Sklar Technology - February 2020


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


The Cure to Uninformed Decisions

O ver the years, I have seen a lot of new business owners take over companies. I always want to root for them because I remember being in that position. I took over Sklar Technology Partners from my dad. But when a new owner starts to make decisions in the business, their first move is fairly common: They cut costs. It’s amazing how many people cut costs as their first move. They want to make the business they’re taking over more profitable, so they decide that reducing costs and raising prices are the equations to get them there. How did I never think of this? In all my years of running a business, reading business books, improving company culture, and getting my people more engaged, how did I not realize all I had to do was cut costs and increase my prices? Sarcasm aside, there is a time and a place to cut costs. For example, when my parents ran Sklar Technology, they needed really good health insurance. But when they left, I was the oldest person at the company, and everyone was in great health. We were suddenly overpaying for insurance, so I cut that cost. But from what I’ve seen, when a new owner takes over a business, they often cut costs without any real reason. They’re making uninformed decisions, which in business is basically the equivalent of putting diesel in a gas car; it’s a bad idea that will always come back to bite them. What’s the key to ‘great’ business?

Is my financial advisor overcharging me?

Good financial advisors are hard to find. I’m really happy to work with my advisor because he’s a great guy and does a great job. However, not long ago, I was looking at the numbers, and it looked like he was overcharging me. Rather than jump on the phone to chew him out or switch to a cheaper service, I did some research. I reached out to a friend of mine who works in financial services. I asked him to look at the numbers and see if I was getting a good value. Turns out, my guy wasn’t overcharging me — I just didn’t understand his fees. The fees are pretty confusing, but when my friend talked me through them, it was clear my advisor had put the fees for multiple accounts all in one account. In the end, I didn’t need to change advisors, because my guy was doing a lot of other things of value for me. I don’t want to think about the mistake I would have made had I acted on impulse and switched to a different advisor based on price tag alone. I could have been in a lot of trouble. It’s easy to make a bad decision. That’s why business owners should always get as much data as possible before making big choices. A great way to do that is by talking to experts. When I’m thinking about buying a business, I talk to a guy in town who specializes in selling businesses. He’s able to look at the deal and tell me if there’s anything I should be worried about. Play it smart!

Pro Tip: Never take your current provider’s invoice to a new provider and ask if they can beat it. Not only is this unethical, but you also don’t know if they can perform the services based on a price tag alone. Another way I make informed decisions is by being part of groups with other professionals. For years, I’ve been a member of The Virginia Council of CEOs. This is an organization of business leaders in Virginia from all different industries. I don’t do business with anyone in that group, so when I talk to them about issues or have conversations, there’s no ulterior motive. We’re genuinely trying to help each other. Even the most experienced entrepreneur can make a bad business call, but making uninformed decisions is always a rookie mistake. This includes cutting costs on impulse, firing an employee without getting the full story, or putting diesel in a gas car.

–Randy Sklar


Avoid a Bad Sales Reputation With These Tips Sell With Your Heart

Everyone has a website these days. Every business you frequent, every artist you hear on the radio, and even your nephew’s podcast has a website! Websites are the first step in letting customers know you’re legitimate. But since everyone has a website, the question becomes, “How do you make yours stand out from the rest?” It’s not as hard as you might think. Here are three questions every great website must answer. ‘Who are you?’ Never assume that people know who you are based on your website name or branding alone. As soon as your webpage loads, it should be abundantly clear who you are and what you offer. This doesn’t mean your company bio should be at the top of your home page. A single sentence should be enough to get this message across. BETTER THAN THE REST 3 Questions for a Superior Website Lemonade Insurance Company’s website opens boldly: “Forget Everything You Know About Insurance.” Visitors don’t know everything about the company just yet, but they know they’re not about to buy beverages. ‘Who is this for?’ Your demographic is obvious to you, but it might not be to anyone else. If you’re a beauty supplier that only serves salons, you don’t want the everyday consumer spending a lot of time on your website only to be disappointed when they can’t order your goods. Example:

Let’s face it: Salespeople get a bad rap. Scammers, con artists, and inexperienced or unempathetic sellers make it hard to convince customers you have their best interests in mind. Here are three qualities every salesperson must have to convincingly sell with heart.

A Win-Win

The most important trait of an ethical salesperson is having a product or service that is honest and true. You can’t ethically peddle something that doesn’t have value for your potential customers. Sure, it’s exciting to make a sale. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, and the payout isn’t too bad, either. But if what you’re selling doesn’t also benefit your customer , then you’re no better than a swindler. Your product has to be a win for the customer, and you have to believe in it wholeheartedly to succeed. The sale is done. The dotted line is signed. The customer is happy, and you are excited. Time to forget about them and move on to the next sale, right? Wrong. You have to follow up with customers after a successful sale. If anything has gone wrong, checking in will allow you to be proactive in fixing it. Being proactive builds trust and bolsters your chance of a referral. It also lets you learn from happy and dissatisfied customers. You can discover what worked, what didn’t, and what they wish they had known before buying. Picking up the phone — or dropping in — to leave a post- sale impression could be more valuable than you realize. The ‘How Ya Doin’?’ Call


On Sklar Technology Partners’ website, we’re very clear about who our services are for: “Serving Richmond’s Elite Businesses Since 1982.”

‘How can I buy?’ Don’t be coy here. If you end up with a customer who likes your pitch and is ready to buy, sign up, or subscribe, don’t make them search around on your website any longer. Your checkout buttons should be attractive and easy to find without being intrusive or distracting.

Just Listen


A good salesperson knows what their customers want. They actually listen to what customers are saying and don’t second-guess customers’ needs. Many people associate salespeople with smooth-talking and wittiness. But in reality, a good salesperson just needs to be a good listener. When a customer says, “I just want something that works,” they are not looking for the latest and greatest model. They just want something that works .

Every item listed on Simply Chocolate’s website features an “Add to Box” button in a color that matches the chocolate bar’s wrapper. The “box” (shopping cart) is listed clearly at the top corner of the screen at all times. Customers can check out the moment they’re ready.

Selling with your heart is easier than it appears, and these methods are a solid foundation for creating strong, lasting customer relationships.

A website alone won’t close a deal, but it can determine whether or not a customer wants to do business with you at all.

YOUR MOTHER WAS RIGHT (SORT OF) 4 Reasons Good Posture Really Does Matter

“If you don’t sit straight, you’re going to get a hunchback!”

to digestive problems, including acid reflux and constipation.

3. Slouching leads to headaches. When you slouch, you force your head to crane forward, creating chronic tension in the muscles of the neck and back. Many headaches are the result of this “tech neck” pose. 4. Good posture is better for your muscles and joints. Think of your body like a building. When you sit upright, everything is aligned and weight is disputed evenly. By slouching, you force more stress on certain parts of your body, like your spine. This leads to muscle pain, overuse disorders, and chronic pain. “Posture isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about keeping the entire body functioning normally,” says Dr. Marilyn Moffat, a professor of physical therapy at New York University. Poor posture is a real threat to our health. Many Americans

Heard at every dinner table whenever a child is slouching, this is the anthem of concerned mothers across the United States. It turns out, Mom was right (like always). Bad posture really can have a negative impact on your body. Here are four reasons to be more aware of your posture. 1. Slouching makes it harder to breathe. When you slouch, you restrict the range of motion of your sternum and rib cage. By sitting upright, your sternum can expand fully, making it easier to breathe deeply and get your body the oxygen it needs. 2. Good posture improves circulation and digestion. Slouching compresses your inner abdominal organs. This means your heart is working a little harder and your gastrointestinal apparatus is impaired. Poor posture can contribute

spend most of their time sitting, either at their work desks, in their cars, or in front of the TV. Build good posture by sitting up straight and tall, keeping shoulders back, and placing both feet flat on the floor. While poor posture never forced anyone to move into a bell tower, it’s clear that our posture really impacts our overall health.

Inspired by Food Network Apple Cider Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients •

• • • • • •

Salt and pepper to taste 4 boneless chicken breasts

1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved 2 gala apples, cut into wedges 1 red onion, cut into wedges

• • • •

1 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped

2 tbsp butter, divided 2/3 cup apple cider 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 sprigs rosemary

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions 1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. On a baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts, apples, onion, and rosemary sprigs in olive oil, salt, and pepper. 3. Roast vegetable and fruit mixture until tender, about 25–30 minutes, flipping halfway. 4. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary. 5. In an ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter. Add chicken and cook 6 minutes on one side. Flip and cook 2 more minutes. 6. Pour cider onto chicken. Roast in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and let it rest on cutting board. 7. Return skillet to stove on medium-high and simmer sauce until reduced by half. 8. Swirl remaining 1 tbsp of butter with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slice chicken and divide among plates with roasted vegetables and serve.

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


Inside This Issue

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The Worst ‘Best’ Business Decision Selling With Compassion 3 Lessons From the Best Websites Sit Up Straight! Apple Cider Chicken and Brussels Sprouts You CAN Have Fun While Working Out



3 Reasons to Start Rock Climbing

This Workout ROCKS!

“On belay?”

Teaching your mind and your body to work together while rock climbing can also build endurance and reduce stress.

“Belay on!”

No, these aren’t strange magic spells. They’re basic safety commands rock climbers use before they start their ascent. Rock climbing as a hobby and a workout has been growing in popularity over the last few years, thanks in part to popular documentaries like “Free Solo” and “Meru.” But if you’re still not ready to chalk up and start climbing, here are a few more reasons to add “belay on” to your vocabulary. It’s a fun full-body workout. Getting a full-body workout usually means hating every second of it. This isn’t the case with rock climbing, though. Most people take up rock climbing because it’s fun. Reaching the top of a wall is like solving a puzzle with your whole body. That said, fun doesn’t mean easy. An intense climb works out your back muscles, biceps, abs, and legs. Research published in The Scientific World Journal found that climbers can burn up to 10 calories a minute — without even getting drenched in sweat during their workout. It improves your shoulders and your mind! Physical strength alone won’t get you to the top of a wall. Rock climbing is a physical and mental challenge. Some problems call for fancy footwork, creative problem-solving, or going for a rock that seems out of reach.

It strengthens your relationships.

Rock climbing, especially top rope climbing, is one of the best workouts to do with a partner. Top roping is a type of climbing where you strap into a harness, tie yourself to a rope, and climb up a wall while your partner holds the rope, ready to catch you. In other words, your

partner “belays” you. It’s the ultimate trust fall. Facing the challenges of rock climbing with your partner also teaches you how to overcome adversity together and improves communication as you both work to conquer the wall. The best part about rock climbing is that it’s easy to try out. Most climbing gyms rent out the supplies you need for a small fee. And with hundreds of climbing gyms open across the United States, there’s no wall blocking the way of you and your favorite new workout.

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