Consulting _____

There is an old joke about consultants: Ask one what time it is and they will give you their watch. The truth is that most people really do have a good handle on many parts of their business. Very often, though, it is exactly that ... parts.

Vic and Linda believe that one of their most valuable skills is the ability to pull a thread through all of those parts. So, it's not that we are going to tell you about any particularly unique aspects of the business world; it's that we can help you organize those aspects and, more importantly, FOCUS all those parts into an efficient and workable plan.

We are not a big, fancy business and, frankly, we don't take on big, fancy clients. We know that there are a lot of folks who are pursuing a passion and trying to make that part of their living. Perhaps the single-most important issue influencing the progress with these businesses is that they have ... evolved.

The folks we work with are generally extremely knowledgeable about the specific area they are pursuing. They may not, however, understand how those specifics need to mesh with the larger picture or at what pace or at what cost or simply ... what comes FIRST. In the horse industry, in particular, we have found that many people either fell into their business "by accident" (agreed to board a friend's horse or give a friend a riding lesson and it grows from there) or consciously started in a direction and it took off with a life of its own before they took the time to fully think through the "what-if's" and "whens" and "how-tos". It's not uncommon that they find themselves in a reactive position because of demand rather than being the one guiding the direction and intensity in a productive and efficient way.

Here's an idea of ways BTE, Inc. has helped some businesses:
  • General discussion of history and goals
  • Evaluation of current organizational structure
  • Identification of needs
  • Goal setting
  • Review of or creation of essential marketing plan
  • Employee training (customer service, cross-selling, supervision)
  • Preparation of internal and external materials (policy manuals -- marketing pieces)
  • Planning retreats (with above items as agenda)
  • Event planning (conferences, workshops, etc.)

That's a lot of nice bulleted items to explain that we, basically, talk through what has gone on with your business, determine where you are now, and where you'd like to go. Are you heading in the right direction? Are you spending time on the most profitable areas? What are some things you really must do to grow? Are there "markets" you have not addressed? HOW can you get from here to there? What is a realistic expectation of what to expect in your particular area of the industry? What other resources do you need and how can you get them?

As you will see from the sample of clients below, we have worked or continue to work with a variety of businesses -- equine and non-equine related. Please feel free to contact us for a phone (423-235-0559) or e-mail consultation lbertani@mendinfencesfarm.com or vthomas@mendinfencesfarm.com . At that time, we can discuss if our services may be of benefit to you.

Current and past BTE, Inc. client and client associations include:
City and Police Federal Credit Union
ElectronTax, Inc.
Mark Rashid Horse Training
About the Horse, Inc.
Cedar Coulee Pintabians, Inc.
Connected Paths Massage Therapy
Four Harmony Farms, Inc.
Lauren Gruber Barefoot Trimming and Rehabilitation

Meetings/Conferences:
Board of Directors Planning Retreat (City & Police CU)
Horse Gathering (organized and presented at 2000 and 2001)
Instructor Training (presented in 2002 at The Natural Gait with Lee Smith)

Career Highlights

Vic Thomas

Vic retired from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in 1991. Throughout his 27 years in the Department, he became known for his innovative management style. His career brought him many challenges and opportunities ... from patrol officer to Lieutenant of the Police Academy to Captain in Community Affairs and the Communications Center and Chief of Patrol and Chief of Services.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is not typical of many sheriff's departments. In 1968, the City of Jacksonville consolidated city and county services. This created a law enforcement department during Vic's service with a force of 1200 sworn personnel and 200 civilian employees. By serving in both the Operations and the Services Divisions of a Department of this size and scope, he gained a unique perspective on the needs and dynamics of organizations.

He further distinquished himself as a graduate of the FBI National Academy. In addition to attending many educational seminars and conferences, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Florida State University.

After retiring, Vic became an adjunct professor for IPTM (Institute of Police Management and Technology), a division of the University of North Florida. His classes included the Field Training Officer Program, Supervision, and Instructor Techniques.

These days, when Vic is not learning yet another farm chore, he teaches managerial classes for the Public Safety Division of Walters State Community College, does internal auditing for a large credit union, and helps with the organization planning for a number of equine businesses, including his own ... Mendin' Fences Farm.

Linda Bertani

Linda brings a unique group of experiences to her latest involvement in the horse world. In her "previous life", she worked primarily in the criminal justice system with victims of violent crimes and then as a health care administrator for a hospice program and a home care agency.

In 1981, she created and ran the first comprehensive Victim Services Program in Florida, working with and training attorneys, police officers, and health care professionals. A distinguishing success at Hospice was her organization of the Medicare reimbursement function that led to a 75% increase in fee recovery. She continued this trend when she took the branch office of a for-profit home care agency from last in the nation to one of the top five performers in the nation and first in the state of Florida.

Training and public-speaking have been an integral part of her career. She has been a presenter at meetings and conferences and has organized a wide variety of functions.

She received her Bachelor's degree in Pre-Law from the University of South Florida and later went on to get a Master's degree in Business from Central Michigan University.

Linda has always been involved in community work and has served on a variety of Boards, including the Mental Health Association, Hubbard House (shelter for battered women), and, most recently, Ridin' High, Inc. (a therapeutic riding program).

In 1990, she started BTE, Inc. a management and marketing consulting company, BTE, Inc. Her first client was a start-up electronic tax filing organization where she created the internal service structure and helped secure their major client, the second-largest bank in Florida. Vic soon joined her and their clients include both equine-related and non-equine-related businesses.