#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?

Making Billions the Simple Way

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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

What You Say?

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Am I the only one whose child gets embarrassed when I say or do certain things? How did your children feel about what you said or did as they were growing up? Funny, how our children only see us as parents but refuse to acknowledge us as human beings as well.  Put your seat belt on and get ready for a barrel of laughs, and belly aches as you read Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern. If my daughter knew that there was an audience for my type of sayings despite how off the cuff it may have seemed to her, she would have been able to beat Halpern to the punch by creating her own book.

Halpern’s dad is the typical dad of his time where he holds no punches on what he believes or has to say about life, relationships and the issues that Halpern faced on a daily basis from his childhood to life as an adult. Halpern’s dad choice of profanity helps to bring the points home. Let me give you a little taste of the delectable delicacies that you will find in this book (without the expletive words):

  • Listen, I don’t give a f*** if you forget my birthday. I don’t need people reminding me I’m closer to death. But your mom, she still enjoys counting them down, so cancel your f**** plans and drive down here for her birthday day….
  • Pick your furniture like you pick a wife, it should make you feel comfortable and look nice, but not so nice that if someone walks past it they want to steal it.

While I am not a fan of profanity, I too lived in this world of this unique language. And to read a book that embraces this form of speaking allows me to relive my childhood because I too, had a father who spoke with such eloquence which I adopted as well for a season as a parent.  Regardless, you will continue to laugh while enjoying this compact and easy to read book. If you grew up with parents of this era or was this type of parent yourself, you are in for a treat. Enjoy!

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

Do You Hear Me Now?

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When someone is talking to you do you actually hear what they are saying? When you pray, do you hear God’s response?  How To Listen To God by Charles Stanley will take you on a journey through the various steps and processes to understanding how God talks to us. While everyone’s interaction with God is different, there are some universal ways that God talks to us from His word and confirmation from others to hearing directly from Him during your prayer time. In this book, you can obtain a clearer understanding of your relationship with God. Do you know if God is talking to you?

One factor to this connection is that when you pray, expect, an answer. Now keep in mind that the answers that you seek may not occur in the way that you desire. An example is that you ask God for transportation or more specifically a car. When you pray, trust and begin seeking the answers to your prayers. You may see your answers surface in various ways from a friend giving you a car to you being approved for a car within your price range, despite your poor credit.

Learn your communication language with God so that you do not miss the answers to your prayers. If you are seeking a more productive learning experience with God, this is a book that you must add to your library. Remember, God is speaking. God does answer prayers. Do you have your listening ears on?

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

A Community of Common Goals

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What does community mean to you? A community is a group of individuals that possess common interests, goals, and results. The essence of the community can be displayed in several ways from your church, and sorority or fraternity to support groups. In The Art of Community by Charles H Vogl you will learn about the various aspects of how the ultimate goal of what a community is. Community entails a sense of belonging. Vogl offers Seven Principles for Belonging from The Boundary, Initiation, Rituals, Temple, Stories, and Symbols to The Inner Rings. Community affects everything and everyone around us; it is who we are and in whom we become. Vogl has been able to build on his quest for building communities by incorporating everything that he has learned from being a volunteer in the Peace Corps to being the Broken English Productions, Founding Producer.

It is always a great idea to be conscious of the types of communities that we engage with because it significantly influences our outcomes in life in both negative and positive ways. The principles that Vogl displays in the book provide you with a more well-rounded insight of what to look for in a community and to see how you can influence change by the community that you become a part of.  It has been communities that have been the voice of the Black Civil Rights Movement; National Farm Workers Association led by Caesar Chavez, Christian church movements, and social groups amongst others. So instead of just becoming a part of a community just to belong, begin to thoroughly view what that community stands for and in how it is focusing on making a difference in the world.

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

Blessings to You. Peace

Holiday Wishes (2017)

Keep Your Eyes on High

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Janie was a woman of mystery that every man was intrigued about in Eatonville. The men in the town could not understand why she chose to be married to Mr. Joe Starks, who was almost twice her age. What they came to understand was that Starks was a smart man that came to their town with great ideas and with money. It was his ideas and money that garnered him to be elected the town’s mayor.

On the other hand, the town’s women felt that Starks could have chosen someone better, like someone his own age and they couldn’t understand why he chose someone young like Janie. Despite what the town felt Stark and Janie had that special something, that connection that kept them together “til death do them part.” When Starks died Janie decided to leave Eatonville to embark on another adventure, this is when she met Teacake. Teacake was different than any man that Janie ever knew. Not only was Teacake much younger than her but he provided her with the adventure, excitement, and love like she’s never felt before.  As Janie tells it Teacake made her insides feel like some live bumble bees.

Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neal Hurston is about how your choices can affect the decisions that you make, how passion becomes the center of your world and how watching God during tragic occurrences and taking action can guide you to where you were meant to be.

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

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

 

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