We all go through this journey trying to make the best of it. Even the greatest of us can loss our way from time to time. Sometimes it takes a minute for us to find our balance again after being knocked down. But learning that we are not defined by the trials and tribulations that you go through but how we come out of them is the true definer of who and what we are.
Your voice, your story, your experiences are invaluable and should be embraced by you and shared with others. For it is your voice that encourages, strengthens, and enlightens. It is your voice that gives courage to those that may be on the edge of letting go. It is your voice that will lead others back to their journey’s path again.
So spread your wings and fly again because you’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
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Remember the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” This quote is one that has been passed down for generations and growing up I use to live my life by this quote. Why sweat the small stuff? It’s only the big stuff that matters! Right? …Wrong! As I began to mature in business I realized that it was actually all of the small stuff that really mattered.
Instead of only focusing on the final goal, it is imperative to set benchmarks that leads to achieving the ultimate goal, (all the small stuff). Paying attention to the details is very important when building a successful business so that things that are relative are not missed. Paying attention to the details is as simple as recognizing that small adjustment to your presentation, or making that follow-up call to say thanks for the opportunity. These are the kinds of attention to detail that will set you apart from your competitors.
Imagine having a bike with no pedals. Small it my seem but without the pedals, the bike becomes just a frame with wheels. Something as small as the pedals missing on the bike has a huge impact on your ability to produce forward movement.
This same concept is relevant in business. Attentiveness to the small benchmarks in business in return will produce the kind of results needed to help you reach your final goal. So next time, remember to slow down and give the small stuff the attention it deserves.
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A project financed with tax exempt bonds typically qualifies for the 4% new construction/ rehab tax credit. This is because tax exempt bonds are a kind of federally subsidized financing, and the 9% credit may not be used in such cases. If the project is located in a Qualified Census Tract or a Difficult to Develop Area, it is able to use the 130% basis Boost. (Like any other project, it also qualifies for the 4% acquisition credit if it meets the standard acquisition tax credit criteria.)
One important advantage to using tax credit bond financing is the fact that the project does not need to compete for its tax credits. They are allocated to the project “as-of-right” once bond financing is awarded to the project.
However, the full amount of the project’s tax credits will be awarded only if certain very specific criteria are met:
• At least 50% of the cost of each building in the project is financed with tax-exempt bonds. The bond amount for each building must be 50% of depreciable basis plus land (the “50% test”).
• The 50% test must be met at construction completion.
• If the project has a cost overrun, the test will include any additional depreciable costs. Therefore, it is prudent to have a substantial financing cushion when structuring the bonds.
• If the 50% test is missed, the tax credits are reduced to an amount equal to the bonds’ percentage of total sources of funds. If the bonds represent only 45% of the depreciable cost-plus land, the project gets only 45% of the maximum possible tax credits.
• The state agency granting the bonds must provide a signoff that the project qualifies for tax credits under the state’s Qualified Allocation Plan.
• The issuer of the bonds must provide a signoff that the bonds are subject to the state’s volume cap and that the project qualifies for tax credits.
Entrepreneurs tell stories. They tell investors about how their business model is unique; they convince consumers about their products’ benefits and they advertise online about how their brands will disrupt the whole industry.
However, there’s just one story that entrepreneurs must never forget to tell, as it’s arguably the most important one for their business to succeed: their own personal story. “When you tell your story, it reveals your values,” says Brian Hardwick, head of messaging and activation for Enso, a Santa Monica, California-based creative agency that’s built campaigns for brands such as Google and the Gates Foundation. “When you connect that to a larger shared value, you really give people a reason to believe in you.”
With a team of 30, Enso aims to help brands amplify their impact on industry and society overall. One of the company’s projects was the launch of Google Fiber in Kansas City in 2012, for which Hardwick and his team asked individuals to describe how a faster Internet connection would help area residents. The campaign was called “Let’s do this for Kansas City.”
Coming from a background as an advocacy strategist–he helped Al Gore found and build his organization to fight climate change–in political campaigns, Hardwick can’t be more bullish on personal story telling. He thinks crafting a powerful back story, as politicians often do, is also essential for entrepreneurs to market their brands. In an interview with Inc., Hardwick gives his top advice for how to become a better story teller and thus a better leader:
1. Open up about your past.
A good story is not a replication of your resume or your LinkedIn profile, but instead it should include details that people can’t easily spot simply by Googling you. Maybe a childhood memory can connect to what you do now. At age 12, Mark Zuckerberg programmed an instant messaging service that his father used in his dental office. Sharing that part of your story makes you more relatable.
2. Find commonalities.
Carefully think about how your story can be connected to all of the people you are sharing the story with. Good stories resonate. One example that Hardwick gives is that most entrepreneurs will probably have a moment when they find themselves standing at a crossroads, wondering if they should go for the safer solutions or risky paths. Find the common moments and tell your own unique stories.
3. Pull from childhood lessons.
College seemed to be a starting point of many stories. What about all the colorful years before then? Hardwick suggests that you should think about all of the people that have influenced you since your childhood, and what you have learned that help you make all the choices along the way. Never neglect the lessons that your parents or even your grandparents told you, there are always some shared values in those words.
4. Tell your story to everyone.
Don’t wait to tell your stories until the New York Times agrees to interview you. The media will most likely never interview you unless they have heard of your story from someone else first. The best way, Hardwick says, is to tell your story to “everyone”–that includes employees, customers and business partners. Word-of-mouth is probably the best marketing medium for a touching personal story.
5. Don’t rely too much on social media.
Though Twitter or Facebook can be useful to market your products, it may not work that well when telling your own stories. Of course, Hardwick says, social media to some extent reveals your values, but your story will be most powerful if you can tell it in person.
6. Keep it short.
Think about your personal story as a special pitch about your company. You have to keep it short, and right to the point. Hardwick suggests that typically you should keep your story to under five minutes.
7. Don’t be shy.
When you start a company, people are naturally going to be curious about background. They’ll want to know what inspired you to go out on a limb and start a business, as it takes considerable guts to do so. They’ll also want to know whether your history confers qualities that can help you succeed in business. Don’t be shy. After all, you are part of your brand.-by Yolanda Lu
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A few years ago in this very publication I read a piece by Amity Shlaes (who was writing about the dour nature of her family) called Family Affair that stopped me in my tracks. She said:
[My father] gave the best career advice I’ve ever heard: There will come a moment when you are bored with an area of study and will want to try something new. But that boredom is the signal you’ve achieved mastery. You’ll be quitting at the moment when it’s most costly to do so. Only a mastered trade can be properly monetized.
This insight, so deceptively simple and elegant, helped me to find a voice for a nagging feeling that I had long felt. I’m not happy unless I’m experiencing new things, learning new skills and living on the outer fringes of my competency. Amity’s quote helped me to see that the moment I master something, I get bored with it, and with boredom comes the itch to try something new.
I don’t know if it’s the endorphin rush of not really being sure of what one is doing, or the testosterone high of mowing down obstacles in one’s path, but my focus intensifies when this level of danger is present. I’ve come to believe that this trait is characteristic of many entrepreneurs since now that I’ve identified it, I’m seeing this quality present in many places. Is it conceivable that to experience flow, you have to be hanging out over the edge?
The best way to motivate me is to tell me that something can’t be done. Early in my career I was part of a team at IBM that created a groundbreaking cooperation agreement with a Big Eight accounting firm (Arthur Andersen & Co.). We had a framed letter from an IBM director who said something to the effect of, “Don’t waste your time. It can’t be done.” That became our rallying cry.
I’ll never forget my first meeting with the scientists at Argonne National Laboratory who invented a new method for turning greenhouse gases into diamond. Prior to that meeting, I knew nothing about diamond except for what I recalled (which wasn’t much) from a materials science class I took in college some 15 years earlier. Despite this apparent drawback, I became the founding CEO of the company we formed and my lack of background and industry experience in diamond never was a limitation. I had co-founders who were technical experts, and I relished climbing the learning curve to become competent in the domain.
Once I master something, it ceases to interest me unless there’s a way to leverage that knowledge in pursuit of the next dragon. That may explain why I’m on my fifth career and may be one of the reasons why leading a startup is so intoxicating. There’s always another mountain just ahead. No matter what is in your rear view mirror, the next day brings new challenges. When I left the synthetic diamond company the relevance of my hard-won industry expertise slowly declined. What I took away (to leverage again) was an understanding of how to build and lead a company.
In a startup there’s never a moment of comfort. A former business partner of mine called this “perpetually skiing beyond the tips of your skis”. Or driving beyond your headlights. Steven Wright described this perpetual feeling of instability, “You know when you’re sitting on a chair and you lean back so you’re just on two legs then you lean too far and you almost fall over but at the last second you catch yourself? I feel like that all the time.” Saul Kaplan, in his post Innovation Lessons From Tarzan, uses the metaphor of Tarzan swinging from vine to vine to explain the same phenomenon.
Absent the endorphin cocktail that comes from living on the edge, what’s a guy to do? How do you glide into a career where you can take advantage of your experience yet still feel challenged—and not be susceptible to entry-level wages? How do you find meaning and motivation in doing something that you’ve already done? Part of the answer is to do something that’s hard.
Had I been of age in 1962 when John F. Kennedy threw down this challenge to the nation, I probably would have dropped everything I was doing:
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard….
I think this is a characteristic trait of entrepreneurs and I didn’t understand it until I benefited from Amity’s father’s wisdom.
I’m left with a question: How do you stay challenged and motivated in a field that you’ve mastered? -Neil Kane
The young workforce can infuse your office with energy, but come with unique risks.
Millennials are invigorating the workforce with their youthful energy. If you run a fast-growing startup full of them, though, there are two unique risks that you absolutely must manage: quick turnover and rebellion against bureaucracy. If you don’t, you will lose control of your business.
I discussed these hiring and management challenges with Tom Erickson, CEO of the software company Acquia. The firm has more than 450 people and generated $68 million in revenue last year. Here are his tips for eliminating the risk and working with Millennials.
1. Create a relaxed work environment.
How does Acquia do it? Erickson: “We create a work environment that feels conducive to people in their mid-20s. There are places for recreation, beer on tap, and no vacation policy. We respect that they will get their work done and will be checking their email and mobiles 24-7. If they need to take a break, they can do it. It gives them some sort of balance.”
2. Make the executive team accessible to employees.
Acquia also makes sure that its staff can get access to key people in the organization. “To create a collaborative environment, we keep the organization chart as flat as possible,” he says. “We want key people to be accessible, to mentor our talent, and to help map out career paths.”
3. Set up processes, but be flexible.
If you let talent do what whatever it wants, you can create chaos. But if you put in place to many formal systems and rules, Millennials will get annoyed and seek greener pastures.
Acquia is willing to try new processes and fix or kill them if they don’t work. “We use the lead, fire, aim approach. We see a problem, come up with a solution quickly, do it, and see how people react. If it has flaws, we fix them. If it’s a disaster, we get rid of it,” explained Erickson.
Acquia’s approach to managing these risks offers insights for any startup — the first is to realize that Millennials need different features in a work environment than other workers. The second is to try to develop a culture and processes that attract and motivate them and be willing to adapt if they don’t work. -Peter Cohan
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The Truth is… each and every circumstance we face in life presents us with an opportunity to choose to see the miracles that exist in that current situation.
Though we may not be where we WANT to be; we are exactly where we’re SUPPOSED to be.
All things in our life are unfolding as they should be.
We ignite our personal power when we make a decision to focus less on where we should be and express gratitude for where we are now (at this very moment).
~ Preston Byrd