Sklar Technology - September 2021


7462 Old Hickory Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111


My 3-Step Approach to Persuading Tough Cookies WHEN AND WHEN NOT TO BUILD A HAY WALL

Randy’s hay wall

communication open, offered to use my mower to cut other folks’ grass, and invited people over to fish in our pond. It’s hard to keep arguing with someone once they become your friend. It worked! Before long, one couple down the road invited my family to church and brunch afterward.We went with them and had a great time. Before we left, they even pulled me aside and asked if we could get together again and talk about more of my ideas for the community. The Secret 4th Step My three-step approach almost always works, but sometimes it doesn’t, which is where the secret fourth step comes in. That step is: “Never give up.” I had to use it for one last, stubborn neighbor. He wouldn’t hear my compromises for the noise and light problems. So, one night, I fixed them for him! I piled all of my hay bales into a wall between our properties so he doesn’t have to see the farm at all. Like any entrepreneur with a dream, I’m not giving up. Do you have a method for changing minds while still listening to the ideas of others — so solutions can work for everyone? I’d love to hear how you do it, or how my method goes for you if you try it out. Send me an email or fill me in the next time we talk.

strategy to convince tough cookies to come around to my point of view. I decided to try it out on my neighbors. I hoped that if I played my hand right I could show them how great the venue idea was and find a way we could all benefit. Step 1: Show empathy. The first step in a good negotiation is to agree with the other side. This will catch them off guard and show them how reasonable you can be.When my neighbors told me they worried about the noise, light, and traffic, I said, “I totally understand!” My reaction disarmed them, and all of a sudden they were ready to listen. This step goes back to an old proverb: “You can’t have a war if the other side won’t pick up a weapon.” Step 2: Propose solutions. You can’t bring someone around to your side if you won’t compromise. So, I offered to hire a traffic control company to deal with the traffic from the farm, and I also reminded the neighbors there was already a noise ordinance in place in the area.We went back and forth like a game of tug of war, but soon almost everyone had opened their minds to my idea. Step 3: Maintain a good relationship. In addition to offering compromises, I went out of my way to be a good neighbor. I kept my lines of

What can you do when you’re in a stalemate with someone who’s stubborn? I asked myself this question a few months ago when my plans for an Airbnb property came up against a group of unhappy neighbors. As I’ve mentioned before, I own a farm that I’m turning into a wedding and event venue. I’m really excited about the project. There aren’t many (or any) places like it in the area, and I think it will be great for the neighborhood. But when my neighbors heard about the idea, they weren’t so thrilled. The Case of the Unhappy Neighbors My neighbors didn’t see the farm the same way I did. I thought the venue would be awesome, but they worried about bright lights and loud music late at night. They were also concerned about having more traffic on the roads after dark. In fact, they gave the project a big thumbs down; so, I had to ask myself, “Now what?” 3 Steps for Persuading Tough Cookies I meet people who don’t agree with me all the time. Sometimes these folks are clients, sometimes they’re other entrepreneurs, and sometimes they’re members of my own family. We all have our own perspectives! Over the years, I’ve come up with a


FEELING THE URGE TO HIRE? Save Money by Trying These 3 Things First Hiring is one of the most exciting parts of entrepreneurship. It feels like proof that your business is thriving and moving toward its goals. In theory, every new hire will help your company grow and bring in more revenue — but that doesn’t always play out. The truth is that new hires are expensive. According to a 2016 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, it takes $4,129 and 42 days on average to bring in a new hire! Our job market right now is even tighter. Companies can also waste money by hiring the wrong people or hiring at the wrong time (ex. when they can’t afford to or could boost revenue elsewhere). If you’re getting the itch to hire right now, consider these three other ways to tighten your ship first. 1. Incentivize efficiency in your current team. In last month’s newsletter, we explained how to keep great employees: Overpay them, offer them lots of vacation time, and treat them the way you would want to be treated. Those things also work as incentives! Try them and your team will stick with you and perform well. You can also set goals with built-in rewards that are tied to key performance indicators (KPIs) for each team member, and create a system that benefits high performers. 2. Upgrade your problem customers. Every business has ball-and-chain customers. These people are high- maintenance or low-margin and suck up time, money, and energy. To propel your company forward, do what you can to upgrade these problem customers. If they refuse, your company will be lighter without them, and if they accept, you’ll be in a better financial position to hire. 3. Streamline your offerings. If a restaurant has Italian, Chinese, and Mexican food on the menu, you should probably head for the hills. Why? Well, because when you try to do too many things, you can’t do any of them well. The same is true for your business. If you have dozens of products and services, you can benefit from reducing them to the ones you’re truly excellent at. Your company will stand out from the crowd, and you’ll increase your efficiency.

One upside to spending more than a year at home was that many people donned their aprons, learned new recipes and techniques, and began cooking meals regularly in their own kitchens. Even as restaurants reopen, over 70% of Americans say they’ll keep their new habit of cooking at home because it’s healthier and cheaper. That said, the average American can only whip up about five meals without a recipe at hand, and many people cook and eat the same types of protein and vegetables over and over. One easy way to avoid boredom is to keep your main staples but diversify your sauce routine! When in doubt, learn one creamy sauce and one herb- or citrus-based sauce. Here are a few examples that work particularly well for chicken, America’s favorite animal protein. These can be used with your other favorite meats and your favorite vegetable preparations, as well! 5-Minute Honey Mustard Sauce To avoid hearing “chicken again?!” add this honey mustard sauce from to your repertoire. Simply whisk together 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup mayo, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp white vinegar, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper for a delicious topper for all meats. Simple Lemon Herb Sauce Want a lighter, healthier option? Go for an oil-and-herb sauce like’s “Chicken With a Lemon Herb Sauce.” In a blender or food processor, add 1 peeled clove of garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 cup freshly chopped herbs of your choice (they recommend a mix of parsley and mint), 1 1/2 tsp ground pepper, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Pulse all ingredients together until well mixed and the herbs and garlic are coarsely chopped. Quick Miso Maple Sauce This umami-filled sauce from brings a lot of flavor with just three simple ingredients: 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce, 1/2 cup maple syrup, and 1/4 cup miso paste. That’s it! Whisk the ingredients together and pour over oven-roasted, pan-seared, or grilled chicken and serve. These three sauces are a great place to start, but if you find yourself uninspired in the kitchen, just look up “simple sauces” online and the protein or vegetable you’re preparing. The internet will come to the rescue every time! CookWith the Same Ingredients Without Getting Bored THE SECRET SAUCE

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Have you had the same website for the last year? The last five years? The last 10?!

If you have, consider this your reminder: It’s a new year, and you need a new look.

When potential customers find you online, your website is your handshake, so you want to make the best first impression possible. Don’t greet them with a limp, sweaty palm! 5 SIGNS THAT IT’S TIME FOR AN UPGRADE

If your website is ...

1. Tough to navigate from a smartphone 2. Antiquated, with an outdated design 3. Missing a chat box or other communication feature

4. Not up to date with the latest security and SEO optimization 5. Missing a strong call to action that grabs readers


Let us take your website to the next level, protect your data, and bring in the customers you need.

Call our office today at 804-730-2628 or visit to set up a consultation, and we’ll craft you a handshake that closes the deal, every time. Security. Availability. Support.

WORRIED ABOUT HACKERS? YOUR TEAM MIGHT BE YOUR WEAKNESS! Protect Your Company With Cybersecurity Awareness Training

for 90% of all data breaches in 2019, according to Retruster. Avoiding these breaches is as simple as teaching your team the basics, like ...

Last year, the Texas-based IT company SolarWinds fell victim to foreign hackers. They breached the firm’s security systems and accessed the data of 18,000 of SolarWinds’ customers. Those customers included Microsoft, Intel, Kent State University, and even the Department of Homeland Security. Yikes!

1. Hovering over links before clicking them to check whether the website they redirect to is legitimate 2. Checking the email address a message came from before responding or clicking links 3. Contacting a manager about suspicious emails Here at Sklar, we offer comprehensive Cybersecurity Awareness Training sessions that will teach your team these tips and more. (You might also benefit from joining in — according to the Wall Street Journal, CEOs are at the greatest risk of falling for scams.)

Attacks like this one keep entrepreneurs up at night. You may have even spent hours tossing and turning, wondering if your clients’ information is safe. If you have, we have two pieces of good news. First, our team can help you with all of your cybersecurity needs, including secure file storage. Second, it’s very unlikely that your company will be the target of Russian hackers or folks sneaking into your building with thumb drives. It’s far more likely that your employees will hand over your data to hackers by accidentally falling for a scam — and these mistakes are entirely preventable!

When you’re ready to start protecting your data, visit to access a free training session on “3 Secrets Your Employees Need to Know So They Don’t Fall for Scams.” From there, you can schedule a Cybersecurity Awareness Training session for your whole company that will keep you and your clients safe.

Most small businesses don’t provide any cybersecurity training for their employees. That means your team could be your biggest weakness! Phishing (aka the practice of sending fraudulent emails to gain information) accounted

One-Pan Apple Cider Chicken Inspired by

Bring the taste of fall into your kitchen with this sizzling skillet meal.

Ingredients •

• • •

4 tsp olive oil, divided

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

3 sweet apples, cut into 1/2-inch slices 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped, plus more for garnish

• • • •

1 tsp salt, divided

1/2 tsp black pepper, divided

1/2 cup apple cider 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions 1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Set aside. 2. In a small bowl, combine apple cider and mustard. Set aside. 3. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tsp olive oil. When shimmering, add chicken thighs top-side down. Cook for 4 minutes,

then flip and cook for 4 more minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Wipe the skillet clean. 4. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet, then add sliced apples, remaining salt and pepper, and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes. 5. Return the chicken to the skillet and add apple cider-mustard mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, then serve sprinkled with rosemary!

Security. Availability. Support .................................................................................... 804-730-2628 • 3

7462 Old Hickory Drive Mechanicsville, VA 23111 804-730-2628


Inside This Issue

1 2

Randy’s 3-Step Approach to Persuading Tough Cookies

Let Sauces Bring New Life to Tired Meals

3 Things to Try Before You Hire


Why Your Employees Need Cybersecurity Awareness Training

One-Pan Apple Cider Chicken


Get a Jump on Winter Blues With Fall Exercise


matters is that you do it. Stay active! While it’s a bummer that you can’t go trail running or biking, any exercise is better than none.

Less sunlight can have a negative impact on your mental well-being, and as you head into the darker, chillier months, worsening weather and shorter days can make staying in shape more of a chore than a joy. But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. With a few tricks, you can thrive through the cold season. Finding ways to stay active while cooped up inside has never been easier. Thanks to the pandemic, online exercise courses, at-home workouts, and remote Zumba classes grew in popularity and are still going strong. If you embraced these for your summer workouts to avoid the heat, you can continue that routine this fall and winter and keep up your exercise, mixing it up if one course gets stale.

And don’t wait to get started: Add that “winter workout” into your weekly routine now. Not only will it help make the transition a little easier when you can’t go for your morning run, but also, if you’re trying a new sport, activity, or exercise, it gives you a buffer in case you decide it’s not for you after all.

Similarly, winter provides a great time to focus on a new type of fitness goal, like building muscle in an indoor facility or taking martial arts classes at the gym. It doesn’t matter what you do; what Don’t let bad weather or fewer daylight hours be an excuse for less exercise. Your brain will thank you, and who knows? You might actually have fun, too! 4 • .................................................................................... Security. Availability. Support.

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