October Corporate Culture Monthly Insight with The Gardener

Dear Readers,

It’s time to call a Spade a spade, not a heart.  As I mentioned in my September 2017 article, I take personal responsibility to holding Miracle USA Members against a high bar of community commitment, integrity, and participation. And although that statement sounds like I am speaking completely about external circumstances, in reality, I am not.

Community-level businesses and non-profits have a different responsibility than bigger businesses,  As a community business owner or non-profit, more oftentimes than not, your business is not your job, but your life.   This creates a different set of considerations for you.  Although we are working together for the benefit of community, the first thing we need to look at is this different set of considerations about you and your business, because that’s where community strength begins. With the strength of the business owners and non-profits.

Here is where we call a spade…a spade. When your business is not a job, but part of your life, it becomes personal for many. When business is great, personal finances and relationships are flourishing. When business is bad, personal finances and relationships go down the tubes. As businesses tend to fluctuate regularly, this causes a roller coaster ride across the board for a business owner. The scenario of living through your business becomes a vicious cycle. Then slowly but surely things go upside down and hope of recovery appears farther and farther away. We need to take a real hard look at this problem and correct it. Immediately. Atlantic City is on the brink of greatness, and businesses need to begin preparing. Now.

I know, as I have heard it from too many business owners to count, that most of the response you are feeling right now is “If I had $XXX I could do what is needed to be done.” Okay, agreed, money is a target of many. But here is the problem. It’s not that resources are unavailable, it’s that the community level businesses do not show the level of management capability and ability to repay any type of funding, due to their “life” of business. If the business financial basics are not correctly set and utilized properly, then funding options are nill to none. Those that are available are tricky, because although they can bring immediate capital gain, the percentage and method of repayment could cause a collapse rather than a pull-through.

There are many considerations to take on this problem, all the way down to how you have your business structured, taxes and fees, payroll, marketing, vendor contracts, and your home life. You need to ensure the integrity of the community with proper structuring for tax purposes, practice fair employment with W-2 employees, integrate with your community in every way possible, ensure customer service standards and fair costs personally and from your vendors, and balance your household budget all correctly. And on top of all that, you need to show that you are profitable. I know all this sounds ominous to those of you who are struggling, but stay with me here, I am giving you a path of thought worth considering.

The first thing you need to do is sit down and figure out what your current needs are, from a personal perspective. This is not about the business, yet. Be honest with yourself, put it in black and white, see it for what it is. Then, consider where you want to be in 12 months. What goal would you place at the 12-month mark? Be honest, but be realistic. We are on a mission of recovery here.

Now that your situation is clearly understood, and your goal is clearly in your mind, it’s time to talk about your business. Many of you have dreamt of your business, what it provided, how it would flourish, how you would become a prominent member of the community as a result of your successful business. You’ve been excited and creative. It’s time to go there again. Now. Forget all that has happened. Today is a new day. You have a business in the community. You have the perfect platform for all those dreams. It’s game-on as soon as we cover the last considerations.

The first and most primary question to ask yourself is if what your business has become to this point is in alignment with the personal goals you have set as mentioned above. For most the answer is still yes, but things just did not pan out as hoped or planned. It’s time to re-examine every level of your business. In most cases I find that business owners abandoned key needs of business over time without looking for other more cost-effective methods of achieving similar goals. Then the emotional impact of the business situation causes the business owner to withdraw from the community, if it was ever integrated to begin with. Hope is lost. Creativity goes out the window. Business fails.

At this point, you have to make the effort to analyze your business from a completely objective standpoint. You need to “be the employee,” “be the customer,” and “be the product/service.” You need to consider how each piece effects the whole. Then you need to make a road map of how you can affordably begin the recovery process. This is all indeed possible. And for you, it has to start with the community considerations. They are just like you, part of the community.  Without the community you have no market.  Just basic business sense here, but one that is hugely overlooked today.

Miracle USA is here to help you pull these things together and to provide you with creative pathways to engage with the community to begin to get the recovery process started.  Atlantic City is on the brink of greatness, and we are here to help you scaffold the foundation of your business to get the most out of this opportunity.  As always, and as proven over and over again, #TogetherALLThingsAREPossible

-The Gardener

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