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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Entrepreneur's Inner Journey

If you look back on your life, you may discover that you are a very different person today than the person you were when you first decided to become an entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur requires the ability to ride the high and low tides of emotion. You have likely navigated the waters of elation and joy, and uncertainty and fear. You have had to process the emotions that arise from hiring or firing employees and partners. You have probably had to find the inner strength to persevere when others didn’t believe in your vision. You may have come face to face with your internal dialogue about failure and success.

Each day brings opportunities to engage in the personal growth that is essential to the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Here are a few tips that can help you be resilient and victorious on the journey.

First and foremost, it is important to realize the journey of being an entrepreneur is a process of self-discovery. Awareness is the essence of being human. With this insight you will be able to remind yourself to look at growth and challenges as opportunities. You will have a choice in every situation and life becomes a journey.

Secondly, create a practice of checking in with yourself to determine what limiting beliefs keep you from achieving your goals. For instance, is there some unconscious belief about money or doing things a particular way that is getting in the way of getting funding or taking your business to the next level? So often we find external reasons why we cannot overcome obstacles, like a customer’s lack of money to spend on a product. This may be the case, but sometimes if you look within you see a different story. It might have been your set of beliefs and values communicated through words or body language influenced the customer’s decision not to buy. Self-knowledge can help you gain perspective of the system in which you and your business live. This powerful edge can help you become a cause rather than an effect.

Next, make a list of all the minimized programs in your life. We all have “To do” lists that are a mile long. Just like your computer, when there are several windows open, even if you minimize one of the windows, isn’t it still lurking at the bottom of your screen? We do this with many things in our life and at a certain point they begin to drain your energy and confidence level. Is there some underlying program that is sapping your energy? Review your “To do” list and see what you can quickly cut out or out source.

Do something for your body – whether it is a workout at the gym, a yoga class, or a walk in the park, take a few minutes every day to revitalize the body and get the creative juices flowing.

A meditative practice to quiet the mind or to practice observing yourself is very useful. Meditation allows the brain time to process things that you are working on. You may find what was elusive before meditation comes bubbling up from the unconscious once you allow yourself a little space. Insight into your self, into your partners, customers, or other relationships gained through meditation can help you be more relaxed and focused as you take your entrepreneurial game to the next level.

At the next Bootstrap Meeting on May 10 at 6:30pm, we will provide you with an opportunity to explore your Inner Journey through a deep guided meditation. Please RSVP to attend.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

ABJ Launches ABJEntrepreneur.com

Running or starting a business? Simply thinking about becoming an entrepreneur? The Austin Business Journal has a new web site to complement our weekly print ABJ Entrepreneur section


Go online today and ...

  • Connect with your peers
  • Get the latest news relevant to entrepreneurs
  • Browse advice and how-to columns from seasoned entrepreneurs and experts
  • Find links to local organizations and support systems for entrepreneurs
  • Check out the calendar to see scheduled entrepreneur events across Central Texas

    and much more!

Log on to ABJEntrepreneur.com today to discover how the Austin Business Journal is breaking the mold to keep Central Texas the Entrepreneurship Capital of the World.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

4 Concerns about Austin's Recent Small Business Summit

I would like to congratulate Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and the City Council for holding its first Small Business Summit in March.

Forty of us were invited to give our thoughts on the major ways the City could address business owners concerns. The Summit was limited to two hours. Pretty short and sweet.

We had been asked to prepare to discuss three questions:
1. What steps could the City take to better assist small local business owners with planning and development?
2. What steps could the City take to help create a better overall environment for small local business owners to succeed?
3. What are some specific obstacles you have encountered in interacting with the City, and how do you believe these could be addressed?

After we determined the issues for our table, we were given three minutes to present those to the whole group. A total of about sixteen different items were presented as needing City attention with several "dittoes" as time got shorter and other tables came up with similar issues.

By an odd quirk of fate, this very "public" meeting had not been posted in advance. This meant that the Mayor and Council had to rotate in and out of the room so they would not violate the Open Meetings ruling.

My Concerns

Without taking anything away from the Summit or the report that is being assembled by Rosie Jalifi and the City's Small Business Development Program staff, I want to mention four concerns I have.

1. No context.

We did not hear the discussion at the other tables and were only presented with the issue as part of a list. That made it hard to understand the context. It was hard to tell if some of the concerns people listed were universal or more industry specific for instance, home owners vs. music venues; certain kinds of permitting; the power of the Neighborhood Associations.

Since each Council member heard even less of the discussion, I believe their perception is even more compromised. How these are presented in the report is going to be very interesting and a real challenge for staff.

2. Size considerations.

Small is a relative term. Are we talking less than 500 employees (federal definition), less than 100 (State definition) or an even smaller firm, a "micro business", one with less than 20 employees? In the Austin area, over 80% of our small businesses are really micro businesses where the owner is the owner/investor, manager, and employee. Looking around the room, I saw micro businesses.

Again, it would be useful for Council and staff to know what the issues were by size or complexity of the business. It does make a difference when it comes to deciding where the City can or should make changes. As one of these "micro" businesses and as someone who works exclusively with owners of enterprises of this size, I can guarantee you we look at life and work differently than Yellow Cab, one of the other Summit participants.

3. Not enough clarity. Not enough time.

The Summit could have focused on identifying problems or recommending solutions. I think it tried to do too much in too little time. As a result, what I heard from the three-minute presentations from the other tables was a mixture of both. I am not sure what conclusions I would draw if I were either staff or Council.

There is a pattern to draw on. For many years in the 90's, Texas regularly held the Governor's Conference on Small Business. Business owners from all over the state gathered to talk about problems and issues and propose solutions. Then we went to work to get it done. It was great brainstorming and strong networking. This ended in about 2000 and NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) and other groups started to hold Small Business Legislative Day. Not as good but better than nothing.

As a former delegate to the Governor's and White House Conference and Congressional Summit on Small Business, I have seen real change come from this kind of event but it takes more time than two hours on one day in March.

4. The beginning or the end.

This is my biggest concern.

The Austin City Council has started something with this Small Business Summit. It could really be of major assistance to the City's desire to remain a great place to start and run a business. Or it could be just a "two-hour trick pony", a false start leading nowhere. My hope that is that this gets more attention and resources and that it continues.

Austin has made some efforts. For years, we have had City Commissions for minority and women-owned business. Good work has been done but not enough has been accomplished. In addition, this has left out other businesses (non-minorities) and divided the small business community into two camps. The economic pie is too small for that to continue.

I believe it's time that Austin find ways to support a united small business community while recognizing that we do have some unique concerns because of our size and industry differences.

Recommendation to Other Owners

If you own a business, I encourage you to get involved. Pay attention to what is happening. What happens in Washington is important but a long way away from here. What happens in Austin, happens to you and works either for you or against you.

I am also interested in what are your concerns and issues. Please post a comment or contact me directly at triplett@bscusa.com. I look forward to continuing this effort and this discussion.

Here's to your success!

Jan Triplett
COO
Business Success Center
ownersview.com

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Bootstrap April Mtg: Meet Ron Berry, founder - Fusebox Festival

Now in its 6th year, Fusebox Festival (Apr 21 - May 2) has been bootstrapped by Ron Berry. Come hear how the festival evolved out of his Theater Company, Refraction Arts and is now in version 3.xx.

The Experience Subgroup has explored the Bootstrap Experience model, which details how an experience is created, and the transformation that results. This meeting will explore the experience of the Fusebox Fesitval, and the transformation that can result through witnessing it.

We will meet at the Off Center, home of the Rude Mechanicals, an innovative company in the Austin Theater Scene. Here's a map of the Theater Scene by Robert Matney.

Follow @fuseboxfestival on twitter, check out this year's artists on the Fusebox Site.

...and get involved!



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