Who are you and what do you do in 30 words or less?
I’m Cara Inspires- a teaching artist, entrepreneur, and creativepreneur coach. I own a production company called Bahiyah Productions, LLC. and Cara Inspires, LLC.- a Creative Consulting Community.
How do you remain empowered as an entrepreneur?
I stay empowered by writing my visions down and keeping them pretty simple. I post them in my office space and use a planner to hold myself accountable. I also stay connected with fellow creativeprenuers who are inspired and focused on their goals- we sharpen each other’s irons and lend a shoulder to cry on if need be.
How do you remain equipped as an entrepreneur, where/how do you fuel your growth?
I stay equipped by learning as much as I can from other consistent, successful, and creative entrepreneurs. I read books, view trainings…I love watching YouTube videos in my spare time to get inspiration from fellow creativeprenuers. I also attend professional development events on a regular.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Personally, I’m inspired by my previous LACK of inspiration. Eight years ago, I suffered from clinical depression only to then get hit with post-partum depression after my first son. It was a rough patch for me, but I overcame those trails and now I live a healthy, creative, and motivated life. Professionally, I’m inspired by social issues, music, and kids- all of which I infuse in my art and services.
What is your “WHY” — why do you do what you do?
I do what I do because I’m in love with creativity! It’s a “Love Hangover” that I don’t want to shake;) After a tough day, I can go into a rehearsal and all of my cares are forgotten…or I can work with an entrepreneur who needs some help and share my ideas with them to offer clarity…it’s fun. I truly believe that I’m here to wear these hats- I do what I do because it feels divine! I’m also working towards leaving an entrepreneurial legacy for my two sons (6 & 2).
What is your #1 tip for other entrepreneurs?
Be “gangsta” with your creativity. Own it and work it- you don’t need anyone’s approval to work your gift. Step on the block with the “big dogs” and roll with em’. You’ll make mistakes, but that’s where the growth comes from- embrace it and watch your brand grow.
Written by Cara Inspires; Cara bridges the arts and business inspiring creative souls to turn their passions into profits. She is a certified educator, artist, and creative entrepreneur. Her mission is to enlighten, educate, and encourage thousands through her blog: carainspires.wordpress.com.
Connect with Cara!
The #EntrepreneurInspiration blog series is another way that the TEWCrew can help spread the entrepreneurial cheer throughout the universe. Our mission is to empower, equip and inspire aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs to unleash the entrepreneur within #unleashthebiz! We do that the best way we know how, and that is by telling stories of our experiences, and the experiences of our community and our colleagues. Enjoy!
Small business owners are the life blood of America. In 2007, the Small Business Administration calculated at least 2.3 million businesses in the mix, a number likely to keep growing as the economy slowly recovers from recession.
However, as a small business owner, you run the risk of filing for bankruptcy if precautions are not taken to prevent hurdles big and small. According to the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, over 1 million businesses filed for bankruptcy in this year alone. So, how can you prevent your business from being included in this mess?
Avoid Data Loss
There is nothing worse than keeping meticulous records on your earnings, client information and other receipts only to have it destroyed in an accident or be mismanaged by one of your employees.
You can protect and secure your company’s documents by using cloud storage, which allows you access to anything you might need without tying the information to a specific device. This can minimize any damage caused by a fire, virus or loss of a device because everything is secured offsite. Companies like Mozy offer custom cloud storage options, which can provide a secure place for documents and make file sharing easier.
Prevent Customer Dissatisfaction
Technology might scare you or you are simply in your business comfort zone, and you are doing just fine. However, in order for you to appeal to the current consumer, you need to consistently evolve to meet their needs, which means that you need to be Internet savvy.
This can be as easy as setting up accounts for your business on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. As Mediabistro reports, 87 percent of small businesses found that social media has helped their business. Getting tuned into the market will only help you grow as a business and make a wider circle of connections.
Be sure to listen to your customers on social media, and make improvements and adjustments based on their concerns. Experian reports that 91 percent of online adults use social media, so this makes it the perfect place to reach your target market and send them surveys and questionnaires. In addition, if you take the time to respond to your customers, they will return and bring their friends with them.
Save Money for Later
There are many ways that businesses of all sizes can save money. Going green is one of the latest trends in saving money and helping the environment. According to Energy Star, the nation’s small businesses spend $60 billion a year on energy. Even simple things like turning off lights when rooms are not in use, bundling electronics on power strips and unplugging battery chargers when finished can really reduce your energy bill. These minor fixes can save your business money that can be saved for later in case of an emergency or used on something more productive for your business. Small businesses can’t afford to waste money, so be sure to check out different, green ways to save.
The tips above will surely ensure a long lasting life for your business, and will help you grow into a thriving enterprise that can take on any unforeseen disaster, big or small.
The SBA considers a small business one that has fewer than 500 employees. The latest numbers suggest that there are 28 million small businesses. Small businesses make up the vast majority of all businesses. And that category is dominated by business with no staff at all other than themselves. These micropreneurs often start out working from home, and expand to leasing office space, and picking up a few employees. 69% of startups begin as home businesses.
The number of employees is not the only, or even biggest, difference between small business and big business. Who would really think of a business with 499 people as small? Making the distinction by number is arbitrary at best. What really separates the two categories of business is the executive leadership.
Unless you founded the business, you do not become an executive in a large business just by printing a business card. It most generally takes an advanced degree and a proven track-record of success. Starting a business requires no degree or experience of any kind. It only requires filing the right papers and paying the right fees.
Putting your name on your office door along with a C-level title may stroke your ego. But it does not make you Tim Cook. However, you can always enhance your executive skills and improve your mastery of leadership. SBA.gov lists the top reason for small business failure as lack of experience. Placing one’s self in a leadership role without the requisite experience is a recipe for disaster.
There are practical alternatives to spending the next 8 years in college getting an advanced degree in business. You could look into getting executive coaching from Arden Coaching. Executive coaching programs are designed to help you reach the next level of success. The result of this kind of training leads to:
- far higher employee engagement
- greater productivity and effectiveness
- more innovation
- better communication
- a responsible and proactive culture
- improved employee retention
- fewer sick days and employee complaints
- development of internal leaders, reducing need to search out high level leaders from outside the organization
If you have taken a few shortcuts to the executive wing, or you just want to take your business to the next level, you will want to improve these three skills:
The Internet is full of pages listing the most important executive traits. Leadership is always at or near the top. It is also one of the hardest to define. It is a little like obscenity: we know it when we see it. While it is easy to recognize, it is difficult to predict. You don’t really know if you have it until you demonstrate it.
Are you the person with whom the buck stops? If so, you might be a leader. If people come to you expecting the solution to their problem, you might be a leader. If you determine the course of events for yourself and others, you might be a leader.
The surest sign that you are a leader is if others follow you. You cannot be a leader without followers. At some point in your business endeavors, someone besides yourself has to catch your vision and throw their lot in with you. You need customers, investors, and believers. How you get there is the 64,000 question. Executive coaching can help.
While leadership is at the top of all the lists, communication is the surest sign of executive ability. You can always tell when a company is in trouble by reading through, and listening to corporate communications.
If executives do not communicate well to staff, then no one will know what to do or how to do it. Everyone will offer their own interpretation of what was meant. Supervisors and middle managers will be in conflict, with lower staff caught in the middle.
Equally important is communication with the outside world. There is a whole category of language called CEO-speak. It is characterized by long strings of feckless gibberish masquerading as corporate communication. This is not to be emulated. Executive coaching can help you communicate your message more effectively internally and externally. No matter how good of a communicator you are, there is always room for improvement. Your bottom line with thank you.
Captain Kirk once said that a captain can be right, or a captain can be wrong. But a captain can never be unsure. Picard, on the other hand, seemed to revel in uncertainty as if it were a virtue. But both were the iconic image of decisiveness under pressure. When it counted, the fictional characters could make a decision and live with it.
While the characters were fictional, the trait of decisiveness is very real, and very necessary. It is not just the ability to come to a conclusion, but to do so in a timely manner before the moment of opportunity is lost.
Microsoft’s mobile efforts with Windows Phone serves as a cautionary tale. After Apple revealed the iPhone, Microsoft was slow in recognizing it as competition. Once they recognized it for what it was, they were slow to decide how best to counter it. By the time they made a decision and took action, Android had already captured the anti-iPhone flag. Even Steve Balmer was forced to admit that one of his big mistakes as CEO was missing the moment with regard to mobile.
There is more to being an executive than having an idea and breathing life into a new business. However, that is a very good start. Be sure to complete the job by improving your leadership, communication skills, and decision making under pressure. Your executive wash room awaits.