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March 2020 Newsletter 


Five Lessons Learned from Hurricane Andrew

I never imagined I would have to go through a second natural disaster in my lifetime. After the events of the past week, it appears to be the case. Almost 20 years ago, I first wrote about my experience with Hurricane Andrew and the lessons learned. As I re-read the article below, it occurred to me that these lessons might be just as applicable today as they were then. I hope that each of you learns from my experience.   


Ten years ago, Hurricane Andrew assaulted South Florida. I lived and owned a business in the city of Homestead, which was hardest hit by the storm. Since then, I've had considerable time to ponder the lessons I learned before, during, and after the Hurricane. From the perspective of a small business owner, there are five identifiable lessons that will stay with me for a lifetime.

Hurricane Andrew was a Category 5 monster with winds exceeding 145 mph. It was the most costly weather disaster in U.S. history, inflicting over $25 billion in damages in South Florida. The storm killed 15 people in Miami-Dade County and was indirectly responsible for at least 25 other deaths. It destroyed over 25,000 homes (mine included) and damaged over 100,000 additional houses. At least 180,000 people were temporarily left homeless.

After the Hurricane, we had 23,000 soldiers and 6,000 members of the National Guard move into our "neighborhood". Helicopters flew in formation. Convoys thundered through residential streets and over massive amounts of debris. There were military checkpoints at what used to be busy traffic intersections. Schools were destroyed. Common landmarks such as trees, buildings, and signs were gone. I got lost in my own sub-division. It was a scene to which I can't even begin to draw comparisons.

Within days of the storm, we decided to rebuild our home and our business in their original locations. We knew both efforts would be huge undertakings, but we had no idea just how challenging the experience would be.  For six months, we operated our travel agency out of a trailer in a gravel parking lot behind the previous site of our building.

The Hurricane relocated most of our files, airline tickets, and small office equipment somewhere west of us in the Everglades National Park. We worked with temporary phones, makeshift desks, and a port-a-let. Getting to work each day was a minor miracle. Making it through each day required extraordinary patience and resilience.  By the time we were able to move back into our new office and resume some level of normalcy, we had learned a number of rather simple business lessons we would not forget.


Health and Fitness guru Rami Odeh owned and operated a successful fitness center in Sandy Springs, GA for more than 20 years. Today, Rami continues to help people change their lives and companies lower healthcare costs through consulting, coaching, and public speaking. He is also the author of Quiet the Noise, available on amazon.com, and the guest speaker at our upcoming SBM @LUNCH, April 28. 

On this episode of Small Business Matters the Podcast, Rami Odeh shares his experiences around entrepreneurship, surviving 2008, understanding the Why, the importance of knowing when to ask for help, and developing an exit strategy.


May 15, 2020 - Small Business Matters 2020 Conference 

We have no plans to cancel this year's event. SHOULD we need to reschedule the May conference, we'll let you know the new date as soon as possible. 

I would personally like to thank the following conference sponsors and speakers for being so supportive of our efforts during this unique time. 

2019 SBM Conference Highlights

Thank You SBM 2020 Conference Speakers!
Thank You SBM 2020 Conference Sponsors!


Nine Lies About Work
by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall       

Every time I begin to think I understand people and work, I read a great book or hear an amazing speaker and it completely shatters all that I think I know. This happened again with Marcus Buckingham's most recent best-seller Nine Lies About Work.

In 1999, Marcus  Buckingham wrote one of the all-time great books on management entitled First Break All The Rules. Now he has teamed up with Ashley Goodall to write a book that both aligns with his previous best-seller and debunks much of what we have come to believe are the realities of modern-day management.

Below are several examples of work "lies" Buckingham and Goodall explore in the book.
The Lie: People care which company they work for.
Reality: People care which team they're on.
The Lie: The best companies cascade goals.
Reality: People don't need to be told what to do; they want to be told why.
The Lie: The best people are well-rounded.
Reality: The best people are spiky (excel at some things and weak at others)
The Lie: People need feedback.
Reality: People need attention.

In each case, authors Buckingham and Goodall use hard data to debunk the lie and then provide ample evidence and rich examples to prove the reality. If you choose to read this book, be prepared to let go of most of what you believe about managing people and learn the new realities.

I strongly recommend this book to any small business leader interested in successfully leading people.

Join us on Tuesday, April 28 with special guest speaker, Rami F. Odeh, MS. 

Don't miss this dynamic, interactive presentation on the latest research in health and wellness. Never before has the world been so focused on health. Remember, the best thing you can do to avoid getting sick is to be lean, rested and healthy! During this presentation, Coach Rami (CoachRami.com) will: 

  • Discuss the importance of your "why" and how to find it!
  • Outline a general nutritional plan to lose body fat and maintain lean mass
  • Outline the body fat loss benefits of exercise
  • Dispel some of the common myths about nutrition, weight training and cardiovascular exercise.

Event Location: First Citizens Bank   
3300 Cumberland Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA 30339

(Note: The April @Lunch may be changed to a virtual meeting. Stay tuned for updates). 

Register Now and Bring a Friend!


Thank you to our 2020 SBM@Lunch Sponsor: 
About First Citizens Bank

With a 121 year history and presence in 19 states,  First Citizens is one of the largest family controlled banks in the nation.  As a family-run bank, First Citizens continues to build their bank by serving primarily family-owned businesses, as well as small non-profits. 

Specifically, we are the leaders in Healthcare and Professional Services, Owner-Occupied Real Estate, as well as Equipment Lending. We take pride in building long-term, consultative relationships, and have built a process that provides our clients with quicker feedback, more transparency, and very competitive rates. 


Twitter Stats for 2020
  • Twitter has 145 million daily active users
  • 30 Million (20%) of its daily users are American
  • 44% of Americans age 18-24 use Twitter
  • 12% of Americans get their news from Twitter
  • A median user Tweets twice a month
  • People watch 2 billion videos on twitter each day
  • The name of the Twitter bird is "Larry" (Larry T. Bird) for Boston Celtics legend, Larry Bird. 


"If you don't want to slip, don't go where it's slippery."  

- Alcoholics Anonymous Maxim



Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

Remember, small business does MATTER.

President & CEO
Small Business Matters
(678) 427-9436

"Dedicated to Increasing the Effectiveness and Enhancing the Lives of CEOs"