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Grateful for this nation

I love the global uniqueness of the American small business.  It has been the bedrock proving the superiority of our republican form of democracy.  It has provided people of all backgrounds with the opportunity to work into ownership and influence of society.  Small businesses provide the economic foundation for local communities.

Educational influencers

My educational path was atypical.  Business and music were both primar interests, so I sought one of the very few college educations that put them together.  I could not know at the time how well that would serve me in what I do today.  Strategic planning relies upon both logical and creative thought.  Among the arts, music already offers the greatest combination of adherence to structure without sacrificing improvisation.  Studying both music and business allowed me to help others and myself succeed in business without being a slave to rigid process thinking alone.  Sometimes we also need to think outside the box to win!

What I have learned

A life well-lived has always depended on how well one serves others.  It's easy to claim to be about people but proving it is another matter.  I believe people are being increasingly commoditized by the functions of government, the ruthlessness of large organizations and the misapplication of otherwise helpful new technology.  I work to remind people to return to economic fundamentals in how they view business planning and remember who their
customers and employees really are and what they need.  Creating value for everyone
concerned is financial, yes, but always also experiential in ways we can't always put a price on.

Experience in the trenches

Nothing substitutes for the experience of working within the models of others before learning how to create your own.  In my 20s I enjoyed a career working at a senior contributor level of a Fortune 100 company.  Taking what I had learned from there and working alongside partners, I started, then bought, always grew and even sometimes sold multiple small businesses with significant revenues, customers, suppliers and employees.  As my experiences accumulated, I gathered more and still continue by serving and leading local, state and national boards in all three sectors (public-government, non-profit charity and private industry).

Where I fit best

My varied business experiences have spanned as many industries allowing my work today to be industry agnostic.  I don't do project execution like an IT consultant or a marketing consultant.  I don't try to tell you how to make what you make - that is your functional expertise.  Rather, I am a subject matter expert in the profitable operation of a business.  No matter what you make and sell, I want to make sure you are financially rewarded for your investment and risk, not paid only for your work.  That is the left-brain work yet only half of the effort.  Our right-brain work is to get there by ensuring customers, employees and vendors also consider your business to have been their best opportunity out of their many other options.

Don't get hung up on the word "profit"

The principles of making nonprofit organizations successful are essentially the same as for profit businesses, we just use a different language for the financial and legal terms.  I have recruited boards, facilitated gaining non-profit status, built financial models and processes, reformed organizational culture and made nonprofit organizations more successful as well.  The only difference for myself is I reserve the right to accept or decline working for a nonprofit according to whether I believe in and agree with the mission of the organization.  Selfless service to others is a starting pre-requisite.

How I am different from other advisors

I love the global uniqueness of the American small business.  It has been the bedrock proving the superiority of our republican form of democracy.  It has provided people of all backgrounds with the opportunity to work into ownership and influence of society.  Small businesses provide the economic foundation for local communities.

A word about confidentiality

If you own or aspire to own a small business, let's be real.  It is deeply personal, isn't it?  Your business is a significant part of your career and personal identity.  It's not always easy to ask for help let alone reach out for it.  If and when you do, you don't want your "laundry hanging out on main street".  Some advisors like to publish their client lists to validate their worth.  Perhaps there is no harm in that for a common profession that everyone uses, like an accountant.  But it has always been my practice to keep my client work private, not only what I'm doing, but who I'm doing it for.  If a new client wants a reference and I think you would be a good one due to shared experiences, I'll always ask for your permission first and you get the final say.  I will never name drop you to benefit myself.

How I give back

I continue today to serve on boards and committees generally at various levels aimed at advocating on behalf of small business before government.  Small business gets the perennial lip service of politicians and rarely any of the concern after they are elected.  My advocacy work is freely donated time - I will never be a paid lobbyist.  My LinkedIn profile is a good source for the latest nonprofit roles that I hold.  In addition, I donate time to charitable boards from time-to-time to help them build more financially sustainable and responsibly governed organizations.

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