of money?
City staff reiterated that the program is not finalized. Arguments in favor of the system reference increased reporting and a reaction to the raising of contribution limits by the Legislature. To my knowledge, no has looked at alternatives at a local level.
At the August 6 City Council meeting, supporters noted their intent is to place this on the ballot, then design an ordinance that would get to the details of the system financing, amounts, oversight and other issues.
In other words, Tempe is being asked to put something on the ballot that is not fully formed. Just as city bond issues are not put on the ballot without determining an appropriate funding level and having specific plans for that funding, publicly funded elections should not even be considered for the ballot without a thoroughly vetted and well-thought-out plan.
This issue will be discussed at the September 3 Council meeting. The Tempe Chamber opposes publicly financed elections and we ask that join us by expressing your opposition to the Council. You can reach Mayor Mitchell and the entire Council by email all at once using firstname.lastname@example.org.
(You can read the entire GAO report at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10390.pdf )
Posted on | August 14, 2015 | No Comments
by Sean Donovan, VP of Media & Program Development, Tempe Chamber of Commerce
I’ve lived in Arizona long enough to know that our summer weather demands respect and a whole new set of behaviors.
But if you’re new to town or starting the school year at Arizona State University, you might not realize the risks that the heat brings with it.
I’ve seen more than a few students and their parents overexert themselves unpacking and moving in, and suffering from the subsequent effects of heat exhaustion. There are some practical things you need to do to make sure you’re as safe and comfortable as you can be.
Limit your time outside. Take frequent breaks in an air conditioned room. Stay in the shade as much as possible. Take your time. There’s no need to rush here in the west.
Wear sunscreen. Wear a hat. Wear good sunglasses with UV protection. See the people carrying umbrellas? They’re not worried about rain but about keeping the direct sunlight off them. One bad sunburn and you won’t care how you look carrying an umbrella either.
Drink plenty and often. Don’t forget electrolytes. Gatorade or Powerade are good options. Personally, I will drink 16 oz. of Powerade to every 64 oz. of water. In the heat of the summer it’s not unusual for me drink a gallon of water during the day.
Locals know to not only park in the shade, but to park where the shade is going to be when you head back to your car. Use a sun shade for your front windshield. Items left in the car will melt. The seatbelt buckle will burn you.
Signs of Trouble
If you experience any of these symptoms, STOP what you’re doing and get somewhere cool and shaded.
- Heavy sweating
- Feeling faint, dizzy or weak
- Unusually rapid heartbeat
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
What are the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion? Here’s a great overview from WebMD.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can kill you. Again, WedMD provides a look at the symptoms and treatments.
Arizona is an incredible and amazing state. The outdoors are a big part of what makes it so special. You can enjoy it while being safe and protecting yourself at the same time. If you’re new to town, please use the tips in this article. We’re also here to help with suggestions for dining, lodging, entertainment and every other need you have.
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