I would like to take this opportunity to commend the SCORE program for providing such a community service for those of us attempting to turn the dream of our own business into a tangible reality. Michael Riley and his colleague Marshall Stein have been invaluable in their extensive knowledge and personal warmth. Their dedication to our efforts to build the Goodfield Institute into a growing business here in the Phoenix, Arizona area has been very helpful. I am a doctor of psychology and have practiced on four continents, having worked at NATO headquarters and the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. These assignments have exposed me too many individuals in senior leadership positions. I can say without any hesitation that the insights, and skills, of these two fine mentors have been extraordinarily helpful.
As an author of three books on human behavior and as a former Professor at the Diplomatic Academy of London I think it is safe to say I know the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. These two outstanding individuals are intrinsically motivated to share their wisdom, enthusiasm and expertise.
It is and has been an extraordinarily valuable opportunity to share our time with these individuals and to receive the benefits of their knowledge and practical helpful insights and advice. Please continue this important service for our community. I hope that all of those who use SCORE services are as fortunate as we have been to have Mike and Marshall in a mentoring position.
This event seemed more alive than just about any other event of its kind I have attended. Here are some observations that made me think that way:
As I went around the exhibits, I noticed that attendees were engaged at every exhibitor table with animated conversation.
Peopled were very interested in what Representative Sinema and Secretary of State Reagan had to say. There was applause every time they would say how important the small business community was to the state, and what they were doing to make it easier for small businesses to do business in the state.
People were very engaged with the speakers. When there was a little time for Q&A, it seemed like we could have gone on all day with Q&A on each topic.
The business round table I participated in had nonstop questions and answers coming from the audience. Not only did the moderators have comments, but the audience also shared their wisdom. The collective knowledge shared in the room was exceptional.
All this made the symposium live, and people seemed to take away a lot of useful information from a lot of different sources and ways of getting it. Let’s do it again next year.
Here’s a video slideshow of speakers, exhibitors, attendees and the hard-working volunteers that made the symposium a success:
Rod has been a SCORE Mentor since 2004. During his extensive 40 year career, Rod held various executive positions in Sales and marketing at General Electric Industrial Automation and Power Generation units and other energy and environmental companies. Rod has mentored more than 400 small businesses and 100 nonprofits as a member of SCORE and the Executive Service Corps. He has been a board member of seven Not for Profit organizations.
The Greater Phoenix SCORE 2015 Small Business Symposium was a huge success! We had over 900 attendees registered, 50+ exhibitors and an excellent line-up of speakers. All the presentations were recorded and we’ll have the videos soon. Here are some of the shots from the event.
These were our speakers:
There was a whole lot of mentoring going on!
Here are some of the exhibitors!
We couldn’t have done it without over 40 of our hard-working SCORE mentors & volunteers! These are just a few of them:
And it wouldn’t have been a success without all the great attendees! Thank you all for coming! Here are just a few shots:
You enter your office and sit at your desk with the best intentions “today, I’m going to get things done” then a few emails arrive, you take a phone call, spend some time searching for the one piece of paper, you know the one with that important information and that phone number you need. Before you know it, it’s 5 o’clock.
Here are 3 tips to staying productive during your workday.
Find the system that will support your focus to get things done. What system do you have for your workflow? A basic to do list? The hipster PDA? A 1-31 file system? Don’t have a system? Start with a simple list of things you need to accomplish. Get it out of your head and onto paper. Begin each task with an action verb. They will get you motivated and focused.
Get the papers that are stacked and spread across your desk in place. If it’s not spread across your desk, check on your computer desktop, organize and file those too. Put papers you need in a system that makes sense to you. Purge what you don’t need. Put personal items in one drawer so that they easy to find. Same thing with all of the office supplies, find a drawer and get them all in one place. Clear off your desktop and put back only what is essential and a few items that reflect your personality.
You have one life-use one calendar. Just keep one. Whether it’s a paper calendar or one on your phone or computer. Find a calendar that is portable, has enough space and a format that works for you. Record and keep track of everything. Keeping more than one person’s schedule use different colors in pen or with the click of a button, if it’s digital. Schedule time to complete tasks and organize and file your papers.
Don’t multi-task. Many professionals agree that blocking your time is far more effective than multi-tasking. Studies show that multi-tasking can negatively affect your brain in terms of memory and focus. One of Arlene Dickinson’s top tips is to slow down.
“Work on one task, finish that task and then move onto the next one.” ~Arlene Dickinson
If you can’t seem to get things done and get your work under control, consider hiring a professional. A productivity consultant can suggest ways you can work better, faster, and more focused.
Creating an organized, efficient workplace can pay off in a big way. Next time you walk in the office with intentions to get things done, you will have a basis to work from and a clear way to move forward. Margo Brown is a Productivity Coach, with Wave Productivity and works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. She serves the Tempe and Phoenix area in Arizona. Whether it’s social media, email or piles of paper, if you want to get more organized in your office call 602-677-8275 or email email@example.com.
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or own an existing business, December is a great time to write a business plan or, if you have one, to dust it off and revisit your plan. You may ask why December?
Because December is National Write a Business Plan Month.
The old saying, “if you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there?” applies to travel as well as business plans. Without a plan, the business death rate is more than twice as high as businesses that have well thought out and written plans. And think about this – investors and banks won’t loan you money if you can’t support the need for capital with a rationale that makes sense.
Does the plan have to be very long, complicated and intimidating? The answer is an emphatic NO! But it does have to be well thought out, and incorporate the following:
Company Description, market analysis, service or product line, marketing and sales, financial projections, and funding request.
Another way to look at this is to answer the following questions:
What is the customer’s problem?
What is your solution?
What is your business model? (How will you make money)
Who is your customer and how many of them are there? (Target market)
What is your competitive advantage?
Who are your management team members?
What are your financial projections?
What funding do you require?
You can make your business plan stand out among the reams of business plans if you incorporate the following:
Be clear about what you have to offer. What are you really selling? What is your market niche?
Understand what makes your business unique. What needs does your product or service fulfill?
Understand your competitors, which areas they focus on, which areas they ignore, and your potential opportunities.
In other words, what benefits do you offer customers, what differentiates you from the others, and how will your business stand out in the crowd?
Whether it’s a brand new business or an effort to put new vitality in an existing business, December is a great time to initiate a plan to achieve success, or greater success in 2015. Your investment in time will pay big dividends.
SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, can provide expert advice (FREE!) to help you create a “great” business plan. With more than 70 mentors in Greater Phoenix SCORE can help you execute your plan to maximize your success.
With military engagement in Iraq at a low level and the engagement in Afghanistan winding down, the military services are downsizing. While the nation owes a great deal to those who have served, bringing them back into the civilian economy is not an automatic or smooth process. Veterans we’ve spoken with have said that returning from service can be confusing and sometimes, traumatic. Even though veterans have maturity and, in general, have excellent skill sets, the challenge of returning to civilian work, and, in some cases looking for a new career path, needs assistance from all who can offer it. The military services are doing an increasingly more effective job of preparing veterans through their various transition assistance programs and our organization has been actively involved. Greater Phoenix SCORE has been and continues to be part of the Boots to Business program run by the SBA at various military installations in the Phoenix area.
SCORE is a non- profit resource partner of the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) that was formed in 1964 and is now celebrating 50 years of service. It was chartered to offer counsel and assistance to aspiring and existing businesses and mentors from SCORE have helped over 10 million people pursue their business goals. For veterans considering entrepreneurship, our engagement is particularly valuable. We recognize that SBA research indicates that veterans are generally more qualified than the general population to be business owners and they are more likely to succeed. They bring discipline, leadership, management experience, and a broad range of skills to starting and running a business. If a veteran has a goal to start and grow a business, we can help.
SCORE of Greater Phoenix provides no fee one-on-one business mentoring, as well as free or low cost workshops, seminars, and webinars. SCORE mentors are volunteers who come to the job with records of significant successful experiences in many industries—many at senior levels. Almost 70 mentors in the Phoenix metropolitan area provide research and planning advice for pre-startups, startups, and firms in business for a year or more. SCORE mentors confidentially review business ideas, explain how to apply for licenses, provide information on finding legal and CPA services, help the entrepreneur create a detailed business plan, advise on business negotiations, and coach businesses owners on how to seek financial support.
For early stage entrepreneurs, SCORE mentors help build plans and advise on obtaining financing (for those with good credit scores). For start-up businesses, mentors help establish the business and advise on how to manage marketing and financials. For established business, mentors can help clarify penetration of your current markets, suggest new markets, identify business options, help develop growth strategies, and advise on financial and human resource issues.
In all cases, our goals are to help entrepreneurs succeed. We have a special desire to do so for veterans, since their service has been at the heart of the freedoms that have contributed to our own successes. We welcome all, and the welcome is even bigger for veterans!