Winning More B2B Sales: October’s Lunchbox Learning with Alice Heiman

You built it but they are not coming. Why aren’t companies flocking to buy from you?
Join Alice Heiman for this fast-paced hour-long workshop. B2B, complex sales can be daunting. Alice will help you create a winning sales process to drive the business you need. Learn how to identify your ideal customer and identify the best approach to build awareness, determine interest, educate, close the deal and get more business and referrals.

Alice is a nationally-recognized sales trainer and consultant. Over the course of her two decades of teaching others the art of selling, she’s earned a host of awards, including Saleswoman of the Year, Marketer of the Year, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Blue Ribbon Award. Alice has made numerous guest appearances on television and radio broadcasts, and has been featured in print publications, including Entrepreneur’s Startups and Selling Power magazines.

Alice developed her sales expertise while at Miller Heiman, Inc. before striking out on her own and establishing Alice Heiman, LLC, in 1997. In her years at Miller Heiman she sold to and trained some of the company’s largest and most complex accounts, including Coca Cola, Dow Chemical, Merck and Hewlett Packard.

Lunchbox Learning Workshop
October 24, 2017
12:00-1:00p.m.
Adams Hub for innovation: 111 W Proctor Street, Carson City, NV

Lunchbox Learning Workshops are free by advance reservation and open to the Northern Nevada business community. Just RSVP to grow@adamshub.com. Space is limited, and be sure to bring your lunchbox!

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Mastermind Groups Demystified: Guest Blog by Diane Dye Hansen

The first time I sat in the hot seat in my mastermind group, I was terrified. What was I doing? I had 20 minutes to talk about my business and ask a ‘how do I’ question. This was vulnerability at its most frightening. Sit me down in any support group and I’d be happy to talk about my childhood or my relationship with my father. But, cracking the nut on my business challenges, fears, and outright stalemates? That’s the type of raw honesty that made my skin crawl Yet, I counted myself in. I learned a while ago if it terrifies me, it’s worth the leap to try. After all, wasn’t that why I was a dyed in the wool, 4th generation entrepreneur? So, there I sat on the phone surrounded by the CEOs, VPs, owners, movers and shakers I had been so confidently providing advice to for months. It was my turn.

The experience of sharing my business was unlike anything I had experienced. It was nothing like the horror movie my mind conjured up. I was surrounded by a team of intelligent allies who were curious about my business and wanted to help. Soon, I found myself talking about my business and where I had created operational stress for myself. My ‘how do I’ turned into a slew of solutions from those who cared about me. I had given freely during previous sessions. Now, they were giving to me. Top consultants had their eyes on my business. Best, it didn’t cost me a dime.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misunderstandings floating around about mastermind groups and what they do. When I stepped into my first one, I was still figuring it out. Now, I don’t see running my business without being part of one. Hopefully, my experience will help you decide what group is right for you.

Masterminds are not:

About Finding Sales Prospects: Networking and business connections can be a by-product of being part of a mastermind group. However, you don’t go there to sell. The best masterminds are those where everyone is there to give freely of their knowledge and make connections without strings attached. This no-sales environment makes a mastermind a safe place to explore business challenges without feeling you are about to be pitched.

Always “Pay to Play”: The experts industry has high end mastermind groups which can cost thousands to join. These groups may be right for some people. However, they are not the standard for mastermind groups. A good number of mastermind groups, Entrepreneurs Assembly included, are completely free to participate in.

For Those Who Know Everything:
If you think you know everything and are not open to ideas about what you are doing, a mastermind group may not be right for you. Where you gain from a mastermind is getting different perspectives on your business challenge. If you are closed off to this or are seeking validation for what you are doing, a mastermind may not be the best fit for you. You are intelligent. However, even the most intelligent person is open to insight.

A Place Where You Stay Quiet: Come to your mastermind group ready to participate. Entrepreneurs Assembly at Adams Hub for Innovation breaks out its entrepreneurs into pre-revenue, revenue, and growth categories. Each person has 20 minutes to briefly state their challenge and get input from the group. Seasoned entrepreneurs guide the group as facilitators to move the discussion along.

Masterminds are:

An Environment Filled with People Like You: Mastermind groups provide an opportunity for you to meet people who are facing similar challenges. You will get support, get connected with people who have been where you are, and discover resources that are available to you. You’ll realize quickly even if you are a solo-preneur, you are never alone.

A Place to Give Freely: Don’t be stingy with the questions. Mastermind groups are a place to give! When giving recommendations, it’s best to frame it as something you have done or would do with your business. Listen and respond thoughtfully and people will do the same when you are on the hot seat.

Incredibly Fun: When I left Entrepreneur’s Assembly, I felt energized. Even though I was mentoring, it gave me new fire and energy which I applied to my business. I also felt more prepared with ideas for my two other mastermind groups.

I hope to see you at the next Entrepreneur’s Assembly in Carson City. I look forward to saying hello!

Executive Pajamas – Cute Idea. But Not Cute for Executive Mindset.

Guest Blog by Diane Dye Hansen, Chief Inspiration Officer, What Works Coaching

Last Friday, I hit work-from-home bottom. Ironically, it was because I wasn’t working from home. I had set such poor boundaries with my working hours Monday through Wednesday that, by Thursday, I was waking up late. By Friday, I was entirely unable to focus. I went for a run. I talked on the phone. I did everything I could to get my head right. Because, darn it, I’m a business productivity coach! This is not me! But, it had become me.

It becomes thousands of well-intentioned business owners who want to save some money and work how they want. Unfortunately, how I wanted to work was to work when the inspiration is flowing. Can you guess how long that lasts for someone whose title is Chief Inspiration Officer?

I was working a lot. It was sustainable, I thought. It was productive, I justified. But last Friday, I hit my work-from-home bottom.

I realized that, although I could go to work in my pajamas, I also had “pajama boundaries” with myself. I put “pajama limitations” on myself on my ability to network. By that Friday, I looked at my social calendar and it looked like “pajamas” too. Too much Netflix and chill was needed to recover from the way I had been pushing myself. I needed boundaries. I needed socialization. I had reached “diminishing pajama return.” I needed to be a part of the human race again. I already volunteer at Adams Hub for Innovation on Mondays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.. So, I decided to drop my pajamas (!) and check into what co-working could do for my business.

For one, I am clear and unwavering about my needs. I don’t want to be tied to a space. I want the flexibility to be absent, to travel, go see clients, and (gasp) work from home if I wanted to. Also, I didn’t want to be in the middle of something and have to get up and leave because its “closing time.” That sounded less productive than more. The 24/7 co-working membership allowed me flexibility to come and go and not experience the “last call’ feeling when it came to my work. If I am inspired at 4:50 pm, I am probably going to lean into my inspiration versus say, meh, tomorrow.

What’s your Co-working Why?

Co-working might be right for you if you:

• Enjoy being around people and don’t need absolute silence while you are working.
• Hate being in pain after sitting in the wrong chair at coffee shops or other public spaces.
• Are open to the opportunity that meeting new people may bring you.
• Tend to overwork or underwork yourself when you work from home.
• Realize your home doesn’t feel like home anymore.
• Need a more professional environment for meetings
• Need things like fast Internet, copiers, good ‘ol fashion fax machines, and coffee you don’t have to worry about making.
• Understand that a $5 cup of coffee and a $5 snack from your favorite place times 5 times a week is the same amount as a 24/7 co-working membership at Adams Hub – and there is no closing time.
• Would like to work in downtown Carson City, have sushi for lunch, maybe some mid-morning yoga, and walk to your office from your free parking spot.

Your why is in there. You are feeling it. I know I had to be huddled under the covers, exhausted, unsocialized, and battling the pajama-CEO blues before I realized it. Use me as your cautionary tale. Just come and check it out. There are day passes, 9 am to 5 pm memberships, offices, and even incubator services. Plus, you get access to a bevy of experts to help you with your business.

If nothing else, come say hi to me. I’m still getting used to face-to-face human interaction again.

Diane Dye Hansen Chief Inspiration Officer
What Works Coaching
775-400-6174 | diane@whatworkscoaching.com
| www.whatworkscoaching.com | Skype: whatworkscoaching

Schedule a session now.

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Mentor Moment: Dr. Bob Whitcomb

Dr. Bob Whitcomb teaches courses at Western Nevada College and serves as an Adams Hub Mentor. WNC’s 101 course is taught in the Studio at Adams Hub, bringing students into the business incubator environment and exposing them to entrepreneurial culture. Bob brings passion, joy and a sense of humor to his work as a as well as a mentor. He has a unique gift for putting others at ease and challenging them to grow at the same time. Dr. Whitcomb divides his time between Northern Nevada and Alaska, where he spends four months of each year.

Why do you Mentor? I’ve been a teacher for a long time, and I love seeing the ideas and successes of my students. Being at the Hub enables me to see people come in with great ideas, then help them craft these into something that’s viable, workable. Creative people generate great ideas, great concepts, and many have great strength in their field, but they don’t have that business acumen you need to be successful. That’s why I’m so delighted to partner with the Hub. We get to use our skills and passions and share them with others.

Why did you focus on marketing? I’m a marketer by training and by nature. The root of marketing is meeting needs. How are we meeting customer needs? Marketing is fun. If I’m not having fun I’m not going to do it. Marketing isn’t rocket science. It’s gratifying to see students take advantage of the resources here at the Hub. For example, the Carson City librarians are bringing these amazing databases here, and when students sit down with them to explore markets, they can discover unmet needs. Putting the tools and inspiration together is what we’re all about.

Did that naturally lead to mentoring? Mentoring is a blast. You bring your perspective, you’re not trying to impress anyone. You’re just offering your ideas, sharing your experience. It’s exciting to see the light bulb go on, or give someone an idea that will help them solve a problem.

How else do you give back?
You know, non-profits have a serious struggle to attract talent. One of the things that we do is have students work with non-profits, build a non-profit experience base. It’s important as a manager and people benefit from that. That’s the caring, compassionate side of me that wants to help people. I’ve never cared about the money.

What’s your Alaska life like? I’m in Alaska for three months each summer, and one month during the holidays. I have dogs, a house, friends. I kayak, hike and run away from bears. If the barge doesn’t make it up for 2 weeks there’s no food in town, so everyone has a larder. Ben & Jerry’s is eight bucks a pint! I have to go to the yarn shop to get internet. Everyone knows your business. It’s a different way of life.
I mentor in Alaska, too, I can’t help it. Marketing is very unsophisticated there. But the local culture there is very interdependent, everyone just naturally helps each other. Houses burn down every winter and the community comes right out to help.

What was your career path? I graduated high school with a 1.8 GPA because I wasn’t interested. I told my parents I was going to be an auto mechanic. One day I got in an accident I realized I couldn’t bend over engines for the rest of my career. I went back to college, and had a very dynamic marketing instructor; he was great, and so was the next one. I decided that marketing was what I wanted to do. I truly believe that marketing is the soul of the business. Because it’s about customer needs. It’s how I look at the world.

When I decided to teach for a living, it changed my world view. Then I had to work out what students needed to be successful. I don’t want my classes to just be a bunch of theory. Kids do their own marketing plans in the marketing class, they write training plans, HR manuals. It’s very practical, real-world, and hands-on.

I knew I wanted to teach when I was in college, and when I graduated, I decided to go to grad school and got an assistantship in 1985, found I enjoyed that and I’m good at it. One-on-one, few-on-one, is best for my teaching approach.

How did you find your way to Carson? I had a pivotal moment when I worked for Home Depot. I was HR manager at the store in Juno, Alaska, and for a store with a staff of 100, I had to hire 125 new employees each year. We had incredible turnover. I decided to go back to teaching in colleges, but I really wanted to work at a college where I could teach these first-job people. I was drawn to the opportunity to help regular students who wanted to get their first job. I love to work with that population.

When I got the offer from WNC, I loaded up my pickup truck with six boxes, rented an apartment in Carson City sight unseen, and slept on the floor for the first six weeks. It was an adventure. WNC has been open to letting me create a my own curriculum. I remember how hard it was to learn when I wasn’t engaged, so I work hard to make my classes very engaging. The college is truly committed to the community. Education is the economic driver. Bringing my class to Adams Hub has helped my students to start thinking outside the classroom box. I encourage them to take advantage of everything that’s going on here.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? One of the neatest things happened to me last year. A former asked, “Are you the Bob Whitcomb who used to teach in Maine?” Turns out he had friends who both had been students of mine, many years ago. These kids had ended up getting married. I reconnected with this couple. They told me, “You just need to know you changed our lives. Your style of management and instruction changed our lives. You are one of the significant people in our lives.” I had no idea. All I did was what I do. That’s the reward of teaching.

Over the years, I was fortunate to meet people who were willing to develop me, to cultivate me. It’s great to take the time to stop and thank the people who taught us. I’m blessed to have people in my life that took me for what I was, and helped me achieve my potential.

Innovator Interview: Justin Huntington, DRI researcher and MapWater co-founder

Read our blog, 8 Daily Habits that Boost Productivity

 

INTERVIEW: Dr. Justin Huntington of MapWater

How did MapWater come into being?

justin-speaking-at-googles-earth-engine-2016-user-summit

Dr. Huntington of the (co-founder of MapWater) giving a presentation at Google’s Earth Engine 2016 User Summit.

Water and agriculture in the western U.S. are multi-billion dollar resources that are central to the regional economy and future development. An important component of water development, management, and sustainability in the western U.S. is a detailed accounting of historical and current water use from irrigated agriculture. There is a great need for accurate, defensible, and timely maps of water use that are summarized on a field-by-field basis–the spatial scale at which water rights are managed. MapWater is a new company founded by researchers at the Desert Institute that provides satellite-based field scale water use and vegetation vigor products using multiple NASA and non-NASA earth observation platforms and spatial data-sets. These products can be used by water and natural resource agencies to support day-to-day decision making, long-term water resource planning and management, hydrologic studies, and obligations for water governance and interstate agreements.

 

Why do you do what you do?

Helping to better manage and protect natural resources using new satellite and cloud computing is quite exciting and inspirational. Just a few years ago making field-scale water use and vegetation vigor maps was very labor intensive and expensive. Now days we can make maps in seconds compared to days or weeks.

What was the most exciting development for you in 2016?

The use of cloud computing to quickly make maps and data summaries that are easily assessible to end users via a web browser.

What lies ahead for 2017?

We are working with several government and NGOs to develop products that best suit their needs.

How has your experience at Adams Hub contributed to your success?

Adams Hub has provided the support and environment to accelerate research to , and development of a sustainable model.

Contact Dr. Huntington at JustinH@.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Your Business with Strategic Alliances: the Basics

One of the most effective business-development strategies for startups is a process that’s employed by mid-size to large companies every day in the United States. It’s the use of strategic alliances.

I hesitate to call them “strategic partnerships” as many do, because they’re not really partnerships per se. A partnership denotes shared risk and shared reward, but this isn’t usually the case. Typically, the parties in a strategic alliance will keep the relationship at arm’s length until the comfort level, expectations, and rewards of the relationship become evident.

Strategic alliances are business relationships that are usually built with no money or investment of capital.

Typical goals:

  • Expand visibility in a new market sector
  • Confer legitimacy or prestige to the parties, especially when one is new or unknown

A strategic alliance must be a win-win, but the way each party “wins” can be quite different. Strategic alliances are most beneficial and impactful when they are built between businesses with complimentary offerings, that serve the same markets and customers. They work best when they consist of unrelated offerings that together create a synergy.

So how does this differ from sales and marketing? First and foremost, this is definitely not about selling to other people’s customers. The quickest way to kill a strategic alliance is to treat it like your new sales channel. It’s about building relationships and business development. It’s a matter of having a vision for your organization and identifying which resources can aid the strategy. What other organizations can be aided by what we do? How can our products or services help others?

Startups and small businesses have a tough row to hoe to gain traction and customers in competitive markets. Throwing money at the market is one way companies try to overcome the deficiencies, but startups rarely have that option. Even if they did, success depends on how and where the dollars are spent and the metric(s) utilized to measure it. Most startups and small businesses don’t have endless amounts of cash to spend on marketing, nor can they effectively measure which piece of the marketing and communications budget actually creates the greatest ROI. In my startup companies, we always look early on for powerful strategic alliances to help drive our agenda, identifying other non-conflicting agendas in the same marketplace. We create a more dynamic message and/or solution, and we do that on a shoestring.

Here’s an example, one we’re working on right now for my new software company. In the new company we’ve identified some real problems in the boutique hotel industry, and it’s easily costing small hotel owners tens of thousands of dollars per year and up to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to rectify these, or upgrade. One way to get customers in the target market is to start cold-calling hotels that fit the profile we’ve identified. Anyone who has ever cold-called a market knows just how hard that is to get anyone to even listen to you, much less buy from you. The odds are in the low 2% range, which means that for every 100 calls made, only 2 will result in an appointment or sale. Those are some rough odds for anyone in this era of small business customer acquisition, and phone screening.

Our primary strategy is to align with the organizations that cater to this particular industry. It does help that in this case we have a thirty-year relationship with several hoteliers, and know the founder of an industry association that includes a membership of 20,000 small-hotel chains all around the world. We’ve pinpointed something of value for the association, are building it, and providing it to the membership as a value-add to their base dues. Then (ta-da!) there are two more tiers of premium products that will be available for the members at higher price points, providing services that tether us to the customer base in long-term ways.

Why is it important to identify key players, associations and memberships within your particular industry? There are many reasons, but one of the best is creating a legitimate one-to-many relationship.  Other parallel reasons for pursuing the associations and memberships in a particular market are to create parallel legitimacy with a recognized or established organization. Being able to use of share their brand alongside your brand is a powerful message to would-be customers and other alliances.

When we founded the non-profit Entrepreneurs Assembly (www.EA-NV.org)  five years ago, it was established to assist entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs in honing their business models and keeping them on track in 30 day intervals. Early on, we established strategic alliances to provide funnels  for the programs and legitimacy for the unique and valuable things we were doing to create and grow businesses. We worked with the folks in Reno at EDAWN, and provided them with a key entrepreneurial metric they did not have. They helped us with marketing and a bit of funding which continues to this day. We strategic-alliance-imagealso knew early on that the university was key to many aspects of our programs and their success. Our educational courses have been accredited now for several years and 20% of our EA membership are students and former students all of whom are now building fantastic companies right here in northern Nevada, instead of moving over the hill to work for Google.

In launching EA in Incline Village, we knew that working with SNC was critical to the equation. They have an entrepreneurial program up there, but not a community outreach mechanism, which is what we have. I spoke to my pal Kendra whom I’ve worked with for years in business plan competitions. She was excited to launch, so we did, but we couldn’t have done it without the critical alliance in Incline!

Now here we are in Carson City, where we’ve been working strategically with Adams Hub for innovation to build a culture of entrepreneurship and collaboration in Carson City. This entails working closely with NNDA and other local entities to create a collaborative network of businesspeople who can help each other and drive fundamental success.

No organization can operate solely on its own. All of them need resources, networks, customers, and strategic alliances. The alliances help each entity accomplish more than it could on its own, tap into new markets, create new synergies, and most importantly help organizations thrive and prosper. It works!

WiCis wins international honor for its I-Streme App

On November 15, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, The Palm Dubai, Adams Hub coworking member company WiCis received the Thuraya 2016 Innovation Award for Best App. The Tahoe-area company received the international honor for its newly-launched WiCis Sports I-Streme App, a disruptive technology for the outdoors which promises to render satellite messengers and sports watches obsolete. I-Streme works anywhere on the planet with WIFI, 3G, 4G or satellite. Its purpose is to “monitor, share and protect” by transmitting data about the user’s geolocation, altitude and speed, as well as key biometrics.

Thuraya, a leading mobile satellite communications company, serves global customers that include industry leaders from sectors such as energy, media, marine, government, and NGOs. Thuraya’s technology has been embraced by adventure travel and extreme sports enthusiasts.

“The awards are a great catalyst for the creation of new ideas, products and applications, because they draw upon the creative skills of our development partners,” said Bilal Hamoui, Thuraya’s
Chief Commercial Officer.

The I-Streme© app connects and protects users while running, boating, hiking and climbing. I-Streme-enabled wearables also produce medical-quality biometrics, including oxygen, heart rate and body temperature, and can transmit them as frequently as the user desires, enabling athletes and adventurers to be closely and continuously monitored during demanding adventures and climbs.

I-Streme is platform-independent, so its data can be viewed on any platform, including iOS, Android, and Windows. WiCis I-Streme is built for social sharing, making it easy for followers to track their favorite adventurer regardless of where they are in the world. The app enables users to send texts to their public dashboards and get SpotCast weather information live wherever they are. Data is also stored so the user can review it any time.

WiCis I-Streme© integrates with an array of proven wearables and technology, which the company’s development team members have personally field-tested in the Sierra and Himalaya. A recent expedition to Everest by WiCis, in conjunction with Thuraya, was live-streamed on its public dashboard, using the I-Streme app.

Founded in 2011 by Harvard and Stanford anesthesiologist Dr. Leo Montejo (also founder of Picis) in the Lake Tahoe area, the company’s goal is to promote the use of mHealth and tracking devices to make adventure sports safer and engage their followers with real time data that is either private or also available to social media platforms.

Dr Leo Montejo did his residency at Harvard in anesthesiology and critical care medicine, has been a Professor at Stanford in this specialty, and is an extreme sports enthusiast. Dr. Montejo has participated in three Himalayan expeditions.

The Wisdom of (Small) Crowds

Scratch the surface of most (go on, I dare you) and you’ll find…a scratch-resistant surface. Most entrepreneurs have hard shells. As the pop culture stereotype goes, you gotta be tough to be an . Not just tough, but a lone genius or a rugged individualist. Most of us are accustomed to going it alone.

Maybe you’re familiar with the Peter Principle. It holds that employees are promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. But plenty of entrepreneurs doggedly work their way up to incompetence, too. It’s something called Founder’s Syndrome. Here are the symptoms, per Wikipedia:

  • The founder makes all decisions, big and small, without a formal process or input from others.
  • Decisions are made in crisis mode, with little forward planning.
  • Staff meetings are held generally to rally the troops, get status reports, and assign tasks.
  • There is little meaningful strategic development, or shared executive agreement on objectives with limited or a complete lack of professional development.
  • There is little organizational infrastructure in place, and what is there is not used correctly.
  • There is no succession plan.

Does this sound like you? No founder can succeed without “working on the , not in the business,” as Michael Gerber’s business classic The E Myth describes it. Yet the vast majority of US business owners don’t take the time to step back and examine their strategy, ask the big questions, or seek out the opinions of our peers or outside experts.

Very few of us have a board of directors or even an informal . (There are companies who offer “virtual” advisory boards, but over the years I found many of these to be prohibitively expensive or run by people without the kind of entrepreneurial experience I sought.)

So entrepreneurs can be a little…secretive. Not surprising really: many of us start companies so we don’t have to answer to anyone else. There are plenty of chips on entrepreneurial shoulders. This can lead to some less-than-productive behaviors, such as bottling everything up and feeling as though we should have all the answers. Many founders’ families–even their spouses–have no idea what’s keeping them up at night.

So what’s a rugged individual to do?

Entrepreneurs Assembly is a business-support organization born in the Great Recession. It’s a non-profit, where members get to experience expertly facilitated round-table discussions about their biggest issues, the stuff of insomnia.

EA’s motto is “Founders Helping Founders,” and it’s clear to see that the magic of these round tables is a set of fresh ears and fresh brains who can help you think differently. Even if it’s just for a few hours once a month. EA members help each other identify blind spots and remove road blocks.

Of course, you’ll leave the meeting with “marching orders” for the next 30 days. And suddenly, you’ll rediscover the beauty of accountability. (You said you were going to terminate that toxic employee in last month’s meeting, and your peers are waiting to hear how it went. No wiggle room. You can’t pull that “I’m the boss” card to explain why you postponed the inevitable…again.)

Best of all, few of those crucial “marching orders” require that you spend any money. EA Founder Matt Westfield keeps members focused on their customers. You’re going to spend some time, certainly, but some of the most profound changes you can make involve talking to people and doing research. Engaging with your customers or your marketplace.

At every meeting I see resources shared: a or another member provides an email or phone number for a key contact that can provide help. Someone writes down a book or blog to read, or suggests an app to try. Some of the resources are so laser-focused, so ridiculously relevant for the individual involved, it’s hard to believe the serendipities. But that’s what happens when you leave your hard shell behind and get real, and really honest, with other people who are on the same path. And by the way, confidentiality is a sacred vow to EA members.

The founders of EA saw a huge gap and are busily filling it, with chapters in Reno, South Lake, Incline and now , where the meeting is held in The Studio at Adams Hub, 177 W. Proctor. And did we mention that there’s no charge to take part?

Our final meeting of 2016 is being held November from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. is your chance to “work on, not in” your business. For more information, email grow@adamshub.com, or call us at 775.222.0001. You can also visit www.ea-nv.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Started Entrepreneurs Assembly

by Matt Westfield, Adams Hub Entrepreneur in Residence

matt westfield portraitEntrepreneurs Assembly (EA) was born in the shadow of the Great Recession, in 2011. A lifelong, serial entrepreneur, I had years of experience in mentoring business plan competitors and assisting startups. But as the “recovery” staggered forward I found myself interacting with a striking number of displaced professionals who’d lost their jobs to the recession and were attempting to reinvent themselves. For many of them, starting a business was a survival strategy fueled by desperation.

Time was of the essence for many of these aspiring entrepreneurs. Many years before this (2003), a buddy and I decided to build a startup curriculum module that we’d never seen anywhere else. It was straightforward and action-oriented, providing a starting point for an entrepreneur to help shake out his or her business model, add chronological marketing steps, and build a plan to stay on track and reach his or her goals.

We revived and expanded that curriculum for these post-recession startups, and realized that we needed to create a network that could engage, nurture and foster accountability among these startups. Structured in 30-day intervals, the network meetings would keep the founders on track and get them to the customer more quickly and more effectively–with a good value proposition and a compelling story to tell. This new network turned out to be the precursor to Entrepreneurs Assembly.

To build the network we sought an initial partner to provide us with meeting space. We met with the economic development folks who needed the metrics for the entrepreneurial ecosystem, which we could build. We met with UNR, who wanted to develop a minor in Entrepreneurism, and also needed a place to direct the entrepreneurs who were hatched by the business program at the University.  Other partners referred potential entrepreneurs to us. The response to the Entrepreneurism curriculum was electrifying.

One of the biggest benefits of the course is that it helped foster accountability. As people began to graduate though, we also discovered a new need: entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs who now needed a way to keep on track and maintain forward momentum. So, the Entrepreneurs Assembly (www.EA-NV.org) was formed with two mentors and two startups who’d come through the class and wanted more hands-on guidance.

In four years, EA has grown from a one-chapter program with a mentor and two founders to three chapters in Northern Nevada mentoring about 100 startups each month. We are proud to build a new chapter in conjunction with the Adams Hub for innovation, launched in Carson City, and delighted to say that we’ve just passed the “1,000th company founder served” mark since our inception.

EA has a very simple, yet compelling model, with a peer-to-peer engagement strategy that holds participants accountable within 30-day intervals. First, when someone signs in they are automatically agreeing that anything divulged in the room stays in the room unless expressly permitted (by the specific founder) to share that information with those outside of EA.

Everyone in the room is held to an ethical and behavioral model which respects the participants, offers constructive critiques and nurtures creativity. As well, participants are encouraged to open and share networks and resources with others in the organization.

Meetings begin with introductions, business, and last month’s “marching orders update,” whether completed or not. Marching Orders are the action items that each participant has committed to for the 30-day period following the previous meeting.

After a quick break, facilitators divide participants into round tables with about 5 or 6 entrepreneurs and one or two mentor/facilitators at each. The next two hours are devoted to the roundtable sessions, with equal time for each participant who has completed their assignments from the prior meetings they attended.

If a founder doesn’t complete their respective marching orders from the prior month, for any reason, they’re welcome to attend the next meeting, but not permitted to take time from the ones who’ve completed their assignments and are prepared for the next session of business development. This ensures that maximum energy is offered to the founders who are executing their plans.

The mentor/facilitator’s job is to keep everyone on track, keep conversations constructive, encourage peer input and not allow anyone to dominate. Mentors-facilitators are also not expected (or wanted) to be the font of wisdom and “answers.” Energy is focused on one speaker at a time. We’ve found that the true power and dynamic rests with each entrepreneur’s ability to share, contribute and learn throughout each session.

The results of each meeting are energy, focus, and dynamic networks of like-minded people of every age who live it, breathe it and “get” it.

EA is open to the entire business community, from someone with a new business idea to founders of startups, new businesses, flat businesses, or businesses in need of turnaround. There is no cost to participate.

EA Carson launched in August and meets on the third Wednesday of every month. For more information, contact grow@adams hub, or call 775.222.0001. You can also visit ea-nv.org to learn more about the organization and all its chapters.

Coworking: the cure for the common workday

is changing the way startups, small businesses and freelancers work. It used to be there were a handful of options for those of us who didn’t have an office: work at home, rent expensive space or set up camp at Starbucks. (Good luck on that conference call!)

While working from home has advantages, it has a couple of significant downsides, the first being distractions. Work-from-homers often cite the dog, the kids, or the load of laundry you can slip in between emails as challenges to their productivity and concentration

But the most significant downside for the home office worker is the sense of isolation that can set in after the novelty and convenience of living where you work loses its luster.

Coworking to the rescue. This recent work trend has picked up incredible steam in the past few years. Coworking spaces have popped up in virtually every city in the US. Most of them feature a communal work area that may resemble a cafe, with large shared tables, lounge areas, conference rooms and “phone booths” for those conversations that demand privacy. Some, like Adams Hub, offer a receptionist and mailboxes, enabling small companies and startups to present a professional image from Day One.

At Adams Hub, coworking members enjoy a light, contemporary space with lots of windows, a high speed fiber network, and an unlimited supply of caffeine. Located in the heart of downtown Carson City, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes within walking distance, as well as a nearby yoga studio that offers lunchtime sessions. Other amenities include shower facilities for bike-to-workers, a refrigerator for stashing your lunch, and access to conference rooms as space permits. There’s even a new roof deck.

While coworkers report better focus and productivity, one of the biggest benefits of coworking are the “creative collisions” that occur while working around other people. These serendipities are one of the reasons people love coworking–you meet the most interesting people, doing the most interesting things. And inevitably, there are interesting new connections that come your way as a result of being in this “habitat.”

Adams Hub is unique in that it’s a business incubator and coworking habitat operated by the non-profit Hop & Mae Adams Foundation. Coworkers here enjoy an opportunity to be part of that environment of innovation and creativity.

Because our mission is to foster innovation and energetically support small business in the area, Adams Hub coworkers are treated to some unusual perks:

  • Student interns are often available to help coworking clients, on a space-available basis
  • On Fridays, expert research is provided by Research Ninjas, librarians from the Carson City Library.
  • Thursdays, business counseling by the SBDC is available in-house.
  • Even Office Depot gives our clients VIP treatment, extending their Carson City Chamber of Commerce discounts (which are substantial) to coworking members. Kind of makes you feel like a big shot.

Individual coworking memberships at Adams Hub are just $150 per month for use Monday-Friday, 9-5 p.m. Students (with current registration and ID) can join for just $49.

Tours are always available.

Want to know more about coworking, or getting your accepted for our business incubator? Contact us at grow@adamshub.com or at 775.222.0001.

Learn more about the Coworking trend.