Friday, May 29, 2015

Discipline When Working from Home

Woman working from fully outfitted home office
Working from home can be very rewarding...if you are disciplined.
Working from home is not for everyone. Whether you have family around during the time you’re working or not matters little. The real focus is on you. As I’ve learned building virtual teams who also work from home, working from home is not for everyone! You need self-discipline and an innate ability to focus and reduce/ignore distractions.

My strategies for focusing are:
  • I work preset hours every day, unless I have prior documented plans. (The same way I’d need to explain to employees or a boss that I would be gone for awhile.)
  • I have a regular routine that kicks off my day, the Wall Street Journal and coffee. I then check Yahoo and Bing news. This way, I avoid surfing the Internet for news and updates during the work day.
  • I go into the office. If you don’t have a separate room with a door that’s an office, you can designate an area and always use that area to work, except when you need a break.
  • I schedule meetings with customers and potential partners, attend business association meetings, training and other events. This gets me out of my home office. If I sit at my computer or on the phone all day, every day each week with little work-related human interaction, I go a little nuts. If for some reason I have no or few outside meetings, I’ll grab a few hours at the local Starbucks where a lot of other business people congregate.
  • I make a to do list first thing each morning (or the night before) and keep a deliverables calendar. Seeing things in writing helps me keep myself accountable.
  • I sometimes go work out in the middle of the day or go take a walk. This is what I did when I worked from an office. I consider myself an athlete so the physical activity clears my head and helps me refocus and continue being productive the rest of the day.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Business Training for Business Owners

Professional development and training for small business owners
Business training is a form of professional development.

Determining Business Training Needs

Entrepreneurs and business owners often determine the training they need based on problems they encounter and timing. i.e., An owner using QuickBooks will need help with a particular facet. If the need is dire, he’ll search for training. If the need is not, he’ll put it off unless he sees an offer for QuickBooks training. Owners having trouble making sales may seek out training on sales or marketing or both. Depending on the age and technological background of the owner or how much interaction she needs, this training will be online (webinars, online courses) or at a local college, training offered through a business association or entity such as SCORE, or through a training company. The decision often depends on what’s available when the business owner needs it, how much of a time and energy commitment the training requires, and the perceived value of the training.

No "One Size Fits All"

I recognize that there is no one size fits all. Therefore, I recommend a variety of training types: online ecourses, webinars, community college courses or university continuing education/extension center courses, 1-day or multi-day, in-person training, training offered by SCORE, the SBA, SBDCs, or local business incubators,… The list is long. Some people learn very well on their own, others need interaction. When I hear about a great training series on a particular topic – marketing effectiveness, small business financing, increasing sales, better human resource management, market pursuit – I will recommend these. The training must be specifically targeted to small business owners and address particular pain points; those pain points can vary widely but they relate to the myriad issues small business owners face. If in person, that training must facilitate networking among the attendees.  

Your Training Needs

What are your training needs? What do you currently do to determine and address those needs? Please share!
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day picture
Happy Memorial Day!

According to the Memorial Day website, at http://www.usmemorialday.org, "Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day."

"Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead."

Therefore, on this day let's honor all those veterans who died protecting our freedoms and our land. Thank you to all veterans for your perseverance and sacrifices!


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Friday, May 22, 2015

How Did You Select Your Business' Name?


In response to a journalist's query regarding the selection of our business’ name:

I came up with the name, “The Resourceful CEO” because I often referred to myself as resourceful and frequently stressed the need for small and medium businesses and their owners or CEOs to be resourceful. When my PR rep asked me what were my thoughts for branding a new company, I put the two words together in a sentence and she loved it. My new company was hence named, “The Resourceful CEO”.

How did you originate / select the name of your business?
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tradeoffs Entrepreneurs Make to Achieve Success



Being an entrepreneur has tradeoffs.
Being an entrepreneur, as with most choices, has tradeoffs.
In everything we do, there are tradeoffs. You can view these as one choice over another or you can view these as giving up something for another. Personally, I don't typically view anything I do as "giving up something" for another. To me, that perspective shows a lack of appreciation and gratitude for what you are getting and also keeps you looking at the past. In addition, what one person wants is not what another wants. Therefore, whereas I may view my choice as positive, someone else may view it as negative. But that choice is positive for me, yet potentially negative for someone else. That's the beauty of us as human beings. We all have different needs, desires and wants.

As an entrepreneur, for me, the sense of security was the primary tradeoff. Sometimes I get so involved I don’t sleep much, but that started with my voracious reading as a child (I’d stay up until the wee hours reading a good book), so that’s nothing new! Because I was 100% focused on my business, I was living off my savings and loans and had no regular stream of income coming in. I had to decide that was okay. I’ve always been fiscally responsible so I could plan ahead but it was really, really uncomfortable for the first few months. Then I needed so much money to grow, I had to go out and seek investors. You can’t find investors when you’re desperate! You give off an aura, so being comfortable with the much higher level of economic uncertainty was something I had to master (and did master) in advance.

What tradeoff did you make to achieve success as an entrepreneur?
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

When Is Debt Better than Issuing Equity?

When is debt use better than equity use for a small business?
When should I nearly always use debt instead of issuing equity?

I wrote this in response to a journalist's request to answer the following: 

Question: When is it better to take on debt than to issue equity?

Answer:

If your small business has sufficiently high cash flow to repay a loan for a specific item, such as construction equipment or computer hardware, that will help your company increase its profits and cash flow within that payback period, your business should take out a loan. Alternatively, you can utilize lease financing.  Why do I say this? Because your loan is backed both by cash flow from your business and collateralized by the asset. Therefore, the interest on the loan (typically ranging from 6 -12%, depending on several factors) will be significantly less expensive than the return on investment expected from an equity investment (typically ranging from 25 - 40% for investors who are not family or friends). In addition, the risk of not being able to pay back the loan will be minimal.
Do you have additional small business financing or related questions you'd like me to answer? Please feel free to provide them and I'll start answering one per week, beginning next week!

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Radio Interview: Design the Life You Want

According to the Design The Life You Want: Live By Design, Not Default show's description on iTunes: "Shimeka Williams is on a mission to discover how to take the ultimate leap of faith. She interviews entrepreneurs as they share their strategies for making a successful transition from employee to entrepreneur. Sprinkled in the mix, you will also find interviews with a variety of experts who discuss how to deal with common challenges faced like finances, fear and family."

Click on the link below to go to the podcast and  hear my comments on funding your business.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/design-life-you-want-live/id983448000&ls=1
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Small Business Hangout - U.S. Department of Commerce and Nerd Wallet


In honor of National Small Business Week 2015, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority
Google Hangout site for this event.
Business Development Agency is teaming up with NerdWallet to host a Google Hangout on how minority-owned businesses can start and grow their companies.

The online discussion will feature Carmen West and Nick Perkins, of MBDA’s Access to Capital team, and Cindy Yang, NerdWallet’s small business expert. During the discussion, the panelists will address how the MBDA helps minority-owned businesses expand, and Yang will discuss NerdWallet’s resources for small businesses just starting out.

The Google Hangout will be broadcast live on NerdWallet’s Youtube channel. During the second half of the webinar, Perkins, West, and Yang will take questions from the audience through Twitter. Tweet questions using the hashtag #DreamSmallBiz to either @NerdWallet or @USMBDA.


Join Us:
“From Small Success to Great Achievement:
A NerdWallet conversation with the Minority Business Development Agency”
Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET
Click here to go to visit the event page and bookmark it
#DreamSmallBiz
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