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After 25 years, this ‘small-business champion’ isn’t done helping Philly women

Article by Diane Mastrull

Photo by Jonathan Wilson

The seven simple words were the ultimate in praise for a woman hardwired to change lives: “You made a difference in the world.”

They were directed at Lynne Cutler, founder and president of Women’s Opportunities Resource Center, better known as WORC. Speaking was John Fleming, acting district director of the Small Business Administration, who was in Philadelphia earlier this month to declare Cutler the SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Champion.

There were several standing among the 200-plus audience members whose lives were touched by Cutler, including Rosliana and Mitchell Zigmund, Roz Brait, Gerry Fioriglio, and Cassandra Hayes, to name a few.

They are bakers, an operator of a home-care company, and the founder of a business specializing in customized promotional products, just some of the recipients of microloans, entrepreneurial training, and other support that WORC has provided to thousands in Philadelphia, its suburbs and northern Delaware – primarily, but not exclusively, women – since Cutler launched the nonprofit 25 years ago.

Over the years, the organization has issued 783 microloans – averaging about $7,500 and totaling $3.8 million – to help businesses start or expand. About 3,700 people have enrolled in its business-training classes. Under the Family Savings Program, WORC estimates nearly 1,600 families put away $3.4 million, which was matched by an equal amount. Combined with outside resources such as mortgages and education grants, the total economic impact was $52 million, Cutler said.

WORC was one of the first microenterprise programs in the nation that focused on entrepreneurship and asset-building to help lower-income people and families achieve economic self-sufficiency. Cutler suggests creating it was her destiny.

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Curb Appeal

Maximizing Your Curb Appeal 


How many chances do you get to make a first impression?   

 Yes, it’s a trick question.  Are you, or your company, ready to welcome new residents, employees and clients? 

 A first impression promotes your investment, reveals your decisions and shows your pride.  If guests arrive at your office, apartment complex or other facility, and see unkempt grounds or dying plants, they immediately lower their expectations.  These negative assumptions, like judging a book by its cover, can affect occupancy rates, and ultimately sales. 

 A property manager can assess the curb appeal of a building or campus and essentially work from the ground up to refresh the property. 

 First step: Contact a lawn maintenance company. 

 Local and national “landscape management” companies provide the ideal services to help create a positive image on your grounds.  Determine the schedule, services and fees that accommodate the size of the property.  When you find a company that provides great results, consider contracting them for additional properties. 

 Second step: Look for a maintenance plan that includes: 

 Consultations – determine frequency of landscaping service and treatment options. 

Pre-emergent herbicides – apply to keep weeds and crab grass away with this preventative treatment. 

Fertilizing – schedule to add nutrients to the soil and flower beds and encourage a greener lawn. 

Irrigation – keep your investment from drying out with a timed sprinkler system and keep mulch fresh in flower beds to retain moisture. 

Inspections – protect the lawn, shrubs, flowers and trees from insects and other diseases 

Seasonal clean-up – prune and trim trees and shrubs, weed and re-mulch flower beds, rake and remove debris. 

 Third Step: Maximize your real estate. 

 Rich green grass and lush trees welcome visitors to your property.  Encourage them to stay with essential add-ons that enhance your landscaping plan. 

 Apartment complexes and townhome communities may be designed with park-like common areas or tree-lined walkways.  Consider enhancing the property and resident satisfaction by staging social areas, a community garden or quiet retreats. Property managers will see the immediate results of adding extra elements that appeal to realtors and potential new tenants too. 

 Outdoor socializing – add benches, tables and umbrellas for residents to eat outside or visit with friends and family. 

Zen garden – create a peaceful sanctuary with a waterfall, koi pond or rock garden. 

Small details – hang windchimes or flowering plants or add large decorative pots with herbs or flowers to keep insects away or attract butterflies. 

Lighting – install solar-powered lights on walkways for guests to enjoy the landscaping into the evening. 

Gardening – Assign a small plot of land for residents to maintain a garden to promote sustainability and reduce the carbon footprint. 

 Business complexes can also utilize enhanced grounds: 

 Outdoor offices – this trend continues to rise as teams venture outside (for some fresh air) for a change of scenery and team building opportunities. 

Welcoming guests – invite guests to relax on a bench before an appointment or meet with them at an outdoor table in the shade.  

Vendors – utilize the outdoor space for hosting special events like “Food Truck Friday,” ping pong, washers or horse shoes tournaments. 

 Designing specialized outdoor spaces encourages residents or workers to interact.  The campus environment builds a sense of community and promotes longevity. 

 Lay the groundwork to promote your business, by improving your curb appeal today. 


Are You Doing All You Can To Combat Superbugs?

It’s an unfortunate fact that in recent years, superbugs have become a concern and a threat to all of us. They are things we need to be aware of and pay attention to so that we can do the best we can to prevent them from spreading and doing more damage.

The latest superbug that is relevant to our area is C. auris, which the CDC just added to their list of “urgent threats”. This fungus has been quietly spreading across the world, but was most recently found in New York, New Jersey and Illinois, as well as solitary cases in other states. Nearly 600 cases have been confirmed across the US. This fungus preys on those with weakened immune systems, and in the last five years has taken a hold in a neonatal unit in Venezuela, a hospital in Spain, a British medical center, and has also shown up in India, Pakistan and South Africa. It is estimated that almost half of those infected die within 90 days.

Unfortunately, as things like fungus and bacterias become immune to medications, the focus needs to shift to facility cleanliness, personal hygiene, infection control and a cross-contamination efforts. It becomes imperative for organizations to alter the way that they clean so that nothing is able to remain there and multiply. Some fungus and bacteria can live on surfaces for weeks if the area is not properly cleaned and sanitized.

How does one go about sanitizing and ridding their facility of a potential superbug? The answer is that it requires specific products and processes. Even cleaning professional know that eradicating superbugs is no easy task. Cleaning and sanitizing methods that can spray and disinfect on both hard or soft surfaces, and reach into even the tightest spots will go a long way in assuring that bacteria and fungus cannot survive and wreak more havoc. Prevention and awareness are the best tools to use to help keep things like superbugs from spreading. If you have specific concerns, be sure to speak to your corporate cleaning partner about the ways that are available to keep your facility as clean and protected as possible.

Get the Most Out of Disinfecting & Sanitizing

Let’s go over to disinfect, disinfect most hospitals or all hospitals as you know have to have a strong disinfect policy. Let’s go back and say you have to clean all surfaces before you disinfect that’s very important because if you don’t you must clean your surfaces before disinfecting you just can’t spray disinfectant and think that it’s going to kill all bacteria or germs you have to first disinfect with an approved disinfector that kills 9.9999% of bacteria now there’s a difference sanitizing, sanitizing kill
9.99% disinfecting.

How to deal with cold and flu.

At colleges and universities oh my my-my I remember when there was a flu epidemic at my college and you know I believe fighting the flu is as simple as paying attention to disinfectant you have to disinfect but sometimes people have a tendency to over disinfect so you know if you know during the cold and flu seasons you train your cleaners to train your cleaners to disinfect touch points.

How to Make a Facility Manager Smile part 2


For him or her meaning the facility manager to know exactly what happened the night before. Communication is key that’s how you make a facility manager smile do your job, clean the building, pristine communicate any issues that may have happened the day before communicate, communicate and over communicate sometimes I think
another thing that makes a facility manager smile is the comfort level that
they have in the cleaning staff. Knowing that when they come in everything is going to be done and consistently done.

Second Most Challenging Job! Part 2

I hit the streets with my crew, I went to homeless shelters, I went to people who weren’t in homeless shelters, I begged I borrowed, I did everything that I could to get the people there. I believe we had to have 200 people for that day and 45 minutes to clean it up and they thought that we couldn’t do it. The powers to be thought that we could not do this and we did it in 45 minutes it was like it was challenging but it was like a thing of art I love cleaning I just absolutely love cleaning.


The Safer, Healthier Cleaning Solution

When we shop for cleaning supplies, most of us only expect them to clean. What we don’t expect is that. What we don’t expect is that the chemicals in many commercial cleaners contribute to indoor air pollution and can also be harmful if they are inhaled or touched. View Donna Allie, owner of Team Clean, talking about her quest to provide a safer, healthier alternative to her clients by using green cleaning products.


Top Forty Tips from Award-Winning Entrepreneurs

This article was written by Eric T. Wagner, Forbes contributor

Millionaires. Centimillionaires. Billionaires.

Every one of them gathered together in the desert at the ‘ Entrepreneur Of The Year gala hosted by Ernst & Young and sponsored by The Kauffman Foundation For Entrepreneurship .

Yes — I’m in heaven. Thirty years of entrepreneurship under my own belt, but always seeking guidance from the best.

So with my pad and pen, I set out on a mission to get the top tips and insight from America’s best entrepreneurs. Ears perched, I wrote it all down so I could share it with you.

Without further delay, I hand you the top 40 tips by award winning entrepreneurs:

  1. “You have to be passionate about solving the pain of your customers. The drive has to come from somewhere other than money.” – Philip Anson Jr., CEO of STS Aviation , 2013 EY Regional Award Winner
  2. “The more you put in, the more you get out. The more you put in, the more you get out. The more you put in, the more you get out.” – Donna Allie, Founder & President of Team Clean , 2013 EY Award Winner
  3. “You have to love what you’re doing. The best entrepreneurs have something to prove and it’s not about the money. And when you realize you’re not good at something, you need to try something else.” – David M. Rubenstein, Co-Founder of The Carlyle Group , 2012 Large-Cap Firm of the Year in North America by Private Equity International
  4. “You have to be able to take the risk and be prepared to lose everything.” – Hank & Donna Roth, Founders of Cool Gear International , 2013 EY Award Winner
  5. “Just say ‘yes’ and then figure it out later.” – Denise Wilson, Founder & CEO, Desert Jet , 2013 EY Winning Women, #69 on Inc 500 in 2012
  6. “Connecting and collaborating are your most powerful keys to success as an entrepreneur.” – Kathy Ireland, Founder, CEO & Chief Designer of kathy ireland worldwide , 2011 Phenomenal Woman Of The Year
  7. “You don’t have to be first to market, you just have to deliver and execute better.” – Jeffrey Sprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Intercontinental Exchange , Distinguished Alumnus Award, Pepperdine School of Business Management
  8. “If you’re afraid of losing money, you will not make it to success.” – Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani , 2013 World Entrepreneur Of The Year
  9. “You have to be able to break through the clutter and deliver your compelling elevator speech.” – Gary Wojtaszek, President & CEO, CyrusOne , 2013 EY Finalist
  10. “Ask powerful questions. When someone says ‘no’, ask why.” – Kathy Ireland, Founder, CEO & Chief Designer of kathy ireland worldwide , 2011 Phenomenal Woman Of The Year
  11. “Don’t delegate at the beginning. The best way to get a handle on the business is to learn every aspect. If things go well, you’ll be able to hire people to take over the tasks where you don’t add value.” – Seth Goldman, Co-Founder & President of Honest Tea , 2010 Top 5 Companies Of The Year, The Washington Post
  12. “Listen to those who have been there before.” – Karin Mayr, Founder of Sabika , 2013 EY Regional Award Winner
  13. “You need to be passionate about what you’re doing. There is nothing you won’t do when you’re passionate. You do everything and you need to be willing to do everything.” – Annette Catino, Founder & CEO of QualCare , 2013 EY Regional Award Winner
  14. “Get a finance person by your side because you absolutely need to know your numbers.” – Michelle Marciniak, Co-Founder of SHEEX , 2012 EY Winning Women
  15. “It will get hard, but don’t give up. Always trust your gut.” – Ellen Stang, Founder & CEO, Progeny Health , 2012 EY Winning Women
  16. “Find a mentor who has already done it, but you better have something to bring to the table. Your ‘why’ will be the reason and it has to be bigger than you. Be fearless and never be worried about hearing ‘no’. No is never an indication of your potential.” – Phyllis Newhouse, Founder & CEO, Xtreme Solutions , 2013 EY Winning Women
  17. “Failure does not mean stop, it’s simply a u-turn to keep going.” – Lisa Williams, Founder & CEO, World Of EPI , 2013 EY Winning Women
  18. “Do the right thing — you always know what it is in your gut.” – Julia Beardwood, Founder of Beardwood & Co , 2013 EY Winning Women
  19. “When it gets tough you have to gut it out because that’s the moment that differentiates.” – Kelsey Ramsden, Founder of Belvedere Place Contracting , 2013 Winning Women
  20. “Solve a problem and create something that people need.” – Brian Schultz, Founder of Studio Movie Grill , 2013 Entrepreneur Of The Year Regional Award Winner
  21. “Don’t focus only on your business. Keep your ears to the ground and be ready for constant reinvention. No sitting back on your fat laurels.” – Jennifer Blumin, Founder of Skylight Group , 2013 EY Winning Women
  22. “You have to know what you’re doing and know your numbers. Period.” – Andra Rush, Founder & CEO, The Rush Group and Detroit Manufacturing Systems , 2013 Entrepreneur Of The Year Regional Award Winner
  23. “Failure is your best friend on the way to success.” Dr. Kjell Nordstrom , Business Author & Associate Professor Stockholm School Of Economics, Thinkers 50 List Award
  24. “Build it brick by brick. Don’t quit. Go around obstacles, but don’t get too high on the ups either.” – Lawrence Harding, Founder & President, High Street Partners , 2013 EY Award Winner
  25. “I got fired and started a company, so don’t be afraid to take a risk. Do it from your heart and always be humble enough to hire above yourself.” – Leslie Firtell, Founder & CEO, Tower Legal Solutions , 2012 EY Winning Women, 2013 EY Winning Women Judge
  26. “You need to get credibility by becoming a subject matter expert. Always execute with excellence and lean forward to take smart risks. Above all; listen to your gut.” – Karri Bass, Co-Founder & CEO, Illumination Research , 2013 EY Winning Women
  27. “Money is just a tool to make things happen.” – Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani , 2013 World Entrepreneur Of The Year
  28. “Flexibility is key. You have to navigate the twists and turns and make lemonade out of lemons. And never squander money. Treat each dollar as if it were your own, even if it comes from your investors.” – Adrienne Choma, Founder & Sr. Vice President, Saladax Biomedical , 2013 EY Winning Women
  29. “You have to make your moment and get them to call your name. And to win, you have to go all in. Not half in. Not part way in. All in.” Pat Riley , President, Miami Heat, 2012 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award
  30. “Trust yourself. And remember making big leaps requires paradoxical thinking. When you have big goals, you often feel like you’re swimming upstream when everyone is pushing you back down in the other direction. But that’s what you want — a different result compared with what most everyone else wants or is willing to do what it takes to get.” Ali Brown , Founder and CEO of Elevate , 2010 EY Winning Women
  31. “Telling your story right is hugely important because at the end of the day, you’re selling a story — not a number.” – Michael Small, President & CEO of gogo , 2013 CEO Of The Year Illinois Tech Association
  32. “Celebrate the victories along the way.” – Jonny Jones, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Jones Energy Inc. , 2012 Entrepreneur Of The Year Regional Award Winner
  33. “Learn how to write and talk. You are always trying to persuade someone.” – David M. Rubenstein, Co-Founder of The Carlyle Group , 2012 Large-Cap Firm of the Year in North America by Private Equity International
  34. “Don’t let anyone’s opinion of you destroy you. You have to believe in what you do.” – Kathy Ireland, Founder, CEO & Chief Designer of kathy ireland worldwide , 2011 Phenomenal Woman Of The Year
  35. “You must ask. You must ask for the sale. You must ask for the referral. You must ask for clarity. And you absolutely MUST ask for help. It is not possible to grow a business by yourself. Many entrepreneurs are brilliant, but it takes a team.” – Joy E. Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO, Taygan Point Consulting Group , 2013 EY Winning Women, 2013 Inc. 5000
  36. “You must exist as a business with a better angle.” – Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani , 2013 World Entrepreneur Of The Year
  37. “Find the 10 smartest and most relevant people in your industry and read everything they produce. I would learn from their wisdom as both a short cut to excellence and a competitive opportunity.” – Tim McMullen, Founder and CEO, Redpepper , 2009 & 2010 American Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year
  38. “Be curious and question everything. I was extremely curious why no one was making a better nut butter and wasn’t afraid to generate my own answers when I didn’t understand or like the responses.” – Justin Gold, Founder and CEO, Justin’s , 2013 Entrepreneur Of The Year Regional Award Winner
  39. “Have an unflinching belief in what you’re doing. Stay authentic. Don’t go for the land grab.” – Raegan Moya-Jones, Co-Founder & CEO, aden + anais , 2013 EY Winning Women
  40. “Rejection is a gift and failure is the best educator. So when someone knocks you down, get back up.” – Kathy Ireland, Founder, CEO & Chief Designer of kathy ireland worldwide , 2011 Phenomenal Woman Of The Year

There you have it. 40 powerful bites of wisdom you can stick on your mirror and live by as an entrepreneur. And since these come from the mouths of the very best, you’d be a fool not to.

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