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Krystal Bonner: NBIC Celebrates Women’s Small Business Month

By Tyler Price

Continuing our celebration of Women’s Small Business Month, Krystal Bonner, lead designer and founder of Phoenix Forrester Events, also an informal mentee of our program, stopped by the NBIC for a little chat about why it’s important to highlight female achievement within the entrepreneurial world.

“It’s great, from a broader perspective, for women to know what other women are doing to start their businesses – to communicate on a larger scale how many women own businesses and are successful,” said Bonner.

Bonner said that having this platform is imperative for up-and-coming women. She believes it is important to witness and admire other people success – especially as a beginning entrepreneur.

One successful entrepreneur who helped encourage and inspire Bonner is our very own Angela Crane-Jones – the director of the NBIC.

“Meeting Angela truly helped me,” Bonner said. “She was and is the owner of several small businesses herself. She understands what that’s like, but also to be a woman in a male-dominated industry.”

“What I love about Angela,” Bonner continued, “is she’s so relatable and down to earth. If I had a question about any of these things, she’d answer me openly and full-heartedly.”

But, the truth is, women need relationships like Bonner and Jones’ not just because of the male-dominated nature of the business world, but also the immense pressure and stress which comes with owning a business.

“Being in small business sounds glamorous and great. But, it is hard work,” Bonner said. “It’s really lonely and can be isolating. And, sometimes, not appreciated very much.”

“So,” Bonner continued, “you need to think long and hard about what industry you are going into. Because you will be giving up your nights and weekends. You need to have passion so you can get back up when you are knocked down.”

However, even though the entrepreneurial world is intense and dog-eat-dog, Bonner is tough and was fully prepared by the NBIC.

“NBIC is very competitive. I like being a woman who is doing things amongst all these men,” Bonner said.

The NBIC also taught Bonner the value of fostering lasting relationships within the business world and how they can come back to benefit later in life.

“What I have learned as a business owner is that relationships are vital – they are the lifeline to your success,” said Bonner. “Every client I have received over the last 8 years, has been a result of word-of-mouth or a recommendation. Because the relationships I have built are strong.”

No one is discounting the fact that men are still incredibly important in the workplace. However, it is imperative for women to empower one another and nurture more relationships – all the while keeping the goal of equality in mind.

More women need to create jobs, said Bonner. The more women we have in the corporate structure, the more women we have making decisions – leading to more women being hired. The more women are hired, the greater opportunities for women to advance become. This is how equality will one day come to be – each and every woman making an impact on the whole of society.

Gender discrimination is intricate and institutionalized – but not unstoppable. Women simply need to focus on gaining more leverage.

So, if you are a woman, please consider becoming an entrepreneur in a field of your passion. It will be hard work and it will be stressful. But, you will feel accomplished and encouraged.

And, you will be creating more jobs for the economy and changing the world for all women.

Happy Women’s Small Business Month from us here at the NBIC.
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“Phoenix Forrester Events (PFE) is a boutique-style, event planning and logistics management agency specializing in strategy and creative design. PFE provides custom solutions to companies in multiple industries,” according to their website.

Their mission is “to serve as an extension of our client’s personality by creating and designing events that offer extraordinary experiences, unique to its audience while distinctly representing the culture, lifestyle and long-term goals.”

New Federal Regulation Will Impact Small Businesses

In less than six months business owners – of large and small enterprises- will have to prepare for a new law, the Overtime Rule. Effective December 1, the regulation seeks to create a fairness for employees by being provided greater compensation for their workload, or shift their workload allowing for greater free time.

In plain language, this Rule will encourage employers to pay overtime after 40 hours or increase employee compensation to nearly $50,000 year. Of course, it is not quite that simple so business owners are encouraged to seek counsel from their attorney or accountant.

However, what is clear is the intention behind the law. It will work to improve company culture and enhance quality of life.  The extra time off work will give people more time to participate in extracurricular activities, personal development, and familial tasks that will lead to a more productive team member.

As we prepare for the new rule to take effect, we should also consider reviewing our overall Human Resources process. This is a great time to review the five mistakes below, according to Entrepreneur.com, and make some necessary adjustments.

  1. Rushing through the hiring process

The reason small businesses speed through the hiring process is to get the work done. There are times when the job description is vague and policies and procedures are not outlined.  Taking your time allows for analysis of the current process – identifying what works and what should be nixed. Slowing down the process also creates a culture of efficiency over speed. “27% of more than 6,000 HR professionals reported a single bad hire costing more than $50,000” according to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey. That money could go to increasing salaries of your current team, and adding greater responsibility.

  1. Employees and contractors are misclassified

Boy, oh boy the blurred line of employee versus contractor can get your business into serious trouble. Do you know how your current team is classified? Knowing the differences between the two could save you thousands. So what should you do? Be very clear in the beginning about the terms of the relationship you are engaging in. For now, you should take an inventory of all of your current relationships and set boundaries going forward.

  1. Employee handbook is outdated

Somewhere on your computer you have an employee manual that has not been revised in several years and probably doesn’t reflect the company you have today.  Behind accounting and having your legal affairs in order, the policies and procedures manual can drastically cut out a lot of employee confusion and violations. As an example, your book should explicitly outline the way overtime is handled. Does it need to be approved? How does your team keep up with their hours? What happens when someone works more than their allocated hours? See! You need an updated employee manual. To do that effectively conduct regular meetings to discuss new terms, receive feedback, and update everyone on the changes.

  1. Little or no employee training

In a small business employees are sometimes asked to dive in head first without understanding their role, company culture, or office politics. As an employer take the time to invest in your employees through a uniform onboarding. The employees will appreciate your investment in them and channel their productivity for the benefit of the work environment.

  1. Inadequate documentation

Put everything in writing. Are you having some employee challenges? Write it up for your own records. Do you have an evaluation process? If not, create one that provides feedback – constructive and positive. But when having things in writing is most important is when an employee leaves or is terminated. Having a record of performance, or lack thereof, can be the difference between spending any extra revenue on bonuses or a lawsuit.

Does this all seem so complicated? Well, it is. And as a small business owner you should have support as rules, regulations, and laws directly impact your business and its finances. The Nashville Business Incubation Center provides mentoring, accountability, and consulting with subject matter experts that can carefully guide you through this type of process. To learn more about how your business can participate in the traditional incubator or Incubator Without Walls, virtual incubation, visit www.NBIConline.com.