Small Business Saturday is coming up this weekend on November 29 and this reminded me of small business owner I helped one time.iSm Biz sat 14mages

Her name was Dorothy, and she owned a flower shop.  She literally had an entire stack of work cards of people who owed her money.  As I showed her our diplomatic debt collection program, she cordially thanked me for my time and told me that she just did NOT want a collection agency to be contacting her customers.  I told her once again how diplomatic it was and how we can help her, she again politely thanked me for my time.

I packed up my stuff and headed for the door.  While on my way out, I picked up a nice, large floral arrangement and continued to head for the door.  Dorothy stopped me and asked “what are you doing?”.  I kindly informed her that I was leaving and that she was not interested in my service.

She said “No, what are you doing with the flowers?”  I stated that I was taking them.  She abruptly said “Without paying?”  I said “Yes Dorothy, that is exactly what everyone else in that stack has done to you, only I am going to save you the gas it would take to bring it to me!”

She paused for a moment and said “Sit down, what do we need to do?”  I signed up Dorothy that day and we did a phenomenal job of recovering her receivables!  She was very thankful to me for putting things into perspective that day.  I truly felt as if those people had stolen from her and I wanted to help.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and need to get paid for their products and services. As we approach this holiday season, think about the small businesses you can buy from.

And if you’re a small business struggling to get paid, we’d love to show you how we can help get that money in the door and keep your customers.

Be a Hero

If you could be a hero, would you be? We’re not talking about having super powers or wearing spandex, we’re talking about saving a life based solely on your unique genetic make-up. It’s a simple question really. Would you, if you could, be a hero? Would you save a life?

When I was an adolescent in middle school, having the summers off school was the best. Budding hunter-gathers, a group of my friends and I spent every waking moment during those sunny months at Sand Lake. With our parents at work most of our time was spent digging for worms and fishing for pan fish. On those really hot, Northern Michigan days we would swim to cool off. Sand lake is one of these great public beaches where anyone can enjoy the water, but no lifeguard is ever present, the local community simply couldn’t afford the staff. Instead, they purchased ‘No lifeguard on duty: swim at your own risk’ signs.

By now you can see where this story is headed. It was a Saturday in August, high noon; it must have been 1994’ or 1995.’ A close friend of mine, Wayne, was the first to hit the water after we ate our customary pre-packed lunches (high-carb PB&J or Bologna on white bread is all we knew back then). He swam out to and then past the buoys as we had done one hundred times before. ‘Then it hit me,’ is how he tells the story, ‘my stomach cramped up and I couldn’t breathe, let alone stay afloat!’ He adds, ‘all those stories my Mom told me about not swimming after you eat, I thought where old wives’ tales, but in that moment I knew how very wrong I was.’

From the beach we heard the faintest mumble, as we turned we saw him splash and disappear, emerge, and disappeared again! Before anyone could move my sandwich hit the dirt. I ran the 40 yard sprint to the water’s edge and swam the 70 yards past the buoy faster than I may ever again. He was gone! I dove beneath the water’s surface…Wayne wasn’t there! I dove again…longer this time…deeper beneath the murky water I dove…my lungs burned, I couldn’t find him…I couldn’t give up…I dove to the weed bed…as the weeds wrapped around my arms and neck panic set in…my blood oxygen levels dropped…I couldn’t see…I couldn’t save him…I lost my friend…I felt helpless.

Something brushed my abdomen! It was flesh…human…an arm…it was Wayne! Unconscious and water logged I pulled him from the lake bed to the shore. I dropped him in the sand and his bluing body coughed. He coughed and coughed and caught a breath. Everyone was elated and cheered, we embraced, it was all he could do to muster the words, I love you man.’

It’s on rare occasion I tell this story. Sitting here, reliving the events of that day is still an emotional undertaking. Defining moments in a person’s life are rare at best. My first came when I was a twelve years old. Intentions, faith, and hope alone are all delayed disappointment when compared to action. ‘Thought without action is empty’ – Immanuel Kant.

My son was 22 weeks as of this Tuesday. Recently I joined ‘Be The Match’ (see link below), where everyday people can be heroes. When I look at my son and I hear him giggle I realize that there are so many disorders that are treatable through bone marrow transplants, the science is good, and donor matches are what we’re lacking. I realize that ailments aren’t just things that happen to ‘other people.’ Although he is perfectly healthy, I picture my son, and I challenge you to picture a little boy or girl who was born with a metabolic disorder, or an inherited immune system disorder, or bone marrow disease, or sickle-cell anemia, or leukemia, or lymphoma: Picture this sick child, weak but full of smiles, their family feeling helpless, swimming in the weeds of despair. Now picture that this child is yours, or your niece or nephew, or your best friend. There are treatments available, there is a donor match out there…they just haven’t sign up for the registry yet! Picture this child and ask yourself; are you going to rest on your good intentions, your faith, or hope, or will you answer the call to action.

When you sign up with ‘Be The Match’ registry you take a pledge to help any patient in need; to tell family and friends; and take the time to donate so you can save a life when the call comes in. In telling my story and writing this blog I own up to half of this pledge in hopes that one day I can once again save a life.

http://bethematch.org/

‘Seven out of 10 patients do not have a matching donor in their family. So their doctor will turn to ‘Be The Match’ for help finding an unrelated donor or cord blood unit on the Be The Match Registry. More people are needed to join the registry so patients have a greater chance of finding a match. Joining the registry is the first step to become a bone marrow donor.

By: Matt Helz

This was my first opportunity attending the GIE down in Louisville KY. What an awesome experience!   I had the privilege of attending the trade show with two of the best guys to learn from, Matt Moskowitz and Andy Yavallo.

10679775_10152869585663383_4120188365664518367_oWhat made the experience so great was seeing the interaction between Matt, Andy and their clients. The relationships they have with their clients are amazing! Every time I turned, somebody was coming up to them to say hi and give them a huge hug. It was like witnessing old friends meeting after being away for a long while. It showed me that APR is not just about growing a business and being successful for our clients. It’s about treating our client like old friends that we respect and adore.

Matt and Andy showed me that our job is more than bringing new clients on board and driving results. It’s about building long term relationships by learning more about clients personally and what is important to them. These relationships will not only allow us to serve these clients well for many years but it will also bring us new opportunities with referrals, letters of recommendations and video blogs. These relationships will allow us to overcome misunderstanding and bumps in the road that every relationship will eventually have to overcome.

This experience made me feel that I was defiantly part of something special and I am truly excited about the future and the friendships that will be made.

Honor and Courage !

As we approach Veterans Day, I wanted to throw a few feelings down about why this is such a great day.  First, my Grandfather served in the US Army and second, my Dad served in the US Navy on the USS Forrestal.  Both were and are great men!

A display of many American flags with a sky blue background, comI think about the courage that a person has to have in order to make a commitment to serve our country.  Knowing that they could possibly make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom that we all some days take for granted.

We absolutely live in the greatest country in the world, and I know that we probably do not truly understand just how great we have it.  I voted yesterday….. yes, I voted.  Too many countries do not allow their people to have that option.  I can choose who I would like for school board, Supreme court, Congress, Senate, Governor and President.  I can choose and be heard on a number of issues.   Our voice does actually matter.

These brave men and women commit to protecting that right and our way of life!  I want to say thank you!  No, I mean really … THANK YOU for what you do and for preserving what America stands for.  For protecting my wife and kids…… thank you!  I know words can’t always completely describe our gratitude, but thank you!  When we see a Veteran let’s all shake their hand, salute them or just give a big hug, for they are true heroes.

Lastly, another special part of this day is that it is my Dad’s birthday….so Happy Birthday Dad!  You have always been there for me and I want you to know I appreciate and love you.

Make a Difference Day

Joe W BlogThe fourth Saturday of October witnessed national ‘Make a Difference Day. ‘What did you do to make a difference in your community? Did you, volunteer at a soup kitchen, tutor a student, volunteer at a nursing home or hospital? This year, I was lucky enough to have two projects. The first was Scots in Service Day and the second was in giving a helping hand at the United Way’s Southwest Solutions early learning center.

Everyone who knows me knows that I went to the College of Wooster, GO SCOTS. Each and every year, we Scots, come together, across the world, and give back to our communities. This year, Wooster Detroit community worked with Kensington Metro Park. Anyone who lives in the metro Detroit region, and hasn’t already, should make it out to the park, it’s a beautiful place to visit. This year we helped the park by removing some invasive trees. After we were done, we fed some birds; one even perched on the edge of my hand to eat some seeds.

Southwest Solution is an early learning center located in the heart of Detroit. They focus on empowering parents with young children, ages that range from birth to five. The center also provides free early learning to children, in one most impoverished location in the country. The biggest surprise to me was that the signs were bilingual and that 80% of the families they service are Spanish speaking. We helped Southwest solution by building an outdoor shed on their playground. Overall, it felt good to get my hands dirty and help two great organizations. I hope everyone else made a difference too.

Happy Anniversary APR !

It is amazing to think that we started this company 10 years ago.  On one hand, it seems like yesterday and on the other, it seems like a lot longer than that!  I distinctly remember the day we first walked into an empty office space having just left our jobs.  The day was September 13th, 2004…..

I remember because it was my wife’s birthday that day and I got to tell her that her husband is now unemployed and starting a brand new business from scratch.  Happy birthday, honey… we have no income !!    She knew, as did I, that there was no doubt that we would do great things with this company.  It was exciting and scary at the same time.  The reasons I knew we would be successful are as follows:

1)      Great partners!  We all had a level of success in our previous positions and knew what it takes to get there.  We all had a commitment that, in my opinion, was unparalleled.  We also had the principles that this company has held closely ever since.

2)      Three principles that we would instill and preach for as long as this company shall live!  Work Ethic, Positive attitude and Integrity !!

3)      Do the right things!  For our employees, for our clients, with our vendors and in the community.  You have heard it before….. do the right thing even when no-one is looking.  We have constantly looked for ways to improve our company for everyone.   And, we constantly look for ways to give back.  You can read numerous blogs on how our employees have generously donated their time, energy and money to help those in need.

4)      Hire the right people.  And we have!  We give all the credit to the hard-working, dedicated, and quality people that we have on our team.  This company has come so far because of the efforts of our employees.  We try, but don’t know if we can ever thank them enough for sharing our vision and passion in what we do.

I know I could come up with more, but these are some of the main reasons we have become a great company!  I am anxious and excited to see how far we can go together in the next 10 years.  We thank all of our clients for putting their faith and trust in us and the service we provide.  We love helping them in their business!

Happy Anniversary APR…. cheers !

I recently attended the Kentucky Bankers Association annual convention. I wrote about the wealth of information and knowledge many of us walked away with last week in our blog.

One of the best presentations I attended was on creativity. Yes, creativity!

There was a riveting presentation by a gentleman named Erik Wahl.  His presentation was labeled UNthink.  We were enlightened with some brilliant artwork and insights on how to not lose your creativity that we all had as kids.  Over time we all become less creative and more conforming in the way we conduct ourselves and our lives.  From school k-12, we are taught to do things the same way and as we enter the work force, even more so.

Take the time to break out of the norm from time to time and enjoy some art, music, dancing or whatever trips your trigger!  A great example of this is when Erik asked the audience who can draw….. pretty much NOBODY raised their hand…… he said if he asked a high school group, he would have a few hands…… if he asked a grade school group, everyone in the room would not only raise their hand, but with ultimate excitement !!!  How true is this?

Also, in today’s world of advertising, it is ever more important to have TRUST.  A big word and one that has lost a lot of meaning over the years.  We all need to know, like and trust people in order to feel comfortable to do business with them.

“Desi Turned Denver”

By Kaylee:

Some people have human babies while others have fur babies; I fall in the category as a fur baby mommy. September 14th was “national hug your hound day” so I wanted to share my story of “Desi turned Denver” and how he has touched my life.

Denver photoTwo years ago I moved to a new city and wanted to have a companion by my side. I have always been a dog lover, so I decided to jump on the band wagon and get a pup! Instead of getting a puppy like most people like to do, I wanted to get a rescue dog so I could give him a second shot at a happy life.

When I went to go look at him my intent was not to take him home that day, but I fell in love with his little face and just had to have him! Little did I know that sweet innocent face had fooled me. The rescue had named him Desi and really didn’t know anything about his past besides they got him from a high kill shelter. The rescue I bought him from was a no kill shelter and they had people who would foster these animals until their forever home came – they are called Last Day Dog Rescue. Once I got Desi home I decided to change his name to Denver. I felt Desi was more of a girl’s name and reminded me of that crazy cartoon devil!

After a couple months into having him his whole personality changed and I now realize why they probably named him Desi in the first place! I had gotten myself a wild child! Denver is super smart, but knows how to push the limits and likes to be a little thief and can be a little aggressive at times, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world. At APR we have a lot of Vet Clients and as a CSR I always love speaking with them and hearing their stories. While working here I came across a local Referral vet that specializes in behavior problems, so needless to say I jumped on that and made an appointment.

The appointment isn’t till next month so I’m not too sure what to expect, but I’m sure it will be helpful for him. No matter the outcome, I’m in it for the long haul. He has given responsibility, excitement, stress at times, but most of all love to my life! I am so thankful I found my little fur baby and was able to give him another shot at a good life. So, if you take anything from my story, I hope you look into pet adoption. I know those cute puppy faces are hard to pass by, but the reward of giving someone a second life it much more worth it.

 

I took time out to attend the Kentucky Bankers Association annual convention at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, IN.  What a great group of people!  There has been some great material covered and it is good to hear the concerns that are going on within the industry.  Here are some brief overviews of what I heard at the event:

The Economy:  Getting better…… nice!  Still not there yet, but the trends are definitely starting to look up and people are starting to buy again.  Houses, cars, etc.

Mergers and acquisitions:  We got a nice overview of the happenings going on and the mergers and acquisitions will continue….. some good, some not so much.  Let’s hope we do not lose the all important local community banks to the large national giants.

Legislation:  This is always a hot topic and the banks are constantly under fire with new laws and regulations.  To add to this conversation was the subject of compliance.  This is a VERY hot topic and was discussed thoroughly with some good Q & A.  Compliance officers seem to be increasingly more difficult to come by and costing more and more, but the liability to the banks is also continuing to increase.  As well as the liability to the board members.  We, as a 3rd party collection agency for banks, understand this all too well. The general consensus is that the CFPB needs to also consider the liability and responsibility of the consumers that are out there not paying rightful bills.  Let’s just not help people get out of paying their rightful obligations and keep in mind all of the good businesses out there that provide incredible goods and services and deserve to be paid for them.

Golf:  If you can call it that?!?!?!  We had a great team of awesome folks.  My shout out to George and Donna Wise, and Thurmann Senn.  We had a great time and they were great people.  Donna (Coach) has coached college girls basketball for over 30 years and is in the AAIA Hall of Fame!  Awesome stuff.  We may not have been the best on the course, but that is not at all what it was all about.  Great to meet you three and I really enjoyed our time together on Sunday!

Networking:  This is the best part of any convention.  I have the privilege to attend a number of these events and the best part for me is meeting some truly wonderful people.  The members and vendors that are involved in this association are great people.  I thank all of you for your conversations and the stories that you share and allowing me to get to know you a bit.  I look forward to talking with you in the future and I am looking forward to helping many of you in your banks!  Also, this is a great opportunity to see some of our clients.  I appreciate you stopping by and saying “hi” and the feedback about our service.  It is nice to hear that we are having a positive impact in your banks and very nice to hear how well our staff is taking care of you.  From answering the phone to our customer service team, the positive comments were much appreciated.

All in all, this was a great event and I am glad I had the opportunity to be here and share in the convention.  I look forward to many more in the years to come and we appreciate our relationship with the Kentucky Bankers Association as an endorsed vendor!

 

You may remember some historical events like, Hurricane Katrina, the recession, the 10 year remembrance of 9/11, the election and re-election of the first non-white President, or even the creation of YouTube and Twitter.

You also may remember the deaths of The Crocodile Hunter- Steve Irwin, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Ronald Reagan, Johnny Carson, Dick Clark, Nelson Mandela, and Robin Williams.

While things like Facebook, Angry Birds, One Direction, Harry Potter, AGT, Grand Theft Auto, “selfies” and Duck Dynasty have become all too commonly known; we have been hard at work growing American Profit Recovery.

Let us share some of our accomplishments:

-We celebrate our 10 years in business in a time where only about one third of new businesses last 10 years

-We have grown to 3 offices and over 55 employees (over 50% of our employees have been with us for at least 7 years)

-We have had an average tenure of 8.5 years for our managers

-We had a collector turn 83 years old (he is still here), while some of our other collectors were still in elementary school when we started

-We have resolved over 230 million dollars in bad debt and returned it to over 7,700 clients nationwide

-We have been voted “Best Places to Work in Collections” for six straight years running

-Some of the other awards we have won are: Collection Advisor Most Influential in Debt Collections, Banker and Tradesman Best of Award, ACA International Education Foundation Fellow Award, PLANET Community Stewardship Award, ARMing Heroes Top Donor, Collection Advisor Who’s Who in Collections and more

-We have celebrated 9 “Employee Weeks”- food, fun, games, raffles, cook-outs, dunk tanks and much more

-We have been in countless newspapers, magazines, and newsletters and have been on Local and National television and radio helping consumers

-We have helped hundreds of charities, donating hundreds of man hours and raising and donating over $60,000 to those charities

Here’s to another 10, 20, 50 years in the making! Thanks to all our loyal clients and talented employees for making it possible.

The information available on this web site is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain legal advice.



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