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Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
Written by Kelly Young, president, Baise Communications
Earlier this month, I found myself sitting around the table with some very smart, creative and talented women as part of the Central Indiana Women’s Business Center (CIWBC) Support Circles. This yearlong program is designed to serve as a forum for women to discuss issues that affect women in business – a program for women, led by women. The Indy Chamber best describes it as “a year-long program of women supporting women for leadership and growth.” I’ve offered to write about our monthly sessions because I believe the information is going to be worth sharing.
Friday’s topic was “authentic communication and getting/receiving feedback.” Some of us in the group are business owners, some are managers and directors, so our approach and examples varied, but what remained the same was our need to communicate effectively and efficiently whether it’s with other employees or clients.
My three top takeaways worth sharing:
1. Build relationships: Develop a relationship first with the person/people you are communicating with so you understand and respect their communication styles. Men and women are different, yes; but no matter our gender, we all want to be seen, heard and valued.
2. Gain awareness: Keep in mind, there’s always something bigger going on. Before communicating, first understand and be aware of what’s going on around you and around the person you’re communicating with, receiving feedback from, or giving feedback to.
3. Show up: Ask the question “how do I want to show up today?” to help you be a better communicator. It sounds like a simple question to ask, but it may be harder to answer.
Our 90 minutes went too fast – and next month seems too long to wait to get together again. Until then though, I look forward to putting into practice what we discussed. Most importantly, I look forward to finding the best way for me to be a more authentic and present communicator – personally and professionally.
One of the questions we get most often from BOI/CIWBC clients is "What is the best way to fund my idea?" This is the age old question that has been the challenge of all entrepreneurs since time immemorial. There are many options: traditional bank funding, microloans, angel investors, venture capital, and "bootstrapping" your business through slow growth without debt. In addition, crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular way to get the money you need to take your business to the next level.
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) was signed into law in 2012 and changed the rules regarding crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is defined as "the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet." Before the law was passed, investors had a long list of rules and regulations that they needed to adhere to in order to protect them from bad investments. The JOBS Act loosened those regulations so that anyone can invest in the small business or idea that they believe in.
This recently published story from PBS NewsHour answers a lot of questions about crowdfunding.
In addition, this blog post from Patrick McGinnis of the Huffington Post asks the important question "Will the JOBS Act Actually Create Any Jobs?" by outlining some of the potential risks of crowdfunding.
What this means to you, the entrepreneur, is this: Do ALL your homework. Look at all your options and explore your funding needs from all angles. The old adage "if something is too good to be true, it probably is" tends to hit home more often than not. You may be able to get started with less money than you anticipated. Always seek the advice of someone who is not emotionally or financially invested in your business - like one of BOI's Business Coaches - to help you make these life/business altering decisions.