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I have spent the last year and a half working as a nonprofit coach for both grassroots and well-established organizations. One question that seems to come up early on with both groups is self-confidence or lack thereof. My clients often ask how I manage to keep self-confidence while running KSTB Enterprises. That’s an interesting question to answer because many believe that you are either born with or without confidence. I used to believe that myself. However, experiences within the last few years have shown me why I now disagree with that old adage.
The reality is that nobody is born with limitless self-confidence. If someone seems to have incredible self-confidence, it’s because he or she has worked on building it for years. You can have the highest level of self-confidence and at some point and time a situation in business or life in general can deflate it, even if it’s just for a moment.
Confidence is a crucial building block in a successfu... Continue reading
I have a standing deadline. I turn in my weekly Blog by Monday at noon. Today is Tuesday. Not only is it Tuesday but it’s Tuesday night. My Marketing Manager called this morning to see where the Blog was. After all, it’s not like me to miss a deadline. In 2007 I was a new business owner and I would have scrambled to get it done. But, as a seasoned business, I have learned that the world won’t end if I put something else first every now and then. My goals and priorities recently changed for 7 days but now I am back to full focus.
My son graduated from high school last week. There were invitations to mail, friends and family to host, parties to attend, parties to plan and scholarship banquets to attend. Let’s not even mention the scholarship essays that I needed to proofread and make sure that my son; the honor roll student,... Continue reading
While a great majority of the Class of 2017 is happy, thrilled and excited about attending college this fall. I have received calls and texts from parents whose kids are anxious, depressed and scared. I shed tears for those who feel that they have nowhere to turn. I want them to know that help is available. Yes, pray but it is also okay to seek counseling and therapy. I encourage my counselor friends and Sorors to send me their contact information because someone needs it. I can’t imagine what it must be like being a teenager today. They are not living the same lives we did. No matter where you live many of our children have experienced bullying, losing friends and family members to violence, car accidents, etc. It is getting harder and harder to watch the news as we are plagued with local, national and international tragedies. Their lives are played out on social media for all to see. I always say thank G... Continue reading
When business is good, it’s really good. The phone is constantly ringing, emails are pouring in and you have a full list of regular and potential clients. It’s a good feeling and underscores that you made the right decision when you decided to start your own business.
But, one day you notice that the phone doesn’t ring as much as it used to, and you only get a fourth of the emails you used to get. A couple of your current clients have put you “on hold” because their business is slow. You tell yourself that everything will be okay. After all, businesses experience peaks and valleys.
Going into the 3rd week, panic starts to set in. You start to lose sleep because not only is this is your livelihood, it’s your life's passion. You close your d... Continue reading
A dear friend of mine works full-time. But like many of us, she aspires to work for herself. She’s quite talented and creative and has a few clients that she works with “on the side.” I’ve always told her how impressed I am with her work. After all, I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler. Somehow, my lines are always slanted. But, she’s an artist and marketing guru.
She was employed a couple of years ago with a young start-up. She found herself doing much more than marketing. And, on more than one occasion she would go to the bank on Fridays only to be told that there were no funds in the employer’s account. She stuck it out for a few months but soon grew tired of the “I’ll pay you in cash Monday” song and dance from her boss. The company finally closed up shop.
So you finally did it. You resigned from your job and you are ready to embark on your journey to be a successful business owner. The adrenaline rush that you are feeling right now has convinced you that there’s no stopping you. Not even the sky is the limit!
I know that feeling. The one where you can’t wait to go to bed just so you can get up and do it all over again. Your phone is ringing off the hook with inquiries about your services so you make a mental note to get another one strictly for business. Your calendar is full of meetings and presentations for the next 3 weeks and you feel confident that you will exceed your revenue goal for the month. You are on top of the world.
Always remember that the more clients you get, the more lessons you learn.... Continue reading
I received a call one evening from Mrs. Johnson. Our children attended school together and she said that it was important that I come over to her house as soon as possible. She quickly let me know that it had nothing to do with my son, which gave me great relief. She sounded serious so I grabbed my keys and went right over.
When I got there, she sat me at her kitchen table and handed me a folder. That didn’t surprise me. I assumed the folder contained information about her daycare business or a grant that she needed me to review. That wasn’t it at all.
The folder contained a business profile, brochure and business card. Imagine my shock when I saw my logo and picture on all the collateral. But, this wasn’t KSTB information. Well, some of it was but it was not from my office.
I have never believed in spending money unnecessarily. I learned early on the importance of saving and although I like "things" as much as the next person, I'm probably more cautious with personal finances than most. I used the same practice when I started KSTB Enterprises. I adhered closely to my company budget and didn't spend money on things that were not essential. I was careful about organizations I joined (almost all have fees), publications (I looked at them in the library and decided which ones were most advantageous for subscriptions), and did not have a physical office. My clients were kind enough to donate office space to me. This worked well for a little while. My business was operating in the black and had steady growth.
Having free office sp... Continue reading
I loved my job. I was nurtured and mentored. I was shown new and exciting things. I had the BEST bosses and colleagues that you can imagine. I worked with men and women who went out of their way to nurture me and create a positive work environment.
After 5 years on my job, I started to get a little restless. I was approached several times by headhunters but I always turned them down. One afternoon, a corporate company called to see if I would interview for an Associate position with them and I did. I held my breath as I walked in. I was impressed by the fancy building and large offices. My breath caught in my throat when I saw who my boss would be. She was someone that I had admired from afar for years. Her picture was always in the paper and she was on boards and a part of organizations that I hoped to once belong to. If I got the job, I would make more money than I ever had, have a corporate credit card and an expense account.
A few days later, I was offered th... Continue reading
I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at the Five Point Star Tea for the Star of Georgia Chapter #378 Order of the Eastern Star. In addition to them being friendly and courteous, they were also an insightful group. When I asked them if their lives had turned out as they expected, not one hand went up.
I confided in them that mine hadn’t either.
Oh, I’m not complaining. As a matter of fact, I’m thankful that my life has been shaken up. I am still surprised at the direction my life has taken. When I was younger I always took people under my wing who were considered “less fortunate.” If there was someone in my class who didn’t have lunch money, the latest designer... Continue reading
I’ve always thrived on being organized. Even as a child I liked for my pencils and pens to be neatly in their place on my desk. I actually had them separated according to color (green, red, black and blue). My pencils were sharpened and I had numerous highlighters. My notebooks were always neat and everything filed neatly behind their tab. As an adult, I can stay in Staples for hours buying just the right post-it notes, highlighters, etc. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Each of my clients have a notebook in my office. That way, I can immediately put my hand on any of their documents, correspondence, etc.
I’m also a serial filer. Not being able to find things in my office is a huge office time waster. I was actually up last night at 2 am (check my Twitter if you don’t believe me) filing in my home office. Maybe I’m a little OCD when it comes to organizing my space. To run a successful business, you almost have to be... Continue reading
This has been very difficult for me. My phone has a million alerts on it and seems as if something else is always demanding my attention. As a practice, I now turn my phone to silent in meetings. They only people who can get through are the people who I have listed as VIP’s. I intentionally only have four people on that list—my husband, children and sister. I do this so that I can pay full attention to what the meeting is about. This is especially important when you start your business. You don’t ever want clients or potential clients to think that you are not interested in what they are saying. Make is a habit today to be present and in the moment. I have also allowed this to spill over into my personal life. If I am having dinner with friends, I don’t sit and check messages while we are together. I enjoy the time that we are together.Continue reading
The Overground RR!! (The ORR!!) is a movement committed to increasing awareness of Black-owned businesses, supporting Black businesses, and strengthening the economy of the Black community by connecting businesses, churches and community. KSTB is a proud member of the organization since 2014.
The mission of the Overground RR!!® is the economic freedom of the Black community. Specifically, the mission of the ORR is to empower the Black community by increasing the share of the Black economy controlled by the Black community. In 2009, approximately 39 million Blacks spent approximately 0 billion (spending and population data is from the Selig Center for Economic Growth, Terry College of Business, The Univ... Continue reading
Achieving your best results requires you to reflect on where you've been, where you are, and where you're going. You are embarking on an incredible journey. You are an entrepreneur so you must build in quiet time and solitude. Ask yourself "What did I accomplish toward my goals so far this week — or last week?" "What is the status of my business?" "What do I need to accomplish today in light of this?"Continue reading
I admit it. I have a bit of a challenge with being on time. I’ve been doing a lot better lately mainly because my son hates to be late and talks about me. I hear the old adage that “if you are early you are on time and if you are on time you are late.” I’m doing a lot better but it hasn’t been easy. See? I have another shortcoming. J
I detest getting gas and put it off as much as possible. I now make myself get gas before I get home in the evenings. Who wants to get gas in the mornings? It starts my day off all wrong.
People ask me often how I stay so organized and calm. Really? Me? If you say so. I realized when I was about 19 that the little things you do really can make a big difference in how productive your life can be. How I organize both my personal and professional life has a direct impact on my effectiveness as a wife, mom, sister and friend.
Remember this- you drive the car, ship, plane or whatever you prefer to call it. You have several choices as to how you use your time. It’s important to be results driven. If you are anything like me, you have spent years being busy but not productive. It’s a process but you can learn to take control of your time. You can learn to function exceptionally well, even under extreme deadlines and pressures.... Continue reading
When you are in business it’s a great feeling when people call and want to meet with you. After all, every call is a potential client.
Two weeks after I started my firm I met with a young lady who was very excited to meet me. She introduced herself to me as Ms. Garner* and told me that she wanted to help low income children break the cycle of poverty. She knew this population well because she grew up in a single-parent household where evictions and utility shut-offs were common place. Her tears flowed easily as she told me about her past. She needed a rush on a 501c3 to be able to accept grants and donations. She had someone already willing to make a sizable donation to her. I sympathized with her and had to wipe away tears myself. I felt an immediate need to work with her and let her know that I would have everything to her within two weeks.
Ms. Garner was immediately prepared to sign the S... Continue reading
Do you know what your donor retention rate is? In other words, how many people donated to you in 2014? Of that number, how many donated again in 2015. Statistics show that only 57% of first-time donors come back after their initial donation. Always remember that it is easier and cheaper to retain donors rather than acquire new ones.
Let’s explore a few ways to keep your donors coming back:
1) Build a personal, meaningful relationship-
Look at it sort of like dating. When you have a date, you put your best foot forward. You pay attention and listen. The same is true wi... Continue reading
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