On January 31, my guest on the Business is ART podcast at the TrueChat Network was Erin Santos, Founder and President of the Isabella Santos Foundation. Erin and her husband, Stewart, have managed to turn their pain into something positive for others through the foundation that bears the name of their daughter, Isabella, lost to neuroblastoma in June of 2012.
From its humble beginnings raising a little over $7000 with its first event, the Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF) now raises over $1 million a year to help provide families a place to stay while their child receives treatment and for research into finding a cure for neuroblastoma.
Through this episode of Business is ART, Erin offers sound advice for entrepreneurs, whether they are starting or running a for-profit or a non-profit like ISF. You can listen to it in its entirety by clicking here.
A summary of some of the key advice Erin offers is as follows:
- Find your voice and be inspiring when you speak to others about your organization
- Be vulnerable and have a consistent message
- Identify and target the social media platforms where your customers are – don’t try to be everywhere for everyone
- Use social media to regularly send messages to and converse with customers
- Produce good content on a regular basis that customers and prospects will seek and consume
- Obtain a lawyer when you are starting out to help you leap through all of the start-up hoops
- Assemble a board of advisors that are more than “warm bodies” and have special skills to help you realize your vision
- Know your limits and lean on others who are willing to help – sometimes that means paying for the help, sometimes not (be prepared for both)
To this last point, something I often preach, and is in fact written in Business is ART, is that in order to get people onboard, they have to be able to “get” what it is you are doing. They have to “see” it. But they can’t see it if you can’t articulate it.
Get all of these great ideas and thoughts out of your head and written down in to a plan. Then create a “painted picture” of what it is you want to accomplish. The painted picture is a more detailed version of your vision. It can be a document but I prefer some actual form of art, be it a web site, a video, a song, etc. or a combination.
Painting the picture is an easier task if you start by developing a strategy and a business plan.
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