Small Business Spotlight: Not Your Typical Roofer
HHR does this by providing insurance claims advocacy on behalf of the homeowner when they are forced to deal with their insurance company in making a claim for roof damage. Most homeowners are overwhelmed by the claims process and threatened by insurance adjusters’ tactics that only offer the minimum settlement possible.
The Holley’s started HHR in response to many unscrupulous roofing companies chasing storm damage roofing business as well as the strong-armed approach many insurance companies take when a roof damage claim is made. They took the time to educate themselves on all the relevant state laws and laborious claims process most insurance companies employ. As a result they almost always obtain the maximum amount their homeowner’s policy allows. Aubrey particularly finds great satisfaction in helping homeowners get what they have paid for with their insurance policies.
In addition to homeowner’s insurance advocacy, HHR is also a top roofing company in the Greater Dayton area. They only employ the best roofing crews and take the time to do each and every roof right. In addition to roofing, HHR is also a general contractor that can serve all your repair and remodeling needs.
In our standard Q&A, Lindsey and Aubrey shared a bit more about his business, its origins, and his objectives:
What is your background and why did you start Helping Hands Restoration?
Aubrey's background has always been in sales since he was a young man. My background is in healthcare. I have a BA in Healthcare Administration and a Master's in Business Administration. We started this company after 6 days of working for another local company that was also in storm damage restoration. He was not a very ethical man, nor was he forthcoming with what he wanted to pay Aubrey and I. We decided we could do it and do it better So, we took the plunge in March of 2016 and learned everything we could about the business last year. We are still learning new things to this day, but that's the fun and exciting part!
What are your business goals?
Our Vision: To establish Helping Hands Restorations, LLC as Greater Dayton, Ohio’s most reliable and respected insurance restoration company. We continuously strive to provide a high level of value and customer service to our clients throughout the Miami Valley. We conduct our business in a manner that elevates how storm damage restoration contractors are perceived by individual homeowners and commercial clientele alike. Customer service is paramount at Helping Hands Restorations, LLC.
Tell us about a business challenge you had and how you overcame it?
As a young and small business we have had many challenges to overcome. They span from capital to finding reliable employees. We continue to overcome these issues graciously by maintaining a positive frame of mind at all times. We see ourselves where we want to be and transmute the circumstances, people, places and things that are required to achieve our goals.
What differentiates Helping Hands Restoration in the market?
Integrity, honesty, world class customer service and being able to get homeowners approved and properly funded in a way that other major players in this area are not able to do. We increase our homeowner's claims on average by 42%, which allows them to restore even more on their home. We make sure it is funded in a way that homeowners can have the work done by licensed professionals that will properly install the roof, siding, gutters or whatever it may be, so that the product lasts for many years to come. Look at some of our Google reviews. This will help answer this question.
What are you reading or have read recently
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The book has changed our lives dramatically. The power of positive thinking has brought us riches in many forms, not just monetary. We started reading Think and Grow Rich the winter before we started this business in 2016 and we have been on an upward trajectory ever since. We have created a lifestyle that we've always wanted, we have helped countless families like we've always wanted, we have more friends, more laughter, more happiness, more love, etc etc. "It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed" (Napoleon Hill), and that is what we are doing with Helping Hands Restorations. If you've never read the book, it is definitely one that I highly recommend!
Small Business Spotlight: Combat to Career with VetSource
We spoke with Bob Troutwine about VetSource’s vision to provide job training and placement support for veterans in across all industries. Read how VetSource assists veterans in developing the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs.
How did VetSource begin?
I graduated from the West Point in 1996, and I medically retired as a major in 2009 after being injured conducting combat operations in Korea. I start a residential renovation company while I was active in the Army. After I retired, I gave construction development a try. Since then, I have operated several businesses in multiple industries in Cincinnati Later I started working with a local group of veteran-owned businesses to aid veterans who were transitioning out of the Services. This lead to the idea for a business that helps veterans transition into the private sector.
How does VetSource help veterans transition from service to a career?
We offer start-up business assistance, in the form of placement and job training. We have office with all kind of facilities to support this mission. We have a policy not to turn away any veteran in need of help. We have extended our support by partner with private and public organizations, creating a network extension to VetSource.
We act as a veteran-focused staffing company in that we match company's job requirements to our veterans' skill sets and experiences. We also work with regulatory organizations, such as OSHA, to ensure our veterans have the right certifications for the opportunity.
We also work with our veterans to help them through essential personal- and business-life skills, such as financial literacy. Previous education and specialized military training often leaves knowledge gaps around critical financial skills like budgeting, etc. Lastly we teach a change in mindset, from a military-focused thinking process to a private commercial one.
How does a military background help veterans run a business?
Military veterans have critical private sector skills and experience, such as organization, leadership, perseverance, and operations. They also have extensive people skills and crisis management experience. Sure the environment is vastly different between combat operations and the commercial marketplace, however the core skills required to succeed in both are applicable.
Can you share a veteran’s success story from working with VetSource?
In our first year, a former Army ranger, Neil Sumner was probably our best "poster child", so to speak. He had an interest and background so he launched a musician and composer career post separation fro the Army, and he has gone on to releasing his first album, SOLIDER, coming out soon.
Another success story is a husband and wife partnership to develop a franchise model for a business they started after retirements - Hot Dogz. Not only did they create the restaurant concept and bring it into reality, but they branded and modeled it into a franchise business that can be replicated and sold. VetSource helped them with the resources necessary to expand their business model into franchising.
How can people help or get involved with VetSource?
We have many private and public sector partners but are always looking for more. We need a diverse set of industry and government partners in order to provide the variety of support services our veterans needs when they transition from the military. We also need financial donations of course. Lastly, we can always use help in identifying vets that need our help but for whatever reason don't seek us out.
Small Business Spotlight: Prepping for Tax Season with Amzuri
James Marthan is CEO and chief product architect at Amzuri. Amzuri offers accounting software and service that provides the financial tools and data to help entrepreneurs grow their innovative ideas into successful businesses.
We talked with James Marthan about Amzuri’s time-saving accounting services and its approach to making life easier for busy entrepreneurs. Learn how small-business owners can save time – and prevent headaches – during tax season.
What is your background?
I have always been interested in business and entrepreneur. I think it is in my DNA because my parents and siblings have all been business owners. I founded Amzuri when I was 20 during college. I discovered the idea when first doing my taxes and learning out painful the process was.
Tell us more about how you started?
We launched in 2011 with a staff of veteran CFO-level accountants and financial consulting strategists. We provide accounting and tax services to all levels of organizations, from Fortune 500 to small, local businesses. We offer businesses of all size a complete tax and financial accounting service that allows them to focus on their core business.
How did you recognize the need for Amzuri services?
I recognized the new when I need the same type of services for previous business I had owned and operated. And, I saw a gap between this need and what the accounting service market had to offer. We are essentially accounting and tax business consultants with a set of automated services.
What sets Amzuri apart from companies with a similar services?
It is the hybrid service model we offer than differentiates us in the market. We combine accounting and tax professionals with high tech automated software solutions to offer our clients an unmatched solution. Our solutions focus on our clients' bottom line and not just "compliance", which most of our competitors only focus on. We are truly our clients' partner.
What common problems do businesses deal with relative to taxes?
Tax code knowledge, time, and procrastination. Businesses are too busy focusing on their core mission - providing a service or making a product - to be focused on taxes. There are so many competing priorities for most business, such as operations, sales, marketing, etc. to allow them to add taxes and accounting to the list.
Further, it doesn't really make sense for businesses to do their own taxes given the tax code complexity and the potential for errors, which could result in significant penalties or missed tax deductions/credits.
How do you sell a small-business owner on outsource accounting?
We merely leverage client referrals and recommendations - they are our best sales people. Further, we find we identify the best clients this way too, meaning ones that want and appreciate our services. However, when we do approach prospective clients, we simply demonstrate the value of our services and results with past performance case studies and metrics. We have before and after tax results to show new clients, as well as, can use their own tax data to demonstrate our value.
Small Business Spotlight: Getting Organized with HAUTE Living
We talked with Victoria Simmons about HAUTE Living's efforts to get organized and to streamline its business practices. Learn how small-business owners can declutter to save time and money. The transcript below has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
How's HAUTE Living? What is new?
We are growing and adding more designers and their products. We rcently added Helen Samps Jewelry as well as the popular hoop earring designer, Frank Nester.
We also move into a larger facility to allow us more space for shows, inventory and public events. We are very pleased with the space as it underscores our commitment to only carrying the finest jewelry. Lastly, we have added more staff around design and information technology. We see IT as critical to our ability to showcase our products.
How are you organizing your sample jewelry?
We divide it into two categories: for sale and for press and samples. These two different groupings allow us to better organize and categorize our SKU numbers for tracking and inventory purposes. Further each SKU represents a designer and the item number. Also, without our new IT infrastructure, none of this could be possible.
Tell us more about your organizational efforts?
We turnover our inventory much more frequently than we use to. This inventory turn has helped us bring fresh designs into the market much quicker as well as refresh our designer base. Also, our customers appreciate the constant change in variety as well as the uniqueness each individual designer brings. Our staff likes the challenge too, as each day and week brings new ideas into the mix as well as new problems. We believe problems are opportunities, and we seek them out to solve.
Interview to be continued - we were cut short due to HAUTE Living having a upcoming show early this month
Small Business Spotlight: Going Green with jvm Design
We talked with Sharon Tisher about jvm Design’s dedication to being a sustainable website design and marketing agency and the importance of eco-friendly business practices. Learn how small-business owners can easily make the commitment to go green, too.
Tell us how jvm was founded?
My interest has always been in photograph and visual arts. I earned a degree in visual art from Ohio State's School of Art. I did freelance work in the beginning while still studying. When I graduated, instead of taking a traditional design job, I founded jvm in an attempt to start a small ad agency.
Back in 2002 the internet was very different from what it today. The focus then was traditional graphic design and printing. However, we were active in the internet even in the beginning. I remember our first internet client, who we launched a website for. I knew then that the internet would change my business and the graphics design business forever. As the internet expanded, we focused on custom website design. We are proud to have a large and diverse set of clients, to include Amazon as well as many local Dayton businesses.
How is jvm different from other web design and graphic companies?
We specialize in custom design - we never use stock or canned solutions. Each one of our products or services is unique from what we have done before, or that exists in the market. Our competitors use standard templates and pre-made commercial designs to shorted the the process; however, we never use pre-made anything. Our work is one-of-a-kind.
We have also deliberately stayed small, believing we can provide better products and service to our clients with a smaller business footprint. Our smallness allows greater focus and clarity in our work, and we can provide our clients better design and marketing solutions than a standardized large corporate approach. Our clients have responded to this approach in referring us to other businesses.
What were the first steps in going green as a business?
Essentially it started with the philosophy and efforts to reduce our physical and energy footprint. Instead of renting additional office space, we opted to adopt a work-at-home policy. This was really our first step into reducing our carbon footprint, but also had the added benefit of allowing our staff to better balance work/life.
Later we relocated to Yellow Springs because we discovered an opportunity to create an incredible workspace with sustainable pine flooring, tons of natural light, and none volatile organic paint and wall coverings. We were very excited to not only talk "green" but live and work it. We also adopted an extensive recycling program - we recycle all of our work papers, printer cartridges, older computer equipment, and even furniture. We were also first adopters of using electronic proposals and contract agreements. We eliminate all of our filing cabinets full of this paperwork, and now have cloud-based solutions that service all of our document needs. We have truly gone paperless.
What advice would you offer other companies considering a green approach?
We are not so narrow-minded to think all business are the same, in terms of their ability or even desire to go green. However, there are different green solutions right for every business - if even just a few steps in that direction. It is critical to research what is available for your business and how it can work for you employees. I would just encourage any business considering adopting more green approach to their operations to consider what is the right level of commitment for them. Start small and grow you green footprint as you become more comfortable with the concept.
How does being green help you business grow?
I believe our clients and prospective clients appreciate our environmentally-minded approach to business. While it may not be exactly right for their business, I think they appreciate a partner that can do green things we do. However, we don't do it as a selling point. We respect our clients' right to consider going green in their own way and time frame.