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Celebrating 15 years of success: Selam International Mart & Café

Enjoy native Ethiopian culture while relaxing with friends.

Celebrating success is our annual event, and we celebrate the achievements of our clients and their impact on the local economy. This year will be a special year for us as we celebrate our 15th anniversary with our vision that all businesses should be profitable, sustainable and assets to the community. We have been with interviewing a client each week to share their success stories, with a total of 15 businesses. Previously we featured Spencer Costley. To read his story click HERE.

Sitotaw Degefaw is owner of Selam International Mart & Café, supplies fresh meat, serves delicious cuisine, Ethiopian spices, and more.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Sitotaw Degefaw.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: I can create the future by learning more about business. The business is sustainable for my partner, employers, and me. I take pride in providing East African products that usually people can’t find in Austin.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI for 3 years. I took classes and graduated from one of EGBI’s business workshop series . EGBI helped with the planning of my business from the beginning. At first, it was not easy to open a slaughter house so I switched to the a market. I was able to get a place for a grocery store with a restaurant. EGBI helped me find a network and partnership with friends.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: Selam International Mart & Café is a unique grocery store which has spices and food from East Africa. Also, they offer fresh meat and lamb.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: My store is still growing and continues to change. I had a big success when we worked together and gathered partners to cooperate.

Sitotaw Degefaw is the fifth of the 15 clients we we have shared stories about each week leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve. If you would like to further support these businesses, consider using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

SAVE THE DATE! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

Steps to moving forward with your business

By Joni Foster

The first step to starting a business

One of the first questions I ask a new client is, “When do you want to open your business? Tell me a date.”

I often get a blank look from my client. “I don’t know” is not acceptable. We sit together and come up with a date because setting the date makes things fall into place.

Once my client has said the date out loud, she often gets a look on her face of excitement and terror at the same time.  Excitement because it now sounds real. Terror because she doesn’t know how to make it happen. 

Once we make the goal, though, we can start making a plan. We quickly start making a list of what must be done before that date arrives. The list starts telling us other things like what she or he needs to buy and how much money she needs to get started. If we need to adjust the date, that’s okay. We just need to make a goal to get the process started.

Goals

Goals are aspirational destinations. Goals are not what you have to do. Goals are how you know when you have arrived. Goals tell you WHY you are doing what you are doing.

Plans are your best guess today on HOW you will get to your goal. There are many “almost right” ways to get there and almost never “the perfect way” to do it. There are a few “horribly wrong” ways to get there. Horribly wrong ways are often great stories at a party five years from now.

Goals tells you the destination for your journey, but the journey will only be fun if you stay flexible along the way. If this is your first time on this journey, there is so much to see and do along the way. Set up your journey so that you don’t have to be in a rush to get to your goal.

Fail fast, fail often, fail forward.  You can’t start something new knowing how to do it.

Your best advisor is someone who has done it before. They can tell you all their mistakes so you don’t have to make them, too.

It has to be okay to make mistakes. That’s how we learn and grow.

Research, plan and go!

My husband and I moved out to the country a few years back. It was a very strange environment for us having lived in the city most of our lives. But together we had dreamed of having our little plot of land and now here we were.  Pretty quickly, we realized we didn’t know how to do all the things that this new environment required. How do we build a chicken coop? How do we fix a leaky roof? How do we keep critters out of the house?

Ten years later, here’s my recommendation for tackling new things:

  • Research: Find local folk who know more than you do; and use the internet to ask questions
  • Plan: Lay out your plan including how much it’s going to cost.
  • Action: Just do it.

The last one has been the hardest for me, being a perfectionist. I don’t want to start something new until I know exactly how to do it. Thankfully, early on, my husband and I made a pact: we weren’t going to let “not knowing” stop us from “doing”. We gave ourselves permission to fail.

I have learned to just start with what I know, make a bunch of mistakes, and do it again. We look around our property today and feel very proud at all the improvements we have made. I can also tell you stories about what didn’t work, but we had to do it wrong many times before we got it right.

PASOS PARA SEGUIR ADELANTE CON TU NEGOCIO

Por Joni Foster

El primer paso para comenzar un negocio

Una de las primeras preguntas que le hago a un cliente nuevo es “¿Cuándo quieres abrir tu negocio? Dime una fecha”

Con frecuencia mi cliente me da una mirada incierta. El “No lo sé” es inaceptable. Nos sentamos juntos y decidimos una fecha; porque al establecer una fecha hace que las cosas caigan en su lugar.

Una vez que mi cliente ha dicho la fecha en voz alta, muy seguido su rostro se llena de emoción y terror todo al mismo tiempo. De emoción porque ahora suena real y de terror porque no sabe cómo hacerlo para que esto suceda.

Sin embargo, una vez puesto el objetivo podremos comenzar a hacer el plan. Inmediatamente hacemos una lista de lo que se tiene que hacer primero antes de que la fecha llegue. La lista comienza por decirnos que otras cosas necesita comprar y cuánto dinero necesita para comenzar. Si la fecha se tiene que cambiar, está bien. Solo necesitamos tener un objetivo para iniciar con el proceso.

Metas

Las metas son destinos anhelados. Las metas no son lo que tienes que hacer. Las metas son para hacerte saber cuándo ya has llegado. Las metas te dicen POR QUÉ estás haciendo lo que estás haciendo.

Los planes de hoy son el mejor acierto de COMO alcanzaras tu meta. Existen muchas formas “casi perfectas” para llegar a ella y casi nunca existe la “forma perfecta” para lograrlo. Existen formas “horriblemente malas” para llegar a ella. Las formas horriblemente malas a menudo son las mejores historias para una fiesta dentro de cinco años.

Las metas te dicen el destino de tu viaje, pero el viaje solo será divertido si te mantienes flexible durante el recorrido. Si esta es tu primera vez en este viaje, hay muchas cosas que ver y hacer durante todo el camino. Así que para que no andes con prisa por alcanzar tu meta, prepara tu viaje.

Cae rápido, cae seguido y cae hacia adelante. No puedes comenzar algo nuevo sabiendo cómo hacerlo.

El mejor asesor seria alguien que lo ha hecho anteriormente. Ya que puede contarte todos sus errores para que tú no tengas que cometerlos también.

Tiene que estar bien el cometer errores. Así es como aprendemos y crecemos.

Investiga, Planifica y Marcha

Hace algunos años, mi esposo y yo nos mudamos al campo. Para nosotros fue un ambiente muy extraño ya que la mayor parte de nuestra vida la vivimos en la ciudad. Pero Juntos teníamos un sueño, de tener nuestra pequeña parcela y ahora aquí estábamos. Muy pronto nos dimos cuenta de que no sabíamos como hacer todas las cosas que este nuevo ambiente requería. ¿Cómo construimos un gallinero? ¿Cómo arreglamos un techo con goteras? ¿Cómo mantenemos a los bichos fuera de la casa?

Diez años después, está es mi recomendación para enfrentar cosas nuevas:

  • Investigación: Encuentra gente de la localidad que sepa más que tú; y utiliza el internet para preguntar.
  • Planeación: Haz un plan, incluyendo cuánto te va a costar.
  • Acción: Sólo hazlo.

Por ser perfeccionista, el último punto ha sido el más difícil para mí. Ya que no quiero comenzar algo si no sé exactamente cómo hacerlo. Afortunadamente, mi esposo y yo desde un principio hicimos un pacto: No íbamos a permitir que el “no saber” no nos permitiera “hacerlo”. Nos dimos permiso para fracasar.

He aprendido a empezar con lo que sé, cometer muchos errores y hacerlo de nuevo. Ahora vemos alrededor de nuestra propiedad y nos sentimos muy orgullosos de todas las mejoras que le hemos hecho. También te puedo hablar de las historias de lo que no funcionó, pero muchas veces tuvimos que hacerlo mal antes de lograr hacerlo bien.

Celebrating 15 years of success: Smiley’s Junk Removal & Recycling

Recycling with a smile!

Every year, we celebrate the achievements of our clients and their contribution to the local economy at our annual success celebration. This year, we will celebrate the 15th anniversary of EGBI supporting local businesses so they may become profitability, sustainability and an asset the community through our training, coaching, and support services. Ahead of our big anniversary, we are having weekly interviews with 15 of our clients to share their success stories. If you missed last week’s story, you can read about Silvia Solorzano and Jason McClain HERE.

Spencer Costley is owner of Smiley’s Junk Removal & Recycling, a company that hauls off most junk, trash or unwanted items. His services are both residential and business locations.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Spencer.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: Ever since starting Smiley’s, it feels like I’m living my purpose and making a difference in the world. I’m able to help others and the community by recycling and donating what we can to minimize the impact on local landfills.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI since 2011. EGBI has helped me in numerous ways, from taking care of my bookkeeping, being a mentor, and having access to information to help my business succeed. The staff are always just a phone call away.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: I am proud of the fact that I do have a successful business and grateful for it. I do feel I am making a difference. What I do at Smiley’s helps residents and businesses with their junk or trash problem. I try to donate or recycle as much as we can before items ever go to the landfill.

Q: Tell us a fun fact about yourself

A:  I’m a workaholic and stay busy, but I’m creative and I like to smile a lot.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: In my down time I like reading comic books and creating art.

Spencer Costley is the fourth of the 15 clients, we have shared stories about leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we assist.  If you would like to further support these businesses, think about using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

SAVE THE DATE! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

Celebrating 15 years of success: mcclain metalworks

The Metal Wizard turns talent into a growing business.

Celebrating Success is our annual event, we applaud our clients’ achievements and their impact to the local economy. This year will be extra special as we celebrate our 15 year anniversary as we continue in our vision that all businesses should be profitable, sustainable, and an asset to the community. Leading to our big commemoration we will be interviewing a client each week to share their success story, with a total of 15 clients. Previously we featured Christina Paz and Raymond Walker.

Silvia Solorzano and Jason McClain are owners of McClain Metal Works, a Sheet Metal Fabrication Shop that makes all types of metal objects from architectural products for interior designers and home builders to art objects for collectors.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Silvia and Jason.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: Silvia studied Hotel and Tourism Management in the Food Industry, as well as in the Hostelry Business. Companies work hard to maximize space. We provide these companies functionality, durability, and beauty with the products we fabricate for them.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: We have worked with EGBI since 2012. EGBI provided me the information I needed to start our business. We thank EGBI for the coaching and help to connect us with professional experts specialized in helping small business.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: Our business is a husband and wife team. I (Silvia) became a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and an entrepreneur all at the same time.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: When I am not at the shop, I devote my self to my family. When I am not with my family and friends, I try to go hiking and at night I like to see the sky through my telescope.

Silvia Solorzano and Jason McClain are the third of the 15 clients we will share stories about each week leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve. If you would like to further help these businesses, consider using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

SAVE THE DATE! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

Celebrating 15 years of success: Original Walkers Barbershop

Grooming the old way with a modern twist.

Every year, we celebrate the achievements of our clients and their contribution to the local economy at our annual success celebration. This year, we will celebrate the 15th anniversary of EGBI helping area businesses become profitable, sustainable, and an asset to the community through our training, coaching, and support services. Leading up to our big anniversary celebration, we will interview clients every week to feature a total of 15 success stories. If you missed last week, you can read about Christina Paz HERE.

Raymond Walker is owner of Original Walkers Barbershop, offering great haircuts and customer service to their clients. Visitors to the shop come in and relax from the hassle of life and get well groomed by a professional barber.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Raymond.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: I can spend more time and work for my family. I provide a place to be comfortable at the barbershop with good service for our community.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI since last October. I went to business school and had overall knowledge about starting a business, but I didn’t know how to open my own business. I wanted to reinforce my knowledge with EGBI. I took a class at EGBI to learn how to run my barbershop. I have worked with Anwuli, EGBI’s Accounting Specialist, on setting up QuickBooks for my business.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: I have had my own business since 2016. I invite not only men, but also women and children to my barbershop and provide good/friendly service. The place is created to be a pleasure for everyone.

Q: What is your greatest wish?

A: I want to continue to grow my business. I have another goal to open a barber school to educate other barbers to provide quality, friendly service.

Raymond Walker is the second of the 15 clients we will share stories about each week leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we assist.  If you would like to further encourage these businesses, contemplate using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

SAVE THE DATE! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

Celebrating 15 years of success: Siller preferred services

Creating opportunity through jobs.

Every year, we honor the achievements of our clients and their contributions to the local economy at our annual Celebrating Success event. This year we will be celebrating our 15 year anniversary from when we were initially created to improve the technology digital divide in our community to now evolved to help business owners better understand how to run a successful business. Leading to our big commemoration we will be interviewing a client to highlight their success story each week, 15 in total .

Christina Paz is owner of Siller Preferred Services, an employment agency that specializes in the hospitality and warehouse industry.  Her company works closely with their clients to help them secure and maintain jobs that will allow their workers to grow their financial freedom.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Christina.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: I have more freedom, independence, and can support my family. Also, I take pride knowing my business helps workers support their family.

Q: What are struggles you have overcome?

A: Originally I had a partner.  Now I have my business alone without my old business partner. It was hard to start, but now running my business is better.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI for 5 years. I took a class in which Barbra Boeta was an instructor, as a Program Coordinator (now Executive Director).  EGBI helped me successfully establish my business. They gave me a huge help and much support as far as business coaching and we office out of their incubation space. EGBI is always available when I need them. I highly recommend EGBI to others.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: I approach every client with customized advice to fit their situation and I pride myself on treating each client individually. Additionally, I greatly value my employees and create a family environment for the business.

Christina Paz is the first of the 15 clients we will share stories about each week leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve. If you would like to further support these businesses, consider using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

SAVE THE DATE! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

3 Ways to Keep Track of your Expenses & Income

By Anwuli Chukwurah

  1. The Traditional Way – Pen & Paper

This is one of the easiest ways to keep track of your books. Pen and Paper are materials you could find anywhere. I have clients who are not comfortable with technology so showing them an easy system with paper allows them to see their business transactions. Although I do try to push our clients to become more comfortable with technology, I realize people are starting at different stages. I tell all our clients, regardless of whether they’re using technology, to have 12 manila folders to keep their physical receipts, invoices, and other documents by month. Then, I ask clients to have a dedicated notebook to track their expenses and income. Clients need to track the date the transaction was made, where it’s from, the amount, and their income. The client will need to manually calculate their monthly net profit as compared to using a computer that does the calculations for you.

2. The Spreadsheet Way – Excel or Google Sheets

Using spreadsheets will allow our clients to electronically enter your transactions and share it with someone online. With spreadsheets, graphs and reports can easily be created from their entered transactions. This allows our clients to make business decisions based on their actual numbers. If you are not familiar with spreadsheets, you can search for local resources in your area that can teach you how to use it for your business purposes. A local nonprofit focused on helping business owners or the small business program of your city can be a great resource for finding help and support. For our clients at EGBI who are past the pen and paper stage but are not quite ready for an online accounting system, I show them how to use a simple spreadsheet tracker that tracks the date, amount, vendor/supplier, and income. This is an easy way for them to see how their business is doing on a monthly basis.

3. The Online Accounting System Way – QuickBooks Online

For clients that find using a spreadsheet to be cumbersome, an online accounting system like QuickBooks Online makes their lives easier and it can also be shared with someone else. It’s easier because they won’t have to manually document each transaction because QuickBooks Online automatically connects to their bank feed. But it’s harder because the client will need to learn how to correctly use the system so that their financial reports aren’t riddled with errors. Errors can be fixed if you know what you’re doing, but I ask our clients to come in and have a chat with me so I can show them the correct way to set up their QuickBooks. If your QuickBooks is set up incorrectly, it will cost the client more to retroactively fix their books. So, it’s always better for clients to search for local resources that can teach them how to correctly use QuickBooks if watching YouTube videos and reading QuickBooks tutorials wouldn’t work for them.

Never too late to learn to swim

By Hye June Park

As summer approaches, water activities in Austin are very popular. Before enjoying in on the summer fun, you should learn to swim and take into consideration if the places you are visiting have a lifeguard for extra safety.

Seeing the need in these areas, Miranda Melendez, the owner of I AM Ready Swim, offers pool monitors, lifeguards, and teaches swim lessons. Her ideal customers are people or organizations in need of these aquatic services.

She has tips to handle clients who are afraid of water. “We try and get on our client’s level such as holding their hands and going underwater together, or doing minimal things that they are comfortable with until we can achieve the next level,” she continued. Her favorite moment was when she had taught a 68-year-old woman how to swim after being so scared of the water after a traumatic experience. It was on her bucket list before she died to learn how to swim. “Now when I go to the pool I see her swimming laps with her grandson and it brings me so much joy. I love that there is no age limit on a person learning how to swim.”

Although she knew about the aquatic business, she was limited on how to get started. Her lawyer referred her to Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) and everyone there pitched in to help her. “I learned how to build a new business module, budgeting skills and how to run my books. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without these guys.”

One day she would like to open her own indoor pool facility. Her goals for this business is to reach as many lives as possible by teaching water safety, and prevent as many drownings as she can. As long as she can change clients’ perspective of the water and make them less afraid of it, her job is done.  For more information about I Am Ready Swim, visit www.iamreadyswim.com.

I am ready swim

Nunca es Tarde para Aprender a Nadar

Por: Hye June Park

Conforme el verano se acerca, las actividades acuáticas en Austin se vuelven muy populares. Antes de disfrutar lo divertido del verano debes aprender a nadar y para mayor seguridad tener en cuenta que los lugares que visitarás tienen un salvavidas.

Al ver la necesidad en estas áreas, Miranda Melendez, dueña de I Am Ready Swim, ofrece monitores para piscinas, salvavidas y da lecciones de natación. Sus clientes ideales son personas u organizaciones que necesitan de estos servicios acuáticos.

Ella tiene consejos de cómo manejar a clientes que le tienen miedo al agua. Nosotros tratamos de estar al nivel del cliente así como: sostenerlos de la mano y sumergirse en el agua con ellos o hacer lo más mínimo con lo cual ellos se sientan cómodos hasta que logremos alcanzar el siguiente nivel”. Ella continuó.

Su momento favorito fue cuando ella le enseñó a nadar a una mujer de 68 años de edad a quien debido a una experiencia traumática le tenía mucho miedo al agua . Aprender a nadar era algo que estaba en su lista de deseos antes de morir. “Ahora que voy a la piscina y la veo nadando con su nieto me da mucha alegría. Me encanta que no hay una edad límite para que una persona aprenda a nadar”.

Pero a pesar de que ella sabía sobre el negocio acuatico ella estaba limitaba de cómo empezar. Su abogado la recomendó a EGBI (Economic Growth Business Incubator)  y ahí todos le ayudaron. “Aprendí cómo construir un nuevo módulo de negocios, aprendí habilidades de presupuesto y cómo administrar mis libros de contabilidad. Definitivamente no estaría donde estoy ahora sin estos chicos”

Algun dia le gustaría abrir sus propias instalaciones con piscina. Su objetivo de negocios es poder llegar a la mayor cantidad de vidas posibles enseñando sobre la seguridad del agua y prevenir tantos ahogamientos como sea posible. Mientras ella pueda cambiar la perspectiva de los clientes sobre el agua y hacerlos menos temerosos de esta, su trabajo está hecho. para mas informacion sobre I Am Ready Swim, Visita www.iamreadyswim.com