#45, Women & Their Reproductive Rights

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About three weeks ago, I was quoted in an article by Christine Michel Carter (Forbes), The Unexpected Impact of Birth Control on Female Entrepreneurship https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecarter/2018/03/01/the-unexpected-impact-of-birth-control-on-female-entrepreneurship/#79fbc119707b, well, the conversation continues as I lend my voice again about women and birth control. In an article written by Jeffrey McKinney (Black Enterprise) Birth Control, Reproductive Rights Key to Black Women Entrepreneurs’ Success http://www.blackenterprise.com/survey-birth-control-black-women-entrepreneurs/, I had a lot to say about how #45 is causing women and their reproductive rights to become an option instead of a necessity.

In my continued effort to speak not only for small businesses but minority and women https://thejegroupzone.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/back-to-basics-for-business-growth/, I am standing in the forefront to help out voices to be heard. We must speak loudly and strategically above the white noise from writing to our elected officials to voting in those that have our best interests at heart. “In order to succeed, we must continue the journey as small business owners with the support from Congress, government and elected officials.”

What are your thoughts about #45, women and their reproductive rights?

Being A Business That Benefits

Up until this point, you should have seen a variety of different articles that I have crafted for you from health care and access to capital to taxes. From the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate to the numerous Small Business Policy Forum’s panel of experts these articles were written with you in mind, the business owner. I wanted to provide you with a wealth of information that you can benefit from in running your business.  If you have missed any of the articles, click here:

  1. Tax Reform or Tax Cut
  2. ObamaCare vs the ACA
  3. Back to Basics

In my last article, we will discuss the various aspects of portable benefits (includes healthcare, and retirement). We all know that small businesses have to get creative to acquire and maintain great talent.  In order to do this, they must provide an assortment of benefits but should portable benefits be one of them?

Let’s look at this conversation two ways:

  • Scenario One: As an employer, you are responsible for a lot of people from your employees to their families but what happens when your employee decides to leave the company? Should you be responsible for their portable benefits? If so, for how long? Or should they be responsible for their own?
  • Scenario Two: Your business uses several freelancers and contractors, you depend heavily on their talent and the services that they provide. So what happens when they decide to leave the company? Yes, they are not your employee but should you be responsible for their portable benefits? If so, for how long? Or should they be responsible for their own? Are your answers the same as it would be if they were your employee?

Regardless, of the way that you answer either of these questions, understand that the workforce is shifting. Retirees and millennials are entering the workforce and most are opting to become freelance or contract workers. With this type of workforce, establishing a universal portable benefits system is ideal.

In today’s marketplace contractors and freelancers has a focus on not only getting paid but seeking to assure that their healthcare and retirement benefits are paid, current and available when needed.   Having a universal system would also help those employees that decide to leave a company but later determine that they wish to become an independent contractor or freelance worker instead. A portable benefit system should not only provide options to suit several needs but be affordable.

During the Portable Benefits: Creating An Infrastructure for Entrepreneurs to Thrive panel myself and a few other industry experts discussed what portable benefits could mean to small business owners including freelance and contract workers. In all honesty, small business owners want to see that their employees get the best because they are the ones that are helping to make the company profitable.

According to panelist, John Scott, Retirement Savings Director, The Pew Charitable Trusts, “66% of full-time employees are offered portable benefits, 48% of the employers want to help their employees save for retirement, and 22% of employers lack an internal administrative resource that will allow them to start and maintain a portable benefits system.”

For the sake of argument, let’s focus on retirement. While there are a lot of choices out there, there are several types of plans available, let’s explore a few:

For the sake of healthcare should the U.S. adopt a system that is universal for everyone as I discussed in ObamaCare vs the ACA? One thing that is prohibiting more small business owners from offering portable benefits is costs. From administrative setup and upkeep to contributions, should there be some type of subsidy programs in place to help offset these costs?

If so, should the programs be subsidized by the federal government? Or should this be a local or State financial responsibility? “Individuals that wish to do so, should be able to provide their own portable benefits and not be subjected to a specific employer but there must be multiple plans and options available, like a common or shared interest program,” Shilpa Phadke, Senior Director, Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress.

With some support, this will allow the new and emerging workforce the ability to take on the responsibility for their own future and not leave these critical pieces in the hands of others, especially since they are not an employee of the company. As a portable benefits plan is being created it should meet the needs of the freelancer or contract worker with minimum financial disruption during their Golden Years. As previously stated we business owners need to get creative in how we acquire and maintain the talent to run our businesses.

There are several ways that companies are becoming creative in their efforts to obtain the deliverables that they require. Below you will see several examples of which the first two companies offer full portable benefits, the third company offers partial portable benefits and the last offers no portable benefits but provides the revenue that freelancers and contractors can use to fund their portable benefits plan:

  • Company 1: 26-hour work-week for full-time employees but these employees are paid for a 40-hour work-week. This helps to offset the childcare and costs that these employees may encounter otherwise. By implementing this small step, this small business owner has been able to increase their revenue and productivity while creating an asset for their employees.
  • Company 2: One of my clients, offers several company benefits from wholesale catalog discounts; vacation, sick and family leave; and charity contributions matching to other types of personal flexibility. The interesting thing is that the majority of the benefits that this company offers if out of the company’s Profit and Loss (P&L). We all know that normally these costs are what the small business owners use to live off of but instead, this client passes these profits on to their employees.
  • Company 3: Employees may not be provided a full portable benefits package but they are instead offered profit sharing and are co-owners of the company that they work for.
  • Company 4: I work with several freelance and contract Since I am unable to provide them with portable benefits, I try to look for ways to provide them a long-term Return on Investment (ROI). One option is that I offer them revenue sharing on a project, that has a long-term, steady income flow. In this case, the workers obtain revenue for a number of years, which they can use to invest and fund their portable benefit accounts.

For those small businesses that offer an entrée of portable benefits including family leave should there be tax credits?  It is difficult to determine how portable benefits should roll out for small businesses, freelancers or contract workers but it should exist. Here are some other discussions about portable benefits that may interest you:

If you have any concerns about how portable benefits will affect you consider the following:

  • Contact your local representative or your State’s Senator
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
  • Consider an Op-Ed (Opinion-Editorial)

Once again I thank you for your support and the opportunity to serve you.  Subscribe to The JEGroupZone to stay up to date on articles and information about initiatives, programs, and issues that will affect you and your small business. As always, if you have a concern or issue that you would like for me to cover or talk about on your behalf in the near future please feel free to contact me at Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup).

“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
https://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

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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

Speak in Colors with Tech

Vernita Naylor Speaking Card (Tech Inclusion) 2017

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are terms that are continually being circulated within the marketplace. D&I normally ties into employee and employer relationships as it pertains to Fortune 500 and government companies but what about small business owners, shouldn’t they become a part of the conversation also? At Tech Inclusion 2017, during my Speaking in Colors session, I will talk about how anyone, particularly business owners, can use their diversity to maximize their inclusive partnerships. Register today https://sf17.techinclusion.co/.

For more information about us visit http://jabezenterprisegroup.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Body Revelations

The Secret Life of Fat by Sylvia Tara

Fat is such a controversial word. There is good fat, as well as, bad fat. Did you know that having some fat on the body can actually save your life by helping to keep several diseases at bay? Having a lot of fat is not a great idea but having some fat can be good.

The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body’s Least Understood Organ And What It Means To You by Sylvia Tara, Ph.D. is an in your face account of how fat affects our bodies. If you want to see some elements of a great book read the Table of Contents. The Table of Contents will provide you with a glimpse into the quality of the information that is contained in the book.

All I could say is Wow as I read the Table of Contents with headers like Your Life Depends On Fat, Fat Can Listen and The Future of Fat. In this book, you will learn all of the various aspects of fat from how genetics affects your weight, why it’s important to understand the food that you eat, and why it can be difficult to lose weight to how getting an infection can cause your body to fight against itself and keep the weight on. There are so many fad diets out there that can work for some people but not for others.

Why? It’s not you, it’s your body, your culture, your family history and background along with your body’s association with food. You may have tried the Atkins Diet, Paleo Diet, Weight Watchers, Smoothie Diet or Jenny Craig to name a few but in order to lose the desired weight, it takes a lot more knowledge than to follow a diet plan. This knowledge can help to not only lose the weight but to keep it off.

How you eat must become a way of life, not a diet. By reading The Secret Life of Fat you are taking your fate into your own hands by gaining a better understanding of how fat affects you. To your health, it’s worth it.

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