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What others are saying about Decision Associates:

"Decision Associates has knowledge and expertise about a full range of services, particularly in marketing and other issues that impact businesses and nonprofits. They can open doors for us and their contacts are great � that's something that I haven't found an equal for in another agency. They have been very prompt. The team is always quick to respond and they're always prepared for meetings. They're fantastic and have enhanced our entire agency.

Denise Kolovoski,
Executive Director

NAMI of Erie County
(National Alliance on
Mental Illness)



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Decision Associates Web Wire � May 2015

Lessons from My Two Year Old
by Emily Wachter

Emily Wachter

Emily Wachter

For those of you with kids, I'm sure you clearly remember, or are currently experiencing the "why" stage. My 2 1/2 year old daughter Charlotte is questioning everything these days. She demands answers and won't stop until she gets them. The ride to and from daycare is loaded with questions "what's that, why, who's in there, what are they doing" - and the list goes on. Her new bedtime routine is drilling me with the 5 W's. "Where are we going tomorrow, what are we going to do, who is going, when are we going to get there" and finally, "why." After I answer all of her questions, she starts the same questions all over again and won't stop until I finally say "lights out!"

Sound familiar to anyone?

While my daughter's questioning can be frustrating at times, I have to admire her curiosity and tenacity. When I first joined Decision Associates nearly 5 years ago, I was trained on the different hats we wear as a facilitator. One of those hats was coincidently called "the two year old." We throw a lot of questions at our clients to really understand the root of what they are experiencing. It's done in all of our practice areas, but is probably the most evident in our Strategic Planning practice.

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The Last (Only) Straw
by Mike Towner

Mike Towner

Mike Towner

In the December 2014 Decision Associates Web Wire, Don Moore penned an article titled "Exit Your Company without Selling It." Don discussed how we approach the request to "Hire me a President" with skepticism due to our experience with the entrepreneurial mindset. Decision Associates only helps the client after ensuring the following conditions are met before hiring a new President:


       Condition #1:  Decision Associates will do a readiness assessment on you. Do you have any idea how this is going to work, and what you are going to do, and not do, in the future? This has to be defined, in writing, and you have to use it to manage your meddling impulses.

       Condition #2:  Decision Associates will assist you in the development of a Strategic Plan or, at the very least, define the Outcomes/Results that you want achieved by the business over the next three-four years. Set metrics. This gives the new President a clear "movie of the future" that they can work to achieve and which you can use to measure success.

       Condition #3:  Decision Associates will model and document the duties, authorities, accountabilities and rights of the new President. Set expectations and measure their performance. If they don't perform, replace them, but don't reach around them.

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Finding "Free" Money
by Mike Estrich

Mike Estrich

Mike Estrich

So, what's the catch?

This is the first question that pops into most people's head when I tell them I want to help them find $12,000 to $150,000+ of "free" money for their business or nonprofit. The only "catch" is that the money is typically a cost-sharing grant, meaning that your organization has to spend the money required by the granting entity so that you have some skin in the game. Many times this is money that would be spent anyways to bring in an outside consultant whether it's for IT, training, energy efficiency, recruitment, sales development or strategic planning. Many of these grants have minor impact reporting as a requirement, and participating in this feedback loop allows the granting entity to justify their budgets to help organizations like yours in the future.

When applying for grants, one thing to keep in mind is that most grants have funding cycles. If you miss the cycle, you may have to wait for up to a year for it to open back up. For example, The Nonprofit Partnership's Capacity-Building Grants offers significant cost-sharing on high impact projects for nonprofits. The applications for these grants are due by June 15th.

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News Clips

Congratulations to Emily Wachter who recently received the Young Alumni Award from Mercyhurst Preparatory School. The award is given to an individual who exhibits leadership in their personal, professional or volunteer accomplishments and also in their involvement with Mercyhurst Prep.

We still have room for you in a Peer Group either in the Erie or the DuBois area. Peer groups are for everyone, whether you are a business owner, executive director or climbing the organization's ladder. Give us a call for information 814-528-9400.

What's on Your Mind?
Did we raise any questions or issues for you and your business or nonprofit organization that you might like to discuss? If so, please contact us. Send your suggestions for future topics of interest to

1540 East Lake Road | Suite 100 | Erie, PA 16511 | | Phone: 814.528.9400 | Fax: 814.528.9401