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Posts Tagged ‘small business’

Shrimp Tank Podcasts

November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

shrimptanklogo

What better way to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week than to highlight a whole bunch of excellent ones and their stories?!

You can binge watch all 28 episodes on my You Tube channel. Click here to watch Episodes 1 through 28. Want to listen to the entire podcast for each? I don’t blame you! Go to iTunes and search for Seattle Shrimp Tank (there are other cities so make sure you get ours!), subscribe, and start listening.

Important note: The 29th episode is TODAY at 3 pm PST. Go to our website to listen live with our guest, Ralph Nilssen from eSource Coach.

 

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Being Entrepreneur

November 14, 2017 Leave a comment

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyIt takes a special kind of crazy to be an entrepreneur.

It requires a rare blend of risk taker, visionary, creative thinker, resilience, perseverance, confidence, and tenacity to even start a business, much less run one successfully. It’s not for the faint of heart. Since the week of November 13-17 is Global Entrepreneurship Week, this month’s column will offer entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs ideas on growing and protecting a successful business.

The dictionary defines entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” With all due respect, I would revise that to “always” with considerable initiative and risk to health, wealth, and sanity. While entrepreneurs built this country, it’s never been the easy way to go in creating a way of life. As both a former employee and an entrepreneur, I can confidently say that employees rarely lack the full understanding or empathy for what it takes to start and build any business. It’s the ultimate risk and reward situation. To that end, let’s examine a few thoughts I have for both starting and growing a business:

Starting Out:

  1. You have an idea on how to create a business out of your skill set? Great. You’d better also have a passion for it because you will be tested. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you will die on a hill for it, and sometimes that’s what it might ask you to do. It’s a two-sided sword you must wield: competence and passion.
  2. You need boldness and confidence. This is no place for the meek. While humility is a personal virtue, nobody wants to hire a humble consultant, attorney, IT expert, contractor, CPA, or brain surgeon. I’m not suggesting arrogance, which is aloofness with no care for the well being of others. Confidence is believing that you are highly skilled and able to improve the conditions of others with genuine concern for their improvement. You must be able to boldly project and communicate that confidence.
  3. You need to line up enough financial reserves for six months. While it may not take that long to get going making money, you don’t need the stress of a financial burden to cause desperation.
  4. Create a marketing “process.” Business plans look good on a shelf, but often don’t ever get looked at. What you need to focus on in as acquiring clients. That means picking up the phone, setting meetings, and solving problems for them.
  5. Plan for obstacles. Bad things happen. Whether in your control or not, you need to create a strategy and plan for being resilient. It’s a combination of adequate insurance, strategic planning, communications, and practice.

Current Entrepreneurs:

  1. Have a board of advisors. Too many entrepreneurs go the “lone wolf” route. The smartest business owners are the ones that surround themselves with experts and sages. Executive coaches, technical experts (finance, IT, Human Resources), and peer groups are crucial for assuring you don’t get caught breathing you own exhaust.
  2. Constantly reinvent. Don’t become stale; rather constantly seek ways to build the better mousetrap; to differentiate yourself from the competition; and to find new ways to help your clients. Business (and life) is about changing realities. Be on the cutting edge of change.
  3. Hire strong people. Building a strong team is paramount to growing and transitioning out of your business. Don’t settle for warm bodies; rather demand excellence from your team. That starts with you. Modeling and mentoring is required to build a top-flight team of employees.
  4. Plan for obstacles. Look familiar? Let’s just say “ditto” for the suggestions from above. Entrepreneurs may be resilient by nature, but often get bloodied and bruised in the process. Make it easier for yourself with proper pre-planning of crisis and critical systems.
  5. Remember to have fun. I’ve met too many entrepreneurs that work themselves to a frazzle. They become a worse boss than the one they left to start a business. Entrepreneurship is supposed to be fun. If it’s not, then you should go get a job working for someone else. It’s not worth the sacrifice if you’re not enjoying the journey.

Bonus: Vibe Coworks in Poulsbo will be offering an exciting lineup of events, activities, and workshops to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. Check out their schedule at www.VibeCoworks.com. What an opportunity to learn more and engage with fellow entrepreneurs.

Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are the engines that run our communities and country. You are responsible for hiring and developing more people that the Fortune 500 companies. You’ve taken a huge financial and emotional risk, with hopes and dreams of making a better life for yourself and your employees. For all of you, I leave you with three final words of encouragement as you end one year and prepare for the next:

  1. Don’t listen to the haters. You know who they are. They are energy suckers and will only harm you and your business. Stay positive and focused on the next step in the journey.
  2. Don’t be one of the haters. Positivity starts with self-talk. Worry is a bully; it gives you nothing and only takes. Keep your confidence and boldness up.
  3. Utilize help. There’s no glory in being stubborn and trying to do it on your own. There are colleagues, experts, and friends that can help in a multitude of ways, be it emotional or financial. Find those friends that believe in you and always keep fighting the good fight.

It takes a special kind of crazy to be an entrepreneur. Go be crazy!

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 My November column for the Kitsap Sun/Kitsap Business Journal.

Extra Points: Smells Like Entrepreneurial Spirit

November 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This is Global Entrepreneurship Week and we are going to focus our attention on the what I think requires a certain amount of crazy to do…start and run your own business. Additionally, I will share my ideas on the spirit required and you don’t have to start your own business to take advantage of it.

This country was built on the shoulders entrepreneurs. The railways and roads were built; commerce was conducted; and people were employed and able to live out the American Dream becasue of the courage and perseverance of men and women that chose to metaphorically hang up their own shingle, unleash their potential, and create their own destinies.

There’s a unique spirit that entrepreneurs have. It’s a unique blend of confidence, passion, skill, stubbornness, resilience, cleverness, and crazy. Being an entrepreneur is not for anyone that can’t (or won’t) deal with failure, conflict, drama, and the well-meaning unsolicited advise of family and friends that think they are making a mistake.

So what drives that spirit? After having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the past three decades, I’ve observed it’s one main thing that propels people to traverse this often bumpy, but always fulfilling way of life: they simply won’t accept someone else being in control of their lives and futures. They’ve found a skill they they love, turned it into a business that employs people and serves clients, and ultimately creates the life they want to lead.

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not blind to the reality that many business owners slip into situations where they become despondent, financially strapped, and sometimes have to give up the dream. While this is true, it is also true that the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve ever met have had the unabashed belief in themselves that they could overcome anything and opportunity was knocking daily.

Final thought: I promised to talk about entrepreneurial spirit in those that work for others. The most valuable employees are those that have taken an entrepreneurial spirit towards their work and why the do it. They treat the business as if it were their own, and that spirit catapults them higher and higher on the stairway of success (okay it’s playing on Pandora as I’m writing this and I was inspired…). All of us can share that olfactory sensation of entrepreneurial spirit as Nirvana once sung about. The task at hand is all yours, regardless of your station.

Do your embody that entrepreneurial spirit?

Note: Follow me on social media to get a daily dose of entrepreneurial spirit this week. I will also be posting on my blog. Finally, this week will also be the start of special discounted pricing on services that will last through the end of the year in some cases. If you have that spirit, invest in yourself and your business. It’s the best money and time you’ll spend.

Quote of the Week:

“Life is like the monkey bars: you have to let go to move forward. Once you make the decision to leap into entrepreneurship, be sure to loosen your grasp on old concepts so you can swing your way to new ones.”

~ Leah Busque, American businesswoman

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get your company culture stronger and more robust. Contact me to discuss how you can better and more quickly reach the results you want. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.

Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov.13-17

November 10, 2017 Leave a comment

JackNext week is Global Entrepreneurship Week and that means I will be focusing my attention on helping entrepreneurs to grow and protect their businesses. Every day next week will feature something new regarding entrepreneurship on the blog and on my social media sites.

To follow me on social media:

Linked In

Twitter

You Tube

Facebook

I will also be featuring time-sensitive opportunities to take advantage of services to improve your business with special offers. Captain jack and I want to encourage you to make sure you check out these fantastic opportunities starting on Monday! You’ll be glad you did!

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Culture Club

November 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I spoke last week to a group of business owners and professionals on the topic of creating a strong company culture. We began by defining the term “culture.” It’s not an easy term to define; you can’t really quantify it and everyone has a different take on what it looks and feels like. The one constant is that everyone wants a good one!

A strong company culture is not defined by constant happiness, joy, and smiling faces. In fact, there will be many times where employees will – and should – disagree, get upset, challenge others, fight for agendas, and go home unhappy at an outcome. In my definition, culture is all about respect and resilience.

Let’s face it, every day in business and life poses challenges to overcome. Being part of a “team” means being able to rebound from shared defeat, keep your eyes on the goals, and be able to collaboratively work together respectfully for those goals even in the face of adversity (and occasional shouting matches). A strong leader is one that can model and create that behavior. A robust company culture needs adversity and struggle to grow. The measurement for you to keep an eye on is how quickly that rebound occurs.

Final thought: Company culture is a business continuity factor. A poor culture is far worse than a fire or cyber attack because it’s tough to reverse bad momentum. The best CEOs and business owners know how to stay on top of company culture to assure enhanced performance, productivity, and profit. How is your culture club?

Quote of the Week:

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”

~ H. Jackson Browne, Jr. American Author

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get your company culture stronger and more robust. Contact me to discuss how you can better and more quickly reach the results you want. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.

Extra Points: What Do You Smell?

October 23, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I walk the dogs on the same route every day. While it may seem boring, it’s safe, lighted, and frankly about the only place that really works for us. I tend to either listen to music, a book, or sometimes even use the opportunity to think about absolutely nothing. It’s very therapeutic for me, and gives the dogs (and me) good exercise.
That being said, you’d think the dogs might get bored. On Saturday, I took the dogs extra early as we’d missed a few days and I knew we had a busy weekend with family and this might be the only opportunity. It was raining but they cared less than I did, so I bundled up without my phone and decided to simply clear my mind and seek out some “quiet.”

It never ceases to amaze me how eager the dogs are to uncover new opportunities in what would seem a mundane environment. With the rain and the few days off, apparently a cornucopia of new olfactory opportunities abounded. Both Captain Jack and Bella made sure that nary a new sensation wasn’t inspected or at least urinated on.

We humans don’t have the incredible sense of smell that dogs do. Rather, we use our visual cues. That’s why we get easily bored. Unfortunately, this easily happens with our daily lives. Boredom leads to many professional perils for a business: Miscues, inattentiveness, lack or production, apathy, complacency, and turnover. Effective leaders are able to sniff this out like Captain Jack on the trail of a squirrel. While we might think it’s the responsibility of an employee to keep motivated, I think that it’s up to the leaders to follow the example of my dogs to sniff out opportunities to improve the people in their influence.
Yes, if you’re an employee for someone, you’ve got accountability, especially to yourself and your family. My message today is to CEOs, business owners, and leaders to provide an environment that stimulates growth, development, and performance. While the work may all look the same, every day’s opportunity is unique and at hand for those that have their noses pointed in the right direction.
Quote of the Week:

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

~ John W. Gardner (American Educator)

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help creating a business continuity plan for your business? Call me and let’s schedule a meeting to talk. The time to act is before you need it. Email me at dan@danweedin.com.

Extra Points: Comfortably Numb

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This weekend, Barb and I were ordering lunch at a famous marketplace in the International District of Seattle. I’d just placed my order for a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich with egg and bacon. While I was waiting for my lunch to be prepared, we were in line to order her a Thai lunch that she loves. Then it happened.

The fire alarm went off. It was evident by the ringing and flashing box on the wall labeled “fire alarm.” This place is huge and we, along with hundreds of other customers, simply listened to the blaring alarm as the the light strobe kept going. After what seemed to be about 15 seconds, we were ushered out by employees beseeching us to get out of the building. We all stood mere feet away from a building that potentially could be on fire! Even my lunch order got put on hold as the cooks sheepishly shuffled out into the street. All ended well with the fire department allowing  us back in after a short delay.

I remember vividly in grade school being taught what to do when a fire alarm sounds. You get out. Now. My wife, fellow customers of the market, and myself were basically all numb to the alarm. We’d become too comfortable thinking that it couldn’t be really dangerous. It would soon stop and we could go about our normal business. While fortunately in this case it wasn’t serious, what about the next time?

I suggest we’ve all become comfortably numb (apologies to Roger Waters and the Pink Floyd gang). A fire alarm not immediately heeded is just the tip of the iceberg. How many of us will numbly start our work week today bemoaning the start of a new week; mindlessly repeating tasks from the week before (same old, same old); and “ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, fritter and wast the hour sin an off-hand way…?” (Okay more Pink Floyd…I will stop…maybe)

Many of us are guilty of wasting days by being anxious, stressed, complacent, and maybe worst of all, bored. Regardless of whether we own, manage, or work in a business, each day is rife with opportunity. I got the chance to both hold and simply stare at my beautiful three-week old granddaughter. That time, that moment won’t come again. I soaked in every second of it. While more may be like it; that moment is singular. I’m ready for the next one…

Your moments are singular. Don’t waste them with worry, regret, or boredom. Find a way to embrace the day, honor the struggle, and find opportunity that won’t come this way again. The rinse and repeat with eager abandon.

Quote of the Week:

“Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun…”

~ Pink Floyd – Lyrics from the song, Time

Don’t miss the starting gun.

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved