If you're looking for funds to start or boost your small business, now is the time to get moving! May is a big month for budding entrepeneurs! It's Small Business Month, which means that many agencies and organizations catering to start-ups and small businesses run contests offering thousands of dollars in grants to the winners. Some require well-thought-out business plans while others require creative videos explaining what you do and why they should give you the money. Do your research - who's offering how much and what do you need to do to qualify. Also check into what strings may be attached to the winners. Are there requests for advertising rights to use your name, your product's likeness, required ongoing coaching with their executives/investors, or even do they take a financial interest in your organization? If you don't have time to research these potential funding sources, contact someone who can. There IS money available for you to achieve your dreams; you just need to know where to go to find it.
What does it mean? Why am I talking about spirituality on a business website? Because we are still spiritual beings in addition to being business owners, moms, dads, and all the other roles we play. Because we as business owners are in a unique position to make a world of difference. The ability to make global impacts lie in our hands.
Imagine a business that combines your personal values with regard to how people or animals should be treated, or is actively minimizing your environmental footprint, for instance. Imagine a restaurant that serves a certain number of free meals to the homeless each day, or a professional grooming business that also grooms homeless people's pets for free. That's what I'm talking about - expressing your spirituality in an active way to benefit society as a whole.
Why would someone do that? Yes, it feels good to do it. But in addition, there are financial benefits to doing so, it's a great marketing strategy to set your business apart from your competitors, and the goodwill earned in the eyes of customers and employees is priceless. Just ask Caribou, Google, Microsoft, Ben & Jerry's, and Starbucks for starters.
Interested in doing something like this but not sure what it would look like? Or how to make it work? Perhaps ways to enlist others in your cause as well? I'm here to help.
Do you have dreams and goals you'd like to attain? I'm sure you do; we all do. One of the ways some folks assure they are able to achieve those goals, is to establish a clear vision of what that actually looks like, and then to use their mind and the Law of Attraction to make it happen. Vision boards are great tools to reinforce the vision you have on a daily basis.
When someone creates a business plan, they create a very specific written description of the business. A vision board is a visual plan for your mind's eye. It's another way for you to subconsciously focus your mind, your energy, and to attract that goal to you with images of what you want to achieve, have, do, be. There's a specific art and science to the process of creating one, and my friend Mary Ganong is coordinating a four hour workshop for January 6, 2018 for people who are interested in creating their own vision boards. I will be there to help her, and you, determine what you want in life, how you want to get there, and then create a vision board to help you get there.
In addition, there are a few bonuses for those who sign up, including a complimentary follow-up session with me; 50% off Reiki and energy healing with Lisa Harris Gore; and business owners receive a complimentary session to design the perfect gift for Warm Welcome Home gift bags and 1 month free advertising.
The fee is $75. Please contact me for more information and I can send you the registration form. Attendees must register before December 31st.
I recently read an article in which someone asked Richard Branson how he overcomes feelings of inferiority when faced with someone else's credentials. You see, Richard Branson has dyslexia. In fact, he never completed secondary school. His response was classic.
""It’s a shame that people shut down ideas because they’re worried about being crushed by people who are supposedly better educated than them. This is all about fear of failure. In my opinion, entrepreneurial drive beats a fancy degree anytime... Following my passion gave me drive and purpose. My mind opened up and so my world." - Richard Branson.
What Richard Branson DOES have, is the passion that drove him to succeed against the odds. I believe in it. One of the very first things I measure when I meet a budding entrepreneur or one that's struggling is their passion for their idea. Whether we succeed together depends on it.
I admit I'm afraid of failing too, but I believe it's a beautiful thing. That, coupled with my passion for what I do, drives me harder toward my purpose and goals. It doesn't have to cripple you! You can take that energy and put it in a place that propels you forward. Admitting you have it takes a bite out of the power it has to hold you back. What you choose to do with it afterward will determine your success.
We all hate spam. Even spammers hate receiving spam. That's why the Federal Trade Commission established the CAN-SPAM Act. Do you know what's required of you before you hit the send button on your latest newsletter/email blast?
Age, disability, race and sex. Most businesses have become familiar with these forms of discrimination in the workplace. But what about religious discrimination? What constitutes a religious belief or practice?
According to the EEOC, religious discrimination cases have more than doubled. Employees no longer leave their spirituality at home. As a business, what are your responsibilities and rights? What questions can you ask during a job interview? When can you deny an applicant based upon a request to accommodate a spiritual belief or practice? Can you require a man to shave off his beard or cut his hair regardless of his religious beliefs? The answers may surprise you.
I am not a lawyer, and therefore I can not, nor will I offer legal advice. What I am, is a professionally trained interfaith minister, mediator, arbitrator, and worked in employment discrimination law for three years, hearing situations just like these. I offer interactive, thought-provoking training and keynotes regarding spiritual diversity and its benefits, resources and mediation when needed. Contact me today!
Strategic business consultants can and often debate this until the cows come home. When does it make sense to create a business plan, and when does it make sense to create a business map instead? Whether one chooses a business plan or a business map, there is no question that one of them is a necessity for every successful business. It is undeniable that businesses that fail to plan, plan to fail.
I would suggest that a plan and a map are not exclusive. When creating a new company, it's important to take the time to create the foundation that will guide all future decisions. A full-blown business plan acts as the lighthouse that will guide your ship through the calmest and most turbulent of waters, offering light to avoid all the pitfalls along your journey. Yes, its a daunting document requiring a lot of hard work, effort, research, and input, but doing so upfront pays dividends in the long run. It gives the entrepreneur the opportunity to create a paper hologram of the organization before investing precious resources, perhaps in endeavors that do not pan out or become too costly to be affordable.
Folks like Tony Robbins are all a-twitter over the use of a business map now, instead of a business plan. A business map asks a series of shorter questions that lead an entrepreneur to draw a diagram or create a document that looks more like mind-mapping. It doesn't necessarily require the depth of research to answer the questions that a plan requires. For someone who's already running a business that doesn't have a plan in place, I believe this may be a workable alternative.
Why would I suggest the need for both? The plan is definitely necessary if one is going to seek external funding from banks, venture capitalists, angels, etc. They want to see that you've completely planned your success and how you're going to achieve it. This helps them establish trust in the entrepreneur's passion, skills and ability to follow through.
A business map tells others how you plan to achieve that success in a succinct fashion. It doesn't necessarily require in-depth supporting financials, and hard data from focus groups or market studies that might be included in the plan.
If you're an entrepreneur, there are things you need to consider in planning for your success. If you're unsure what they are, contact me. If you don't have a written plan or map, contact me. If you're off-course from your initial plan, contact me. Let's get you on the road to success quickly.
From great tragedy can come great success. My heart and soul goes out to all those who are suffering as a result of Mother Nature rearing her powerful head. Much like the image of a phoenix rising from the ashes, each of us can make the choice to rise out of tragedy in our own lives, whenever it strikes.
When one loses a corporate job, it can seem devastating, and that the world will crash down around us. But nothing feels quite the same as when our homes are destroyed, our families separated, and mementos of our happiest moments are lost forever. That's what happens in a flood - I know it personally.
But open our eyes, and we will see the angels who arrive in our lives to help lift us up; the news headlines may talk about the devastation, but turn the page and you'll see on page 2 and 3 the stories of those whose hearts open; of those that take action and start coming to offer help from all around the globe.
If the loss of a corporate job has occurred as a result of a natural disaster, our government sometimes reaches into its pockets and finds money to help. In this instance, that's to the tune of $15.25 billion in emergency funding, including $450 million for the Small Business Administration. That usually funnels down in the way of low- or no-interest loans for start-ups and those rebuilding. So if you have thought about starting up a business, now may be the time to do that. Please see the Hurricane Harvey tab here on my website.
But one doesn't have to wait until Mother Nature takes everything from you. Smaller changes in one's life can also thrust you forward - perhaps it's retirement. Perhaps it's time to start generating an additional source of income, or replacing one that's diminished in some way. Maybe it's just that gnawing feeling that you want to take control of your own life, generate "mailbox money," have something to do now that the kids are back in school, or whatever driving force has brought you to this moment.
Having spent some time in the south, I can remember hearing "There is always a good time to make lemonade." Perhaps now is your time. What does that look like?
My oldest son and I used to watch almost all the Star Trek shows together when he was growing up. The "Borg" was a consciousness collective that assimilated all who got in its path, as a way to further its mission to achieve perfection. While I don't condone attaching nanoprobes to all who come in your path, I do believe that we are all made stronger by joining forces with others who have strengths we do not possess individually.
This certainly carries over to starting and/or running a business or organization of any type. One is not expected to be an expert in finance, law, insurance, sales, marketing, branding, and more. What one does need to be is an expert on their own strengths and weaknesses. Only then can you look to enhance those weaknesses, either by gaining the skill set or surrounding yourself with those who have them already.
If you're just starting your business and have limited experience, I highly recommend that you create your "advisory board." Have an attorney, accountant, bookkeeper, strategic business coach, insurance agent, sales/marketing and communications person, and banker or other capitalist who are knowingly on speed dial. These are people who know where you want to go with your business, and can answer questions as you try to get there. Keep in mind that each of them usually sees the issue from their vantage point, and therefore will offer advice from the perspective of their knowledge base. But that's exactly what you need. Your insurance agent, for instance, may tell you that you need to purchase a particular type or amount of insurance, where your attorney and/or bookkeeper may tell you otherwise and why. You get to take in all their advice and make the ultimate decision that drives your business, having the whole bird's eye view of your plan.
For those who are already in business, there comes a time when you run into situations you've not experienced before. Who do you turn to when that happens? Your employees? I think not. Maintaining trust in your leadership ability may be crucial to the strength of your organization. Uncle Joe? Has he run a business before or dealt with the same issue? Your children? Spouse? While you may respect these people's opinions, you need to make sure your information is coming from a place of knowledge and experience without an investment in the ultimate outcome, in order to assure its only bias is in your ultimate success.
Choose your advisors as carefully as you would choose your mate. They often affect your future.
Sometimes we have the best intentions. We start a business because we're motivated to change the world, or at least our own lives. We hit the ground running, but then somewhere along the line, we settle in. We find our stride, and stay there. If we continue to run in the same place at the same pace, doing the same thing, eventually we'll dig ourselves to China in the same spot.
Elephants in circuses are trained to stay in place by chaining them at first. The elephant struggles and struggles, and eventually realizes they can't break themselves free. Once that happens, the chain is removed, and the trainer no longer fears the elephant going anywhere, because it won't. This is the same way invisible fences work with dogs. I'm sorry to say, it also works with people.
If you've been working your business for any length of time and not getting the results you want, maybe it's time to bring in a Change Agent. A Change Agent can quickly evaluate what's working, what's not, and be the spark that ignites growth and change in an organization.
Are you curious as to whether this is what you need to get to that next goal you've set? Set up a free initial consultation with me and let's find out.
Ronnie Roll has started several businesses from the "I Have An Idea" stage to grand openings and beyond. Her passion is helping others achieve their dreams, and her art mediums are business modeling and food.