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1 Million Cups Richmond Engage Entrepreneurs

Richmond’s 1 Million Cups provides a great floor for entrepreneurs to present their new business ventures with the community. Weekly meetings allow the presenter to gain an audience for their endeavor as well as give an opportunity for ideas to circulate through Q & A’s. This is a great outlet for both business start ups and community members who are interested in playing a role in each other’s successes. For more information about 1 Million Cups check out their website! http://www.1millioncups.com/richmond

Muster’s president and founder Alex Schettine lead this morning’s presentation, sharing his vision for making advocacy smart and easy for the nonprofit 501(c) 3 and 501(c) 6 community by creating a funnel for support. Their one-click approach to geo-targeted campaigns can reach a single person, a particular position, a desired committee, or a custom target. Their database contains over 60,000 state and national elected officials who can be easily reached by phone, email, or stamped letter. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “muster” as an assembling of troops for battle, we can certainly see how this name is fitting!

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SCC Officials Offer Valuable Franchise Insights at Virginia Franchise Forum Event

May 28, 2015–SCC Division of Securities and Retail Franchising Chief Examiner Tim O’Brien and Senior Investigator Stephen Arrighi offered many regulatory insights and updates on the world of Virginia franchising last Thursday night at the Virginia Franchise Forum’s quarterly meeting at the Westwood Club.  An unprecedented number of franchisors are currently registered to sell franchises in Virginia, which bodes well not just for franchising, but the overall business climate as well.  Aside from recent registration statistics, O’Brien and Arrighi provided a glimpse into both the franchise registration and investigation processes.  An engaged audience of current and prospective franchise owners, franchisor executives, consultants, accountants, bankers, and attorneys peppered the officials with questions throughout the evening.  Anytime you have a regulated industry like franchising, it is always encouraging to see interaction and open lines of communication between industry leaders and government officials.  The VFF, now in its 8th year of existence as the only educational and networking forum in RVA focused on franchising, will be hosting two more events in 2015–September 25 and November 19.  Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details.

Perkins Law Renews Local Swim Club Sponsorship for 2015

Henrico County small business and nonprofit law firm Perkins Law, PLLC has agreed to renew its sponsorship of the Grey Oaks Aquatic League (GOAL) for 2015.  A small, volunteer-based 501(c)(3) organization entering its fifth year of existence, GOAL has taught hundreds of young children to swim and given them their first taste of competitive swimming in a casual setting.  Passionate, committed volunteers pursuing a critically important mission (teaching children to swim–arguably something that EVERYONE should learn) is just the kind of organization that Perkins Law looks to align itself with and support in any way it can.  Keep up the great work GOAL!

Perkins Talks LLCs with RVA SCORE Chapter

May 21, 2015 – Richmond business attorney, Eric Perkins, led an interactive discussion about LLCs and other types of business entities at yesterday’s monthly membership meeting of Richmond’s SCORE Chapter. SCORE is a national organization of volunteer business executives and community leaders that offer free mentoring and other resources to promote entrepreneurship and small business ownership.

Learn more about SCORE activities in Richmond by visiting https://richmond.score.org

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Lessons from Letterman for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Very sad to see David Letterman retire tonight, but it occurred to me that over the course of his 33 years as a late night talk show host, there are three valuable lessons from Dave that all entrepreneurs and biz owners would be wise to follow:

1. Always keep your sense of humor. If there’s one trait Dave exemplified (aside from sarcasm), it is that you should never take yourself too seriously.

2. When you screw up, own it. Dave found himself in a public relations crisis a few years ago (to put it mildly), and he responded swiftly by publicly acknowledging and apologizing for what he had done–no excuses, no spin, no attempt to deflect blame. Wonder how things would have turned out for guys like Armstrong, Cosby, and Brady had they followed Dave’s example?

3. Stay true to your core principles. Dave may have lost the TV ratings battle to Jay Leno over the better part of the 90s and 00s due at least partly to his refusal to adjust his style of comedy to a more mainstream audience as Leno did, but is there any doubt as to who is leaving behind a more cherished and revered legacy? Dave never compromised who he was or what he believed in when it came to his show, and in so doing, he has a secured a spot right next to Johnny Carson on the Mount Rushmore of late night TV.

Thanks for the memories Dave, you will be missed.

Estate Planning for the “Bottom 99%”

April 30, 2015–Based on some great reviews I’ve read, I recently purchased a copy of the new book Get What’s Yours – The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security written by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Philip Moeller, and Paul Solman.  The main premise of the book is to demystify Social Security and provide useful tips to help individuals maximize their lifetime Social Security benefits.  Social Security is a critical part of retirement planning for just about all of us, so the better one understands the ins and outs of this massive government program, the more money one can expect to extract from it over the course of a lifetime.

Did you know that Perkins Law offers a flat fee package for basic estate planning documents (a will, financial power of attorney, and healthcare power of attorney/advance directive)?  The package is available for the vast group of families and individuals I describe as the “bottom 99%” (i.e., people who do not have taxable estates of tens of millions of dollars and are not looking for complicated estate tax planning or multi-generational wealth management).  New for 2015 is the “Perkins Law Guide to Drafting Your Final Press Release” – a one-page questionnaire that walks you through key questions and issues, the responses to which can comprise your obituary.  Call or email for details.

History Made Today in the RVA Social Entrepreneurship Community

April 21, 2015 – Today marks an historic occasion in the world of conscious capitalism and social entrepreneurship as the owners of local consulting firm Impact Makers, one of the area’s first companies to adopt the benefit corporation structure, are gifting their equity ownership in the company to local nonprofits for the sake of philanthropy and to promote a higher level of social entrepreneurship.  Specifically, the gift to The Community Foundation and Virginia Community Capital will facilitate the creation of funding opportunities to support local charities and invest in other benefit corporations.  To learn more about the Virginia benefit corporation and see a recent list of  Virginia benefit corporations doing business throughout Virginia, check out the “Articles” page at www.ericperkinslaw.com.

Highlights from Tom Tom Founders Summit

April 17, 2015 – A sold-out crowd at The Paramount Theater in downtown Charlottesville, VA enjoyed a full day of presentations and panel discussions on a variety of entrepreneurship topics from an all-star cast of entrepreneurs, investors, and  university professors.  Event organizers did a fabulous job crafting and implementing an educational and attention-grabbing agenda from start to finish.  Here is a list of 10 of the most memorable tips and observations that sttod out to me:

1.  From Doug Muir, serial entrepreneur and currently an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the UVA Darden School–The secrets of being a successful entrepreneur are (i) be persistent, (ii) have an unwavering passion for what you are doing, (iii) be open minded and flexible, (iv) have a desire to be an expert in your industry, (v) be forward-looking, and (vi) promote a culture where ideas are constantly flowing in the workplace

2.  From Alexis Ohanion, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Reddit–There’s nothing glamorous about te start-up process.  Do not wait until your product or service is perfect–get to market as quickly as possible and respond to feedback/fix problems as you go.

3.  From Kip Tendell, founder of The Container Store–Having one great employee is better than having three good ones, so surround yourself with great people and then train them well and treat them well.  By doing this, cutomer satisfaction and profitability will fllow.

4.  From Raj Sisodia with Babson College–Millennials are the most purpose-driven generation in history and are the driving force behind conscious capitalism/social entrepreneurship.

5.  From Peter Rojas, founder of Gizmodo and Engadget–Entrepreneurs should be less secretive and get lots of feedback on their product or service.  Don’t be paranoid about confidentiality.  Don’t feel compelled to compromise with your business partner all the time, sometimes being less agreeable (along with a sensical division of decision-making authority) yields better outcomes.  Also, remember that raising capital is not a sign of success; it often just raises the bar of how success gets defined for that particular business

6. Entrepreneurs must be flexible and ready for change on a frequent basis.

7.  Failure is inevitable as an entrepreneur, the keys are to hedge your downside risk and minimize the expense of failures and use them as learning experiences or as catalysts for future success.

8.  An entrepreneur’s focus should stay on customer development (i.e., producing something that people want); fall in love with a problem (and its solution), NOT a product.

9.  While certain skills and technical expertise useful to entrepreneurs can be taught in school, generally speaking, the essence of entrepreneurship is not something you can learn in school, but rather through the ongoing trial-and-error process of actually starting and growing new businesses.

10.  As far as educating tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, one key is to stop discouraging people from pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams and following their passion.

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2015 USTA Annual Meeting and Conference (Boca Raton, FL) Highlights

A new two-year term and the administration of new USTA President Katrina Adams formally got underway at the Boca Raton Resort and Club April 9-13, 2015 as USTA again outdid itself with a remarkably well-organized and productive Annual Meeting and Conference.  Arguably the world’s leading national governing body of any sport, the USTA continues to raise the bar with its emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and forward-thinking to grow tennis throughout the U.S.  From major capital improvements at the BJK National Tennis Center (site of the U.S. Open) to the recent groundbreaking of the next home of American tennis (and USTA headquarters) in Lake Nona, Florida, there were too many highlights to mention here.  Special congratulations to the Learning and Leadership Development Committee and staff who provide amazing resources and educational opportunities that make the USTA volunteer experience incredibly fulfilling and rewarding.

As chair of the Tennis Rules and Regulations Committee, one area of emphasis is promoting greater awareness and understanding of tennis rules, regulations, and etiquette.  If you’d like a quick introduction to the ITF Rules of Tennis or the Code (the Players’ Guide to Fair Play and the Unwritten Rules of Tennis), please check out our webinars (each one is less than 10 minutes):

ITF Rules of Tennis

The Code

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Local Nonprofits Unveil New Branding

April 17, 2015 – Congratulations to local nonprofit organizations Diversity Richmond (formerly the Gay Richmond Community Center and the Richmond Gay Community Foundation) and The Doorways (formerly Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond) for their recent rebranding efforts as reported in today Richmond Times Dispatch.  Strategic planning and brand development are just as important in the nonprofit community as they are in the for-profit sector, and the leaders of these organizations should be applauded for taking bold steps to expand their outreach efforts, energize their supporters, and stay relevant in any increasingly competitive market for donors, volunteers, and supporters.  I suspect these efforts were the product of many months (if not years) of careful planning and creative thinking, not to mention a significant investment of resources.  Job well done!