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I love my job!

§ January 1st, 2012 § Filed under small business, training § Tagged , , § No Comments

My office is in the Durango Building

Happy New Year! It’s the first day of 2012 and I am starting a new effort to write something on this site as often as possible. As many of you know, I took a full time position as a Business Advisor at the Small Business Development Center at UTSA in September. My newsletter and blog took a back seat as I learned the rules of the road at the SBDC.

I love my job. It encompasses all the parts I most loved about what I was doing in my own business – coaching small businesses to be more successful, providing training, meeting new people. It does not include the aspects that were my least favorite of being self-employed – trying to sign new clients and invoicing existing ones.

What I love most about this job is that I meet so many interesting people who have big dreams, and I am able to be a part of helping them reach those dreams. I’m able to provide counseling free to my clients. It’s not really free – we have all paid for it with our tax dollars. But this is a program that everyone can be proud to fund. We help grow businesses and help create jobs.

So if you are starting a business or have an existing business and could use a sounding board to help grow that business, I’m here to help.  I’d love to meet with you at my office at the UTSA Downtown Campus or any place that is convenient for you.  Just drop me an email or give me a call at 210-458-2878 or 210-863-2250.

Opportunity

§ September 6th, 2011 § Filed under small business § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , § 2 Comments

Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them. – William Arthur Ward

I started my business in April 1999 as a desktop publisher. I had a contract with my former employer to write and layout newsletters and search for and write grants.  As I met more people, I discovered a niche in writing, training, and desktop publishing for small businesses as well as non-profit organizations and government agencies. That morphed into doing consulting for small businesses, especially with their marketing plans.

But now, an opportunity has come along that has me truly excited.

Starting September 19, I will be a Business Advisor for the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Small Business Development Center (UTSA SBDC.)

I am thrilled about this chance to do much of what I already do under the umbrella of one of the most respected organizations for small businesses. I get a chance to work with small business owners to help them start and grow their businesses. I can help new business owners figure out whether their business idea is feasible, guide them in putting their business plans together, and work with them on their financing options. I can work with existing business owners to determine their next steps in increasing their size and scope and whether it is time to add employees. In addition, I can help businesses figure out the best way to market their products and services.

The fantastic part of this is that I get to do what I’ve done, but I won’t have to charge for my advice and guidance.  The one-on-one confidential business advising is at no cost to the business owner. The local SBDC is a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration and UTSA. The services are highly effective. Business owners who use the SBDC show sales growth that is three times that of the average Texas business.

I have long been a staunch advocate for the SBDC and have been a client as well. It will be an honor to work alongside people whom I so completely respect.

So I need a favor from my loyal readers. If you know of anyone who is starting a business, or anyone who needs advice on growing a business, please refer him or her to me. I’ll be at my desk at UTSA Downtown on September 20 and ready to meet with clients soon after. Please contact me.

Being Social

§ July 5th, 2011 § Filed under communication, marketing, small business, training, writing § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , § 11 Comments

There’s always a price to be paid for doing, being, and having more, and it has little to do with working harder or knowing the “right” people. In as few words as possible, “get out more.”  – TUT… A Note from the Universe (Mike Dooley)

A few events lately have convinced me that it is time for some comments on social media. This is not designed to be a list of rules. One of the things I love about social media is that it is still in flux. We’re learning “acceptable” behavior as we go along. I’ve come up with a few suggestions, though, and would welcome your comments.

To the extent that you would keep your personal life and work life separate, keep your personal and work social media separate. I have two Facebook pages – one for business and one that is personal. My personal page is primarily a space for connecting with friends, although many of my friends are also business acquaintances. I only become “friends” with people I have actually met (with a few famous exceptions), and all are people whom I would invite to my home.

I started with two Twitter accounts, but am starting to meld those into one.  I accept everyone at LinkedIn, because I view that as a business network only.

I don’t think there should be any rules here, except to think about what your purpose is for the particular social media channel before you start accepting friends, following, and linking. Let that purpose guide you. Just stay civil online and be sure to proofread. Remember who has access when posting your location or any updates.  If your friends have photos of you in compromising positions, well, that’s another whole issue.

Please remember that just because you are good at connecting on social media does not mean that you are sociable. Sometimes the skills that make a person truly excellent at social media are not the skills that make him or her personable or well-mannered. Both venues require a bit of “walking in the other person’s shoes,” but the in-person interaction can be more difficult for people who are introverted. If you feel more comfortable online, you may need to work on your face-to-face manners. Make sure that you smile, make eye contact, act courteously, and follow through on commitments. When you are with someone in person, stop texting and updating, and be present.

Finally, the more social media you participate in, the more you need to connect in real life to balance yourself out. Recently, I joined a new friend for lunch. We initially met through a #BMPR event and started following each other on Twitter. We know each other more based on what we Tweet than an in-person connection. As I approached her, I realized that I was visualizing her name with an @ in front of it.

That’s when you know you have spent too much time online.

What guidelines would you like for social media? Join the conversation – post your comments here.

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