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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 10, 2003 15 years ago

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This week's items: Home Discovere Real Estate Services Corp. usuals unique pitchNaple's Quarles & Brady LLP relocatingUNI/CARE Systems providing finger-print securityFlorida ranks fifth in business environment and more...

Unusual Pitch

Home Discovere Real Estate Services Corp. found an unusual pitch to draw would-be customers to its Web site gofortwo.com.

An outdoor billboard, near Tampa's Raymond James Stadium on North Dale Mabry Highway, done in maroon and pewter states: gofortwo.com. The billboard is not about Tampa Bay Buccaneers going after another Super Bowl championship as is implied, but rather about the "other team" going for two, Home Discovere.

Home Discovere, which offers full-service real estate services, works for a 2% commission, says company President/CEO Steve Johnston II. "We're no ordinary company," he says. "Today's consumers are smart and appreciate creative advertising, but more so, they appreciate saving money."

Johnston hopes to revolutionize the way people buy and sell homes. His company relies on the Internet, offers all services under one roof and pays its employees salaries not commissions. The company also works for a 6% commission, if another real estate company is involved in the sale.

The company, started in Hillsborough in 2002, services the greater Tampa Bay area, including Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, Manatee, Citrus, Highlands and Hernando counties.

And eventually, Home Discovere plans to go national.

The company's websites, including www.HomeDiscovere.com, which feature virtual tours, receive over a million hits per month, according to the company.

Its multimillion dollar marketing effort includes billboards, newspaper advertisements, a fleet of decorated vehicles and radio and television commercials.

National law firm

moves to new office

Quarles & Brady LLP, one of the 60 largest law firms in the U.S., moved to a new office in Naples. The firm, which also has offices in Chicago, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Tucson, is now located at 1395 Panther Lane, Suite 300, Naples.

UNI/CARE Systems

providing finger-print security

Sarasota-based UNI/CARE Systems Inc., a developer of information systems for the behavioral health care industry, has partnered with the Amherst, N.Y.-based Ultra-Scan Corp. to become the first behavioral healthcare software solution provider to incorporate Ultra-Scan's patented LUIS ultrasonic technology for Pro-Filer. Pro-Filer will incorporate Livescan Ultrasonic Identification System to further ensure privacy and accuracy in the delivery of behavioral healthcare services.

This will allow UNI/CARE's customer base to enroll and re-enroll consumers of behavioral healthcare services, for voluntary positive identification via the touch of a finger. The entire enrollment process is completed within minutes using mobile patient management workstations.

The workstations include both the recently announced UltraTouch ultrasonic fingerprint reader and powerful ID Express Enterprise identification software for voluntarily enrolling the consumer and then authenticating individuals with their previously enrolled templates.

Ultra-Scan's LUIS uses patented ultrasonic technology for finger imaging. Ultra-Scan's UltraTouch ultrasonic reader sees through common contaminants such as dirt, grease and newsprint that plague non-ultrasonic systems, guaranteeing reliability and ease of use of the touch access system.

Florida ranks fifth

on business environment

According to a Washington, D.C.-based Small Business Survival Committee's Small Business Survival Index 2003 study issued this September, Florida ranked fifth in the nation for business-friendly policies. The study compares how states deal with small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Florida received a composite small business score of 31.662. The first four states on the list were South Dakota, Nevada, Wyoming and New Hampshire. The states with the highest obstacles to small businesses include: Maine (48), Minnesota (49), Hawaii (50) and the District of Columbia (51).

Tips for entrepreneurs

in business trenches

The Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) will hold a 2003 Entrepreneur Boot Camp workshop Oct. 28 and 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Raymond James, 880 Carillon Parkway, St. Petersburg. The two-day workshop is designed to gather together the Tampa Bay business community's best and brightest - from successful founders, VCs and angel investors, to experts in sales, finance, law, operations and management - to teach attendants how to take his business to the next level. Each Boot Camp participant will be assigned his own advisor for individual consultation at the end of the program. The cost is $199 for TBTF members and $299 for non-members.

The workshop will cover creating a business plan to attract investors; fundamental legal issues for early stage companies; recruiting your boards of directors and advisors; building the right management team; human resource dos and don'ts; creative financing; developing financial projections and valuations and the new criteria for fundable deals for investors. The event will also feature a cocktail reception.

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