Reaching Consensus on Non-compete Reform Will Make Massachusetts Stronger


Brown_DavidIn an article posted on VentureFizz, David Brown weighs in on non-compete reform, a hot topic among the Greater Boston business community. He points out that “Non-competes are not a big versus small company issue,” and non-compete reform is “an inherently nuanced conversation.”

Want non-compete reform? David has two suggestions for those looking to ensure change happens by the end of this legislative session. The first involves creating more transparency around non-competes and in employer-employee conversations re: compensation in general. Read the full article over at Venture Fizz to learn his second suggestion.

David Brown is the VP of Innovation Leadership at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Follow David on Twitter.

10 Life Lessons from Remarkable Bostonian & Successful Businessman Vin Cantella

While we try not to post content that has been posted elsewhere, this article was too good to pass up. Today we’ve got some exciting & widely-applicable lessons from the life of Vin Cantella. vin-cantellaA remarkable Bostonian & successful businessman, Vin Cantella overcame many challenges. Upon returning home from World War II, he was bedridden for five years. Doctors said he would never walk again.

Despite this dim prognosis, Cantella preserved. Not only did he get back on his feet, but he walked door-to-door throughout Boston as a representative of the George Putnam Fund. He went on start his own company, Cantella & Co. Cantella found success in the finance industry, eventually becoming Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Boston Stock Exchange.

Jim Freeman (Cantella & Co.‘s National Sales Manager & Director), who was lucky enough to call Vin Cantella his mentor, has written an article with ten valuable life lessons. We’ll tease the first three here, but for the rest, you’ll need to head over to the Cantella & Co. blog.

1. Always give away the best seat in the house

Vin always emphasized the importance of making a good impression, and lunch at the Bay Tower Room was no exception. Exiting the elevator, you would be greeted by Zito, a jovial and friendly maitre d’ with a subtle Italian accent. “Good afternoon, Mr. Cantella,” Zito always said, “I see you have a new guest.”

“Yes, Zito, this is Mr. Smith, a respected financial consultant who I’m hoping will join our company.”

“You will be joining a great man,” Zito would reply with seriousness, “Let me get you a seat by the window.” If our guest didn’t know it already, he or she would immediately sense that Vin wasn’t your typical person.

Vin always made sure that the client took the seat with the best views. It wasn’t just about showing off the incredible Boston skyline that he knew and loved so well, it was about showing the advisor who came first in the relationship.

2. If you want to be a professional, dress like one

Those lunch guests were also meeting a man who was always dressed for business. Vin always wore a suit and tie. Always. He would tell me, “You never know when you’ll need to make a positive impression on someone, and you never get a second shot.” He was wearing a suit the day I met him, and he was wearing a suit on the last day I ever saw him, at his funeral. I think he may have even gardened with a tie on.

3. Never burn bridges: Give people a chance to learn from their mistakes

During one of our lunches I learned that a very close and trusted attorney of Vin’s had stolen a large amount of money from him several years back.

The attorney eventually went to jail, but what amazed me at the time was that Vin didn’t speak ill of him. Vin felt that for someone to commit such a heinous crime against a friend meant only that there must have been some serious problems. I never once heard him say an unkind word about what happened.

Years later, after the attorney was released from jail, he referred a very large customer to our firm. While he’d lost his ability to generate the money he stole from his friend, he still tried to pay Vin back as best he could. I think Vin knew all along that his attorney was remorseful, and I’ll never forget the humanity in Vin’s face when he told this story.

Click here to read 7 more lessons on the Cantella & Co. blog.

Welcome Justin Kang and City Awake


We recently announced a new strategic collaboration with City Awake, a social enterprise organization, and welcomed its founder and executive director, Justin Kang, as the Greater Boston Chamber’s new Director of Social Innovation.

Justin’s vision for Boston is to remain and be recognized as the best place in the world for social innovation. He believes, and we do too, that Boston’s thriving innovation ecosystem and our city’s historical commitment to social progress has allowed our region to become a leader in social enterprise.

City Awake taps these strengths to convene leaders to solve the toughest issues facing our region through public events designed to build community across different issues and difference sectors, and celebrate Boston as the best city to start a nonprofit and social enterprise. One key focus of City Awake is to generate new ideas and facilitate dialogue among young business professionals through programs focused on how these next generation leaders can use innovation, entrepreneurship and business acumen to solve pressing social issues and increase economic opportunity for all.

At the Chamber, we believe in Justin’s vision and know that the Boston business community believes that social responsibility should be an integral component to every career and business strategy.

Through this new collaboration, City Awake and the Boston Chamber will continue and grow this tradition, while ensuring that social innovation is broadened to the point where everyone in Greater Boston is empowered to contribute to the bold ideas necessary to solve the social issues of our communities.

We are excited to see what this collaboration will bring! You can learn more about our partnership here, and visit to learn more about City Awake and view upcoming programs.

Cyber Attacks – What Will This Cost Me?


This is a special guest post from the BlumShapiro Cybersecurity Team.

Cybersecurity breaches are making the headlines nearly every day. But what if the next time it was your business? What could the costs of a security breach be to you? According to a 2015 Kaspersky Lab study that evaluated over 5500 companies in 26 countries worldwide, the average direct costs of a security breach for a small business is a whopping $38,000. The study also cited that this number increases to $551,000 for large business enterprises to recover from an attack. These costs include lost business opportunities, downtime and the professional service fees associated with mitigating the breach. Of course, every breach is unique, and costs and damages will vary. To wrap your head around the basics and what you can expect, take a look at the numbers below:

Getting Back on Track – Once attacked, it’s very unlikely that you’ll have the means to get your business back in working order using just your staff and available technology tools alone. You’ll need to find outside organizations and experts to help lessen the blow from your recent attack. This may include IT Security Consultants, Risk Management Consultants, Accountants, Auditors, Legal Professionals and even Public Relations Specialists to soften the damage to your business’ reputation. The price tag for all this? On average, a small business is looking at around $10,000 in professional service costs with this number increasing exponentially for larger businesses.

Clearing Your Name – As for your reputation? Research shows that the estimate of reputational damage for a small business is nearly $9,000, while enterprises are faced with a loss of nearly $205,000. The loss of trust and reliability in your organization is generally something no business (large or small) can afford.

What About Financial Theft? – Another daunting statistic, research from Ponemon Institute in a global study sample notes that if you’ve lost funds in a cyberattack, 68% of these stolen dollars are generally declared “unrecoverable.”

Kaspersky makes one firm conclusion: the cost of a security breach is always higher than the cost of protection. It is important that you take a proactive approach to protecting your business from a cyberattack. (Link to 10 Best practices download) Being reactive is likely going to cost you in the end, both financially as well as by negatively impacting your company’s reputation. Learning about what resources are available to help protect your organization against what might occur is the better choice over shelling out when an attack occurs.

This guest post was written by the BlumShapiro Cybersecurity Team. BlumShapiro is the largest regional business advisory firm based in New England providing accounting, tax and business consulting services.


6 Business Owner Archetypes & How to Leverage This

This is a special guest post from James Lopata, Executive Coach at innerOvation. Read the original post on the innerOvation blog.

When it comes to what businesses need, one size does not fit all.

But you might not know it from all the easy advice that’s thrown around on the web.

One of my business buddies, Jeb Bates (owner and CEO of ThoughtAction and the PaperRoom Institute) and I were brainstorming recently about the work we do with business owners. We discovered that there are six basic types. And that we approach working with each differently.

Each leader comes from a different place, sees things in a unique way, and has different needs.

Below are the six archetypes that we discerned and, in a nutshell, what kind of outside business coaching that we find works best for each.

(See the Business Owner Optimization Matrix for quick reference.)

Which one are you or would you be if you ran a company?

How can you leverage your type and find what you need in order to succeed?

(1) The ‘All Set’ Owner: These owners are pretty well all set with what they need. Usually these are well-seasoned business proprietors who have a lot of experience and therefore know what type of help to look for and when to look for it. They find the kind of help they need when they need it. These types are rare. They are golden. Invest in them!

(2) The Driver Owner: These types know what they are after. They have clear goals. They know how they want to get to those goals and they just go. Some of their challenges include that they can become so single-minded and driven in their pursuits that they miss things that can be crucial to their business development. They will sometimes suddenly look up and around and find themselves stuck in places with their businesses that they hadn’t intended to be. Perhaps customers stop showing up, or a sales strategy isn’t working as intended. Their drive and certainty sometimes blinds them to other possibilities. These types benefit from outside assistance when (a) they hit a wall and can’t see the way forward, or (b) they somehow see the benefits of getting external help before they hit a wall and are willing to seek the broader benefits of deeper exploration of business possibilities and accountability structures.

(3) The Everything Owner
: These are the types who have all the tools. They know about and have in place lots of legal structures, financial tools, business plans, and so on. It’s all there. But they just can’t seem to make it all work together in a way that builds their confidence, builds their business and builds revenue. The kind of help these types need is assistance in defining a central vision and mission for their business, and to help them discover key metrics. Providing clarity helps these owners better focus the tools at their disposal in a way that decreases waste and overkill and creates efficiency, effectiveness and ease.

(4) The Analytical Owner: These types know a lot and they like to analyze and consider and really get know their business, but, for all their knowledge, they can’t always put it all together into action to create a winning business. These types get entangled in what is frequently referred to as ‘paralysis by analysis.’ Sometimes this business owner’s behaviors manifest in short bursts of big investments — just for the sake of doing something, anything — followed by periods of regret and retrenchment. These need deep behavioral change. Outside assistance from the right sources can help them get unstuck by helping them see the deep beliefs, habits, perceptions and thoughts that are hindering their progress. Deep change can help free them into forming constructive actions and behaviors that allow their businesses to thrive.

(5) The Go-Go-Go Owner: These are the ones who are always on the go, but have very little reflection. They often lurch from one thing to the next and are typically very reactionary when it comes to business needs, as opposed to being responsive or forward-looking. They typically don’t feel they need assistance from anyone. These are the most difficult nuts to crack. Unless they have become worn down enough and felt enough pain or are in danger of losing it all, they typically have no interest in getting outside help. If they are really ready to commit to a process of change, coaching could benefit them greatly.

(6) The Not Set Owner: These owners may need assistance, but they are generally not willing to be assisted. These types either must transform into one of the other 5 types, or they risk creating a business that goes nowhere.

Which are you? Click here to view the handy Business Owner Type Optimization Matrix.

James Lopata is an Executive Coach with over two decades of executive management experience. Follow him on Twitter or head over to the innerOvation blog for more wisdom.