Total Eclipse Brings Profit to Central Texas

By Shamitha Ramanan

The total solar eclipse will be coming to Central Texas on April 8th with the possibility of one million visitors in our area due to this solistrial event. Businesses should take advantage of the rare event and the opportunity to capitalize on the excitement and maximize their revenue.

Let us explore some strategies on making this happen:

1. Eclipse-Themed Promotions: Embrace the celestial theme by offering eclipse-themed promotions and discounts. Consider also having eclipse-themed merchandise; tapping into the event’s spirit can attract locals and tourists.

2. Extend Operating Hours: Since the eclipse will draw new crowds, consider extending your business hours to accommodate the influx of visitors. Staying open later or opening earlier can provide additional opportunities to serve customers and boost sales.

3. Collaborate with Local Attractions: Forge partnerships with local attractions or travel agencies to offer bundled packages that combine eclipse viewing with other experiences unique to Central Texas. Collaboration can attract visitors looking for comprehensive experiences.

4. Create Eclipse Viewing Events: Organize special events around the eclipse. Whether setting up viewing stations with telescopes, hosting educational talks by astronomers, or arranging live music performances, providing a festive atmosphere can draw crowds to your business.

5. Ramp Up Marketing Efforts: Leverage social media, email marketing, and local advertising to promote your eclipse-related offerings and events. Utilize hashtags related to the eclipse to boost engagement and generate awareness leading up to the event. Contact news stations and publications to let them know what your business has planned for this moment. 

Consider some of the strategies above, as the total eclipse is an excellent opportunity to capitalize on the influx of visitors and boost revenue.

Find the Spanish version here.

The Power of Improvised Speech

By Audrey Stanton

Every Wednesday, members of the EGBI Toastmasters club gather to practice their public speaking, presentation, and interpersonal communication skills.

The first part of the meeting is probably what you think about when you think about Toastmasters, where participants deliver prepared speeches to the rest of the club. (Unfamilar with Toastmasters? Click here to learn more.)

But the reality of life is that we often don’t have the time or opportunity to prepare what we want to say ahead of time — and we have to think on the spot.

This is where Table Topics comes in.

In each Toastmasters meeting, participants have the chance to practice their improvisation skills in front of a supportive audience. After the host introduces a question or prompt, random participants are invited to speak about the topic for 1–2 minutes.

Through practice, members learn to organize their thoughts and deliver concise responses without preparation. By presenting and providing feedback to others, Toastmasters members build confidence in their ability to contribute meaningfully to any conversation.

But outside in the real world is where these skills really come to life. Whether you’re answering a customer’s question, participating in a panel discussion, or delivering a last-minute presentation, the ability to respond effectively in any situation is a huge asset. An engaging conversation might turn a one-time visitor into a loyal customer, a speaking opportunity into invaluable publicity, and a restless audience into a motivated one.

If you’re ready to practice your impromptu speaking skills, you’re invited to join the EGBI Toastmasters International chapter, where you will learn and practice alongside a group of supportive peers. Click here for more information on how to join.

Find the Spanish version here.

Tips for Creating an Effective Elevator Pitch

By Shamitha Ramanan

An elevator pitch is a concise and compelling synopsis of your background, experience, and what you offer in the thirty seconds or less it takes to ride an elevator. Here are some tips to consider when crafting an elevator pitch:

Know Your Audience: Spend time learning about and understanding your target audience before drafting your elevator pitch. Make your pitch specific to the requirements, interests, and pain points of the people you are pitching to, whether they are prospective workers, investors, or clients.

Begin with a Hook: Use an attention-grabbing hook or opening sentence to grab the attention of your audience right away. This may be with a question, an eye-opening figure, or a short story that connects to your expertise or service. The goal is to spark their interest and compel them to hear more.

Keep it Concise and Clear: Recall that you only have a little time to make your presentation, so be concise and clear. Every word matters. Refrain from jargon or technical terminology that might confuse your readers; keep your message brief and straightforward. Make an effort to explain your value proposition in an understandable language.

Emphasize Your Differentiating Features: What makes you stand out from the competition in your industry? Emphasize your distinctive abilities, accomplishments, and experiences to make an impression. Pay attention to the advantages you may provide your audience and why they should be interested in your offer.

Practice.  Practice. Practice: Practice is necessary to create a compelling elevator pitch. After you’ve written your pitch, practice it until it comes easily and naturally. You may record yourself, practice in front of a mirror, or practice with a friend or coworker to ensure you maximize the time given.

Be Genuine: Gaining your audience’s confidence and credibility requires being genuine. When presenting, show off your personality and be sincere and enthusiastic. Instead of coming out as too prepared, talk from the heart and allow your passion for your idea or task to come through.

End with a Call to Action: Put a clear call to action at the end of your elevator pitch to nudge your audience to take the following action. Make it simple for them to carry on the conversation and look into options by giving them quick access to your website, LinkedIn connections, and follow-up meeting scheduling. Remind them who is a perfect referral for your business.

Be Flexible and Adaptable: Finally, be ready to modify your elevator pitch to fit various settings and circumstances. You never know when or where you might be asked to give a pitch, so be prepared to modify it at any time based on the situation and the people you’re speaking with.

Developing your elevator pitch skills is an important life skill that may lead to changes in your personal and professional life. You will be well-prepared to leave a lasting impression and take advantage of any chance if you create a concise, captivating, and genuine pitch.

Find the Spanish version here.

Opening Opportunities: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Certified Veteran-Owned Small Business and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business State and Federal

As a Veteran, you’ve already demonstrated courage, commitment, and resilience in your service to the nation. Now, imagine translating those qualities into entrepreneurial success by starting or expanding your own business by tapping into government contracting opportunities. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers certification programs for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB), providing a pathway to exclusive contracts and fostering economic growth.

You might ask, “why would I need a certification as a veteran owned business through the Small Business Administration?” Well, there are a few good reasons why this certification is a good idea for your business as a veteran.  One, it allows you to compete for certain federal and/or state government contracts.  It also will allow you to purchase government supply surplus items that can help you to continue to grow your business. And importantly, it underscores your brand as a veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned business to your customers and your community.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to achieve VOSB or SDVOSB certification.

Step 1: Verify Your Eligibility

Before diving into the certification process, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. For VOSB, veterans must own and control at least 51% of the business. For SDVOSB, service-disabled veterans must meet the same criteria. Confirm your eligibility and proceed with confidence.

Step 2: Gather Your Documents

Collect the necessary documentation, which typically includes:

  • DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
  • VA disability letter (for SDVOSB).
  • Corporate documents (articles of incorporation, operating agreements, etc.).
  • Business financial statements.
  • Business tax returns.
  • Ownership and control documentation.

Step 3: Create an SBA Account

Navigate to the Small Business Administration (SBA) website and create an account. This account will be your gateway to the online certification application. Ensure you provide accurate information during the account creation process.

Step 4: Complete the Online Application

Select the certification program (VOSB or SDVOSB) and complete the online application. Upload all required documents and double-check the accuracy of the information provided. This step is pivotal in moving forward with the certification process. You want to make sure there are no delays due to not providing all the required information.

Step 5: Obtain a D-U-N-S Number

If your business doesn’t have a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S) number, obtain one. This unique identifier is essential for government contracts and will strengthen your application.

Step 6: Register on

Register your business on the System for Award Management (SAM) website. This no cost registration is a prerequisite for federal government contracting and complements your VOSB or SDVOSB certification.  Importantly, this is a required registration to do business with the U.S. Government.

Step 7: Submit Your Application

Once your application is complete, submit it through the SBA’s online portal. This marks a crucial step toward unlocking exclusive contracting opportunities for your veteran-owned business.

Step 8: Await Verification and Approval

Patience is key as the SBA reviews your application. Be prepared for potential requests for additional information and respond promptly to expedite the certification process. So, please be sure to keep your eye on your emails from the SBA.

Step 9: Respond to Requests for Information

If the SBA requires additional information or clarification, respond promptly and efficiently. This responsiveness demonstrates your commitment to the certification process.

Step 10: Receive Your Certification

Upon approval, you’ll receive official certification as a VOSB or SDVOSB. This achievement opens doors to government contracts reserved only for veteran-owned businesses.

Step 11: Market Your Certification

Update your marketing materials, website, and government contracting databases to showcase your VOSB or SDVOSB status. This certification is a powerful tool in attracting both government and private-sector contracts.

For further support with this process, seek guidance from the SBA through your local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program here.


Becoming certified as a VOSB or SDVOSB is a strategic move that not only honors your military service but also positions your business for success in the competitive world of government contracting. Follow these steps diligently, stay informed, and embrace the opportunities that come with being a certified veteran-owned business. We here at EGBI wish you good luck on your journey to unlocking new horizons for your entrepreneurial venture!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to EGBI’s Business Coach and Veteran Services Coordinator Monica Perras at or call her directly 737-239-0221.  A business coaching appointment is at no cost due to a contract with the City of Austin.

Find the Spanish version here.

Opened EGBI Toastmasters Officer Roles

by Shamitha Ramanan

A Toastmasters club’s ability to function effectively depends on its members’ commitment to serving in various officer capacities. Officer roles are the club’s core and significantly contribute to its growth and success. Volunteers willing to take on these tasks are crucial to the club. Getting more involved by assuming an officer role within the club benefits the club and the individual taking on the role. It’s a rewarding experience that offers numerous opportunities for growth, development, and meaningful connections.

EGBI’s chapter of Toastmasters will have David Fuentes as the President, Monica Peña as the VP of Membership, and Wendy Murphy as the VP of Public Relations. 

We seek the club’s VP of Education, Secretary, and Treasurer.  

The Vice President of Education oversees scheduling and is the club’s expert on education awards, speech contests, and mentoring. They welcome and guide new members, assign mentors, emphasize the significance of quality evaluations and the Toastmasters Education Program, and promote participation in activities.    

The Treasurer is the club’s primary accountant, writes authorized checks, deposits dues and earnings, and handles bank transactions. Their accurate and timely work dramatically impacts the club’s overall success. In addition, the Treasurer oversees tax filings, notifies members on due dates, and sends payments to World Headquarters. They manage the budget in coordination with the club’s leadership and actively participate in executive committee sessions.

The Secretary records minutes of meetings and keeps track of club records. They ensure the World Headquarters data are accurate by updating and distributing the member roster. In addition, they maintain club files, record executive committee meetings, and keep copies of the Club Constitution and Standard Bylaws.

Serving as an officer provides an invaluable opportunity to hone leadership skills in a supportive environment. We hope you consider taking on an officer role in addition to joining the Toastmasters.

Find the Spanish version click here.