Making Billions the Simple Way

20170930_134616

Warren Buffett is the person to follow not only if you are seeking intellectual ways to perform trade and stock pickings but in the practical way that he lives his life. No, he isn’t perfect, but there is a method to his madness. Despite the fact that he is a multi-billionaire with stakes in several companies from See’s Candy and Johnson & Johnson to the Coca-Cola Company he has a strategy that’s actually simple.

In The Warren Buffett Way by Robert G. Hagstrom, you will learn the characteristics behind the investments as displayed in Chapter Four: Common Stock Purchases: Nine Case Studies.  I have been a fan of Buffett for decades and have read several books about him, and each time I come away with something different about him. In this book, you will learn the various ways in how Buffett processes his investments, as well as learning about his principles and practices.

From his childhood to his mentoring relationships, everything that he has encountered has been instrumental in the choices that have made about his success as displayed in Chapter Two: The Education of Warren  Buffett. You will learn from this book that it takes practice to acquire not only the financial gain that Buffett is known for but the most important thing is to fully understand the industry in which you have an interest in investing in. Did you know that your knowledge of industry commodities will help you to obtain a more sound investment decision?

While everyone may not obtain the same financial gain as Buffett, it is always a great practice to understand the man behind this simple principle as shown in Chapter Six: The Psychology of Investing. As Buffett states “patience is the key.” As you will see in Chapter Eight: The World’s Greatest Investor, Buffet states it simply “How I got here is pretty simple in my case. It is not IQ; I’m sure that you will be glad to hear. The big thing is rationality…..”

In Buffett’s Tenets: Business, Management, Financial and Markets you will be taught the various aspects of the decision-making process. As an added feature watch the movie, Becoming Warren Buffet, where you will learn not only about the man and his billions. Also, you will learn about his wife, Susan, who died in 2004 but has left an indelible mark on who he is today.

B.E.S.T. Publishing (A Division of Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)
bestpublishing@jabezenterprisegroup.com

Back to Basics For Business Growth

Photo Courtesy: Small Business Majority

Being a business owner is not for the weak at heart. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to juggle all of the balls and to keep them afloat in the air. Business owners have a lot of pressure on them because they are responsible for a lot of people from the community and their employees or subcontractors to their families.

Despite the fact that small businesses are the catalyst for job creation, economic growth and stimulating the community, accessing capital for their business is still a thorn in the side for many, primarily within the diverse communities. The Access to Capital: The Key to Small Business Growth and Economic Development panelist was candid about the culture of the financial institution practices on lending. With their gut-wrenching advice they were able to provide us the tools and resources that we would need to stay in the game.

As we all know the lending practices today has adversely affected millions of underrepresented and disadvantaged businesses for centuries from home to business ownership. When a small business owner, particularly from the diverse community, applies for a loan there are continual biases and prejudices that the system possess. You can provide every documentation required, have collateral and still can run up against a loan denial.

There is a great deal of discrimination in lending,” David Newvill, Director of Federal Policy, Prosperity Now. One of the business owners that attended the Small Business Policy Forum was transparent about his lending experience. Here is an overview of what he displayed to us:

He has been in business for over 10 years. He needed funding to help take his business to the next level. He provided all of the required documentation, however, he experienced a glitch. The glitch was that according to Sage Stream Reporting, which was used for credit reporting by the financial institution that he was working with, his profile came back not creditworthy. The irony was that he stated that Sage Stream Reporting had the wrong person and that their findings of his creditworthiness were incorrect. These errors that were reported by Sage Stream Reporting is what caused his application to be denied, despite the fact that he tried everything to correct the mistakes that Sage Stream Reporting had made.

As you can see outside of the three big credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax or Experian there are other companies coming online that is tremendously affecting business lending. Everyone in attendance including the panel of experts wanted to know exactly who is Sage Stream Reporting. The irony is that no one knew or had ever hear of this company, including the panelist. Isn’t that interesting?!

Do you know who your lenders use to access information about you? “Only 53% of those that apply for loans actually receive the requested amount,” Joyce Klein, Director of Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning, and Dissemination (FIELD), Aspen Institute. As a small business owner, my question is why only 53%?

There is truly something wrong here. “Be aware of merchant cash advance services,” Joyce Klein. What is she talking about?

Just like Sage Stream Reporting has entered the marketplace so has unregulated sharks pertaining to lending. These sharks are ready to offer you an unsecured loan but at a higher Annual Percentage Rate (APR).  In order to obtain access to capital to help grow your business, these lenders require access to your checking account.

The purpose for this access is so that they can debit your account for daily payments and if you decide to pay off the loan early, there is an early prepayment penalty attached. Don’t wait until you need the money for your business growth locate a lender now and get your ducks in a row. If you feel pushed up against a wall you are more than likely to get a loan at any costs.

For the larger institutes that are regulated like your major bank, these financial institutions do not see the value in lending to you. As they see it, the costs to underwrite a loan is the same, whether the dollar amount requested is $2,500, 25,000, $250,000 or $2.5 million dollars. The bottom line is their bottom line!

Manny Hidalgo, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Capital Access indicated that SBA has been fully aware of the biases that minorities are receiving within the banking community so they are creating more programs that are designed to help offset some of the costs and risks that big banks may face in lending to diverse communities. “SBA lenders look at other things outside of your FICO Score. We also have a Lending Match Program that is designed to match lenders with business owners,’ says Manny.

In today’s marketplace business owners should be aware of the Small Business Borrower’s Bill of Rights,” Jessica Milano, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing Policy, U.S. Department of Treasury, which is designed to operate using better lending practices. There are six key initiatives that these Rights operate under:

  • The Right to Transparent Pricing and Terms
  • The Right to Non-Abusive Products
  • The Right to Responsible Underwriting
  • The Right to Fair Treatment from Brokers
  • The Right to Inclusive Credit Access
  • The Right to Fair Credit Practices

I have a suggestion, let’s go back to basics. How does that look? How would it work?

Going back to basics is looking at lending institutions with a vested interest in your business success. Take your money out of the major banks and begin looking at partnering with your local, community bank. Another back to basic move would be to look into crowdfunding programs like KIVA. Or borrow from family and friends and if they need an incentive consider revenue sharing or providing them a share in the business.

Lauren Stebbins, Vice President of Small Business Initiatives, Opportunity Finance Network provided several other back to basic resources that can be beneficial to business owners that are seeking the necessary technical assistance and programs to help finance their needs:

Remember, as a small business owner you must continue to make your voice heard and to stay up to date on small business issues by reaching out to these organizations and your Senators now:

Once again I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and for your support.  If you have a concern or issue that you would like for me to talk about on your behalf within the near future please feel free to contact me.

“Don’t just stand by, be a part of the conversation.” Vernita Naylor

Vernita Naylor
Founder/Owner, Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)
Small Business Ambassador Since 2001
services@jabezenterprisegroup.com
www.jabezenterprisegroup.com

 

Don’t Get On the Disqualified List

20160416_105831

In the previous article, Be Prepared to Win the Bid, we talked about some of the hiccups that business owners run across when submitting a bid. A lot of companies spend time on making their bid proposal look good visually but don’t fully understand that following the instructions as outlined in the bid proposal is key. We will talk more about this specific topic a little later.

It must be understood that talent is not enough. You must convince the buying agency that you are capable, competent and worthy of winning the bid. It is your job to convince the buying agency that you are the best of the best.

How you do this is by how you present yourself on paper during the bidding process. In your bid, you are letting the buying agency know who you are, what you can do, how you will do it, in what fashion it will get done, and then why should they choose you over anyone else. It is your goal to make your bid speak volumes to the buying agency in order to win the bid.

In the previous article, you were provided with a few quick and easy step that you can take to help in winning the bid. Now we will explore some factors that go into disqualifying you as a potential bidder. As it was recently discussed a lot of companies spend time on making their bid proposal look good visually but don’t fully understand that following the instructions as outlined in the bid proposal is key.

Let’s explore why this is important using the scenario below:

Bid requests

  • Submit all numerical data in an excel spreadsheet;
  • Bids must be sent to 12345 Samuel Circle, 3rd Floor, Essex Room, Duluth, GA 30097 on Friday, April 10 by 10 am;
  • Proposal must be tabbed as specified under Clause F – Markings and Packaging; and
  • All written content must be in Arial 12pt Font double-spaced.

You submit

  • All numerical data submitted in an excel spreadsheet;
  • Your bid arrives at 12345 Samuel Circle, 3rd Floor, Essex Room, Duluth, GA 30097 on Friday, April 10 by 10:10 am;
  • Proposal tabbed partially as required under Clause F – Markings and Packaging; and
  • The written content was submitted in Times New Roman 12pt Font 1.5 spacing.

You provided your variations to the proposal because you believed that it would look visually better this way and incorporated a little creativity. It is these simple variations that can cause your bid to be considered unfavorable and you become a disqualified offeror.  Also, you bid did not arrive on time, it is your job to do what it takes to assure that it’s delivered as requested.

If you do not follow these simple directions you are wasting your time submitting a bid. Some companies spend a lot of time and effort on their marketing piece, which does help, but initially, it is the content that catches the eyes of the receiver. By paying close attention to what the bid requests are I guarantee that you will be on your way to winning the bids within the near future.

Connect with us at Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup), @JEGroupBiz, LinkedIn, and Facebook to see what we are doing next, or to become a part of The What’s Next Effect (The WNE). Or to become a part of the diversity and inclusion conversation pick up your copy of Get the Cheese, Avoid the Traps: An Interactive Guide to Government Contracting.

Vernita Naylor
Published Author, Speaker, Founder/Owner Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)

“Always do your best and be transparent in how you conduct business.” Vernita Naylor

 

 

Being the Best in Bidding

God in Canada (Photo Courtesy Fleta Matthews)

Is talent enough to win a bid? No. In order to win a bid, the goal is to convince someone, who may not know you, that you are capable, competent and worthy of winning the bid.

You must make them believe that you are the best of the best. How do you do this? First, let’s walk through the process.

In your industry, you may see that there are certain competitors that are always winning bids, especially those bids that may interest you. What do you know about your competitors? Have you researched them?

Understand that it is not always about talent, it is also about relationships. Just like in anything else, relationships play a key role in winning as well. In the cases where there is a bidding process have you been able to figure out how your competitors are winning the bidding war?

In most cases, it is how they present themselves on paper during the bidding process. It is the written content that is a pertinent part of winning the bid, their expression of showing themselves the best of the best. The content that you provide says who you are, what you can do, how you will do it, in what fashion it will get done, and why should they choose you over anyone else.

How your information is written is what speaks volumes for your company in helping to win a bid. There a few easy steps that you can take to help you to win the bid, let’s explore some of them:

  1. Carefully review the full proposal;
  2. Read, understand and follow the instructions as outlined;
  3. Adhere to the specifications as provided; and
  4. Make the content flow, easy to understand and read.

Yes, it is just that simple but believe it or not a lot of potential vendors miss the mark frequently.  How they miss it is by not following the steps previously mentioned. In the next article, Don’t Get On the Disqualified Proposal List, we will explore some of the ways that cause a potential bidder to become disqualified.

Connect with us at Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup), @JEGroupBiz, LinkedIn, and Facebook to see what we are doing next, or to become a part of The What’s Next Effect (The WNE). Or to become a part of the diversity and inclusion conversation pick up your copy of Get the Cheese, Avoid the Traps: An Interactive Guide to Government Contracting.

Vernita Naylor
Published Author, Speaker, Founder/Owner Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)

“Always do your best and be transparent in how you conduct business.” Vernita Naylor

Vernita Talk Policy in D.C. (GoFundMe)


Vernita Naylor (JEGroup) has been selected along with 49 other prominent business owners nationwide to speak in Washington, D.C. on policy issues pertaining to business owners. In today’s climate, it is important that business owners have a voice and that those voices are being heard. We have been invited to attend a Small Business Policy Forum where we will be sitting down with subject matter policy experts and legislative staff to engage in a conversation on policies surrounding tax reforms, Affordable Health Care (ACA), access to capital, hiring and other small business pain points. We need your financial support within the next two weeks to assure that our expenses for the Forum are met. Please visit our GoFundMe campaign and provide your support today.


As a Small Business Ambassador we have been contacted to speak on behalf of and have advocated for business owners on several occasions. Please join us for the continual fight to improve the conditions for small business owners throughout our Country.  For an example of our work pertaining to small business efforts, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB2QXbmW6G8&index=4&list=WL (14:32/21:51)


If you are a business owner and you have a specific pain point pertaining to policy matters, please email us- Subject: Business Pain Point with a brief description of your concerns along with your name, company’s name, and the city and State that you are representing. We will make every effort to post the response to your question in our November blog, https://thejegroupzone.wordpress.com/about/.


We truly appreciate your financial support to help keep our economy thriving and the ability to implement policies that will continue to help small businesses with the ability to operate and serve you. Once again, on behalf of myself and the small business owners throughout the Country, we thank you in advance and appreciate your support. We couldn’t have done this type of work without you.

Please share.

Small Business Leadership Summit 2015 Access to Capital (Series 2)

20150512_170636-1
Rhea Aguinaldo (Small Business Majority) and Vernita Naylor (Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)) National Press Club

SERIES 2 – DAY 2 NATIONAL PRESS CLUB Morning Sessions

Day 2 morning sessions at the National Press Club. Our day started at 7.a.m and ended at 8 p.m it was power packed, let me tell you all about it. Despite the time zone differences for several of us we were happy and elated to meet so many other business owners throughout the U.S. We met in the foyer of the hotels and waited for the buses that would transport us to our first stop, the National Press Club.

20150512_102405
Panel 1: Access to Capital

Panel 1: Access to Capital

At the National Press Club John Arensmeyer, Founder and CEO, Small Business Majority opened up the morning with a Welcome and Opening Remarks. Panel 1 Access to Capital: The Key to Entrepreneurship and Economic Development facilitated by Amy Cortese, Journalist and Founder, Locavesting Media included Connie Evans, President and CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity; Brayden McCarthy, Head of Policy & Advocacy, Fundera and Catarah Coleman, Co-Owner, Southern Girl Desserts. This panel addressed a concern of Hazel Hector, Founder and Executive Director, Jubilee Mobile Institute, Inc in her letter to me for the Summit, access to capital.  Here are some highlights of what was discussed in Panel 1:

  • For banks small businesses are seen as high cost risk factors
  • There are about 8,0000 businesses denied daily for funding
  • Women represent one out of every 23 loans
  • Women businesses grow slower than men
  • Women businesses do not seek loans or funding for their businesses
  • There are several non-traditional funding sources available to small business owners: Kiva and TILT Forward that do not use FICO Scores but other scoring factors; Lending Club (peer-to-peer lending based in San Francisco); RapidAdvance in partnership with SBA and Credit Unions
  • Additionally, several companies offer business credit cards to help grow your business and some of them offer low interest rates and flexible payment plans
  • It is in your best interest to seek funding before you need it, than when you need it. If you wait until then you will be susceptible to seek any type of funding presented to you.
Catarah and moderator - courtesy of H Lopez
Catarah Coleman (Southern Girl Desserts) and Panel 1 Moderator: Amy Cortese (Locavesting Media) Photo Courtesy: Hipitia Lopez (Empanada Fork)

Let’s hear from Catarah Coleman, Co-Owner, Southern Girl Desserts as she tells her story about her funding experience:

My partner, Shoneji and I began to seek a small loan in 2012 to cover expenses for our build out as we prepared to open the doors to our mall based bakery. We were denied. Then immediately we were approached by a customer who informed us that we could receive $40,000 within three days with no collateral. We tried it and it worked; it was so easy! That loan we were able to pay back within six months with no problem. Then we decided that we needed some working capital and went to our bank for the loan. We thought that since we had been using some of the small business products that they offered (i.e. payroll) and was depositing an average of $50,000 a month that it would not be a problem getting a loan from them but we found out that this was not enough. Again we were denied by them.

Ironically, we had been receiving several types of literature, emails and phone calls from other lending sources offering us quick cash. Since we had previously been able to pay off our previous loan quickly and the process was easy, we decided to accept one of the several offers that we had received. This offer was accompanied by a broker. The broker allegedly performed the research and provided us the best type of loan for our needs, so we were told. Once again we were able to quickly secure another loan, but then things changed. This loan in particular began to interfere with our cash flow. The payback rate began to defeat the purpose of acquiring working capital in the first place.

Let you tell you why this arrangement was not good for us. There were two loans with a payback rate of 30 and 90 days. Every dollar and cent from the merchant side to the daily ACH withdrawals was drowning us. Shoneji and I were so stressed because I was getting married and we still had to manage payroll. We had to do what it took to stay afloat and still pay back the loans that we had acquired for working capital; which actually did not turn out that way after all. We did not know what to do but one day we received a flyer that changed our lives from Opportunity Fund.

At first glance the flyer from Opportunity Fund seemed the same as the other funding information that we had been receiving but with one caveat upon thoroughly reading their literature I felt that maybe we should give them a call. I don’t know how but I felt that it was worth a shot. “I felt as if Jesus himself was on the other line and my faith was restored! I knew I was on the phone with someone who wanted to help and was going to do their best to do so.” It took about two years, but September 2014, our initial loan with Opportunity Fund helped to save our business, sanity and to bring things back to normal. We found out later that those two loans put us at a 56% interest rate; we would have never been able to get out of that bind at the rate this arrangement had us going.

Shoneji and I will forever to grateful to Opportunity Fund for coming when they did.   Now we only have an 8.5% interest rate after Opportunity Fund got all of this funding fiasco cleared up. And none of those other loans show up on our credit report! We knew Opportunity Fund was different because they offered low interest rates, longer terms and Eric and his team had a genuine concern about the financial health of our business, and this is why they are so special to us. We were able to experience a human side of lending.

I advise anyone to ask questions before they sign anything! Make sure that they explain everything clearly and that you truly understand what the pros and cons are of the loan. Don’t feel pressured to accept the loan terms, if they want your business they will make the necessary adjustments.   And if they don’t that lender does not have your best interest at heart.

This was one huge learning experience for us. We knew that baking cakes and pies would take us on a journey, well it has and we are better for it. “Be present in all aspects of your business, it could determine your longevity!”

Thank you Catarah and Shoneji, Owners of Southern Girl Desserts, for being candid about your lending experience. If anyone is interested in learning more about Southern Girl Desserts visit http://www.southerngirldesserts.com/, email catarah@southerngirldesserts.com or shoneji@southerngirldesserts.com. Also you can connect with them on Twitter @Dessertdivas, or on Facebook or Instagram @southerngirldesserts.

Tell us a lesson that you learned in being a business owner, we would love to hear from you. Of all of the submittals we will choose a few comments to post, will it be yours?

Connect with us @JEGroupBiz on Twitter, or Jabez Enterprise Group on LinkedIn or Facebook to see what we are doing next.

VNaylor Original 1 Cheek Cup_MG_1853 3.12.14 (Dawson Imagery)

Vernita Naylor
Founder/Owner Jabez Enterprise Group  (JEGroup)
http://www.jabezenterprisegroup.com/

All Photo Credits: Vernita Naylor (Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)) Unless Otherwise Noted.