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A Dollar and A Dream: A Lesson in Abundance

Grace Yi - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guest Post by Derrick Braziel

 

There is a permeating barrier that blocks many entrepreneurs from taking the plunge and moving their business idea to the next stage.  More often than not, the paralysis of fear inhibits many of us from pursuing our goals, and instead, turns our attention to the laundry list of limitations rather than advantages that may be facing us.

Do we live with the mentality of scarcity then?

What is the Scarcity Mentality, you might ask?

The Scarcity Mentality, coined by Stephen Covey in his best-seller, The Five Habits of Highly Effective People can be explained as:

Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.

The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production. The also have a a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.

Why is this important?

Coming from the traditional not-for-profit world, I observed a pervasive mindset from people who believed that in order for any undertaking to launch, you need one thing: CAPITAL.  This paradigm, in an attempt to mitigate risk, creates invisible barriers that in many instances hampers creativity and growth.  My life experiences have proven that the world does not operate within the Scarcity mindset, but rather, operates based upon a precept of abundance. 

The  Abundance Mentality, according to Covey, flows “out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.

In other words, having the mentality of abundance assumes that individuals and communities have assets to share and collectively benefit from, which in turn increases, rather than depletes the resources afforded to those who invest in one another.

Dreamapolis, the organization that I helped create, has continued to grow as a result of a deep-seated belief in abundance.  Since September, the team members of Dreamapolis and I have worked tirelessly without receiving a dollar in compensation.  I have had to find creative ways to pay my bills, put gas in my car, and when necessary, provide for my most basic needs.  But through this, I have not wavered in my passions, and the Universe responded.  Dreamapolis is now in a position where we are continuing to grow and are now distributing seed grants to three urban Indianapolis entrepreneurs to help them turn their dreams into a reality.  Furthermore, the Abundance Mentality has brought us sponsors that are giving us the ability to provide $500 in additional seed grants for young entrepreneurs in our community. 

Did I mention that we are doing this without receiving a single dollar in revenue?  The world has continued to deliver circumstances, both positive and challenging, that we are leveraging in an effort to provide opportunities for others.

So let me ask you this: Is your glass half-empty or half-full? 

When you come to the realization that your search for outside resources diminishes what you already have at your disposal, you develop an Abundance Mentality that will propel you to create more opportunities for yourself and the community around you.

The Alchemist says that, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” When you change the way you think, you change the way you act, which changes the way the world responds. And this, it appears, involves the entire community to work together in getting things done.

Raising Capital Takes 3 P's

Grace Yi - Thursday, January 12, 2012

Posted by Brian Jenkins

 

 

 

I believe that every challenge presents an opportunity.

Identifying the capital to move your idea from the dream stage to launch stage is both a challenge and an opportunity. First know this: you are not alone.  For many launching their first business, or even for those who have successfully launched, identifying start-up and growth capital is a daunting task.

My own experience in raising capital proved to expose and engender me to opportunities that I had never expected. However, the difference between chasing capital versus securing it has more to do with you than you think it does.

A few years ago, I was invited to pitch a project to a new group of potential investors that I had never met at their investment club meeting. A few of the people there were some of Chicago's key business leaders and represented significant wealth--the 1% as politicians would refer to them as. For the most part, they were regular people that happened to be friends of the host, and I enjoyed meeting with them. Though nervous at the onset of my presentation, I kept it focused and clear while confidently sharing about the opportunity involved. The host pulled me aside as people were preparing to leave shortly after my presentation and informed me that enough funding was secured to move the project forward. I was elated! What occurred next was remarkable.

On my drive back to Chicago, I received a call from a couple that had attended the presentation, asking if they could schedule a meeting to learn more about my story and the details of the company. I was shocked at their interest, but knew I had to be prepared for an opportunity I hadn’t anticipated.

We met as scheduled over breakfast and connected while learning about our respective backgrounds, families, and future goals. A single question was then asked of me: “What would you do with $250,000 in investment?” Though caught off guard due to the nature of their interest in my work, I responded—to their amazement—by pulling out 2 copies of my business plan for their review. Surprises were exchanged both ways, but it wasn’t for any lack of preparation on my end that prevented our conversation from moving forward.

The next day, I received a call asking when I would like to stop by their home to pick up the check. I had secured investment capital and found partners who wanted to join me. That experience has informed me to advise many entrepreneurs, both youth and adults, to always: Pitch your ideas, identify Partners, and always be Prepared for success.

The 3 P’s in Raising Capital:

  1. Pitch, Pitch, Pitch (and then pitch some more) your idea within your circle. A colleague shared, “If you don’t pitch…you won’t know what the questions are.” Most presentations and pitch opportunities will likely lead to future prospects to pitch, allowing you to “Tell Your Story” while connecting you to seasoned experts in the field as well as their networks. 
  1. Partner – Identify a capital partner within and outside your circle of influence. Many will immediately say, “But I don’t have a capital partner!” My response: new ideas may require new relationships. It’s likely you’ll have to expand your circle. They’re out there, but where do potential capital relationships “hang out”? Find out who they are, where they work, what do they do, and what social gatherings they typically attend to get to where you want to go.
  1. Preparation – Total preparation demands strategic anticipation. Simply put, if you want to successfully secure capital, you must anticipate securing the capital before the meeting takes place. Developing a healthy Positive Visual Outcome (PVO) will hone your awareness. Visualizing yourself executing the steps in your business plan requires prior planning to achieve outcomes for yourself as well as the potential investor(s) you meet with. Many entrepreneurs have great ideas but have not planned for success, thereby limiting their own opportunities.

 

photo credit: Liz Song

 


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