WA Entrepreneurs Celebrate 16 Years of Commerce Networking


Today, the world of commerce is buzzing over Bing’s proposal to pay the Fox media Web sites to de-list from Google. It was prompted by basically two reasons – Fox’s visionary founder Rupert Murdoch and newspaper publishers who have been frustrated about how they are treated by Google, and the goal of Microsoft’s Bing to overtake Google in the search.

Yes, this event illustrates the complexity of commerce and how it has evolved in the last 16 years.

If my memory is accurate since 1993, consider these developments:

  • Fox Broadcasting Company launched programs seven nights a week. That was also the year Fox acquired the rights to broadcast the National Football League games previously owned by CBS. The network has certainly succeeded. It has delivered No. 1 ratings for 18-49 demographic ratings since 2004.
  • Throughout the globe, pocket- size telephones started becoming quite the rage.
  • Intel announced its 3.1 million-transistor Pentium microchip about the time Microsoft introduced Windows NT.
  • Linux was launched as a free operating system and Apple Computer introduced us to its hand-held computer.
  • President Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, into law.

Meantime, a group pioneering as a leads-generation organization in Federal Way, WA has created its own buzz, and is preparing to celebrate its 16th anniversary as Referrals Unlimited.

As a leads group, Referrals Unlimited (www.referralsunlimited.org) helps its small-business members attain their entrepreneurial goals. They keep track of the commerce the group generates – the dollar amount is impressive.  Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting as a guest to discuss the planned Biz Coach radio program, and met several of the charming members who are proud of their products and services.

Let’s meet some of the members:

“I offer a weight loss program for busy women who want to eat well and lose weight easily,” says Kristina Brown of Heart of Nutrition. “There is no deprivation, just yummy foods that bring your body back into balance so that the weight comes off naturally and without starving yourself.”

Ms. Brown says she’s been in business 10 years: “I bought my first health/cook book when I was just 19 and have been reading, cooking, and sharing this ever since.”

David Sobie represents a security firm, Global Technology Solutions, Inc. (www.globalts.net).

“Global Security, founded in 1988 and with offices in Oregon, Washington, and the greater Kansas City area is a full service security, fire, access control and low voltage home technology provider, “says Mr. Sobie, who boasts of more than 10,000 business and residential customers in Washington, Oregon and metropolitan Kansas City.

Richard Day specializes in identity theft mitigation and prepaid legal services. He doesn’t waste any time in succinctly explaining his services.

“My name is Richard Day protecting your assets against identity theft and giving affordable access to the justice system,” says Mr. Day (http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardday7).

Simone Perry aesthetically preserves what she calls sentimental assets at Sentimental Preservation by Simone (www.sentimentalpreservation.com).

“Whether it is something past down to you from ancestors or from a special event in your life, I can put it in a protective display for you to enjoy,” Ms. Perry says. “I also have unique textile preservation boxes for storing wedding gown, uniforms, christening gown or quilts. Call me today to preserve those treasures before they are lost.”

Isabel Tessier has marketed vitamins for more than three decades.

“Golden Neo-Life Diamite vitamin company has been in business since 1958, and I have been a consultant with GNLD for 31 years,” says Ms Tessier. She says her products deal with fatigue, stress, digestive problems, diabetes, allergies and cholesterol (www.healthplus-vitamins.com).

Renae McGregor owns Legacy Boutique Gift Baskets.

“From Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, our gourmet gift baskets contain the most mouth-watering foods” Ms. McGregor proudly states.  “Our baskets are filled with Northwest Coffee, Chocolates, Salmon, Mustard, Cookies, Summer Sausage, Nuts, Died Fruit, Popcorn and Oh! I can’t forget Tim’s Chips! Even our Beer and Wine are from the Pacific Northwest.”

With the exception of the month of December, she guarantees next-day shipping.

“Our web site www.legacyboutique.com, displays a variety of categories, for example, baby, bath body-spa, beer, birthday, chocolates, student, corporate, custom, get well-sympathy, as well as gifts for women and men, housewarming and wine to name a few.” 

Referrals Unlimited’s treasurer is a banker, Marty Markey, who introduced me to the group. She is the branch manager at Rainier Pacific Bank (www.rainierpac.com) at its Twin Lakes branch. (Disclosure: I’ve known her as a businessperson, and I’ve observed her outstanding customer service skills for a few years.)

“Rainier Pacific Bank builds profitable relationships by providing valuable financial solutions for its customers,” says Ms. Markey.  “We have served the diverse financial needs of our customers in the Tacoma-Pierce County market area of Washington State for over 75 years with consumer and business banking services, income property lending, investment and insurance services.”

As you might expect of a banker with unusually good customer service skills, she is very enthusiastic.

“We strive to be the choice for financial services in the markets we serve, and enjoy a deep level of community involvement throughout our history as a financial institution. Come see us in the local markets of Federal Way, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Spanaway, and Puyallup!”

Amen. As a kid growing up, a family friend and employer, Andy Andrews at the Palm Springs Tennis Club used to reward me with tickets to the spring training games of the then-California Angels. That’s where I had the thrill of watching baseball stars, such as Willie Mays, play in the desert sun.

As I thanked him for the tickets, Mr. Andrews once told me: “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.”

So, to the Referrals Unlimited members, happy anniversary, kids!

From the Coach’s Corner, SCORE (www.score.org) has a site providing numerous business-management tips: http://www.score.org/business_tips.html.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.