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What Direction Are You Taking Your Business?

For nearly two decades, I have had the privilege of working with corporations and small businesses on their legal needs, as well as experiencing my own entrepreneurial ventures.  As I journeyed down the path of capitalistic dreams and helped others pursue theirs, I saw many succeed, and many fail.  I often wondered what the difference […]

For nearly two decades, I have had the privilege of working with corporations and small businesses on their legal needs, as well as experiencing my own entrepreneurial ventures.  As I journeyed down the path of capitalistic dreams and helped others pursue theirs, I saw many succeed, and many fail.  I often wondered what the difference between the two extremes was?  It seemed like a very fine line.  On paper, everything was set up perfectly – the business plan, the work ethic, marketing, reserve capital, etc. Yet, over time, some businesses profit, while other failed drastically.
Many of us know that success at any organization starts with leadership.  But many business leaders fail to recognize that their very own projection of energy through the manifestation of their own thoughts could be the determining factor of becoming a millionaire or facing financial ruins.
In my new book to be released this Spring, “ Decide. Believe Change.”, I explore the concept of the two driving energy factors in this world – positive and negative. We as individuals have no choice but to gravitate to one of these forces.  We do, however, have a choice as to which.  Whether we decide to focus on negative or positive energy, it all stems from our focus on a belief we have, which leads to our decisions.
It’s certainly not easy having your own business and being a business leader.  To say all one has to do is focus on your goal, is an understatement and comical at best.  Yes, there is truth to this fact.  But how many times is it impossible to focus on your business goals when you have a minimal cash flow to pay your bills, employees who are not doing their job and giving you attitude, the customer who enjoys writing bad reviews online, or the Taxman knocking at your door?
While a business leader may start out with the positive outlook and energy to succeed, the daily grind and issues that try to prevent any individual from succeeding, sadly often drop an anchor in our progressive thought process.  This, in turn, leads to a focus on fear and doubt.  “What if I can’t make payroll this week?”, “If I fire a certain employee, a good number of customers are going to be mad.  Plus, will I find a replacement?”, or “I won’t be able to pay our primary vendor, so how can I continue ordering from them?”
The issues that lead to fear and doubt, certainly cannot be ignored, but as business leaders, we can not allow them to be our focus.  If we do, we will be projecting a manifestation of a world (our business) that will have these negative energies drawn to it.  This will ultimately lead to a downfall.  There will not be a drive to success in our corporate culture, but a lingering fear of what tomorrow brings.  If we can, however, register these negative factors in our minds as simply obstacles that will be addressed, and focus on the energy and positive excitement one had when their business venture was in its inception, we will find success one day closer and not further.  The negative obstacles will be conquered and not overcome us.
Negative factors will always be present.  That’s what balances out this world.  But remember, your thought process has a choice – either follow the negative that tries to take hold of you and your future to lead to self-destruction or foster the positive energies and the focus on successes of this world that you deserve.  Let the negatives simply be obstacles you will get around in order to meet your goal(s), and remain focused on the big picture of success that energized you on day one. So, you need to ask yourself – what direction are you leading your business?

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The Emerging Business of Legal Marijuana

We all know this past election had the interest and opinions of more Americans than ever, but from a business front, many entrepreneurs were equally, if not more, interested in a handful of state elections on the continued legalization of Cannabis.  It has been a hot topic for several years now, and even Pennsylvania broadened […]

We all know this past election had the interest and opinions of more Americans than ever, but from a business front, many entrepreneurs were equally, if not more, interested in a handful of state elections on the continued legalization of Cannabis.  It has been a hot topic for several years now, and even Pennsylvania broadened its conservative views in April of 2016 when Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3 into law. It is expected that Pennsylvania’s adoption of medical marijuana legalization will be in full effect by third quarter 2018 when it will allow marijuana to ailing patients who are under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition. The law defines the qualified medical conditions one must have to access medical marijuana with a physician’s certification at designated state dispensaries.

The Pennsylvania law, Act 16, opens many opportunities for aspiring businesses to enter the growing legal marijuana business.  It sets forth the criteria for those companies who wish to apply to the Department of Health for a license as a manufacturer, dispensary, and registered physician.  The law also establishes taxes and fees related to obtaining any license.

As of the date of this article, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana to some degree.  Seven of those states and the District of Columbia have voted for more liberal laws by allowing its recreational use beyond medicinal purposes.  What does this mean to businesses?  With these statistics growing, it is estimated that the market for legal marijuana, whether medicinal or recreational, will reach $22.8 billion by 2020.  In the United States alone, 2016 is expected to see the legal marijuana business reach over $7 billion, an increase of 373% since the first laws were passed.  To put this in perspective, the National Football League (NFL) grossed $12 billion during the 2015-2016 season.  The investment bank of Ackrell Capital predicts the marijuana industry to reach $100 billion by 2029.

It’s no wonder these numbers are attracting new start-up businesses across the country in the form of:

  1. Producers of cannabis product that start the chain of the market
  2. Technology research in advanced cultivation techniques
  3. Land and real estate related to the product growth
  4. Dispensaries for its distribution
  5. Production of alternative uses to ingestion such as in the form of food or drink
  6. Ancillary medical advancements containing cannabinoids, and
  7. Banking and venture capitalists.

All forms of marijuana are still classified as illegal under Federal Law.  But I should note that the Federal Government cannot force states to criminalize conduct that is illegal under its law, nor can the federal government force state and local police to enforce federal laws. There are no known cases in any of the twenty-six states that have authorized the use of medical marijuana of the federal government prosecuting an individual for a small amount of marijuana.

Even though the Republican Party, which has had conservative views on the legalization of marijuana, has the majority control of the House and Senate in Washington through the last election, Congress may have to revisit national laws and the classification of marijuana on a Federal level as more and more states legalize it to some degree.  This would mean even more opportunities for investors and businesses, as the industry would then have Federal backing.

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Why We Need to Brand Our Business

Like many over achieving entrepreneurs, many of you have or are currently experiencing the excitement of starting up a new business.  You had or have a great business plan, a vision for the future, along with long term and short term goals. But during the excitement of getting a new business off the ground, many […]

Like many over achieving entrepreneurs, many of you have or are currently experiencing the excitement of starting up a new business.  You had or have a great business plan, a vision for the future, along with long term and short term goals. But during the excitement of getting a new business off the ground, many aspiring owners put the value of branding their new ventures on the sidelines.

Unfortunately, this can be a big mistake. Branding your company is a key element to future success and the pipeline to ongoing business. Taking the time to establish a strong brand for your business will add an extra layer to the foundation of future success.

A company brand is its recognizable appearance to the rest of the world of what the company offers and is all about. It consists of its name, visual logo, mission, quality of products and services, and the company’s communication both internally and externally. These elements all filter down to how current and future customers see your business. It can give it value, or disvalue it.

As a business owner, we have to look at a brand like a term of assurance. Over time, anyone who comes into contact with your company for its products or services will have a feeling of being assured the quality and outcome of what they are seeking through the affiliation of your brand.  Think about your favorite restaurant? Can you describe its logo, service, and quality of food?  Because you go there routinely, are you not assured the outcome of the interaction with staff, atmosphere, and food quality?  This is all attributed to its brand. When looking at national amusement parks (i.e. Disney), do we not automatically conclude what lies ahead before entering their gates based on the brand we affiliate with them?  How about national franchises?  What do we think about when we see the McDonalds or Subway logos? Their brands resonate with consumers, does yours?

No matter what type of business you are engaged in, establishing a brand can assure future success.  Whether you are in the infancy of starting a venture, or have been established but never put thought behind creating a brand, now is a good time to start.  A strong brand will reinforce your mission statement and vision, which will create direction for your employees. In doing so, your brand will help you generate emotion from your customers (which helps sales of course), because they will know what to expect from that implied promise of quality. This in turn will also spread to generate new customer leads. As a result of a strong brand, you will be set apart from any threatening competition through your distinct recognition.

In sum, branding is an accumulation of your name and logo, mission, quality and communication internally and externally. It should extend within your company and to the outside world. Developing and delivering to the foundation of what customers can expect from your business as a result of your brand affiliation, can assure a lasting pipeline of business and leverage over competitors.

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