Melanie Rembrandt

Since our initial launch date, Melanie Rembrandt has been an integral part of the StartupNation team.

As the founder of Rembrandt Communications®, LLC,, Melanie is one of the country's top, public-relations consultants, an SEO copywriter and a published writer with over 20 years of extensive experience and an excellent track-record for success.

She specializes in helping entrepreneurs get the attention and credibility they need via targeted public-relations and SEO copywriting efforts (including Web site copy that sells, newsletters, eReports, social media, blogs, SEO press releases, e-mail auto responders, direct marketing, and more!).

Melanie offers tips and insights via her blogs and monthly newsletter, "Rembrandt Writes Insights®." And she provides in-depth training presentations to various businesses and organizations nationwide.

Melanie is also the author of "Secrets of Becoming a Publicist," published by American Writers & Artists, Inc., "Simple Publicity," published by 1WinPress, StartupNation's "7 Steps to Successful Public Relations," and the host of the SmallBiz America Radio Channel, "PR and SEO Quick Tips with Melanie Rembrandt."

A magna cum laude graduate of the prestigious UCLA School of Theater,Film and Television, Melanie is the official small-business PR expert for StartupNation and Pink Magazine Online. She’s open to your questions, comments and suggestions at and @rembrandtwrites on Twitter.

And you can also sign-up to receive her e-newsletter and reports packed with great information at:

Latest posts by Melanie Rembrandt (see all)

Today, we find out the scoop on running a successful, small business from Neal Belitsky, the CEO of American Roads, LLC, His company has remained profitable during tough, economic times. Here’s what Neal had to say about this:

Tell us about American Roads and how you became involved in this business.

Neal Belitsky of

American Roads is a portfolio company of Alinda Capital Partners (New York) and owns four toll bridges in Alabama. And it is the long-term concessionaire for the international tunnel between Michigan and Ontario.

The company is currently working to expand its portfolio through toll-road acquisition and development projects throughout the United States. Numerous development projects are currently under review.

I joined the Detroit and Canada Tunnel Corporation (DCTC) as director of operations in 1998. DCTC subsequently went through a number of purchases yielding opportunities leading to my current position as chief executive officer for American Roads.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a small business owner?

Our biggest challenges are really opportunities. And one of our greatest opportunities now involves increasing sales during a period of economic challenge, with Americans driving less and looking to economize.

How did you overcome that challenge?

We are finding and implementing the best mix of toll rates, discounts and incentives for frequent users that maintain our margins and promote the use of our facilities.

What has been the greatest reward for you in being a small business owner and why?

All the hard work is worth it when you are able to manage growth, promote staff self-initiative and independence and remain profitable during tough economic times.

What kind of publicity and marketing have you done to increase awareness for American Roads?

We participate in ongoing community involvement to meet the needs of our customers, and we increased the use of Internet and Web-based marketing and promotion. We’ve also focused on mapping cash customers for more targeted marketing.

What has been the most effective way to build a positive, brand image for American Roads and why do you think that is?

We have focused on saving customers time and fuel costs. By listening to customers, working directly with local shops, restaurants and events, and having staff members convey positive, personal attitudes, we are in tune with the local communities we serve and are therefore able to build positive, lasting relationships.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who are trying to start and grow a new business today?

It’s essential to help your staff members stay motivated, reward positive results, set goals and monitor progress. Plus, it’s important to avoid frustration. Be creative, utilize specialty resources (like online marketing) and really have a handle on the current needs of your target market.


Thanks for your great tips Neal! For more information on American Roads and using their various toll roads to get to your destination, visit

And if you need help with your marketing and online copywriting to boost sales, credibility and awareness, please let me know here or at Thanks!

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