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Want Your Small Business or Startup to Close Out 2023 Strong? You’ll Need These 3 Things.



This is a guest article by Nicole Zeno.

Q4 is a strange time for many business owners. On one hand, it’s a busy shopping/purchasing time, and for some businesses, it can make up a large percentage of yearly revenue. On the other hand, it’s a time to step back, reflect, and plan for the new year. In large companies, there are teams to accomplish both tasks, but for SMB and startup companies, the teams are often only a handful of people (or even one) trying to do it all. If you are an SMB or startup, here are a few things you can focus on to move the needle and close out Q4 on top.


#1: Focus on process/automation

It is so easy to get into the weeds and stay there when it gets busy, but what often happens is we put ourselves in a vicious cycle. We go heads down to fulfill orders only to come out the other side with no clarity or solution for the next time this happens.


This year, try being mindful of what activities you are doing when “things get busy.” Are you actually being productive, or are you just busy?


Try This:

Documenting your time is the easiest way to answer this question. Using software like Clockify (or a blank document), you can set a timer every time you start a task, end a task, and add notes as to what you did during this time. I know that this sounds like extra work, but stay with me because I am going to explain how this will make you 10x more productive the next time things get busy.


Why This Works:

As you may have already guessed, I would never tell you to try to change processes when you are already busy, but data is power, and knowing exactly how much time you spend on specific tasks/processes will give you insight once the busy season is over. Once you have had a chance to breathe, try these steps:

  1. Review all the data from your timing for any tasks that you spend the majority of time on or that you do multiple times.
  2. Ask yourself: Is there a process I can build/document for the proper way to do this task? Are there parts or whole tasks that can be automated?
  3. Once processes are documented into SOPs (standard operating procedures), you are now freed up to hire and train someone to do this task, even if it’s a seasonal employee.


#2: Look at the data

Have you ever noticed that when you are in a tough situation, it feels like the worst experience of your life, but after time, when you recount that experience, you tend to skip over the terrible parts? If you are a marathon runner, you know exactly what I am talking about. At the finish line, you proclaim, “I am never running a marathon again,” and then somehow, 4 months later, there you are, signing up for another.


In business, this is the equivalent of only looking at big-picture data such as yearly revenue numbers or users. Every year, you start looking at the big-picture numbers, adding 20%, and telling your team to make it happen, only to get to the end of that year, not sure what went wrong. At this point, most SMBs throw money at the situation and start hiring marketing or sales without really knowing what breakdown there was.


Try This:

Once you have a clear idea of what your yearly big-picture goals are, break each of them down into 3 activity goals that have their own KPI (key performance indicator) to success.


For example, if you have a revenue goal and you know that your team signs 90% of all leads that come in, your 3 activity goals could be increasing open opportunities, increasing website traffic, and increasing the number of events you attend/PR.


Why This Works:

When you break down your big-picture goals into smaller task-oriented goals, you are not just giving your team (or yourself) a goal with no plan. Also, you can now see exactly what part of the process didn’t work and fix it for the next time.


#3: Spend the last week of the year planning

It is proven that our brains cannot multitask, no matter what you tell yourself. There are even more scientific studies on how long it takes for our brains to switch from one type of task to another. Setting time to plan not only gives you a leg up when going into the new year, but it allows your brain to know that planning time is coming, and it can focus more on the present tasks at hand.


Try This:

Block off the week between Christmas and New Year’s on your calendar for you and any executive team members. This tends to be a slower time of year for most businesses and can give you some quiet time to reflect.


Don’t just plan the big-picture things; actually, build out a full action plan and answer the questions:

  1. What are our goals as a company?
  2. How are we going to get there?
  3. How are we going to track success?
  4. What do we have to invest to make this happen?


Bonus Tip: Setup Tech

At my company, Clever Cow Media, we do all the above, and we couldn’t run our company without the processes we have built-in ClickUp (Try it Here).


Tech can help you streamline your processes, help build communication, make teams more efficient, and automate small tasks. Finding the right tech for your team can be the difference between success and failure.


Starting, running, and growing a business is hard, but taking steps like these to become a well-oiled machine will make your time as a business owner more enjoyable and more profitable.


Need More Help? Join me for a FREE Masterclass: Building A Marketing/Growth Plan for SMBs & Startups. Register Here.



Nicole Zeno, founder of Clever Cow Media, has built, grown, and run multi 6-7 figure businesses, including exits from three as a founder. Her extensive background and experience have led her to her passion, helping small and mid-size businesses and startups build the processes and strategies to thrive.


Fun Facts About Nicole:

  • Phoenix Business Journal 40 under 40
  • Top 100 Marketing Leader (x2)
  • Nominated for a SXSW Interactive Award
  • PHX Startup Week Speaker
  • Arizona Commerce Authority Mentor & AIC Judge
  • Featured on Fox10 Phoenix, 3 TV, Phoenix Magazine, and more


ICON Park Honored with “Harris Rosen Philanthropic Award”



ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – ICON Park in Orlando, Florida, has been honored with the prestigious “Harris Rosen Philanthropic Award” by the I-Drive Chamber of Commerce. This accolade recognizes ICON Park’s outstanding dedication to philanthropy, enhancing both the local community and beyond. Previous recipients of this esteemed award include the Orange County Convention Center and Universal Orlando Resort.

At the recent Chamber meeting and award ceremony, attended by numerous tourism leaders, ICON Park President and CEO Chris Jaskiewicz accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Maria Triscari, president of the I-Drive Chamber, emphasized ICON Park’s significant impact, describing it as a vital pillar within the greater Orlando community.

Five years ago, under Jaskiewicz’s leadership, ICON Park was transformed into a communal hub with free admission, fostering community spirit and celebrating Orlando’s vibrancy. Reflecting on his inspiration for ICON Park’s philanthropic initiatives, Jaskiewicz highlighted his deep-rooted ties to Orlando and his belief in tourism’s transformative power.

ICON Park’s commitment to community support is exemplified through various initiatives, including lighting The Wheel in custom colors to raise awareness for causes, hosting safety training exercises for fire rescue teams, and providing observation opportunities for conservation groups. The park also offers its venue for charity events and fundraisers at reduced or no cost, and has established the “ICON Park Hospitality Scholarship” at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality.

In the past year alone, ICON Park has donated over a quarter of a million dollars to local organizations and facilitated more than 80 on-site events. Looking ahead, the park continues to expand its presence with Merlin Entertainments acquiring the Orlando Eye and preparing for the return of Blue Man Group to Orlando in a new theater development.

ICON Park’s receipt of the “Harris Rosen Philanthropic Award” underscores its ongoing commitment to making a positive difference in the Orlando community and beyond, embodying the spirit of corporate responsibility and community engagement.

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GoDaddy Founder Reveals Untold Story of Traumatic Upbringing, Military Service and Entrepreneurial Journey



GoDaddy Founder Bob Parsons talks with Florida National News. Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Everybody has heard of GoDaddy, but how many people know the real-life story of the highly successful, philanthropic, and colorful man behind the company? For the first time, GoDaddy and PXG founder Bob Parsons, in a highly confessional account, shares the story of his life, from his humble upbringing to his meteoric rise as one of early tech’s pioneers.

Fire in the Hole! The Untold Story of My Traumatic Life and Explosive Success (Forefront Books, May 7, 2024) by Bob Parsons is an unflinching, yet inspirational, account of his path to success, from a hardscrabble childhood to his combat service as a U.S. Marine during the Vietnam War — and beyond.

A descendant of coal miners, Parsons grew up in the 1950s in a blue-collar, working-class neighborhood in East Baltimore. Money was tight, given his parents shared a mutual fondness for gambling and were not particularly good at it. In his book, Parsons talks about the financial struggles his family faced, as well as the emotional neglect he experienced as a boy.

He writes: “We were just getting by when Pop’s business failed … my dad racked up so much debt from gambling and credit cards that everything came tumbling down. In the end, he practically gave the business away. And, when he did, we went from not having much to having nothing. I mean absolutely nothing.”

An admittedly so-so student, he recalls the struggles he faced in learning, as well as the corporal punishment dished out by Catholic school nuns. But his early experiences reveal an innate resiliency that got him through a harrowing tour of duty in Vietnam, his early years at his first company, Parsons Technology, as well as his bold business decisions that would eventually make him one of the wealthiest people in the world. With a net worth of $3.6 billion, Parsons is No. 314 on the Forbes 400 2023 list of the richest people in America.

He’s an everyman who has made it. He’s authentic. And his reflections on life, business, and giving back are heartbreaking, heartwarming, humorous, and inspiring.

In the book, Parsons:

• Shares how he survived his grueling tour of duty in Vietnam with the U.S. Marines infantry.

• Reveals the struggles he has faced throughout his lifetime because of PTSD, as well as the efforts he has made to treat it, including novel therapeutic uses of psychedelics.

• Offers the lessons he has learned during his career, from the launch of his first business, Parsons Technology, to the creation of his present-day business empire, which includes YAM Worldwide and Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG).

Since 2012, Parsons and his wife, Renee, have donated nearly $300 million to more than 96 charities and organizations worldwide. Having suffered from PTSD, he works to find new and effective treatments for himself and others. He strongly believes in paying it forward. And he is always moving forward, creating new companies, and re-creating himself. Fire in the Hole! encourages readers to dream big and imagine all that’s possible — even if the cards seem stacked against them.

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Orlando Area Residential Real Estate Snapshot for March 2024



State of the Market

  • Overall sales rose 17.7% from February to March. There were 2,559 sales in March, up from 2,174 sales in February.
  • The median home price for March was recorded at $386,500, up from $377,000 in February. The highest monthly median home price on record in the Orlando area was $387,000 in June 2022.
  • Pending sales increased by 9.4%, with 3,891 in February and 4,257 in March.
  • New listings rose 8.6% from February to March, with 4,124 new homes on the market in March, compared to 3,799 in February.
  • Inventory for March was recorded at 8,971, up 4.4% from February when inventory was recorded at 8,589.
  • March’s interest rate was recorded at 6.7%, up slightly from 6.6% in February.
  • Homes spent an average of 58 days on the market (DOM) in March – up slightly from February.
  • “The busy spring season for the real estate market is in full swing,” said Rose Kemp, Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association President. “We’ve seen a steady increase in sales, median home price and inventory every month this year. Our median home price in March was very close to our peak from June 2022, so it will be interesting to see how these high prices affect the market in the coming months.”

Market Snapshot

  • Interest rates rose from 6.6% in February to 6.7% in March.
  • Pending sales rose 9.4%, with 3,891 in February and 4,257 in March.
  • 23 distressed homes (bank-owned properties and short sales) accounted for 0.9% of all home sales in March. That represents an 8.0% decrease from February when 25 distressed homes sold.


  • Orlando area inventory increased 4.4% from February to March. Inventory in February was 8,589, and inventory in March was 8,971.
  • The supply of homes fell to 3.51 months in March, down 11.3% from 3.95 months in February. A balanced market is six months of supply.
  • The number of new listings increased from February to March by 8.6% – from 3,799 homes to 4,124 homes.

ORRA’s full State of the Market Report for March can be found here.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association and the Stellar Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor StellarMLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or by StellarMLS does not reflect all real estate activity in the market. Due to late closings, an adjustment is necessary to record those closings posted after our reporting date.

ORRA REALTOR® sales represent sales involving Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association members, who are primarily – but not exclusively – located in Orange and Seminole counties. Note that statistics released each month may be revised in the future as new data is received.

Orlando MSA numbers reflect sales of homes located in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties by members of any REALTOR® association, not just members of ORRA.

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