Small Business Support – Interise2020 Conference

Business growth can be elusive. As a key catalyst, revenue growth for an established business requires a focused and comprehensive plan of action, a business growth plan. However, sustaining business growth following the development of the growth plan requires one more key element and that is capacity. Not volume capacity, but organizational capacity. Come join me at the Interise2020 Close the Gap conference to be held at the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor and attend my session to learn more about the seven tips that produce an organizational climate that is supportive of business scaling. The Interise2020 Close the Gap conference targeted small business owners seeking to further scale business operations to grow beyond the start-up phase, broaden their customer reach, or become a larger participant in their community’s economic development. The planners of Interise 2020 Close the Gap convened a host of entrepreneurs, consultants, and professionals from around the country with practical insights to deliver counsel that informed, influenced, and inspired owners to reengage or continue to move forward with their growth strategy plan. Contact the Interise staff and learn more about their national InteriseStrong program for small businesses.

Learn more by visiting #entrepreneurship #Interise2020 #smallbusinessowners #womenownedbusinesses #startups #businesswomen #businesswomenlinkup #businesswomenontherise #businesswomeninthemaking #businesswomenrock #businesswomensday

Women, Commerce, and The Community – Sponsored by Quad Communities Development Corporation

November 2019. Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC) held an inspirational women’s summit on Columbus day. In attendance, were women business owners and advocates supporting local economic development in Chicago. The key takeaway for women entrepreneurs! Without question, the consistent challenge that this group of business owners faces is an ongoing battle to balance passion (spark of independence), profitability (corporate health), and productivity (decision effectiveness). Often, women business owners believe deeply that they must be the glue that holds everything together whether it is a host of personal relationships or unrelenting business priorities. Alternatively, the group was encouraged to never abandon their purpose. “Understanding that purpose is the breath of motivation” (Chauntel Mckenzie, PowHer Network). Purpose fuels “intentionality”. Helping owners make clearer and future-focused decisions. Helping them better allocate time to meet business needs, but more importantly leaving appropriate time for family, friends; and self. A disciplined approach informed by purpose will improve the likelihood of business success for women-owned small- and medium-sized businesses. #emergingleaders #womenbusinessowners #entreprenuers #10KSBChicago #smallbusinessdevelopment #businesswomen #businesswomenlinkup #businesswomenontherise #businesswomeninthemaking #fridayfreedom #businesswomenrock #businesswomensday

Understanding Pricing As A Small Business Owner -GS10KSB Program

November 8, 2019. Harold Washington College. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program; Chicago. This was a workshop for the 25th Cohort and I led a discussion considering the importance of knowing the value attributes customers assign to your products or services. Too often, the owner assumes “price” alone equates to value assigned by the customer. To the contrary, we concluded. The perception of value is richer and multi-layered and it includes other intangibles. Such as quality attributes, timeliness of problem resolution, order accuracy, and overall customer experience. Outcomes that directly result from the organization and management of your core business processes. Thus, documenting and evaluating your core business processes are essential to securing the scalability of the business enterprise. #smallbusinesses #gs10ksb #entrepreneurship #10ksbchicago #haroldwashingtoncollege

Training at Babson College Executive Training Center – Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

November 19-21,2019. Babson College Executive Training Center. Goldman Sachs 10KSB Program. Boston. Two cohorts with sixty (60) business owners representing a diversity of firms including restaurants, bakeries, manufacturers, staffing companies, law firms, Federal 8a government contractors, and not-for-profits. Thanks to all who attended these workshops and for their thoughtful conversation. Our discussion explored three aspects of organizational development in an environment of growth. These issues were: scaling operations to support revenue growth, defining and documenting core business processes to improve organizational effectiveness, and strategies to support successful delegation of the management of core business processes to management team members or staff. The results of these sessions can best be summarized by a quote from the book entitled “Traction”. “Your business is an entity in and of itself. Yes, you created it, but in order to find success, you have to turn it into a self-sustaining organism…. You need [to develop] a system to optimize your people; processes, execution, management, and communication.” #10ksbChicago#enterpreneurship#goldmansachs#babson#smallbusinessweek#womenownedbusinesses #businesswomen #businesswomenlinkup #businesswomenontherise #businesswomeninthemaking #fridayfreedom #businesswomenrock #businesswomansday

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, December 6, 2019

December 6, 2019, Chicago. This has been a milestone year for me. With the graduation of our 25th Cohort of the Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Businesses program at Harold Washington College, our local Chicago site. In the past nine years, our facilitator team has advised over 700 business owners on the strategies to support business operations while scaling the business. This program also operates in eighteen other community college sites around the country and to date, nearly 10,000 businesses have attended the workshops during the nine-year period. What makes me most proud of all is that I have been able to work with a dedicated, professional, and knowledgeable team of faculty and business advisors from Harold Washington College and Olive Harvey College during this nine (9) year run. Congrats Cohort 25 and sustain prosperity to you all! #sba #smallbusinessweek #enterpreneurship #womenownedbusinesses #goldmansachs #smallbusinesses #10ksbchicago #haroldwashingtoncollege #businessscaling #citycollegesofchicago

US Small Business Administration Emerging Leaders Program 2019

November 2019, I spoke at the graduation ceremony for our Chicago area Emerging Leaders Program. The Emerging Leaders Program is sponsored and delivered by the US Small Business Administration and Interise (#Interise). Following that event, the Daily Herald spotlighted two of the members from the recent business cohort. Their comments speak directly to the benefits of the program. If you have a current business and are interested in learning more about registering for the Emerging Leaders Program please contact the Regional SBA Office by going to their website ( #Interise2020 #sba #10ksbchicago #smallbusinessweek #womenownedbusinesses #enterpreneurship

Meeting the requirements of the Paycheck Payment Program as a small business owner

If you have received payment under the CARES Act (Paycheck Payment Program) make sure you keep GOOD documentation in preparation for the future audit. For example, if you are a Corporation you should record the reasoning for applying for the PPP and you should record your proposed usage in your corporate minutes. In addition, you may want to open a separate bank account so you can clearly track your expenditures of these funds. Below is a great article on additional strategies to follow by

#womenownedbusiness #emergingleaders #smallbusinessowners #smallbizowner #businesswomen #businesswomenlinkup #businesswomeninthemaking #businesswomenday

Congrats to Cohort 14 10KSB National Program

I am so proud to congratulate my latest Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses cohort. Starting in August, this group of twenty-eight business owners began a journey ending this week to complete a five-year growth plan for their businesses. Demonstrating resilience, these capable owners committed to growing their businesses during an unprecedented time. Representing Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and multiple states across the United States these companies will continue to benefit their communities. Thank you to the Goldman Sachs 10KSB facilitators and staff for their contribution. #10ksb #10ksbchgo #smallbusiness #womenownedbusiness #smallbiz #womanentrepreneur #businesswomen #businesswomenlinkup #businesswomenontherise #businesswomeninthemaking #businesswomenrock #businesswomensday

Will my dreams die? Or will I seize my leadership moment…..

Many small business owners are grappling with the uncertainty surrounding them as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. I wrote this article was written to give owners a point of reference so that they can navigate through this moment. #GS10KSB #smallbusinessowners #womenownedbusiness #emergingleaders #GoldmanSachs #smallbusiness #businesswomen #buinesswomenlinkup #businesswomenontherise #businesswomeninthemaking #businesswomenday

It has been four grueling weeks. My peers and I within this diverse and wonderful small business community have laughed together and in the same conversation shared our fears and anxieties, not about the distant future, but about what will tomorrow bring. Often the question arises, “What should my next steps be to return to where I was?” Each day we are bombarded with ceaseless opinions from what seems to be hundreds of subject matter experts on how to recover from what has been a devastating worldwide event. However, these opinions are aspirational at best or speak to an audience that is much bigger and better positioned financially. An audience possessing the capabilities and financial reserves to weather this storm and market their way to a successful outcome. So I thought to myself, “But, what about us? What is our way forward?”

Then, a saw a powerful and thoughtful commercial by Go Daddy that I believe speaks to all of us who operate in an intimate entrepreneurial space. The marketing campaign is entitled Open. I believe the campaign reflects our passions, drives, and realities as small business owners. The ways we engage our customers, suppliers, and employees have changed and we must now develop new protocols. We deliver to our customers not only products and services but our very essence! Our employees are family to us and we seek to protect them because we understand that we not only elevate them but we support their families as well. Our sales transactions are not just figures recorded in a bookkeeper’s registry but represent the benefits of well-forged relationships earned by human sacrifice and personal efforts.   

Through a simple, but meaningful messaging, the Open promotion by Go Daddy shares an insight that will help all of us navigate the days ahead. Our businesses are not just, what we do nor are they just daily routines such as unlocking the door, turning on the lights or checking inventory. They are a product of a choice, our choice to act on a dream and to give it life. Do you remember your first day? Maybe you had a couple of prospects or no customers at all. You had a belief that what you had to offer stood alone in the marketplace and many would eventually see the value.  

When I started in my first entrepreneurial venture in real estate many of my associates questioned my decision. My partners and I had to build an identity for our business among established real estate franchises. Often, we received cold shoulders from colleagues in the business. Through persistence and countless hours, our name became known despite the economic upheaval caused by 9-11. We carved out a niche because we made the internal decision to open and face the unknown challenges before us. Failure was never considered an option; we were committed to building a reputation with our own hands. If we did not succeed, we could still stand before the mirror and our families proudly knowing we tried. We took our dreams and created something that did not exist before, and you know, that is what it is all about!

Understandably, the uncertainty that surrounds us now can feel paralyzing. Nevertheless, you have to tap into that inner spirit that first motivated you to step out into the market place with your concept and be open to that internal voice. Let that voice nurture you and inform you. Over the past ten (10) years, I have had the honor to meet hundreds of business owners and I have been impressed by what they have been able to develop from a small kernel in their mind. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, spoke to these moments like the one we are now in with the COVID-19 emergency. He described these moments when there is a clear mismatch between the past business model and the changing world around you. He said, “You [business owner] must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal acts of your current reality, whatever it may be.” He went on to say, “Leading from good to great doesn’t mean coming up with all the answers …it means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers and then to ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights.”

In my network, many of you are alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program and US Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders program. Remember, this is an unprecedented time. All industries are impacted equally. We all have to reboot. Communicate with the networks you have created within these fine programs. Create virtual advisory councils and not just problem solve, but opportunity find! Ask the questions you need to stabilize and sustain your business.  Be open to new strategies and business models. I am a person of faith and I know we will make it through this moment because I have been here before when my business was just a momentary thought.

In closing, may I leave the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Lives of great men all remind us … We can make our lives sublime [inspiring] …And, Departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time.” Be inspiring, be open to change, and seek support from your network. Be open to understanding you are not here because of a wrong action you have taken, but you are experiencing a worldwide event that has occurred outside of your control. We all share the same desire to rise above this moment. I love to hear from you. Please comment and share.

UPCOMING! – New Talent Acquisition: Selecting Talent with Higher Retention in Mind

Your efforts, capital, and unceasing commitment has created a firm with an established market and a potential for continued growth. With growth comes new personnel. Sourcing and selecting new talent must be carefully administered due to the real costs associated with lost time for the screening of applicants, interviews, qualifications verification and training after the hire. Thus, high retention of new employees is not just a goal, but a fiscal requirement due to the high investment for each new recruit.
Are there additional considerations beyond skills alignment that should be considered by the leadership team when evaluating the available employment pool? Today, the labor pool is multi-generational, should current interview techniques be re-examined? Once hired, should the company have a formal onboarding program in place to ensure a seamless introduction into the organization’s cultural norms and behaviors? Are there direct and indirect rewards and benefits available that could motivate the new hire to commit to the job and the organization for a longer period of time?
Second, in a series, this one and one-half day session will provide an opportunity for small- and medium-sized business owners to discuss one of the most basic, but essential functions of business management which is the recruitment, selection, and on-boarding of new hires. The agenda will examine the technique of job analysis, used by most corporate human resources professionals, to inform the development of criteria that will be used to format the employee sourcing process and interview questionnaire. In addition, the facilitators will discuss how to create a formal onboarding process to assist new hires to integrate into an established organizational culture which is an important factor in enhancing retention. Lastly, the session will be concluded with an examination of factors that should be considered in setting overall compensation and benefits strategy.
Learning Objectives
Participants will leave this session prepared to:
  1. Demonstrate how to complete a sample job analysis questionnaire.
  2. Evaluate onboarding procedures to assist new hires to assimilate into the culture of the organization.
  3. Discuss the general purpose and structure of compensation and benefits options that currently used to motivate and establish a stronger connection to the company.
Event Information
Day 1: Friday, February 16, 2018; 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Day 2: Saturday, February 17, 2018; 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Polsky Center; Stagg Room
1453 E. 53rd St., Chicago, IL
(Limited space – 12 spaces available)
Event Fee
Individual registrant fee: 299 per person (Group discount available)
Register at: