Nonprofits – Here’s the Help You Need

bblogo(final)We've all heard the experts and read the reports. To have a viable and sustainable nonprofit organization success starts with the board of directors. They are not the end all and be all but they sure are at the helm of the wheel when it comes to success or failure. Members of the board must be part leader, activists, banker, champion, and more.

However most board members are winging it. Yep, to embarrassed to say, I haven't done this before and really don't know that much about nonprofit governance, leadership, assessment and fundraising. All unique needs of a nonprofit. Especially individuals from the business or corporate sector - we see it all the time. The mindset is, "How hard can it be, I run this business now, I'll just apply the same principles". Or even worse, they feel their role is to just be a conduit for funding, "Just show me the money", and really never pay attention to the actual governance part of their job description as a board member. Don't get me wrong, we love participation of the business sector on nonprofit boards, what we are saying, they too will benefit from board training and support.

So if a nonprofit's success has clearly been documented to evolve out of the strength of their board, why do many nonprofits have marginally effective boards? The answer is simple, they don't invest in their boards. We don't mean finding people to be on the board, we are referring to providing a board with the tools they need to successful. Most are setup for failure.

TPF understands the challenges small to mid-size nonprofits face , it's not a priority or doesn't seem urgent. Programs need to be implemented, fundraising, events - all the day to day activities of surviving.

downloadSo here's the help you need.

Board Bound Leadership Training. Developed by industry experts BBLT is an exemplary program covering leadership, governance, assessment and fundraising. the 4 essential elements of board effectiveness. Individual will gain the understanding and skills needed to be an asset to board. Organizations plan this as a mini-retreat without the overhead, saving extensive time and money. Check this off your 'to do' list and have your board members sign up today for this training. TPF even has a few Capacity Building Awards available to send a team. Don't delay - the next session is Saturday Nov 12th at the Henderson Business Resource Center.

Register today at:

Need more information? Contact -

Many Faces of Leadership

Over several years I've had opportunities to discuss, research, and explore the unique needs of the nonprofit sector. Many of the topics would evolve and ultimately circle back to the concept of leadership. To define leadership in the sector would required multiple 'conditions' of what was being defined. However, what did become clear was a need for unique skill sets for nonprofit board of directors.

For decades there has been leadership theories related to an individual’s personal leader collagestyle such as charismatic, dictatorial and participatory as examples. These theories still apply however that is not our goal. We aim to address the assumptions and often subtle differences related to effective leadership in nonprofits. We also contend that a strong business leader does not automatically make a strong nonprofit leader - there are too many variables that must be understood, which ultimately requires a mindset shift to benefit the organization.

Not to make this a long dissertation on the attributes of nonprofit leadership let’s start with a couple basic terms and how they align with existing nonprofit terminology.

Emerging Leaders

In our definition we do not mean young or aspiring leaders from a specific generation. An emerging leader can be multi-generational and includes anyone just embarking on work in the nonprofit sector.  This includes:

  • Leaders with significant experience in other sectors transferring into the nonprofit sector,
  • Young adults who aspire to service, perhaps a job related request for community engagement
  • Anyone young or old, that launched a nonprofit, are “emerging” in that position and role; and
  • Current board members that have not acquired the skill sets but have the desire and potential for assuming higher levels of leadership responsibility.

Servant versus Steward Leadership

We have also recognized the interchangeable use of the terms servant and steward leadership. Again there are subtle differences that could impact an organizations’ success. Originally I would have said that a “servant leader” is the ideal. However upon exploring further I have seen that sometimes this servant leader approach, though kind, can at times be too passive, and may not always achieve the goal.

A “steward leader” on the other hand, is one who, like a servant leader, cares for those with whom they work, however realizes they are accountable to not only the care for, but also to maximize the potential, increase the resources, and play an active role, to steward, making progress toward a mission, and in particular developing people so that they thrive as individuals in pursuit of a team goal. I like the idea of a steward leader being a disciple – one who exemplifies a standard and then encourages and coaches others toward personal growth. To model leadership for others.

bblogo(final)The Philantrepreneur Foundation’s Board Bound Leadership Training uses the strategies of Intentional Leadership to develop competent ‘emerging leaders’ to reach their full potential. In addition to leadership we also include Governance, Fundraising and Assessment to round out the four pillars of learning which provides a full overview of what nonprofit leadership encompasses.

For more information about Board Bound Leadership Training visit

As a special bonus until August 1, 2016 enjoy 50% off with the coupon code: BB50. This discount can only be accessed at

Impact and Purpose

The PHILANTREPRENEUR evolved from years of observing, serving and helping others find and live their PURPOSE. Yet it also symbolizes the strategies and mindset needed to let that purpose reach its full potential and have the greatest impact.

Across sectors, in both large and small nonprofit and for profit organizations the philosophies for leadership, growth, and even brand strategies are embracing the 'purpose' of the organization. This has been the premise of nonprofits from their inception but it now is more prevalent in large corporations. They are starting with a purpose statement which answers – WHY do we exist?

Purpose is bigger and deeper than any business goal. When an organization has a clear purpose, it attracts talented personnel, strategic alliances, and loyal customers and the purpose statement is the one that creates the deepest emotional connection with the audience.

Purpose evolves out of a passion that becomes action oriented.purpose plus action

Passion can be selfish and unbridled. Passion is boundless. You can have many passions and spend countless hours on them.

Purpose is focused. Purpose is not selfish and involves serving others, but it’s not servitude. Purpose is singular, requires focus and to choose. But the decision is an easy one when your purpose is compelling.

Passion is what. Purpose is why. Passion focuses on nouns. What do you love? It’s about the objects of your desires. Purpose is your motivation, your why. It brings in action so it focuses on verbs. Purpose completes you.

Together, passion and purpose lead to BIG success!

The Philantrepreneur PURPOSE is your success. Our IMPACT  is building capacity.

Individuals, small or large for profits - Put your  PURPOSE into action, create your WHY. One strategy is your own nonprofit organization.  Learn more today on how to LIVE your PURPOSE - LEAVE a LEGACY.

Startup Package Startup Package


Get IMPACT with your IMAGE

It is important to realize the impact a professional business address has on growth.

SBA often warns if seeking a business loan, need credit, or credibility that instills confidence and professionalism to those you wish to attract, it is imperative to acquire a physical commercial address location.

A physical location that is zoned for business speaks volumes for your company and its operation. Keep in mind, some lenders may not extend credit or major donors will not consider a gift to a “home-based” operation.

Also keep in mind if you decide to set up a virtual office, make sure that all of the information supplied is identical to the information on your corporate documents. This includes spelling of the company name and the description of your business operation. Consistency and Credibility builds trust.

The caveat is the cost of commercial office space is out of reach for many.  How can you be professional and accountable for expenditures?

There is a perfect solution, a virtual office which provides cost savings options, features and services, plus gain professional credibility with a great address. And then there are those that go even a step further in supporting your success.

Professional Office Services (POS) – a turnkey service which provides all the tools needed to present a professional image, and meet the credit and credibility requirements. Plus what makes POS different is access to training and development support thaHuman Resources And Ceot other ‘virtual office’ systems just don’t offer. There are professionals on staff to help start, file or develop key business and nonprofit components. It is an excellent solution for start-ups, small businesses and nonprofits looking to keep costs low while gaining resources and that professional corporate image.

Based on low monthly memberships, compare the POS fees with other companies. They range widely and often have hidden cost especially for meeting and conference room usage. Do your research you’ll see for a flat monthly fee, you get a business services plus education.

Give your business the professional image you require to get ahead of the competition while you meet the compliance demands from creditors, suppliers and lenders.
POS_printableBlk_wht flyer1Printable PDF

To learn more visit:

Whose Ball Is It? Sponsorship – it’s a Co-Dependent Relationship


5 Things Corporations Want from Nonprofits

sponsorNonprofits and their corporate colleagues have a co-dependent relationship. Corporations provide nonprofits with financial support, and in return, nonprofits provide corporations with positive PR and a boost in business.

And the boost can be significant:

  • 91% of global consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, given comparable price and quality*
  • 61% of consumers are willing to try a new brand, or one they’ve never heard of, because of its association with a particular cause*
  • 50% of global consumers said they would be willing to reward companies that give back to society by paying more for their goods and services (44% in the U.S. and 38% in Canada). **

But while these relationships are often mutually beneficial (at least to begin with), they can be short lived.

In a recent Fortune Magazine article, author Shalene Gupta points out that both parties can be the cause of the demise of these relationships.

“Nonprofits don’t always hold corporations accountable for promises made because they’re just happy to have the corporation giving whatever they can, and corporations have little incentive to stay invested since the relationship doesn’t always benefit them.”

So whose ball is it? How can you ensure a successful relationship with your corporate sponsor?

Our suggestion as a solid start is to focus on these following five key areas.

Brand Visibility

Corporations view sponsorship as a business arrangement—period. They see it as a strategic way to build brand recognition and increase sales. The sooner you understand that the more you can advocate for your sponsor. And with any business arrangement, the company footing the bill wants to know what’s in it for them. Corporate sponsors want to see their logo anywhere and everywhere on event collateral. Think t-shirts, banners, signage, newsletters, print and web ads, radio spots, tweets, Facebook posts, press releases, billboards, invites, landing pages and email campaigns.

Recognition – Steward your Sponsor

Corporate sponsors want to be recognized for their generosity:

  • Acknowledge them in public speeches, board meetings and interviews with the press
  • Invite them for a private tour of your facility and take photos for the local business journals
  • Place a stewardship ad in their industry trade publication to thank them for their generosity
  • Ask your staff to thank the sponsor on their individual social media platforms
  • Give sponsors VIP tickets to your event

Creative Approval

Corporate sponsors want to approve any collateral featuring their logo. They want to make sure their most important asset, their brand, is being properly represented. Nonprofits should obtain sponsors sign off on any and all creative efforts featuring their logo. In addition, they want to be associated with quality. Is the event, collateral and presentation properly planned and executed?


When a company sponsors an event, they want to measure their return on investment. In other words, how did it impact sales? The most common metrics used to measure sponsorship ROI is to evaluate the amount of exposure the sponsor received throughout the campaign. Put together a comprehensive list of any marketing materials featuring their logo, and the number of impressions it received.

For example:

  • Transit Authority ad | Run dates: October 1-October 31 | 500,000 impressions
  • Email blast | Sent on October 15 | 2,300 opens
  • Direct Mail | Mailed on October 20 | 40,000 recipients
  • Facebook Post | Posted on October 23 | 800 likes

Intangibles such as brand affinity, brand loyalty and buzz are not as easy to measure but can be evaluated through surveys and customer feedback. If the sponsorship is program based another tangible measurement could be client impact.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Create a contract (fulfillment agreement) that details all the deliverables and lays out exactly where the sponsor can anticipate visibility. Always deliver what you’ve promised. If you agreed that your sponsor’s logo would be front and center on a billboard, make sure it’s there. Treat your sponsor like an ad agency treats its prized client. Nurture and build the relationship.

Bottom line—remember that your sponsor’s main agenda is visibility. Over deliver whenever possible and you’ll create a partnership that benefits both parties.

Also inquire on how do companies evaluate a potential sponsorship with a nonprofit? That immediately set the foundation for expectations.

Resource: Sean Horrigan is a guest contributor for Nonprofit Hub, and a marketing/PR consultant.

Experts at Your Fingertips

It‘s not often we have access to industry experts at your fingertips – especially diving deep into two indispensable topics – Marketing and Effective Business plans - for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs. In just about two weeks IMPACT Learning 2015 will welcome international thought impactheaderleaders that bring years of expertise in their sector to share strategies that will impact and benefit your endeavors, efforts and make all that energy worth it. Strategically these topics and presenters were handpicked to offer a unified and cohesive program, which combines two essential elements that every business needs for long term success. Come explore how to best utilize your assets, accentuate your purpose and create a system that works.

IMPACT Marketing

Kellen-1Kicking off the conference is Kellen Kautzman, Partner and director of operations at ADvise Media Group, a multi-faceted advertising company that works with clients to create and maximize their internet presence. Armed with a master's degree in education and former teacher, he made a transition into the world of internet marketing when his blog and Google+ page, ‘What Every Dog Deserves’ zoomed to over 1 million views in less than a year. Now blending his management skills learned in the classroom with a highly creative side, Kellen focuses on maximizing internet marketing strategies via blogs and SEO positioning. His project What Every Dog Deserves now is generating enough money through ads to fund projects dedicated to rescue dogs. Michael R Drew-hi-res-2

Next up for the Impact Marketing day is Michael R. Drew, a maverick who gets results, and known as the world’s most successful book promoter. Founder of Promote a Book he has launched 82 consecutive books onto best-seller lists, with many of them claiming the number one title. Michael from Alberta Canada honed his skills at respected publishers such as Bard Press, Entrepreneur Magazine, Longstreet Press and Thomas Nelson Publishers, on a path to mastering the intricacies of publishing.  An added benefit of working with authors’, he was able to gain from their insights into social trends and recognized to be successful you must adapt to today’s fast-evolving industry. This became the basis for his work and co-authoring the Pendulum bookbook Pendulum—which present a theory that has revolutionized the marketing industry. Michael’s additional skills and strengths in website creation, speaking, career coaching, and his innovational use of personas to intensify the effectiveness of all sorts of writing, he has been a force behind the creation of a new generation of thought leaders.

RTlogow_text-1Let’s take a Road Trip you will never forget.

It is so exciting to have the expertise of Jean Block from New Mexico to JBhead (2)lead 2 days of exploring the huge income benefits of creating a social enterprise business plan. Jean is the industry leader in creating social enterprise business strategies for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs. In the nonprofit sector for more than 50 years she has held key positions and became frustrated that, for the most part, nonprofits were merely cranking out the same fundraising ideas, but expecting different results. In 2003, after attending a presentation on social enterprise she saw the potential to change the sector in a BIG way – a way to diversify revenue, become more self-sustaining, and less reliant on traditional funding sources. After leading 27 nonprofits through a nine-month social enterprise program through SEVbook_JBlockthe National Center for Social Entrepreneurs, she formed Social Enterprise Ventures, LLC (SEV) as a division of Jean Block Consulting. Author of Nonprofit Guide to Social Enterprise: Show me the Unrestricted Money, she created a training program now used nationally. PHibbardJoining Jean in this presentation will be Patrick Hibbard from Florida that has been instrumental in implementing social enterprise models throughout the country and most notably in Guatemala.

As an added feature have both Michael Drew and Jean Block autograph your copy of their books. They may be ordered during registration or a limited supply will be on hand at the conference.

For registration visit: As a special bonus for teams ( the best strategy for implementation) register for the full conference package and bring a guest for free. Simply enter ‘241’ in the checkout comment box and the guest’ name.

Terms and Conditions: The 241 bonus only applies to full registration and only includes one set of books if ordered.

Need a payment plan? Contact us directly at:

Problem with Nonprofit Events

I love it when I come across a great article.

This one is from Social Velocity by Nell Edgington and hits the nail on the head regarding events and their value. Gala_Dinner_Set-Up_at_The_Kings_Hall

Some of her key points are the true ROI and to make sure youˊre doing a 'real' assessment of the cost related to putting on the event. To read the entire article click this link - The Problem with Nonprofit Events

Events can be valuable if the 'goal' is correctly identified, but have you explored alternative strategies that donˊt need nearly as much investment (a little) and much less staff time. How about crowdfunding (CF)? Put in the same marketing effort and less output to reach the desired financial goal. Sounds great right?

However, in the marketplace there are hundreds of CF platforms, I know I have researched them for years, and it is important to compare their features based on your needs. There is a new one out there I found that has a intriguing premise - Shared Community wesharelogoor the concept of 'Pay it Forward' is called we$hare Crowdfunding. The platform is one grounded in collaboration, organizations (or individuals) create a community and collectively support each other and then share in the proceeds. It really fits The Philantrepreneur Foundation's philosophy that collaborations and partnerships build stronger organizations and community at large. For example, a smaller or new organization that hasn't yet built a large database or following can benefit from their 'extended family' and collective sharing of resources. It exponentially expands their reach.

I encourage you to explore the concept advantages and invite you to join our community that is just launching. Learn more at:  WeShare/Philan Project

TPF is constantly searching for ways to support the sector. If you have questions about weShare please email us at:   and we schedule a time to chat.

original-logos-2015-Sep-9289-7806771Last note: Have you taken the Philantrepreneur Campus Center needs survey? Please help us collect data on your office and service needs. It only takes about 3 minutes to complete. Access survey here.

The Challenges Are Real

challenge roadsThe Challenges Are Real

In the nonprofit sector we see the challenges on a day to day basis yet we seem to be stuck in ‘doing business as usual’.  Evidence, research and data is documenting a change must occur and change must happen. Are you ready to get off the same old path and take an exit to success with innovation strategies that call for change? documented results of a national survey conducted to assess the perceived challenges organizations face. A combined 63% of nonprofits listed their greatest challenges as funding and awareness. Then add the 21% categorized as ‘Other’ with the majority of that feedback heavily weighted toward describing leadership effectiveness and their resistance to change. This brings to the forefront that a whopping 84% of organizations see the top 3 challenges as, Funding, Leadership Adaptability and Marketing.

The nonprofit environment is shifting and the gap between the large and smaller organizations continues to expand. Add to that a slow recovery from the 2009 ‘recession’, we have a mixture of external influences and internal systems that are attributing to that gap.  The past troubled economy which impacted donations and support will loom large over charities in the coming years, but simply keeping the lights on won’t be the only problem organizations will face. Communities and government are calling for more accountability of the sector, which includes demonstration of their efforts to become self-sustaining.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy also noted several challenges one notably being innovation (and competition) from social enterprises. Excitement about organizations that use a for-profit business model to help solve social and environmental problems is growing. These social entrepreneurs and hybrid for-profit businesses actually can be a great asset to nonprofits. They provide a working model for nonprofit to pursue their missions. Some refer to it as a ‘new’ way, reality is it is actually not a ‘new’ model for nonprofits it just has not been understood or recognized as a reliable and consistent source of revenue that will create self-sustaining organizations.success exit Are you ready to explore this process for success? Which takes us back to our first question, Are you and your leadership ready for change, to take the exit toward success and address the challenges?

There are some great resources for you to take advantage of that will address the challenges of funding, leadership and marketing.


IMPACT Learning 2015 presented by The Philantrepreneur™ Foundation (TPF) is designed to educate and guide individuals and leadership teams to face their challenges – change, marketing and fund development. They will learn about a crucial marketing trend that cannot be ignored and what strategies will impact their effectiveness. Then dive into the step by step process of implementing a social enterprise business model utilizing their valuable assets. TPF has assembled industry experts from across the US and Canada to provide valuable content to help organization make strategic adjustments and navigate the change process.

We want teams to participate.

For organizational teams of 3 or more TPF is offering a discount off regular registration which ends Sept 30th.

Visit  for all the details.

Impact Learning for Change

PhilFnd_tm-1 (2)Since inception, The Philantrepreneur™ Foundation (TPF), a 501c3 organization, has set out to have an impact in the nonprofit sector by building awareness of effective strategies and providing the tools and knowledge to increase the strength of organizations. A constant challenge for many nonprofit’s, if not all, is securing funding for the organization. Adding to this challenge was a change in the marketplace causing diminished corporate, government and donor support, plus if secured, these funds are often restricted and cannot be used for day to day operations, a vital component which attributes to success. These conditions should be a call to action for nonprofits to rethink the role earned income can have in their survival strategies. There is a proven strategy available that creates effective, sustainable long-term funding - Social Enterprise (SE).

Why then are there so few nonprofits utilizing these proven SE strategies to secure unrestricted funding? A few key factors impacting use could be attributed to awareness of the strategies, negative myths, understanding the potential for success, and how to design and implement the system. TPF aims to impact these attributes and here are two valuable resources.

First, The Philantrepreneur Foundation in partnership with Social Enterprise Ventures will impactheaderpresent IMPACT Learning 2015, a three day immersion guiding nonprofits through the key elements of marketing and the process of implementing a social enterprise business plan to create unrestricted, renewable streams of earned income. Learn the steps to become self-sustaining and self-sufficient easing the reliance on outside funding and grants.  Some of the key points we want to share are:

  • Defining Social Enterprise
  • Marketing planning and execution (both traditional methods and via digital media)
  • Leveraging a nonprofit’s assets into earned income
  • Conducting market research
  • Costing, feasibility, and breakeven analyses
  • Sales and financing
  • Business plan development
  • Collaborating with other individuals and organizations

This is a call to action to get the training to take your organization to the next level.

Impact Learning 2015 - October 26-28, Sunset Station, Henderson (Las Vegas area) Nevada. Registration is open and for all the details on the schedule of presenters, accommodations and more visit:

Philantrepreneur_Vol3-2015_coverSecond, TPF dedicated its Summer 2015 edition of The Philantrepreneur Journal to exploring SE concepts and strategies. Grab a digital copy: The Philantrepreneur Journal.

Learn more about The Philantrepreneur Foundation, visit: TPF

Are You Headed for Doom?

 Are YOU headed for DOOM?

6 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs (and Nonprofits) need to readjust their thinking

There is a special kind of person out there who comes with the burden or pleasure of distinct character traits. Most of the time, those traits and qualities are admirable and serve them well, but in the instances we will be discussing - it can lead to total failure! I am talking about passionate entrepreneurs, and under that title, I include nonprofit leaders or founders who most people consider and generally think of as two separate animals. However, realistically, they are cut from the same cloth. It makes no difference if you chose the path of entrepreneurship or nonprofit leadership; you share the same underlying tenant - to solve a problem through a structured enterprise.  With that said, let’s agree to a basic fundamental concept position, (which might require a needed mindset shift for some - a good thing) as a nonprofit, you are an entrepreneurial enterprise. So moving forward, I will make references to being an entrepreneur and in unique instances note differences applicable to the nonprofit sector.

Let’s Change the Failure Stats!!

Entrepreneurship is a way of life, a choice that oRecipeForFailure-graphffers unlimited possibilities to those who truly believe in it and live by it. At the same time, if misunderstood, entrepreneurship can be a total waste of time. It is not something you can fake your way through; you either do it right or spend time convincing yourself that you are making progress or it will get better. There are no easy ways around it, stop looking for the simplest path, look for the correct path.

The statistics on the failure rate of entrepreneurial enterprises is alarming. What’s even worse is the number of enterprises existing in survival mode, never really reaching their full potential. Sadly, a large percentage of closures and staying in survival mode is due to poor choices - choices that could easily be changed with a little knowledge and understanding of what you need to do as an entrepreneur. Is this article meant to scare you, yes to a certain degree, but more important, it is meant to alert and help you retrace your steps to hopefully get you headed back in the right direction before your entrepreneurial or nonprofit journey goes up in flames!

Now let’s explore the several key indicators that can inhibit and deter your success. Here are 6 indicators to help assess whether your actions are headed for doom. These indicators also help you make choices that are beneficial or have a mind shift related to who you are and what your real role is. As you go through the list, be honest with yourself and note each of the signs currently present in your strategies.

6 Key Indicators

Create Value and Avoid Survival Mode

One of the most obvious signs that you are headed for doom and that you are starting off on the wrong foot is if your primary motivation is to acquire wealth (funding) rather than first creating and demonstrating value. If money is the focus, it is time for some serious soul searching because the drive for money can impact your message, conduct, and even how you treat people.

First, create innovative products and/or services, fill a need for your target market and solve that special problem people are experiencing. Make it about the service and the impact you can have. The universe will reward those who seek to give before they get. The purpose of entrepreneurship is not the accumulation of money, but the creation of products/services to serve and help make the world a better place for all.

Wealth is a result of consistently providing solutions to the problems of humanity.

If you doubt me, go ask Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and similar entrepreneurs. These are people like you and I, people who simply followed their passion (purpose driven) rather than following money (survival driven) and yet made a great fortune. Your ‘house’ has to be in order before you go after the money.

2 Inadequate Knowledge (Low Business IQ):

An entrepreneur on the path to failure won’t see the need to develop a business IQ. Once again citing #1, the focus will be “show me the money”, and you will ignore a proven fact: how much you make is a function and directly correlated to how much you know. Thus, they will forget that a business just like every other discipline requires certain competencies (knowledge, skill and experience) in order to remain functional.

A special note to nonprofits – the competencies demonstrated in the business sector are often over-looked as not being applicable in the nonprofit world. However, especially in this environment of tight funding and ever decreasing funding sources, it would be wise to take note, study closely and learn the skills needed to implement business strategies as a standard practice.

So what do you eventually get? Uninformed, out of sync, out-of-date, ineffective and inefficient systems whose strategies are not suited for the current market place. This is dabbling your way through the ever dynamic and changing world of business and in the end, failure becomes inevitable. Why? Because as an entrepreneur, your ability to do is perpetually limited by what you know. In other words, you are the engine of your business.

So, to have more means you have to keep learning more! In the TQM model, which stands for Total Quality Management, a successful system utilized for decades has as a core value ‘continuous improvement’. How do you continuously improve? There are several strategies indentified, such as collecting data, but the most applicable strategy to an entrepreneur is consistently focusing on personal development and self improvement through reading (books, blogs, magazines, etc.), attending seminars, business development trainings, executive mentorship or coaching programs, and membership in business clubs or networks. Stay current with trends and especially what your competitors are up to?

3 Capitalize on YOUR Strengths – Dealing with the I Can Do It Myself Syndrome

This is one hard thing that many entrepreneurs struggle with. It may be a key indicator that you may be heading for doom. The indicator targets utilizing your expertise effectively, or perhaps you are being affected by the, I can do it all by myself syndrome

First – YOU are NOT the end all - get over yourself; however, you may be affected by the, I can do it all by myself syndrome – a very common disorder in the entrepreneurial sector. As an entrepreneur, your success or failure will be a result of how well you maximize your strengths. Learn to delegate; for some, that is extremely hard. The list of reasons why you aren’t delegating could go on for days, resources, funds, I’ve heard them all. However, look at it this way, the value you really bring is the ability to utilize your strengths. These are the activities you naturally enjoy doing, would naturally do for free if given the opportunity, and have already established expertise and a solid level of competency. This is how every great entrepreneur made their success; doing what they love and loving what they do. They are not jack of all trades and masters of none. They focus on their strengths and don’t waste time trying to master a skill set where eventually the outcome is mediocre at best. Stop doing what someone else can do and start focusing on only those things you do exceptionally well.

How do you focus on your strengths? There is a limit to what an individual can achieve alone, thus the need for teamwork. An entrepreneur on the path to destruction is the one who will never empower others or seek the help of others. It may be out of fear that they might outshine you or you haven’t spent adequate time recruiting and/or researching the resources and help you need. Great things are seldom achieved alone.

As an entrepreneur, it’s very important you understand that you have no exclusive right to what is being done through you. Whatever it is you have in your mind to create is not entirely yours to dominate. You are only a vessel through which an idea, innovation or product/service is being launched.

4 Lack of Focus

In # 3, we discussed the need to focus on your strengths. We will now drill down even deeper with an internal self assessment of ‘how’ you work. Are you trying to do more than one thing – or everything at once, eventually not achieving excellence in any.

The great Albert Einstein notably stated:

“Genius is the ability to focus on one particular thing for a long time without losing concentration.”

The term multi-tasking has become commonplace, with some wearing it as a badge of honor. Most entrepreneurs are creative, big idea thinkers with multiple things occupying their mind at once. However, is multi-tasking an effective or efficient way to tackle the numerous projects on the ‘to do’ list. NO! Why – because it lacks focus, becomes disconnected and disjointed. The best way to tackle numerous items is best described in the riddle I am sure you have heard.

What’s the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time…

Make a thorough list of what needs to be done and prioritize the needs. Create an atmosphere to focus, set schedules for correspondence, project development and other tasks…. and stick to it. You will be surprised how fast you make it through your ‘to do’ list when doing one item at a time. This also ties into #3, the art of delegation.

5 Lack of Vision (Shortsightedness)

An entrepreneur who does not think about tomorrow is on the path to doom. If you cannot literally visualize far into the future - beyond today, then you are on the path to destruction. A recent disheartening conversation with a local nonprofit brought this point crashing to the forefront. They already knew that in a few months, their funding would run out. Their solution was to wait until 30 days out and make an emergency plea for funding. That is not planning for the future; in fact, that is not planning at all. First, why would you want to go into business just for today’s sake alone? The essence of entrepreneurship is to perpetually be of service to humanity; therefore, you must never cease to ask and be able to answer this question; “What can we start doing today to meet the needs of tomorrow?” Not having this consciousness is the reason why most entrepreneurs fail in business. You must keep thinking about the future, keep improving their game, put systems in place for sustainability and make a succession plan.  This way you do not end up being eaten up by those businesses that are consistently creating the future today.

6 Poor Money Management (Incoming, Outgoing, Investing and Extravagance)

Boy, I could write an entire book on this, but for simplicity sake, I will keep it to the basic elements. Being an entrepreneur means being able to do more with less. An entrepreneur on the path to failure doesn’t use money correctly and has habits of being excessively flamboyant, wasteful or spending money irrationally. Thrift or frugality is a requirement for your entrepreneurial journey if you hope to become successful. How else do you intend to succeed if you cannot judiciously manage the resources in your disposal?

Outgoing funds (expenses) need to be classified into two categories; urgent expenses and important expenses. Your urgent expenses are recurring expenses, meaning they are periodic in nature. Your important expenses are capital expenses; meaning they are not periodic in nature, but are necessary for the continuity of the business. They are expenses made today in order to secure the future.

Some important capital expenses that should take priority are things that enhance the professionalism and functionality of your brand. This includes marketing elements such as a professional logo design, website functionality, and quality business cards and collateral. It also includes budgeting for professional growth and exposure gained through affiliations, networking, and training, all elements that demonstrate you are a viable, professional and cutting edge organization.

One pitfall often observed is that as a business begins to grow, there is an urge to start showing off the success by acquiring symbols of wealth. I’ve even heard some say it is a necessity to demonstrate business acumen and when they drive up in a luxury vehicle, it validates that their business does good work. Only quality products and services will validate your company’s value, which brings us full circle to Indicator #1 – Create Value.

As funds come in, it is especially important to create a system of reinvesting to fund ongoing and recurring capital expenses.  A couple of strategies that will actually help build wealth within an organization is placing yourself on salary, and making it a priority to put aside and redeploy all excesses created by the business back into the business.

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