Posts tagged ‘entrepreneur’

January 24, 2011

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Have you noticed that when you allow the entrepreneurial spirit in you to lead the way – with passion, authenticity, purpose and persistence – you naturally express thoughts and actions of abundance?  You just know that all things are possible.

Our recent economy has been built on entrepreneurialism; it’s rooted in the unwavering entrepreneurial spirit of creativity, ingenuity, determination and drive.  Entrepreneurs live in a perpetual state of opportunity and they produce a powerful ripple effect of abundance for all of us.  Why is that?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs and business owners for more than a decade.  It’s been my personal experience that entrepreneurs are particularly generous people.  I was reminded of this when I read a recent study that reported that 89% percent of entrepreneurs donate money (both personally and through their companies) to support charitable causes, while 70% also donate their time.  The majority of those surveyed believe that being an entrepreneur makes them more inclined to give to charity.

Entrepreneurs value individual effort and know that greatness starts with a commitment to personal excellence.  When you strive for excellence in everything you do, it’s then reflected throughout your company.  Because you live it, your staff embraces it. They, too, enjoy seeing their best come through in the work they do.

We see this spirit in our clients all the time here at People Biz, Inc.

  • Every Valentine’s Day, Shelley Capretto with Village Maternity in Seattle gives 10% of their sales to charity.  They have been involved with “Shop to Make a Difference” for 6 years, and along with other Univeristy Village shops, they raised $51,000 for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2010.
  • Diane Dean of Epiphany! Counseling & Wellness Center in Pittsburgh mentors counseling students au gratis.  Using these students, Epiphany! provides free counseling services to those without insurance, or those receiving medical assistance and unable to find a counselor.
  • Dr. Martha Pyron, MD of Medicine in Motion in Austin provides medical care for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS each year, organizing 30 or more volunteers.  The ride generated 600,000 funds for AIDS services in Austin last year.
  • Doreen Zayer, owner of Relax on Cloud 9 in Staten Island, opens her doors the Monday after Mothers’ Day for an exclusive spa experience for mothers and their special needs daughters.  Staff volunteers their time to give the girls special spa treatments such as facials, massages, and foot scrubs.   
  • Pam O’Bryant’s Keller Williams Realty office in Arlington, VA donated over $40,000 to the Arlington Food Assistance Center in November from their gala and silent auction. They also donated over $8000 last year to the Keller Williams national charity, KW Cares, which helps KW agents in need.
  • Each year at Christmas, Ed and Charlene Hoey with Meyer and Associates Marketing & Communications in New York lets staff members pick several charities to which the company will donate, such as Unicef, World Hunger Year, and Habitat for Humanity.  They also sponsor NYU students in conjunction with the monthly HSMAI luncheons.
  • Representatives of Bluebonnet Electric in Bastrop, TX were honored at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas’ 25th Anniversary on October 25th.   The company is listed on the Wishing Wall, a permanent display at the Ronald McDonald House, which was built in appreciation of loyal supporters and was dedicated at the anniversary event.

And the list goes on.

We want to take a moment now, as the new year begins, to honor you and wish you the very best in the year to come.  At People Biz, Inc., we are very proud of who you are and what you do for your community!

January 18, 2011

Alicia Marie Interviewed on Deb Scott’s Radio Show

Click here to listen to Deb Scott’s interview with Alicia Marie on “The Best People We Know” Radio Show.  Alicia Marie discusses different ways to take “mental” advantage of the new year, how and why everyone should set measurable goals, how to get a fresh start in 2011, and much more!

December 14, 2010

Alicia Marie to be interviewed on “The Best People We Know” Radio Show

Save the date!   On January 13th at 2 CST, Alicia Marie will be interviewed on Deb Scott’s radio show, “The Best People We Know.” 

Alicia Marie will discuss different ways to take “mental” advantage of the new year, how and why everyone should set measurable goals, how to get a fresh start in 2011, and much more! 

Have a few questions in mind on this topic?  Call into the show and have Alicia answer them on the air!  Just call 347-637-1318 anytime during the show.

February 11, 2010

Alicia Marie will be Coaching Women at the American Express OPEN Women’s Business Summit featuring Make Mine a Million $ Business in Conjunction with Count Me In Organization

The American Express OPEN Women’s Business Summit will attract upwards of 500 women business owners at all level of business development to this day and a half event. The content is structured so that the emerging, established and growth-oriented entrepreneur will all have access to relevant and timely content and resources. 

Alicia Marie will be coaching these women at this event as they pitch their business in a chance to win the coveted Make Mine a Million $ Business award.

The American Express OPEN Women’s Business Summit will convene on February 17-18, 2010 at the JW Marriott in Houston, TX. The theme of the Summit will be The New Rules for Doing Business for Women Entrepreneurs and will include a multi-tracked conference that offers the following:

  • The Make Mine a Million $ Business competition
  • Critical advice for growth in today’s changing economy
  • Tips on leveraging social media to grow your bottom line
  • Thoughtful leadership, rich discussions and opportunities to connect with fellow women business owners, via the New Rules content track
  • Identification of new markets, with a focus on government contracting market rich with opportunity
  • Contact with an inspiring community of successful women business owners
  • Speakers and resources from our partnering women’s organizations

Due to an overwhelming response, this event has reached capacity and registration is now closed. Please visit the Count Me In website for updates on upcoming Make Mine a Million $ Business events.

September 10, 2009

What You Pay Attention To Grows

We have all taken a beaten from the media this last year. All the negative news about the economy and the recession can be overwhelming. I even had one anxious client say, “It feels like the world is coming to an end.”

Take a moment to think of something that happened in your past that seemed very bad at the time, but now in retrospect you see what a blessing it was.

I absolutely know that the challenges we are facing economically now will look like a blessing in retrospect. Businesses will get stronger and leaner. Families will come together. Governments will change. People will remember what faith is. Programs and non-profits will emerge as well as all the positive change we cannot yet see.

I invite all of you to step into hope and give up the worry and concern. How effective can you be when you are worried? How productive are you when you are anxious? How creative are you when you are upset?

Of course, I believe that positive thinking is important for many reasons. If only for your peace of mind, I invite you to stay focused on what is right, what is working and what is good in your business and in your life. What you pay attention to grows and thrives!

August 27, 2009

Leadership Institute

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WHAT: M3 Race Leadership Institute
Nurture and Enhance the power of community to successfully grow your business and yourself.

WHEN: Thursday, September 24th thru Saturday, September 26th, 2009

WHERE: Office Depot headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

We at Count Me In believe that entrepreneurship equals leadership, and so do our partners at Office Depot. Leadership takes vision and discipline, creativity and tenacity, risk-taking, earth-shaking, courage, confidence and commitment. It also takes a strong community– this one. Our Leadership Institute will help you successfully grow your business and yourself.

Featured Workshop: Select, Hire & Retain Top Talent – Alicia Marie Fruin

Want To Create Your Dream Team? Now you can! In this workshop you will:
• Craft a strategic plan to build your team
• Learn how to profile roles and write accurate job descriptions
• Design targeted job ads that attract the right people
• Develop the skills to recognize and retain top talent
• Get great interviewing tips and a FREE CD of materials you can use in your business.

Here’s what you’ll experience:

* Two tracks of powerful workshops taught by experts in their fields
* Elevator Business Pitch Updates
* Vendor Matching by WBENC connecting your product or service with corporations, universities, hospitals or government agencies interested in doing business with you. (Separate registration required– Click here to register)
* Panels, speakers and some creative surprises
* Plus lots of time to share with and learn from each other, one of the hallmarks of the Count Me In community
* Shuttle service between hotel and Office Depot available
* Valet Parking at Office Depot

Click here to register!

August 21, 2009

Letting Go…

One of our Leading Change Participants generously agreed to let me post her article on Letting Go .The focus of the Leading Change program is developing our emotional intelligence so we can be better leaders.    

Letting Go by Karina Miller  

I like to think I’m good at letting go, but what I’ve realized lately is that letting go of friends, moving homes and changing jobs frequently, and being what I thought was highly resilient through any change thrown at me isn’t the same thing as letting go. I’m good at change that doesn’t result in real change — changing the surface things and letting go of small annoyances. I’m good at surviving. I have come to understand lately that being “good at change” and survival is not the same thing as creating big, meaningful breakthroughs. I had simply become very good at creating the illusion of letting go and dealing with change. 

A ropes course I took last year helped me begin to understand the true meaning of letting go. It was a powerful analogy for the physical sensation of letting go of something my core physiology and psychology truly thought was required for sheer survival. I was harnessed to a very solid line, standing on a log, about 40 feet up in the trees. I had practiced sitting in my harness and knew that there was no way to fall. My conscious intellect “knew” that letting go of the ropes that connected my harness to the main line wouldn’t hurt a thing. Letting go of my death grip on those ropes would actually free up energy to help with my balance and focus, which would in turn improve my performance dramatically. Yet it was literally one of the the hardest physical, mental, and emotional things I’ve ever done. I was terrified and on the verge of breaking down into a puddle of tears.

It felt similar to many past experiences of clearly irrational fear, panic, and depression. With the help of an excellent coach, I finally, and very slowly, eased my grip and let go entirely. I also learned to request the support I needed from my coach – at the mechanical, strategic, and deep “feeling” levels of learning. 

Once I actually let go and felt the sensation of letting go throughout my body, I was able to work through the course to the limit of my true physical abilities and continue the process of letting go of fear. I felt much freer and was able to move forward, establish challenging goals, and do things I never thought were possible – including effectively coaching others who were more skilled than me. The same has been true of letting go of my suffering and resistance to the fear of shame. 

Several months later I saw the aftermath of harmful “letting go” when a man let go of the Aurora Bridge rail from the outside and fell hundreds of feet to his death, right next to me. Although letting go of the ropes felt similar to causing myself to plunge to certain death, the difference between letting go of my hardcore grip on habits, thoughts, emotions, fears, and hurts that limit me from living a fully engaged life, and making very poor choices that conflict with my values or go so far as to inflict harm or death on myself or anyone else were stark. My survival mechanism doesn’t always know the difference. Sometimes it feels like letting go of something I’ve held onto tightly my entire life will literally cause my death. But, my brain and heart can tell the difference if I really listen. By deepening my understanding of my fears, opinions, stories, and hypocrisies through coaching, feedback from others, and deep personal reflection, and then letting go of them, I have started understanding the possibilities for true freedom, deep love, authenticity, and true engagement in my life.

July 16, 2009

Happiness Is Positive Cash Flow!

“Cash flow, not profits, is the lifeblood of your business. Project it, monitor it, and manage it well before serious trouble starts to brew.”

In today’s uncertain economy with ever rising interest rates, many small businesses with limited financial training are having problems staying alive, let alone prospering. In fact, 63% of new businesses don’t survive six years– and most work-at-home people fail within 6 months!

The primary reason is bad cash management. Too many self-employed people neglect their cash flow until it is too late to recover. So the big question is: How will you manage your cash flow effectively? If you are not sure, then you are on shaky ground.

Let’s break down these tips one at a time.

Fast Collection

In your business, you should collect money as fast as you can. To do so, try these four things:

• Try to speed up customer orders by having them e-mail their orders to you straight from your website.
• Send out your invoices the same day goods are shipped, not a week or two later.
• Indicate on your invoice when payment is due, and specify the penalty interest for late payment. Enforce late fees.

Deposit Money Fast!

This seems only obvious, but it’s extremely important.

Always deposit checks the same day they are received. Don’t hold checks until the next day because you lose one day’s float. Key point: you can lose three days of float by not depositing Friday’s checks until Monday.

• Compare pricing for merchant credit card services; run credit cards as soon as payment due.
• Obtain availability of 0 to 2 days on deposited checks. Don’t let your bank give you the customer availability of 1 to 5 days. Be persistent. Ask the bank for its “availability schedule” and scan it to be sure you’re receiving fast availability of two days or less.
• Each bank has its own availability schedule. This is used to assign check availability to consumers, business (commercial accounts), and large corporate accounts. Availability is the number of days until you can use the money deposited by check as cash. For example, a $1,000 check deposited today and assigned a one-day availability can be withdrawn as cash tomorrow.
• Don’t deposit checks in a bank’s Automated Teller Machine or use the Night Depository since you have no evidence that you actually deposited the checks you said you did. Remember, you only receive a receipt that shows the time and dollar amount on the deposit at the ATM, and you get no receipt at the Night Depositor.
• Ask your bank about its deadline for receiving availability on deposited checks. Some banks may require a deposit of an encoded check by 2 p.m., even though the bank is open to 5 p.m. Make sure you make this deadline, otherwise you lose one day’s float.
• Before using a bank’s ATM for check deposits, find out the bank’s availability deadline. Some banks have a 12 noon cut-off time which means that any checks deposited later are considered to be deposited the next day! In that case, you lose an entire day’s float, even though you did your bit to get the checks cashed.

Have a Super Tight Accounts Receivable Policy

Many people think it is no big deal to neglect accounts receivable until bills are collectible. This is bad cash flow policy. Here are seven excellent tips for handling accounts receivable:

• Check the financial health of a new customer before offering them credit. One way of doing this is by using a rating service, such as Dun & Bradstreet (1-800-234-3867).
• Ask a new customer for five business references and don’t neglect to call them.
• Don’t offer too generous discounts, such as 3% for payment in 10 days. A better rate is 1.5% cash discount. It costs you less.
• Charge a “late fee” of 2% per month to customers who pay late and charge back customers who take discounts after the discount periods.
• Follow up on late payers with phone calls and letters. These may seem a bit extreme, but the first letter should go out the very day the amount is one day late! After 30 days late, start this sequence:
     o send out a letter from your attorney
     o turn over the account to a collection agency
     o use a collection attorney
• Don’t send out new merchandise if bills remain unpaid. Remember that bad debts hurt your bottom line! Be vigilant and try to get at least periodic payments from slow payers.
• Instruct your bank to automatically deposit “returned checks.” Ask your bank if they offer Return Item box service. If they do, then use it to redeposit your check and charge back the bank return item free to your customer.

These seven steps are tough and unrelenting, but they may make the difference between a positive cash flow month and a sluggish month for your business.

Disburse Your Money Slowly

Just the opposite of collecting at the earliest possible moment, you should never pay a day sooner than you have to, unless you get a discount for doing so. A lot of people believe in staying ahead of bills and paying them as early as possible, but that’s just poor cash management. You want to keep your money in your hands as long as you can. Here are five suggestions to slow down your disbursements:

• Pay your invoices on the last day they’re due, not before.
• Try to mail your payment on Thursday or Friday to pick up a few extra days mail float over the weekend.
• Use business credit cards for travel, lodging, meals, and small expenses for yourself and your employees. With credit cards you typically don’t have to make payment until 25 days after receiving the statement. Use this float by investing the money. In total, you can typically keep your money invested for 45 days from date of purchase.
• Don’t issue advances to employees. Have them use their personal credit cards or business cards, if you provide them.
• Now, many small businesses neglect to reconcile their monthly bank statements or assume that the bank never makes a mistake. Banks do make mistakes, and you must stay on top of your disbursement to control your cash flow. If you are one of those people who simply can’t stand to balance you check book, you can use a bank’s standard account reconcilement services for a low monthly price — $50 to $100 base charge and 5 to 7 cents a check.

No Extra Money in Your Bank Account

Many businesses make the mistake of keeping too much money in their bank accounts to pay for bank services. This money could be used more effectively elsewhere — such as to pay off a loan or to invest at a more competitive rate. Many businesses have no idea how much money to leave in the bank or what alternatives they have to compensate the bank. Take some time to find out what your minimum balance needs to be.

Get an Account Analysis Statement

How do you know how much money (bankers refer to this as “balances”) to leave in your checking account to pay for bank’s services? That’s a question that more business owners should be asking themselves.

• First, get a price list which shows how much your bank charges for services like account maintenance, checks deposited, checks paid, stop payments and wire transfers.
• Ask the bank to send you a monthly “Account Analysis Statement.” The analysis statement contains the average balance levels for the month — both the ledger and the available balance — as well as a listing of services used, their transaction volumes and cost. This statement should be obtained in addition to the regular monthly bank statement.
• Look at the account analysis to see whether you are overcompensating the bank. Then pull out any excess funds and invest them in a high-yielding money market mutual fund, for example.

A word of advice: Smaller banks may not know what you are talking about when you ask for an account analysis. Larger banks often offer such a statement, but you have to ask for it. And don’t let them charge you for this kind of statement since it is only an invoice.

Inventory is Not Cash

Every item you have sitting on your shelf should eventually be transformed into cash in your bank account, and the sooner the better. As long as it’s inventory, it’s basically dead weight. If it is not moving, you’re not having cash flow.

Here are six recommendations to minimize the cost of your inventory:

• Attempt to forecast as accurately as you can the day, week and month what you expect to sell. There is software for this.
• If you are dealing in more than one item, determine which item accounts for 80% of your sales. Then minimize ordering other items that are selling poorly or infrequently.
• Determine how fast you can get inventory, once you order it. Try to order as late as you can. Some firms can use “just-in-time” inventory which enables them to receive their order the day they need it.
• Determine your economic order quantity and don’t order too much inventory just to save a few pennies.
• Shop around and make sure you are getting competitive prices.
• Develop a policy for determining obsolete inventory, and how you can get rid of it. The best way to get rid of dead inventory is to sell it whatever you can get for it, even if that’s only 10 percent of what you paid for it. At least it will generate cash flow.

Don’t Forget Continuity Sales

Once of the most exceptional ways of controlling and improving cash flow well into the future is by employing something called continuity of sales or services.

Continuity sales are simply a contract to purchase products or services on an installment basis for a fixed period of time.

The best example of a continuity sale is a magazine subscription. 12, 24, or 36 issues delivered each month for X amount of dollars. The bigger the subscription, they better deal you get. The publisher gets more money up front, and the customer gets a better deal in the long run. Continuity can apply to anything.

Let’s say you own a dry cleaning business. How about an annual deal to clean 5 shirts or blouses per week for set amount of money? Get people to pay your for the entire week up front for a lot of fast cash flow. You’ll trade a discount for getting business, but you’ll ensure a steady cash flow for months to come. Continuity works with just about any kind of product or service you are offering, from dry cleaning to our personal consulting service.

You can structure payments for continuity sales on almost any basis, but it’s best by far to go for complete payment up front. After all, the discount is based on a customer’s commitment, and they’ll be a lot more committed with their money on the line.

July 9, 2009

Halfway through the Leading Change program… Hear what participants have to say!

“The Leading Change series has helped me to better understand the importance of self care, self expression, and clear intentions in being an effective leader to others. Through a progressive series of coaching conversations, theoretical models, and development exercises, I have created breakthroughs in leadership that have re-energized me and moved me closer to fulfilling my purpose in life.”

Karina Miller – Human Resources Specialist

“I highly recommend the Leading Change program for anyone ready to take that next step of personal growth as a leader. The synergy of working with a group of highly-talented, committed individuals in a safe environment has been life-changing. Leading Change should be on every leader’s calendar for this year.”

Pam O’Bryant, Manager

 

“I have so much energy now that I have identified and freed myself up emotionally!”

Lois Pearson, Business Owner

 

“The Leading Change program has changed my life in a profound way. It is an intense program asking students to be courageous and to dig deep to look at their fear and then transform that fear into power. I thought since I had been through years of intense counseling and many other coaching programs that I knew my motivators. It turns out I was close but then with Alicia’s probing and kind of proding, she brought me to be very clear on the specific fear that was holding me back so I could come to the other side of fear: standing in your power; standing in leadership.

Coming into focus with my fear and being very specific about how it feels and how it has affected my life has allowed me to step back and notice others fear and to have compassion and love toward them as they too identify and notice behaviors that stem from fear. This has allowed me to choose to remain in my own center, notice their fear and how it shows up for them and not be affected by their fear. I can notice and choose my own behaviors that now are generated from a place of love and power versus being generated by fear.

Alicia is a talented, fun, spiritually and practically grounded coach and mentor. While guiding me in the deepest way with honor and respect she also teaches me to laugh at my human-ness and play with new experiences. She is one of the most gifted coaches I have ever had the honor to work with.”

Ann Marie Archer, Business Owner

 

New Leading Change program starts July 24th. Click here for more information or call us at (512) 989-2230.

June 27, 2009

Leading Change Program Continues

Yesterday we had Leading Change session 6 of 15 sessions. The emotional intelligence work that the participants have been doing is starting to show results. Participants are reporting more energy and less fear. They are seeing changes in others around them as they let go and embrace their real power.
• Real power is about being able to transform results into a sustainable reality.
• The capacity to translate your intention into reality.
• Webster’s definition which I like; the ability to act or produce an effect. Real power is revealed by its absence of fear

Next Program starts July 24th. Applications due July 10th.