He Said WHAT?

Every year, thousands of people gather in a small town, in the middle of Central Pennsylvania, to hear the news proclaimed.

Most years, the snow is falling (sometimes quite hard) or has already accumulated several inches on the ground, and the temperatures could not be much colder, as it feels like the wind seems to just pass through your body. This is the scene in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania every February 2 – Groundhog Day. Gobbler’s Knob is the spot where they put a famous groundhog on display for the entire world to see. Television stations from across the country come out to get the forecast and long before the groundhog takes center stage, people have been standing outside for hours, waiting to catch their glimpse. It has been glamorized in movies, naturally – Groundhog Day. As someone who is from the area, I am not a fan of the film, but understand that many people do!


Every year I see his little face on television, I usually laugh to myself. Growing up, and to similar degrees today, I could never understand the hype around this so-called ‘holiday.’ There is not much that feels enticing enough about it to make me want to willingly spend all night in the freezing cold and wait until sunrise to watch a rodent step out to verify whether he sees his shadow or not. The scrolled proclamation, the top hats and tails. It all is very pomp and circumstance, but the show wouldn’t be the same without it. Now, you may not be aware of this, but “Phil” as he is so affectionately named, is probably one of the most spoiled rodents on the planet. Believe me when I say to you that he is very well fed, he maintains his permanent residence in the Punxsutawney Public Library (behind a glass encased habitat) and is revered as a great weatherman! Who knew?


So, what has he said this year? He saw his shadow and therefore we must endure another six weeks of winter. Hmm. The funny thing about this very statement is that if he DOESN’T see his shadow, there are only six more weeks of winter! Tell me, is the glass half full or is the glass half empty, here? Because it seems to me that no matter how accurately he “predicts” the weather, the outcome is the same… six more weeks of winter, folks, six more weeks. Some might argue the fact that it is science that he has mastered, but I think we all know that the groundhog celebration is truly meant for some good, clean (COLD) fun! Again, to each his own. I prefer my fun to be curled up with a good book, a hot cup of tea or coffee and a warm blanket, but who am I?


So, no matter what you believe or how you choose to “ring in spring” – remember that there really is no rodent science to this. The outcome will truly be the same every single time. Whether there are only six more weeks of winter, or six more weeks until spring… one thing is certain – the party will be there, year after year, to celebrate the ushering in of a new season.


Thank you Jason, for contributing this article. Tom and Jason are friends, both in tree industry. Check out his business Facebook page: Wilmington Local Tree Service.


Five simple tips to get your new construction company going!

I’ve interviewed Tomas last week. He owns a tree service and also used to operate a construction company in the area. I’ve asked him several questions and one of them was about his struggles as an young entrepreneur.

He told me about 5 things he did when starting his first company.

Read below and get to work!


Both residential and commercial construction is one of the few industries, that is in constant demand. With so much competition however, it is important for entrepreneurs to understand the resources that are not only available to them, but that will also help them reduce startup costs. Below are a few ideas that every entrepreneur should keep in mind when thinking about starting a new business.


  1. Know your facts! While the demands in the construction trade are high rising, it is imperative to know who you are competing with. For instance, a simple google search will allow you to identify competition in your area. It might not be a good idea to to start a window installation company, when there are five of these companies located within your immediate five to ten-mile perimeter! Understanding your threats, is essential to building new clientele while maintain reasonable profit.


  1. Research resources: Did you know that there are thousands and thousands of dollars sitting in your local city and state’s treasury just waiting to be used? That’s right! There is free money available to entrepreneurs, small businesses, woman, and minority owned companies. Investing adequate time in research can be tedious, but may allow you to save tons of the money in the long run. Don’t miss out on claiming what is yours!


  1. Utilize free tools: Most of us are aware, that technology is expanding on a daily basis. Part of this technology includes social media. Creating free company pages or portfolios is a simple and effective way of reaching hundreds or even thousands of people in your surrounding areas. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, are just a few of the many tools that are available at your fingertips!


  1. Networking provides a very effective tool for gathering promising job leads. While there are companies that charge an arm and a leg for exposure, there are other sites that provide the same benefits at no cost to you. Many states offer free listing and bid invitations for government, education, and federal construction projects. Simply sign-up, insert your company details, and check your inbox for exciting opportunities! In addition, search for groups of people that have similar interests as you. Most times, other business owners, feel more comfortable providing leads, to people they have met face-to-face with. Don’t be shy, give it a try!


  1. Work from home! Most new companies, do not have enough business coming in, in an effort to afford renting office space. There are many requirements needed in order to start a new business. Working from home until you have a well established clientele, have completed all the local and legal requirements, and have a solid marketing campaign; is the way to go! The average company, takes one to three years to start seeing the results of their hard work, and to start earning the profit they were looking for. Don’t be discouraged, as many others have been able to gain success by following these simple tips! Consistency and determination are the key to success in this industry!

Contractor of the week

As some of you might know, Virginia Beach is very competitive in terms of getting work. There are so many companies for potential customers to choose from, that it gets confusing and the only way to get ahead as a contractor, is to stand out from everyone else.

Now, there are many ways to be different from the crowd… You could provide amazing customer service and promote you company via word of mouth advertising. You could run paid ads, but everyone’s already doing it, so you’d be no different from Johnny the concrete guy down the street. So what make a company REALLY stand out?

We’ve asked Richard, the owner of Concrete Driveway & Patio of Virginia Beach why his business has been so successful at attracting many new customers with very little advertising.

He told us a couple of things that have played a huge role in the success of his concrete company, but the one thing he wanted us to share, was about his involvement in the community.

Richard made a gigantic shift in his business, to focus on helping his local community as much as possible. Several things started to happen when Richard and some of his crew started appearing and even organizing events right here in Virginia Beach.

First, people would strike up conversations and begin networking while attending these events. Richard also mentioned how effortless and unprovoked it was. He was there for the community, rather than self promotion, but ended up getting both.

Second, about a week after this huge shift, random people started calling Richard’s office asking to give them estimates on driveways and other concrete work. I would like to remind you that it has only been a week! The story get’s better though…

Another week has gone by and Richard got an email from City Of Virginia Beach asking about him and his business. They have sent him a thank you letter and congratulated him on being awarded the Small Business Community Involvement Award, which is how I first heard of their company. I’ve also heard that a mid-sized newspaper is putting together a story about Concrete Driveway & Patio of Virginia Beach.

Isn’t it just the craziest turn of events? Shows the whole action equals reaction things, doesn’t it? I was extremely impressed with the story and decided to reach out to Rick and find out more, unfortunately, he didn’t have too much time to spend with me on the phone, since he had all those new clients to service!

Our short, 15 minute conversation made me think about a few things. I got to know Richard as well as myself a little more. He is very genuine and loves to help, no matter if it’s an elderly lady trying to cross the street or a dog on the side of the street that hurt itself running.

The lesson here is, to get out there and help without expecting anything in return, get involved and great things will happen to you and your business.

Richard’s concrete company is one of the youngest ones in Virginia Beach, but it’s quite possible that he’s got more exposure that some of the most established ones, simply because of his actions!

All of the above is why I have chosen Concrete Driveway & Patio of Virginia Beach as the contractor of the week.

Thank you!