If you’re a rural small business person, I want you to introduce yourself. Today, meet Nancy Sherman.
We all have limited time – we are busy living our days taking care of family, working, trying to enjoy our lives (at least a little bit), yet there are only so many hours in the day. And if you’re a small business owner, those hours become fewer and more precious. With this economy the way it is, it becomes even harder to find any time to devote to growing our companies. We are so busy working in our businesses that we don’t take the time to work ON our businesses. However, if we don’t spend at least some time on that very thing, we will soon find ourselves without that which we are working hard to preserve.
The saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there” is very true. People need to have a plan (map) and follow that in order to get where they really want to be – in both life and in business. That’s what The Work Place Initiative is all about. An organization for small businesses in southcentral Michigan, WPI works with new and emerging entrepreneurial companies to help them find their map to growth and success.
How? Education, peer support and networking are the fundamental prongs of this organization. By learning from experts about issues such as marketing, PR, taxes, the use of social media, etc., small businesses find themselves with a wealth of information on topics that may be useful to their own processes. As well, the companies can share their goals, actions and past histories to help each other when needs arise.
There are three aspects to WPI: the educational forums meet monthly. A guest expert comes in and shares thoughts on topics of interest to the businesses in the community. A second component is the referral group: by learning about each other’s business, these companies are able to reach out to their own network of clients, family and friends with information about their colleagues’ businesses. A pay-it-forward mentality becomes apparent: by helping others, we are actually helping ourselves. And finally, INSIGHTS, the cornerstone of WPI, brings into play Napoleon Hill’s concept of Mastermind Groups where a small group of businesses come together to share their thoughts and ideas:
“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”
Nancy Sherman, the Director of the Initiative, is a business professional with 30 years of experience. Successfully having run a consulting/administrative company in Washington, DC since 1983, she started the Initiative there in 2004. Since then, she has moved back to her roots to help care for her aging parents, and is starting over again in rural Midwest America. With degrees in psychology, sociology and counseling, Nancy cares a great deal about seeing businesses in the community grow and prosper. Her goal for 2009 is to help at least 50 small companies in her district open, grow and sustain themselves to the next level of their success.
Belief in the value of businesses and the sharing of thoughts and knowledge are what has put WPI on the map for small business growth. If you’re in southcentral Michigan, check out The Work Place Initiative and come on over to a forum someday.
Rural small business people, want to introduce yourself? Send me up to 500 words and two photos, max.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.