The weather has been beautiful this month. Typically we get a few weeks of "false spring" in February and then March reminds of that winter is not quite over. Not so much this year. Like everyone else, I loaded up on plants (drought tolerant) and potting soil (organic) at Home Despot. With a little help from the Tiger Team staff, I re-planted a few old water troughs.
With temps in the 70s and 80s, it's impossible not to think about climate change. Talk about keeping it real. Recently I discovered the David Suzuki Foundation web site. There's a list of the little things anyone can do to make a difference. Given that our congressional leadership are cynically denying science, I appreciate having a way take personal action. It may be small, but not insignificant. Happy Sunday.
The Year of Blogging Honestly: Day 5
It's party time. We’re celebrating 12 years of running a successful small business. This is an aha moment. It’s been such an integrated part of our life, Centerline Farm hardly seems like a business. It was built around a dream of living out in the “country”. Based on a passion for all things equestrian. Somehow it turned into a community of people who share a love of horses, the sport and the adventure.
Like many small business owners, at first, we were in way over our heads. The learning curve was ridiculously steep. We bootstrapped the farm, as we turned potential into reality. Sometimes it really sucked. Now, most of the time it’s simply great.
Here’s the point. Lots of businesses are a result of one’s avocation. However getting from that passion to a “day job” is a gigantic leap. For some, it never becomes full-time, and that’s OK. Regardless, to grow from avocation to successful occupation, the small business entrepreneur must start by doing these 5 things:
With some good luck, smart choices and lots of previous business experience we were able grow Centerline Farm into a profitable and fun business. We’ve downsized a bit – but it’s still a joy. And what I realize now, the most important thing is learning how to do this: Keep it real, be true to yourself, and live the moment.
Let’s get the party started.
The Year of Blogging Honestly: Day 3
I don't mean to get all touchy-feel. However, one year into this Tiger Team thing calls for a little reflection.
The Year of Blogging Honestly: Day 1
I've been writing off & on about Pro Bono consulting and the Taproot Foundation. I'm so excited to have been "tapped" for a one day Skills Marathon in early August. Specifically I'll be working with a small team as the Principal Consultant. The organization we'll be working with is BAWSI - Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative. One of their programs, called "BAWSI Girls" is a free, weekly after-school program. Elementary school girls develop self-esteem and good health practices from role models they can admire and emulate - female athletes drawn from Bay Area college, university & high school teams all over the Bay Area. I'm just learning about this great organization - founded and managed by remarkable women. Excited!
I just finished reading "The Circle", a novel by Dave Eggers. It may not be the greatest novel I've read, but I couldn't put it down. It's a must read for anyone working in high tech &/or actively engaged in social media. The Circle is a story of how one company can do evil under the guise of corporate good will. It's about the positive and evil powers of social media. The novel illustrates the mechanisms of a cult gone viral on a global scale. It's hard to believe the "world wide web" is 25 years old. Remember when a virtual visit to the Louvre was the most exciting web application? The Circle takes a dystopian view of how the internet might look well within the next 25 years. Most of the technology exists today - the NSA certainly uses it.
Here's an excellent review by Margaret Atwood from the New York Review of Books.
I'm an avid Podcast listener - Fresh Air, BBC's Kermode & Mayo, Maron's WTF & anything Slate. A new favorite is The Gist with Mike Pesca - topical, short, & sweet. I especially liked the podcast from last week with author Stephen Dubner: "Freakonomics is Basically a Peanut Butter Cup". To paraphrase:
"...Working with Georganne, it took less then 2 hours to develop and start implementing a focused business plan. I’m thrilled that my investment paid for itself in less then a month! "
Having worked for both start-up & public companies, my professional "makeover" includes social giving. A few months ago, I applied to become a Pro Bono consultant for non-profits through the Taproot Foundation. Of those who apply to work with Taproot, 45% are accepted. I've been "tapped" as a Strategy Consultant. After an orientation & training in SF last week, I've targeted a few projects on which I would like to contribute. The time commitment is 3-5 hours a week, so I guess my horses will get an extra day off now an then. With a focus on small-business consulting, and a little pro bono, I'm happy to say my career is no longer focused around corporate shareholder value. What's a Taproot? If you're looking for a way to give back by leveraging your professional skills, check out Taproot.
I am so excited! I received this email from Taproot Foundation yesterday. "Thank you so much for applying to donate your professional skills and MAKE IT MATTER. You’re a great fit for one or more of our volunteer roles and your next step is to attend one of our upcoming orientations." They have told me that I'm likely to be in a leadership position working with a bay area non-profit as part of their strategy practice.
Georganne Benesch is the principal of Tiger Team Marketing, CMO of Centerline Farm and a over zealous Yoga practitioner. With 25+ years in high-tech product marketing, she consults for start-ups, small businesses and technology companies.