Cirilo McLaine

Cirilo McLaine

I am a business advisor specializing in providing solutions to challenges often encountered by those who own, run or start small businesses.

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Charitable giving is no longer what it used to be. There was a time years ago when it was enough to have your 501(c)(3) IRS status and a recognizable cause, for money to flow in without any problem. Oh, how times have changed!


Today there is increased competition for the benefactor’s, albeit decreased, charitable dollars. What separates your charity from any others? If you haven’t figured that out yet, you better and fast, lest you find yourself with an unfunded great cause!

As a Brand Architect in this day and age I am astonished at the number of brands I see on a daily basis within the commercial environment. Something even more astonishing is the proliferation of personal branding. In college I studied and learned the importance of branding to enhance profits and create customer loyalty but in this Brand New World it seems that even the average Joe must create promote and protect their personal brands.


This became clear to me when having a conversation with a business associate.  I asked him if he had a facebook page for which he replied No, I don’t get into stuff like that, later to find that a disgruntled associate of his had created a false page for him in order to tarnish his stellar reputation. In this conversation I encouraged him to secure all possible digital real estate he could with his name to protect his online integrity.

Today I had the taste for fried fish and not just any fried fish but the best fried fish one might find in the DC Metro Area. Being that I just recently relocated to the area I didn’t know where to go to satisfy my craving.  So, the first thing I did was...? You guessed it, googled “Best Fried Fish In DC”. The first name to pop up was Horace and Dickie’s Seafood Carry-Out.


The reviews were great but I live in Silver Spring, MD  about 45 minutes from them and was hoping for something a little closer. I sent a tweet message to my two food gurus Mark Moreno and Jeff Cattell and within minutes they both sent messages back, “Horace & Dickies 809 12th St NE Washington, DC” and “The best known is Horace & Dickies on 12th street. I haven't been there in probably 15 years, but it was great back then.” respectively.

A large part of my day is spent researching websites. I look for new trends, cool designs and personality but most of all I look for functionality. In the digital age we live in it is very easy to get an online presence but not so easy to get a good one!


Sure you could take all of your printed material and have that uploaded to (not sure if thats a real site) in order to have an online brochure but that isn’t how the public interacts online.


People go to websites to accomplish specific goals and depending on your brand and business that online experience may be the only contact with your company a customer may have or at least the first impression of your company.

It’s no secret amongst my friends and clients, I LOVE LOGOS. I am not a graphic artist but as a brand architect I often bring graphic artist in on my projects. In my opinion there is nothing that brings together a brand the way a logo can.


I have seen my share of logos in my career, some of which I didn’t quite understand or like and some of which I absolutely love.  The logo is for many business owners the first tangible part of their business and because of this they tend to be very picky when it comes to the details, colors, fonts, character spacing, pictures and the list goes on and on.

Have you ever asked an entrepreneur what their business is, only to get a 30 explanation of all of their cogs and sprockets then walk away still not knowing what they do? I have and if I am going to be completely honest here, I have been that guy.

Sure its easy for some, We Sell Cars, We Sell Pies or We Sell Smoked BBQ Brisket but for us professionals that work in less tangible businesses and instances where there is no reference we must work a little harder. So I will tell you the process to get you to a point where there is no more confusion.

Your Brand Story is the essence of why you are in business the big solution you provide and why. The great feelings you foster and for whom. The brand story is the script to your commercial and the outline to your brochure. Your brand story is the golden thread that runs through your entire business making complete sense out of what looks and sounds like complete nonsense.

So how do you get to this Brand Story? It all starts with a clean white board, sheet of paper, bar napkin or whatever is close.

Go ahead and find something, I will wait........!


I had an interesting conversation the other day with a successful business owner who felt that Branding was nothing more then wrapping a product or service in a pretty package so it looked good to the public.  While I agree that packaging is an important part of branding it’s only a Part.


There are a number of definitions for branding but for this blog I will focus on the one that essentially calls a brand “an impression signifying ownership”. Many ranchers did/do this to tag their livestock and many companies do this to tag their products and services. The big question is... Why?

It's been a long time in the making and I still have a long way to go but with the help of my web designer and the input of great people my new site is officially launched! Please make yourself at home and check back often for updates and different featured articles and media by some business leaders from around the world. If you read something that inspires you or something you don't particularly agree with leave me a comment. I appreciate all feedback! 

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,


It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas(Although I love that season), it's Football Season. The best part of football to me is the team effort required for success. Yeah, there are always the standouts but even the great quarterbacks, receivers, and linebackers would not be able to do anything without their teammates playing their part. You know, that is a lot like business.

To make sure you can achieve success in your business endeavors, you should consider building a business team to manage your business affairs. For some reason this seems to be a problem for many business people. Maybe it's privacy, embarrassment or lack of knowledge but we have to do better and this is how.

First and foremost you should view yourself as the quarterback of your team and you must play your position. As the leader your goal is to build a team that will help you grow your Assets, add more streams of Income, shrink your Liabilities and reduce your Expenses. You will also need a coach. Some people can play quarterback and coach but if you know that is not you then find a coach.

So, who are some of these professionals you should be looking for? Let's start with the Coach or Business Manager. This is a person who knows your dreams and desires, understands your situation and has the playbook and roster. the business manager should have a great understanding of general business and the different business professionals duties. This person can cost as little as $50/month and as much as $5,000/month but you should definitely be able to find someone in your price range.

Next the quarterback and coach should create a plan and add the necessary team members. An investment advisor to grow the assets, a real estate agent to add rental income to your portfolio, a banker to consolidate your liabilities and a CPA to reduce your tax expense. Sounds simple right, well it can be once the team is put together but it takes a while to find trusted professionals that are competent and manageable.

There are other professionals that may be necessary to your success as well. A lawyer, life insurance agent, property and casualty insurance agent, career agent, mortgage lender and many others depending on your goals. The point is you need to put your team together and keep them all on the same page to accomplish your goals. As you attend different networking mixers be on the lookout for team members or new recruits.

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,

Implementation or action is the last part of this three part series and yes, I did save the best for last. I sometimes feel bad when I have had a long heart felt talk with a business owner, given them the best advice I could come up with and they leave feeling pumped up, only to have trouble implementing the new ideas.

The implementation is the most important piece of this puzzle called entrepreneurship, or better yet the push pins in your big “B” journey map. So, how do you move effectively forward with the plan? The answer is actually very simple, like Nike says, Just Do It! I don’t have time, I don’t have the knowledge, I don’t have the education, and I don’t have the right color tie!

Honestly , you can find any excuse for anything but the reality is you can never move forward unless taking a step is the most important thing to you at that moment. You can’t blame anyone but yourself. You must have the attitude that you won’t be denied progress, you won’t let anyone stand in your way and if you don’t get the help you need at one rest stop along the way you will keep going until you find the help.

What is a good excuse? No excuse is a good excuse if it stands in the way of your success. I mean that and I cannot let you off the hook here, there is to much at stake. I need you to be successful in your pursuits because that not only encourages me, it also encourages those around you and in the small business community where success is a little hard to come by these days.

You can never plant a garden from your sofa, you have to get your hands dirty and just like that garden you can’t grow a business while laying in your bed you have to get up and get to work. Work on everything that can be worked on for your business, leave no stone unturned. Touch every square inch of the business and insist that your team play their parts. No excuses and if they don’t feel the same way, find someone who will, FAST!

Work diligently, work daily and work deliberately at all things related to your business and let all the haters and naysayers make the excuses, while you run your business straight to the top! See you there, Winners!

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,
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