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Serial ADA Plaintiff Theresa Brooke Returns to Arizona

Posted By Dawn Anderson, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, PLC, Friday, July 7, 2017

 By: Lindsay Leavitt Attorney, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.

Serial plaintiff Theresa Brooke is back in Arizona filing more ADA accessibility lawsuits.  Arizona hotel owners will remember that it was Theresa Brooke who, in 2015, opened the floodgates of accessibility lawsuits—she personally sued more than 100 hotels for failing to install wheelchair accessible pool lifts. For the past eighteen months she and her counsel, Peter K. Strojnik, have been touring California filing hundreds of “pool lift” lawsuits. She ran into problems, however, when California courts questioned her standing to file her lawsuits because she never actually visited the hotels (and therefore did not personally encounter the barriers to accessibility).

With her latest set of ADA lawsuits, Theresa Brooke attempts to get around the standing requirements by alleging that the websites of the defendant hotels (all based in the Denver area) do not allow her to reserve wheelchair accessible rooms online. This is a novel argument—and, if successful, could theoretically allow Theresa Brooke to sue hotels all across the country without personally visiting any of them. Theresa Brooke’s lawsuits are also unique because website accessibility lawsuits are typically brought by a person with visual or hearing impairments. Theresa Brooke has neither.

Theresa Brooke’s first-of-its-kind lawsuits raise a number of legal issues. For example, does the U.S. District Court of Arizona have specific personal jurisdiction over these Denver-area hotels? Courts have generally declined to assert personal jurisdiction solely on the basis of web advertising and instead look to see whether the defendants has more active contacts with a forum.

Regarding the substance of her allegations, whether websites are places of “public accommodation” for ADA purposes is a hot topic right now and courts within the Ninth Circuit have issued rulings on both sides of the argument.  Theresa Brooke’s lawsuits, however, raise a more narrow issue—she is able to access the hotel websites, but allegedly cannot reserve a wheelchair accessible room on the website. As someone who has defended more than 300 ADA lawsuits over the past 24 months—including more than two dozen filed by Theresa Brooke—this is a unique issue and one that I haven’t seen addressed by any court. That being said, the usual ADA defenses of standing, mootness, etc., will still apply to these cases and could be successful.

Accordingly, the first step a business defendant should do after receiving a lawsuit from Ms. Brook is to contact a capable and experienced ADA defense attorney.  

_______________________________________________________________________________

Mr. Leavitt represents and advises small and mid-size businesses in employment, landlord/tenant, and general litigation matters. He often serves as a de facto general counsel to business owners, providing practical advice on a variety of legal issues. Mr. Leavitt's appreciation for small businesses is due, in part, to his own family's entrepreneurialism. His father, brother and wife are all small business owners, providing him with first-hand knowledge of the issues small businesses face, enabling him to better provide clients with real-world and cost-effective solutions. Mr. Leavitt also serves as Chair of the firm’s Food, Beverage, and Hospitality industry group.

Mr. Leavitt can be reached at  602.262.5825 or lleavitt@jsslaw.com.

 

 

Tags:  ADA  Arizona  arizona small business  small business 

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3 Reasons Your Small Business is Failing

Posted By Kim England, Fast Inc. Network, Wednesday, June 14, 2017

There is no time like when an idea, opportunity, passion, and resources all unite at once in the formation of a new business. The passion drives you to spend endless amounts of time chasing after your goals. You feel like you have these wonderful ideas that are finally taking shape. So what exactly was it that drained the life from your small business?

Isolation. Self doubt. Invisibility.

1. Isolation:

You have spent so much time under the surface level of these goals that you no longer remember the resources you have above water. This is how isolation works. A talented business owner is cast away into a creativity-killing abyss.  We seem to have this insane notion that successful people are completely independent.  This idea could not be further from the truth. Isolation avoidance is an integral part of a successful business. If you want to achieve your goals you need to rub elbows with those who know how it is done. Ideas take flight when exposed to the minds of entrepreneurs who know what they are talking about. We all want success. Why not help each other get there?

2. Self Doubt:

Ever wonder why great athletes talk so highly (dare I say, arrogantly?) of themselves? They know that to ACTUALLY be the best, they have to believe they ARE the best. This same concept works in the business world. When the newness of a small business fades, business owners can be left with a feeling of doubt and anxiety for the future of the company. This just might be the most dangerous position for a small business. You have to KNOW that you are a great business owner, that your ideas are good, and that you have what it takes to lead your business to success.

3. Invisibility:

Think you can lead a successful business without a strong social media presence?

THINK AGAIN.

We live in a media driven culture. People ask Facebook which dentist they should go to, how many eggs go in that highly-talked about recipe, and who to do business with. This reliance on social media opens a world of free advertising for small business owners, but you have to know how to work it. Which hashtags attract your target audience on Instagram and Twitter? What time of day do most people engage with others on social media? These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself. Make 2017 the year of your small business’ social media revival.  Isolation, Self-doubt, and Invisibility can be difficult obstacles to tackle on your own.

Take the first step out of isolation and sign up today for our Fast Inc. Network Founder’s Circle, September 22 & 23! For more information visit www.fastincnetwork.com

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Tags:  arizona small business  ASBA  business  business owner  entrepreneur  small biz  small business 

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Say Goodbye to Glass Ceilings

Posted By Kim England, Fast Inc. Network, Thursday, May 4, 2017

Everybody has been there. We set out to achieve our goals, and thanks to hard work and focus, those goals become a reality. We place ourselves in a bubble of success that appears to be long-lasting, and we think this is it. This is what my business does.  It is easy for us to become comfortable in our niche because more than likely it was the “bread and butter” from which the success of the company launched. However, nothing great ever came from a place of comfort. Nobody says I was so comfortable with where I was that I sprang forth this great new idea.

When Thomas Edison first invented the light bulb, it can be assumed that he was not determined to be innovative because he was completely comfortable with using a lantern as a light source for the rest of his life.

Great things come from motivated people who want more because where they are is not enough.

But what if there is more to the story? What if your business could plow through the glass ceilings that burned-out entrepreneurs place themselves under?

The first step in the process of breaking through those glass ceilings is to come to the understanding that your business does not have to keep doing what it has always done simply because it is a comfortable routine. Have you ever noticed that celebrities are continually re-branding themselves? They know that in their world, attention equals money. They cannot expect to keep the attention of their viewers forever by simply doing what they always have done. Just like notoriety, businesses have an expiration date if they do not do what it takes to keep things fresh.

Once a business owner has come to the realization that it is time to reach further, they have to locate the people who can take them where they want to be.  Connections can often be a greater resource than personal knowledge. Why place the load entirely on your shoulders when you can draw ideas from some of the greatest business minds out there. This concept of masterminding to reach success can exponentially grow your business. Founders of Fast Inc. Network, Kim and Lisha, discovered this to be the greatest truth when searching for growth opportunities in their 16-year- old business. By reaching out of isolation, they were able to 10x their business by busting through the glass ceilings that were limiting their success. This is just one example of the success that follows when you decide as a business owner that you are ready to get out of the rut, chase new goals, and destroy those glass ceilings that are holding you down.

Let us help you discover the success that exists beyond what is holding your business back.  Join us at the Fast Inc. Business Accelerator this June 7-9 in Phoenix, AZ! Register at www.fastincnetwork.com/june2017.

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Tags:  arizona  arizona small business  business development  business owner  entrepreneur  small business 

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How to add value to your business without going broke

Posted By Kim England, Fast Inc. Network, Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A universal concept that drives all businesses can be summed up in one word. Value. Even at a young age, we can determine what things are of more value than others. We knew that we had “dress clothes” and “play clothes.” This told us that one thing is of greater value than the next. We knew that As in school were of more value than Fs. It doesn’t take a person long to figure out that most things in life can be ranked by their value. Not only is the concept of value elementary, but it also expands to how we do business. Our customers want to know that the services or products that we are offering to them are equitable to the cost. This is how typical exchanges occur. However, we create loyal, repeat clients when we find ways to pack in value that gives them “more bang for their buck.”

A good business person knows that while it is important to provide value to your customers, it is equally as important to make sure that costs to oneself stay at a minimum. So how can you deliver value to your clients without going broke? These simple tips can help!

  1. Provide knowledge to your customers. There are some things in life that cannot be bought. One of those things is your experiences. No matter how you try to recreate them, your experiences are unique to your situation and knowledge. You can provide that expertise to your customers to add value to your services. Instead of just selling a product to your client, provide them with your knowledge and first-hand experiences. Not only is this of no monetary cost to you the business owner, but it also creates a fan instead of just a customer.
  2. Offering services in exchange for publicity. You can have a great product or service that you provide, but what good is that if nobody knows about it? One of the best ways you can provide value without cost is by partnering with the media to promote your business. While there may be some initial cost, partnering with the right media outlets can increase sales in dramatic ways. What media outlets do you listen to? These are the people to partner with to get the word out about your business.
  3. Offering publicity in exchange for services. Once you have secured publicity through media outlets, use that as leverage for other vendors to work with you. To be successful, collaboration is essential. Join with other businesses by offering them potential media exposure. These types of symbiotic relationships that are mutually benefiting can add value to your business with little to no cost to you.

Learn applicable strategies like these and much more at the Business Accelerator this June 7-9 in Phoenix, Arizona. Visit www.fastincnetwork.com/june2017 to register.

 


Tags:  arizona small business  business  business owner  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  small business  success 

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PET PLANET Offers Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holidays

Posted By Kristen Cherry, Pet Planet, Monday, November 14, 2016

Keeping Our Pets Safe This Holiday Season

When planning your Holiday celebrations, here are two ideas to consider to keep your pets safe and healthy:

1.      Tinsel, ribbons, lights and shiny holiday items can cause severe stomach problems if swallowed by your pet.  Leave the lowest branches of your tree free of tempting things that may look like fun for your cat to play with or your dog to eat.

2.      Although brilliant for creating holiday spirit, Poinsettias, Holly, Mistletoe and Chocolate are hazards to our furry companions and can make them extremely sick. In your home, please keep those in safe, out-of-reach areas.

Holiday hustle-and-bustle can really stress your pets.  Be careful with decorations and food to help your pets live healthier, happier and longer lives!

Happy Holidays from PET PLANET . . . Your Pet’s Natural Grocer!

Tags:  arizona small business  career change  change  christmas  entrepreneur  family business  family-operated business  finding your passion  franchise  small business  Small Business Owners  starting a business  women owned small business  women-owned business 

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PET PLANET Offers "TIPS" for Senior Dogs

Posted By Kristen Cherry, Pet Planet, Thursday, September 15, 2016

Senior Dogs


All dogs are different . . .  but when it comes to aging, the distinctions become more evident.


There are a number of physical and mental changes associated with aging. One of the first signs may be that your dog is starting to slow down. Your dog may take a little longer to get up from lying down, may no longer jump on the bed or couch, or may not have as much energy when playing.


As time goes on, your dog may develop health problems such as arthritis, diabetes, heart ailments, liver or kidney conditions and cancer. Some behavioural changes that may occur as your dog ages are confusion, memory loss, accidents in the house, changes in sleep patterns, socialization problems or separation anxiety.


Help your dog maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle through their senior years by feeding the right food and treats. Consider using nutritional supplements to address concerns as a result of the aging process. Provide mental stimulation, physical exercise, regular vet check-ups and most importantly, lots of love and understanding.


When it comes to food, there is no one magic formula for a senior dog. Every dog is an individual and varies in their genetic makeup, lifestyle, history and environment. The most important thing to remember when choosing a food for your senior dog is it needs to contain a good proportion of high-quality protein.


It’s important to keep your senior dog at a healthy weight. Nutrition and exercise are intricately related when it comes to weight control. Daily walks, playtime and socializing with other people and pets will keep your dog’s body and mind active.

If you notice your senior dog is putting on a few pounds, try a quality senior “light” formula food that will help them feel full without the added calories. You can also try giving your dog three or four smaller meals during the day to help burn calories more efficiently. If you split your dog’s food into smaller portions be careful not to overfeed.


Water is important.  Many older dogs forget to drink, or due to arthritis, have trouble getting up or moving around so they avoid going to their water bowl.


Even mild dehydration is bad for a senior dog. Thoroughly wash and refill your dog’s water bowls, often place bowls in multiple locations and deliver the water bowl to your dog if you notice they haven’t had a drink in a long time. Be certain that the water you give your older dog is clean and free of pollutants. Because an older dog’s kidneys may not be functioning as well as when he was younger, they won’t tolerate impure water. Filtered water may be a good option for optimal benefits.


Large-breed dogs enter their senior years at about age five while small-breed dogs, under 20 pounds, become senior citizens at about seven years of age.


Tips for your Dog’s “Senior” Status:


Stick to a regular routine, which helps reduce any anxiety or mental uncertainty your dog may be experiencing.

Use puzzle toys for mental stimulation.

Shorter, more frequent periods of exercise and play are better.

If your dog is not sleeping well, allow them to sleep with you to ease any anxiety or restlessness.

Take your dog outside more frequently for potty breaks.

Provide a ramp or step to help your dog do the things he used to do like get in the car or on the bed or couch.

Tags:  arizona small business  career change  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  Franchising  small business  women-owned business 

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Volunteers Needed: Peer to Peer Committee

Posted By Jamie Low CPCU CIC, Low & Johnson, Inc., Monday, January 4, 2016

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!!!


ASBA is going to start Peer to Peer meetings in 2016.  In order to do this we need volunteers to decide how this will work and to participate.

Below is what we need:


  •  Volunteers to sit on the committee and help determine how this should work.

  • Volunteers that would be willing to lead a peer group discussion 1 time a month either over lunch in which each person pays there own costs, or at their conference room at an agreed upon time.

  • Participates who would like to be including in a monthly peer group. 
 

My initial thoughts of how this would work, which might change when I meet with the committee, are as follows:

 

  1. Peer groups set at different locations throughout the Valley and in Tucson.
  2. Max group of 8 members.
  3. Meeting Monthly either at a restaurant or a volunteers conference room.
  4. Each month we would give all the peer groups a ‘table’ topic to discuss.  These topics would be determined by the peer to peer committee.

Please contact me directly if you are interested at jlow@lowjohnson.com or 480-596-0750.



Thanks for your help.

Jamie Low

 

Tags:  arizona small business  ASBA  business owner  decision-making  management  small business  startup 

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Holiday Office Parties – Naughty or Nice?

Posted By Margaret Jacoby SPHR, MJ Management Solutions, Inc., Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The holidays are upon us—‘tis the season for cheer.

Holiday office parties are a great way to get your employees together, have a little fun, and celebrate the season. But they can also be detrimental to your small business HR efforts. All that hard work you put in throughout the year to come up with efficient HR solutions could be down the drain with just one drink too many.

What’s an employer to do?

The Naughty List

Unfortunately, a good time can quickly turn sour an employer when things go wrong due to intoxication. The actions of your employees reflect on your company, even if you had no part in said actions. Liability can fall on you in numerous ways.

Here are some of the legal repercussions of your team playing naughty at your holiday party.

  1. Respondeat Superior. This theory says that an employer may have liability for its employees’ harmful actions against a third party if those actions were committed within the course or scope of employment. So if Joe Schmoe leaves the holiday office party intoxicated and injures someone while driving, you could be held responsible.
  2. Workers’ Compensation. Unlike the respondeat superior theory, worker’s compensation laws protect employees who’ve been injured while at work or a work-related function. These laws sometimes exclude injuries that occur at recreational events, but the guidelines vary by state.
  3. Wrongful Death and Survivorship. Under these acts, a law suit can be filed by a representative of the deceased against an employer when alcohol-related incidents are involved.
  4. Harassment. Alcohol lowers inhibitions. Mix that with office parties, and you’ve got the recipe for harassment law suits. These parties are the perfect environment for unwanted sexual advances.

The Nice List

Office parties can be a positive experience for employer and employees alike. In fact, it can provide an opportunity to plug holes in your human resources policies by getting people to talk about the work environment. You can limit the exposures by limiting the adult beverages you serve or permit. One celebratory champagne toast can be enough.

Here are a few reasons to hold holiday parties for employees:

  1. Building Relationships. Casual parties can provide an opportunity for managers and staff to get to know each other on a different level. The atmosphere can allow for better communication and break down silos. The employees with career ambitions will appreciate the opportunity to "connect” with those in positions they aspire to attain.
  2. Expressing Gratitude. What better way to say "thank you” to the people who make your business a success all year than by hosting a holiday party?
  3. Recognizing Achievement. Distributing awards or just acknowledging the accomplishments of your hard-working staff goes a long way to building loyalty and commitment.
  4. Celebrating a Successful Year. You’ve had a busy, productive year. Giving your team the chance to celebrate that is a great way to build morale. Take time to give a "State of the Company” address and remind employees of their role in that success.

Santa’s Elves to the Rescue

When it comes to alcohol and the holidays, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just like Santa’s little helpers, we’ve built something for your enjoyment.

Instead of a toy, it’s a list of ways you can have alcohol at your party without putting your company at risk. With these five tips, you can have the best of both worlds: a little bit of naughty and a little bit of nice.

  1. Write and enforce a clear policy regarding alcohol. It should include the obvious rules about drinking on the job, as well as the behavior that’s expected of employees during recreational functions. It’s a good idea to include a detailed explanation of consequences that will result from poor choices due to intoxication.
  2. Put in writing that all recreational activities are purely voluntary and that attendance is not required. Making it known that these are social gatherings will help protect you in the event that something happens.
  3. Limit alcohol consumption at parties. You can do this by setting a numerical drink limit or by only allowing alcohol to be served during a short period of time. Side note: Be sure to prohibit supervisors from buying or providing drinks for their employees.
  4. Assign a monitor to make ensure everyone has a safe ride home or provide a company-paid taxi service for employees. This small step can make a huge difference.

With these policies in place, you’ll enjoy everything this season has to offer—without worrying about destroying your well-planned activities.

Need some help in developing a good policy addressing workplace parties and alcohol? Contact us and rest easy this holiday season.

Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions, a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

Let’s connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tags:  arizona small business  entrepreneurs  Human Resources  small business 

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Want AdWords Success? You Need Call Tracking

Posted By Michael Arce, Loud Rumor, Thursday, July 2, 2015

phone-690091_1280.jpg


When small businesses use Google AdWords, they get WAY more traffic to their website. It’s an amazing tool to increase leads.


But using AdWords on its own only gets you so far. Yes, it’s great to see how many impressions and clicks your ads get, which keywords return the best results, and so on. But when you combine AdWords with call tracking... you take your experience to a whole new level.

Track Conversions More Accurately

Small businesses get a ton of their leads through the phone. People find your listing online and automatically call. It’s not just form submissions that are filled out these days. 


call me.gifIt’s important to note that phone leads are worth 5-10 times more in revenue than form submissions. So how do you monitor those leads? With call tracking. This is something that you really want to account for.


On its own, AdWords tracks your CTR, CPC (cost per click), Quality Score, and so on. When you throw call tracking in there, though, you really get to see which keywords, campaigns, etc. convert the most traffic into leads.


The bottom line is that you want to be able to track all the leads your PPC ads bring in. Call tracking helps you do just that.

Evaluate the Quality of Leads

One of the awesome aspects of call tracking is call recording. This means you get to listen in on each call that already took place - it records.


Here you find out which city and location the lead came from, when they called, and which keyword directed them to your ad.


Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 9.55.12 AM.png


Then when you listen in on the call, you can observe which of these leads are the highest quality. Which customers who call are the easiest to close? Which ones didn’t sign up? Take note of all this. This information helps shape the way you optimize your ads to bring in the leads that convert the most.

Monitor Your Salesperson

Call recording comes in handy another way, too. By listening to the phone calls that your company receives from PPC, you also get to monitor your salesperson.


It’s not enough that a customer found your ad and called. Now that you have the lead on the phone, your salesperson needs to close the deal.


This means they need to know your business like the back of their hand. They need to engage the customer and really work their magic. If you start to realize that they aren’t closing enough deals in comparison to how much you spend to bring in leads… then your salesperson might need more training.


So really listen to how they work on the phone. Is your team closing, or are they turning people away…


runaway.gif


Your salesperson should also listen back to their calls. They need to learn from their performance and plan specific ways to improve - there’s always room for improvement. Michael Jordan didn’t stop watching his basketball tapes once he made it. In fact, he started watching them even more. It’s important for any professional to review their performance in order to get better at what they do.


So there you have it! Call tracking is an awesome tool that really pumps up your Google AdWords. There are a ton of companies out there to choose from, but we personally use Call Tracking Metrics. They’re great to work with and really provide a simple, awesome platform. We highly suggest them.


Let us know if you have any questions about AdWords or call tracking. It’s what we’re here for!

Tags:  adwords  Arizona Small Business  call tracking  internet marketing  Online Advertising  Online Marketing  PPC  small business 

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Asset Based Lending For Small Business

Posted By Mark Wahlstrom, Sequence Media Group, Wednesday, May 20, 2015

 

For more information, go to http://www.smgfinancialnetwork.com/ or call (480) 389-4549
Joel Gottesman, president of Liquid Capital of Arizona, explains the company's new product, asset based lending. The loans, available to qualifying companies, are geared to their level of receivables and inventory. It's a more cost effective money source for some growing companies that can't obtain bank financing.

Tags:  access to capital  arizona small business  asba  asset based lending 

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