Friday, April 18, 2008


A recent NY Times article covered a new venture in New York City, In Good Company, a work space and consulting practice set up by two enterprising women: Amy Abrams and Adelaide Fives. Coffee shops in Des Moines have been packed lately; I had to wait for a parking space to open up the other day at Caribou Coffee, and they are not conducive to getting much work done; great for 1st meetings and catching up, but tricky for discussing proprietary stuff or focused conversation. IGC offers a better approach: rent some space and they'll give you the coffee. Instead of lattes and chai by the cup, IGC offers Internet access, phone service, and copier by the work space, with conference and meeting rooms available a la carte or on a subscription base. It's like a health-club membership for solo-preneurs, home-office escapees, and workers on the run who crave some adult interaction and an address away from home, but do not need a $600-$800 monthly nut. Amy and Adelaide designed a terrific space; they offer networking events, AND they provide consulting to their tenants, who are really more like members. Their deal is women-only. I really like the concept and think it will work here in Des Moines on a co-ed basis. I've scouted out a great space downtown. Is anybody interested? Annual memberships will be around $250-$300; monthly deals will be available ($300-$350 per with bundled access to work space and conference/meeting rooms); first come -first served and reserved space available for reasonable fees for other members. Mail drop-off and delivery; 24/7 secure access; kitchen/lounge; good coffee from a local shop; wi-fi; copier/fax; lots of energy. AND, small business consulting advice and coaching from me and a partner or two.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Kissin' frogs

If you are going to network, and who doesn't these days, you better keep your stuff up to date. I was just about to sit down to lunch with Rotary colleagues (yes, Rotary, an organization of people who make things happen)when a long time friend asked what I was up to. When I told him he mentioned an opportunity that had opened up at his organization and encouraged me to get a proposal, in IMMEDIATELY. Well, I keep a couple versions of my c.v. and business description handy, but I had not looked at them months. As a result, I spent a hectic Thursday afternoon updating them, and an even more hectic Friday morning playing catcht up.

Now, the opportunity arose someplace I should have been watching, but that's okay; networking lead me to it anyway, but I was not ready to pounce (like those AT&T commercials, my moment might have come...and gone to somebody else). Too often small businesses prepare one pitch, practice one approach, and then whiff when a chance comes in from left field. Consider modularizing your marketing materials; keep several c.v.s, each tailored for a different audience, up to date; have your advisors review them (you must have some advisors), and maintain a ready short list of references. Update everything regularly; add new deals; refer to new publications or white papers; drop old or irrelevant items.

This is not rocket science, but how many of you are ready? I tell clients that they will kiss a lot of frogs before they find their prince. To borrow from the Boss, you better put your makeup on and fix your hair up never know when your prince might come and take you to Atlantic City.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Communication is key

Obama's speech may have been groundbreaking. McCain may speak the unvarnished truth. Hillary may over dramatize. This woman really knows how to get her message across.

God (if there is a God) Bless America.


Thought Spring had sprung; instead it sprung a prank and snowed this morning. Ahh, well, I had cuppa jo this a.m. with my good friend, Terry Myers. We hadn't talked in a while and Terry beat me tot he punch to reconnect. Terry is a process management and strategic planning consultant at his firm 3-DLLC, and adjunct professor of management at Drake University (where I returned to school a few years ago for an MBA). Terry has a new venture going with Tom Steen and Barry Pace. They are offering their extensive management experience to businesses in need of turn around or transition assistance. These guys are problem solvers and action-takers. They offer down-to-earth experience, especially in process and manufacturing management, and a positive, forward-looking approach to doing business. We hope to collaborate on small to medium size businesses in need of capital for growth, what I like to call entrepreneurial finance. Stay connected. Stay tuned.