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How to Be Resilient in Your Small Business in a Post-Pandemic World
Mary Fran Bontempo is a TEDx speaker, author, humorist, and media host who teaches audiences to uncover their brilliance and resilience 15 minutes at a time. A sought-after presenter for corporate and association events, Mary Fran is author of The 15 Minute Master and The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words and co-founder of Brilliantly Resilient. Mary Fran proves small changes can create life-altering transformations, allowing individuals to be positive and successful in a rapidly changing world. Mary Fran created a life-affirming brand of wisdom and wit after meeting the challenge of her son’s heroin addiction. A frequent media guest and speaker, audiences delight in her empowering and entertaining message. Find her at www.brilliantlyresilient.net.
SmallBizLady: In your work, you talk about three parts to uncovering your Brilliance and Resilience–the Reset, Rise, and Reveal. Explain what do you mean by the Reset?
Mary Fran Bontempo: Everyone has a train wreck. This time in modern history is unique in that we’re experiencing a collective train wreck courtesy of COVID 19. When you experience a train wreck or sucker punch, whether in your personal or professional life–and now we’re experiencing them in both–it’s essential to PAUSE and RESET to uncover your Resilience. You need to take the time to assess what’s going on and determine exactly how it’s affecting you before taking action. You need to breathe. When it’s just you experiencing a challenge, it’s tempting to jump back into the game before looking at the situation and the details. Now, we’re all affected, and we can take some time to evaluate before acting. During your Reset, look at your values, to see what’s really important to you. Be aware of your perception and see if it’s unduly influencing your decisions. Can you change the way you see things? And finally, look at what’s within your control. Control the control-ables.
SmallBizLady: Once you take the time to Reset and evaluate where you are, how do you Rise?
Mary Fran Bontempo: This is where you need to become a 15 Minute Master. Take 15 minutes and ask the question: What CAN I do? What CAN you do to move things forward? This is where you want to determine your resources. What do you already have in place that you can build on? How can you tweak it? What is your skill set? Are there transferable skills that you can utilize to create something new or tweak what you have to better serve in these circumstances? Who is in your tribe that you can partner with, ask questions of, or collaborate with in some way? Then you take action. What is ONE single action step you can take to get back on track or try something new?
SmallBizLady: How does this lead to Revealing your Brilliance, and what does that mean?
Mary Fran Bontempo: We each have gifts–those areas of talent and skill that come naturally to us. Those things we are good at that people ask us to help them with. When we take the time to examine our values, skill set, talents, knowledge, and act on them, we align our effort with our natural gifts. That’s our Brilliance. That doesn’t mean you’ll succeed entirely on the merits of your own Brilliance. It means that you KNOW. This is what I’m good at. These are my strengths. That clarity becomes the foundation for continuing on the path you’ve been on with new dedication, tweaking it to better serve your market or going in an entirely different direction. That’s how sucker punches can lead you to become Brilliantly Resilient.
How to Support and Strengthen Your Team in These Uncertain Times
Lori M. Ruffin, MBA is an upbeat strategic thinker, speaker, and founder of The COO Team, an operations agency that specializes in helping visionary leaders get the strategy and systems they need to scale. Drawing from her experience at a Fortune 500 company and serving national and international nonprofits, she equips entrepreneurs who lead small to mid-sized businesses and nonprofits to expand their capacity. She has worked with organizations such as Kumveka, Women Doing Well, Generous Giving, The V3 Movement , and more. For more information www.TheCOOTeam.com
Smallbizlady: How can we keep our team motivated and invested in the current economic conditions?
Lori Ruffin: Consider the values of your organization – you know, the beliefs your organization names as important – and live them out. The way your organization lives your values becomes the culture or ethos. Team members are motivated when they see consistency within their leaders doing what they say and valuing them. The ability to rely on consistency and concern from leadership creates security for team members and helps them avoid the dissonance of hypocrisy or apathy. A well-cultivated ethos also gives a genuine platform for recognizing and celebrating the ways that team members display the values with each other and your clients. This consistency and encouragement will help them remain bought-in.
Smallbizlady: What kind of tone should we set with our teams right now?
Lori Ruffin: Openness for multi-directional conversations. Let your team know that this is an open environment where they can share both their concerns and celebrations. When team members realize that their voice matters, they feel like they can engage honestly, bring their full selves to the organization. and initiate important conversations as needed. This helps with a sense of belonging which is critical during times of uncertainty. The ability to have open dialogue without fear of repercussion or reprisal makes problem-solving easier when there are external stressors that can affect the team.
Smallbizlady: What can we do to keep our team engaged?
Lori Ruffin: Increase your collaboration. If you are the leader, sure, you could tell everybody what to do all the time, but that eventually causes team members to check out. Collaboration is a team sport that involves all individuals. A good collaborative process isn’t top-down but allows the voices to be heard from any level in the organization. During uncertain times, assembling teams together for brainstorming can not only uncover new ideas but increase engagement and buy-in as team members see themselves as a part of the solution and not just stressed about the problem. By being collaborative, you will discover new ways to work together and address blindspots as an engaged team
Best Resources for Veteran Entrepreneurs
Andrew Andrews-Ramirez is an infantry soldier turned entrepreneur who is passionate about transforming businesses and business owners’ lives. He works with leadership teams to help them figure out where they’re going and how they’re going to get there and has a team that can support any project along the way. For more information https://vargasandrews.com/
SmallBizLady: What do you consider the best organizations that support Veteran Entrepreneurs?
Andrew Andrews-Ramirez: I have three that I strongly recommend and highlight what is special about these programs.
- Bunker Labs – This organization was founded by an amazing leader and Navy veteran, Todd Connor, and today there are 43 chapters across the country. It offers three levels of programming starting with a “go at your own pace” distance learning course called Launch Lab Online where hopeful entrepreneurs learn the basics for starting their own business. The second level of programming is the Veterans in Residence program which is a national partnership with WeWork providing a six-month startup incubator in 21 cities that includes a leadership program. The program includes mentorship, networking, and special events all aimed at helping to provide the tools required to grow and run a successful business. The third level of programming is CEO Circle, which is a monthly mastermind group of pre-selected, post-revenue growth stage companies whose CEO’s are military veterans or spouses.
- Patriot Boot Camp – Since 2012, Patriot Boot Camp has been on a mission to assemble and activate an inclusive community that advances military members, veterans, and military spouses in their mission to become creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs leading the new economy. Their core program is an intensive 3-day technology entrepreneurship boot camp modeled after the TechStars accelerator to provide education training and 1:1 mentoring to inspire and advance startup founders. PBC runs this program twice per year, in unique locations, for cohorts of 50 tech entrepreneurs. PBC alumni have raised $150M in venture capital and are employing over 1,900 people.
- Small Business Administration – The Office of Veterans Business Development’s mission is to maximize the availability, applicability, and usability of all administration small business programs for Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reserve Component Members, and their Dependents or Survivors. The SBA goes out of their way to help you attain necessary funding their loan options and provides special programs like Boots to Business to ensure veterans are successful at starting and growing successful businesses.
SmallBizLady: What are the best direct small business training opportunities, specifically available to veterans?
Andrew Andrews-Ramirez: Here are a few that I highly recommend that are affiliated with three universities.
- Tuck – Next Step Transition to Business is a general management certificate program at Dartmouth College inspired by the needs of military veterans and elite athletes. The transition from the military or athletics into the civilian world is complex and demands new skills and knowledge. Tuck’s Next Step program is your partner to navigate that transition and set your sights on a new horizon: a career in business. This hybrid digital and residential certificate program combines a rigorous two-month online learning phase with a 10-day residential experience on the campus in Hanover, NH, to deliver an educational experience that is both immersive and impactful. Together with the members of your cohort, you will be transformed.
- Stanford Ignite – Post-9/11 Veterans is tailored to recent U.S. veterans who want to bolster their know-how about innovation and entrepreneurship. The program is exclusively for post-9/11 veterans and uses the same curriculum as our full- and part-time Stanford Ignite offerings. Participants visit local Bay Area companies, hear from influential guest speakers, and attend professional development sessions to work on new product ideas and their ventures. They will present their ideas and pitches to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors, and interact with Stanford GSB alumni and industry experts as mentors.
- Syracuse IVMF Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) Accelerate is a bootcamp-style program focused on growth and tackles head-on topics such as the financial, management, marketing, and strategic planning challenges established businesses face. It is a 3-phase program that gives veterans with a successful business the tools and coaching to propel their business to the next phase: sustainable growth. Topics will include acquiring growth funding, rebranding for expansion, determining a sustainable growth rate, establishing partnerships, managing cash flow, and much more.
SmallBizLady: What books do you recommend to veterans who want to become entrepreneurs or grow their existing businesses?
Andrew Andrews-Ramirez: My favorite business books are Traction by Gino Wickman – All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – This book defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both capital efficient and effective at leveraging human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute. The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters – The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things. Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.
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The post July 2020 #SmallBizChat: How to Be Resilient in Your Small Business in a Post-Pandemic World, How to Support and Strengthen Your Team in These Uncertain Times, and Best Resources for Veteran Entrepreneurs appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.