Professional Profile

His ability to boost his clients’ bottom line gives Schooley Mitchell Optimization Specialist Jerry Sarno great satisfaction.

“I like to learn as much as I can about my clients’ businesses and discover where I can help them most,” said the Michigan-based consultant. “It is fulfilling to know that I have helped find them ‘free money’ to put to more meaningful use in their businesses.”

He has plenty of experience in cutting the cost of services relied on by everyone in business. Oftentimes, his new clients do not even realize what they have been spending on basic necessities such as long distance, cellphones, fax lines, and Internet.

Sarno recalls one audit he undertook for a multiple physician medical office. After completing an inventory of all services, he discovered its annual expenses were three times what the client had indicated. He ended up reducing costs by 70 percent.

“They were completely shocked,” he says.

Others are not always convinced they need help. Another professional office was initially skeptical and suggested its costs were in line. But Sarno discovered its services were not optimized, resulting in savings of over $40,000 per year.

Credit card processing services can be complex and pricey, but there are savings to be had. For example, Sarno assisted a heating and air conditioning company in rolling out a new payment system using tablets. Usage has skyrocketed, as it is now easier than ever for its customers to pay using plastic. Meanwhile, the company’s costs associated with the service have been reduced by thousands of dollars.

The need for objective telecommunications advice isn’t unique to one industry, and Sarno finds significant savings for 90 percent of his clients. It’s also risk-free since there is no charge – the only payment is a share of any savings found.

“We are truly independent from all vendors, which means we look out for the best interests of our clients,” he explains. “People are just too busy to do this work. Since we self-fund our fees through savings, it’s a much better opportunity for my clients than hiring additional staff to do the job.”

Sarno has witnessed the need to evolve ways of doing business due to technological advances and budget reductions. Adopting new practices and discarding those that are inefficient or outdated is of the utmost importance.

“Businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, need objective, professional assistance to help them sort out the changes,” he says. “As the technological landscape changes, it’s imperative to find ways to adapt and succeed.”

Family is important to Sarno and though his children are grown, he continues to coach youth sports in his community. He has also been involved with Habitat for Humanity and his local soup kitchen. He enjoys gardening and the arts, acting as a volunteer coordinator for the annual Krasl Art Fair.

If he could impart just one piece of wisdom on business owners, he would tell them to focus on creating a culture where employees are engaged and have a sense of ownership.

“Be sure the folks working for you understand your business and love it like it is their own,” Sarno says. “Teach your staff to never say no and to keep an open mind. There are people out there that can help you and newer technology to make your business run smoother – if you’re always saying no, the opportunity could cost you dearly and it could be a long time before you realize it.”