Remaking America: Karen Gordon Mills, New SBA Administrator

By perksconsulting |

“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned… it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor — who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.”
-Barack Obama

Barack Obama has recently taken another bold step that will affect small business: the selection of Karen Gordon Mills, a fellow Harvard Graduate and venture capitalist from Brunswick, Maine, as the new administrator for the Small Business Association.

National business groups such as these are the main source of political representation for small businesses, and Karen Gordon Mills (who embodies cutting-edge, growing business) is up at bat. Gordon Mills’ portfolio boasts the co-founding of New York’s Solera LLC, a company that makes late-stage investments in a variety of growing businesses. Ms. Mills has also enjoyed an extensive amount of success in the realms of politics and business:

•Consulting for McKinsey & Co.
•Presiding over the MMP Group
•Advising Maine Governor John Baldacci
•Chairing the Council on Competitiveness and the Economy

Like many recently appointed leaders, Ms. Mills faces an uphill struggle due to recent budget cuts and restructuring of the Small Business Association. But, if anyone can turn it all around it’s Karen Gordon Mills.

Not only does she understand the struggles of small businesses, but she also plans to bring new life to the American labor market by creating jobs and increasing the SBA involvement in the job market and economy at large. With her vast amount of experience, history of bipartisanship, and big plans for the SBA, Karen Gordon Mills brings a fresh perspective that is expected to propel growing business into a bolder, more confident, and much greener future.

“Small, entrepreneurial businesses based on innovation are gathering up to get a bigger voice, and they are starting to reach out to each other so they can get more access and visibility in Washington,” she says. “When they have a mission in mind…they are highly active.” –Karen Gordon Mills

Remaking America: The Economic Recovery Plan

By perksconsulting |

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

-Barack Obama, Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009.

Now that Barack Obama is settling into the White House, it’s out with the old and in with the new. So, what exactly does President Obama have in store for the next four years? And how will the face of small business change?

Obama has already begun to set change into motion with three tactics that will have a big impact on small business. The first of these is his Economic Recovery Plan.

With the inauguration of a new President, the economy is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now, especially since we’ve all been hearing so much about Obama’s groundbreaking Economic Recovery Plan. President Obama has been lobbying campaign-style for a two-step economic plan:

Phase one will involve the release of the second half of Bush’s $700 million bailout, an initiative that Congress approved last Thursday in a 52-42 vote.

The second part of the plan involves $825 billion in tax cuts and new spending to fuel the economy. While the second piece of the Economic Recovery Plan (which 58% of people surveyed by the Associated Press say will significantly improve the economy) is still in negotiation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid believe the proposal will be ready for the new president’s signature as early as mid-February.

So, what does this mean for small business?

With the imminent jumpstart of the economy, clients and competitors alike will be more willing to take risks and seize new opportunities. Stay ahead of the curve by taking bolder businesses steps with more confidence today.

Is Obama’s Economic Recovery plan a bit bold for a brand new president? Perhaps. But, now more than ever, is the time for change and change takes confidence, courage, and risk. Next week we will be exploring this idea of how bold is too bold in today’s economic climate. Taking bold action as a leader, whether it is that of a business owner or manager or that of our new commander in chief, is essential in weathering the economic storm. It’s time for small business to grow and the only person who can grow your business is you.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog about the New Small Business Administration appointment that may change the small business landscape as we know it.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

-Barack Obama, Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009.

Remaking America: What the New Administration Means For Small Businesses

By perksconsulting |

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity
of purpose over conflict and discord.” –Barack Obama

The day we’ve all been anxiously waiting for has arrived and,
with it we have a new President. The time has come to usher in what
Barack Obama has called a new “era of responsibility.” Throughout his
inaugural address, President Obama enlisted all Americans to take part
in the quest to revolutionize this country in order to keep up with
the ever-changing times. With the economic and political crisis we current face, drastic action must be taken and now.

President Obama begins his first term with higher voter
expectations than any president in recent history.

“65% of the general public believe that President
Obama will be an “above average president,”

with 28% saying that he will be “outstanding” according to the Associated Press. With such high hopes for the future there is only one thing we all can do– pull up our bootstraps and get to work. This truly is, as President Obama says, “a moment that will define a

Over the next few days, the Perks Consulting blog will feature
coverage of President Obama’s future plans and how they will affect
growing businesses. Stay tuned for news and opinions on the:

Economic Recovery Plan
Obama’s new appointment in the Small Business Administration
and an outline of the Obama-Biden Plan for Small Business.

“Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our
minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed
than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity
remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting
narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has
surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust
ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”
-Barack Obama

CLICK HERE for the complete text of Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address.
CLICK HERE for Speech Video

Escaping the Crisis

By claire |

With Inauguration Day looming, there has been much debate about President-Elect Barack Obama’s bold new Economic Recovery Plan. Many people think that the plan is too bold given the amount of tax payer money that has been laid out by the Bush Administration. Yet, there are others who believe that this new stimulus may not be bold enough.

As the global economy comes to a screeching halt, it’s time to take our foot off the break and make innovative choices to create a fast-paced economy for the future. President Obama’s “Economic Recovery Plan” may be just the change we are looking for. His plan might be too bold, or not bold enough, but it’s certainly a brave and courageous one.

In today’s economic environment, it’s very important for entrepreneurs to understand how to deal with the current economic meltdown and the uncertainty that comes with it.

What can you do to keep your business growing?

1. Be alert to fleeting opportunities and nimble at seizing them.

Take advantage of the fact that many of your competitors are sitting on the sidelines, fearful to make a move. In order to better confront the economic “punches” coming from all directions, identify and seize one opportunity that could gain your market share or differentiate your company.

2. Cultivate your resources.

Your employees, vendors, clients, and customers are just as fearful as you are. Be the first one to reach out and lend a hand. People will remember how you treated them in the bad times far more than in the good.

Entrepreneurs should use agility to spot and exploit changes in the market, as well as withstand market shifts. Turning the crisis into an opportunity to strengthen your business is your best choice. Rely on your core competencies and capabilities to help your company and team not only survive- but emerge as true market leader.

So, how does Obama’s strategy affect your business? Are entrepreneurs being bold enough and smart enough to confront the crisis?

What are your comments and thoughts about Obama’s bold new Economic Recovery Plan? We’d love to hear from you.

Are you excited for CHANGE? 5 How to tips to implement change now!

By perksconsulting |

The glitz, glamour, and excitement of the new year are beginning to wear off. But with the inauguration of president elect Barack Obama just days away there is much excitement for change. Harness this excitement for your professional gain.

What changes are you making for the new year?
If you have change initiatives in place, set yourself up for successful implemention the these 5 tips to implement change. No idea where to start? It’s time to give yourself some change initiatives. Use the tips below or reference the January 6th post on Clearing the Professional Closet: Start. Stop. Continue.

1. Get Back to the Basics.
Each of us an individuals have the power to make changes professionally, regardless of the size of organization or the position you hold. What small changes can you implement? Or what changes will make the most positive impact? For businesses, customer service is crucial. Are you taking care of your customers? In this economy, keep track of your new business pipeline is crucial? Do you know what work or orders your firm has lined up? What opportunities might be available to increase the pipeline? These are fundamental to every business and a great place to start!

2. Prioritize.
The easiest way to make changes is to prioritize what changes you are looking to tackle. Then start at the top of your list. We often try to be superman or superwoman, when it comes to change we often fail because we fail to prioritize and set realistic goals. Set your sights on one change at a time. Once you’ve successfully implemented and maintained the change move on to the next on your priority list.

3. Break it down.
Take the most important change you are looking to make and break down into manageable bite size chunks. Breaking down a larger goal or project gives you constant benchmarks to keep you on track. What’s more, it ensures that the change as a whole looks and feels more manageable. Without short-term goals for each phase or “bite” a task can seem too large and deemed impossible. Give yourself a break, see the end goal and then break it down!

4. Ask for help.
If you’re having a hard time seeing the big picture don’t be afraid to ask for help. We often want to put on strong face and try to tackle our toughest problems solo. If there are changes you are looking to make create a list of the changes, and ask for help prioritizing the changes and breaking them down into manageable pieces. Outside perspectives can help a great degree in this regard as they are not personally attached to the situation.

Don’t have anyone in your network you can ask?
Post a question to our blog, find a business coach, or hop on a forum online to get additional advise.

5. Believe in Change!
This is the most important. You must believe deeply and passionately about the change you are looking to make. You must constantly remind yourself why the change is important and that you have the will power and tenacity to make it happen.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
Barack Obama

What changes are you making this year?

Have you cleaned out your professional closet?

By perksconsulting |

And I don’t mean your office supply cabinet or your ever expanding file cabinet. Have you taken stock of what worked in 2008? If not, there’s no better time than the new year! As you are making your personal resolutions, and setting your professional agenda for the year dig beyond the surface to determine what changes need to be made to ensure 2009 is a success.

During the month of January Perks Consulting will be focusing on what you as business, owners, managers, and employees can do to clear the clutter. A “Best-Practice” in business consulting requires an analysis of what is missing, what is not working, and what is working. A drill we often do internally and with our clients, simply put is: Start. Stop. Continue.

What is missing? There are always things that can have been overlooked or have been pushed to the side due to a lack of resources. The new year, is the perfect time to assess what things have been put on hold. Second to that, it is time to ask yourself and your colleagues: what can we be doing that we have not?

So how do you make way for the items you just decided you need to start doing? Yes, that’s right. It’s time to evaluate what you have been doing and determine which tasks, projects, or strategies you have been working on tirelessly with little or no positive results. Cut the fat, this year and eliminate what is not working.

This is a test of the tried and true! In your new year analysis when you are determining what has not been working you will and should uncover what you have been doing and what things are yielding the best results. Put your focus on the things that have been delivering time after time!

The core of what has been working will give you stability to cut away the fat and add strategic opportunities, Give this drill a try. You’re sure to find a couple things in each category where you can make improvements. We’d love to hear your feedback or questions. Did this drill help you? Your organization? If so, how?

Cheers to a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year!

By perksconsulting |

The New Year always gets everyone buzzing and excited for change. This year
it seems that change is more desired and more needed than ever before. With a new president upon us and an economic catalyst on the verge, there is much to support an optimistic spirit.

As the discussion of the New Year, resolutions, and business outlook stirs through the office corridors and offices, I am hearing more business managers and owners than ever before talking about 2009 being a make it or break it year.

For me, the New Year meant a new location and new opportunities. My newfound office was just what I needed to kick start the 2009 change train.

So what will be the difference between 2009 being a bust or a boom?

Focus. Your customers are feeling the crunch of the economic downturn just as much as you are. Now, more than ever, it is important to communicate with your current and potential customers. Ensure your customers of the value you provide and focus on their needs.

Strategy. It’s time to get back to basics and focus on the cornerstones of your business’ success. Think about what differentiates your business from your competition and make sure that you are communicating these differences to your customers.

Analysis. Take a long hard look at the downfalls and the payoffs in past years to maximize opportunity and reduce risk. Analysis of your pipeline and threats is the best place to start planning for 2009.

Regardless of the changes your making, it’s time to assess your personal and professional stock to set yourself up for a great 2009. Making changes is an invigorating way to start a whole New Year. What changes are you making for the New Year?

Welcome to Perks Consulting Blog

By perksconsulting |

We want to hear from you! You will find members of the Perks Consulting team will post information about business, marketing, or strategy concepts we are using, researching, and/or contemplating for our clients. Please feel free to post comments or questions. We will respond as quickly as possible.

The Perks Consulting Team