CEO SPOTLIGHT

From Army Officer to Entrepreneur

By: Meghan Traynor

Kirby Atwell always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur, but he also felt called to serve in the military just as his father, grandparents, and great-grandparents had done. While Kirby knew he didn’t want to make the military a career, he knew for certain he wanted to serve. After attending West Point for four years and serving six years as an officer in the U.S. Army, Kirby got out of the military and immediately started his real estate business.

Ready to start something of his own, Kirby launched Green Vet Homes, a “real estate business that buys, rehabs, and rents properties with a mission of supporting veterans.” Green Vet Homes supports veterans by either renting their rehab properties to homeless veterans or by donating 10% of profits to a veteran-related cause. After successfully running Green Vet Homes for four years, Kirby decided to launch his second business, Living Off Rentals, to teach others how they can generate enough income to comfortably live off their rental properties. Since launching his second business in January, Kirby has seen great success in such a short amount of time that we just had to know his secrets!

Most importantly, Kirby’s advice for other small business owners, or those who are thinking of starting a small business, is to “keep things as simple as possible.” How, you ask? Avoid scaling. Kirby learned firsthand from a previous business he had that scaling is not the key to success. His previous business scaled too quickly, and he wished he had paid more attention to turning a profit instead of just getting bigger. In his current businesses Kirby intentionally keeps things smaller, all his staff is contracted, and things are running a lot more smoothly! But wait. How can you grow your business and keep things small? (more…)

2020-12-31T16:50:03+00:00December 31st, 2020|

Did You Know?

2021 is finally here (was 2020 just the longest year ever, or what?), and here at Powerhouse Planning we are all set to make the most of it. To get the year started off on the right foot, we’re focusing on business development. You know, that vague phrase tossed around the office so ubiquitously. What is business development, exactly? According to Forbes, “Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships,” a definition the author further clarifies as “. . . figuring out how the interactions of those forces combine together to create opportunities for growth.” We can definitely get on board with that.

Did you know that one of the pillars of Powerhouse is our business development service? Whether you need help with writing an award nomination package that will get your business the recognition it deserves, or you are on a nonprofit team that wants professional grant-writing work, or you need some help with your strategic planning, our business development services can help you make your small business grow. In addition, all business development services come with coaching, mentoring, and cheerleading because here at Powerhouse, we’re your biggest fans.

2020-12-31T16:50:20+00:00December 31st, 2020|

Tips for Business Development for Small Businesses

By: Randi Cairns

Interested in new ways to approach business development as a small business? Some of the best advice has stood the test of time (for example, content is and always will remain king). Here are a few other thoughts and ideas to consider if you’re interested in shaking things up for your business.

Go live! We’re all living glued to our computers these days for everything from our kids’ classes to our work meetings. You’re probably an internet pro by now if you weren’t already. And with too many Zoom calls to count, you’re probably also a lot more comfortable looking at your own face on video, right?

Use that to your advantage and create and share videos that showcase your business, your products, and/or your team. People may shop at businesses or use services, but they connect with people. So put the people behind your business front and center. Have fun with this. It doesn’t need to be perfectly curated or filtered, and you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously (unless you run a funeral home, and then perhaps more decorum is in order).

When you’re excited and passionate about what you do, it shows, and it makes others excited about what you’re doing too. (And you can grab one of those kids to do the videotaping!)

Recycle creatively. You don’t need to start from scratch with every piece of content, marketing collateral, or social media post you use. Especially if you’ve got great stuff already that people have responded well to. And even the stuff that got less than a stellar response can be useful as a starting point for new materials (if you’ve paid attention to what might have been executed differently).

Recycling isn’t just good for the environment, it’s also great for a small business budget. Look at what you’ve already created and think about how you might repurpose or reuse it again. Some content will be evergreen and that’s perfect already. Other things you can transform into something new altogether—like changing a blog post into video content or a report into an infographic. In these times, you have an almost endless list of creative opportunities to showcase your work and, more importantly, the story of your business. So be creative! (more…)

2020-12-31T16:51:33+00:00December 31st, 2020|

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

How to Merge Business Development with Business Etiquette

By: Meredith Flory

As you grow and develop your small business, it’s important to not lose the special touches in customer service that encourage customers to support local and aspiring companies. There are ways to build into your business while being conscious of how your company interacts with the public. As you grow your company, be mindful of the ways you establish company etiquette, with an eye to the values and ethics that are important to you. Here are ways to think about interacting with customers, social media, and business partners while maintaining the values you established when your business was just a dream.

1. Interacting with Customers

Make customer service a part of your business plan. Thanks to online shopping and increasing interconnectedness, small business doesn’t have to be local, and customers can purchase goods and services from around the world. This means you need to stand out in the quality of goods and ease of customer service. Make sure to include in company planning what customer service looks like for your business. Growth plans shouldn’t only include product and sales but should also outline how you treat people and what kind of business culture you are developing.

Make sure employees are trained and committed to customer service. Do not assume when you make a hire that your employees will interact with customers the same way you would, even if you hired them in part due to their people skills. Establish company guidelines for behaviors such as time limits on returning contacts, away messages, language, and expectations for handling problems. Making this a part of job training, rather than fixing a problem when it appears, will help you, the employee, and the client. Win, win, win. (more…)

2020-12-31T16:51:40+00:00December 31st, 2020|

POWERHOUSE SERVICE & SUCCESS

Client Profile: HelloHealth

Powerhouse Services Provided: External Communications

“The best part of working with Powerhouse Planning was responsiveness and trust. Trust is the most important aspect of any business relationship. I would definitely choose to work with Powerhouse again!”

–  Meagan Davies, HelloHealth

2020-12-31T16:53:23+00:00December 31st, 2020|

BUSINESS RESOURCES

Looking at creating or refining your business development plan can be daunting. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when determining which ways to grow or improve your company. For a good overview on what business development is and what goes in to creating a successful business development plan, check out The Ultimate Guide to Business Development.

If you want another perspective that offers some tips on how to get started, check out Investopedia’s blog.

For those who are trying to envision what a business development plan looks like in a post-COVID-19 world (and aren’t we all?), check out this article by Kevin Sneader and Bob Sternfels.

Wherever you are in your business development cycle, Powerhouse can help.

2020-12-31T16:51:59+00:00December 31st, 2020|

GIVING BACK & GETTING INVOLVED

Q & A with Terri Lynn Crutchfield of TLC Therapy Hooves

By: Julie Kirchner

As a part of our Powerhouse mission to Share the Goodness, we love to shine a light on nonprofits out in our communities who are contributing to the greater good. This month, we are highlighting the work of Terri Lynn and Scott Crutchfield and their amazing team of volunteers who help spread joy through their nonprofit organization, TLC Therapy Hooves, in rural Highlands County, Florida. We were grateful to sit down with Terri for a lighthearted virtual Q&A.

What is the inspiration behind TLC, and how did your adventure begin?

“It all started with a little orphan piglet,” Terri says with a playful smile in her voice. That little piglet, a surprise gift for her husband Scott, was later named Precious Piglet. Today, Terri and Scott Crutchfield’s pictorial old-Florida property is home to over 100 animals. TLC Therapy Hooves is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that Terri and Scott created in 2011, with a mission to spread joy by bringing extraordinary (and very well-dressed) therapy animals like pigs and miniature horses to the 17 nursing homes and rehabilitation centers throughout their local area. In addition to carrying out the mission of TLC Therapy Hooves with the help of dozens of dedicated volunteers, Scott and Terri live on and maintain their working farm called La La Land, which is named after their camel—La La, of course!

Can you tell us about a proud moment for TLC this past year?

While any business owner may answer this question by describing a new project launch or an exciting award or achievement, Terri is anything but typical. Instead, she began by describing a breakthrough moment for a woman in a nursing home who had lost her husband and, through trauma and shock, had not communicated verbally in a very long time. While petting the braids of one of Terri’s therapy animals, a miniature horse, the woman spoke for the first time and said, “I remember my granddaughter loved horses.” And the woman sitting next to her said, “Oh! I grew up with horses, too. Did you grow up with horses?” The nurse caring for the two women was just in awe because one of these women had been unable to speak for all the time the nurse had been caring for her. This experience opened up an opportunity for the two women to connect and relate. These are the breakthroughs that define Terri’s definition of business success.

How did you come up with the idea to use pigs and mini horses as therapy animals?

“I would take Precious (Piglet) to the school when I would go and pick up my daughter, Taylor, and all the other kids would just be so excited to see Precious Piglet. And I had a friend who had a parent in a nursing home, and she asked if I would swing by and take Precious to walk around outside for her mother to see. She’s potty trained, so I took her inside. Everyone freaked out, ‘Oh my goodness, a piggy!’ Every time she would oink, people would laugh. And I thought, you know what, this is pretty awesome.”

At that time, Terri and her husband were living in a suburban country club neighborhood, but they decided that with their joint family background in nature conservation, wildlife, and land, they would change their lifestyle and buy a farm. The couple decided to adopt mini horses and then brought trainers onto the property to see if the miniatures could be potty trained and brought into the house, just to test out Terri’s idea. She had conversations with her attorney about liability and insurance. “So, that’s how it went from one little orphan piglet (that lived inside our house, remember) to . . . close to a hundred animals now,” Terri says.

The majority of the domestic animals used in the therapy program today are adopted animals. All of the exotic animals on the property have permits and licenses, and Terri and Scott have received the training from zoos to be able to raise and maintain these animals.

(more…)

2020-12-31T16:52:12+00:00December 31st, 2020|
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