“Community Reinvestment in Today’s Economy” | RISE Power Luncheon 2017

Dear RISE Partners and Friends:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of RISE Financial Pathways (formerly Los Angeles Community Reinvestment Committee d.b.a. Community Financial Resource Center), I cordially invite you to join us at Power Luncheon 2017, celebrating 24 Years of Community Reinvestment!

This year’s theme is “Community Reinvestment in Today’s Economy”

The Power Luncheon 2017 details are:

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Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Time: Reception & Silent Auction 11:00 am-12:00 pm
Luncheon & Program 12:00 pm-2:00 pm
Location: The City Club (please note new 2017 location!)
555 South Flower Street, 51st Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Purchase Tickets Here!

In support of our community reinvestment efforts, we invite and encourage you to purchase one or more event sponsorships, and share this information with colleagues, to help us increase the awareness and support of community reinvestment. The sponsorship levels are describe on the attached reservation form. You may also purchase sponsorships and individual tickets through this link. All sponsorships purchased at the Investor level and above will be listed as a part of the Power Luncheon Committee. We also welcome donations for the silent auction event, which is held during the reception hour.

Our entire RISE family graciously applauds all of our clients, funders, volunteers and friends for helping to make 2016 an amazing year, and we look forward to your partnership for a great 2017! We value your support and generosity, and look forward to you joining us at Power Luncheon 2017 – see you at The City Club! To discuss any portion of this letter or for additional information, please contact Forescee Hogan-Rowles at (323) 233-1900 or Forescee@risela.org.

With Warmest Regards,

Forescee Hogan-Rowles

CEO & President

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3 Sneaky Ways to Reach Your Target Market on Instagram (2016)

by Hassan del Campo from Micro Business Monday ™

We struggle with this. So we brainstormed. Watched a lot of Youtube videos. Ate some mangoes. And this is what we came up with. Enjoy.

1.) Discover who your competitors are on Instagram by searching keywords in Google and key hashtags in Instagram. Look for pictures that look high quality and are visually aesthetic. Quality content can be a sign of a well-run business. Once you locate a company account view their profile to see how many followers they have. If it is significant, peruse their posts and take note of those that received high engagement (likes and comments). Mark down the hashtags they use.

2.) Use event-specific hashtags, like “MomExpo2017”, “SmallBizExpo”, or others that are relevant to your business to place you, virtually, in front of a specific audience.

3.) If you do business locally, use Instagram’s Explore tab to search for specific locations or placeholders that make sense to your business and target audience.Take note of the IG accounts that tagged them and start engaging with them with likes and/or comments. The action could quite possible prompt that user to check out who just liked or commented on their post. They’ll most likely click on your profile and look at your most recent post. So just in case, craft a post that is tailored to that particular audience before you begin engagement.

by Hassan del Campo

We struggle with this. So we brainstormed. Watched a lot of Youtube videos. Ate some mangoes. And this is what we came up with. Enjoy.

1.) Discover who your competitors are on Instagram by searching keywords in Google and key hashtags in Instagram. Look for pictures that look high quality and are visually aesthetic. Quality content can be a sign of a well-run business. Once you locate a company account view their profile to see how many followers they have. If it is significant, peruse their posts and take note of those that received high engagement (likes and comments). Mark down the hashtags they use.

2.) Use event-specific hashtags, like “MomExpo2017”, “SmallBizExpo”, or others that are relevant to your business to place you, virtually, in front of a specific audience.

3.) If you do business locally, use Instagram’s Explore tab to search for specific locations or placeholders that make sense to your business and target audience.Take note of the IG accounts that tagged them and start engaging with them with likes and/or comments. The action could quite possible prompt that user to check out who just liked or commented on their post. They’ll most likely click on your profile and look at your most recent post. So just in case, craft a post that is tailored to that particular audience before you begin engagement.

by Hassan del Campo

We struggle with this. So we brainstormed. Watched a lot of Youtube videos. Ate some mangoes. And this is what we came up with. Enjoy.

1.) Discover who your competitors are on Instagram by searching keywords in Google and key hashtags in Instagram. Look for pictures that look high quality and are visually aesthetic. Quality content can be a sign of a well-run business. Once you locate a company account view their profile to see how many followers they have. If it is significant, peruse their posts and take note of those that received high engagement (likes and comments). Mark down the hashtags they use.

2.) Use event-specific hashtags, like “MomExpo2017”, “SmallBizExpo”, or others that are relevant to your business to place you, virtually, in front of a specific audience.

3.) If you do business locally, use Instagram’s Explore tab to search for specific locations or placeholders that make sense to your business and target audience.Take note of the IG accounts that tagged them and start engaging with them with likes and/or comments. The action could quite possible prompt that user to check out who just liked or commented on their post. They’ll most likely click on your profile and look at your most recent post. So just in case, craft a post that is tailored to that particular audience before you begin engagement.

by Hassan del Campo

We struggle with this. So we brainstormed. Watched a lot of Youtube videos. Ate some mangoes. And this is what we came up with. Enjoy.

1.) Discover who your competitors are on Instagram by searching keywords in Google and key hashtags in Instagram. Look for pictures that look high quality and are visually aesthetic. Quality content can be a sign of a well-run business. Once you locate a company account view their profile to see how many followers they have. If it is significant, peruse their posts and take note of those that received high engagement (likes and comments). Mark down the hashtags they use.

2.) Use event-specific hashtags, like “MomExpo2017”, “SmallBizExpo”, or others that are relevant to your business to place you, virtually, in front of a specific audience.

3.) If you do business locally, use Instagram’s Explore tab to search for specific locations or placeholders that make sense to your business and target audience.Take note of the IG accounts that tagged them and start engaging with them with likes and/or comments. The action could quite possible prompt that user to check out who just liked or commented on their post. They’ll most likely click on your profile and look at your most recent post. So just in case, craft a post that is tailored to that particular audience before you begin engagement.

by Hassan del Campo

We struggle with this. So we brainstormed. Watched a lot of Youtube videos. Ate some mangoes. And this is what we came up with. Enjoy.

1.) Discover who your competitors are on Instagram by searching keywords in Google and key hashtags in Instagram. Look for pictures that look high quality and are visually aesthetic. Quality content can be a sign of a well-run business. Once you locate a company account view their profile to see how many followers they have. If it is significant, peruse their posts and take note of those that received high engagement (likes and comments). Mark down the hashtags they use.

2.) Use event-specific hashtags, like “MomExpo2017”, “SmallBizExpo”, or others that are relevant to your business to place you, virtually, in front of a specific audience.

3.) If you do business locally, use Instagram’s Explore tab to search for specific locations or placeholders that make sense to your business and target audience.Take note of the IG accounts that tagged them and start engaging with them with likes and/or comments. The action could quite possible prompt that user to check out who just liked or commented on their post. They’ll most likely click on your profile and look at your most recent post. So just in case, craft a post that is tailored to that particular audience before you begin engagement.

Entrepreneurs Make the Worst Fortune Tellers

expectation - social media marketing los angeles - geyen + del campo, business curators

by Hassan del Campo from Micro Business Monday™

As entrepreneurs there may be a tendency to distance ourselves from the barriers that are preventing our advancement. Simply put, we can get in our own way – placing blame on lack of money, “the economy”, and other people. We give these things power instead of empowering ourselves.

A quick Google search can yield some pretty discouraging statistics about businesses and how often people fail after starting one. Yet, we can identify a myriad of examples that demonstrate otherwise.

google snapshot micro business monday - geyen + del campo

Some business experts don’t put much faith into the numbers; regarding them as anecdotal “facts” meant to discourage and dissuade. Whether we give much merit to these studies or not, we can all agree that developing a successful business is not an easy task. Yet, so many of us choose to make the leap into entrepreneurship. They also say around 20% of people start more than one business and the same time! If we consider for a moment that the studies are true, why then, do we even take the chance? What else are you willing to try with a 96% failure rate? The amount of micro businesses and small businesses started every day may give us the false impression that we live in a world of people who are definitely not risk averse. Perhaps the risk-taker could be the product of mismanagement of their own expectations. We willingly leave it up to chance. But, how you choose to interpret the odds is up to you. What matters is awareness.

The success rate for hip-hop artists is even more bleak. Which is why I find the success of this amazing musician incredibly ironic, clever, and hilarious.

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Chance the Rapper

Awareness stems from deep insights and investigation about your business and industry (the market for it, competitors, trends, etc.) that produce clues on how to create a strategic plan. If we elect success as our destination, then the information contained within our plan provides us with the resources to get there. To be clear, I am not talking about writing a business plan (though, you will need that too). I am referring to the infrastructure of your business to keep it from falling apart.

A strategic plan, simply put, is a network of systems – all designed to make you available for success, should that opportunity come your way.

And the failure to have one, is often the reason why many businesses never really take off. Systems in place offer security and protection. It allows decisions to be made efficiently and rationally, before we err on the side of irrationality. Running a business is a mental, emotional, and physical marathon. Anything that we can automate to free up our cognitive bandwith will give us a better peace of mind. And we all want that, right?

Your systems provide the context in which to create S.M.A.R.T. goals that are realistic and attainable. Additionally, systems offer an organization to the day-to-day minutiae activities that consume your business. One of the most painful things to observe is an entrepreneur whose expectations aren’t in alignment with their capacity to deliver.

I recall a time I reached out to a micro business owner to design a logo to promote an upcoming event. I was given a definite timeline that the order would be completed, and unfortunately, the design couldn’t be completed on time. The experience as a customer left me with the impression that this person wasn’t prepared to take my business. Their sales process was unrefined, from order placement to fulfillment. For instance, there was no system to process payments outside of meeting me at a local Starbucks when a time was convenient for the both of us. There was no communication that offered a status update of my order nor a system to record pertinent information about the order after it was placed. All these inefficiencies and more took the entrepreneur away from their business, instead of being able to focus on creating a great customer experience.

Now that you have the audacity to become an entrepreneur you must come to terms with your own biases. One of the most impactful books I have read, thus far, in life and in business, is Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The book, selected by Fortune magazine as one of the 75 “Smartest Books of All Time” offers the brave soul self-deprecating jabs at wisdom – should one decide to welcome the invitation. The result is a sequence of narratives designed to challenge the reader that their notion of success and how it is achieved is a failure to observe the existence of randomness. This is why, despite the popular adage “failing to plan is planning to fail”, we can overlook our own optimism.

When we are successful, we praise ourselves for our hard work and intelligence. When things go bad, suddenly, Bad Luck arrives to save us from our ignorance.

Consider the People, Places, Things that make every business go ’round:

  • Business organization – people management (people)
  • Business operations – money management (‘tings)
  • Customer Service..errr..customer experience management (people)
  • Sales and marketing (the how and where)
  • And then there’s management of your expectations (You)

Then, as the systems you create allow you to focus on value creation and differentiation (Stage One) you will eventually move on to systems that leverage the assets you’ve created (that’s Stage Two).

Money Mastermind Network Event

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Money Mastermind Network of Los Angeles

Join real-world experts for an afternoon of masterful financial mapping and strategic planning.

Start 2017 on a positive note by attending one of the most important networking events for new entrepreneurs, investors, and growing families about money & finances.

The popular Financial Mastermind Network of Los Angeles wraps up this year with a comprehensive day of discussions from today’s financial experts on critical areas of personal finance and wealth creation. Our key speakers guide you through a strategic plan that targets your personal financial goals.

This will be a powerful experience for all in attendance.

CLICK HERE FOR FREE RSVP!

Expect to gain insights about

  • Investment Options
  • Protection Solutions
  • Real Estate
  • Budgeting Secrets
  • Retirement & College Funds
  • Debt Reduction
  • Establishing & Rebuilding Credit
  • Home-ownership & more

Private parking available in rear | Light appetizers and beverage served

Hosted by HOPE Financial Solutions and Geyen + del Campo Small Business Curators™

Proudly sponsored by RISE Financial Pathways, a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

For the Entrepreneur, Emotion is the Difference between Success and Failure

by Hassan del Campo of Micro Business Monday™

Every day we are thrown in a perpetual whirlwind of emotions from experiences past. How you (subconsciously) decide to interact with the world begins with the memory of how you felt in a particular experience. And anytime you recall this memory it can set a precedence for how you make future decisions.

People in general are optimistic. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t take flights on planes. We wouldn’t drive our cars or smoke cigarettes. Optimistic bias tells us that we tend to believe that the odds will sway in our favor, even when history tells us differently. Experts place the failure rate of startups around 90%. For every example of a successful business you can find, there are several others that never made it – and further, the many more ideas that predate them, that live and die in the minds of their owners.

If I was completely rational I wouldn’t have started a cafe. While there aren’t any official reports, the rate of success is fairly bleak – and should have discouraged the lenders, landlords, my business partners, and I from even making the attempt as beginning restaurateurs. We shut down after one and half years. Yet, we still made the leap, in faith, with eyes completely open, confident that our Haitian burritos, Mango Magic smoothies, and worldly-inspired decor would make us a hip, foodie destination in the cozy neighborhood of Hermon. Our over-confidence led to underestimating the process. And that’s where many entrepreneurs fail.

Thinking back, I remember expressing concern to my business partners that we weren’t ready. But, I bought into the narrative that we could “make it work” and so we collectively decided that our optimism would guide us to profitability. At that moment rationality was traded for emotion, and thus became the primer of how we made decisions moving forward.

In entrepreneurship, optimism can create a false sense of security that encourages one to commit to a culture of ignorance about their business.

Optimism is what drives people to not work on a business plan, not spend enough time learning about their business, and make irrational, progress-killing decisions, that end in a failed business and a jaded entrepreneur. If you don’t have an unwavering sense of urgency about your startup, that keeps you up night after night, you might be too optimistic and dismissing real challenges that separate you from success and failure. Being cognizant of our propensity to view the world through rose-colored glasses is the first step in making purposeful, sound decisions that inch us closer to our goals. A sense of urgency is our minds communicating to our bodies that we’re thinking rationally.

Part of the reason optimism is so effective is that it’s painless, literally. When you understand this, you might come to the conclusion that most startups aren’t initiated by super zealous risk-takers, but rather those who haven’t experienced the gift of defeat.

When my business partners and I closed our cafe, only two of us decided to try another business – nearly immediately after we dissolved the partnership. The remaining partners were so jaded from the experience that they went back to their desk jobs; promising to never upset their spouses again by “playing with the family’s finances”. We had felt the Pain of failing a business.The prospect of launching a successful business now had to be considered more carefully. The Pain forced us to input reason into our emotional decision-making. This relates to why one of my favorite Shark Tank sound bytes, “you gotta have skin in the game”, is completely necessary.

You need to have something to lose for something to gain.

Reduce the risk of emotional decision-making in your business by simply investing in your business. If your mindset, for example, is to use as little of your own money to start your business, you might be projecting your own insecurities with regards to your ability to run that business.

Take ownership of the process, not just the idea. The idea helps us envision the future of our business. The process is what will take us there. Condition your mind to be critical of your business, so that you are constantly analyzing your business and developing strategies to crush your competition. As you go through this process, you will realize a genuine confidence, that is rooted in a history of overcoming obstacles and learning. This is why confidence trumps optimism, every time.

They say the rational mind is not good at being rational, but rather good at rationalizing what the emotional mind has already decided.

Here is a simple exercise you can use to make a more rational decision while confronting a  problem:

  • Identify the problem
  • Make a list of possible solutions
  • Consider the real consequences, both good and bad, of each possible solution
  • Weigh the good consequences. Do they outweigh the bad? Do they bring you closer to your goal?
  • Make a decision and act

/emotion.

B2B: Your Best Customer is a Successful Business

by Hassan del Campo of Micro Business Monday™

Business-to-business (B2B): only approach businesses that are profitable. Businesses that are not performing cannot necessarily be assisted by your service or product (there are some exceptions, such as a business consultant who specializes in generating profits for other businesses).

Consider for a moment that business is largely psychological. In the world of business-to-business you aren’t dealing with “entities” or robots. You are engaging people. People have emotions that trigger predictably irrational decision-making. The good news is we all do this. During my career as a nonprofit professional I worked for one organization that was nearing the end of its cycle. Out of desperation to keep doors open and payroll current, we pursued funding disguised as proverbial life-jackets. We abandoned our strategic plan (actually, we never used one) and acted out of fear. We were so jaded from the stress of salvaging the organization that we wouldn’t have seen a window of opportunity if a bird flew through it.

You need to work with a business (owner) that has the resources, time, and desire to commit to growth and looks forward to utilizing your service or product to advance their bottom line. Let businesses that aren’t ready to use your service, but that you desire as a client, know that you have interest in working with them when it makes sense (pun unintended).

Find commonality with your prospects. Instead of highlighting your differences; why your business stands out from the competition – you need to find commonality. Saying we’re the best because we do X and nobody does it , and you should hire us because you don’t understand X…just alienates you from and the other person. Deepen the connection by establishing a relationship built on trust. Show you’ve been in their shoes and give yourself permission to highlight your vulnerabilities as opportunities for strength and change.

LinkedIn is an essential tool for nurturing b2b relationships. Consider your audience and give special attention to the opening summary. Here are some tips we ran across.

If the success of your business is dependent on other businesses (as customers) then it makes sense that your best customer would be a successful business.

Businesses that are struggling indicate a mechanical issue that should be resolved by the business and the owner(s) before they consider taking on and paying for additional obligations. The premise is not to be critical of businesses that aren’t producing profit. The idea is to identify your “best-fitting” customers and discern from those that in this moment in time have not reached a stage appropriate for what you have to offer. You can revisit these businesses later after they have made some adjustments. Remember, it is a two-way street. Ideally, the interaction should be rewarding and enjoyable for both parties involved. And, if you have the dedication and some particular personal interest in the business, you can always offer to get involved in a more profound way.

/business–to–business.