Jessica Sanchez's avatar
September 2018 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber. Please look for the 2018-19 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

September 2018

25+ Years
Atmosphere Commercial Interiors
Morrison Ranch, Inc.
Pioneer Landscaping Materials, INC
The Arizona Republic, Republic Media
Val Vista Lakes Events

21-24 Years
Gilbert Promotional Corporation

16-20 Years
Southwest Airlines

11-15 Years
Arizona Business Bank
Town of Gilbert
United Food Bank

6-10 Years
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Clearly Clean Carpet
Custom Signs & Graphics
Gilbert Christian Schools
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management - James Stoes, AAMS®
Red Mountain Air Conditioning
Simply Ravishing The Salon
Wells Fargo Bank

1-5 Years
Affiliated Dermatology
Celebration Stem Cell Centre
Desert Hills High School
EZ Spaces
Five Star Carpet Cleaning & Restoration
Friendly Auto Centers
Health e-Deals
Herbally Yours, Inc.
Home Care Assistance
Jessica Bear Interior Design LLC
Leadership Society of Arizona
Professional Garage Services
Showtime Realty Professionals, LLC
Skyline Home Loans
Southwest Realty Pros
Star Mail
Truly Nolen of America, Inc.
Truly Nolen of America, Inc.
Tuft & Needle
US Health Advisors
Walt's Jewelers
Window Genie
Wisdom Natural Brands
Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar Office Depot Discount Program - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Guest Blog Editor's avatar
Office Depot Discount Program

OfficeDepot has many amazing programs which help support small and medium businesses.  We've partnered with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce to provide members with a Store Purchasing Card at no additional cost. This card is great for your businesses because they get a great discount on more than just one part of OfficeDepot, plus the card makes everything more cost-effective so you can focus more on your customers. 

This Store Purchasing Card (SPC) gives members amazing opportunities;
  • Members get discounted rates in our Copy & Print Center,$.03 for black and white and $.22 for color
  • The SPC extends to finishing services as well, like lamination and banners (up to 40% off!).
Want more?
  • Members also get discounts on out Technology Solutions, which include Computer Health Checks, IT Support, and In-Office Repairs.
  • Finally, members can also save up to 55% off of items that businesses purchase the most. 

We strive to be a one stop shop for all your business needs; including business services, tech and print services, and so much more.

    Mentors Needed - Fall 2018 - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Sarah Watts's avatar
Mentors Needed - Fall 2018

We are pleased to once again host the Career Shadowing and Mentorship Program! For the fall 2018 cycle, we have both high school and college students seeking mentorship and I am hoping you can help by either 1. Serving as a mentor, and/or 2. Identifying professionals who would be willing to mentor to one of these students. Please feel free to forward this opportunity to your colleagues. This is an easy, flexible, and rewarding program.

1. Request a link to view student applications.

2. Review the applicants and consider those students who would best fit your industry or expertise. The link is sorted by the industy/profession. Many students have listed more than one profession in hopes of finding a mentor. 
3. Respond with the name of the student(s) for whom you have interest in mentoring. With this information, the student will be notified of your interest. Once the student confirms, you will be introduced to the student via e-mail.

The purpose of this program is to allow students to begin to understand how their skills and studies can be utilized in the real world. This is not an internship – no need to create projects or assignments for your student. The student simply visits with you and/or your team and observes your activities.

The program will kick-off with a mandatory orientation at 4:00 PM on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. After this orientation, you and your student will work together to schedule between 16 and 20 hours of shadowing and mentorship. The student does not have to spend the entire time with you - mentors are encouraged to introduce and facilitate job shadowing experiences with other relevant positions within your businesses. All hours must be achieved by December 13, 2018.

The program will conclude with a closing reception at 4:00 PM on Thursday, December 13, 2018. This reception allows both mentors and students to reflect on the experience. Gilbert is 2018’s 10th Best Midsize Real-Estate Market - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Guest Blog Editor's avatar
Gilbert is 2018’s 10th Best Midsize Real-Estate Market

Crossposted from

Whether you’re joining the real-estate business or just looking for a place to call home, it’s important to get a handle on the housing markets you’re considering before investing in a property. With unemployment falling and house prices rising, the market as a whole has been in a boom. But while home values are rising, up almost $16,000 on average just in the first quarter of 2018, fewer homes are being built and bought because mortgage rates are rising. However, home prices and rental rates vary widely across the U.S. based on supply and demand.

If you aim for long-term growth, equity and profit, you’ll need to look beyond tangible factors like square footage and style. Those factors certainly drive up property values. From an investor’s standpoint, though, they hold less significance than historical market trends and the economic health of residents.

To determine the best local real-estate markets in the U.S., WalletHub compared 300 cities of varying sizes across 22 key indicators of housing-market attractiveness and economic strength. Our data set ranges from median home-price appreciation to home sales turnover rate to job growth. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.

Health of Gilbert’s Real-Estate Market (1=Best; 150=Avg.):

• 61st – Avg. Days Until Sale
• 58th – Median Home-Price Appreciation
• 58th – Job Growth Rate
• 37th – % of Delinquent Mortgage Holders
• 41st – Home Price as % of Income
• 16th – Population Growth Rate

Gilbert ranks 32nd overall and 10th among midsize cities.

View the full report at Arizona 2018 Primary Election What it Means to You - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Guest Blog Editor's avatar
Arizona 2018 Primary Election What it Means to You

By Dorn Policy Group

Arizona’s Primary Election, held on Tuesday, helped to provide clarity as to the mood of the electorate. Turnout was typical for an off-presidential year primary election. Unofficial primary results indicate a turnout of 25% which will increase by a few points throughout the next few days as provisional ballots are counted. Turnout in 2014 was 27.2%. This means that both Democrat and Republican base voters are set and the November General Election will be decided by the moderate and independent voters.


In a remarkable upset, reminiscent of past legislators seeking the office of Speaker of the House, incumbent Darin Mitchell (R-Goodyear) failed to make it past the Republican Primary Election. His defeat likely solidifies veteran lawmaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) as the heir apparent to the Speakership.

The House Majority Leader position remains in question following the primary election. Odds favor Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler). However, Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert), Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) and Anthony Kern (R-Glendale) have indicated an interest in the seat.

Several surprises occurred in Senate races in Tuesday’s primary election. Most notably, Drew John (R-Safford) was defeated by former House Speaker David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista). Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) defeated Tim Jeffries (R-Scottsdale) likely making Karen Fann (R-Chino Valley) the next President of the Senate.


As expected, Governor Doug Ducey will face David Garcia in November. In a surprising turn of events, incumbents Michelle Reagan, Diane Douglas, and Tom Forese, lost their races for Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Corporation Commission, respectively.

Republican newcomer Steve Gaynor will face State Senator Katie Hobbs for Secretary of State. Attorney General Mark Brnovich will face January Contreras for the State’s top law enforcement official. State Senator Kimberly Yee will face Mark Manoil for State Treasurer. Frank Riggs will face Kathy Hoffman for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Incumbent Commissioner Justin Olson and Democrat turned Republican Rodney Glassman will face Sandra Kennedy and Kiana Maria Sears for two seats on the Corporation Commission. 

Should you have any questions about these or other races around the State of Arizona, please contact Dorn Policy Group at (602) 606-4667. IRS Issues Proposed Regulations On New 20 Percent Deduction For Passthrough Businesses - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Guest Blog Editor's avatar
IRS Issues Proposed Regulations On New 20 Percent Deduction For Passthrough Businesses

IR-2018-162, Aug. 8, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations today for a new provision allowing many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts and S corporations to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income.

The new deduction -- referred to as the Section 199A deduction or the deduction for qualified business income -- was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The deduction is available for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. Eligible taxpayers can claim it for the first time on the 2018 federal income tax return they file next year.

The deduction is generally available to eligible taxpayers whose 2018 taxable incomes fall below $315,000 for joint returns and $157,500 for other taxpayers. It’s generally equal to the lesser of 20 percent of their qualified business income plus 20 percent of their qualified real estate investment trust dividends and qualified publicly traded partnership income or 20 percent of taxable income minus net capital gains.

Deductions for taxpayers above the $157,500/$315,000 taxable income thresholds may be limited. Those limitations are fully described in the proposed regulations.

Qualified business income includes domestic income from a trade or business. Employee wages, capital gain, interest and dividend income are excluded.

In addition, Notice 2018-64, also issued today, provides methods for calculating Form W-2 wages for purposes of the limitations on this deduction. More information may be found at

Taxpayers may rely on the rules in these proposed regulations until final regulations are published in the Federal Register.
Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing on this proposed regulation must be received within 45 days of publication in the Federal Register. August 2018 Membership Anniversaries - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Sanchez's avatar
August 2018 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber. Please look for the 2018-19 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

August 2018

25+ Years
Edward Jones - Bret Seeley, CFP®, AAMS®, Financial Advisor
Spectrac Suspension Centers, Inc.

21-24 Years
Monterrey Tile Company

16-20 Years
Unified Screening & Crushing

11-15 Years
Buffalo Wild Wings
Desert Financial Credit Union
Integrity Fleet Service, LLC
Lil' Einstein's
Nedda Tax Accountant, Inc.

6-10 Years
20 Volume Salon and Spa
Alianza Designs
Batteries Plus
Gilbert Road Self Storage
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Lofgreen's Office Products
Northrop Grumman
R and S Foam Roofing, LLC
San Tan Volkswagen
Southeast Valley Regional Association of Realtors
SpeedPro Imaging Mesa-Gilbert
Unicon INC.

1-5 Years
365 Mechanical, LLC
A to Z Party & Event Rentals
Aerin's Garments
Amy Jones Group
Arizona BBQ Company
Bill & Cindy Flowers Team
Bishops Cuts/Color
CarLife Gilbert
Coach Works Automotive & Auto Body
Dignity Health Foundation - East Valley
Emerald Palace
Floor & Decor
Gentle Dental Seville
Greenberg Construction
Higher Grounds Roastery & Cafe
Homes for Heroes
Ideal Plumbing
Interlogic Outsourcing Inc (IOI)
Keller Williams Realty East Valley
Kerkhoff Brothers, LLC
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Maricopa County
New Era Landscape Specialist
OrthoArizona Mezona Division - Rome Towers
PNP Fitness
Profile by Sanford
Russ Lyon | Sotheby's International Realty
Savanna House Assisted Living & Memory Care
Significant Cleaning Service
Spencer Auto Repair
Tequila Snobs
The Egg I Am
The Harding Firm
The Real Estate Firm
The Vintage | Alliance Residential Company
Thunderbird Artists
University of Dubuque
Willow Massage + Spa Building Trust With Employees – One Handshake At A Time - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
DianaElarde's avatar
Building Trust With Employees – One Handshake At A Time

Does poor employee retention create the merry-go-round of hire/train/rehire/retrain in your organization? Perhaps seeds of mistrust, sown early, are the root of the issue. Building trust with employees is key to creating a successful business with long-term employees.

Imagine the frustration of being tasked with a monthly quota for a sales team when it seems that just as the sales people complete training, they quit, creating the need to hire again. For some, this merry-go-round of hire/train/rehire/retrain caused by poor employee retention never ends, leaving many managers victims of sleepless nights worrying over unattainable quotas or goals.

In today’s market, it takes both time and money to find and properly train employees. This is particularly true in the technology sector, where it may take up to two years before an employee becomes productive. Organizations where work flow is dependent on team interaction, with individuals relying on each other to bring a task to fruition, may feel this pain the most. The presence of inexperienced workers means the shortfall must be made up by seasoned ones. Couple this with the fact many employees are still feeling the strain of a decade of downsizing and you have the formula for low office morale and poor productivity.

Why do so many American workers feel a high level of unrest?

A look at the statistics regarding dissatisfied employees across the country is an eye opener. According to a June 2014 study by Career Builder, over 2 million Americans leave their jobs monthly. Other statistics find 31 percent of employees don’t like their boss and another 28 percent admit to hiding on the job!

The problem may start as early as the interview process. Loosely made commitments regarding work conditions, income and advancement can set the stage for early employee dissatisfaction and quickly become the seeds of mistrust between employee and management.

Take for example, Mark, a specialty chef hired by a prominent restaurant chain whose kitchen operation focuses on preparing original and creative dishes. The menu items are created from scratch on site, and there is a good deal of training required for all new employees. During the interview, Mark is informed that while the initial pay is low, after sixty days a performance and pay review will be given. Verbal praise for Mark is excellent during his training period. So much so that upon the two month date, Mark’s expectation is for the performance review to lead to a well-deserved pay increase. But the restaurant managers fail to schedule the review, refusing to even give a reason for their lack of response. In fact, all attempts from Mark for the promised review are stalled or ignored. By the end of the fourth month of employment, Mark has resigned. And management is confused as to how they lost a quality worker.

Bottom line, trust was broken, and most likely it was not coming back.

Why words matter when it comes to building trust with employees

Do words uttered in an interview matter to employee retention? Simply enough, they should. These words represent the integrity of a company. They are also factors on which prospective employees base an important decision in their life. Promises made in an interview, whether stated or implied, are key points in the foundation of what becomes a trust relationship or not.

The great poet Maya Angelou wrote, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” The perception by employees when company actions do not match a manager’s commitments leads back to that nagging question: Can this person or perhaps even this company be trusted? In the case of new employees, the distinction between a manager’s indiscretion and company culture may be impossible to discern. Not experiencing trust makes people wary and self-protective.

In his article in the Harvard Business Review, Why is Trust So Hard to Achieve in Management (July 5, 2012), James Heskett explores the topic of building trust with employees in the workplace. One initial point he addresses is that managers are not trained in building trust. They often do not understand the relationship between developing trust and the integrity of the company as seen through the employees’ eyes.

A second point the Heskett article brings to light is perhaps managers feel that by the nature of their position, trust should be assumed and unquestioned by the new employee. Managers may need training to understand trust is a process. It is earned on an individual basis, not commanded based on position.

Another point to consider is the variability of human personality. Some hiring managers believe what is said in the interview shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a commitment or be a basis for an evaluation of trust. Similar to the concept of diffusion of responsibility, it is the belief that, universally, it’s desirable to create the ideal situation in an interview, not necessarily one based in reality.

Companies concerned with poor retention, particularly within the first year of employment, should examine how trust is or isn’t being established during interviews. It needs to be made clear to hiring managers it is a priority to begin development of trust during the interview process, not after. Most importantly, it should be emphasized that statements, particularly regarding potential income, work conditions and benefits, need to be concise and correct.

Information provided in an interview by a prospective hire such as work history, education and qualifications is expected to be accurate. In some organizations, falsifying this information is grounds for dismissal. Employers want employees to be truthful from the start.

But in all fairness, it needs to be understood the expectation of trust is a two-way street. The light of integrity should shine also on the employer. And this needs to begin not on the first day of employment, but from the first handshake.

Diana Creel Elarde, Emerging Insights, is a PSYCH-K® facilitator, speaker and author of the book, A Star in My Hand. She has been a contributing writer for CORP Magazine, Thrive Detroit and currently for Thrive After 50. You can reach Diana at or at
Trust, copyright DElarde, 2016. This article appeared in CORP Magazine in 2016. July 2018 Membership Anniversaries - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Sanchez's avatar
July 2018 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber. Please look for the 2018-19 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

July 2018

25+ Years

21-24 Years

16-20 Years
Gilbert Chapter of United Mesa Firefighters
State Farm Insurance - Kristi Kiernan

11-15 Years
AlphaGraphics of Gilbert
SanTan Village
Wells Fargo Bank

6-10 Years
A.T. Still University
Approved Plumbing, LLC
FirstBank- East Valley
GameTruck East Valley
Grimaldi's Coal Brick Oven Pizza
Joe's Farm Grill
Mercy Housing Arizona
National Bank of Arizona
Residence Inn by Marriott Phoenix Gilbert
Riggs, Ellsworth & Porter, PLC
Tipton Group Real Estate
Willett CPA

1-5 Years
Adrianne Lynch - Conway Real Estate
All in One Poster Company
ArcanaNetworks, Inc.
Arcas Machine Inc.
Behind the Scene Execs
Breinholt Insurance Group
Burguan Strickman Law, PLLC
Chandler-Gilbert Arc
CleanSlate Centers
Collins Comfort Masters
Cox Advisors, LLC
Cruise Planners - Arizona Cruise & Travel
Delta 4 Benefits
Digital Ignitor
Dignity Health - Ironwood Cancer Center
Doherty Insurance Group
Emerging Insights
Ensign Financial Partners LLC.
Eric Herbert Real Estate
Firehouse Subs - Market Street
Grand Canyon University
HomeSmart - Dawn Garcia
HomeSmart - Dee Wilson
McMeel Insurance
Menchie's Frozen Yogurt - Gilbert Gateway
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Quail Park at Morrison Ranch
Quality Overhead Door Incorporated
S.T.A.R. Concepts
San Tan Memorial Gardens, LLC
Save the Family
Shun the Sun Foundation, Inc.
Southwest Premier Insurance Agency, LLC
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences
The Elegant Barn
The Flats At San Tan
Union Home Mortgage
Unison Bank How Do You Compete in Business? - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
ChristieBoutain's avatar
How Do You Compete in Business?

I was recently asked, “How do you compete with Bank X? They offer such low rates.” I smiled and thought to myself, “I love this question, and I can’t wait to respond!” What was my response? I really don’t compete. At least I don’t see it that way.

The banking industry, as with generally all industries, is highly competitive, highly commoditized, and globally influenced. There are state chartered, nationally chartered, and internationally owned banks with brick and mortar buildings, credit unions, fintech companies, and related services industries that offer bank products, even Amazon. “Bankers’ hours” is a thing of the past, as having access 24/7 is expected. Competition is fierce and not to be ignored. I think we would all be hard pressed to find a business or industry that is competition proof. Before I fly out of the atmosphere, let me bring you back down to Gilbert, Arizona and my conversation.

I went on to explain that I do technically compete, but like I said, I don’t see it that way. I see every situation as an opportunity. An opportunity to share what I’m passionate about. That passion is helping business owners make connections, overcome challenges, solve problems and achieve their financial goals. I know my customer and it’s not going to be every business owner every time, and I’m not going to be the lowest rate.

A business is an extension of a business owner’s heart and soul; their passion. That business is fervently protected, nurtured, developed, and molded over years with blood, sweat and tears. Every business owner encounters competition at some point. One of the best things a business owner can do is to embrace competition and always be prepared for how to handle it.

My husband and I have frequent conversations about competition. In his various entrepreneurial experiences, competition has come and gone and come back again. We talk a lot about the relationships he’s had over the years with his competition. Some of those relationships have grown into mutually beneficial ones where they are there to help each other to serve the customer. There have also been those competitors that have come into the market and have offered services much lower to get business and many others in between. We discuss strategies on how to handle those situations and talk a lot about values, legacy, impacts, benefits, advantages, disadvantages and the impact of the unattainable triangle.

I encourage you to consider competition and the impact of it on your business model. Here are some things you can think about.
  1. Mission, Vision, Purpose, and Values. Have you mapped out your what, why, and who? What is your business? Why does it exist? Who are your customers? What product or service do you provide? Where do you do business? What are your company values? Who is your customer? Having the answers to these questions will help you communicate with your customers and employees, and will help you strategize on competition. It is the foundation for your business where you will build and grow from. You should always consider this in your business model and strategic planning.
  2. Competitive Analysis. Research who your current competition is in your market. Consider potential competitors that might come into your market. Jeff Haden, contributing editor, Inc., has some great tips on competitive analysis for small businesses in his article “How to Write a Great Business Plan: Competitive Analysis.”
  3. Quality, Service and Price. The unattainable triangle. It is well known in the marketing world and plays an important role in business and competition. Knowing what you offer and what your competition offers is critical.
  4. Benefits. The more the merrier? Is there a benefit to your business by having competition? What are the benefits to your customers or the local economy?
  5. Trusted advisors and resources. Reach out to your trusted advisors and resources. Sometimes seeing things from another’s perspective can be eye-opening and extremely insightful. Consider talking to others in your industry who may not be a direct competitor. They may be in your market or outside your market. Think about establishing an advisory board of those people you trust and meet with them on a regular basis.

There are thousands of books and online resources you can access. Do your research. Have the conversations. Don’t dismiss your competition. Embrace them. So, I pose the same question to you that I was asked. How do you compete? Knowing the answer will be invaluable to your business growth and success.
Christie Boutain has a passion for working with business owners and helping them solve problems, build successful enterprises, strong communities, and long-lasting relationships with trusted resources. She is a commercial lender with Gateway Bank and has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years. Christie’s experience in cash flow and operational management, creative financing, and strategic planning has helped businesses and organizations prosper and grow. Christie and her husband, Bryan, along with their two children, live, work and play in Gilbert, Arizona. June 2018 Membership Anniversaries - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Sanchez's avatar
June 2018 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber. Please look for the 2017-18 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

June 2018

25+ Years

21-24 Years
R & K Building Supplies, Inc.

16-20 Years
Firebird Housing Specialists
Imagine Charter School at West Gilbert

11-15 Years
Advance Paper & Maintenance Supply
Wells Fargo Bank

6-10 Years
910 West
Arizona AG Marketing & Consulting Group, INC.
Farm Bureau Financial Services - Nikki Schaal, LUTCF
Friends for Life Animal Rescue
John's Refrigeration
Liberty Market
National Payroll Specialists
San Tan Charter School
Stevenson's Remodel & Home Repair LLC
Zachary Law Group

1-5 Years
Ace Vending, Inc.
Age Less Wellness and Aesthetics Clinic
American Lung Association in Arizona
American Orchards Senior Community
Arizona Spine and Joint Hospital
Barn Walls
Barrio Brewing Co.
Brian's Arizona Bread
Checklist Inspections
Elaine Kessler Photography
Erik Geisler REALTOR®
Executive Digital
Gordian Networks
Guild Mortgage Company - Karen Camblin
Hampton Inn & Suites East Mesa
Inspire Professional Development & Consulting, LLC
Law Office of Allyn Langford, PLLC
Legacy Traditional School
M & M Lighting LLC
N2 Publishing - Matt Dallas
Native Grill and Wings
NexMetro Communities
NextCare Urgent Care
School of Rock
Team Afterburn
The Spectrum Group at Revelation Real Estate
Thrive Coworking for Women
TotSpot Preschool
Transamerica Financial Group Troy Hatch
Ultra Brite Home Services, LLC 3 Things You’re Doing Wrong with Customer Feedback - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
JasmineHolmes's avatar
3 Things You’re Doing Wrong with Customer Feedback

It's no longer a question of if you should but how to ask for feedback from customers. Whether they're coming from searches, ads or referrals, feedback in the form of testimonials and reviews is critical to getting new customers. Every business large or small needs a customer feedback system.

Let Me Back Up a Second

I've had customer feedback on my brain for some time now. Imagine my delight when at the May GEM talk, Tuft & Needle Founder, JT Marino, shared how they based the company's entire R and D process on customer feedback.

It's no surprise that a company known for disruption threw out the rule book when developing their product. JT told us how T&N started as a website (with no product) to test the consumer response to buying a mattress online. He was shocked to receive the first order within hours of launching.

He now knew for certain that consumers did want what he was selling. And a cycle of customer feedback and innovation was born.

Unlike a lot of businesses, T&N doesn't do months or years of testing before releasing a new product. They get mattresses into the hands of their customers as quickly as possible and rely on feedback to improve.

If you've followed Tuft & Needle's meteoric rise, it's clear that JT has found a formula for success. He's built a business based on customer feedback and you should, too.

The challenge with creating a businesses centered on customer feedback is that you're probably doing at least one of these three things wrong.

#1: You're Afraid to Ask

From my perspective, there's no way around it, customer behavior has changed. Consumers of all ages are "shopping" online. Whether it's a product or service, we rely on online information to not only find great providers but to vet those to whom we are referred in the real world.

For the typical small business, most (if not all) of your business should come in the form on referrals (real world and digital). It's the vetting piece that makes customer feedback so important to businesses who rely on referrals. It doesn't matter how much we trust a referral, it's become second nature to confirm what we hear by checking out a business' online reputation.

Testimonials and reviews (customer feedback) are the stick that prospects are using to measure your business against the competition. If you're not regularly asking for customer feedback, you're never going to build the reputation that modern consumers expect.

I get it. Asking for feedback is hard ... really hard. I'm the worst about asking for feedback. It's not because of the good things my clients will say. And I know they will. They tell me all the time. It's the customer I thought was happy but then tells me otherwise that gives me pause.

Asking for feedback takes bravery and confidence because there is no doubt that you are going to do bad along with good. Bottom line, you have to develop thick skin; get over the fear and start asking.

#2: You're on Autopilot

Everything about customer feedback is difficult. That's why it's so important and so easy to dismiss. It's like working out. (Truth time: raise your hand if you have a gym membership but haven't been there in over six months.)

Customer feedback systems are a lot like gym memberships. We set them up with the best of intentions. We work out one time and hobble around the office for a week. And never go back. You justify it by telling yourself,
  • "I'll go back there when I'm not sore anymore."
  • "I'll get back into my routine as soon as this big project is finished."
  • "I'll do it as soon as the kids' soccer season is over."
Six months go by; you finally have the "time" to work out; you go back to gym, work out one time, hobble around the office for a week, and are back in the same vicious cycle.

Just like working out, that first time you ask for customer feedback is going to hurt. You're going to want to find reasons to stop. But here's the thing, just like working out, if you keep doing it (without waiting six months each time), asking for feedback gets easier.

How to Ask for Feedback from Customers

When I talk about feedback and reviews with customers, the first question is always how. How do I ask? How often do I ask?

Let me make this really easy. It doesn't matter how you ask for feedback from customers. The most important part is that you ask every customer, and you ask again, and you ask again, and again, and again ...

I'm not suggesting that you be obnoxious or annoying, but you do need to ask and keep asking for customer feedback. You can't give up the first time you get a negative comment or when 9 out of 10 customers don't respond. That's what makes customer feedback so challenging and why it needs to be integrated into every part (and embraced by every person) in your business.

#3: You Take It Personally

We've already established that asking for customer feedback means you're to get responses you don't want to hear or don't expect. It's a critical part of the process. There's no way to exceed expectations if you don't know where you're falling short.

Your business is your baby. If you're a typical small business, you spend as much time (or more) on your business as you do with your family. Nobody likes to be told they have an ugly baby (literally or figuratively).
Let's be brutally honest for a second. You make mistakes. We all make mistakes. It happens. If you're going to be successful in business, you have to own your mistakes. This means that you actually hear what customers have to say.

I'm not suggesting that it's all your fault. Some customers can't be satisfied no matter how hard you work. That's OK.

Either way, you can't get defensive or angry when a customer says something you don't want to hear. Responding from a place of negativity is going to get you into a lot of trouble, really fast.

You can't control (nor should you) what people say about your business. You can control how you respond to these comments.

Try to be objective about customer feedback—chances are the fault lies somewhere between the two of you. And if you can't distance yourself, get outside help. A public argument with a customer is far worse than a negative comment without a response.

Customer Feedback Isn't a Four Letter Word

The world of marketing is experiencing some major shifts. (Check out my previous article Walled Gardens are Changing Online Marketing for Small Business for more about this.)

Customer feedback must be a center point to any marketing strategy. If you don't have a customer feedback system, it's time to implement one. It's going to be hard, but if you stick with it and keep an open mind, customer feedback will grow your business.

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About the Author: Jasmine Holmes

With over 15 years of graphic design and marketing experience, Jasmine Holmes loves being able to say, “I’m older than I look.”

Jasmine is the owner of 910 West, an online marketing company serving small businesses in Gilbert and throughout the US. It is her combined experience in traditional print and online marketing that sets 910 West apart from the competition and makes Jasmine a marketing expert.

At 910 West, she works with a talented team to deliver small business digital marketing essentials: local search, email marketing, and brand development. Learn more about 910 West at

When not working, you might find her at a farmer’s market buying locally grown veggies. Jasmine passionately believes in the power of small business and loves working with them to create lasting success. May 2018 Membership Anniversaries - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Sanchez's avatar
May 2018 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber. Please look for the 2017-18 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

May 2018

25+ Years
Southwest Gas Corporation
Wells Fargo Bank

21-24 Years

16-20 Years
Gilbert Rotary Club
Tomar Electronics
UMB Bank

11-15 Years
Carrabba's Italian Grill
Charleston's Restaurant
Pet Butler Arizona
The Edge at Lyon's Gate

6-10 Years
BRIO Tuscan Grille
Chick-fil-A at Gilbert Gateway Towne Center
Gilbert Cardiology
Oregano's Pizza Bistro, Inc.
TNT Shredding LLC.

1-5 Years
Ancient Oils - Modern Healing
AZCOMP Technologies
Banner Home Care and Hospice
Ben and Julie Koerner Team
Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More
Body Restoration Medical Massage Clinic
Buddyz Pizza
Cruise Planners- The Spectrum Group
Expert Maintenance Systems, Inc.
First Arizona Title Agency
Freestyle Fitness
Gentle 1 Interior Designs
Gentle Dental
Girl Scouts- Arizona Cactus Pine Council
HR 1Source, LLC
JB Water Plumbing & Water Treatment
Kneaders Bakery & Cafe
M.R. Tanner Construction
Main Event Entertainment
Mariposa Point of Gilbert
Mountain America Credit Union
Mr. Honey Do Services
Plankowner Enterprises LLC
Popeye's Chicken
Popeye's Chicken
ReMax Infinity
Renaissance Community Partners
SendOut Cards
Shoppers Supply
SPACE by Rocket
State Farm Insurance
Thai Chili 2 Go
The Falls Event Center, LLC
The Well Chiropractic Clinic
Triple Helix Investigations, LLC.
True REST Float Spa
Walmart Store 3861
Western Skies Golf Club WHAT’S IN A TITLE? - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
NatalieBowers's avatar

When you look at your bank statement, are you solely looking at the balances and transactions? Oftentimes, one of the most important pieces of information on the bank statement is how that account is titled. The bank statement and the new account agreement, also commonly known as a signature card, are the legal documents for your deposit accounts held at your banking institution. These two documents direct the ownership of your money and your distribution preferences should anything happen to you. They also direct how much insurance the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will cover the specifically titled account. This is applicable for both personal and business deposit accounts.

An account’s legal title is usually only scrutinized or questioned when a significant life event occurs to the owner of the money within the account. These life events come in all forms. Marriage, divorce, death, beneficiary change and estate planning are some of the common factors that affect how your deposit accounts should be titled.

You can prepare for such events by understanding some basic account title types that direct your bank on how the money in your deposit accounts should be owned and distributed. While there are numerous reasons why people and businesses title their accounts a certain way, today we will explore just a few of the most common legal titles of a deposit account held at an FDIC insured bank.

Sole Owner titled accounts are just that. Owned solely by you. No one else can touch the money while you are alive. This also means a direct beneficiary is not named. The bank will be at the mercy of any court issued, legal documents to direct them on how the funds should be dispersed in the event of incapacitation or death. There is also the chance that the bank will not be notified of such an event and the account could potentially go into an “inactive” and/or “dormant” status. Once the allotted time for dormancy has expired, the funds will be escheated to the appropriate authorities. This is usually in the state of owner’s residency. Each bank has their terms and conditions on how they handle dormant accounts.

Joint Tenancy titled accounts are like Sole Owner titled accounts; however, this ownership designation will allow two or more people to have authorization to access the account. Oftentimes, one person can act independently from the other to withdraw money from a Joint Tenancy titled account. Each bank has their own terms on whether both signers are required together or separately to access the funds. This also includes the authority to close the account.

Individual and Joint Totten Trust, also known as “Payable on Death” or “In Trust For”, are accounts that are informally naming designated beneficiaries. They are like the Sole Owner and Joint Tenancy accounts listed above; however, they go a step further and specifically name one or more persons to receive the funds in the event of the owners’ death(s). The named beneficiaries do not have access to the funds during the lifetime of the owner(s). This account title differs from a formal family or living trust in that no documentation is required to have this type of ownership. Usually, a banker will only need a few pieces of identifiable information for the chosen beneficiaries such as name, date of birth and/or social security numbers. Each bank has their own terms regarding this type of legal title.

Business Account titles can vary based upon how the entity is formed. Business entities are formed as Sole Proprietorships, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, Non-Profits, Fiduciaries, Lawyer’s Trusts, etc. Each entity has their own importance of why they are formed this way and are sometimes strategically planned for tax or liability purposes. Banks follow certain documentation requirements to determine ownership of the entity, the account and how the funds are to be dispersed when the business or entity is sold, transferred, dissolved or affected by a significant life event such as described above.

When determining ownership of your money, it is good advice to seek counsel from an Estate Planning Attorney, Business Attorney, Certified Public Accountant and your banker. This way, when you view your bank statement, you can have peace of mind that your accounts and money are owned and directed according to your intentions. For more information on legal titles for bank accounts, the following websites help provide assistance:,,,, and and

Natalie Bowers is an Assistant Vice President and the Branch Manager at Parkway Bank located in Gilbert, AZ. With close to 20 years in the retail banking industry, Natalie is passionate about financial literacy. Her expertise is in retail banking for personal and business account holders. She enjoys working with entrepreneurs, small business owners and people who have a vested interest in how their money is safeguarded within a trusted, financial institution. April 2018 Membership Anniversaries - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Sanchez's avatar
April 2018 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber. Please look for the 2017-18 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

April 2018

25+ Years
A & P Nursery & Lawnmower Shop
Falconer Funeral Home
Gilbert Veterinary Hospital, P.C.
Sam's Club
State Farm Insurance - JoAnn Saba Alvarez
Wells Fargo Bank

21-24 Years

16-20 Years
Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus
Costco Wholesale # 481
Cox Communications
Landings Credit Union

11-15 Years
Villa Siena

6-10 Years
Arizona Hardwood Floor Supply
Best Western Legacy Inn & Suites
Dream Vacations - Karen Coleman-Ostrov
Magic Pest Control
Monarch Medical Group PLLC
Seville Golf and Country Club
The I.T. Workshop, LLC
The Nitro Live Icecreamery
VIP Airsoft Arena
Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC

1-5 Years
Aflac - Emily Evans
Arizona Bank and Trust
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
Atlas Health Medical Group
Bay Equity Home Loans Gilbert - Boles Group
Buffalo Media
Canyon Lands Insurance
Center for Dermatology & Plastic Surgery
Colair Beauty Lounge and Med Spa
Edward Jones - Mallory Reis
Holly Pritulsky Agency
Insurance Rx
Joyride Taco House
Liv Northgate
Living Spaces
MedPost Urgent Care
Office Depot OfficeMax
Popeye's Chicken
Prudential Insurance
Rise Up Bakery
Rocky Mountain Restoration
Servpro of Gilbert and Chandler South
Sharp Creek Contracting, Inc.
Sun Valley Medical Billing, LLC
Sweetz Cold Brew Coffee Co
Town Commons Apartments
Treehouse Marketing Group
True Home Maintenance Air Conditioning & Heating, LLC
Win Media Group
Zappone's Italian Bistro
Zippy Entertainment Ready to Hire a Salesperson? - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
DianaElarde's avatar
Ready to Hire a Salesperson?

Caught in the feast or famine cycle? What to concentrate on – new business or daily management – can translate into high sales or little at all. Is it time consider how to hire a salesperson? The right person can provide a continuous stream of business and eliminate the pressure of your trying to do it all.

While the feast/famine cycle may be one indication you need sales help, other tell-tale signs will often abound. Is the time devoted to finding new business affecting the quality of service with existing clients? Has response time for returning messages reached a frustration level? Clients and potential clients are the lifeline of a company. When people have to wait too long for a response, they will go elsewhere for their needs.

Relationships with networking partners could also offer some clues. Good partnering means timely responses to referrals. In one networking group, a successful realtor had developed a partner relationship with a home inspector. Initially, feedback from her clients was good. But as the home inspector’s business grew, so did the amount of time he took to follow up. Delays and excuses became the norm. The realtor experienced a backlash from clients complaining about his lack of responsiveness. Disenchanted and concerned for her reputation, the realtor decided she could no longer refer the home inspector.

Another sign: how is your overall attitude towards business development activities? Are cold calls or follow-up calls and emails relegated to the last activity of the day or maybe not at all? Does attending the weekly network meeting create dread and anxiety? Perhaps passing the torch to a sales person who loves the challenge of these events and connects well with others would be a better idea. This is an ideal time to think about how to hire a salesperson.

Finally, spend some time evaluating the business development numbers necessary to stay on track for success for you or a new sales person. Work the numbers backwards, starting from the revenue needed every month. This is a good method to create solid activity for success. For example:

Monthly Sales Goal                                     $50,000 in sales
Average Sale Price                                     $10,000
Number of Clients Needed Month           5
How many calls/contacts needed to
secure one new client?                             70 (will vary)
Closing ratio with potential clients         20%, 80% (determine goal)

Note that the number of monthly calls and contacts will vary. At the inception of a business, this number is usually quite high to develop business. At time continues, you or the sales person should get better at closing business.

Knowing and understanding these numbers is critical; it can be the determining factor if your business is successful or not. It also can give you the magic number of what activity is necessary for business development and success. These numbers need to be tracked daily and reviewed weekly without fail.

Business development takes time and energy. Before the situation negatively impacts the future of the business, the smart business owner needs to heed the signs. The feast or famine cycle, complaints from clients or networking partners, development numbers falling short, all could be saying it is time to edit the business plan. Adding a sales person might be the right step to elevate the business to the next level!

Diana Creel Elarde, Emerging Insights, has 20 years’ experience in sales and sales management. Today she is a PSYCH-K® facilitator at and writes for several publications. You can reach Diana at Parts of this article previously published in Corp Magazine. Walled Gardens Are Changing Online Marketing for Small Business - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
JasmineHolmes's avatar
Walled Gardens Are Changing Online Marketing for Small Business

As an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy, hearing someone talk about walled gardens always brings to mind visions of clandestine hideouts filled with exotic plants and magical creatures. Oh, how I wish they were talking about a fantasy wonderland, but they're not ...

Fundamentals and Faeries
The term walled garden is being used a lot in digital marketing. I don't normally put a lot of stock in staying on top of the latest buzzwords and trends in my industry; I'm a traditionalist when it comes to marketing. There are certain fundamentals that never change—focus on those and leave chasing trends to your competitors.

And for most small businesses, this is the only way to do marketing. You don't have the resources to chase the latest "it" marketing trick. Though you may get a quick fix, in the long run you usually end up worse than had you done nothing.

And that brings me back to walled gardens because this is a trend that small businesses need to be aware of and pay attention to. In a nutshell, two of the biggest players in the digital world, Google and Facebook, have been slowly but methodically building walls around their content.

The Walls Between Us
Let's start with Facebook. If you're not familiar with the announcement in January that turned Facebook marketing on its head, read Social Media Examiner's Facebook Zero post to get up to speed. Facebook wants to be a publisher, not a curator of content. They want users to post new and unique content that keeps viewers on the site. (Do you get it now? Facebook is building a magical, fairy filled walled garden that you never want to leave.)

Google is making similar moves, though they've not made any overt announcements. They are pushing the "page 1" experience, wanting to provide as much information as possible on the first search page of search results. Great for users because they can find all the info they want in one place. Not so great for your website because searchers no longer have a reason to visit.

Time to Shift
What does this mean for online marketing for small business? You are going to have to make a fundamental shift in how you approach digital marketing. For better or worse, Facebook – and especially Google – owns the marketplace. We can't ignore their walled gardens and hope the go away. You need to step outside your own walled garden: your company website.

I see this as an opportunity. Frankly, online marketing for small business had gotten a little stale. These moves by two of the major players create an amazing opportunity for the small business that's willing and open to creating a new marketing plan. There's still so much you can do to get found by your ideal customer, but it's going to focus less on your website (yes you still need one) and more on how you get content into these walled gardens.

If you're ready to explore your online marketing options, I'd love to talk with you. You can find out more about me and my company, 910 West, at or 480.219.9069.

About the Author: Jasmine Holmes
With over 15 years of graphic design and marketing experience, Jasmine Holmes loves being able to say, “I’m older than I look.”

Jasmine is the owner of 910 West, an online marketing company serving small businesses in Gilbert and throughout the US. It is her combined experience in traditional print and online marketing that sets 910 West apart from the competition and makes Jasmine a marketing expert.

At 910 West, she works with a talented team to deliver small business digital marketing essentials: local search, email marketing, and brand development.

When not working, you might find her at a farmer’s market buying locally grown veggies. Jasmine passionately believes in the power of small business and loves working with them to create lasting success. UPDATE:  Minimum Wage/Sick Leave Referendum DOA Due to Politics and Price Tag of $5M Campaign - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Kathy Tilque's avatar
UPDATE:  Minimum Wage/Sick Leave Referendum DOA Due to Politics and Price Tag of $5M Campaign

After several months of supporting SCR 1016, which would have sent to the voters the opportunity to freeze the minimum wage, repeal the sick leave mandate and retribution portions of the approved ballot measure from 2016, the bill has been stalled and will not be advanced. Politically, it is an election year and there is not the will at the Capitol to have this item included on the ballot alongside candidate elections. The Gilbert Chamber and EVCCA led a charge to keep this referendum moving and reached out to Chambers across the state to join in this effort. The financial reality of running a state-wide campaign would have required funding directly from the business community and those businesses must have been willing to have their business name out front in this effort:
  • Cost to conduct an initial statewide poll would be $2,500 per question (anticipated $125,000 for a full poll with the number of questions needed)
  • Cost to run the campaign would be at least $5 million
  • As of right now, no other organization has indicated the willingness to put in the necessary resources to run a campaign
  • The opposition has already organized to submit hundreds of letters against the referendum and is ready to publicly fight this again.

The Gilbert Chamber gave this a good fight and took the lead in championing a change and support for small businesses.  Unfortunately, it did not work out.  We are disappointed to say the least; however, we wanted to ensure you understood the realities of the politics, financial, and reputation obstacles we have tried to overcome. We will continue to look for opportunities to ease the burden on businesses as a result of this and other mandates. SCORE Counseling Available In Gilbert - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
LarryGoldsmith's avatar
SCORE Counseling Available In Gilbert

In conjunction with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, SCORE offers FREE Counseling to small businesses in Gilbert.

SCORE was founded over 50 years ago as “Service Corp of Retired Executives” as a part of the Small Business Administration. Over the years, SCORE has become an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit that is funded today by grants, foundations, contributions, and in part by the Small Business Administration. All counselors are volunteers and there is never any charge for counseling. There are over 20,000 counselors in the United States today.

Counselors come to SCORE with many years of business experience. Fields of experience range from accounting to legal, trademarks to engineering, manufacturing and marketing to education, medicine to real estate, and even non-profits. SCORE has over 60 counselors in the greater Phoenix area with a diverse range of expertise.
From startups to long time businesses, no matter how long you have been in business, SCORE can help. Whether you need help with business plans, budgeting, forecasting, marketing, advertising, or anything else, SCORE counselors are available. SCORE can also help if your needs are for legal guidance, trademark advice, or many other business specialties. All you need to do is make a Mentor Request online at the SCORE website (

Gilbert is fortunate to have two highly experienced business people as SCORE counselors available to Gilbert Chamber of Commerce members. They are part of Greater Phoenix SCORE, which is Chapter 105 in the SCORE National Organization. Counseling is at EZ Spaces (1530 E. Williams Field Rd. #201, Gilbert, AZ 85295), in space provided by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, on Wednesday and Thursday mornings by appointment only. Appointments can be made on the SCORE Website for Wednesday mornings, and by calling 480-299-6389 for Thursday mornings.

Counseling on Wednesday mornings is with Mr. Richard Campbell. Richard is a partner in investment banking and has been a printing executive for a billion dollar company. He is focused on sales and marketing and has a BA and an MBA. He is on the Board of Directors of Banner Foundation and the Fiesta Bowl.

On Thursday mornings, Mr. Larry Goldsmith is the SCORE counselor. Larry has over 40 years of food and food service experience, in addition to more than 10 years as a consultant. He focuses on sales, marketing, and business planning.

Help is available for you and your business! You just have to ask. No matter how young or old your business is, no matter how small or large the problem, SCORE can help. March 2018 Membership Anniversaries - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Sanchez's avatar
March 2018 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber. Please look for the 2017-18 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

March 2018

25+ Years

21-24 Years
Barnes Fine Jewelers
Gilbert Boys & Girls Club
International Minute Press of Gilbert

16-20 Years

11-15 Years
Arizona Animal Wellness Center
Hale Centre Theatre
Rayhons Financial Solutions / Voya Financial Advisors

6-10 Years
4th Wall Productions, LLC.
CertaPro Painters of Gilbert
Extra Mile Floor Care
Leading Edge Academy & Gilbert Early College
Resource Leadership Group
Sante' of Mesa
Savante Salon
Silver Creek Inn Memory Care
Sunrise Urology, PC
Superstition Lakes Dental
Superstition Springs Golf Club
Z Physique LLC

1-5 Years
American Leadership  Academy
Arizona's Dukes of Air, LLC
B5 Motors
Barrio Queen
BHB Remodel & Renovation
Bobby-Q II LLC
Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA
Creo School
Daley Connections, LLC
Done Your Way Carpet Cleaning
Eternal Event Design
GATHr Publishing Inc
Heritage Pointe Apartment Homes
Horizon Community Bank
ICD Everything LLC
Independent Appliance Repair DBA MSM Technologies
LegalShield-Donna Sparaco
Life Vantage
Mosaic Properties
NextHome Source
Peoples Mortgage Company
Rapid Restoration and Construction, LLC
Sandra Sienkiewicz with HomeSmart
Shoreline Financial Services of Arizona
Strong Tower Insurance Group
Studio Fortis
Tempe Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Kia
Teriyaki Madness
The Grandview Group
The Window Broker
Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill
Thrivent Financial - Warner Ranch Group
Water Heaters West
Whiskey Row Gilbert
Withey Morris, PLLC
Y FIT Fitness Training TAX LAW Changes That Affect 2017 - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
RalphWillett's avatar
TAX LAW Changes That Affect 2017

Did you know that the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018” signed on February 9, 2018 and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed on December 22, 2017 have provisions that affect 2017 taxes?

CONGRESS passes “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018” on February 9, 2018

This 2018 law affects some provisions of Tax Law for 2017
Early this morning, February 9, 2018: The US Congress passed and President Trump signed the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018” (BBA). This has some impact on individuals and businesses for 2017 in its 652 pages. Primarily, this act extended some deductions that had expired on December 31, 2016, but now will expire December 31, 2017.

So why would Congress use a 2018 law to change 2017 tax law, when less than two months earlier Congress passed a massive overhaul of the tax code? Simply put, it deals with the way Congress is passing the law to get around a 60 vote in the Senate. Now, we turn to some of the changes enacted in 2018 that affect 2017.

Some of the changes now back in the law through December 31, 2017 are:
  1. Mortgage insurance premiums
  2. Above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and education expenses
  3. Exclusion from income of discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness
  4. Nonbusiness energy property credit
  5. Energy efficient new homes credit
If you paid mortgage insurance premiums, they are now deductible for 2017. Most mortgage companies did not report this since it was not the law, but now it is. So you may likely see a revised mortgage statement 1098 for the 2017 tax year. If you paid mortgage insurance premiums, you should gather the information. Tax software including the IRS computers is not set up to accept this just yet, so you can see some changes coming during the filing season that are already in progress.

This BBA also calls on the IRS to create a new tax form for seniors (presumably those over age 65). We will see what transpires throughout this year as to what that form will look like.

This February 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 comes on the heels of the December 2017 “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA) passed on December 22, 2017. The TCJA does impact some deductions for 2017, but mainly affects 2018 (more on that later). Here are some of the 2017 deduction changes:
  • 100% Bonus Depreciation for purchases after September 27, 2017
  • Medical Expense Deduction limit lowered to 7.5% of adjusted gross income (instead of the 10%)
  • Loan refinances after 12/15/17

TAX Overhaul

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed December 22, 2017

The new tax law has sweeping effects for 2018 and some for 2017 that were discussed above. Here are some highlights of the changes for 2018:
  • 21% Corporate tax rate. Lowers corporate tax rate to a flat 21%; no tiers, so corporations with income below $100,000 will see a tax increase while those above that level will see a decrease in tax.
  • 20% Qualified Business Income Deduction (different from rate reduction). This was enacted to help small businesses that are pass-through entities (S-corps, LLCs) come close to the new lowered corporate rate.
  • Personal rates are lowering
  • Standard Itemized Deduction almost doubles
  • Child Tax credit doubles
  • Personal exemptions are now no longer

S-Corporations and LLCs have an opportunity to have up to a 20% qualified business income deduction. The calculation is not a simple 20% of net income unless the owner’s taxable income is below $157,500 for single taxpayers and $315,000 for married filing joint taxpayers.

If you are over those thresholds, you then have some limits on the 20% deduction. You will need to look at total payroll paid, as this could be a limiting factor. In addition, another limiting factor that could come into play deals with a calculation dealing with a percentage of assets in the business (this limit will be for very few small businesses, so it’s not discussed here). Also, this deduction is limited to positive taxable income. In other words, you will not create a loss with this 20% deduction and any excess not deducted this year is not carried forward into the next year; you lose the unused deduction. When a business has a tax loss in a year, it carries forward to the next year and will have an effect of reducing the 20% deduction in the next year.

Small businesses in certain lines of business will not receive a 20% deduction for qualified business income deduction once their taxable income is above $207,500 for individuals or $415,000 for married filing separate returns. Those industries are: Health, Law, Accounting, Consulting, Performing Arts, Actuarial Services, Athletics, Financial Services, and Brokerage Services.

Ralph Willett has been a CPA for over 30 years. He started his career with a big international accounting firm. He then was CFO of several companies, one of which manufactured a product you would recognize: the “Little Giant Ladder System”. Ralph helped that company grow by over 1,000% by selling the product on TV. He is involved in the community and is President Elect of the Entrepreneurial CPAs here in Phoenix. He also serves on the Board of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce and is on the Gilbert Chamber Public Policy Committee.

Visit to learn more or contact Ralph directly at (480) 699-2308.
February 2018 Membership Anniversaries - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Sanchez's avatar
February 2018 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber. Please look for the 2017-18 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

February 2018

25+ Years
Norwood Furniture
Pure Comfort Mattress

21-24 Years

16-20 Years
The Leadership Centre
Wells Fargo Bank

11-15 Years
Bowlero Gilbert
Brechbill Consulting, LLC
Costco Wholesale # 644
Mariposa Gardens Memorial Park & Funeral Care
Wildflower Bread Company

6-10 Years
Banner Neuro Wellness
Double Tree by Hilton Phoenix-Gilbert & San Tan Elegant Conference Center
Edward Jones - Ray Thompson Financial Advisor
Gift Baskets of Scottsdale, LLC
Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix-Gilbert
Henry Brown Automotive Group
Hyatt Place Phoenix / Gilbert
Newman Realty
Presidential Pools, Spas & Patio
Valley Women for Women OB/GYN
Whitestone Reit

1-5 Years
2UTire & Wheel
American Cancer Society
Bailey IT Solutions, LLC
Bold Roost Cafe
Cantor Crane - Personal Injury Lawyers
Desert Schools Federal Credit Union - SanTan Village
Fat Cats Entertainment Center
Gateway Executive Suites
Guild Mortgage Company - Jason Casaus
Isagenix International
Jester's Billiards
Joshua Development
L & D Refrigeration Inc.
LuLaRoe Rebecca Powell
Peoples Mortgage
Red Wing Shoes
Rigid Industries
Rio Rico Mexican Grill
San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home & Advance Planning Center
Southwestern Retirement Planning Advisors, Inc.
The Therapy Farm, LLC.
USA BMX The Benefits of Investing in Your People - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
EricaBallesteros's avatar
The Benefits of Investing in Your People


“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams

Gallup, one of the top global performance-management consulting companies known for its public opinion polls conducted worldwide, shares that the number one reason why people quit their jobs is that they are not able to learn and grow.  From career advancement, promotional opportunities, learning, training, and development, this is a craving embedded within each of us as human beings as are wired to achieve.  Additionally, we have a fundamental need to be appreciated and understood which makes learning how to effectively invest in the growth and development of your people such a critical component to any leader’s daily agenda.

No matter how large your ship is, whether you are a small business owner, or you are the CEO of a 4,000 person company, people perform at their highest level when they are utilizing their natural strengths and talents, and applying those to something meaningful, purposeful. 

So how does a leader identify those and do as John Quincy Adams states-inspire them to dream more, learn more, and become more?  How does a leader keep a pulse on the level of engagement the employee is really at any given time? 

Jim Rohn, who was a famous American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker, was constantly guiding others to “work harder on yourself than you do on your job” as he knew that our ability to enjoy a richer quality of life and reap the rewards of a thriving business first came from the thriving individuals within it.

Investing in your people, including yourself, yields an endless amount of benefits. First and foremost, there are many tools out there that help you identify both your core strengths and those on your team that can change the dynamic of how you establish and foster the relationships you build on your team.  Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment, now taken by more than 17.8 million people worldwide, gets to the core of who we are, how we tick, and sheds a light on how we are all uniquely designed.  As a leader, if you can learn just how to utilize each individual team member’s strengths, it will both enhance the influence you have as a leader and help you work towards creating a synergistic power among team members.  If you hired people with all the same strengths, it would be challenging to add different perspectives and value to the team.  Utilizing tools like this demonstrates to an employee that you see their individual value and potential to contribute to the team.  Allowing them to exercise those strengths is energizing and, the more effective you become at drawing those out, the more you will see them perform at higher and higher levels.

Expressing gratitude for your people’s work and contribution, is also a critical component to the level of value and worth they feel.  When you invest in your time visiting with them individually on a regular basis and call out the good in what you've observed, you are building a positive reservoir within them that gets them excited to perform.  Whether you visit with them weekly or bi-weekly, your goal is to empower them, inspire them, and discover what they need to keep learning and growing.  Keep feeding that craving they have inside to achieve and be appreciated for their efforts.  That may mean offering a good book in areas they are struggling, aving them partner with another teammate whose strengths can add value to their mental state or overall performance, or maybe sending them to a seminar or workshop that adds new tools to their tool belt to utilize. 
If you are familiar with the success principle of building synergy, you have already discovered a power at work that, once harnessed, this force can carry you to higher levels of achievement and prosperity. When you invest in building  a synergy within each of the forces that make up your team and get everyone to  work together in a positive and harmonious way, you will create a power far greater than the sum of the individual powers.  The keywords being positive, and harmonious.  If joint efforts embody these ingredients, they will complement one another.  However large you want your ship to grow, if you are to be successful in building a strong team to significantly impact the sustainability of your growth, you have to invest your time, be supportive, encouraging, and work towards a common purpose. 

Clarity is the engine of productivity.  When you are clear with your vision, mission, values, and identify the people out there who share those values, are excited by your vision and mission, you will build a team invested in YOU.  Invest in getting clear, invest in yourself, and invest in those you invite on your ship.  Together, you will soar to seas beyond what you ever imagined discovering!   

Author Bio

Erica Ballesteros is a Synergy & Development Specialist with Joshua Development and is driven by a meaningful purpose to make a positive difference in this world and fulfill the JDev EDGE-Enhancing & Developing the Greatness in Everyone.  She lives with her two little dudes, Diego & Mateo, in Queen Creek, AZ and currently plays in active role in her community to impact the development of our future workforce.  Follow her on the Joshua Development page at:

Sources: How Aware Are You? - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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How Aware Are You?

By Tiffany Bellows, Independent Damsel in Defense Pro

Tiffany is a wife, mother of 3 boys & 2 dogs, full-time employee at Boeing, and a loyal Sun Devil. Her passion is to equip women to reduce their risk of violence, educate them on the dangers of distractions and tricky people, and empower women to defend themselves. Damsel in Defense gives her the freedom to let her creativity shine.

How aware are you walking to your car from the grocery store? Are you texting or talking on your cell phone? Did you notice if someone is sitting in the car parked next to yours? When you unlock your doors, do they all unlock at the same time? Do you leave your purse in the grocery cart when you’re unloading? Would you see or hear someone if they ran up to you and tried to push you in the trunk? These are all aspects you should be aware of when conducting such a simple task, no matter what town you live in or the time of day.

You were taught at a very young age to stop, drop, and roll if on fire. However, would you know what to do if approached by an attacker? Would you notice him (or her)? Situational Awareness is a skill. You can learn to be situationally aware by paying attention to the world around you. To achieve this, you need to scan the environment and sense danger, while maintaining the ability to conduct normal activities. If you choose to pay attention, your brain removes the filter between your subconscious and your conscious. This process is called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). By simply telling yourself to “pay attention”, the RAS will scan your brain for, and acknowledge, potential danger when it encounters it. Being able to develop situational awareness is dependent on knowing your environment. Once you know your environment, your mind will recognize disturbances that represent a specific threat or opportunity.

Many women choose to ignore the presence of danger because they think “Nothing has ever happened to me before, so nothing is likely to happen.” This is called the Normalcy Bias. 1 in 12 women are stalked, most not even knowing it. Ten years ago this statistic was 1 in 30. The advent of social media has mapped predators directly to you. Another interrupter of activating your RAS is called Focus Lock. This happens when you are distracted by something that blocks your awareness and all other stimuli. So put away your cell phone!

Let’s go back to the parking lot example, but now with your RAS engaged! This time you walk to your car with your purse around your chest, phone put away, and keys in hand. While walking you’re looking in the cars around you, including yours. You unlock only the trunk, leaving your car doors locked. While loading your trunk, you’re keeping your back to the trunk and continuously looking up and around. After returning the cart, you unlock just the driver door, get in, then immediately lock your door and drive away.

These tips might seem “common sense”, and they are, but technology has morphed into an obstacle you didn’t sign up for! If your cell phone distracts you from driving, wouldn’t it distract you from noticing the creepy guy nonchalantly following you in the store? So put your cell phone away and remind yourself to pay attention, it just might save your life. January 2018 Membership Anniversaries - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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January 2018 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber. Please look for the 2017-18 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

January 2018

25+ Years

21-24 Years
Caliente Construction, Inc.
Valley Partnership

16-20 Years
Joe's Real BBQ
Robert J. Voordeckers, CPA

11-15 Years
Dream Vacations
Experts on Sight, LLC